Even before Norway's inaugural Festningen festival began, event organisers Momentium, Trondheim Live and Sky Agency promised a 'magical experience' for all. Public reaction bore that out, and the event has now claimed the top spot as Central Norway's largest and most successful EDM, pop, hip hop, and urban music event, with Festningen 2019 already confirmed for next summer.
The festival's venue was the impressive 17th century fortress, Kristiansten Festning, in Southeast Trondheim. However, nearby residential developments meant that local concern over noise pollution was one of the organiser's big challenges. A careful consultation process between Scandec (L-Acoustics Norwegian Certified Provider Distributor), L-Acoustics, and Momentium ensured the best sound reinforcement solution by deploying an L-Acoustics K2 system with an event-specific configuration developed to emphasize noise rejection for specific locations around the venue. The audio equipment supplier for the festival was one of Norway's largest rental companies, Konsertsystemer LLB AS.
Scandec’s John Idar Bakke, Product Manager, Pro Audio, was initially contacted about Festningen by Momentium's Production Manager, Simon Pedersen. “There are strict regulations with regards to noise pollution," explains Bakke. "It’s in close proximity to residential areas and there is also a care centre for the elderly 120 metres behind the stage, which needed to be taken into consideration.”
The Municipal Council publishes detailed guidelines for arranging concerts on the historic festival site, including a noise study by Norwegian environmental and engineering consultancy COWI. "The document gives strict noise limits for residential areas, and both inside and outside the care centre," notes Bakke. "And of course, any solution would have to be achieved with minimal loss of sound quality. An EDM festival must have impact, so the sound has to be amazing."
Bakke worked with Konsertsystemer LLB AS, and Norwegian event noise monitoring and research company dBcontrol, as well as involving engineers at L-Acoustics R&D department. They were able to offer several suggestions for a complete sound containment solution, and three L-Acoustic engineers went to the site to help the Konsertsystemer crew with system deployment, tuning, and measurements across the Festival's two stages and outside the festival. Thomas Denstad, a Noise Survey Engineer with dBcontrol explains: "We took measurements the day before the festival started with different configurations to find the optimal setup. It was great working with Yann-Gaël Gicquel, Alexandre Delaby and Gert Wiersema from L-Acoustics and seeing their approach to meeting the strict sound level limits."
For the main speaker arrays,12 K2 full-range enclosures were deployed with four K1-SB subwoofers flown behind them. Combining specific presets and particular delays and the location of subs, gave excellent cancellation. The system also used eight ground stacks of SB28 subs (four either side of the stage, configured two behind two), with two Kiva II modular line source enclosures on top of each stack and two more placed centrally as front fill.
Reaction to the Festningen sound was positive from all sides. Kristin Svendsen, Director at the elderly care centre noted that there were no noise complaints at all, while Espen Alexander Husby. FOH Engineer for electro-pop artist Ary praised the sound quality. "I ended up with probably the best sound experience I've had on this system. Rich and distinct. I never felt I needed to push the levels to get presence in the sound image. I ended up with an average of 97dB during the 45-minute set. One of this summer's best!"
Frank Lerbak (FOH, Postgirobygget) was also very pleased: "I was happy to try the K2 at the Festningen festival. The mix translated very well to the entire audience from the start. Usually there is a lot of work to be done on the first song when playing a festival, but the system instantly delivered a punchy and big sound, with a remarkable clarity. I loved it!"