Our festival focused week continues as we speak to freelance live engineer Ruediger Nuernberg. With an impressive CV featuring a few names our readers may recognise, Nuernberg chatted to AMI and had a lot to say on his favourite gear to tackle the challenges that a festival presents, as well as some key issues within the sector.
Tell me a bit about your background in live production. How are/have you been involved in live production for festivals?
I have been a freelance sound engineer for 15 years, starting with small projects and then quickly working on large productions. For the last eight to nine years, I have mainly worked as a systems engineer. Projects I have worked on include the Bluetone festival as well as concerts by Broilers, Lionel Richie, Carlos Santana, Sting and Jan Delay.
How does the challenge of festivals differ from the challenge of your typical live situation?
If you’re on tour with a band, you know exactly what kind of sound the FOH technician would like and you can respond to that accordingly. At festivals the sound setting is pretty neutral. Apart from that, you have the same task: to provide a consistent sound across the whole venue.
How important do you think sound quality is to the typical festival audience?
The sound quality is probably one of the most important factors for a great festival experience. It is far more important than those who are not responsible for sound would normally think. The better the sound, the more comfortable the festival audience will feel – even if he or she would not express it in this way. If the sound wasn’t good, you wouldn’tenjoy the concert or festival.
What is your favourite gear to tackle festivals? How does your gear meet the challenge?
For years, the Electro-Voice X-Line has been one of my favourites as it offers excellent sound across the entire frequency range. In combination with the new subwoofers, the new Electro-Voice X-Line Advance system takes the features of the X-Line one step further and offers fantastic sound – I personally like the definition in the high frequency range. The whole product family is very flexible. For example, you can often run the line-array elements in full-range mode depending on the venue. If you require more extra punch, you can add as many subs and the respective fills as you need and you still have a perfectly tuned sound reinforcement system. When it comes to the rigging of the X-Line Advance, EV has not only taken the system a step further, but rather several steps further. It is extremely easy to handle and can be deployed using the two most common methods of setup: Compression method by using a pull-up kit as well as fixed angles locked by using secondary rigging pins.
How do you think festival sound will evolve in the future?
I think the development of the last years will continue. Festival visitors are used to their home stereos and expect high fidelity sound. This development will lead to an increased refining of live sound – also at festivals. It remains to been seen if manufacturers will develop further new, innovative ideas in this area.