The Dordste Feesten Festival, which took place this year in the city of Dordrecht, Netherlands, comprised three weeks of live music and comedy events against a riverside backdrop on a stage constructed on the deck of a floating 1932 steam ferry, saw event specialist Iventors working with its preferred sound reinforcement provider Van Meel Sound and Lighting in deploying TiRAY and ViRAY arrays joined by supporting components from CODA Audio.
Social distancing was still in effect for the event, so seating that would normally accommodate 5,000 was limited to just 350 per event while social distancing for the artists was made easier by the 30 meters of water between the stage and the front seats of the audience. After careful consideration of the show brief, Marc Hoogendam of Van Meel supplemented his usual TiRAY arrays with reinforcements in the form of a dozen additional ViRAY enclosures arranged with Hans Engelen of Viladco, CODA’s distributor in the Netherlands.
“The area that had to be covered by the audio was over 80 meters wide, was not higher than four metres and had a restriction of 105 dB on FOH. That, combined with the 30-meter distance across the water from the boat to the audience, presented challenges which couldn’t be met by our TiRAY system on its own,” Hoogendam explains. “That’s where the ViRAY came in. We designed a system with six hangs of ViRAY per side, with an in fill of three TiRAY and one TiLOW per side for audience members watching and listening from small boats between the stage and the shore.
“We also had to take into consideration the tidal range, which would see the PA move up and down by 1.5 meters each day. There were limitations on the maximum height of the tower provided by the organiser, and weight was also an issue — the boat had to remain balanced. To sum it up, we needed a small, light, powerful system that could still give us all the required angles of coverage.”
Anotherchallenge posed by the setting was that of noise control. A residential area is located just 60 meters behind the audience area (with a 70 dBA limit at the nearest house); there’s also a cinema in close proximity to the temporary seating, and the nearby waters are part of a national park that hosts protected wildlife in designated quiet areas.
“We had to be a little unconventional and place the subs underneath the bleacher seating and time delay them to the main hangs,” Hoogendam notes. “The main consideration was the distance from the main PA to the audience and the respective physical drops to the water from the boat and the dyke. And this was where CODA’s reliability comes to hand. The renders of the system are so accurate — you know what to expect, so can be confident of eliminating any trouble spots, accurately calculate the delay times, and solve any phase problems.”
Over the three weeks of the festival, audiences enjoyed a wide range of talent on stage presented with high audio quality, much to the satisfaction of Iventors Bas de Zwart. The city council also expressed its satisfaction with the delivery of sound, as were visiting engineers.
“The TiRAY and ViRAY share the same sonic signature and worked seamlessly together to deliver fantastic intelligibility during the entire three week run — we never had a visiting engineer that didn’t compliment the system after their show,” Hoogendam concludes. “We’re grateful to Hans from Viladco for his support — our TiRAY system is used for every kind of production, and we’re always amazed at what it’s capable of — although after this festival we are seriously thinking of extending our stock with ViRAY.”