From Parklife to the Isle of Wight

  • Manchester
J-Series and V-Seriesd&b L-Acoustics K2d&b D80 amplifiers d&b KSL V-Seriesd&b audiotechnik SLd&b J-Series L-Acoustics K2d&b D80 amplifiersd&b KSLd&b audiotechnik SL

Like many UK outdoor events of the summer of 2021, as a result of the global pandemic, both Parklife and Isle of White Festivals were pushed back from early summer to September. Scheduling outdoor events in the UK in early Autumn was a gamble but fortunately both festivals were blessed with reasonable weather and the potential mudbath was avoided.

Parklife takes place in Heaton Park Manchester and is reputed to be the third largest festival in the UK. Working with Festival Audio Chief Paul (Stev) Stevart Wigwam supplied the Main, Valley and Palm House stages while we were brought in for the Sounds of the Near Future stage.

For the Main Stage, 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’s tradition at Parklife that the main stage hosts a headline local artist the evening before the festival opens, with New Order top of the bill this year. The rest of the weekend then turns over to dance, rap and DJ sets across the festival’s eight stages.

The second largest stage on site is the Valley stage, positioned within a bowl forming a natural amphitheatre around the stage. We deployed d&b J-Series as the main L-R hangs with d&b V-Series specified for outhangs and delays, d&b J-Subs were configured in front of the stage with the whole system powered by d&b D80 amplifiers. Over on the smaller Palm House stage 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, we supplied an L-Acoustics K2 package for the marquee covered stage.

24-Hour Changeover

With so many festivals happening over such a short period of time, we have been at full capacity during the 2021 summer season. 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.

Once the trucks tipped on Monday, the Heywood warehouse team worked flat out to repurpose the Parklife systems into the package for the Main Stage and Big Top stage at the Isle of Wight. The whole project was turned around in just 24 hrs with the trucks and tour buses rolling out the yard by mid afternoon on Tuesday.

Isle of Wight

For the Main Stage at Isle of Wight, 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 in the Big Top stage, we supplied a d&b J-Series system with Y-Series infill, all powered by D80 amplification.

Tom Bush commented, “It’s great to be able to supply two of the biggest festivals in the UK once again. Credit has to 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 absolutely flat out, but their skills and professionalism not just for these two projects but throughout the whole summer have made it all happen. Thanks to you all!”