The annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts is one of the highlights of London’s cultural season, and its VIP Preview Party is attended by the elite from the art and fashion world as well as wealthy buyers. The famous Burlington House courtyard is turned into a concert venue for the event, and this year, the champagne set was entertained by chart-topping singer-songwriter Anne Marie, celebrating 250 years of the Summer Exhibition.
London-based rental house Fisher Productions provides production for the show, which presents some interesting acoustic and practical challenges. Following its success with the NEXO STM Series modular line array with Laura Mvula last summer, Ben Webb of Fisher AV decided to specify STM groundstacks again, “for the simplest reason, we have extremely tight set-up deadlines at the Royal Academy, and we can wheel in the plug-and-play STM system and be ready to go in minutes.”
The cobbled courtyard is surrounded on all sides by the Royal Academy and the Royal Geographical Society offices, so soundcheck opportunities are minimal. Inevitably, slapback can be a factor in this confined space, made even worse this year by a monumental Anish Kapoor sculpture, erected in the centre of the courtyard, directly in front of the PA!
For Fisher Productions, Ben Webb specified compact groundstacks comprising 3x STM M28 main modules, over a B112 bass module, over a S118 sub. Either side of the main STM stacks are 3x LS18 18” subs, the third of which is primarily used to support a pole-mounted array of 3x GEO M6 compact line array modules providing outfill. This was all controlled and processed by a NEXO NUAR, carrying 3x NXAMP4x1 and 1x NXAMP4x4, utilising the Dante connection for NEMO control.
“The STM is more than capable of meeting the brief of the Royal Academy for its party sound, and was an acceptable rider choice for Anne Marie’s engineers,” says Ben Webb. “The system’s sonic characteristics really suited the dance music vibe of this artist.”