The first ever Cotton Clouds festival, a boutique event held in Saddleworth, Oldham, saw VME provide full production, with Martin Audio’s MLA Compact PA at the heart of proceedings.
The 3,000-capcity event was set to the backdrop of the Pennine hills and, according to Oliver Fallon, technical manager of Cotton Clouds and VME sound engineer, the audience was treated to sound that was equal to its visual surroundings. Acts performing at the festival included PINS, The Sundowners and The Blinders to name a few, alongside veterans such as Nick Heywood, The Coral and headline act The Sugarhill Gang.
“Being from the local area I knew that there would be issues with noise propagation,” he said.. “During my time at VME I have worked with the Martin Audio MLA many times — therefore I knew there was no better system to do the job as it has got us out of some sticky situations in the past.”
Chris Pearce, FOH engineer for Cotton Clouds, as well as Blossoms and Inspiral Carpets, shared Fallon’s worries. “When planning for this event to take place, I was worried about the residual noise being a problem off site, due to the area being very residential. The fact that the off-site level were set at 65dB as a result added to my concerns.”
However, Pearce said that the MLA system allowed him to overcome any issues while still achieving full coverage over the cricket pitch with even LF coverage. “I was hugely impressed with the MLA boxes and am looking forward to using them again and again.”
Flown left and right of the stage were eight MLA Compact, with a further four mounted on the MLX subwoofers, providing frontfill. In fact 11 MLX subwoofers were deployed in an asymmetrical broadside array — nine wide with two reversed to provide cancellation on stage.
“Given the venue and the limitations of the off-site limit it was essential we got as much height on the MLA Compact as possible,” commented Mark Cleator, VME head of sound. “However on-site we were restricted due to the advertising on the PA wings. But thanks to the ability of the MLA Compact and the Display software, VME were still able to reach 95dB at FOH and hit the rear of the audience area with smooth coverage, while keeping to off-site limits using the hard avoid functions.”
Rick Lees, director of Cotton Clouds Festival, concluded: “We were delighted with the Martin Audio equipment supplied to Cotton Clouds Festival this year. We had so many compliments on the sound from both attendees and artists. Off-site levels were recorded below 65dB which is incredible considering the volume and clarity on site. We’ll certainly be using Martin Audio in the coming years, as we were absolutely blown away.”