Panthers back Billy Strings bluegrass tour
Tuesday, 7 November 2023
billyThis month, the tour jumps the Atlantic for 11 shows in Europe and the UK
USA - The ascent of bluegrass guitarist Billy Strings from van-and-trailer gigs to A-level arena touring is a testament to his mastery of traditional styles as well as his expansion of the genre into new realms of rock-influenced extended improvisations.
On the current leg of his 2023 amphitheatre and arena tour, Strings is enveloping his growing legions of jam-band fans through a robust system based on Meyer Sound Panther large-format linear line array loudspeakers. As with all recent tours, the system supplier on this outing is Nashville, Tennessee-based Major Tom US.
The regular tour schedule took a pause at the end of September for the third annual Billy Strings Renewal Festival in the mountain valley of Buena Vista, Colorado. Here, with the timely arrival of custom cabling and infrastructure from EMG, the tour’s complement of Panther loudspeakers became one of the first to connect all audio and telemetry directly to each loudspeaker cabinet via a Milan AVB network.
The manifold advantages of the latest Meyer Sound technologies were acknowledged by Charlie Bryson, who doubles as tour production manager and monitor engineer.
“In June we transitioned from the Leo and Lyon system we had for the first part of the tour to the new Panther rig and it’s working out great on all fronts,” he reports. “Andy [Lytle], our FOH engineer, mixed on Panther at last year’s Peach Festival, and he loved it straight off the bat. Bluegrass is midrange-heavy by nature, which can be challenging with some systems, but with Panther the subtle tonal qualities of the instruments easily shine through. It doesn’t colour the sound in any way.”
For Lytle, Panther hit the right note when he mixed his first set at the Peach Festival. “The main stage was under a tent enclosure, and that can make it really hard to mix instruments like banjo. But I immediately noticed how clean and clear the instruments sounded. Everything was distinct - never washy but cutting through cleanly.”
Walking each new venue during sound checks, Lytle has been impressed with Panther’s uniformity of coverage. “I walk up to the top levels and far corners, and the coverage has been awesome. Our systems tech, Jimmy Marsh, says it’s easy to get everything dialled in just right, which then makes it easier for me.”
In a typical arena configuration, the dual main arrays of 12-each Panther line array loudspeakers are bolstered on the low end by 12 1100‑LFC low-frequency control elements. Additionally, Panther loudspeakers are used as side-hangs.
By blending bluegrass artistry with a range of rock influences, Billy Strings has extended the boundaries of the genre to become the most popular bluegrass artist in a generation. His 2023 tour schedule extends through New Year’s Eve, with the final three shows at the Uno Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. This month, the tour jumps the Atlantic for 11 shows in Europe and the UK.

Latest Issue. . .