Live music in Colombia returned in a surprising way in September 2020, with a weekend of drive-in shows situated just outside of the capital city, Bogota. Vibra Radio T&M Drive In Festival was held from 25 to 27 September and featured performances by legendary Colombian music acts such as Monsieur Periné, Siam and ChocQuibTown. The event marked the first large-scale live music event held in the country since COVID-19 put a stop to shows in the country.
Traditionally, drive-ins rely on an FM frequency to transmit sound to car stereos at the event. That’s what concert goers were led to believe was happening when they arrived and were asked to tune their radios at Vibra Radio T&M Drive In Festival. However, with production providers C Vilar and Sonic Design ready to start the party, fans were to asked to lower their car windows and instead of car speakers, the crowd was blown away by a full Adamson Systems Engineering PA system experience.
The Adamson array comprised 15 E15s and three E12s per side, eight E119s flown behind the main hang in a front-back configuration, a ground sub arc array comprising E119s and T21s configured in an end fire pattern, as well as eight S10s used as front fills. Concert attendees were delighted by this surprise twist, as the Adamson rig provided a full sonic experience that could never be replicated on a simple car stereo.
C Vilar and Sonic Design have been providing the production for Vibra T&M Festival since 2015, and were excited to adapt their sound, stage and lighting equipment to current site needs. System Engineer, Mauricio Vilar chose to deploy Adamson speakers because of their great coverage and consistent low-end response. Before the crowd arrived, Vilar drove the site and was extremely satisfied with PA coverage, even in the far parking positions located 160m from the array.
To provide clear sight lines for the audience, the FOH position was moved off-side and off-axis from the main PA. Instead of having to rely on reference monitors, FOH engineers were treated to a reference Adamson PA made up of eight S10s stacked on top of four E119 speakers. FOH engineers were extremely satisfied with both the reference and main system’s reach and tuning. FOH Engineer for Monsieur Périné, Antonio Villamizar said: “I like the sound of Adamson a lot – even if you’re very far away, the sound is very present. The sub-woofer is super powerful and detailed, mids and highs are distinguished by clarity and presence, and the system maintains its quality sound, even over distance,” he remarked. “Adamson makes one of my favourite systems and is always on my rider.”
FOH Engineer for Santiago Cruz and Head Director of the Audio Engineering Department at Javeriana University, Juan David Garcia agreed: “I really liked the Adamson PA,” he said. “It has really good definition, a nice top end that is not harsh at close distances and maintains a nice air and presence at long ranges. The subs are fantastic, powerful but clear. It is really easy to get superb results when you have talent on stage and Adamson projecting all that power and feeling.”
The drive-in event was the first step in a partnership between C Vilar, Sonic Design and the Jaime Duque amusement park. As Colombian government officials discuss the possibility of developing a cultural district outside of Bogota, the partners have been working hard on creating an immersive audio-visual experience.
Upcoming installations include a projections dome, an illuminated jaguar statue highlighting the importance of fighting climate change, as well as a new outdoor venue. General Director of Vilar group, Leonardo Vilar envisions this new cultural district as providing visitors interactive cultural and educational activities with social meaning. One thing is for sure: the care taken by Sonic Design and C Vilar in the design and implementation of this new site is sure to guarantee a surprising and delightful experience to audiences.
This article originally appeared in issue #257 of TPi, which you can read here.