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California’s Northern Nights Music Festival returned this year, with an exceptional line-up and the best audio offering possible from Void Acoustics. For its tenth edition, over 10,000 festival goers descended upon the stunning natural environment of the Redwood Forests north of San Francisco for this iconic and eclectic festival.
Northern Nights is an important annual event for Void Acoustics, who have been involved since its inception. So much so that the organisers now view the Void sound systems as an integral feature of the festival’s image and the festival-goer’s experience.
Rental company Royal Sound & Lighting are a major Void distributor and have been a production partner for Northern Nights for several years. This year’s brief warranted the deployment of the biggest ever Void presence at the festival and the co-ordination of bigger rigs and more stages with the support of other US-based Void partners.
“We took Void into every nook and hideaway across the festival site” smiles Paul Plescov, Director of Royal Sound & Lighting. “Our brief was to provide a superb sonic experience – high fidelity music for all. This year it was a total takeover by Void Acoustics!”
Void Acoustics featured across multiple stages across the site including the Main Stage, The Grove; The Bunker; The Tribe 13 Art Gallery; Tree Lounge and Canna Craft. The Beach, a smaller festival area also boasted Void monitors. And even the production team’s crew had its own Void system deployed to ensure they experienced the full festival vibe on their time off!
Each stage had very different sonic needs, but with the breadth of Void Acoustics’ product portfolio, all areas were kitted out using the brand’s various signature products to meet each unique requirements.
The Main Stage featured Arcline 8 Line Arrays supported by strategically placed stacks of Arcline 218 subs, and Air Motions for centre fill. The versatile ArcM 15 speakers were utilised for the live acts performing on the main stage. These were assisted by Air Vantage monitors and Arcline 118 sub monitors and the ever reliable Bias Q5 amplifiers to ensure impressive sound quality.
The Grove Stage packed a punch with Stasys 218 Subs and Nexus 6 for the top end, ably supported by Venu 210i subs and the ever-versatile Venu 10 monitors.
The Bunker Stage was set up with Void’s flagship, sculpted Air Motions for the top, Stasys 218 for the subs and high-output Airten monitors. A Venu 210i rig was used to power Venu 10s for the DJ Monitor system.
The Tribe 13 pop-up Art Gallery was adorned by Void’s sleek fibreglass Air 8 monitors, Venu 8s and the low frequency Venu 210i sub enclosure and the Tree Lounge featured more of the high functioning Venu 8 tops, and the Venue 210i subs. Whilst the Cannacraft and Farmer & The Felon stage areas featured the high end Air Vantage and Stasys 218 subs.
The installation of almost x100 Void Acoustics cabinets across the Northern Nights Festival site wasn’t without its challenges. “Northern Nights is no small undertaking” smiles Nathan Short, Technical Lead for Void Acoustics North America. He worked in close collaboration with the Royal team on this event, helping ensure smooth engagement with other Void partners across the US who were supporting the massive deployment. The logistics were significant, involving a co-ordinated effort with this extended supplier network including Harrison Stern and Hippy Mafia. In addition to which the landscape and temperatures added additional issues to overcome – one of the stages being installed in a quarry pit! “The heavy duty casters for the subwoofers really help our crew push the cabinets through dirt tracks” grins Zac Dollarhide, Royal’s lead engineer. It was a mammoth team effort to ensure the huge amount of gear was delivered on site, in a timely manner, to what can only be described as remote terrain.
But it was all worth it – as the responses from those operating the systems were overwhelming. One of the touring engineers working on the Main Stage couldn’t believe what he was hearing, exclaiming “this line array is amazing, it really does the highs and high mids in such an amazing way, I would definitely use this again! And if you had a larger stadium format, I would take it on tour for sure!” Not least because the easily rigged Void Acoustics line array configuration is small but extremely powerful, providing ample coverage across the audience. It also doesn’t suffer from high frequency dropout in any possible crosswinds which may occur. This is due to the industry-leading minimal horn-to-horn spacing created by Void’s co-founder and key designer Rog Mogale. His careful box design means that cutaways ensure near minimal horn spacing between boxes, ensuring the least amount of Very High Frequency comb filtering possible. The result is Strong present Highs that don’t blow away with the wind.
Artist Casmalia, who played on the Main Stage for the first time this year was blown away by playing on the Void system. “Usually, I struggle with feedback from the sound system when I am singing live, but not with Void” she smiles. “It’s the craziest looking sound system I have ever seen, and they sound incredible. It’s a unique experience playing on a Void rig.”
Tanasa Ras, another artist performing on the Main Stage for the first time is a champion of Void systems. “My business partner and I brought the first major Void rig to California way back when….and I’m so excited to see how Royal Sound & Light have elevated the brand and have brought it to Northern Nights in force this year!”
And how did the festival team behind Northern Nights respond? Matty Roberts, Peter Huson and Andrew Blap are all well-known Californian promoters, and they couldn’t be happier with the perfect execution of the Void Acoustics systems across the site.
The feedback from the team again was positive; “Together, the teams from Void Acoustics and Royal Sound & Lighting are simply amazing and we couldn’t have achieved it all without them. Everyone’s feedback has been incredible and the love and respect for the sound and the Void Acoustics brand has been overwhelming for the entire festival weekend.”
Royal Sound & Lighting were thrilled with this year’s outcome. Their key personnel are all DJs, producers and promoters in their own right, and their work with Void Acoustics perfectly reflects their mission statement to ‘bring the best hi-fidelity sound to our community and beyond and to make sure every client gets #theroyaltreatment.’ “We embrace Void Acoustics and their products entirely – because of the clarity and accuracy of the speaker delivery, added to which their incredible look provides that extra aesthetic to all the stages they occupy” explains Paul.
And Chris Gault, Managing Partner and Client Relationship Manager for Royal Sound & Lighting takes a moment to reflect on what it means to be part of Northern Nights. “I’m very proud we can be an integral part of this amazing Northern California festival that takes place in the remote reaches of the Emerald Triangle. I’ve been attending since the first one and have watched the festival grow from year to year. It’s a festival that is near and dear to my heart and we are invested in making this a destination festival with some of the best sound on the planet! I’m thankful for the family vibes that come with the festival, and I am equally happy to have Void Acoustics as part of our family.”
“This year’s festival was a complete victory – happy festival goers and a happy festival management. Void has been sonically blessing peoples’ ears for years, and it is only right for us to bring this experience to the loyal festival goers of Northern Nights year-on-year."