Singapore's Mosaic Festival proved a sizzling diversity of musical styles
Just four years old yet already the Mosaic Festival has grown from a gourmet event based around Jazz, Latin and Reggae music peppered with the occasional more esoteric performance, to now, where it embraces a truly sizzling diversity of musical styles. This year's ten day event saw Singapore's splendid Esplanade in all its many incarnations, playing host to everything from Thai Indie punk to Rock and Roll from Australia; from Harry Connick Jnr to George Clinton's Parliament Funkadelic. Mosaic has not lost its emphasis on Jazz. It merely expanded its palette; for the discerning music lover this is a menu not to be ignored, undoubtedly one of the most delicious festivals around.
The Esplanade is ideally suited to stage such an event. While the Theatre and Concert Hall lend themselves to audiences for the big name international acts, the Recital Studio, renamed The Mosaic Studio for the festival and the Theatre Studio, branded the Heineken Music Club by its sponsors, prove ideal for world music; Reggae, Jazz and Blues. "It's quite a demand on our resources," said a beautifully understated Robin Shuttleworth, Technical Manager (Sound) for the Esplanade. "In total there were six locations requiring sound reinforcement, the four already mentioned plus the Living Room @ the Concourse, and last but not least the Nokia Powerhouse, our big outdoor stage facing the river to the north of our complex."
"In some locations we are able to use our existing installed systems, The Concert Hall and Recital Studio both have d&b audiotechnik equipment C7/C4 and Q7/C7 systems respectively; while the Theatre Studio required a temporary installation of C7 and Q subwoofers, which we drew from our in house event stock. These are all great PA systems that work really well and present the sort of high musicality to which our audiences are accustomed; but the Esplanade is not a one-system venue. In the Theatre we put in a V-DOSC rig. We have an installed Meyer system in there that is designed to handle light entertainment and book musicals only, so something more potent was required." The monitor systems used were equally varied, Martin for the Powerhouse, d&b M4s and MAX 12s with Nexo for the Concert Hall and Theatre Studio respectfully, Clair Brothers wedges for the Recital Studio, while JBLs took on the role at the Concourse.
"The buzz at our Powerhouse is incredibly high with at least five or six artists each day. Our resident sound engineers Rahim at FoH and Hazli on Monitors certainly had their work cut out for them." The Powerhouse faces onto a modest lawn large enough for just a couple of thousand persons, but close enough to residential areas to make facing the stage and PA towards the river essential. "We brought our own system for this location a couple of years ago, another d&b system, the J-Series line array. The outdoor stage actually keeps pretty busy throughout the year, cultural festivals, music events like the Bay Beats, Singapore National Day and Chinese New year, so they soon mount up. We needed a system that could handle anything, and handle it well.
For the Mosaic Festival the demands are pretty heavy, not just the number of artists but also the musical styles. There is a strong emphasis on dance music with, shall we say, robust low end. That's why we augment the J subwoofers with four d&b B2s as well. My two engineers use a Digico D5 and Soundcraft Vi6 for front of house and monitors. It's their own choice; we have the desks available in house and needless to say digital consoles make multi-band events a whole lot easier. In fact we bought the first Vi6 before they were fully in production; yes there were initial software issues, but I knew at its heart was the Vista pedigree and the desk has really proved itself; Mosaic has heavy demands and both desks coped really well."
The Festival ran from 7th to the 16th March, was very well attended by a highly satisfied audience. The dates for next year's event have already been announced. The 12th to 22nd March 2009. Better book now.