Big changes at the Couleur Café, Belgium’s largest urban contemporary music festival – after more than 20 years in its Tour & Taxis location, the super-multicultural event has moved to a new venue in the beautiful park below the iconic Atomium in Brussels.
On the audio front, it’s business as usual, with regular sound provider Arto delivering NEXO concert PA systems for three stages, covering a huge variety of musical genres – reggae, hip hop, world, soul, funk, Latin, dub, club and electronic music.
Amongst the many different entertainments in the Couleur Café environment, there were three main stages. On the largest RED stage, artists such as soul-funk-reggae star Patrice, Serbia’s Emir Kusturica, legendary Jamaican band Toots and the Maytals and one of Africa’s biggest reggae artists, Alpha Blondy performed with NEXO’s STM modular line arrays in front of a 25,000-capacity crowd.
This year’s edition of the festival was slightly downscaled, a consequence partly of the relocation but also because attendance at large events has been affected by fear of terrorism. NEXO’s STM Series demonstrated its exceptional versatility in complying with the new parameters, scaling down to match the smaller stages without forcing Arto engineers to compromise on the format of the PA.
15 sets of STM M46+B112 per side were flown with 4x S118 subs per side, above a further 20x STM S118s on the ground (per side) in cardioid mode. The smaller STM main cabinets (M28) were used for downfill and frontfill. Arrays of 9x GEO S12 per side were used for outfills.
- 15x STM M46 main + 15x STM B112 bass per side
- 1x STM M28 downfill per side
- 4x STM S118 subs per side, flown
- 20x STM S118 subs per side, groundstacked
Backing up the Arto team was Val Gilbert, NEXO Engineering Support manager for Touring and Rental. Commenting on the mix of flown and groundstacked S118 subs, he explained, “the S118’s high-output performance means that 4x flown cabinets per side is enough just to complement the LF response in the far field. Ground S118 ratio remains close to the 1:1 ratio with the main and bass arrays, and the 20x subs each side on the floor are perfect for the more bass-heavy acts.”
Appearing on the second GREEN stage, located in a leafy amphitheatre, were diverse performers such as world-champion DJs Birdy Nam Nam,a new hip hop concept Niveau4 and the acclaimed UK singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas. Here the main PA comprised NEXO’s smaller STM Main module, the M28., in left and right arrays of 12x cabinets, paired with 6x B112 bass elements per side, and 8x S18 subs per side. As with the main RED stage, NEXO’s classic Alpha boxes were stacked as stage fills.
- 12x STM M28 main per side
- 6x STM B112 bass per side
- 4x RS18 subs per side, 8x RS18s in a line across the front
Describing the ratio of STM cabinets in the GREEN stage design, Gilbert explained that,” we don’t have a set ratio for the M28:B112, because the M28 is more than capable on its own. However for more bass-heavy acts like Birdy Nam Nam, the extra LF headroom offered by the B112 is much appreciated, without having to fly substantial subbass boxes.”
The third small BLUE stage was also equipped with NEXO, using 9-module GEO D arrays per side, with CD18s for subbass.
FOH systems engineer for Arto is Christophe Loncour, a very experienced STM Series festival user. “With the festival being at a new location, with logistics up in the air, it was essential that we could get the system up as quickly as possible. STM allows us to fly the PA very fast, plug in and switch on. We spent very little time tuning. More important, the system performed precisely as the original NS-1 prediction software told us it would, both in terms of coverage and tonal response.”