Meyer Sound returned to Denmark this June as the Official Sound Partner of Roskilde Festival and to celebrate the 50th presentation of Northern Europe’s largest and longest-running music festival.
The Roskilde Festival is always staggering in scale, but this year’s event, held over eight days from 25 June through 2 July, was the most epic yet, showcasing more than 290 artists in music, art, and activism. Performers took to eight stages spaced throughout the sprawling festival grounds with headliners including Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Tyler, the Creator, The Strokes, Megan Thee Stallion, St. Vincent, and Haim, plus more than 130 diverse supporting acts including Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, H.E.R., Black Pumas, Kacey Musgraves, and CHVRCHES.
The partnership between Roskilde Festival and Meyer Sound leverages the strengths of the iconic music festival and the pioneering developer of professional audio systems to elevate the festival experience for artists and fans alike. This year‑round, multifaceted collaboration focuses on educational initiatives and scientific research and development, with the goal of elevating the festival experience for the audience, artists, and technical crews. For both partners, it’s an opportunity to innovate, with the event serving as a technology showcase and living laboratory.
“The sound at Roskilde Festival is essential for us to be able to create the communities and the perfect audience experience that we strive for at every festival,” explains Lars Liliengren, Roskilde Festival’s senior production manager.
Nearly 1,000 Meyer Sound loudspeakers, supplied by European AVL integrator Creative Technology Norway AS, are deployed across all festival stages and performance spaces, from the 1,000-capacity Gloria stage to the iconic Orange main stage, with a capacity of more than 60,000.
Meyer Sound’s LEO Family systems are seamless solutions, thanks to their clarity, linearity, reliability, and ease of use. The Roskilde Festival stages are powered by the entire LEO Family, including LEO, LYON, LEOPARD, and LINA linear line array loudspeakers and 750-LFC, 900-LFC, and 1100 LFC low-frequency control elements, extended with VLFC very low-frequency control elements. The ULTRA-X40 point source loudspeakers were used as near-field monitors at FOH as well as for delay and front fill support, while the MJF-210 served as stage monitors. Network processing is handled by GALAXY Network Platforms.
Each year, technical teams from Meyer Sound, Creative Technology Norway AS, and Roskilde Festival collaborate on sound system design and deployment, drawing from previous successes to optimise system performance. The systems in use in 2022 are similar in scope to those in 2019, but one strategy developed in 2019 was implemented again this year: the use of gradient end-fired subwoofer arrays at the main Orange stage, which dramatically minimised spill onstage.
“The 2019 session was so successful at steering the subwoofers and cleaning things up onstage that we actually needed front fill subs to ‘finish’ the experience below this monstrous set of 27 subwoofers,” explains Bob McCarthy, Meyer Sound director of system optimization. “Believe it or not, it was too quiet.”
2022 saw the introduction of a new stage, along with reconfigurations of some existing stages. Meyer Sound elevated subwoofers in several venues to help optimise even front-to-back coverage, and coverage was extended at stages that have become increasingly popular destinations. “[At the Rising stage] we aimed for coverage to 55 metres. And we ended up covering nearly 80 metres,” said McCarthy. “With the Mantra stage, we have one more stage in the park this year. But you wouldn’t know it, even though they’re all full up, all the time.”
Ultimately, sound system management at Roskilde Festival is all about curtailing leakage between stages while providing an engaging experience for every audience member. “I’ve never been prouder of the coverage at the Orange stage,” added McCarthy. “There are people singing, dancing, completely engaged up there 150 metres away from that stage. It’s a wonderful feeling to see that level of engagement for everybody.”
This year, Meyer Sound fully implemented its MAPP 3D design application into system planning and execution. “We were able to re-look at all of the designs to see what we could improve on and to see how well our conversion from a 2D to 3D world went,” stated McCarthy. “It was reassuring that so much of what we had worked out in 2D, even though it’s a painstaking process, worked out to be what we wanted anyway.”
The Roskilde Festival and Meyer Sound teams were thrilled to return to the festival after a two-year hiatus. “The spirit here is very, very special and it’s infectious. We all feel it,” said Meyer Sound Executive Vice President, Helen Meyer. “It’s building on all of the quality that everyone puts into this festival.”
“Most of us feel that the more transparent our work is, the better,” noted Roskilde Festival’s long time project manager Morten Büchert, adding that for that reason, it’s important to celebrate the festival’s breadth of collaboration with Meyer Sound: “I am in awe of the combination of deep knowledge of technology and physics, embedded with an open mindset on how to improve what we do as a group of diverse professionals. My hope for the future is that the collaboration continues and we strengthen our bond. I dream about what we can achieve together!”