Last month saw approximately 30,000 diverse and hyped music fans roll into one of Australia's most-loved beach towns, Byron Bay, for the 16th annual Splendour in the Grass music festival.
Despite being the country’s largest winter festival, the 27 degree temperature, blue skies, and zero rain made it pretty hard to believe it was winter.
The vibe was buzzing from day one. Picture tee pees, tents, campervans, and combi vans created a pop-up tent city. For three full days, the crowds were rocking out to the finest international and home grown acts, including The Cure, Flume, The Strokes, The Avalanches, Sigur Rós, James Blake, and loads more. With close to 100 bands and five main stages sprawled across North Byron Parklands, there was plenty to see and hear.
Amongst the companies in charge of audio solutions was no other than JPJ Audio – one of Australia’s premier live touring production companies – who delivered FOH equipment across the entire festival. I had the enviable task of visiting the event and work alongside Bruce Johnston and his team. Armed with an S6L, I was able to offer sound engineers the chance to get hands-on with the console and test drive their own VENUE software show files.
The Strokes used the console on the first night and it sounded amazing! JPJ left the board set up at main stage with a split from stage for the rest of the festival so anyone could monitor lines off-stage on the S6L.
Backstage we had a room with another S6L and a lot of people popped their heads in to take a look. For many, this was their first chance to get eyes on the console and even the seasoned engineers were impressed.
Courtney Barnett’s FOH mixer, Dylan Hughes, gave it a run as part of a complete demo. Dylan loaded his show file, we ran through it and he was ready to go. One thing that impressed Dylan was the custom layout for the knob modules. He could organize a channel strip any way he wished and after mixing on the S6L for only 20 minutes backstage (just prior to Barnett’s performance), Dylan used the S6L live on the main stage and it sounded great!
Bruce Johnston agreed with the rest of the JPJ tech team that Dylan’s mix was one of the top three of the day. He thought it sounded really different to the Profile and much more analog.
The overall reaction was great and every person who tried the S6L said the console was intuitive and very snappy to use, with the touch screens reacting quickly.
It was rewarding to me for the engineers to hear the sonic difference between S6L compared to Profile and appreciate how intuitive the surface is, and we can’t wait for them to start spec’ing the console for the coming Australian summer festival season.