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Making The Most of Montreux Jazz Festival Miami

The debut Montreux Jazz Festival Miami brought out the music greats, as well as audio provider Pete Diaz Productions.

Montreux Jazz Festival Miami. Photo: Manny Hernandez.
Montreux Jazz Festival Miami. Photo: Manny Hernandez.

Miami, FL (March 19, 2024)—The Montreux Jazz Festival is arguably the world’s premier annual jazz event, bringing the greatest performers from around the world to Switzerland. The only real drawback is that it’s a real commitment to get there—but now that’s changed. Earlier this month, Miami, Florida hosted the first Montreux Jazz Festival Miami, bringing with it all the excitement and world-class music of its parent event. Also maintained was the festival’s longstanding ties with its Official Sound Partner, Meyer Sound, which was deeply involved in the fledgling fest.

The intimate 1,500-person festival held March 1–3 at The Hangar at Regatta Harbour, showcased an eclectic lineup led by headliners Jon Batiste, Daniela Mercury, and Daryl Hall, topped off each night with legendary Montreux Jam Sessions. Based in Miami’s Coconut Grove, The Hangar was built in 1918 as the first continental naval air station in the United States, and is today a cavernous 20,000-square-foot space for events. However, that vintage architecture, with its thin corrugated metal walls and vast expanses of windows, also presented significant acoustic challenges.

Jon Batiste and Will Smith. Photo: Manny Hernandez.
Jon Batiste and Will Smith. Photo: Manny Hernandez.

The inaugural Miami edition was led by the production team of Jeremy Arditi, co-chair of Montreux Festival Miami and Sig Greenbaum, festival director for MJF Miami. Navigating the venue’s acoustical intricacies, Pete Diaz Productions A1s Richard Gomez and Oliver Quintero worked with Meyer Sound’s sales and technical support services to optimize the audio experience for performers and audiences alike.

The Hangar was equipped with nine Meyer Sound Leopard compact linear line array loudspeakers and four 2100-LFC low-frequency control elements per side, with Leopard and 900-LFC side fills; MJF-210 and MJF-212A stage monitors; and Ultra-X40 compact loudspeakers as front fills, out fills, and delays. Systems were driven by Galileo Galaxy 816 and Callisto 616 processors. The team employed Meyer Sound’s MAPP 3D sound system design tool to overcome the venue’s acoustical challenges, controlling bass and minimizing reverberation.

Dante's Hi-Fi Vinyl Listening Bar. Photo: Manny Hernandez.
Dante’s Hi-Fi Vinyl Listening Bar. Photo: Manny Hernandez.

Outside, a VIP stage showcased DJ sets hosted by Dante’s Hi-Fi, a vinyl listening bar. Meyer Sound Leopard compact linear array loudspeakers, stacked four per side along with two 900-LFC compact low-frequency elements, flanked the stage, with Ultra-X40 and 900-LFCs used as fills.

“Acts varied a lot,” says Peter Diaz, owner of Pete Diaz Productions, which supplied sound for the event. “We had a lot of jazz musicians that were just a piano and a vocal. Then we had bigger-sounding acts like Cimafunk and Daniela Mercury. The Wailers were probably the ones that had the most bass—we had to tweak the low end a lot with MAPP 3D in order to eliminate rattling of the venue.” Meyer Sound’s 2100-LFCs, configured in a cardioid array, delivered the bass.

MJF Miami Production Team. Photo: Manny Hernandez.
MJF Miami Production Team. Photo: Manny Hernandez.

Visiting engineers enjoyed The Hangar’s sonic transformation. “I was told there would be a DiGiCo Quantum 338 console along with a Meyer Leopard line array at front of house, so I was excited going into the gig,” says Full Circle Sound LLC Owner/Operator Rex Marshall, who mixed FOH for Cimafunk. “I know this ‘warehouse sound’ all too well. It’s typically very difficult to create a mix everyone in the audience will enjoy,” he says. “We started soundchecking and my anxiety instantly went away. The subs were tight and the vocals were extremely clear…these boxes have great coverage. It was a very pleasant experience being able to mix on the Meyer Leopard rig.”