Field Day 2018 celebrated its short move from Victoria Park, Hackney, to Brockwell Park in Brixton by spectacularly overcoming the noise pollution issues with which both these sites have traditionally been dogged.
PA specialists, Capital Sound, ended up equipping all seven stages, with their account manager Paul Timmins able to declare an astonishing SPL of 100dB(A)15 on main stage — thanks to the deployment of Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA, with its unique ability to limit offsite noise thresholds while maintaining unprecedented levels in the main bowl.
Residentially bordered on all sides, Timmins was mindful of Lambeth Council’s restrictions on sound escape at the nearby Clapham Common. But with careful orientation of the stages, and strong focus on rear rejection — coupled with some inspired optimisation programming in the Martin Audio software — they were able to deliver the anticipated sonic atmospherics to nearly 30,000 fans, while maintaining offsite escape to within the maximum 75dB(A) stipulated.
“PAUL TIMMINS, CAPITAL SOUND
Aside from Martin Audio’s ground-breaking PA, Timmins accredited this success to the amount of early planning that had taken place, involving promoters Broadwick Live, production company Ground Control, noise consultants Three Spires Acoustics and F1 Acoustics, who undertook site modelling.
Capital had been brought in by production manager Tommy Sheals-Barrett. “We’ve done Field Day for many years and it was good to be working with a new team at a new venue,” Paul Timmins continued. “Everyone was aware this was a notoriously difficult site. It was obvious Tommy was aware of MLA, and knew this was the way to move forward — but the levels we were able to achieve surprised everyone.”
The promoters’ confidence in MLA grew further when Martin Audio’s R&D Director attended the early planning meeting and put forward constructive suggestions, at the same time overseeing some clever optimisations in the PA. “We made sure all stages were facing inwards and worked hard on the sub arrays to keep rear rejection to a minimum,” Timmins continued. This was in the form of a castellated broadside array of 14 MLX subwoofers.
The main stage PA design comprised 13 MLA elements and one MLD Downfill enclosure per side, and a single (stage left) outfill of eight MLA Compact enclosures. There were two delay points, respectively comprising 12 and 8 MLA Compact. “We set four MLA Compact enclosures on top of the castellated sub array, comprising 14 MLX,” said Timmins. Stage monitors for a bill headlined by Erykah Badu, comprised 16 x LE1500 floor wedges and four of Martin Audio’s new SX218 subwoofer, two enclosures per side.
While some 20,000 assembled in front of the main stage (at peak), a further 8,000 crammed into ‘The Barn’ (stage 2), a DJ-oriented performance area that kicked in on Day 2. Here Capital hung 10 x MLA and a single MLD Downfill per side — spaced 16 metres apart, in from the wings on an extremely wide 24m stage. To cater for those out wide, they placed two clusters of five MLA Compact on each stage wing, with eight W8LM Mini Line Array providing nearfield coverage. Here Capital deployed a generous 18 MLX subwoofers in broadside, with the Capital Sound man explaining, “We wanted better controllability over the horizontal dispersion.”
Summing up, he described the results as “incredible” and augured well for the event’s future at its new site. He added, “achieving 98dB(A) by day and 100dB(A) for the headliners, when modelling had predicted a maximum of 94-95dB(A),s was unimaginable. This is a real success story.”
Supervising the system on main stage were Mark Cleator and Hungarian MLA expert, Marci Mezei, while Mark Edwards system teched The Barn. Crew chief was Jonny Buck and Amy Newton Smith looked after the project on site.