DJ Sets Take Over New Soma Tent
Converting a large comedy tent into the full-time dance Soma Tent presented new sound-management challenges — namely, creating a high-energy environment with low-end-heavy programming without significantly impacting the surrounding neighborhoods.
“After our successful efforts to control the sound leakage at the Lands End main stage, Another Planet asked us to drive this sound design,” says Bob McCarthy, director of system optimization for Meyer Sound. “They were very clear: the sound design comes first; all of the lighting and everything else came second, because noise control is key to the event’s success.”
“We created a unique design where all of the mains are oriented on the side of the tent that faces away from the street,” he explains. “Then, we have loudspeakers mounted on the back of those, pointed toward the street, that are timed, phase-aligned, and set to cancel.” Downward-firing surround speakers created an immersive experience inside the tent, while acoustic draping helped contain sound.
Tightly controlled 1100-LFC and 900-LFC™ low-frequency control elements brought critical low-end energy. “EDM has a need for maximum bass at all frequencies, to use an old phrase. And the 1100 is the king of dishing that out,” says McCarthy.
Visiting Engineers Experience Quality Sound
In the weeks leading up to the event, UltraSound worked with visiting engineers to help them prepare for seamless experiences. Festival environments can be anything but predictable, but Jade Payne, front of house engineer for Texas indie darlings Khruangbin, says the accuracy and quality of the Meyer Sound system made it easy to translate her mixes. “You never know with different PA configurations,” she explains. “I use a lot of condenser microphones on stage, which isn’t very common, and those can easily pick up a lot of sub energy. But I know Meyer Sound systems and this one here is just very directional. The sound goes where it should go, and that is a tremendous help for the band to perform better. I really appreciated not having to spend the whole set doing damage control; I could actually enjoy myself.”
“Essentially the goal is to give the audience and the traveling engineers and the bands the best possible experience they could have,” says Osmond, “but also keeping our neighbors happy and make it so that everybody is having a good experience over the weekend.”
It’s an ambitious objective in a challenging year, realized through collaborative efforts across the Bay Area. “The city, the community, all of our production vendors have really just rallied around this festival,” says Mary Conde, Another Planet Entertainment’s Senior Vice President and Director of Production. “And through all of the challenges, we have been able to get this going and doors open.
“We have a tradition at Outside Lands,” continues Conde. “We play ‘Here Comes the Sun’ when doors open; that’s a homage to Bill Graham, who used to play that song at all of our Day on the Green events. So, it makes me a little sentimental. I get a little tear in my eye when I hear ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ and it’s a beautiful, sunshiny day and 74,000 people are going to come here and have a wonderful time.”
The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival will return to San Francisco on August 5–7, 2022.
About Meyer Sound
Founded by John and Helen Meyer in 1979, Meyer Sound is a global leader in providing integrated solutions for sound reinforcement, spatial sound, acoustic systems, studio monitoring and high-end residential systems. Recognized as an audio technology pioneer, Meyer Sound was the first to introduce dedicated loudspeaker processors, source independent measurement, large-scale self-powered loudspeakers, and cardioid subwoofers, among other innovations. The premium professional brand maintains rigorous quality control in its design and manufacturing of sustainable solutions for concert touring and festivals, houses of worship, cinema, education, corporate offices and residential. Scientific research and innovative product development have earned more than 100 US and international patents along with numerous industry awards. Headquartered in Berkeley, California with operations globally, Meyer Sound is a company where employees are innovators and diversity, equity and inclusion are embraced in the workplace and the community.