English Heritage and IMG promoted their successful summer Picnic Concert series at London's Kenwood House and Audley End in Essex, with RG Jones providing all of the sound reinforcement and control throughout the festival season.
The final weekend featured Back to the 80's, with an all-star line-up including acts such as The Human League, Belinda Carlisle, ABC, Go West and Heaven 17, followed by The Last Night of the Audley End Proms (headlined by Katherine Jenkins and featuring a display of Spitfire WW II fighter planes).
With the Audley End House providing a spectacular formal backdrop, these concerts take place in a beautiful setting with a natural rake towards the stage. Still, there are environmental issues for the Synco Martin Audio line array system to contend with. “It's the toughest issue we face here,” admits Jim Lambert, project/production manager, who first worked on this event 18 years ago.
At the mix tower position, set 66 meters back from the stage, the threshold is set by sound consultants Vanguardia at 88 dB/A/Leq, and the hangs are angled down to prevent the sound drifting on the prevailing wind to the ancient town of Saffron Walden on the perimeter of the site (some 250m back from the stage). Propagation tests are carried out and the sound restricted to no more than 55dB at the first residential dwellings.
Fortunately RG Jones (and Jim Lambert) have extensive experience with this site, setting three delay masts (each comprising six Synco Martin Audio W8LC enclosures) across the back of the mix position to give a lateral spread, while engineer Al Woods and Jim Lambert devised a solution with four Synco Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Arrays providing outfills at each side of the stage for the sell-out performances, when capacity crowds of 10,000 demand that greater width is given to the coverage.
“For the wide range of ages the IMG concert series is aimed at, the sound levels are perfect,” says Jim. “I'm very impressed with the W8LC's — they cope really well with 10,000 people. We've had reasonably bad weather during these shows but fortunately the high end frequencies from the W8LC's don't get blown around a lot in the wind.”
The main PA rig remains a permanent fixture during Audley End's season, with hangs of 16 W8LC s per side, complemented by WLX sub bass and W8LM fills.
The remainder of the sound team comprised Martin Dinley (monitors), Tom Boothby and Toby Chester. All of the bands were mixed on a Yamaha PM5D (with the exception of The Human League).