Armin van Buuren’s Five-Hour Wembley Dance Fest Through MLA

Pic credit: Graham Joy Photography and Lock N Load Events.

It took less time for Dutch DJ legend Armin van Buuren to sell out his much-anticipated Wembley Easter show at SSE Arena than it did to play the incredible five-hour long set, in what was his biggest date ever in the capital.

The titan of trance sold out the venue, which is restricted to 6,000 for dance events (occupying the arena bowl and Tier 1 only) in just three hours—a feat posted on social media in advance by promotions company Lock ‘N’ Load Events.

The specialist event organisation regularly turns to Capital Sound for its sound reinforcement requirements, and in turn look to Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA loudspeaker array as its first choice PA system.

As Lock ‘N’ Load project manager, Alex Anderson explained, “I advised [artist’s management] that we needed MLA in there because of its programming capabilities with regards to external noise levels.

“Since this was a late night show, and protecting the venue licence is a priority for us, I explained that we had used it with [top drum ‘n’ bass DJ] Andy C recently and managed to run at around 100dB-102 dB at FOH … which is a level that they could work with.

“In addition, MLA sounds great so it’s a no brainer for us.”

Indeed, the system has been designed to deliver full-bore SPL in the bowl while dramatically reducing noise pollution offsite, in sensitive or highly built up areas such as Wembley. It was the perfect solution for a dance event of this nature that ran through to 5am.

Production rigged 12 x MLA elements and two MLD Downfill enclosures on each side of the stage, with side hangs of six outfacing MLA Compact elements on each flank.

Across the front, in a broadside cardioid array for rear rejection, were 16 MLX subwoofers (with 150dB peak capability), keeping any bass well away from the back wall, with eight Martin Audio XD12 spaced along the tops of the subs for nearfield coverage.

To meet the rider request Armin van Buuren was also supplied with Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS DJ decks and Allen & Heath Xone:DB4 mixer (by FX Rentals), while sound engineer Wouter Asselman piloted a DiGiCo SD10 at front of house, where he was supported by Capital system tech Dan Fathers and PA tech Andreas Andreou. Tim Paterson was Capital Sound’s crew chief, Antony Best monitor tech, and overall tour manager was Sander Reneman.