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Going Country at The Gorge

Carlson Audio Systems provided sound for the Watershed Festival at The Gorge in George, WA in late July.

Carlson Audio Systems provided d&b audiotechnik arrays for the Watershed Festival at The Gorge. Photo: Jesse Turner
Carlson Audio Systems provided d&b audiotechnik arrays for the Watershed Festival at The Gorge. Photo: Jesse Turner

George, WA (September 29, 2021)—With touring and live concerts returning to the stage across the U.S., famed venue The Gorge in George, WA wasted no time in bringing country music to the fore as it hosted the Watershed Festival at the end of July. Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley and Thomas Rhett played the main stage for the 26,000 in attendance, and on hand to ensure that everyone heard every long-awaited note was Carlson Audio (Seattle, WA).

The audio provider fielded a d&b audiotechnik J-Series loudspeaker system for the event. “Our production manager Morgan Hodge was the main designer for this system and used both d&b ArrayCalc and NoizCalc to predict how the PA would react in a venue that presents several challenges,” said Jesse Turner, front of house engineer and crew chief. “The Gorge is an asymmetrical natural amphitheater that has evolved over the years, but is basically a stage built on the side of a cliff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. This meant that we needed to design a system that has great coverage over the entire venue and serves the needs of the front of house engineers. We created layers in ArrayCalc to be able to have a symmetrical sounding system for FOH but also utilize the advancements that ArrayProcessing has given us in system clarity and control.”

Buddy Holly Hall – That’ll Be The d&b

The d&b configuration for the Watershed Main Stage consisted of 20 J-Series per side for main hands—two hangs of 16 J8s each with four J12s at the bottom. A dozen J-tops were used per side for outfills—two hangs of 10 J8s each with a pair of J12s at the bottom. Meanwhile, 24 B2 subwoofers were split into left and right stacks to accommodate video and staging, a half-dozen Q7s were used for front fill, and there were a trio of delay towers, each with four V8s over fourV12s. The rig was all powered by 98 channels of D80 amplifiers and 36 channels of D20s.

“All amps were connected via a Dante network through a DS10 amplifier per side of the stage and Dante AVIO adapters for the Delay systems on the hill, allowing us to quickly change configurations since some artists specified varying signal path requirements; for example, stereo subs,” Turner said.

The monitor mix position centered around a DiGiCo SD12 console that provided mixes to Shure PSM 1000s for IEMs and d&b M4s for floor monitors. Sidefills were four d&b Q1s over a pair of V-Subs on each side and drum subs were Q-Subs. All speakers were powered with D12s.