Britannia Row Productions goes to Creamfields - story by Kate Lyon
It’s August Bank Holiday in leafy Cheshire: that must mean it is time for Creamfields. Arguably, the premier UK dance music festival of the season. The production team at LarMac Live have continued to invest in the infrastructure and entertainment technology to ensure the festival continues to attract the many thousands of electronic dance music aficionados who flock there annually. Ian Greenway is the Production Manager: “We have sold out for the last seven years and attract an audience of over 70,000 but being content with the status quo is not an intelligent option in this game. As we approach our twentieth anniversary in 2017 we’ve continued to raise our game across all aspects of the festival. Perhaps the most significant this year has been the new Steel Yard stage (more of which later). But of course, in some departments change is neither necessary or advisable so, once again, we engaged Britannia Row Productions to supply the audio systems for the two main stages, including the new Steel Yard.”
Britannia Row Productions took on the audio requirements for the North and South stages along with the Steel Yard using an L-Acoustics K1/K2 system. Dave Compton was Project Manager. “At events like this, teamwork is always the most important factor. Britannia Row Productions has been providing audio for Creamfields for some years now and we have a good relationship with production which goes a long way to making the weekend run smoothly. There are always challenges – the weather can, and does, often work against us – but that’s the nature of festivals. Laurie Fradley was our overall Crew Chief and we had three distinct crews so each stage worked as an individual event.’
The ‘Steel Yard’ Arena, a new structure for 2016 is, as the name suggests, is a stage with massive curved wings, designed to embrace the audience in a visual and audio experience. Substantial numbers of L-Acoustics K1s, K2s, KARAs, ARCs supported by KS28 Subs were more than up to the job with the directivity of the K Series enabling the required SPL without spill, an important element on a site with multiple stages.
The north and south stages featured identical systems with L-Acoustics K1 and KS28 subs. For control at FOH was a DigiCo SD10 and a Yamaha QL1 console on stage. The south stage saw Avicii headline on Saturday night and perform his last ever UK show. Avicii’s FOH engineer Wayne (Rabbit) Sergeant was on duty for the show. “Working with Britannia Row Productions is never less than a complete pleasure. The service we get as a visiting act, whether or not we are the headline act is second to none. I admit to being a long term L-Acoustics fan and this rig didn’t disappoint. I’ve used the new KS28s this season and been really impressed with their performance; they continue to amaze me with the amount of detail you can hear in the mix, their tone, the effortless power handling and control. It all results in a very natural sound.”
The Steel Yard was a new venue for Creamfields and Britannia Row Productions alike. Specially commissioned by LarMac Live, the Steel Yard has an enviable capacity for festival goers and has a ceiling at of twenty metres at its apex. This allows for weather-proofed festival-sized entertainment and enclosed audio, lighting and AV effects. “As it is a steel structure with a high roof clearance we were obviously concerned that sound reinforcement would be an issue,” explains Greenway, “but the Britrow crew did their magic and the room sounded great. The concept of the Steel Yard was something of a journey into the unknown for us – it is the first structure of its kind in Europe – so having a system sound so dynamic and alive without reflective reverberation was a massive affirmation of that decision. I can guarantee you will be seeing more of the Steel Yard very soon.’
‘The service and level of professionalism we get from everyone at Britannia Row Productions is exemplary. As Production Manager, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”