The latest installment of the Country Freedom Festival in Arizona this past February saw Cerritos, CA-based AV rental company Total Production Group (TPG) employ its ShowMatch line arrays from Bose Professional to handle the sound reinforcement needs of the various artists performing.
Held at Lake Havasu State Park in Mohave County, AZ, the annual two-day festival is a celebration of America and honors all who have served and are serving in armed forces, including active military, veterans and first responders. The lineup for this event included performers such as Matt Farris, Wyldsky, the Presley Tennant Band, Whey Jennings (grandson of the legendary Waylon Jennings) and the headliner, multi-award-winning country artist John Michael Montgomery.
“As a long-time ShowMatch rental house/provider, when planning for this latest Country Freedom Festival, I was confident the Bose rig could handle the job,” states TPG owner/partner Steve McAllister. “I’m consistently impressed with the performance of the ShowMatch system.”
The system included two hangs of 11 ShowMatch modules each; 14 ShowMatch SMS118 single 18-inch subwoofers configured as two four-high groundstacks (one located beneath each main hang); with two additional three-high cardioid-configured sub stacks in between, each topped with front fills. Consoles for front of house and monitors included two DiGiCo S31 digital consoles.
Kirk Willie, FOH engineer for John Michael Montgomery for almost 20 years, experienced ShowMatch for the first time at the festival. “I was completely under the gun at this show and barely had time to do a sound check,” he says . “We got to the venue late and were going on at 5:30 pm, and I actually first got control of the PA to tune the system at 4:50 pm — not really much time. When I first fired it up, TPG had the system set flat. Regardless of whose PA I am using, I always have to notch out a few frequencies for John’s vocal since he has a deep voice and uses a Neumann mic — and I know how that mic is going to react to any PA. So I ‘Smaart’d’ the system and within five minutes I was playing house music, and from the time we hit ‘go,’ I immediately noticed the clarity of the PA.
“What’s really interesting to me is if you make an adjustment on the console to the ShowMatch system, you immediately hear it,” Willie concludes. “There are a lot of systems out there where I can turn a knob three-quarters of a turn and not hear any change. And a lot of that’s because it’s over processed. But when I made an adjustment on ShowMatch, I heard it — even small adjustments. Regarding John’s sound, I want it to be as close to the sound of the record, because that is what people are used to and expect. And with ShowMatch, I was very happy. We had about 5,000 people at the show, and there was plenty of coverage with lots of headroom. I was very impressed.”