Photos: Dave Vann
The second annual HangOut Festival was held May 20-22, 2011, in Gulf Shores, Ala. Thousands flocked to the festival to hear such great performances as those from Paul Simon, the Foo Fighters, Widespread Panic, Rich Aucoin and so many more. Created by Concerts for the Coast, the festival is part of a larger plan to bring much-needed economic support to the Gulf area after the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
According to Gulf Shores-Orange Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau officials, 35,000 tickets were sold to fans from across the country, making it the sixth largest music festival in the U.S.
StagePro’s Danny Herman
Sound company StagePro Inc. (Ottawa, Kan.) provided sound, lighting and stage packages for the second stage, which included a JBL VerTec array (4889 tops and 4880A subs with Version 4 presets) with Dolby Lake processing and Crest power. Consoles included Midas Pro-6 digital and an analog Heritage.
“Every one of the artist’s engineers was very happy, the comments were great all weekend,” says StagePro’s Danny Herman. “The combination of the Crest power, the VerTec with the 4880A subs and Midas consoles seemed to please everybody.”
Nine techs handled the system—Jay Waller (sound), Herman (sound), Jon Northrup (sound), Jeff Bryant (sound), Craig Ahneman (lighting), Jason Dominguez (lighting), AJ Avery (lighting), Conner Ivey (lighting), Cole Crocket (lighting)—whom Herman is quick to applaud. “The staff deserves most of the praise. You can have the best gear in the world, but if you don’t have people around you that can operate that gear correctly, there’s no point in hanging your rig. It was a well-run festival and everybody on-site was happy to be involved with it.”
VIEW FROM FOH: PRIMUS
As Primus was in the middle of a tour when they stopped by the festival, FOH engineer Jason Mills brought his Pro Media/Ultrasound–provided Avid Profile. “Because the festival was on the beach,” Mills explains, “they had pre-buried a co-ax digital snake for us to use. Since we’re carrying a Meyer MILO P.A., I use a Meyer Galileo for system optimization. I simply patched a few outputs of the Galileo to feed an XLR panel on my DriveRack, then tied into the festival’s P.A. The way the festival was set up, with two main stages that alternate performances throughout the day, we had time while the band before us was performing on the ‘A’ stage to set up and run through a line check. I didn’t hear the P.A. until Primus played their first note.”
Carrying their own mics and stands, Mills employs LP claws or “clip-on”-style mics to minimize the amount of stands onstage. Drums took Shure SM57s, KSMs and Betas; Sennheisers; and a Telefunken M80 on snare. Guitars had Sennheiser e 906s on a guitar cab. Les Claypool sang into a Shure Beta 57A and a Shure 520DX “Green Bullet,” while guitarist Larry LaLonde used a Shure Beta 57A and drummer Jay Lane had a Shure Beta 56.
“These guys spend a lot of time working on their instruments’ tones and dynamics,” Mills says. “I don’t try to effect the input signal too much. Many of my input EQs are flat because the sound coming to me is exactly what the band is trying to create. My dynamics processing on the inputs is very minimal to allow the band to create a little more dynamic depth.”
Does it change when he’s in a festival situation? “Maybe for the first song or two as I start to digest the environment and the sound of the P.A.,” Mills replies. “Especially if I haven’t heard the P.A. at all before the set, I’ll push or pull a fader or two that I don’t usually go for. I let it settle for a song or two before I do anything to the P.A., unless something is terribly wrong.”
VIEW FROM FOH: WEEN
Because Ween travels fairly erratically, FOH engineer Kirk Miller relies on house-provided boards. At the festival, he mixed on the Heritage 2000. In his outboard rack were dbx, Drawmer and Klark-Teknik compressor/gates; as well as Eventide, Yamaha and TC Electronic effects. He also brought along a Korg SDD2000 delay and a Yamaha SPX-990.
Miller says the festival rig was one of the best-sounding he’s been on. “Stage Pro uses Crest 9001 and 100001 amps, so I’m fairly sure there’s no other VerTec rig out there that sounds like it.” Miller carries most of the mics, including Audix and Shure models on drums. Blue Ball and Audix D3 are on Gene Ween’s guitar amp; D3 and Sennheiser 421 for Dean Ween’s amp; Audix OM6s for front-line vocals; Shure Beta 58A on keyboard vocals; and SM58 on drum vocals. Dave Dreiwitz’s bass is DI.
With about 20 years mixing for the group, Miller has a good sense of how the band should sound, with the most important being Gene Ween’s vocals and Dean Ween’s guitar. “The only other big difference [at a festival] is that I usually don’t have my rack with me; I miss my Empirical Labs Lil Freq and BSS Audio 901 lead vocal insert-chain, as well as the various effects I’ve honed down over the years.”
Sarah Benzuly is
’s managing editor.