The international music festival ‘Country to Country’ debuted in London, 2013. The festival was the first multi-day country music event in the UK since its predecessor ‘The International Festival of Country Music’. Country to Country soon grew from its modest start, now boasting dates in Dublin, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Berlin and most recently, Australia. Throughout its history the festival has hosted a number of legendary artists including Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban.
FE Live have been the audio supplier for the Glasgow set of Country to Country since 2015. Amanda Lundie, Marketing Manager at FE Live explained how they got on board: “Promoter DF Concerts asked us to get involved with the first Scottish edition of the festival. We’ve watched it grow from its original venue in Glasgow’s famous ‘Armadillo’ to its new home in 2018, just across the road at the SSE Hydro Arena.”
Country to Country is an event like no other. Despite the festival feel, every artist that plays is classed as a Headliner – certainly in terms of the technical requirements and general high standards of production. This can lead to a very high channel count regularly exceeding 300 inputs across the four main stage artists alone. Amanda continued: “As each artist sound checks in the morning, we usually operate four independent line systems. We can flip between them and leave them patched in-between sound check and the show.”
Across the festival FE Live deployed 36 12-channel Van Damme VDM37 satellite boxes, over 800m of VDM37 multipin cable and 70m of VDM150 multipin cable. This formed the basis of the high channel count across the 3 stages, with up to 400 input channels patched at any one time.
Van Damme Tourlight II Tactical Fibre and TourCat Cat 7 make up the backbone of the FE Live data system looking after Dante Drive for the main PA systems, OCA control for the amplifiers, and internal comms for the show. FE live have also used VDC Black Series microphone and speaker cable for many years across their entire rental inventory.
When asked about any technical challenges on the job, Amanda answered: “The main challenge with this event is time! With such a high channel count, squeezing the four sound checks in before doors opening at 4pm can be quite a challenge. We need everything to work first-time, every-time as there is little room for fault finding. Thankfully this is the very reason we rely on bespoke VDC and Van Damme products for our line systems.”
VDC and FE Live have had a great working relationship for many years. Amanda concludes: “The performance and reliability are second to none. We very rarely experience any issues that require maintenance, despite regular use across a range of events from worldwide tours to muddy festival sites. The VDC design staff are very supportive with the custom fabrications that we dream up, offering help and technical support on the best way to make these reliable and easy to deploy day-to-day.”
Country to Country next appears in Sydney and Brisbane in September 2019, featuring Tim McGraw as the headline act. Tickets for other European venues go on sale later this year.