Madison, WI–One of several musical events sponsored by Southern Comfort across the country, the SoCo Music Experience in Madison was a seamless blend of rock festival and corporate branding that made perfect sense in terms of context and style.
Situated at Willow Island, an outdoor festival ground with ponds and grassy expanses on the grounds of Madison‘s Alliant Energy Center, the show featured a high-energy alternative rock lineup that included Flaming Lips, Cold War Kids, Cowboy Mouth, Sick Puppies and Goat Motor. Festival attendees had to be 21 to get in, no surprise considering the sponsor.
Technotrix, a multifaceted production company out of Bourbonnais, Illinois who had already done staging and lighting for the SCMX event in Atlanta, was hired to handle full production and lighting for Madison.
Asked about the challenges at SoCo, company account manager Kevin Kiefer explains, “Festival jobs aren‘t that difficult for us because we do them all of the time. What‘s different about these ‘corporate festivals‘ is that we bring someone like Southern Comfort a system you‘d use for a medium-sized rock music show, but the main focus becomes the branding and promotion of a particular corporate brand, something we do well.”
“There are corporate production companies who have gear for doing speeches, but not a rock show,” Kiefer continues. “And there are festival guys who have the equipment for a rock show, but don‘t know how to focus on the branding and corporate entity.”
“Technotrix provides equipment for a lot of festivals, so we came up with this combination platter for companies like Nike, Netflix or Southern Comfort to put the corporate brand into the rock environment and make them look good.”
In this case, Kevin and crew supplied a 45 by 45 foot concert roof system by Xtreme Structures for the lighting and audio. To ensure maximum coverage for an area roughly 200 by 250 feet, they used Martin Audio throughout: 12 W8LC enclosures hung left and right of the stage with 18 ground-stacked WSX subs, four WT2‘s for front fill, and LE12JB monitors on stage. In addition to Martin Audio amplifiers, the system consisted of Yamaha PM5DRH FOH and Monitor consoles and XTA processing. The lighting system featured Martin MAC700 profiles.
Commenting on the setup, Kevin explains, “basically, we set up the sound and lighting the day before. Load in and sound check started at 8 in the morning, and the gates opened about four in the afternoon. The only odd thing was getting through the sound checks for all five bands.”
“As it turned out, I was very happy with the sound and so was our client, Mowalla Productions who told us that Southern Comfort was pleased as well. In fact, they‘ve asked us back to do another event in St. Louis. The person we were working with from Mowalla hadn‘t used Martin Audio before, but he ended up being a fan. So we‘ll probably do more of these shows next year, which is best end result we could have hoped for.”
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