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Clearwing And L-ACOUSTICS Blast Summerfest Into Its Fourth Decade

World’s largest music festival features numerous L-ACOUSTICS loudspeaker systems, including the unofficial world debut of the new SB28 subwoofer!

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin – August 2007 – Given the fact that Milwaukee’s baseball team is known as the Brewers–a name honoring Miller, Pabst, Schlitz and Blatz, all of which have called the city their home–it should be no surprise that native Milwaukeeans know how to throw a party. However, few events evidence this fact as well as Summerfest, quite literally the world’s largest music festival, which this year celebrated its 40th anniversary at Henry Maier Festival Park on the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan.

Between June 28 and July 8, almost a million people made their way to the festival grounds to eat and drink at nearly 50 diverse food and beverage vendors, shop at four large marketplaces and, of course, check out a never-ending stream of bands–more than 550 in total performing on a dozen different large-scale concert stages.

Milwaukee World Festival Inc. is the non-profit group responsible for Summerfest, and, as it had done for many years in the past, the organization called upon local production company Clearwing Productions to handle the lion’s share of this year’s sound reinforcement duties. In turn, Clearwing again chose to largely rely on L-ACOUSTICS loudspeakers–over 200 enclosures in total–to deliver audio to the masses on many of the Big Gig’s largest stages.

Of particular note this year, Clearwing specified a 24-box KUDO™ system for the Miller Lite Oasis Stage that uniquely benefited from the world’s first use of L-ACOUSTICS’ new SB28 subwoofer, which hasn’t even officially been introduced to the marketplace yet.

According to Clearwing’s resident Certified V-DOSC Engineer (CVE) Scott Sugden, “We were fortunate to get our hands on 16 of the very first SB28 subwoofers shipped to the US just in time for this festival and were extremely happy with how they performed. Although I’ve always considered the SB218 to be a great sub enclosure, the new SB28 offers a significant increase in overall output. It’s astounding; I’ve never heard so much low-end out of so few subs in all my life! Chicago rap artist Lupe Fiasco performed at the Oasis Stage on the final night of the festival and there was so much low-end coming off the stage that it was overpowering acts on several other stages in the area.

“But even more than that, the SB28 really offers a musical improvement and much tighter sound. It’s simply a better sounding box than its predecessor, performing extremely well on everything from jazz and blues to rock and hip-hop.”

The SB28 subs, groundstacked eight per side, along with the twin 12-box flown KUDO arrays were used to provide reinforcement for a highly diverse roster of artists gracing the Miller Lite Oasis Stage over the festival’s 11 days. All-American Rejects, Augustana, The Black Crowes, Goo Goo Dolls, Buddy Guy, Heart, Live, O.A.R., Sister Hazel, hometown faves Violent Femmes and many others benefited from the system, plus the stage also hosted the festival’s official kickoff festivities on opening day.

“The KUDO and SB28 combo sounded really nice and I had a number of touring engineers tell me that it was one of the best sounding PAs they’d ever heard,” Sugden adds. “I love the way that L-ACOUSTICS has integrated the amplification and DSP into the new LA8 amplified controllers. And the new KUDO presets have really impressed me; they’ve dramatically improved the voicing of the box. Again, I’ve always liked the sound of KUDO as well, but now it’s really been fine-tuned and I find it even easier to get a phenomenal vocal range out of the enclosure.”

Complementing the KUDO and SB28 enclosures, the Oasis Stage loudspeaker count also comprised two ARCS enclosures per side for far left and right fill, and two ARCS flown from the center of the stage ceiling for front fill. Two more ARCS plus two dV-SUB subwoofers per side were utilized for side fill, while a dozen 115XT HiQ wedges were located onstage for monitoring. An additional dV-SUB was further paired with one of the HiQ wedges for drum fill, and all systems were powered by L-ACOUSTICS amplification.

In order to ensure that the Clearwing had a smooth experience with its newly-purchased KUDO and SB28 enclosures, L-ACOUSTICS sent not only Oxnard-based Customer Service Manager Bob Alumbaugh to aid with the system setup and tuning, but France-based Tour Sound Technical Support Manager Florent Bernard as well.

“We really appreciated the onsite support that L-ACOUSTICS provided; Bob was great to work with and Florent was obviously a tremendous help and resource for us, as one would expect from a guy of his caliber,” notes Sugden referring to the fact that Bernard has collaborated as a CVE and sound designer with many top international artists, including Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, Nine Inch Nails, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Seeing that most of us here at Clearwing hadn’t really had much experience with KUDO–and certainly no experience with the SB28 with it being brand new–having the manufacturer dedicate a week to support us onsite was absolutely invaluable.”

Speaking of support, it should be pointed out that Summerfest’s SR success each year can only occur thanks to the efforts of a considerable number of folks at Clearwing, including Chris Balke, who takes care of the day-to-day scheduling of gear and people, in tandem with Gary Brunclik, Bryan Baumgardner and Jonny O’Brien, who together serve as the core driving force behind the big sound at the ‘Big Gig’.

Aside from the Miller Lite Oasis Stage, Clearwing Productions deployed L-ACOUSTICS loudspeakers on the Zippo Rock Stage (V-DOSC® / SB218), Harley-Davidson Roadhouse Stage (V-DOSC / SB218 / 115XT HiQ / MTD 108a), M&I Bank Classic Rock Stage (V-DOSC / SB218), U.S. Cellular Connection Stage (dV-DOSC / dV-SUB), and Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage & Pavilion (dV-DOSC / dV-SUB), many of which were also powered by L-ACOUSTICS amplification.

With Summerfest now over, Clearwing is keeping its L-ACOUSTICS systems busy on a myriad of other productions, including numerous regional and national tours, corporate one-offs, and the rest of the other 13 festivals (German Fest, Irish Fest, Mexican Fiesta, etc.) taking place at Henry Maier Festival Park between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

About Clearwing Productions:
With a satellite operation in Phoenix and rapidly growing client roster, Milwaukee-based Clearwing Productions, Inc. provides top-quality sound, lighting, video, staging, backline and transportation services for a wide variety of clientele, including concert promoters, special events and meeting planners, and Fortune 500 corporations. The sights and sounds of Clearwing Productions are enjoyed by millions of concertgoers and event participants at hundreds of events each year. For more info, visit www.clearwing.com.

L-ACOUSTICS is a leading innovator and manufacturer of high-performance loudspeakers, amplifiers and signal processing devices for touring and installed sound markets. Known around the globe for pioneering and championing the modern line array loudspeaker concept, the company has received numerous accolades for its V-DOSC®, dV-DOSC, KUDO™, KIVA™, ARCS®, MTD, XT and various subwoofer loudspeaker systems. L-ACOUSTICS products for the North American market are manufactured and distributed by L-ACOUSTICS US of Oxnard, California.

# # #

Photo credit: Arden Ash

L-ACOUSTICS US, 2201 Celsius Avenue, Unit E, Oxnard, CA 93030
Tel: 805.604.0577 / Fax: 805.604.0858
Email: info@l-acoustics-us.com / Web: www.l-acoustics.com

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