An event like Rock in Rio, which brings together major stars of music and an impressive public, demands the highest quality and responsibility on preparing sound equipment for each performance. According to official figures, the 2013 edition of the mega festival Rock in Rio, held in Rio de Janeiro from 13 to 22 September, attracted nearly 600,000 people, with 105 hours of continuous music. As expected, the company responsible for installing sound systems must respond according to the highest standards of professionalism.
Once again, Gabisom Audio was the company responsible for mounting all audio systems on the different stages used in the recent edition of the festival.
Peter Racy, Chief Engineer of the company, was kind enough to answer our questions, providing us with details of the equipment installed and how they work with so many artists in an event of this size.
ZioGiorgio.es: how do you organize the work involved in mounting the equipment in such a giant event?
Peter Racy: it does take a lot of work to collect the riders of all the bands, with several special requests, and make sure that it is all there at the right time. Often what gets most confusing is when an act sends many emails with additional requests and after-thoughts, instead of one full list with all that they need. We then have to go through piles of emails to tie-up the loose ends.
Not to mention that we were providing audio for the festival’s five stages, as well as several rehearsal studios.
ZioGiorgio.es: how many teams do you use in an event like Rock in Rio?
Peter Racy: we use one team for each stage, and we had two teams for the rehearsal studios. All in all, there were seven teams adding up to close to 50 technicians.
ZioGiorgio.es: how much time is needed to be ready for rock n’roll?
Peter Racy: we loaded-in six days before the ready date, which was not a show day, but an exclusive day for the press to come in and seethe whole thing with sound, lights, video and pyro, all working in full.
Another important part of Rock in Rio, is that many of the headline artists, like Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Iron Maiden, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, 30 Seconds to Mars etc., take advantage of being here, and tour other cities during the festival. This requires more equipment, more personnel, more transportation, logistics and so on.
ZioGiorgio.es: were there any differences concerning audio equipment between this 2013 edition and previous events?
Peter Racy: the main difference was in the main PA of the World Stage, where in previous years, we had used JBL VERTC 4889/ 4880A. This year, the whole rig was updated to the new JBL VTX V-25, / S-28 and G-28 subs.
ZioGiorgio.es: considering Rock in Rio as a “monster event”, what can you tell us about the main PA system on the World Stage/Sunset Stage?
Peter Racy: the Sunset stage is a smaller stage, where there were 24 JBL VERTEC 4889 with 24 JBL 4880A subs.
The World Stage uses a much bigger system, which consists of four hangs Left /Right, and LL/RR.
Each of these hangs is composed of three columns:
One with VTX V-25, next to one column of S-28 Subs, which in turn was next to another VTX V-25 column. The way it is set-up is that the inner VTX gets a band mix, without Vocals, the Flown Subs receive the same mix making the “Band PA” a four-way rig. The third Column is specifically used for Vocals, or any other combination of musical elements which makes sense to separate from the main band mix. This offers maximum headroom and clarity throughout the entire signal chain, starting at the console’s summing-amps, through the system processors, to the power amplifiers, and finally to the PA components. This way the main elements of the music are not fighting for headroom with drums, bass and guitars. We also offer different ways to run the system, in case the mixing engineer is not prepared to work in this manner, but the above method is the one we recommend to use for the system.
The box count for the World Stage was:
118 VTX V-25
56 VTX S-28 flown subs
24 VTX G-28 Ground Subs
12 Norton LS-4 Front fills
60 Norton LS-8 on Delays
ZioGiorgio.es: what fills system did you install?
Peter Racy: center cluster with 6 VTX V-25
Front fills consisting of six points across the front, each with two Norton LS-4.
ZioGiorgio.es: how many audio Watts powered the event?
Peter Racy: on the world stage only, we had 124 Crown Itech 12000 HD for the mains, plus 40 Labgruppen FP 6400 for delays. (aproximately 2 million watts for the World Stage.)
ZioGiorgio.es: what could you say about delay towers?
Peter Racy: we used 10 delay towers, each with six Norton LS-8.
The towers themselves were stylized fixed structures, which were used in the previous edition, and with location determined by Gabisom.
ZioGiorgio.es: what about sub-woofers and other tools used to manage low frequencies?
Peter Racy: we used flown subs as a complement for the “Band Mix” and ground subs for the very low frequencies. While the flown were low-passed at 80 Hz, the Ground were low-passed at 60hz.
ZioGiorgio.es: what devices did you use for signal transportation (analog/digital)?
Peter Racy: we had both analog and digital feeding the amplifiers. One as a back-up of the other. However, due to a few inconsistencies in the AES feeds to stage (probably cable length), we eventually switched over to analog and kept it that way for the rest of the festival.
ZioGiorgio.es: how did you handle monitoring?
Peter Racy: all monitoring on the World Stage was d&b M-2, while side-fills were d&b J8 (six per side).
ZioGiorgio.es: how many mixing consoles were used?
Peter Racy: on the World stage, we provides three pairs of consoles for use during the festival: two Avid Profile, one Yamaha PM-5D. In addition, for specific rentals, we also provided two pairs of Midas Pro-6 and one Midas H-3000.
ZioGiorgio.es: what devices will be used for recording? How did the signal travel from sources to multitrack recorder?
Peter Racy: a recording studio containing a giant Avid Venue set-up, connected to a Pro-tools rig, recorded all the shows. Signal transmission was via Avid BNC Snake, while the stage rack was on stage, next to the splitter.
ZioGiorgio.es: how did you handle sound check?
Peter Racy: sound-check starts at 6:00 AM and goes until 2:00 PM when doors open.
Each artist has time slots which are strictly adhered to, for load-in, set-up off stage, set-up on stage, and sound check. They usually get a full hour for sound check, after all is set-up.
There is a fair amount of pressure on our team to have everything ready without delay, as the schedule is very tight.
ZioGiorgio.es: after this work in Rock in Rio, what’s next for Gabisom?
Peter Racy: we are going straight into a Black Sabbath tour of four cities, followed by a two-day Festival of Monsters of Rock next week featuring Aerosmith,Whitesnake, Slipknot, Korn, Limp biskit, and others.
Images from Rock in Rio Facebook page
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