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Music Festival Business

Festival Returns for Summer Down Under

Reinvented to meet pandemic protocols, South Australia’s Summer Sounds Festival was a four-week outdoor concert series of 18 shows

Adelaide, Australia (February 12, 2021)—It’s summer down under and for some Australian music lovers, that meant honoring the age-old tradition of going to a festival and having a blast. Reinvented to meet pandemic protocols, South Australia’s Summer Sounds Festival was a four-week outdoor concert series of 18 shows that each played to a 2,100-capacity audience situated in separated in “Party Pods.” Headliners for the festival included Bernard Fanning, Mallrat, Spiderbait, Will Sparks and ABBA tribute act, Björn Again.

Adelaide-based audio provider Novatech provided the live sound system for the project, collaborating with promoters Five Four Entertainment, Groove Events and Secret Sounds, and South Australia authorities, including the territory’s health and chief public health office professor Nicola Spurrier, who in turn got the nod of approval by South Australia’s premier, Steven Marshall.

With fans restricted to their pods, providing coverage to the whole audience area was crucial, which the Novatech team took into account with its approach to the festival. The main PA consisted of 12 L-Acoustics K2 line array elements and eight SB28 subs per side, and four Kara for frontfill hidden behind scrims.

For delay, Novatech turned to its Syva colinear line source, cleverly rigged to the rear of the Party Pod, with Syva Sub tucked below. The Syva provided ample coverage for the pods in the back rows while ensuring clear views of the stage. Providing audio for the performers onstage as well, Novatech used 10 L-Acoustics X15 HiQ as foldback wedges, accompanied by two L-Acoustics SB18 subs to shake the bottom end.

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The pods themselves were key to the festival’s success, with different packages available at a variety of price points. Festival goers could choose from VIP, Gold, Silver, or Bronze seating packages. VIP pods occupied the first five rows and boasted an exclusive toilet block, faster drink service, and a choice of premium drinks.

Novatech managing director Leko Novakovic noted, “The VIP and Gold sections are really nice, with their white picket fencing and vines, and everyone has tables and chairs. The Silver and Bronze pods that are further back are on raised decks, so everyone has good sightlines. Audiences need to experience this system for the first time to appreciate how great it is. While some people were apprehensive about being ‘penned in,’ all doubts were removed after the first weekend. About 80% of the feedback we’ve heard is that this is the way all festivals should be staged from now on, COVID or not. Most people want comfort and luxury, and to be able to sit down.”

L-Acoustics •