Now in its sixth year at Hyde Park, AEG Live’s Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time (BST) has settled into a proven formula, with sound reinforcement partners Capital Sound and Martin Audio’s MLA loudspeaker system having yet again optimised the sound site-wide.
Maintaining the status quo, Capital rigged the main stage and outfield identically to 12 months ago – with one major exception.Providing the spectacular curtain raiser to the 10-day festival, Roger Waters brought his Us + Them tour to the UK for the first time. Waters had already taken his sonic and visual experimentation to breath-taking levels at Desert Trip in 2016, with the biggest surround sound system ever built. To create maximum impact at Hyde Park, Capital were asked to provide an additional 12 hangs of MLA/MLA Compact on towers positioned through the concourse for one night only.
These offered 12-point surround sound effects, at positions set by Loud Sound’s Dan Craig and fine-tuned by Roger Waters’ sound team, as part of the show to give the audience an immersive experience that had them gripped from the beginning as the sound chased around the site.
The auxiliary towers added a further 112 MLA/MLA Compact cabinets to the existing total of 206 MLA series cabinets deployed in the Park. With 318 enclosures in total, this was the largest deployment of MLA at a festival anywhere in the world, eclipsing that of Rock in Rio and Glastonbury.
The same weekend Capital Sound were also servicing the Volt/Balaton festivals in Hungary, followed by Kew the Music, which added a further 149 MLA family enclosures in use at the same time.
Back at Hyde Park, for the remainder of BST, the main Great Oak Stage is equipped with two hangs of 16 x MLA and one MLD Downfill per side, with 13 x MLA and an MLD Downfill for the sidehangs. The sub array consisted of 32 x MLX in a broadside cardioid design (21 front facing, 11 rear facing).
With 12 MLA Compact serving as front-fills all MLA components are operating on the same network.
Out in the field, there are nine main delay towers, seven comprising 7 x MLA and a single MLD Downfill, while for delay positions 10 and 11 eight MLA Compacts are deployed. Four of the positions are supported by 12 MLX subs.
All of which provided a mesmerising soundscape for Roger Waters as he worked through an epic 21 track performance spanning many Pink Floyd albums as well as several tracks from his solo album Is This The Life We Really Want.
Away from the Great Oak Stage, Capital equipped the VIP Pavilion this year with 12 x Martin Audio Blackline F8+.
On the Barclaycard Stage (Stage 2), eight MLA Compacts are flown on each side of the stage, along with 14 of the new Martin SX218 subs, while the popular Martin Audio DD12’s
The Moretti Bar, which runs through the midweek from Monday-Thursday, features a full Martin Audio system comprising a pair each of DD12 and CSX-LIVE 118 subs for the live stage with four Blackline F12 stage monitors, while the bar area features a distributed system of DD12, DD6 and PSX subs.
Leading Capital’s 24-strong crew are Martin Connolly, account manager, Great Oak Stage, with Capital operations and development director, Paul Timmins, taking responsibility for the other stages. Al Woods returns from Dubai to serve as main stage crew chief. For Martin Audio, Jason Baird provided system alignment and propagation tests, while Chris Pyne lent additional MLA support.
Summing up the opening event, Timmins says: “This is up there in my top five shows of all time. We’ve never built a surround sound system on that scale. We were able to meet all sound level challenges, and the reviews of the sound system in the serious media the following day were 100% positive.”