Clockstock Festival

The second Clockstock Festival rallied first-generation global DJs at Chelmsford City Racecourse in the UK recently for a 12-hour dance event was designed to recreate the spirit of the 90s clubbing scene – complete with VJs, special effect flame throwers, CO2 jets and dancers. Staged by Clockwork Orange (Danny Gould and Andy Manston) the event pulled an audience of 15,000 old school ravers, and was served by local sound company, Event Sound & Light (ESL).

ESL’s Paul Galley fielded his front-line Martin Audio MLA Compact PA for the two main stages, with a Wavefront Precision (WPC and WPS) in the Olds Kool big top, where there was also an early outing for Martin Audio’s latest baby, Torus. 

Clockstock FestivalThis stage was supported by Martin Audio Product Support Engineer, Ben Tucker, who acted as system tech. ‘This is the second we have done with Clockwork Orange,’ says Galley, whose company is the in-house production company for race day and non-race day events at the racecourse – formerly the Essex County Showground. ‘The first, pre-lockdown, was exceptional.'

DJs this time around included A-list of veterans including Armand van Helden, Danny Rampling, Seb Fontaine, Jeremy Healy, Brandon Block, Marshall Jefferson and Stanton Warriors. This Who’s Who of superstars, many of whom had been familiar with Martin Audio installed systems at super clubs like the Ministry of Sound, were happy to see the brand well in evidence again.

Galley was equally effusive: ‘With Martin Audio it’s great to have a brand that’s on point. It always appears on riders and with its presence at Ministry of Sound, it remains a flagship brand, especially for dance music. It puts us in a very good position, and we were delighted to receive constant comments about how consistently awesome the sound was.’

Of the nine stages, Martin Audio appeared on the three largest: Main Stage, Olds Kool and Clockwork, both inside big tops and outside. The Main Stage occupied a massive (75m x 65m) Kayam four-pole big top. Here, ESL devised a multi-layered sub structure enabling 12 MLA Compact elements to be flown per side, supported by 12 MLX subs in a castle cardioid configuration. A further four MLA Compact served as front fill, and six-a-side ground-stacked MLA Compact performed out fill duties.

The outdoor Clockwork Stage was the de facto second main stage and, according to Galley, had the most authentic Ibiza feel with its amphitheatre-like presence. Once again, it was served by a flown MLA Compact rig, six elements a side, with six MLX subwoofers in castle cardioid. Front fill was provided by Martin Audio DD12s.

Olds Kool Stage was probably the most adventurous from a sound perspective. It Olds took place in a 55m x 35m six-pole big top, with single point 1-ton towers, enabling a Wavefront Precision (WPC) to be flown and optimised by Ben Tucker. ESL rigged 12 boxes per hang, run and processed in two-box resolution by Martin Audio iKon amplifiers. Six further WPC were stacked in three blocks of two for front fill, with low frequency extension provided by eight SXH218 subs in cardioid bridge mode. For DJ monitoring, six WPS were stacked three per side, supported by four SXC 118 subwoofers (two per side).

Clockstock FestivalBut the interest for Paul Galley’s sound crew were the two Martin Audio pole-mounted Torus T1230, which covered the near field. ‘We had heard Torus at Martin Audio’s open day recently, and it has exceptional quality for a fixed throw distance. For front fills here it was absolutely spot on and helped fill in gaps caused by the [tent] poles.’

The control and optimisation in this tent had been extraordinary, he says. ‘The noise cancellation behind the DJ stacks was phenomenal while the content inside the sound field was of exceptional quality. We were in excess of 100dB inside the tent but more important was the control. The cancellation outside was amazing, while ‘Hard Avoid’ [in the Martin Audio Display software] was used to mitigate reflections from the canopy and behind. We also chose bass cancellation behind the stage and achieved total rear rejection.’

But he says that the real stars had been Martin Audio’s iKon amplifiers. ‘There is so much processing and control, with everything visible on one screen; three different applications, all from one monitor.’

ESL also supplied FOH and monitor engineers for each stage, with all associated sound reinforcement, including Yamaha desks and Pioneer DJ equipment throughout. ‘It was a tall order for any PA system to cover each area, with the different structure characteristics and multiple stages in proximity,’ Galley says. ‘The application of cardioid subs and Martin Audio’s Hard Avoid function on the system design enabled us to give the optimum sound in each area with minimal spill and bleed into other stages.’

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