The Henley Festival is a traditional black tie boutique event for Martin Audio partner, RG Jones Sound Engineering which is spread over 5 days. The company has serviced the event for 36 years, and in recent times they have fine-tuned their coverage of the main stages with Martin Audio MLA components, including the tricky Floating Stage.
As Festival technical manager and head of sound, Jim Lambert, says, “The Floating Stage has always been a challenge in that the front to back of the arena is only approximately 30 metres, but it is extremely wide, and with the introduction of general admission tickets outside the arena we are being asked to cover a width of something like 100m. The MLA Compacts more than rise to this challenge and yet also enable us to keep to the fairly strict off-site noise limits set by the Council.”
Having refined the system last year, the service company further fine-tuned the PA this year, adding the powerful Martin Audio DD12’s as arena delays in the grandstand to replace the previously used DD6’s. The production team also used Martin Audio MLA Mini for infill and decided to retain the same curved Martin Audio MLX sub bass arrangement that they had introduced in 2017. Lambert said: “This produced a much smoother response in the far reaches of the main stage arena.”
“It also enabled us to achieve more even coverage of the tricky grandstand whose roof partially shadows the audience from the main stage arrays.,” explained Head of Department, Jack Bowcher.
In addition to the Floating Stage, where Martin Audio MLA Compact was not only used for main PA hangs but also outfills, along with the Martin Audio MLA Minis for infills,Martin Audio MLA Minis were also used in the Bedouin Tent and Jazz Garden — two of the other three stages equipped by RG Jones – the only onsite sound contractor for the festival.
Martin Audio MLA Compact certainly proved a popular choice with visiting sound engineers, many of whom were experiencing the system for the first time. According to Bowcher, all returned a positive response and all reported an enjoyable time using the system. “Some were initially sceptical about achieving the levels they normally mixed at but once they heard what the system was capable of, they were all extremely surprised and happy,” he said.
Both Lambert and Bowcher acknowledged that with an exceptionally tight production schedule, the ability to fly a system quickly and efficiently which will achieve exactly what is required out of the box is vital. “MLA gives us the time we need to focus on other things as they crop up without needing to spend huge amounts of time tuning the PA.”
“It is always a pleasure working with RG Jones,” summarised Lambert. “The sound team onsite consistently goes the extra mile and is considered a large part of the Festival family.”