Flower Powers Daisy Festival.
"It's bloody huge basically. It's the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Olympic stadium from 1932, and it seats one hundred thousand"; somehow you can tell Production Manager Ian Gotts had quite a time at this year's Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). "We had the whole infield too. The first year we did it there we only had to cover part of the field - last year we added just the lower tiers, but this year my brief was to attempt to have good club levels and quality of sound throughout even the furthest upper third tier, where the VIP Cabanas were."
Press reports cite EDC '09, promoted by Insomniac Events, as the biggest dance music festival ever in North America. "Pasquale Rotella is Mr Insomniac and he has been at the forefront of promoting dance events in Southern California since 1993 and been, without doubt, one of the most influential dance music promoters in the USA." That reputation said Gotts, meant he was on his metal to deliver the required quality of sound that Insomniac demanded. "That is not an easy task considering the huge distance and differing heights of audience locations. I elected to use 3G Live (3GL) a company I'd used many times for such events. I'd always been really impressed with their main engineer, Julio Valdez. When they told me they had invested in d&b gear, I was sold instantly."
Gotts, it transpires, is an Englishman and had encountered the d&b brand many years earlier in his home country when working for legendary DJs like Paul Oakenfold and Fatboy Slim. "I loved the sound instantly, especially the huge bottom end, and I've always used it when available over here. In Julio 3GL have one of the finest soundmen I've ever worked with and he really knows his stuff and always delivers impeccable sound for our events. He plotted out a J-Series rig on ArrayCalc, showed it to me, and said it could be done. I must admit I was slightly skeptical at first, but do it he did, and it was phenomenal, dare I say even awesome!"
Curtis Zavodny was systems engineer for 3GL; he explained the fundamentals of the rig, "We rigged twenty four J cabinets each side of the stage, with J8s at the top, and twelve J12s below, in single long line arrays. We deployed to cover everywhere; the reason it worked with so many of the wider J12 cabinets was because of the length of the array, and the fact it was virtually flat. Big coupling, longer throws; cabinet intervals were between 0° and 1°, almost no curve; and it works fine in this configuration. The throw distance to the very back was six hundred and fifty feet. We tested the PA the day before opening and the system performed flawlessly right the way back; it was in your face."
Valdez' design did include delays at the very back of the Coliseum. "There were two arrays of Q1 at the back, ten cabinets in each line with six B2-SUBs on the ground. There were carnival rides back there, and a big VIP section. Mainly for the VIPs, the Qs and B2s just gave a lift to the vocals and a low-end boost." An even more muscular approach to the low end resided at the stage. "The original intention was to fly two hangs of nine J-SUBs each side of stage," continued Zavodny, "but there wasn't the rigging capacity, so we hung just one line per side. We ground stacked the rest along with J-Infra and B2-SUB cabinets. The B2s, thirty two of them, were not stacked in cardioid array and although the other boxes are inherently cardioid it was decided the DJs wanted that big low-end lobeing back on stage. I saw a chair dance right the way across the stage because of it at one point. The DJs really wanted it to wash over them."
Gotts, who only two months previously had completed a sound reinforcement course at college, "just so I'd know more about it", judged the efforts of 3GL outstanding. "The sound was very clean and powerful on the field. With the main side hangs and delay towers it maintained incredible coverage even in the furthermost upper tiers which is a testament to their thorough planning on designing the rig. Basically once 3GL have done a site visit with me I know I can leave it to them. Reliability, good crew and excellent sound quality, that's what singles them out, what more do I need?"
Photographs courtesy Drew Ressler