‘It was great to be working on a project again’: Funktion-One upgrades Medicine Festival sound system

With a heavily reduced capacity to meet COVID-19 restrictions, music, arts and wellbeing   event Medicine Festival recently took place with a new Funktion-One system at its core.

Held over five days in a picturesque Berkshire country estate, Medicine Festival 2020 provided attendees and crew with a live experience that few had been able to participate in since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Attendance was reduced from 5,000 to 600 in order to ensure COVID-19 safety measures were met.

Audio Feed had been appointed as the sound partner long before the pandemic effectively shut down the live events industry. When organisers decided to go ahead, Funktion-One was tasked with updating the sound system designs for the three-stage set-up.

The decision to host the inaugural Medicine Festival in such challenging circumstances was founded in a desire to provide some much-needed positivity for the downcast events industry. Organisers worked closely with West Berkshire Council to enable the event to go ahead on the Wasing Estate. The council and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, were said to be ‘delighted to have the opportunity to showcase how outdoor festivals can take place safely’.

Audio Feed’s Oz Jefferies commented: “It was great to get the crew and the equipment out working on a project again, and to work closely with our favourite contractors. It wasn’t always clear whether it would go ahead or not, but we were happy to support it when it did. We had to change the sound designs many times, but there was still a requirement for some good sized Funktion-One systems.

“We certainly had a few challenges. The downpour on build day reminded us what it’s like to work in the British countryside. Meeting with event organisers, music curators and musicians and always remembering to keep two metres apart was out of the ordinary, as was building speaker stacks using facemasks. However, the exhilarating feeling of building speaker stacks again was great.”

The Main Stage featured four Funktion-One Evo 6EH speakers, with four F124s two F215 Mk2s for bass reinforcement, and a pair of F101s for infill. Three XTA APA-4E8s and an MC2 Delta 80 DSP powered the system, with a DiGiCo S21 console at FOH. Over on the Lake Stage, four Funktion-One F1201s and four BR118s combined with XTA APA-4E6 and MC2 Delta 80 DSP amplifiers and a Midas M32. While Movement Shalla was home to two F101s, an E60 amp, an X04 controller and a Midas DM12.

Commenting on the sound, Nick Mulvey’s FOH engineer, Marco Perry, said: “The Funktion-One Medicine Festival 2020 sound system was well spec’d to cover eclectic DJ sets, various ceremonies and some truly magnificent live acts during the long weekend event. Within the noise constraints and its multifunctional purpose, the Funktion-One system performed outstandingly. Great performances, great sound system and great crew.”

The festival’s Music Curator, Moshe Halperin, added: “Phenomenal crew, great sound system, great spec – over and above what was expected.”

Reflecting on the event, Jefferies said: “It was very exciting to get in a field again and to work at an event that took social distancing seriously. The energy of the musicians was incredible, and their reaction to the Funktion-One sound and XTA amplifiers was even more intense than normal.

“The crowd had more energy than normal, perhaps because the rumour around the site was that this was the only festival of 2020. The Evo 6 system always manages to produce that little bit more energy from the crowd as well, especially with live music.”