Editor’s note: This post has been revised since it was originally posted, and also note that VUE audiotechnick and Alcons Audio provided systems for stages at this festival.
To ensure consistent coverage and absolute control over off-site noise, Delicate Productions of San Francisco used a full complement of Martin Audio on three stages at BottleRock 2016 in Napa, CA, starting with an MLA system at the main (Jam Cellars) stage.
BottleRock is a typically Northern California three-day celebration of music, gourmet food and drink featuring an eclectic lineup of 72 bands including Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Grouplove, Buddy Guy, Florence + The Machine, Death Cab for Cutie, Ziggy Marley, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rodrigo Y Gabriela, just to name a few of the headliners.
This was Delicate’s fourth year of doing audio for BottleRock, so the company knows the challenges of a festival site located in the heart of downtown Napa.
As general manager George Edwards explains, “There’s Silverado Trail, a two-lane road about 40 feet beyond the area stage right of Jam Cellars with residential housing on the other side. And 700 feet straight ahead of the stage beyond the field we were on, is more residential housing. So noise control was obviously critical.
“We needed to maintain 105 dB C-weighted front of house with a mitigation system in place. With MLA, we never exceeded the noise limits beyond the site with only one noise complaint from a resident who never bothered to leave their name or number out of a three-day sold-out festival with four stages and 140,000 spectators.”
The main stage system consisted of two hangs of 16 MLA and 2 MLD (downfill) cabinets a side with 24 MLX subs in a single point source array in the center ground-stacked in front of the stage. A dozen W8LMs were used for front fills in three clusters of four on the subs with a cluster of eight W8LCs for house right VIP fill on a cantilever and two hangs of eight MLA Compact flown from towers for delays. Avid VENUE Profile consoles were used on all stages for front of house and monitors.
Asked whether the subs had a negative impact on residents located directly across or next to the site, Edwards responds, “No, we were measuring at each of six wave points 100 feet apart throughout the neighborhoods and we stayed in total compliance.”
Stage 2 (Midway) also faced downtown Napa at the end of a field that usually serves as the carnival midway for fairs, where Edwards and his team set up a system with 14 W8LC’s a side with 18 WS281X subs and 6 W8LMD’s for front fills.
“We had a ‘drop and stop’ at roughly 500 feet,” he adds. “The festival had built a two-thirds ring of restrooms and bleachers at the end of the field 50 feet off the main gate with vendor booths as the remaining one-third, and that was the cut-off point.”
MLA’s control capabilities would obviously facilitate cutting off the sound at a specific point using the system’s breakthrough technology and software, but the Delicate crew needed a different approach with the more traditional W8LC line array system.
“We rig the system as high as we can possibly get it, and then focus it down into the crowd instead of straight out,” Edwards concludes. “A lot of people flatten the array out instead of separating the boxes, which creates a beam of energy that throws forever but they forget it’s like a bullet straight up in the air that will eventually come straight down and hit somebody. So you have to point that top box where it’s actually stopping so that it changes the possibility of the sound going beyond the boundaries of the property.”