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Violet Road And Alcons Hit The High Seas In Imaginative Tour In Norway

Norwegian folk/rock band brings music to 18 coastal communities from the foredeck of a ship equipped with an Alcons Audio pro-ribbon system.
Folk/rock band Violet Road playing live for an audience in Norway on a ship outfitted with Alcons pro-ribbon line arrays.

Despite the pandemic, this past summer Norwegian folk/rock band Violet Road came up with a way to bring its music to 18 coastal communities from the foredeck of a 60-year-old ship that was equipped with an Alcons Audio pro-ribbon audio system for sound reinforcement.

The band had 60 shows lined up for the 2020 festival season — all cancelled. — with bassist Hogne Rundberg coming up with the idea of buying a boat. “We thought it would be the perfect tour combination — a stage, food, lodging and transport all rolled into one,” he notes.

Violet Road purchased the Vulkana, a 73-foot (22-meter) former fishing vessel rebuilt as a spa and tourist craft. With a loading capacity of 80 tons and space for a crew of five, plus 12 passengers, it provided the facilities the band needed, including a kitchen and lounge with a fireplace below decks as well as a sauna (heated by a wood-fired oven), and a hot tub on the aft deck.

The foredeck was fitted as a sound stage, allowing the band to moor the vessel and perform in front of audiences of up to 200 people on quaysides and pierheads, close enough to enjoy the performance but far enough for social distancing protocols.

“We needed a compact, lightweight PA that didn’t take up much space on board and was easy to handle. At the same time we did not want to compromise on the sound quality in any way for the open air audiences,” says Hogne. “On our 2019 tour we had a really great experience with the Alcons LR14 pro-ribbon ultra-compact line-array system, where we played at venues including small community centres, churches, cathedrals, industrial production halls, even in old mines. Whatever space we played in, the LR14 system surprised us with its amazing sound quality.”

Arne Grimstad, sound engineer on that tour, was asked to return and he chose a simple Alcons system comprising six LR14 array modules and BF181 compact subwoofers, powered and controlled by a Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controller. Once everything was in place, the band set sail on their unique coastal summer tour of northern Norway, starting in Furuflaten and ending, one month later, in Lysnes.

“The LR14 system works in small and large settings. It is one box that covers all spaces,” says Grimstad. “On the 2019 tour this setup gave exceptional cover for a sitting audience of 750 people and, on this one, the response from people after every show was that the system sounded incredible, even enough every venue was outdoors and improvised. One audience member even said ‘the rest of the world simply needs to realize that Alcons Audio is better than anything else.”

As a result, Violet Road and Grimstad were able to bring some much-needed cheer to 18 Norwegian communities in this very difficult year. Lead singer and guitarist Kjetil Holmstad-Solberg concludes, “I have never been on a more comfortable tour. Your bed was close and you did not have the stress of catching planes, trains or other transport. This really gave touring a more pleasant flavor.”

Alcons Audio
Violet Road

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