The seventh annual BottleRock Festival in Napa, CA drew 120,000 attendees, with VUE Audiotechnik rental network partner Delicate Productions (Camarillo, CA) providing audio and lighting services for all performance venues at the 3-day event.
In addition to the secondary Bai Stage, which has been outfitted with a VUE al-Class line array system for the past five years, Delicate expanded the use of VUE’s Acoustic Linearity system to include the larger Firefox stage. Aside from accommodating headline act Pharrell William’s rider, Delicate notes that the expanded VUE presence enabled them to improve coverage and the sonic experience across two premiere stages while maximizing capacity and revenue for event organizer Latitude 32.
“We’ve run a VUE rig on at BottleRock for the past five years with great results we were excited to deploy another VUE system on the larger Firefox Stage. It fulfilled Pharrell’s rider, and we knew we would set an entirely new benchmark for performance on that stage,” says Jason Alt, president of Delicate Productions. “What’s more, we knew that the VUE al-Class could easily meet hang-weight limitations while also ensuring consistent coverage across the entire audience area—without the need for delays, which take up valuable real estate that could otherwise be used for audience space.”
VUE touring sound manager Shawn London worked closely with the Delicate team to configure and set up the VUE rigs on both stages. “I’ve known Shawn for more than 20 years and having him on site made me super comfortable,” explains Alt.
The larger Firefox stage main system covered a throw of more than 350 feet and consisted of left and right hangs of 16 al-12 modules, with additional low-frequency support provided by 28 hs-221 ACM dual 21-inch subwoofers. Front fill was courtesy of six al-8 elements positioned across the front of the stage.
The discrete monitor system utilized a combination of VUE hm-112, hm-115, and hm-212 stage monitors along with four al-12s on top of two al-12SB dual 18-inch subs per side as side fills. A combination of rack-mounted and onboard VUEDrive Systems Engines handled all power and processing for the FOH system and stage monitors. All the DSP/amplifiers were controlled over an Ethernet network using SystemVUE software.
The Baja stage’s slightly more intimate environment’s main system consisted of two hangs of eight al-12 elements each, joined by 14 hs-221 ACM subwoofers positioned just in front of the stage. Six h-208 low profile high output ultra-definition systems were placed atop the row of subs for front fill. On stage, 12 discrete monitor mixes were delivered by a combination of VUE hm-112, hm-212, and hm-115 stage monitors. Three stacks of h-12s on top of hs-28 to provides drum monitor and side fills. An additional pair of h-12 systems provided VIP-area support.
Alt notes that the SystemVUE software and the rigging sped and simplified the system setup process: “I make a point of walking every venue to ensure it sounds great everywhere, so it’s important to have the manufacturer’s support to help optimize configurations and adjustments to maximize the listener’s experience. When I walked the venue on the last night of setup, I noticed the crew had been a little too conservative with the tuning, but Shawn was receptive, made some adjustments and when we handed it over to Pharrell’s engineer the next morning, it sounded perfect.”
“Most concert arrays struggle to work well beyond 300 feet from the stage,” London adds. “All the way out to the 300-foot mark, the VUE rig was still performing well, the vocals stayed close, and everything was tight with no break-up. The array configuration really worked in terms of minimizing top-end fall-off at a distance. It was great to be able to get 30-plus FOH mixers in front of the al-12s.”