This year’s Winter Jam Tour has had upwards of 300,000 attendees and sold out 23 arena shows to date. Headlined by TobyMac, the 10-artist, 44-city concert tour is powered by a potent system built around the Meyer Sound MILO line array supplied by Blackhawk Audio of Whitehouse, Tenn.
Winter Jam serves up a wide range of music styles—from the dub step of the Capital Kings to the acoustic pop of Jamie Grace, the guitar rock of Red and the rap of headliner TobyMac.
“It’s a challenge for the PA because you can’t simply tune it for a certain style,” says Jerry Holcomb, production manager and one of the FOH engineers on the tour. “Fortunately, the Meyer system shines on all of them. It’s a very musical PA at any level. It doesn’t have to be loud. The lighter bands early on all sound great, and by the time TobyMac comes on it’s still very high fidelity—only much louder.”
The tour’s main front arrays are 14 MILO loudspeakers each, with seven more MILO loudspeakers flown per side as out fills. Although an end-stage configuration, seating is sold behind the stage, so two additional exploded point-source clusters with 10 MSL-4, two CQ-1, and one CQ-2 loudspeaker each are rigged for rear coverage. Front and side fill is assigned to four UPA-1P and four JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers, with bass punch delivered through 20 700-HP subwoofers. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors ensures fast and accurate system tuning.
“Nearly all of the shows are back-to-back one-nighters, and they open the doors at 4:30,” says Jamie Nixon of Blackhawk Audio. “That means the system has to get up and get tuned fast. The self-powered Meyer system helps because there are no amp racks to hook up, and Galileo loudspeaker processing has all the tools for dialing in the sound as fast as possible.”
Holcomb and four other FOH engineers mix behind an Avid Profile console, with another Profile at work in monitoring. The wireless systems are all from Shure, with PSM-1000 systems for in-ear monitors and UHF-R for the handheld microphones.
Sponsored by World Vision and presented by Newsong, the tour also features Matthew West, Newsong, Sidewalk Prophets, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, and OBB plus an inspirational message from Nick Hall. The tour
schedule lists 44 arenas with venue capacities from just under 9,000 to over 20,000.