Martin Audio

Festivals returned with a vengeance in 2022, powered by Martin Audio

The festival scene returned with a vengeance in 2022, largely powered by the acclaimed Martin Audio WPL Wavefront Precision Line series, recently recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

Powerful, versatile and scalable, WPL provided the sonic backbone for many of this summer’s biggest musical events.

All Points East made a triumphant return to Victoria Park in 2022, with The National, Gorillaz, Chemical Brothers, and Nick Cave headlining. Sound specialists Capital Sound (part of the Solotech UK Group), had the tricky job of delighting music fans without annoying local residences.

Martin Audio All Points East
All Points East

Regular All Points East attendees would have failed to notice a slight reorientation of the East stage away from the most sensitive flank of the site.

Coverage pattern duly tweaked, Wavefront Precision technology was used at the event for the first time.

The main hangs on the East stage comprised 13 MLA and a single MLD downfill box per side, with side hangs of nine MLA stage right, and eight on stage left. Frontfills comprised eight Martin Audio XD12, with a castellated cardioid array of 20 MLX subwoofers up front.

Five delay points were set, taking 46 MLA Compact speakers, with six MLX subwoofers in a cardioid design on the last two positions. Stage sidefills comprised four SXHF218 subwoofers, and a pair each of Martin Audio TORUS T1215 and T1230 constant curvature boxes.

Over on the West Stage, which has the luxury of being surrounded by trees, WPL was used as the main PA, along with WPC, with SXHF218 subs in a castellated cardioid array.

Here, levels of up to 104dBa were achieved, without breaching offsite levels.

Main hangs comprised 12 WPL per side, with 10 WPC side hangs and 14 stage left, boosted by eight WPS. The broadside array of subs comprised 11 SXHF218. Two delay masts each supported 12 WPC.

Monitors on West stage comprised 12 Martin Audio LE1500, four SXHF218 subs and a pair each of TORUS T1215 and T1230.

At Worthy Farm, Somerset, SWG Events used its considerable Glastonbury Festival experience to provide technical support for Pilton Party 2022.

Martin Audio Glastonbury
Pilton Party

The event occupies the same site as the John Peel Stage, and this year it was the turn of Elbow to headline.

The Martin Audio’s WPL Wavefront Precision line array system was actually the same one used for Glasto’s Pyramid stage.

SWG head of audio, Simon Purse, had no hesitation about this repeat booking.  “We have now done so many shows this summer with WPL that sound engineers have built confidence playing through it, and have got used to the workflow,” he said.

Either side of the stage were 12 WPL components, ran in 2-box resolution from iKON iK42 amplifiers. Frontfills comprised eight W8LM Mini line arrays. A dozen Martin Audio SXH218 subs were configured in a monoblock across the front. Stage monitoring came via eight Martin Audio XE500s. The WPL easily threw to the 90 metres necessary for audience coverage.

Meanwhile, at Brighton & Hove Pride, Christina Aguilera and Paloma Faith headlined the 63-acre Preston Park site.

Brighton and Hove Pride
Brighton and Hove Pride

Returning after a COVID-enforced break, Capital Sound took the opportunity to deploy a Wavefront Precision (WPL system) for the first time.

The sound design was based around main hangs of 18 WPL per side, with a stage right side hang of six of the smaller WPC, and a larger drop of 12 WPC elements stage left.

Deep bass was delivered via 20 Martin Audio SXHF218 subwoofers, configured as a castellated cardioid broadside array across the front of the stage. Providing front fills were eight WPS.

Stage monitoring was provided via 16 x LE1500 floor wedges, four SXHF218 and six TORUS T1215 constant curvature arrays.

Three delay masts, positioned 70 metres from the stage, extended the coverage. These comprised 24 more WPS split across the three positions, with a trio of SXHF218 subs on each mast.

The site, in a noise sensitive area near homes and shops, required constant level adjustments of both side hangs and delay hangs during the day.

The decision was taken to use the ‘Hard Avoid’ feature of DISPLAY 2 for all overhangs, to keep coverage and non-coverage areas clearly defined.

Joseph Pearce, who optimised the sound using Martin Audio’s DISPLAY software, said: “It worked really well. The software-based techniques we use to reduce offsite noise levels are the same as those we use with MLA. All the tricks Capital Sound have learnt over the years at events such as BST in Hyde Park and others could be used with the WPL and WPC hangs in Preston Park.”

Across the pond, Martin Audio partner Soundworks of Virginia, equipped all five main stages of the long-running Richmond Folk Festival with WPL speakers.

Richmond Folk Festival
Richmond Folk Festival

Held in the city’s downtown Riverfront Plaza area, the free event attracts upwards of 200,000 visitors.

To cope, 130 Martin Audio components were specified site wide. Soundworks CEO, Steve Payne says this took all 124 available channels of their 31 iKON iK42 amplifiers, used to drive the various PA rigs in 2-box resolution.

For the main Altria stage, Martin Audio’s large format WP did the heavy lifting, with a dozen WPL enclosures per side, supported by three SXH218 subs. Four WPS were deployed for front fills, with an additional CDD-LIVE 15 on top of an SXP218 on each stage for sidefills.

The tented Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion utilised eight WPC flown per side over two SXH218 subs bridged per side, with CDD-LIVE 15 over an SXP218 on each wing providing sidefills. Ten Martin Audio XE500s acted as stage monitors.

Soundworks’ Steve Payne reflected: “Having run Wavefront Precision systems for over two years we have become accustomed to achieving a high level of performance with 100 per cent consistency. It is a very gratifying situation.”

Given the sheer size of the park, interference between main stages wasn’t an issue, so there was no need to use Hard Avoid, although it did prove helpful on the four tented stages, to keep the sound off the tent roof and reduce reflections.

Production manager Colleen Arnerich, from the National Council for the Traditional Arts, declared: “It sounded awesome everywhere on site! The upgrade on the Folklife Stage from CDD-LIVE last year to WPS this year made a huge difference.”