For the second consecutive year, the All Points East Festival was staged at Hackney’s Victoria Park with Capital Sound serving four stages and the VIP area – the main East Stage and North Stage saw the deployment of Martin Audio MLA loudspeaker arrays.

All Points East FestivalCapital Sound had proved the viability of the site a decade earlier when demonstrating that the London Electronic Dance Festival could deliver sound pressure levels of up to 101dB(A) while keeping offsite levels to 75dB(A).

The experienced AEG Presents team led by Jim King, and event production company LarMac Live, led by Director Ian Greenway, have called on Capital’s expertise and MLA’s advanced multi-cellular control, many times over the years. And this latest ten-day festival was no exception.

‘Field Day and the London Electronic Dance Festival provided the original template, and barring minor tweaks to ensure the sound levels conform at the two offsite measurement positions [150m apart, one being a high-rise tower block] set by acoustics consultant Vanguardia, we now have a winning formula,’ says Capital Account Manager, Martin Connolly.

Retaining the sound design that has served them so well on this site, they rigged 13 MLA elements plus an MLD Downfill on either side of the 20m Star Events VerTech stage, with a side hang of eight MLA Compact on stage right only. Since the area stage left is the sensitive sound area Capital merely provided two tiny speakers running on a radio link off a localised feed to service the wheelchair users compound. Underpinning this were 14 MLX subs in a broadside cardioid array, eight Martin Audio DD12, which have now become the standard front fills, and a total of 28 MLA Compact on the three delay towers, with the rear one boosted by three Martin Audio SX218 subwoofers. ‘The third delay was sited at 115m, and I find this addition creates warmth and punch past that point,’ Connolly says.

Martin Audio MLA loudspeaker arrayAt the Orbit-roofed North Stage with its Hollywood Bowl feel, the PA hangs comprised 11 MLA elements and a single MLD Downfill per side. LF extension was provided by 11 MLX subs with eight Martin Audio W8LM as front fill. The Star masts were wrapped by Hangman, with extremities sprayed black, to amplify the PA hangs, and the stage, and hide the structural elements. A single delay point was set, with eight MLA Compact elements populating the tower. Once again, Capital provided an experienced MLA system tech in Ben Turnbull.

Capital’s crew chief was Tim Patterson, who said the only problem during the build-up had been the rain, and consequent change in humidity and atmospherics. ‘This changed the sound propagation by as much as 5dB,’ he says.

Patterson, a seasoned touring monitor engineer who was only recently introduced to the crew chief role, could scarcely have been more relaxed. ‘It’s a pleasure working with LarMac Live and Ian Greenway, who really know what they are doing. Everyone on the site has been brilliant, and for us, it’s just about seeing whether we can make any improvements.’

One band for whom Martin Audio’s signature sound proved excellent were Friday night headliners, The Chemical Brothers. Using his own FOH set-up and mixing the show on a Midas XL4, FOH sound engineer, Shan Hira, says: ’I am always looking for an even coverage, clarity in the tops, and punchy, weighty subs – and MLA did a good job all round. The system was set up well and the sub coverage was even due to a well-placed sub array.’

His views were shared by Johnny Marr FOH engineer, Russ Miller: ‘I thought MLA sounded great – punchy and hi-fi without being harsh. It was well set up and I’m pretty sure I employed zero EQ to my mix.’

He also highlighted that MLA makes it possible for higher levels to be achieved within the bowl area while reducing substantially offsite. ‘[Victoria Park] is always going to be a difficult site given the proximity to houses but as modern live engineers we should be aware that government levels will continue to decrease so we need to be vigilant and mix smarter. MLA goes a long way to making that possible whilst still being exciting for the crowd.

‘The bottom line is that the Capital guys were amazing as always and the PA a joy to mix on.’

‘Victoria Park has, as with a lot of outdoor London venues, had challenges of late in terms of audio levels and the quality of phonic experience for audiences,’ said LarMac Live Production Manager Ian Greenway after the event. ‘Over several years we’ve successfully deployed Martin MLA (and its siblings) on our outdoor stages with fantastic results, both on and off site.

‘Creating sound pressure levels this year that are 2-3dB(A) greater than previously, we’re super happy with the results and were able to offer a great sounding system to incoming engineers to harness and make the most of.’

Granted a long-term contract from the local authority this is now seems set into London’s festival landscape for the foreseeable future.


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