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Live Sound

Montreux Jazz Festival Returns

The 55th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival, revamped and reinvented for COVID times, has presented challenges for its audio team.

Montreux, Switzerland (July 8, 2021)—Currently underway in Switzerland through July 17 is the 55th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival, revamped and reinvented for COVID times. Scaled back with fewer venues and lower capacities to meet local health and safety guidelines, the Swiss festival is back, and that in turn has created new production paradigms for its staff and crew.

“This year we reimagined the festival to adapt to the times,” says Marco Güntensperger, production manager for the festival. “It was a major challenge, so it was great to again collaborate with our longtime partner, Meyer Sound. Their team was instrumental in finding the best audio solutions, such as at the new Lake Stage, to ensure a great experience for artists and fans alike.”

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The Lake Stage, with seating for 500, hosts most of this year’s headline acts, including Camélia Jordana, Zucchero, Woodkid, and Ibrahim Maalouf. Situated on the shoreline of Lake Geneva, it is outfitted with equipment from Meyer Sound, on-board for its 35th year as a strategic partner and official sound provider. The new venue’s system is based around LEOPARD line arrays for the mains, with low end support from 900-LFC low-frequency control elements. ULTRA-X40 and ULTRA-X20 point source loudspeakers are deployed to cover the outer seating terraces.

“It feels great to be out doing live music again,” says José Gaudin, a Meyer Sound technical support specialist who also has mixed FOH for the festival since 2007. “The new Lake Stage is very impressive. When the sun sets over the lake with the concert going, it is an unbelievable experience. It was a challenge moving outside, but it was well worth the effort.”

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More than 160 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers and MJF Series stage monitors are deployed across the festival’s four venues. The second venue with paid admission, the Petit Theatre, seats 300 and features jazz and soul acts such as Bill Evans, Robben Ford, and The Paradox. For that venue, the LINA line arrays are augmented by 1100-LFC and 750-LFC low-frequency control elements with ULTRA-X40 loudspeakers for fill systems.

Two venues with free admission offer workshops and casual performances throughout the festival. The Grand Hall is equipped with ULTRA-X40 loudspeakers and 750-LFC elements for the main room, with ULTRA-X20 loudspeakers covering the outer corridor. The outdoor stage at the Palace Gardens accommodates up to 300 for impromptu acoustic showcases, with reinforcement provided by UPA-1P and UPJunior loudspeakers with 750-LFC elements and 500-HP subwoofers for low-frequency support.

Audio systems are supplied by Skynight SA under the overall direction of Nicolas Walser with on-site project management by Goran Pajic. Additional assistance has been provided by Eddy Broquet of Meyer Sound’s Swiss distributor, Tonspur.

Meyer Sound •