The Sziget Festival, held every summer on Óbudai Island in the Danube River near Budapest, has always been one of Hungary’s largest gatherings, but this year’s festival exceeded previous years by a considerable margin, with record-breaking crowds topping 55,000 per day and a roster of nearly 200 diverse acts. It all went off without a hitch, though, thanks to a team of professionals from Budapest-based audio firm Expander 2000 Ltd. and a sound system built around a wide range of Meyer Sound products.
The sheer size of this year’s Sziget Festival dictated that the Expander 2000 crew set up multiple stages of varying sizes and configurations just to handle the sheer volume of acts. The Main Stage was powered by 48 MILO® high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers, with 32 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers, 12 MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers, and two CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeakers, controlled by a Galileo™ loudspeaker management system.
There were seven accompanying satellite stages. The World Music Stage, which ran 12 M3D line array loudspeakers, eight M3D-Sub directional subwoofers, six UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers, a pair of MSL-4 cabinets and an LD-3 compensating line driver. The Party Arena Stage utilized a system that included 12 more M3D cabinets, 14 M3D-Sub units, eight MTS-4A full-range main loudspeakers, eight DS-2P horn-loaded mid-bass loudspeakers and another Galileo system.
The Jazz Stage was powered by a dozen of the new M’elodie™ ultracompact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers, along with four 600-HP compact high-power subwoofers, a pair of CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeakers, another LD-3, and eight UM-1P narrow coverage stage monitors onstage. The Trend Sziget Stage used four CQ-1 cabinets and a pair of 700-HP subs, as well as an LD-2 line driver, while the Wan2 Stage boasted 12 more MILO cabinets and 12 700-HP subs, with four legacy, unpowered MSL-3 reinforcement loudspeakers and another LD-3 unit.
The Blues Stage was powered by 10 MILO cabinets and a pair of MILO 120 high-power expanded coverage curvilinear array loudspeakers, augmented by six 700-HP subs and another LD3, while the Roma Tent ran with 16 M1D ultracompact curvilinear array loudspeakers, eight M1D-Sub ultracompact subwoofers and one more LD-3.
This was the third year in a row that Expander 2000 has used Meyer Sound gear on the summer festival beat, and response from the artists and technical crew has been overwhelmingly positive.
Marjan Pirnar, owner of Slovenian firm Festival Novo Mesto, was enthusiastic. “As the owner of both Meyer Sound MILO and M’elodie systems, I know very well the sound capabilities of 12 MILOs per side, but I was interested to hear a larger MILO system,” he stated. “Hearing 24 MILOs per side was a complete surprise for me. The volume of sound, clarity and power were absolutely amazing and much more powerful than I had expected. At a distance of 140 meters from the stage, the system achieved high concert levels and stunning fidelity with no need for delay towers.”
Chief engineer Komjáthy Árpád and the crew of Expander 2000 credit their close relationship with Meyer Sound and products, such as MAPP Online Pro™ acoustical prediction software and the SIM® 3 audio analyzer, with helping to make their business more efficient and competitive and enabling them to maintain their grueling summer schedule. Following a recent training session on the SIM 3 analyzer, Árpád praised the system’s capabilities, saying, “I felt like the proverbial blind man who has his sight restored: because of the training, now I can see what I hear!"
Sziget, (which means “Island” in Hungarian) is possibly one of the world’s most unique festivals. It boasts a gigantic bill that truly defines the term “eclectic,” with everything from straight-ahead rockers Franz Ferdinand to punk and metal icons such as Iggy Pop, Ministry, and former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock to genre-bending acts such as the Scissor Sisters and Radiohead. Moreover, the festival itself is known for its distinctive atmosphere, with the crowd of thousands creating its own unique microcosm, a provisional village centered around the music. Held in mid-August, Sziget marks a fitting end to Expander 2000’s busy summer season.
Sziget Festival Hungary: www.sziget.hu