“July has become the month to beat after last year’s record month for GCS,” states Gary Gand, president.
“We had 450 NEXO cabinets in use on one day in mid July.” said Tim Swan, vice president.
Chicago’s annual Pitchfork Music Festival, held in Union Park Red and Green stages were once again handled by GCS. Headliner’s included Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and Chance the Rapper.
Chance tour/ production manager and monitor engineer, Aaron Patkin, said “Pitchfork was our big hometown show for Chance this year, so it was super important for us to knock it out of the park in front of a home town crowd. We brought in a ton of additional production from eight foot tall risers to background singers, a custom built logo to a huge lighting package. We even maxed out the I/O on the monitor desk.”
“Gand’s crew went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that not only did we have everything we needed, but that the groundwork was laid for us to succeed at having our best show of the year. The whole team killed it, and I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone at GCS making sure that Chance the Rapper and The Social Experiment was heard loud and clear not only by the crowd, but by each other.”
The same day, Mile of Music, held in downtown Chicago featured two live band stages and one mile of speakers pumping music out to runners along a path near Lake Michigan. Rivers Edge Park in Aurora IL features a large GCS NEXO house system that hangs all summer for a variety of national acts. July shows included Smash Mouth, Toad the Wet Sprocket, REO Speedwagon, Little River Band and Hall & Oates.
What kicked July over the top was the Tri-Annual ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) festival held at Detroit’s NFL home Ford Field. GCS and NEXO premiered the first arena-sized GEO T system in 2002 at the Georgia Dome. Gand has been handling this event for the last five sessions including the Alamo Dome in San Antonio TX and two festivals at the Superdome in New Orleans.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity to test out the newer NEXO STM rig which I heard outdoors at the NEXO factory in France,” Gand says. Yamaha team members assisted GCS in setting up the rig. The STM configuration consisted of 36 x STM M46 Mains, 36 x STM B112 Bass, 28 x STM M28 Side and downfills, 36 x STM S118 Subs, and 38 x NX4x4 amps. Thunder Audio of Livonia MI provided 24 x Geo-T speakers for delays.
The front end featured 4 x Yamaha CL5 consoles, a CL1 with Lake MY16 cards for summing all consoles, 4 x RIO3224-D and a RIO1608-D, creating one of the largest Dante networks to date (short of the recent Olympics).
Gary Gand noted that everyone from the ELCA agreed that this was the best sound ever for the event and that every seat in the house was covered in highly intelligible speech as well as gut wrenching music. From spoken word to whispers to acoustic duos, the 12 piece house band, earth shaking DJ’s, pounding metal bands, to gospel choirs, the STM system sailed right thru the challenges of the 80,000 seat stadium.
ELCA director Heidi Hagstrom said, “The sound was awesome.”