Roskilde Festival 2019

Meyer Sound has continues its role as exclusive sound provider for the Roskilde Festival, Northern Europe’s largest and longest-running music festival. The event marked the second year of a five-year partnership that aims to ‘leverage the strengths of the iconic music festival and the world-leading supplier of professional audio systems to elevate the festival experience for artists, fans, and technology providers’.

Now in its 49th year, this year’s events took place over eight days and showcased nearly 180 acts on eight stages performing to daily crowds topping 130,000.

The Meyer-Roskilde partnership is a year-round collaboration focusing on education initiatives, R&D, and large-scale festival management. ‘This is a festival with a heart,’ says Meyer Sound Executive VP, Helen Meyer. ‘They really care about what it feels like for everyone and they’re willing to really do things differently than anyone else, and for us that’s very, very exciting.’

Nearly 1,000 Meyer Sound loudspeakers were supplied by European AVL integrator Bright Group for all festival stages and performance spaces, from the 1,000-capacity Gloria stage to the 60,000-capacity Orange main stage. Leo Family systems lent their clarity, linearity, reliability and ease-of-use to the event. ‘The Leo Family was developed to create an idea that linear theory applied to systems like these would mean that you could do a variety of stages with different kinds and sizes of equipment and keep the same sound,’ says Meyer Sound President and CEO, John Meyer. ‘This allows people to understand you don’t have to run it so loud all the time. What we’re trying to show here is that the sound system should be transparent.

Roskilde Festival 2019‘The relationship between the artist and the audience is really what matters here,’ Meyer adds.

The Roskilde stages were powered by the entire Leo Family, including Lina, Leopard, Leo and Lyon arrays and 750-LFC, 900-LFC, and 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements, with VLFC very low-frequency control elements for low-end impact. Numerous point source loudspeakers including UPA-1P and the new Ultra-X40 – which was also used as main field monitors at FOH – provided delay and front fill, while MJF-210s served as stage monitors.

Network management was handled festival wide by Meyer Sound Galileo Galaxy processors.

Technical teams from Meyer Sound, Bright and the Roskilde Festival collaborated on sound system design and deployment, drawing from previous successes to improve overall performance. This year, advancements ranged from enhanced AVB control to inventive new PA configurations. ‘All the lessons learned from 2018, we’ve taken directly into 2019,’ says Roskilde production head, Lars Liliengren. ‘We are actually kicking off at a much higher level, even from the beginning.’

Other new tech initiatives included implementing an innovative subwoofer array at the Orange stage and significantly reducing leakage at Gloria. ‘We were able to apply our learnings from last year to make meaningful strides going into year two. Last year, we had the normal end-fire subwoofer array flown,’ says Dennis Tholema, Meyer Sound Senior Technical European Support.

Roskilde Festival 2019‘This year, it’s a gradient end-fired subwoofer array, which is upward-staggered and down-steered to be able to get the maximum cancellation on the stage and backstage, which was the wish of festival production. We achieved a reduction of around 17dB. So it was very, very quiet onstage. At Gloria, we used gradient setups of two band-limited UPQ-1Ps behind each line array to reduce low-mid and low-end leakage from the arrays on stage.’

Support for visiting engineers starts with providing personalised support onsite. To this end, Meyer Sound embedded a crew of 22, working alongside 32 Roskilde sound staff members, to work hand in hand with artists’ technical teams throughout.

‘It’s really good to know when you’re coming into a situation like this that you are coming in to familiar situation with Meyer Sound and Meyer Sound technicians,’ says Icelandic engineer, Ingvar Jónsson, who mixed front-of-house for Robyn. ‘A real comfort is to know the system, and that you have well-trained technicians to take good care of you.’

‘Festivals are always tough in that you’re faced with so little time; you’re faced with a fast changeover,’ adds Penelope Isles’ FOH engineer, Max Jacomb. ‘But the thing that overrides that for me is the fact that with a Meyer Sound system, there’s just more room to manoeuver.’ Jacomb says he appreciates the support team’s collaborative spirit: ‘I have a system tech who’s asking me questions about what I want instead of telling me what is going to happen, and that is huge.’

Backstage, Meyer Sound hosted Sonic Lounge and Tech Lounge hospitality spaces where artists and production crews could relax and recharge, enjoy refreshments, and learn about the technology powering the festival and research conducted onsite, taking in presentations by Meyer Sound Director of System Optimization Bob McCarthy, Roskilde Festival audio consultant Morten Büchert, and other sonic experts.

‘Roskilde Festival is the biggest event happening in the Nordics,’ says Bright CEO Fredric Holmgren. ‘This is one of the big crown jewels of festival production – we’re really proud to be a part of it.’


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