Return to Knebworth with Liam Gallagher

  • Stevenage
L-Acoustics KS28K1SB sub woofersL-Acoustics K1 K2

Solotech supplied the audio system for Liam Gallagher’s triumphant return to Knebworth House

When Oasis played Knebworth House in the mid-nineties, it is estimated that 2% of the UK population applied for tickets, a quarter of a million people attended the two shows. The gigs cemented Oasis as the kings of Brit-Pop and went down in rock n roll history. Fast forward 26 years: Liam Gallagher, now a solo artist, embarks on a short UK summer tour complete with two dates back at Knebworth.

The Knebworth dates were promoted by Solotech established clients Festival Republic, the organisers of many UK festivals such as Reading/Leeds, Download, Wireless and Lattitude. For the one-off Knebworth dates the company turned to our team to provide the system.

Hire Manager for Solotech was Dan Bennett: “Essentially for us this was just another outdoor festival stage. However, the big difference was the scale of the event and the area we had to provide coverage to. While the audience of 80,000 was similar to Reading or Leeds, at Knebworth there is only one stage and therefore you are providing audio to each of those 80,000 simultaneously.

Solotech opted to deploy an L-Acoustics K-Series system for the two-day event. Main hangs comprised L-Acoustics K1 with K2 underhangs with a pair of K1SB sub woofers at the top of the hang to throw the LF to the rear of the arena. Directly behind the main hangs were flown sub arrays of L-Acoustics KS28 configured in a cardioid format. Outhangs were a mixture of L-Acoustics K1 and K2 with KARA II across the stage apron providing infill.

Dan Bennett commented, “From modelling in L-Acoustics Soundvision we proved that to provide the coverage to the back of the arena at the SPLs required, we would need to deploy three rings of delay towers throughout the arena. It also enabled us to fly the arrays lower, which has a positive effect on reducing offsite noise.”

Each ring had four delays comprising L-Acoustics K2 with the outermost ring utilising Kara II as underhangs. System tech Mark Pantlin commented, “Obviously this is one of the bigger systems you’re likely to see. We’ve been able to use the K-Series scalability to good effect here, placing the right box for the coverage required yet maintaining the SPL and fidelity across the whole site.”

Event organisers Festival Republic employed acoustic consultants Vanguardia to monitor and enforce the gigs on and off site noise limits. Vanguardia Director Jim Griffiths was delighted with the results Solotech achieved: “Walking around the arena the audio had amazing coverage and quality while rear rejection (surpressing the noise behind the stage) was exceptional. From all the single stage shows at Knebworth since 1986, this was the best sound with the lowest noise levels off site.”

It could be argued that Liam Gallagher was making a bold statement when he described these shows as history in the making, but the consensus of reviews was certainly that he delivered. NME magazine was led to conclude, “If Liam wanted to give the kids their own Knebworth here: mission accomplished.”

Drawing his own conclusions Dan Bennet commented, “This was an extra gig in what was already an incredibly busy summer schedule. Not just any gig either, but one of the biggest we will undertake this summer. Covid forced many personnel changes on us as an organisation, but this proves that we are still operating at the highest level, continuously developing our Live Production offering. That’s testimony to the warehouse staff and freelance crew, both old and new that we are able rely on to deliver these projects. I’d just like to thank them all for their hard work on this and all our projects over the coming months.”