Each Spring, the Cully Jazz Festival immerses jazz fans in a captivating blend of music and picturesque scenery in the heart of Switzerland’s wine country. The most important event in Swiss Romande’s vibrant cultural calendar, the festival was born in 1995 from the passion and dreams of two young visionaries, Daniel Thentz and Emmanuel Gétaz. Since then, the festival has grown from a humble two-day event, to one of Switzerland’s most influential jazz festivals spread across nine vibrant days.
2023 marks Cully Jazz Festival’s 40th anniversary, and the event now includes the entire village in its festival atmosphere. Year after year, the festival’s demanding yet accessible program attracts more than 70,000 adventurous festival goers, who share a love for live music and enjoy Cully’s welcoming ambiance. The festival line-up features musical performances across various genres and over three stages, including the brand new Chapiteau, a state-of-the-art outdoor stage, designed to elevate the live performance experience for audiences.
For the entire 40-year run, Cully Jazz Festival has called on local L-Acoustics Certified Partner TMS, specialists in providing audiovisual technology for live events. The success of this year’s event is due in no small part to L-Acoustics innovative L-ISA technology, which enabled them to create an unforgettable audio experience for attendees.
“The main reason we chose to deploy L-ISA immersive sound for the festival is because jazz as a genre thrives on natural-sounding amplification of acoustical elements, and L-ISA greatly contributes to achieving this natural feeling,” explains Benjamin Bard, Project Manager at TMS. “We were already in a great position, as the acoustics of the main venue are remarkably well-controlled, which made L-ISA even more effective, and significantly enhanced the overall sound quality.”
To accommodate the L-ISA configuration, the festival designed a new, higher tent for the main stage. Despite the new Chapiteau being three times bigger than that of past years,. the tent had a strict, limited maximum load, which TMS needed to consider when designing the system. In addition to the load limits, our goal was to design a system that would perfectly fit the varied styles of the performers,” added Bard. “While Cully is primarily a jazz festival, the performances go beyond the traditional jazz trios, even featuring rock sets like Stéphane Eicher this year. L-ISA immersive sound technology was the perfect solution to accommodate the diverse range of performances, captivate festival-goers and foster deeper connections between artist and audience.”
Bard and his team at TMS worked with L-Acoustics application engineer Jean-Charles Schmid, to design a 5.1 L-ISA configuration of five hangs of six Kiva II topped by two SB15 subwoofers spread across the stage. Two hangs of three KS21 subwoofers were flown behind the Kiva II frontal system. Nine X8 coaxial enclosures were spread across the stage lip to provide spatial fill, while X15 provided on-stage monitoring for artists. The whole system was driven by 15 LA12X amplified controllers.
The system features 10 high-power compact subwoofers for delivering powerful low-frequency output, 15 amplified controllers with 4 x 2600 W/4 Ohms bare lead, and 30 K Series KIVA II units. To enhance the low-end audio experience, they incorporated 6 high-power compact 1×21” subwoofers.
The new tent, coupled with the L-ISA configuration gave better, more consistent sound coverage over the audience area, and also resulted in substantial reduction of noise pollution for neighbouring residents.
“From the first demonstration for festival management, to the design phase, and through to setup, calibration and show support, we received outstanding assistance from Jean-Charles Schmid and L-Acoustics.” Says Bard.
Before the event, Bard and Schmid reached out to sound engineers and crew members to ensure they were prepared to get the best of the L-ISA technology. “Adoption of brand new technology can prove challenging, especially, when the audio crew is such a big one, but L-Acoustics went above and beyond to make sure every engineer was trained, had access to the material and the support they needed to feel comfortable before the show.”
The adoption of L-Acoustics L-ISA technology proved an immense success. Feedback from crew and the festival goers alike was positive, with Bard noting, “The audience feedback on the sound and the overall experience was excellent. In fact, in my 30-year career in audio, I have never had such amazing feedback from an audience. Everyone who is used to coming to the festival felt a significant upgrade in sound quality this year.”