USA: Originally known as Fan Fair, a meet-and-greet event for local music fans in Nashville, the CMA Music Festival has evolved into major annual party with attendees from all 50 states and upwards of 20 foreign countries.
Every night, the big stars shine in major concerts at the newly renamed Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL Tennessee Titans. During daylight hours, free music abounds, with a combination of public stages spreading from the grassy shore of the Cumberland River and across downtown Nashville’s parks, plazas, and streets.
The Nashville office of Sound Image is one of the primary audio suppliers for the festival, providing audio for the nightly stadium concerts, two of the free music venues downtown, and multiple satellite events, such as the temporary outdoor stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Sound Image outfitted that stage, along with the official Belk Park stage for up-and-coming country artists, with PA systems from Vue Audiotechnik.
The Belk Park system consisted of twin hangs of eight Vue al-8 line array loudspeakers. Directly below them was a ground stack of four additional al-8 boxes atop a pair of matching al-8SB flyable subs. Beyond the stack, Vue hs-28 self-powered subwoofers were deployed, three per side. For front fill, three more al-8 boxes were employed. The entire system was powered and controlled by the Vue V6 and V4 Systems Engines.
“Funny story about the rig deployment,” noted Andrew Dowling of Sound Image, who managed the system. “The original plan was for a 12-box line array of the al-8. But when we arrived on site, the staging provided would only support 1,000 pounds instead of the 2,000-pound load limit we anticipated. So we had to re-think our speaker deployment on site. Fortunately, the flexibility and fidelity of the Vue loudspeakers helped us create a superb sound despite the limitations we encountered.”
Another restriction at the free downtown stages is a strict 15-minute limit for set changes, leaving no time for sound checks. To help streamline the workflow without the complication and expense of a second console, Sound Image supplied a pair of Vue i-8a nearfield speakers at the Avid Profile FOH console. Using an APB MixSwitch system to turn off the console-to-PA feed while keeping talkback and video feeds in place, the engineers could dial in a good mix in time for the first song.
“The CMA Music Festival is incredibly important to these artists, especially the up-and-coming acts,” said Dowling. “The sets are only 25 minutes long, so we at Sound Image do everything we can to make sure they sound great, including the equipment we supply. The Vue speakers at the Belk Park stage and outside the Grand Ole Opry were a big part of that. They sounded great, the visiting engineers loved them, and they handled all the rain, heat, and humidity of a Nashville summer without a single problem all week. It worked out great.”
For more information on Vue, check out its official website.