API festival review: Part four

In a break from the more famous of the summer festivals, this summer also saw the debut of All Tomorrows Parties’ sister event I’ll Be Your Mirror take place over two days at London’s Alexandra Palace.

In true ATP tradition, the event certainly did its best to evade any form of commercialism. Devoid of sponsorship and gimmicks, yet arguably boasting more character than the previously reviewed events combined, I’ll Be Your Mirror saw Portishead curate as well as headline both nights, with PJ Harvey and Grinderman occupying sub-headline slots.

With Alexandra Palace’s notoriety for problematic acoustics, the system in place still managed to provide as good a sound as possible in the venue’s cavernous halls. Split into two performance areas, the Great Hall and the smaller West Hall, Skan provided audio production for the whole event.

The Great Hall hosted a Midas XL4 analogue mixing desk at FOH as well as an Avid Profile with 48 remote inputs. A total of 16 d&b M2 wedges were also in place, with 2 d&b C7s on either side of the stage. A full d&b line array system was used to providing sound reinforcement, made up of hangs of ten J8s on either side as well as four J12s and one J-Bump on both sides, with side hangs comprising three Q1s, one Q7 and one Q-Bump on each side of the stage.

Meanwhile, the West Hall stage saw FOH engineer Sy Travis operate a Midas Heritage 3000 desk; a desk which Travis cited as a market leader for working the festival circuit. He explained: “I use these desks a lot. I find that on a festival circuit situation they are a lot quicker, unless you have already got a show file on your digital desk, but you can never guarantee which desk you are going to get. So having an analogue board out front means that you can see where everything is. Above all, they sound really nice and are very simple to use.”

Sound reinforcement on the West Hall stage comprised four J8s and four J12s and one J-Bump. The side hangs consisted of 7 Q1s, one Q7 and one Q-Bump on each side of the stage.

So, with the big-hitting festivals coming under intense scrutiny for their unusually mainstream line-ups, and indie festivals such as ATP being praised across the board for its uncompromising approach to everything from artist selection to freeing itself from the shackles of corporate sponsorship, will next year see more of an onus on festivals of a less-money driven disposition? Will events based upon independent ideals find themselves coming to the fore? With the absence of Glastonbury until 2013 and festivals such as Bestival selling out in record time, this is certainly a very real possibility.