From Indie to Metal L-Acoustics Satisfies Festivalgoers and Neighbors Alike in Montréal
Back-to-back Osheaga and Heavy Montréal weekend festivals, reinforced by Solotech at Parc Jean-Drapeau, collectively draw nearly 200,000 music fans
MONTRÉAL, Quebec, Canada - October 2015 -- Two of Canada’s biggest music festivals—the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, hosting a wide variety of indie and alt-rock/pop bands, and Heavy Montréal, boasting a decidedly louder and more aggressive roster—perhaps surprisingly share numerous things in common, not the least of which is their location. Held on back-to-back weekends in August, both festivals are annually staged at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre Dame, an island in the Saint-Laurent River between downtown Montréal and Longueuil.
Differing musical genres aside, the similarities don’t end there. Every year since the festivals’ inceptions—2006 for Osheaga and 2008 for Heavy Montréal, previously known as Heavy MTL—Solotech has supplied sound reinforcement for all stages. And this year, another parallel resided in the fact that Solotech deployed L-Acoustics K1/K2 loudspeaker arrays for main PA on the two primary stages each weekend.
Ranked by Pollstar as Canada’s number one music festival, Osheaga drew more than 120,000 people over three days this year to see acts like Alt-J, Florence + The Machine, The Black Keys, Of Monsters and Men, Interpol, Weezer and dozens of others perform on the festival’s twin main stages, River and Mountain. One week later, Heavy Montréal brought in approximately 70,000 hard rock and metal fans to see Slipknot, Korn, Lagwagon, Alexisonfire, NOFX, Faith No More, Bullet For My Valentine, Lamb of God and many more rip their way through sets on the same stages, now dubbed Molson Canadian and Heavy.
Even with such a disparity in terms of acts, Solotech Systems Tech Patrice Lavoie notes that the choice of K1/K2 was ideal for both festivals. “Osheaga was particularly keen on minimizing residential noise spill this year,” he notes. “So, although there are a number of really nice-sounding PA systems on the market, we knew that another advantage in using L-Acoustics is that it’s very good at keeping the energy where it needed to be and out of the surrounding neighborhood, which it certainly did do.”
With only 60 feet and a large central video screen between them, the two main stages each featured ten L-Acoustics K1 over four K2 per side—for a total of four arrays—as well as eight K1-SB low frequency extension cabinets behind each of those hangs. Additionally, a collective total of 40 SB28 subs—mostly stacked three high in cardioid mode—filled out the low end, while eight ARCS and 12 dV-DOSC served as lip- and out-fills, respectively. Power and processing for both stages were delivered by 72 LA8 amplified controllers housed in 24 LA-Raks, and all system tuning was accomplished via LA Network Manager.
Although the two stages each featured their own left and right arrays, Lavoie points out that the mix approach was a bit more unique. “The front-of-house position was centered between the two stages, so while one show was running, the other stage would be doing a changeover,” he says. “We actually ran all four main PA arrays simultaneously to cover the entire site; the right array from stage one and the left array from stage two essentially served as our left-right main PA. At first, some of the engineers were a little worried that having all four arrays going at the same time might create some linearity issues, but everyone was really amazed and happy with how well everything sounded.”
And how effective was the system at curbing noise pollution outside of the audience area? “The production office was situated about 50 feet backstage and, from day one, people kept asking if the system was playing as loud as usual,” Lavoie adds. “By having the K1-SB flown behind the K1/K2 in end-fire mode, plus the SB28 ground-stacked in cardioid, the backstage area was surprisingly quiet, which was great.”