At the end of last year, over 80,000 people descended on the MMRDA Ground in Mumbai for the first ever Global Citizen Festival India. This was the biggest music festival ever produced in the country and required the biggest L-Acoustics systems ever seen or heard in India. In fact, its sheer scale dictated that India’s most prestigious rental companies join forces to supply the required 200-plus loudspeakers.
The Global Citizen Festival is organised by Global Poverty Project. Based in New York, it has been running since 2012, bringing together the biggest international stars to raise awareness of extreme poverty across the world, its goals being closely aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Global Citizen Festival India was produced by Wizcraft India and featured international artists including headliners Coldplay – lead singer Chris Martin is the Festival’s creative director for the next 15 years – A.R. Rahman, Jay Z and Demi Lovato, as well as Bollywood’s brightest stars, including Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Arijit Singh.
Pulling something of this magnitude together requires precise coordination and cooperation between all parties, as Rajan Gupta of Hi-Tech Audio Systems Pvt Ltd, L-Acoustics Indian distributor, explained.
“I heard about the project through Manish Mavani of Mumbai-based Sound & Light Professionals (SNL Pro), who is a K1 owner and was working on securing the project, as was K2 owner Electrocraft. However, it became clear that no single company had the inventory and technical expertise required to take on this mammoth job. Collaboration between various L-Acoustics owners was needed, I got everyone talking and we realised that, by pulling together as a group, we would have everything.”
Electrocraft, led by Roger Drego, took on the role of lead supplier, working alongside SNL Pro. Additional partners were Delhi-based Audio Design and J Davis Pro Sound of Bangalore.
“One other hurdle we had to face was that Coldplay usually uses a different brand of loudspeaker,” Rajan continued. “However, Roger visited them in New York and convinced them that L-Acoustics would work well for them, particularly as their usual brand wasn’t available in sufficient quantity.”
The final system, which was tuned & calibrated by Michael Wirth, tech support for L-Acoustics, a total 232 cabinets, comprising 36 K1, 12 K1 subs, 40 SB28s, 72 K2, six KARA and 16 dV-DOSC and 54 V-DOSC, all powered by LA8 amplifiers.
“The main hangs were arrays of 12 K1 per side positioned left and right of the stage, with four K1SBs each side hung next to them and 12 K2 per side as side fills,” explained Drego. “Front fills were four stacks of four dV-DOSC. Eight cardioid sub configurations were sited beneath the stage, with a further two as sub side fills, each comprising four SB28s, one in each configuration reversed. Twelve K2 per side made up the first set of delays, with three pairs of nine V-DOSC for the subsequent delays, with the final delay being six K1 with three Kara hung below them as down-fills per side, thus ensuring consistent coverage across the entire site.”
“This was undoubtedly the most technically advanced single stage concert that India has ever seen,” recalled Manish Mavani. “The audio team ran cable lines that stretched over a kilometre to cater for the live, broadcast and recording audio. The delay towers proved to be a challenge, because of their sheer numbers and the distances we had to cover, and the organizers wanted a pure L-Acoustics sound signature to be maintained across the entire site.
“It was up to us to ensure that we achieved this by precisely tuning and time aligning the delays with FOH. L-Acoustics supported us in this, and their team played a vital role, contributing key inputs that enhanced our system designs and achieved the perfection the organisers were after. We also had the support of the various acts’ personal engineers – local and international – and they all did justice to the sound system that we had worked so hard on, with each act sounding every bit as amazing as it deserved to be.”
“This was undoubtedly the adventure of a lifetime for all of us.” Said Mavani. “The show was a huge success and Tony Smit, Head of Audio for Coldplay, said how easy we had made everything for him.”
“To work on a gig of this scale was amazing,” concluded Drego. “As a team, we pulled together the biggest and best live audio system that has ever been seen for any single concert in India.”