SWG maintains strong Glastonbury presence
Tuesday, 9 July 2019
the-park-stageThe Park Stage
UK - Beyond the four Glastonbury Festival stages on which RG Jones Engineering fielded Martin Audio systems, there was also a strong Martin Audio PA presence on the John Peel stage, The Park and Left Field, courtesy of SWG Events (SWG), who have been supplying numerous stages with sound and lighting infrastructure since 1995.
For the John Peel stage, SWG sub-contracted elements of the audio supply to Martin Audio MLA partner, Stage Audio Services (SAS). The latter’s MD, Kevin Mobberley confirmed that having fielded MLA Compact previously they upgraded to the full-size MLA this time around for enhanced control, coverage and consistency.
With design assistance from Simon Honywill, the main PA hangs comprised 20 MLA cabinets (10 elements flown each side) with 12 MLX subwoofers providing LF extension. Four of the popular DD12’s, positioned on the stage, focused the sound on the nearfield while further out-fills were provided by six MLA Compact.
SWG project manager Mark Bott explained that being a televised stage, concessions had to be made to the BBC TV crew with regards to the sub positions, necessitating the MLX’s to be divided into two stacks instead of being presented as a cardioid array across the front - a recommendation made by Honywill.
“It’s really important the barrier line is as close to the stage as it can be to ensure a connection between the audience and the artist remains. It’s this connection that the BBC is trying to capture and its as important for those inside the tent,” says Bott. “Using all of the tools MLA offers ensures we get even venue coverage.”
The reason for choosing MLA had to do with containment, to avoid encroaching onto the main Pyramid stage, he said. “One of the considerations for MLA is that it meets the remit for noise control and we can deliver sufficient power inside the tent without breaching offsite constraints. The system also has to be rider compliant and this is a system that people want to mix on.”
SWG has provided PA for The Park every year since its inception 11 years ago and having had a year off in 2018, The Park team has come back with many changes, new creations and locations. According to Mark Bott, owing to the number of surprise ‘TBA’ acts that appear unannounced on the stage - this year including Foals and Vampire Weekend - audience capacities can range “from anything between 200-20,000, but we aim for between 4,000-6,000.”
For The Park stage, Bott’s team, including Ian Williams, who looked after FOH and system design supported by Tim Mitchell, deployed SWG’s Martin Audio W8LC system, flying 12 elements a side, with two W8LCD down-fill boxes on each hang. These were reinforced with 16 WS218X subs, similarly left/right stacked to comply with BBC requirements. Martin Audio Blackline X8s were used as lip-fills.
Because of the political nature of Left Field, speech intelligibility is of paramount importance - “and that’s why we use W8LM as it handles speech perfectly,” continues SWG’s project manager.
Summarising the weekend overall, Mark Bott said, “SWG Events has had a really good year. Everything went smoothly and we had a lot of positive comments about the PA’s. In fact we never have any issues with rider delivery and performance with any of the systems we deploy from Martin Audio.”
In closing, Dom Harter, managing director of Martin Audio adds: “It’s such a pleasure to see the pervasive nature of Martin Audio at this prestigious festival and I’m grateful to SWG Events and Stage Audio Services for delivering our signature sound, coverage, consistency and control for these three important stages.”
(Jim Evans)

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