For the second year in a row, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS), a Masque Sound Company and experts in supplying and supporting wireless systems for live and broadcast events, was hired to handle frequency coordination for the wireless microphones, in-ear monitors and communications for all of the performance stages and media at the annual Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Despite severe weather and the delays it brought along with it, careful preparation ensured the team could successfully coordinate three days worth of performances.
PWS’ crew of five was responsible for managing 400 frequencies per day between the eight stages and on-site media at the festival. To help coordinate all these activities, PWS worked closely with the production company C3, the media organizers and stage managers.
“Chicago is the third largest broadcast market in the United States, making this one of the most challenging environments from an RF point-of-view besides New York City and Los Angeles,” says Brooks Schroeder, project manager, PWS. “With the location of the festival between Willis(Sears) and Hancock Towers, there is not a lot of bandwidth. Add 300 bands into the mix, along with all of the media present for Lollapalooza, and we really have our work cut out for us.
“Pre-planning an event of this size is critical to its success, especially in the case of this year’s unexpected delays and cancellations due to the weather and necessary evacuation.”
To ensure proper frequency coordination, PWS sent out coordination forms to the Lollapalooza stage managers and media reps one month prior to the festival. The stage managers and media reps then forwarded the forms to all the entities attending the event. According to Schroeder, “We try to get as much information about the RF needs of the performers and media ahead of time. This minimizes the potential for problems. It’s a challenging event, but our team of experts has extensive experience in coordinating large events and does a fantastic job.”
In addition, the company’s Helical Antennas were utilized by PA companies 8th Day Sound and Crossroads Audio. PWS’ Dome Antennas were also utilized by many of the bands to reduce the risk of drop-outs and guarantee the strongest possible signal for microphones and in-ear monitors.
Lollapalooza is an annual music festival featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop bands, dance and comedy performances and craft booths. It hosts more than 100,000 people per day of the three-day event. Lollapalooza has helped expose and popularize such artists as the Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Stone Temple Pilots, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Cure, Rage Against the Machine, The Strokes and many more.