For Floridians, one of the perks of living in the perennially warm “Sunshine State” is that their concert season never needs to end, even during a pandemic, when shows can be taken outside and properly socially distanced year-round. Dr. Phillips Center’s Frontyard Festival™, presented by AdventHealth, is a perfect example. The festival features more than 350 live performances, films, and other events, staged daily, on the front lawn of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, with as many as 2,000 guests seated in distanced private boxes spread across the yard.
To ensure that all productions over the festival’s six-month run would be heard loud and clear, local sound reinforcement provider OPAV has been deploying K2 and Kara loudspeaker systems from L-Acoustics. The performance area, known as the Mainstage at Seneff Arts Plaza, features left and right hangs of six K2 enclosures, with two KS28 subs groundstacked under each array, plus four Kiva II positioned across the downstage lip for frontfill. Two large offstage LED walls each feature six Kara per side to cover the 100-meter-wide audience area, extending back 85 meters. Processing and control of the entire LA12X-powered system are provided by an L-Acoustics P1 and LA Network Manager.
“We love that K2 is full-range from 20KHz down to 60Hz, which is perfect for many of the Frontyard Festival’s shows that don’t need the ‘boom’ of a sub, like orchestras with cellos and basses, choirs, plays, and movies,” says OPAV CEO Jesse Durlin, whose company has been an L-Acoustics Rental Network agent since 2017. “K2’s response is really smooth from top to bottom, and it provides great low-end coverage for the whole venue from a single source. Then, when guest rock and pop artists come through, we pair the main arrays with a couple of KS28 subs per side for an even more dynamic experience. K2 is really the perfect rider-friendly system for all types of genres.”
OPAV Project Manager Tyler Higdon appreciates how well the Kara outfills complement the K2 arrays on the main stage. “In the high- and mid-range, there is no loss of quality or sound signature going from the coverage of the K2 to the Kara,” he says. “Additionally, the K2 low end blends amazingly well with the Kara-covered areas. The system has great throw and enables us to give every seating pod in the house a full-range sound experience without the need for delays.”
The team at Dr. Phillips Center was familiar with K2, having heard the system previously with productions visiting the Walt Disney Theater, so they were immediately onboard with OPAV’s recommendation to use K2 for the Frontyard Festival. “Given the broad range of programming, genres presented, and downtown outdoor noise challenges, Frontyard Festival’s system had to be capable of overcoming acoustic obstacles while presenting the highest quality sound to match the experience of our indoor theater performances,” notes Spencer Tong, Dr. Phillips Center’s Executive Vice President of Operations. “We host an extremely broad range of performances, including classical, jazz, rock, opera, country, trance fusion, reggae, comedy, films, dance, community arts, folk, and many more art forms. K2 has been remarkable for them all, and has exceeded our expectations. We’ve heard numerous accolades on the quality of the sound experience, with guests commenting on how amazing this system performs for an outdoor venue. And during performances, many patrons have stopped by the sound mix position and given their compliments to the engineers.”
With the PA essentially being left in place for six months from early December through May, one of the keys to the system’s success has certainly been using the L-Acoustics AVB processor and measurement platform. “P1 has been one of the biggest assets in our deployment,” confirms Higdon, who has been onsite with OPAV Audio Engineers Justin Avant and Colten Mortensen for much of the Frontyard Festival. “We’re using P1 for main system control, and it has been very helpful in keeping the rig sounding the same every day by compensating for changes in temperature and humidity.”
“It has also given us the ability to meet the requirements of ‘drive lines’ locations without having to do any physical patching, while seamlessly allowing us to change over from the video trailer feed for walk-in to the FOH engineer for the show,” he continues. “The advanced matrix of the P1 allows us to drive the amps, supply video trailer audio, record feeds, and assisted listening systems for the venue, all while letting the engineer only worry about mixing the show and supplying either a left/right/fill/sub or just a left/right signal. And LA Network Manager allows us to fine-tune the overall system for each guest engineer each night, and, with the load of a file, restore the system to the original great-sounding tuned system.”
Tong reports that the festival has been a “win” for all involved, thanks in large part to OPAV and its L-Acoustics system. “OPAV has been instrumental and critical to the success of the Dr. Phillips Center’s Frontyard Festival,” he adds. “From the very first meeting when our teams presented our ‘big idea,’ Jesse Durlin and his top-notch team have been there for us. During a time where live entertainment has been shuttered in most of the world, the OPAV team partnered with the Dr. Phillips Center to uplift our community, bring jobs back, and share happiness and smiles through live entertainment.”
For info on Frontyard Festival™, visit www.drphillipscenter.org/events/frontyard-festival. OPAV can also be found online at www.op-av.com.