RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015 WITH D&B AUDIOTECHNIK
The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique event that brings renowned musicians from every continent and indigenous musicians from the interiors of the island of Borneo, together on the same stage. Visitors come from near and far to enjoy afternoons of informative workshops, ethno-musical lectures, jamming sessions and mini concerts. This is followed by performances on the main stage in the evening.
Several small stages surround the two main stages, the largest of which presents the event’s so-called ‘main-course’. A d&b audiotechnik system was used on this stage, supplied by Projection House, a rental company based in Kuching, Sarawak.
The festival’s FoH engineer and Technical Director, Niall Macaulay, has had an interesting ride over the years. “We’ve been delivered loudspeakers with ripped cones hanging out, taken amplifiers apart to blast them with hair‑dryers, and been dealt pretty much everything that can go wrong. Sometimes the wildlife takes our attention, with scorpions on stage, snakes lurking under the monitor desk, or perhaps the most memorable occasion — when a colugo, or ‘flying lemur’, soared fifty meters across the audience and entirely upstaged the band.”
Wildlife aside, each year has brought some steady technical improvements over what was previously available in Kuching. “This year’s festival saw our first use of a complete d&b audiotechnik system on the Main or ‘Jungleʼ stage, input by a Yamaha CL5, and fed by a very decent stock of Shure, DPA and AKG microphones. We used the d&b V-Series, in hangs of 7 x V8 and 2 x V12 per side, coupled with 8 x J-SUBs and 2 x V-SUBs, with the tuning assistance of Shidi Zack from D Box Technique.
“I was initially concerned about placing cardioid subwoofers close to the festival’s concrete stage front being fully effective, but they produced good results. Our Stage Manager, Theo Van Eenbergen (previously FoH for The Rollins Band) reported a significant drop in interference from bass frequencies onstage — a vital factor when the system is covering a large arena, and onstage can have a veritable forest of open percussion and instrument mics. Perhaps the ultimate test was a ‘body percussion’ performance by Balinese group Kobagi Kecak. With two AKG 414s in a stereo pair, two SM81s to cover the sides, and an SM91 for foot percussion, the results were stunning. One journalist I spoke to was convinced the performance was ‘lip-syncedʼ,” concludes Macaulay. “He simply couldn’t believe the audio achieved for their performance was real — a reaction that brought a wry smile to my face and, in my mind, a round of applause for the design and engineering at d&b audiotechnik, once again exceeding expectations.”