World of Bluegrass 2016
The International Bluegrass Music Association just wrapped up their World of Bluegrass 2016 Expo and Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. SE Systems was a partner again for the 3rd year since the event relocated to Raleigh. Last year a hurricane forced the outdoor show to go inside to the Convention Center. This year we had some rain but blue sky’s and mild temperatures were with us all week. SE’s Production trucks started loading in Monday at Memorial Hall. We provided the Audio system for the IBMA Awards held Thursday evening. Cliff Miller and Buck Parker were our lead engineers for the show. Our Nexo audio system was used with Yamaha PM5D consoles for main and monitors. The awards show was pulled off without any issues with rave reviews on the audio system.
The bigger challenge for the weekend was the Friday and Saturday shows at Red Hat Amphitheater. We had a load-in on Thursday of audio, lighting and video. Our d&b audiotechnic V-Rig system was hung with DiGiCo SD10’s consoles for main and monitors. Our lighting team of Nehemiah “Nemo” Grubs and Alex Blagg designed a huge system that was controlled from our Avolites Sapphire lighting console. The video team of Ryan Biggs and Tom Nicks assembled the screens, positioned the jibs and track camera. The video trailer was set-up for the 4-camera shoot with 2-50 inch LED Monitors, camera controller and video switcher. This is a similar set-up we use for MerleFest with 4-techs working split shifts.
I arrived on-site Thursday evening in time to hear our lead tech Chris West tune the d&b system. I’ve heard this system at MerleFest on the Hillside stage but never at Red Hat. Chris pulled up different songs, all sounding full range with plenty of low end. The throwback moment was when he queued up “Money For Nothing” the Mark Knopfler/Dire Straits hit from the mid 80’s. This is a soundman’s go to song that we all have all heard under many different audio situations. I can actually say I have never heard it sound so good. Standing at FOH with Chris cranking that intro raised the chill bumps. The power of that system and the fullness you feel when the subs pound your chest is an experience. That song with 30 years of memories was the cherry on top for me. The following day, hearing Bluegrass from that system proved how well it can deliver. The acoustic instruments and harmony vocals were reproduced flawlessly, it was impressive.
The weekend went off without a hitch; we had a few showers but no rainouts. Two days of the best Bluegrass around. Thank-you to all the techs and volunteers who help make the 2016 World of Bluegrass a big success. We’ll see you in 2017.
Bryan A. Smith
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