The Great North Run Millionth Opening Ceremony was designed by the London Olympics opening ceremony team
UK - Great North Run is a popular half-marathon that has welcomed runners to Newcastle-upon-Tyne for over 30 years. In 2014, the run was the first in the world to welcome its millionth finisher and it celebrated the moment in style with an Opening Ceremony that spanned both quaysides of the river between the Tyne and Millenium bridges.

With a show designed by the team that created the London Olympics opening ceremonies and included live music from Sting, Mark Knopfler, the Unthanks and Chase & Status as well as poetry, pyrotechnics, projections and performances from a cast of hundreds in the air, on stage and in boats, Tyneside production company Nitelites,with the help of sound designer Colin Pink, was brought in to face the challenge of providing sound to match the quality of the performances.

With stages on both sides of the river and audiences spread across the whole city centre, timing issues and noise control were the main issues. Jamie Moore, managing director of Nitelites Ltd, chose L-Acoustics K1 to step up to the job, stating, "I would not have used anything else on this gig. K1 is the only product in my opinion that could deliver the throw that we needed. Its accuracy and directivity was essential on this gig." All K1 were supplied by Adlib Audio.

For the main stage, which faced the river and whose audience were a whopping 100m away on the opposite quay, Nitelites deployed a traditional LR hang of 12 K1, with eight SB28s per side, ground stacked directly in front of the stage facing out over the river. "It was really all about imaging," continues Moore. "Creating a natural sound for the audience from both the main stages as well as other show feeds from elements such as boats along the river."

Six delay towers of 12 Kara with four SB28s accompanied by two ARCS for fill were placed on the audience side of the river and were set up at 90 degrees to the main stage hang in order to cover the quayside audience and reduce noise leakage. "We placed three hangs to the left hand side and three hangs to the right hand side of the stage, and we pointed them up and down the river rather than in line with the main stage hang, in order to cover the wide-flung audience, so timing issues were critical." said Moore. "We also used Kara's horizontal 110 degree symmetric vertical directivity to ensure that our directional brief was met."

For the smaller presenter's stage, whose audience was directly in front, three SB18 were deployed stacked on top of each other, with three Kara as centre-fills. The whole solution was driven by a total of 54 LA8 amplifiers.

In addition to facing the challenge of a wide-flung audience on both sides of a major river, Nitelites were up against noise control issues. Not only did they have to satisfy the local council, their main stage was also directly facing the Newcasle Magistrates Court... and the court was in session during rehearsal days. For this reason, the main entire PA system could not be used in earnest until the actual night of the event with a two-hour window given for tuning, two nights prior to the concert.

L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D modelling was essential in ensuring that the PA would sound near perfect prior to any listening. "I trust Soundvision implicitly and it worked perfectly, as we did a lot of 3D acoustical simulation work prior to the event," stated Moore. To help matters along during rehearsals, FOH mix engineer Chris Coxhead used a pair of ARC and SB18s, set up in studio mode.

The event was a rousing success, garnering extensive praise from audience and media alike. Moore reflects,"I don't think we could have pulled off the event with any other system. Intelligibility and musical quality was second to none. All of the comments from the client to public and local press have been hugely complimentary.

"I believe that the show is the biggest and best thing that Newcastle has ever been part of. To be part of something so special in our home

Latest Issue. . .