Bridgeport, Barbados - September 2010… Crop Over, a five-week summer festival, is Barbados' most popular and colorful event. Its origins can be traced back to the 1780's during the period when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar. At the end of each sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest. That celebration came to be known as the Crop Over festival. Since 1974 when the festival was revived, Crop Over has incorporated other elements of Barbadian culture and the event has transformed into an extravaganza that attracts people from around the globe. This year's festival featured several Calypso music performances and competitions. To ensure the thousands of people in attendance were able to hear and enjoy the festive atmosphere, high powered sound systems from D.A.S. Audio were placed into service.
Bridgeport-based Quality Sound Inc. (QSI), a full service company that, in addition to sales and rentals of music and audio equipment, operates a sound services division for concerts and similar special events as well as a recording studio, a design/build division for the installation market, and serves as a promoter of live events, was contracted to provide sound reinforcement for several of the largest activities during this year's festival. Austral Estwick, co-owner of QSI, discussed the nature of the project.
“For Crop Over 2010,” Estwick explained, “we provided sound reinforcement for an all-day Calypso competition called Soca Royale. We also provided sound for the Calypso Finals, Cohoblopot (a 6-hour show of calypso and cultural performances, as well as â€˜10 to 10', a 12-hour show of Calypso music. The Calypso Finals had roughly 8,000 spectators, Cohoblopot had 10,000, and Soca Royale and â€˜10 to 10' each had approximately 20,000 people. With Calypso being such a high energy, upbeat music genre and crowds as large as these, we knew that we needed our big guns to deliver the SPL (sound pressure level) and coverage to ensure the festive nature of these events. That's precisely why we deployed our Aero 50 and Aero 48 line array systems.”
For Soca Royale, which was held at Bushy Park, the QSI team erected a setup that drew from D.A.S. Audio's Aero Series 2 catalog. The sound system included twenty-four Aero 50 3-way, large format, active line arrays—flown twelve elements per side—along with twenty-four LX-218 high power subwoofers, which were positioned twelve enclosures per side. “The system's performance was excellent,” states Estwick. “We had even coverage throughout the area and sound quality was absolutely consistent for the entire day. We averaged 115 dB SPL at the mix position, which was located about 200 feet from the stage.”
For the Calypso Finals, which took place at the Kensington Oval cricket stadium, Estwick and his crew deployed an Aero 50 system consisting of eight enclosures per side. Sub bass tasks were aptly handled by the D.A.S. LX-218 subwoofers, positioned eight cabinets per side. “This was a challenging setup,” Estwick recalls. “We were projecting the sound into the stands that had high reflection and considerable slap back, so we had to conduct quite a bit of testing and modeling of the system in order to obtain the speech intelligibility we wanted. It rained quite a bit, which shortened our setup and testing window, but because of the system's excellent rigging hardware, we were able to make adjustments easily and get the desired results. Everything came together and we received numerous remarks that this was the best sound heard in the venue to date.”
Like the Soca Royale and the Calypso Finals, the Cohoblopot event also took advantage of the D.A.S. Audio Aero 50 line arrays and LX-218 subwoofers. Again, the QSI team set up a system consisting of sixteen Aero 50's—eight modules per side—accompanied by sixteen LX-218 subwoofers positioned eight enclosures per side. Estwick reports that the system “provided excellent coverage.”
For the â€˜10 to 10' show, which took place in a large parking lot, Estwick's crew deployed sixteen D.A.S. Audio Aero 48 large format, 3-way line array elements—eight cabinets per side—that were accompanied by eight ST-218 subwoofers per side. The QSI team outfitted the ST-218 subwoofers with D.A.S. Audio's 18LX long-excursion low frequency loudspeaker and performed considerable equalization tweaks to each system. “In addition to being an excellent subwoofer,” Estwick remarked, “these enclosures now have a lot of low end punch. I couldn't believe I was hearing our old ST-218's!”
Summing up this year's Crop Over festival, Estwick offered this parting thought, “Our D.A.S. Audio systems delivered in a big way. The sound coverage was excellent, the SPL's were exactly what was required, and the crowds loved it. This was one amazing party!”