The Montréal International Jazz Festival roared back to life in 2022, reinforcing its distinction as the largest jazz festival in the world. With 350 concerts scheduled over 10 days — two-thirds of them free — the festival once again drew audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands to downtown Montréal, where AVL supplier Solotech had equipped eight indoor and outdoor stages — including the Scène TD main stage — with Meyer Sound reinforcement systems.
The exotic blend of performances by global acts earned rave press reviews, in particular for the closing act, The Roots, at Scène TD.
“The Roots demonstrated why they continue to be known as one of the best live acts on the planet,” wrote the Montréal Gazette, also noting that “the tens upon tens of thousands that swarmed an absurdly packed Place des Festivals…were in for a heckuva show.” Canadian Beats concurred, noting: “The Roots delivered a true masterclass in hip-hop, funk, soul, and jazz, a cluster of genres perfect to close the festival.”
The resounding success of audio at this year’s Montréal International Jazz Festival can be credited to the work of Festival Technical Coordinator Dan Meier and his team from L’Equipe Spectra. Meyer Sound and Solotech worked closely with Meier and his team to develop and deploy the sonic experiences at the festival.
The enthusiastic response came as no surprise to Director of R&D and Technological Solutions David Brazeau, who was responsible for overall supervision of AVL systems on behalf of Solotech. “We’ve heard only great reviews on the performances from people who were there and from the media. There was no particular mention of the sound, but then the whole idea is to make the reinforcement transparent, so it’s not noticed. When the sound is perfect you don’t hear anything about it!”
The Scène TD stage system comprised main front arrays of nine per side LEO linear line array loudspeakers, with focused low end from end-fire arrays of six per side 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements. Front fills were MICA line array loudspeakers, with MSL-4 loudspeakers as out fills. First delay was two arrays of six MICA loudspeakers augmented by six 900-LFC elements in cardioid configuration, with pairs of CAL 64 and CAL 32 beam-steering column array loudspeakers supplying highly directional sound for the second and third delays. The VIP section was covered by four M1D line array loudspeakers.
Other acts energizing the overflow crowds at Scène TD included Lee Fields, Bran Van 3000, and Clay & Friends.
Meyer Sound systems also supplied reinforcement at several indoor venues hosting well-known performers. A MINA line array system was deployed at Maisonneuve Theatre for, among others, Al Di Meola, Manhattan Transfer, and Pat Metheny. At Montréal Symphony House, Meyer Sound JM-1P, UPA-1P, and UPQ‑1P loudspeakers supported Gregory Porter, Ludovico Einaudi, and Ravi Coltrane, while at Monument-National Tommy Emmanuel, Christian McBride, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Bill Charlap were heard through UPQ-1P, UPA-1P, and veteran UPA-1C loudspeakers coupled with 700-HP subwoofers.
Other outdoor stages equipped with Meyer Sound systems were Rio Tinto, Club Montréal, Stage Loto-Quebec, and Pub La Traversée Molson Export.
Solotech has been an integral part of the Montréal International Jazz Festival for as far back as Brazeau can remember. “I’ve been with Solotech for 25 years and we were supplying systems back then,” he said. “We are much more than a rental house, but really a full partner, one part of a team that for many years has included our key trusted suppliers, including Meyer Sound.
“Meyer Sound always has been a go-to partner for the festival,” Brazeau continued. “Whenever we have an issue of any kind, they jump right on it and give us full support. David Vincent of Meyer Sound tech support here in Canada helps us out every year, collaborating with our team on system designs.”
This year, Vincent and the Solotech team made full use of Meyer Sound’s MAPP 3D prediction software, which proved an essential tool in shaping coverage to fit the venues without excessive bleed into adjacent part of the city centre. “They worked hard to focus the energy down on the crowds, and they have been very successful in doing that thanks to MAPP 3D and our deep inventory of Meyer Sound loudspeakers,” noted Brazeau.
Launched in 1980, the Montréal International Jazz Festival is the premier event of its kind in North America, and with the strong resurgence in 2022, the festival can reassert its claim to the title of “world’s largest jazz festival” as previously awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records. With annual attendance of over 2 million, the festival is not only the largest jazz festival but one of the largest music festivals in the world.