Now 11 years old, Chris Evans’ popular CarFests show no signs of running out of gas, as some 50,000 people again took to Laverstoke Park Farm near Overton, Hampshire—owned by 1979 Formula One World Champion, Jody Scheckter—for CarFest South. Inaugurated by Evans back in 2011, the event raises funds for Children in Need.
The event is a regular client of Martin Audio partner SWG Events, the south-west-based production company, who provided a full sound and light package. This included their market leading Martin Audio WPL line array, which provided sound reinforcement for a broad range of artists. These included Kaiser Chiefs, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Tom Odell, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Faithless Soundsystem, James Blunt, Judge Jules, Bob Marley Revival and Rick Parfitt Jnr, Paloma Faith and Steps.
The fast-moving performance area is built around three differently configured stages—flanking a DJ stage occupied by Chris Evans himself—all set in a line.
SWG Events have traditionally deployed their W8LC but this year that older Martin Audio system was redeployed to delay duties—in two hangs of eight—as their new Wavefront Precision (WPL) took pride of place. The two main hangs of 12 WPL were driven in 2-box resolution from iKON iK42 process controlled amplifiers, as were a stage right out hang of 12 WPL. An additional six-per-side WPC provided infills between the stages, while across the front, 20 Martin Audio SXH218 subwoofers were set in a broadside array to provide LF extension.
Further to that, four stacks of two W8LC were deployed for front fill on the larger of the stages with an additional 16 W8LM for front fill across the lip of the smaller two. Finally, 32 XE500 Martin Audio stage wedges were placed across the two main performance stages.
With two stages constantly flip-flopping this was a high energy show—as SWG’s Simon Purse, who had overall responsibility for the audio, explained. And with many of the acts bringing their own sound engineers and control the FOH position was well populated with mixing desks.
SWG put out an experienced crew, with Ryan Bass and Adam Andrews at FOH, providing mixing duties where necessary, while Matt Pope and Olly Hayward patrolled the stage. Overall project manager was Ian Williams.
Although the two-day festival was prone to sudden weather changes, the PA coped admirably and the sound crew were able to achieve levels up to 98dBa at FOH, while observing the offsite threshold of 65dB. These were set by noise consultant Simon Joynes of Joynes Nash Acoustic Consulting.
Stated Simon Purse, “We do a lot of work with Joynes Nash; they are familiar with MLA [the precursor of Wavefront Precision] and realise it’s a useful tool for councils when it comes to environmental noise on sensitive sites.”
He added that since SWG Events acquired WPL at the beginning of the summer the system has never been in the warehouse. “It’s absolutely proved its worth and has been out nearly every weekend since we purchased it. We are now able to appease local councils as well as satisfying guest sound engineers.”
Summarising CarFest, he said, “The site is challenging because it is so large, and having all stages running more or less simultaneously and sharing the same PA, certainly keeps everyone engaged. But we pulled it off … WPL worked really well, and we will certainly use it again here.”
Simon Joynes agreed. “This system deployment continues to deliver benefits in offsite noise control, measured against comparable events,” noted the consultant.
Photography by Filiz Moore.