Fatboy Slim comes home with d&b

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The Big Beach Boutique events in the UK seaside resort of Brighton featuring DJ, producer and performer Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, have enjoyed a colourful and at times controversial history. This year's show was no exception.

In July 2002, Fatboy Slim performed the second of his free, open-air concerts on Brighton beach. Despite expecting a crowd of around sixty thousand people, the event instead attracted an estimated two hundred and fifty thousand who crammed the promenade and beach between Brighton's piers. Local police forced the event to end early amid safety concerns, overcrowding and one death.

On New Year's Day 2007, he played to an audience of over twenty thousand fans along Brighton's seafront. Titled Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Boutique 3, tickets to the event were made available only to Brighton residents. On that occasion, gale force winds and driving rain dampened proceedings considerably; sparks flew on stage as equipment shorted.

This year, the Hove-based DJ, no doubt on advice from the meteorological office, scheduled Big Beach Boutique 4 for the end of September and the elements as well as the performers duly obliged. A crowd of some twenty-two thousand squeezed into the narrow Madeira Drive, armed with ambre solaire rather than overcoats to enjoy the seven-hour DJ extravaganza.

Central to the event's sound system was a d&b audiotechnik J-Series set-up, provided by Encore PA and co-ordinated by the Brighton-based H2 Organisation. 'Because of the strict guidelines imposed by the local authorities, Gareth Hance of H2 was brought on board to co-ordinate all sound issues. It was a great opportunity to use the d&b system, which we have used in Europe for a couple of Fatboy shows in the past,' said production manager Lee Charteris.

'In short, the d&b J-Series rocks,' said Hance, who also worked on the recent inaugural Beachdown festival on nearby Devil's Dyke. 'We selected d&b because it is one of the best-sounding products available today and is uber rider friendly. It also has impeccable pattern control which is exactly what we needed for this gig.'

'The Brighton and Hove Environmental Health people placed some seriously strict conditions on the licence regarding noise schedule and levels. In the past, these off-site levels have been near impossible to achieve without running a very quiet system on Madeira Drive or causing a lot of complaints and potential licence condition breaches. The council were amazed at the directionality of the system. We achieved over 110 dB on the pit rail and 99 dB at 200m, which only raised the noise levels by a mere 3 dB above normal at local residences just 40m away from the stage.'

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