Wigwam: From Parklife to Isle of Wight in 24 hours

Wigwam supplies two major UK festivals over consecutive weekends with just a one-day changeover in between.

Wigwam Acoustics, part of the Solotech UK Group, supported multiple stages for both Parklife and Isle of Wight festivals, with just 24-hours to repurpose the Parklife systems into the package for the Main and Big Top stages on the Isle of Wight.

With so many festivals happening over such a short period of time, Wigwam’s hire department and its UK partners SSE Audio, Capital Sound and BCS Audio have been at full capacity during the 2021 summer season. The team has had to get used to quick turnaround of gear to support back-to-back festivals. It is a testament to their experience and expertise that these events were handled successfully.

Located on the grounds of Heaton Park, Manchester, Parklife is the UK’s third-largest festival. Working with System Technician Paul Stevart, Wigwam supplied the Main, Valley and Palm House stages while UK partner BCS Audio was brought in for the Sounds of the Near Future stage.

For the Main Stage, Wigwam Project Manager Tom Bush specified a d&b audiotechnik SL system, comprising main hangs of d&b GSL cabinets with outhangs and delays of d&b KSL. It is tradition at Parklife that the main stage hosts a headline local artist the evening before the festival opens, with New Order topping the bill this year. The rest of the weekend’s line up featured dance, rap and DJ sets across the festival’s eight stages.

Parklife’s second-largest Valley Stage is positioned within a bowl, forming a natural amphitheatre around the stage. Here Wigwam deployed d&b J-Series as the main L-R hangs with d&b V-Series specified for outhangs and delays and configured d&b J-Subs in front of the stage with the whole system powered by d&b D80 amplifiers. Over on the smaller Palm House stage, Wigwam Project Manager Tom Bush opted to use a point source d&b C-Series system.

Sounds of the Near Future was the only stage across the festival not to feature a d&b system, with BCS Audio supplying an L-Acoustics K2 package for the marquee-covered stage.

As soon as Parklife fell silent on Sunday evening, the race was on to load out and get the systems back to Heywood as quickly as possible, as much of the kit was due on the Isle of Wight by first thing on Wednesday morning.

With such a quick turnaround required to supply Isle of Wight, the Wigwam warehouse team worked tirelessly to repurpose the Parklife systems into the package for its Main and Big Top stages. The whole project was prepped in just 24 hours, with the trucks and tour buses packed, ready and heading for the Isle of Wight by mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

For the Main Stage at Isle of Wight, Wigwam’s Jon Brooks and Bill Laing designed a system featuring main L-R hangs of d&b audiotechnik GSL with delays comprising d&b J-Series and V-Series. Headline artists over the weekend included Lewis Capaldi, Kasabian and Muse. Over on the Big Top stage, Wigwam supplied a d&b J-Series system with Y-Series infill, powered by D8 amplification.

Tom Bush commented: “It’s great to be able to supply two of the biggest festivals in the UK once again. Credit must go to our warehouse staff and freelance crew, who have pulled out all the stops in recent weeks. Inevitably there was some concern that we were going from 18 months of no gigs to being flat out. Still, their skills and professionalism, not just for these two projects but throughout the whole summer, made it all happen. Thanks to you all!”