Pro Sound News Article
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©1998 Pro Sound News
River Stages Festival Flows Smoothly
NASHVILLE–Nashville is synonymous with country music, but it was rock ‘n roll taking the spotlight at the recent River Stages festival. Held over a late spring weekend, the three-day event attracted more than 100,000 visitors and featured top talent performing on five stages distributed around the downtown district adjacent to the Cumberland River. Some of the top-shelf performers included Bonnie Raitt, Widespread Panic, Paula Cole, Steve Earle, the venerable Delbert McClinton, Foo Fighters and dozens of others.
Allstar Audio Systems, celebrating a recent move to a new 24,000-square-foot facility in nearby Smyrna, TN, supplied a complete production package, including design, install and support of full sound reinforcement and lighting systems at all five stages. Allstar Audio president Mike Borne headed a crew that had everything up and running within a 36-hour time window prior to the event.
In fact, production gear at one of the primary stages, at the foot of the county courthouse, was assembled in the wee hours of Saturday morning in time for a 7 a.m. load-in for Raitt’s performance. “We supplied five complete main systems, along with five full monitor rigs and rather comprehensive lighting,” Borne said. “In those terms, it was certainly one of the biggest events weve handled.”
All 140-plus loudspeakers–PA as well as monitors numbering–were exclusively Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW). Main systems were built around EAW KF850 loudspeakers and SB850 subwoofers, with the two largest stages also featuring several EAW KF853 long-throw loudspeakers to reach the furthest audience areas. In the meantime, all stages were outfitted with a range of EAW monitors, including SM222, SM200, LA215 and LA212 cabinets.
The event also marked the debut of Crest Audios Pro II 8002 power amplifier, the first model in the companys new line of lighter-weight professional amps. Allstar Audio took delivery of the first 16 8002’s off the line immediately prior to the festivals kickoff, 12 of which were used to drive one of the main stage systems.
Borne was most pleased with the house system at the primary courthouse stage, which was able to be flown. “The coverage was superb,” he said. “I’ve been to a number of festivals in Nashville over the years, and this was the best sound I’ve ever heard. The distribution was incredible, and Bonnie Raitt in particular sounded even better than her recordings, if thats possible.”
Allstar Audio deployed a total of 10 consoles, including Midas XL3’s, an XL200 and a new XL250. Processing for the loudspeakers was handled by a combination of EAW MX8600 digital processors, MX800l analog processors, and Omnidrives. Equalization was solely Klark Teknik, primarily DN3 600 digital EQ.
Despite this being the inaugural River Stages festival, Borne reported that all production elements went off without a hitch over the entire run. Conceived as an annual event, planning is already underway to make next years festival even better. “Were definitely energized by what was accomplished,” he said. “It was incredible to do a show this big and not have a single problem, particularly on the first time out.”
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