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Rothbury Festival Inspires Action against Climate Change with Music, Thunder Audio and Meyer Sound

Rock music, circus, and carbon offsetting were all part of the Rothbury festival held in Michigan this summer. Sandwiched between performances by headliners including Dave Matthews, Snoop Dogg, and Widespread Panic, promoters inspired attendees to think about waste management, biofuel and other solutions for climate change. Taylor, Mich.-based Thunder Audio was on hand to provide self-powered Meyer Sound systems for the largest venues at the inaugural event.

For the main Odeum stage, the crew’s strategy was to create as much headroom as possible. “We didn’t know what walk-up traffic would be like, so we erred on the side of overkill to make sure we were prepared for a crowd of any size,? explains Chris Sorlie, the festival’s production manager. “The engineers had plenty to play with, and were extremely pleased with the punch and sonic quality.?

The system comprised left and right hangs of 18 MILO® line array loudspeakers plus side hangs of eight more in each. Six 700-HP subwoofers were flown underneath the main arrays and 18 of them groundstacked. Frontfill was accomplished with two UPJ-1P VariO™ loudspeakers per side, with four more for sidefill. Five M’elodie™ line array loudspeakers served as a center cluster, along with two flown delays of eight MILO loudspeakers.

Foldback was provided by 18 MJF-212A stage monitors. Four MICA™ line array loudspeakers per side and two 700-HP subwoofers served as sidefill, along with two CQ-1 loudspeakers, and two PSW-2 flyable subwoofers. The monitors were managed by an LD-3 compensating line driver, and overall control was handled by a Galileo™ loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors.

“We had torrential rain during setup and tear-down,? observes Thunder VP Paul Owen, “but the Meyer cabinets worked without a hitch. In fact, the main stage coverage was incredible, and the headliners were absolutely blown away by the system.?

Widespread Panic’s FOH engineer Chris Rabold has traveled with the band to many of the country’s largest festivals and mixed on a wide assortment of PA systems. After mixing the MILO system at Rothbury, Rabold reports that he was stunned by its accuracy. “While many systems out there today are quite good, MILO isn’t just your average sound system – it’s a GREAT system,? says Rabold. “ I was handed the system virtually flat, and then I applied some subjective EQ of my own and we were off! What came out of the desk was exactly what I got back through the PA. I was able to simply mix music and not worry about mixing around the shortcomings of the system. It was a fantastic experience on a fantastic rig. I look forward to mixing on a MILO system again sometime soon.?

On the second largest stage known as the Ranch Area, 12 MILO line array loudspeakers per side were supplemented by four UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers for frontfill and two UPA-1P loudspeakers for outfill. Bass was reinforced by six groundstacked M3D-Sub directional subwoofers per side, with a Galileo keeping things in sync. System tuning was handled using a SIM® 3 audio analyzer.

“We definitely had to maintain a very tight pattern control between the stages to minimize bleed-over,? adds Project Manager Tom Hejnicki, “but with the Galileo, it was very easy to manage.?

The first Rothbury festival attracted 40,000 music lovers; 500 volunteers ensured it achieved as close to zero waste as possible. “This was simply a great event,? concludes Owen. “It’s going on again next year with an increased capacity, and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.?

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August 2008
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