More than 150,000 people flocked to the seventh annual Jack Daniel’s Bash On Broadway in Nashville, which on New Year’s Eve featured five hours of free music from artists like Kings of Leon, Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, and Sugar + The Hi-Lows, as well as the midnight drop of a 15-foot tall musical note followed by a fireworks extravaganza.
Audio reinforcement for this year’s event was furnished by Sound Image Nashville, which flew a full L-Acoustics P.A. on the main Jack Daniel’s Stage featuring left and right arrays of 14 K1 with four K2 underhangs per side, each backed up by eight K1-SB subs. Thirty SB28 subs groundstacked in cardioid groups of three across the face of the stage, each topped with a Kara enclosure for front fill, provided additional LF and near-field coverage, and all systems were powered by LA-Rak-housed LA8 amplified controllers.
“The monster Sound Image L-Acoustics rig sounded huge!” says Paddy Hocken, Kings of Leon’s production manager. “K1 really is a cut above anything else out there for large outdoor shows of this scale. Both I and the rest of the crew really enjoyed working with Jesse [Adamson], Vic [Wagner] and the rest of the Sound Image team.”
According to Sound Image Crew Chief and Systems Engineer Vic Wagner: “The design approach for the P.A. on the Jack Daniels stage was to optimize for broadband throw and seamless SPL coverage down the narrow and long audience area,” which ran nearly five blocks up Lower Broadway from 1st Avenue to a secondary stage adjacent to Bridgestone Arena that fired back toward the main stage. “Because the audience space is relatively narrow, it was critical to arrange and consider time alignment and positioning of the K1, K1-SB and SB28.”
For this reason, Sound Image opted to place the K1-SB arrays behind the K1/K2 arrays (about five feet upstage) using the K1SB_60 preset. The SB28 sub arrays were spaced evenly across the front and mechanically arranged and electronically timed to sum with flown elements. This provided for consistent horizontal coverage and high directivity as far as possible up Broadway.
To supplement coverage up Lower Broadway, Sound Image deployed delay towers on many of the avenue corners. “Most of the delay positions used K2 ground stacks,” Wagner continues. “Because all of the delay speakers would be lifted via crane into a small footprint on top of ground support structures, the K2 rigging features were ideal. The K2 SPL output and extended LF contour allowed for seamless fidelity between the main K1 system and each delay stack in regard to the cold weather and weight and trim limits. In addition, using the asymmetrical presets on the K2/Kudo stacks along Broadway facing west minimized reflection off the buildings along the street while maintaining stereo imaging for the audience area.”
According to Sound Image’s Hugh Johnson, also known as Vince Gill’s production manager and FOH engineer, the L-Acoustics mains and delay systems were the right choice and the client, the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, was thrilled. “With Broadway being so narrow, the limited height of our delay towers was hardly optimum, yet we still had clarity all the way up and down the street—it was very consistent in terms of low end, high end, and intelligibility. Even at 600 feet out you could hear perfectly what was going on.
“I spent most of the Kings of Leon show standing right by the FOH mix position and Brent Rawlings did a stellar job of mixing the show. It was clean, the low end was tight, it was not oppressively loud, and the band sounded fantastic. As for the crowd, everyone was standing up cheering. There were lots of hands in the air, and lots of smiling faces. That’s the picture that I take away from this—turning around, looking up the street and seeing all of these happy people having a large time. It was a very, very fun, vibrant atmosphere to be in, and the L-Acoustics PA was certainly a major part of that.”