The eighth Sundown Festival, promoted by U-Live, took place at the Norfolk Showground in Norwich over August Bank Holiday weekend and was the first to feature Martin Audio’s MLA.
The company’s rental partner Capital Sound was brought in by production company, Mark Ward’s Proper Productions, with whom they have a long-standing relationship, most notably at Hyde Park’s British Summertime. The festival saw stellar acts take the stage, including Mabel, Jax Jones and Anne-Marie topping the bill on Saturday and Example, Ella Eyre, Jonas Blue and Becky Hill supporting headliner Tinie Tempah on Sunday’s main stage.
Capital’s project manager Amy Newton-Smith confirmed that the event had run smoothly. “We quoted to meet the spec issued in previous years and adjusted it accordingly. When noise pollution is a big issue, MLA is our go-to system of choice.” Noise propagation tests were duly conducted and throughout the festival, Capital comfortably managed to meet an offsite threshold of 55dB(A) while maintaining 98dB(A) at the mix position.
Deciding to dispense with delays as a more economic option—yet safe in the knowledge that MLA’s coverage over distance can be optimised—Capital added a couple of extra elements to the main hangs which consisted of 13 MLA per side and one MLD (Downfill). Eight MLA Compact per side were flown as side hangs and there were eight W8LM as front fills. For the low end, 15 MLX subwoofers were placed, five stacks of three, in a spaced cardioid array, with the centre one reversed.
System tech Dan Fathers explained how he managed to extract 2dB extra from the system: “We programmed MLA for a throw distance of 160m in the optimisation but only ran it out to 120m. When we were doing the noise propagation I just had a non-audience area at the back and although it was capable of throwing a lot further, by shortening the throw using Hard Avoid [in the Display software] we were able to get it up to 98dB over 15 minutes.
“In regards to the subs, we were at a maximum of 110dB(C) for 15 minutes on the optimisation. We also applied Hard Avoid at the stage to avoid interfering with the monitors because the array was trimmed quite low with the extra boxes, only 2.5m from the ground to assist the throw distance, and this prevented any interaction with the monitors.”
Speaking of the success of the event, and Capital’s deployment of MLA for the first time at this event, Rishi-Louis Gowry, production manager, said: “Having worked a lot with Capital Sound, it was a pleasure having them at Sundown as they always do a professional job. As for the PA, MLA really suited this type of music and we had no complaints from the main stage offsite, while it was quiet both onstage and backstage. The production team was very pleased with the result.”