Osheaga Music and Arts Festival Leaps Onto the World Stage as Sennheiser Provides Exquisite Sound for Fourth Year in a Row
Explosions in the Sky, Tricky, Beach House and The Gaslight Anthem among artists who perform on Sennheiser Green Stage, as festival attracts 135,000 music fans
Sennheiser was on hand to support the Green Stage (La scène verte) for the fourth year in a row, along with loudspeaker manufacturer K-array.Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, held every summer at the city’s breathtaking Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène, is not only well established as Canada’s top music festival, but is also ranked as one of the top music festivals in the world. With many thousands of passionate indie music fans in attendance, audio manufacturer
Since launching in 2006, when headliners including Sonic Youth, Ben Harper, and the Flaming Lips drew a crowd of 25,000, Osheaga has grown to attract no less than 135,000 music fans – and along the way has become an essential stop among many touring artists’ itinerary. In 2012, Pollstar ranked Osheaga Music and Arts Festival as the 11th largest in the world. This year, amidst mostly sunny skies, international touring artists gracing the Green Stage included The Breeders, The Gaslight Anthem, Tricky, Explosions in the Sky, Beach House and many others. Sennheiser’s Global Relations Team supported Osheaga’s Green Stage by supplying an impeccably pre-configured rack of its wireless solutions including IEMs (in-ear monitors), while Sennheiser Canada supplied a comprehensive selection of instrument and vocal microphones as well as the latest energy-efficient loudspeakers from K-array.
“The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival continues to enjoy an increasing international profile as a ‘destination music festival’, attracting music fans from all around the world with the beautiful backdrop of Montreal,” said Sennheiser’s Kristy Jo Winkler, relations manager, Americas. “Four years ago, Sennheiser helped the Green Stage establish an impressive standard in sound quality, staging and power efficiency. We hope to continue doing this for many years to come.”
Sennheiser makes Osheaga’s La Scène Verte sing
Dozens of veteran and emerging artists delivered electrifying sets through to a rapt audience of as many as 25,000 at the Green Stage. Living up to its “green” moniker, the stage featured the latest, highly efficient line of K-array speakers, as well as Sennheiser’s 2000 series wireless transmitters and receivers, its evolution series wired microphones, and its ew 300 IEM G3 wireless monitoring systems.
Sennheiser e 935 wired microphones were used as well as MMD 935-1 microphone capsules in conjunction with SKM 2000 XP handheld wireless transmitters. “I have been using Sennheiser 935 capsules for many years now and I love them,” states Greg “Monk” McClement, front-of-house engineer for the Sennheiser Green Stage. “We used them throughout the festival, in both wired and wireless applications. That’s the main vocal capsule I use on anything I do.”
Sennheiser’s evolution series microphones were also used throughout the backline. Monk had Sennheiser mics covering the entire drum kit on the stage, starting with the e 602-II cardioid microphone on the kick drum: “When the e 602-II mic came out, suddenly I had the attack, as well as the softness that is necessary for the type of music that I am doing,” he says. “All kick drum mics are different, but the e 602-II gives me more options to find the sound I am looking for.”
For the rest of the drum kit, Monk used a Sennheiser e 905 on the snare, an e 604 on the toms and a Neumann KM 184 on the hi-hat. “The e 604 clip-on is great because it not only sounds great but also helps facilitate the quick changeover we need in between acts for the patch guys on stage,” observes Monk.
The guitars amplifiers were covered by Sennheiser e 906s and e 609s, which were used in combination with a Sennheiser MK 4 large-diaphragm microphone on some of the amps. “The large-diaphragm on the MK 4 helps me pick up the mid-range frequencies properly. On the guitar amps, we had the mic pretty close up to the speaker and the capsule really held up,” Monk says.
Monk was particularly pleased with the state the Sennheiser rack containing the wireless receivers and handheld transmitters arrived in. “Everything seemed to be tuned, and it was super-easy for us to access all the packs and handhelds we needed,” he says. In a live scenario where every production minute counts, this made set up more efficient: “We don’t have time to mess around,” he says. “We are doing live music and everything has to work on the first shot.” The Sennheiser IEMs, as well as the wireless transmitters, proved to be a magical combination for both the production staff and the artists: “When the in-ears sound this good, the bands are all just so happy,” Monk observes. “The clarity between the wireless mics sending and the in-ears receiving is just insane – I have never heard that kind of quality from any other company.”
K-array Powers The Green Stage for Four Years Running
The self-powered PA system on the Green Stage consisted of ten KH4 two-way speaker systems, ten KS4 dipole subwoofers, and ten KO70 dual-21-inch sub-bass cabinets, with additional KH4/KS4 arrays as well as KH15 compact two-way speakers providing fill and delay. “It felt like we were indoors,” says Monk. “It’s very difficult when you are outdoors to have that feeling, but the K-array system managed to deliver that. All the bands’ sound guys were very impressed and really felt like they were mixing inside.”
Vaino Gennaro, Business Director-Live sound Sennheiser Canada, articulated how the K-array speaker system continues to deliver significant energy and cost savings: “The power consumption on the K-array KH4/KS4 speaker system is reduced to a minimum thanks to the use of digital amplifier modules with high-energy output from minimal power input, hence saving energy and becoming the first ‘green’ PA in the market.”
“The compact size, shape and light weight of the K-array system will fit most PA system demands while requiring only a minimal footprint,” Gennaro continued. “This results in savings on trucking – smaller trucks mean lower rental costs, savings on fuel, and requires only a regular driver’s license.” He also observes that the labor for set-up and teardown is minimized, because less crew and man-hours are required. “A lighter system requires fewer rigging points, smaller motors, and can be easily ground-stacked,” he says.
Aside from the cost and set-up efficiencies, the K-array over-delivered when it came to the sound. With its built-in DSP settings, the entire rig was easy to tune and optimize for the venue. “It delivered an awesome clean and true sound that could be heard even from a distance!” says Gennaro. One of the main considerations in setting up the PA was ensuring that the PA would deliver sufficient headroom, in case a sound engineer were to push the system by a few dBs. Gennaro recalls such an instance: “During a set by C2C, the engineer pushed the system and the K-arrays really rose to the occasion and sounded amazing,” he says. “On the live console faders for a system this large, the difference of zero plus one or zero plus two can mean a huge amount of sound. We knew the speakers would handle this and there was absolutely no distortion.”
Looking back on another successful Osheaga festival, Monk is grateful to have Sennheiser at his back: “Sennheiser takes professionals very seriously, and the company stands behind their products when they are engaged at a festival like this,” he concludes. “Each time, they put a really good team together with a lot of experience. This goes a long way during a festival that has many of us working long hours over the course of many days. It is also great for the bands coming in to play, because they know they’re going to get great sound.”