China’s music festival scene is in full swing this summer, with many relying on Meyer Sound LEO Family systems provided by Stage Arts Groups (S.A.G.), a production and artist management enterprise based in Beijing.
One standout event in S.A.G.’s summer schedule was the MTA (Music Technology and Art) Festival, staged at the Tianmo Nature Scenic Area northwest of Beijing and drawing in more than 50,000 attendees.
For three days in late June, the desert landscape was transformed into a surreal environment — a festive wonderland of multi-media art performances, modern music and ‘disruptive technologies’. Music performances included popular Chinese acts (Li Chen, Escape Plan, Higher Brothers, and New Pants) as well as international artists (Khalil Fong, Jay Park, and Isaac Gracie).
On the main stage, S.A.G. deployed a system based on dual main hangs of 16 LEO-M line array loudspeakers, each with two underhung LYON-W loudspeakers. 12 LEOPARD loudspeakers supplied front fill and 27 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements — arrayed as nine three-high stacks in cardioid configurations — delivered deep bass impact with minimal on-stage intrusion.
“Meyer Sound LEO Family systems are ideal for festivals like MTA,” said S.A.G. founder and board chief executive Zhang Bo, who also mixed at FOH. “They have exceptionally low distortion even when reproducing very high levels. They also have a lot of headroom, making it easy for engineers to do their jobs beautifully.”
Also contributing to the success of MTA was Zhugen Wang who served as a sound designer, system engineer and monitor engineer. “I really appreciated the Galileo GALAXY 816 network processor and Compass control software,” he said, “and I particularly like the way the new proprietary Low-Mid Beam Control ensures greater uniformity of coverage. Also, deploying the 1100-LFCs as an arc in cardioid stacks allows an even spread of massive lows throughout the audience without disturbing performers onstage.”
MTA was produced by Sound Summer, Ltd., a music and content and performance organisation focused on youth culture in China.
The month before, a LEO Family system was on hand to power the main stage for the Rye Music Festival, hosting 25,000 daily. Top-billed domestic and international acts included The Jesus and Mary Chain, Jolin Tsai, Jay Chou and No Party for Cao Dong.
The system deployed here was similar in most respects to that of MTA, though with the addition of twin outside hangs of 10 per side LYON line array loudspeakers and two delay towers each with 12 LEOPARD line array loudspeakers.
“The challenge here was to deliver uniform coverage for an area 150 metres deep to ensure the best possible audience experience,” explained S.A.G.’s Zhang Bo. “Fortunately, the LEO Family system makes it possible without compromises.”
Zhang also noted the marked increase in acceptance of Meyer Sound’s latest systems by leading Chinese artists and production managers. “LEO Family systems are known and accepted on tech riders by most artists,” he said. “There are not that many systems available now in the Chinese market, but we expect that to change in the months to come.”
The demand has evidently increased for S.A.G.’s systems. The company also anchored a system for the Haunted Night 4H Trendy Music Festival in Chengdu in mid-July. The LEO Family then moved on to Changsha at the end of July for the Mango Music Festival. Here, the system was deployed at the “Future” stage where the mix of acts spanned singer-songwriters, pop and indie rock. In Late August, S.A.G. will support the Dome International Music Festival in Qingdao.
Originally founded as an AV, lighting and staging rental business, in recent years S.A.G. has expanded into a full-range service provider for entertainment design and production professionals in audio, lighting and stage design. S.A.G. normally supports at least two major headline tours annually along with more than 50 live music concerts featuring Chinese artists. S.A.G. also provides live sound mixing and streaming services for concerts, festivals, TV shows, award ceremonies and sporting events using its well-equipped outside broadcasting vans and highly experienced support teams. The S.A.G. portfolio also includes live entertainment production, music publishing, and production and distribution of music recordings.