Beale Street Music Festival
Allstar Audio erected a sound system consisting of D.A.S. Audio's new Aero Series 2
Each year, the city of Memphis hosts its annual Memphis in May International Festival, which consists of the Beale Street Music Festival, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Sunset Symphony. The 2009 edition of the Beale Street Music Festival featured more than sixty top acts on four stages in scenic Tom Lee Park where Beale Street meets the Mississippi. This year's festival, which took place on May 1-3, drew over 100,000 attendees-even though non-stop rain on both Saturday and Sunday hampered much of the event. Featuring a wide range of artists spanning every musical genre from Al Green and Bonnie Raitt to Jerry Lee Lewis and Theory of a Deadman, there was music for every imaginable preference.
Holding down the fort for all but two of the past twenty years, Smyrna, TN-based Allstar Audio Systems, Inc. served as the audio contractor for this year's festival. Of the four festival stages, Allstar Audio utilized sizeable deployments of loudspeaker enclosures from the D.A.S. Audio Aero catalog for the two main stages-Cellular South and Sam's Town.
For the Cellular South Stage, which this year hosted performances by Katy Perry, the All-American Rejects, Korn, and Fall Out Boy, Allstar Audio erected a massive sound system consisting of D.A.S. Audio's new Aero Series 2 loudspeakers-making this event the largest deployment of the new loudspeakers in North America. Under the guidance of Mike Borne, President of Allstar Audio Systems, the Allstar crew flew 24 D.A.S. Audio Aero 50 3-way line array elements-12 per side.
Low frequency reinforcement for the Cellular South Stage was provided by 20 D.A.S. Audio Aero LX-218A self-powered subwoofers. The sub bass enclosures were ground stacked 10 per side in a 3 high/4 high/3 high arrangement and vertically aligned beneath the flown Aero 50's. Four D.A.S. Audio Aero CA-28A self-powered, mid-high line array modules-placed onstage in two stacks of two-served as front fills. FOH (front of house) mixing duties for the Cellular South Stage were provided by Eric "Pookie" Saum. Monitors were mixed by Mike Thamann.
Nearby on the Sam's Town Stage, where the Steve Miller Band, Elvis Costello, and James Taylor were among the performing artists, the Allstar Audio crew erected a sound system consisting of 28 D.A.S. Audio Aero 38A self-powered, medium format line array modules-flown 14 per side. Low frequency support was provided by 18 D.A.S. Audio Compact 218 2K self-powered subwoofers, which were ground stacked 9 per side and vertically aligned underneath the overhead Aero 38A loudspeaker clusters. Front fill chores were handled by 6 D.A.S. Audio Aero CA-28A line array elements that were evenly distributed across the frontof the stage area. At FOH, Brian Westrope handled mixing chores, the monitor world was manned by Tommy Webb.
The stages for this year's festival all faced north and were separated by approximately 1,500 feet. Borne commented on the challenges of containing spillover sound. "With the large crowds that weekend, these sound reinforcement systems required tremendous throw in order to provide adequate coverage for the depth of the crowd. These were high SPLsetups, so managing the systems' vertical dispersionwas critical if each stage was to remain sonically independent of one another. We used EASE Focus aiming software to best determine loudspeaker positioning and achieve controlled coverage and, from there, we had a little 'wiggle' room to fine-tune the adjustments with the motorized hoists. These are the types of setups where line array systems really prove beneficial, as they minimize component phasing interaction for more coherent coupling."
Reflecting on this year's festival, Borne was clearly pleased. "The Beale Street Music Festival is a terrific event and I'm honored to have Allstar Audio Systems chosen to provide sound reinforcement," said Borne. "Thanks to the efforts of a wonderful crew of hard working, enthusiastic guys, including Tony Cooper, Dan Taylor, Don Muzquiz, Josh Bergstrom, Del Allgood, Ben Williams, and MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) intern David Dicks, as well as the solid performance of the D.A.S. Audio sound equipment; this year's festival was a tremendous success. The crowds were incredibly enthusiastic and everywhere you turned, the energy level was in high gear. Already, we've been contracted to provide sound for next year."