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EV at Australian Olympic Torch Relay

April 24, 2008 saw the Olympic Torch Relay arrive at Australia’s national capitol Canberra amid much fanfare and media attention. Following incidents earlier in its travels, local organizers worked overtime to ensure that the event ran as smoothly as possible.
The audio specification for the event required systems be provided at two locations, the first at the dawn torch lighting ceremony and the second for the end of relay presentation and concert. Leading Canberra company Eclipse Lighting and Sound were contracted to supply the audio design and equipment for the event. This also included a small system at Canberra airport for the torch’s arrival. The whole event saw an extensive array of Electro-Voice equipment used throughout.

Torch Lighting Ceremony:
The opening ceremony for the event was held at Reconciliation Place, located beside Lake Burley Griffith and leading up to Parliament House. The event coincided with the Canberra Balloon Festival, which saw multiple hot air balloons taking off between the presentation area and parliament house.

The ceremony involved pre-ceremony entertainment from the Australian National University Percussion Ensemble playing from two stages, followed by a performance from the Spectrum Swing Big Band from a third stage stage. Additional performances were supplied by the Aboriginal dance group ‘Descendance’ as well as the ‘Shaanxi Folk Arts group’ from China. The official ceremony involved a smoking (purification) ceremony from the local Ngunnawal Aboriginal community, followed by the national anthems of both Australia and China.

The official torch lighting ceremony led by the local chairman Ted Quinlan then saw the torch handed to the first of many runners that took it on a three hour route through the centre of Canberra. Entertainment for the official event was supplied by the Samsung choir who performed at Commonwealth Place on the lake’s edge. Audio was fed via a RF link to the main presentation site.

The audio specification was beefed-up close to the event to ensure that organizers were able to easily drown out any boisterous behavior from the crowd. This resulted in a 16 box per side XLD line array system being assembled in front of the main presentation area. This was supplemented by an eight box per side XLE system to cover the area behind the presentation area; additional XLC boxes were distributed to provide side fills. Foldback for the event was via T221M wedges; all power was from EV ‘P’ series amplifiers. Powered SxA360’s were deployed at Commonwealth Place as local reinforcement for the choir performance.

Electro-Voice microphones also saw lots of action: the choir was equipped with over 30 EV RE510 and PL80 microphones. In addition, the main presentation lectern was equipped with an N/D967. Despite the presence of over 10,000 people with an obvious political agenda, the audio was sufficient to ensure that all aspects of the presentation were clearly heard and no interruptions were made.

Torch Relay Conclusion Concert:
The torch relay concluded at Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park, where, on the shores of the lake, Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe was the final runner to the podium where the torch was handed over to its custodians for transport to its next location (Japan). This ceremony saw another performance from the Samsung Choir, as well performances from Australian Rock legends Russell Morris and Brian Cadd. The concert concluded with a set from Australian Idol performer Shannon Noll, to an appreciative audience in excess of 10,000 people.

The audio system for the relay conclusion consisted of an eight box per side XLC DVX system supplemented by three XLD per side (utilizing EV’s AGCD adapter bracket) supplemented by four Xsubs per side. All amplification was supplied by EV P, CP, and TG series amplifiers. The band foldback system consisted of 12 EV-loaded Dynacord Madras M15’s. Choir foldback was via EV Sx300’s and the system front fill was supplied via EV’s new ZX3 cabinets.

The whole event involved a cast of thousands, with over 40 crew members involved with the audio and lighting production. The organizers were exceptionally pleased with how the event was run and were very appreciative of how well the audio systems worked for the event. Eclipse MD Chris Neal received much praise for his efforts, those of his crew, and of the performance of the gear. Yet again EV ensured Eclipse with another stellar, stress-free event.

Equipment List:
Torch Lighting Ceremony:
32x XLD281 line array cabinets
4x XDS subwoofers
16x XLE181 line array cabinets
8x XLC127DVX line array cabinets
8x T221M foldback Wedges
4x SxA360
28x P3000 amplifiers
2x P2000 amplifiers
2x P1200 amplifiers
4x CP3000S amplifiers
20x RE510 mics
14x PL80 mics
1x N/D967 mic

Finale Concert:
16x XLC127DVX line array cabinets
6x XLD281 line array cabinets
8x Xsubs
8x TG-7 amplifiers
6x Sx300
2x ZX3