Adamson reinforces Umbria Jazz Festival

Friday, 5 October 2012
Adamson reinforces Umbria Jazz FestivalSting headlines in Perugia
Italy - For almost 40 years, a historically ancient Italian town in the hills of central Italy transforms itself for ten days each July. Perugia welcomes tens of thousands of visitors for the annual Umbria Jazz Festival, which has gone onto become one of the largest music events not just in Italy, but in the world.

With it come the challenges of hosting multiple stages in a mediaeval and architecturally sensitive town, where getting the sound right for critical ears is as rewarding as it is challenging. Umbria Jazz's technical partner is Angelo Tordini, who is perhaps better known as the owner of the Ancona-based cable manufacturer, Reference Laboratory. As the chorus confirms, Mr Tordini and his handpicked dream team are prepared to work like dogs in order to get the sound right for the artists, the audiences and of course, themselves.

"I normally spend three weeks preparing for the festival and another two weeks on site," he confirmed. His five week investment accrues no direct incoming revenues, but instead helps him to promote Adamson speakers (a brand that Reference Laboratories exclusively distributes in Italy).

Whilst the larger acts perform their sets at the outdoor 4,500-seat Arena Santa Giuliana, a large contingent of rock and roll, world music, Cuban salsa and African tribal musicians play in Perugia's streets and squares. Mr Tordini's commitment extends to the Carducci Gardens and Piazza IV Novembre further up the winding hill from the Arena Santa Giuliana. The Arena Santa Giuliana was prepared almost two weeks in advance of the ten day festival. Scaffolding towers and stages, wooden decking to preserve the grass playing surface underneath and security fences were initially erected and assembled. Once completed, Milanese production company Audiolux drafted their crack team of PA, lighting and backline technicians to Perugia and from here on the set up is in the hands of experts where everyone, including the local stage hands know exactly what they're doing. Under the supervision of both Mr Tordini, the crew of some 25 have adopted some very innovative standards and techniques that have become synonymous with the critics' acclaim.

Stage manager Renato D' Angelo comments on the setup, "We run a very tight ship; everyone plays their part in making sure it all runs like clockwork. The heat hasn't been an issue and all the artists have been very happy. But Umbria is quite an easy gig - we only have two acts per night on the main stage, the headliner can sound check for as long as necessary hours before the performance and stage changes are easy."

Since 2004, the Adamson Y18 has been used as the main PA, and always with great success. This year the new E15 debuted on the festival's main stage. "The venue is acoustically a big challenge because the entire floor is covered by wooden panels and a stone bleacher and a church right behind this bleacher that causes slap back reflection issues. Also while the base width for the PA is a reasonable 21m (69ft) wide, the FOH position is 63m (207ft) away from the stage, so the major challenge during tuning is to maintain clarity and the "in your face" feeling at FOH, which the E15 delivered very well.

"To accommodate the extended 6.000 seats for the headlining Sting show, the final seating layout was pretty wide, but the smooth horizontal coverage of the E15 enabled us to cover the entire area without having to bring in an extra side PA system," comments Jochen Sommer from Adamson GmbH who flew in to support the E15's for the festival.

For the 2012 Umbria Jazz Festival, 12 E15 speaker cabinets per side were suspended from the trussing towers, together with two Spektrix front fills for the FOH system. The two arrays were boosted by sixteen ground-stacked T21 double 21-inch subwoofers run in cardioid mode with a further four Spektrix speakers employed for front fills on the central two ground stacks in front of the stage.

(Jim Evans)

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