Over the past five years, the Free Press Summer Festival (FPSF), staged at Eleanor Tinsley Park just west of downtown Houston, has quickly grown into one of Texas’ most eagerly anticipated music festivals.
This year notably marked the first time that the event completely sold out in advance, ultimately drawing nearly 100,000 concert-goers to enjoy 90 national and local artists performing on six stages over two days.
Houston’s LD Systems once again served as the primary audio, video and lighting provider for FPSF 2013 and supplied production gear and services for the festival’s four primary stages. This year, however, the company chose to deploy L-Acoustics K1 systems on the two largest stages, Mars and Saturn.
FPSF’ Mars stage featured night-closing performances from EDM superstars Bassnectar and Calvin Harris preceded by a broad spectrum of musical artists like Of Monsters and Men, TV on the Radio, Mavis Staples, Alabama Shakes, Passion Pit and Cat Power. Saturn stage hosted an equally eclectic variety of performances ranging from The Postal Service, Gogol Bordello and Matt & Kim to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Geto Boys and The Mavericks.
According to LD Systems director of production services Robert Ausmus, both the Mars and Saturn stages utilized identical main hangs comprised of 10 K1 per side, each featuring three KARA for down fill. For low-frequency reinforcement, Mars flew six K1-SB per side just outside of the K1 hangs, supplemented by 18 SB28 groundstacked subs spread out across the face of the stage, while Saturn relied solely on two dozen groundstacked SB28.
A total of 22 KUDO on each stage served as flown out fills and off stage fills. Two ARCS atop two SB28 per side delivered side fill for the stages, and several KARA were additionally called upon for stage apron fill. Various quantities of 115XT HiQ, KARA and SB18 were also deployed as needed for stage monitoring, and all FOH and monitor systems were LA8-powered and processed.
“Having been a part of the Free Press Summer Festival from the very start, it’s exciting for us to see it grow from less than 10,000 people to 100,000 in just five years,” says Ausmus. “Omar Afra at Free Press Houston and Jagi Katial at Pegstar Concerts have a real genius for assembling an increasingly diverse roster of hip talent that has really helped drive their success since 2009.
“Last year, after hearing that we had invested in an L-Acoustics K1 system for RodeoHouston, they asked if it would be appropriate for their festival as well. We told them that K1 would greatly elevate their production values, help attract higher-profile artists and continue to build up the FPSF brand, which it certainly has. Every artist walked away from this year’s festival completely satisfied and the producers were ecstatic with how everything sounded, especially on the monster Bassnectar and Calvin Harris shows at the end of each night.”