For one week this summer, 385,000 music fans flocked to the Sziget Festival on Óbudai Island in Budapest, Hungary. Sound reinforcement systems from Meyer Sound were again a dominant presence in this massive international music event. Drawing inventory from rental companies in Hungary, United Kingdom, and Slovenia, roughly 400 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers were deployed at five stages, including the vast Pop-Rock Main Stage.
Meyer Sound systems have anchored the Sziget Festival since 2006, and the massive rig trucked in this year by London-basedCapital Sound and Festival Novo Mesto of Slovenia decidedly upped the ante. Covering an audience area of nearly 30,000 square meters for the main stage was a system encompassing 84 MILO line array loudspeakers flown in front arrays and four delay towers, in addition to 104 700-HP subwoofers.
The system was put to the test when Sziget 2011 launched with a special "Day 0" appearance by rock/funk/pop legend Prince. His mesmerizing performance translated into a sonic spectacular that generated online buzz for days afterward.
"I was extremely impressed by the sound for Prince," says Takács Gábor, general manager of Sziget Cultural Management, Ltd., the festival organizers. "The audience was ecstatic, and even the most critical members of the media spoke in superlatives about the sound quality."
To support Prince and 21 other headliners including Pulp, The Chemical Brothers, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and The National, the complete main stage system was bolstered by 20 MICA line array loudspeakers, six UPQ-1P loudspeakers, four JM-1P arrayable loudspeakers, and eight 600-HP subwoofers. A Galileo loudspeaker management system with four Galileo 616 processors supplied signal drive and optimization. Systems tech for the main stage was Marci Mezei, a seven-year Sziget veteran.
For Gábor, the festival's continuing relationship with Meyer Sound highlights a commitment to providing the ultimate audience experience. "We have been working with Meyer Sound for a number of years, and we are very satisfied with the level of cooperation," he notes. "We want to provide every guest with the perfect musical experience, and that can't be done without using the best sound systems."
Fruzsina Szép, program director for the festival, was ebullient in describing sound for the acts she had booked. "We had amazing sound quality at the main stage this year. The result was brilliant on both a technical and human level—it was a five star plus plus!"
The other Meyer Sound-equipped stages, and corresponding principal loudspeaker arrays, were MR2-Pet?fi Radio Stage (MILO), A38-WAN2 Stage (MILO), World Music Stage (M3D), and Roma Tent (MICA). EXPANDER 2000, ERLA, Omega, and Renegát X of Hungary provided additional equipment support.
First organized in 1993 as a relatively low-profile student gathering, the Sziget Festival has since grown to become a major cultural event that annually stages more than 1,000 performances, many by world-renowned artists. In 2011, Sziget was named one of the top five European festivals by The Independent, and was ranked among the 10 best by the European Festival Awards.