London-based P.A. and promotions company Up All Night Music employed Allen & Heath GL2400 and GL2800 multipurpose live sound mixers to manage audio during its busy festival schedule, which included 'Til the Cows Come Home, Bloodstock, Lovebox and Secret Garden.
The season started with 'Til the Cows Come Home festival, which took place in Bedfordshire at the beginning of July. The independent festival—with a 500 capacity—featured an eclectic mix of bands on one stage, including the nine-piece P-Hex, the Retro Spankees, Whisky Cats, Delphian Complex, Bowfinger the Lazarus Plot.
"A small portable board was needed for a quick and easy setup, so I selected a 24-channel GL2400," explains Up All Night sound engineer Ed Shackleton. "The desk has a small footprint, but with enough ins and outs for the job and there was capacity for four monitor mixes run from FOH, and still two more auxes spare for FX sends. The GL2400 did the job admirably, and as usual, band engineers were more than happy with the setup."
Next up was the UK's biggest independent outdoor metal festival, Bloodstock Open Air, attracting leading metal bands from around the world to its two stages. According to Shackleton, "We employed a 40-channel GL2800 on stage two, so we had plenty of channels to play with. We really went to town on miking as there were decent change-over times, hence using four microphones for two kick drums; two mics on snare, hi-hat, ride and overheads; four or five on toms; two mics on each guitar amp; and two channels for bass. Monitors were also run from FOH, and we had spare channels to split the vocal mics into separate channels for monitoring purposes."
Up All Night hosted its own arena at Lovebox, held in London's Victoria Park in July. The festival has developed from Groove Armada's London residency, and is now the largest dance festival in the capital, attracting more than 35,000 revellers, with headline acts including Mr. Scruff, Jamiroquai and Groove Armada, as well as new and up-and-coming bands.
"There was a crazy mix of bands, and a lot of them with zero change-over times," Shackleton continues. "We also had extreme noise restrictions due to the central location of the festival. I again selected a 40-channel GL2800 as the large number of inputs enabled fast change-overs and gave us the ability to cope with hugely varied stage setups, which included strings, DVD players and Rhodes pianos."
By far the greatest challenge of the summer was the Secret Garden Festival, held in August in Cambridgeshire. Up All Night had its own stage, hosting a lineup that included Los Skeletones, Milk Kan, the Suffra Jets, Seal Cub Clubbing Club, Drug Dealer Cheer Leader and Kovak.
"We mixed 60 bands over three days, and it was the wackiest variety of bands you could ever dream up, from crooners to Irish celtic bands to inimitable strangeness like Thomas Truax," describes Shackleton. "I needed a portable board for this festival and opted for the 24-channel GL2400. It fit the bill perfectly due to the small footprint, and because it's really simple to use and quick to set up, change-overs were made much easier."
Other equipment employed for these festival dates included a Peavey QW rig, with Klark Teknik Helix EQ, TC Electronic/Yamaha/Lexicon effects, Drawmer gates, dbx and Focusrite comps, and a selection of Audix/Shure/Sennheiser/Audio-Technica mics.