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Festival Profile

Soundwave Satisfies Dusk Music Festival’s Irate Neighbors

When locals tried to shut down Tuscon’s Dusk Music Festival over noise abatement concerns, regional audio provider Soundwave Audio had its work cut out for it.

Tuscon, AZ (January 31, 2020)—While the 6,000 music fans who attended the Dusk Music Festival in Tucson in November were happy to catch Kaskade, Rezz, Two Door Cinema Club, Arizona, Cray, Fitz and The Tantrums, Goldroom and others, local businesses and residents in the surrounding neighborhoods literally didn’t want to hear about it. After local groups tried for months to get the annual event shut down, a wary truce called between locals and the promoter, with all eyes turned to regional audio provider Soundwave Audio, waiting to see if it could literally keep the peace.

“Armory Park is surrounded by businesses and residential neighborhoods and the P.A. for the main stage faces straight into the downtown area with commercial buildings like hotels and office buildings,” said Soundwave’s Mark Pacheco. “Off-site noise abatement was such a big deal that some of the neighbors started a coalition to stop the event this year and were on the local news complaining about it. The promoter is Page Repp, an architect who’s been doing the festival for four years with a large EDM promotion company out of Phoenix named Relentless Beats. He finally got the coalition to agree to the event under certain conditions that were all about controlling the sound levels and offsite noise.”

Focusrite Acquires Martin Audio in $51m Deal

With promises made, Repp and Soundwave had to figure out how best to apply its Martin Audio MLA Compact system for the event. Repp explained, “We had a lot of pressure on us because if we didn’t get it right, we wouldn’t be able to come back.”

The MLA system used 12 MLA Compact a side for a throw of over 300 feet, covering the audience area while staying within compliance with the city’s requirements. The aim was to have the festival sit between 100 to 105 dB at FOH 100 feet from the stage, but keep it to 70 dB or less beyond the site. The Soundwave engineers worked with Martin Audio to plot out how best to control the audio, and Martin Audio’s Joe Lima was on hand to dial it in specifically during the show.

“To make sure we stayed within the city’s noise parameters,” Page said, “we had a team of five people do on-site and off-site acoustic monitoring in real time, so if they turned it up at FOH, we’d know exactly what the result would be one, two or three blocks away beyond the festival site. We never violated the normal sound ordinance at our prescribed locations. Our goal was 70 dB or less at the closest site, and we ended up averaging about 66 dB and were below that for most of the time. We had low 60s a couple of streets away and low 50s beyond that. In every single instance, ambient traffic noise would peak louder than the festival.

“The MLA system’s ability to reduce the levels very specifically using the Hard Avoid feature was a big help. We could experience the effect walking around the audience area, and when we’d get to the back of the crowd, the sound would die down dramatically after that point. We were able to set up Hard Avoid on the sides with residential neighborhoods, which definitely allowed us to control that effectively, while there was no diminishment at all for the audience members in front of the stage.”

Martin Audio •

Dusk Music Festival •

Soundwave •