Split Personality Concert

Would you take this gig?

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Here's the gig, I just got booked to do the grandaddy of all battles of the bands at the local fairgrounds in June. They want 2 stages, side by side in a big top, running 16 bands in 5 hours. Now here's the kicker.

They only want one sound system...

So I told em yeah, just take my normal fee, times 2.5 and I'll see ya on the 10th. I've already come up with a solution, but I was interested to see what you guys might come up with. After a day or two I'll post my plan and a diagram. Happy scheming.
Well... This really depends what equipment you have to work with. My mind is instantly raceing with the possiblities with a bascily unlimited equipment list...

If two mixers is an option, I'd probably use one for each stage and then have a small (dj almost) board to select between the two "master boards" this would keep it neat especially if you are running a semi seperate monitor system for each stage (not having the monitors be the same across both stages).

What you are able to setup in a situation like this is going to be hugely dictated by what equipement you have available.

Actually, my school is trying to do an "All Arts Day" during which (luckly it's not really a day, it's just one block) they want a constant stream of performers in our auditorium. The plan has performers rangeing commedians, to poetry, to short films, to stories, to music, to dancing, to commedians. (basicly everything short of a band.... but if they dont have enough other people sign up, they have several bands who are vieing for a possible "closer" position). They also want to have a stream of photos/art flying by on the big screen during the poetry and stuff like that so it's going to be a busy day. I am thinking of breaking our stage into 5 areas: 2 Podiums (up stage right and left, infront of the screen and curtain), the entry isle (basicly in the middle of our auditorium, but acustics from it are still good, and i can reach a mic there fairly easily), the stage itself, and the screen. The hardest part with this (and with what you are going to face) is the transistions. I am going to be spending a long time making the order for all these artists so attention is directed in areas opposet where setup and changes are being made. IE: stuff will be happening in the isle while the screen is going up out of the way for the dancers, but the poets will be upfront next to the screen while pics are going on it.

I think i have enough sound inputs to run everyting off of one mixer and one of everything, the only thing I am going to be short on is mic cable b/c I'll be going in so many directions. You are going to have to consider this too... again, it all comes down to equipment...

(sorry for long rambling post.... I'm going to bed now! :) )
You can cheat and look at my equipment, check the site and click on gear.
Depends on the input demands of each stage--or if you are lucky enough to command that.. Then ideally you can use a fixed mic/stand set up per stage....

The first two easist ways to do a set up like this are this: Dual Consoles at FOH and Monitors is one solution..but that increases your engineer needs and internal costs.... However the easier solution is a single large frame console (48ch or larger) at FOH and MOnitors on a splitter snake, with each console split down the middle with say 20 inputs max for each stage, using half the console for each stage while keeping your FX and playback the same (ahh mute groups). If you have to do monitors from FOH that just adds to the SUCK factor some....but then again that is what Matrix mixes can be handy for... :)

Then again I have also done this where you use two smaller 16 ch mixers on-stage at each stage with a fixed set up, and one main console from FOH is small frame (the BAND then does their own monitors for vocals only this way and does their own work to set the mix and you just sit there and ride faders if you are lazy, and the levels out are just "preset" roughly on each console for the Mains feed to FOH) and you take the main L&R feed's from the mixers to a small frame console at FOH.. Basiclaly subbing down two on-stage consoles into one console. Less control at FOH that way--but then each band does their own thing and sounds as bad as they wanna sound. :)

This all depends on what is required for channels, FX, control and input...but those are the top three ways..there are a couple more ways to do this...but they get a bit more odd.... ;)


I've done something similar. It was pretty crazy. There were 2 stages with bands. Each stage had 2 or 3 bands. There were no monitors. Each guitar amp was miked or had a DI box. We had 2 mixers. One was a rented, 16 channel. Don't remember the brand, but it was nice. Then we had some kind of Behringer mixer. So each band had a section of the board, which could have been put on subgroups, but we didn't since the head guy didn't know how to. One band had it's own head, so we just tapped off that. Each stage had it's own snake ran to it. What sucked was switching mikes from band to band. Oh and we were behind the stage, which also sucked.

im almost 100% sure that the closer mixer in the pic is a crest.
yea... looks alot like my crest X-Eight
would the answer be to have a really large board and mute one section and use the other for one stage time to swtich just mute the other and un mute the first. i did something simalar when i worked two bands at the beaches jazz fest in toronto we had two bands one location switching off all night in a rotation and thats what i did took my 32 chanel mackie and did that it sounded ok.

It depends alot on the equipment you may use. If you have a larger format console it becomes much easier. The simplest solution is to run a snake to each stage. Then each snake goes to the console. Each stage has one or two monitor mixes. If you have a smaller board, it becomes much more difficult to do. Like I said without knowing the equipment you can use it is an easy problem.
location, location, location!!

What you need depends alot on how the event is setup. For example, if the two stages are like

___ ____

then you can use three speaker stacks--one on each end and one in the middle, and use an Aux out to control one of them. If it's more like

\ /

then you have to have four stacks. Also, if it's the former then you can run one FOH board. Each stage has their own snake going to you, and their own onstage monitor board, say you have a 48 channel board, then great, channels 1-24 are S1, 25-48 are S2. Then you have a monitor guy for each stage, and you are set, my friend!

If it's the second one, then you have to have two of everything, because you will not be able to put one board in a good location to mix sound for both stages, and unless you happen to have a speaker stack with a 100 or more degree dispersion, you cannot use one stack to cover two stages.

Either way you are gonna need a buttload of mic cable! :)

And yeah, sorry, didn't feel like looking at your equipment list. If you don't have it, find a way to rent it, that's the way I look at it. You probably have a large board (like, 48+ channel FOH board) and depending on what you do (like if you are a rental house then heck, you've got lots probably, a local place in my town has a buttload of small board that'd work for monitor boards) you have several boards that would work as monitors too. Not sure how many channels you'd need, but for even a band, a 16 channel board should do you, that gives yuo say 8 drum mics and then 8 mics for vocals/channels for DIboxes.

say 2-4 subs per stage, and then 2 mid/hi cabs per side means, depending on setup, you need either 3subs/3others, 6/3, 4/4 or 8subs/8others. Then lets say minimum of 4 monitors per stage (three for front, one for drums, again, assuming a band), that means 8 monitors.

yeah it's alot of gear but it's probably also alot of money, and it might be alot of fun. Whatever it is, it'll probably be alot more fun two days after it's all over :)

very interested to see how they set it up, and how you run it all!
Here's the answer! Actually, they came to their senses and cut it back to 12 bands on 1 stage instead of 16 on 2. But the plan when it was still a two-headed beast was to do as one of you suggested and split my four towers into three groups, as per this diagram:

One set on the left, two sets in the middle and the last one on the right, with two W-bins rounding it out. The plan was to rent a second monitor mix and split to it. Then to switch between stages just power down one set and power up the other and keep roughly the same mix. And since the stage is fairly small, just hop the mics back and forth. Which isn't too tough a feat considering I have two highly trained assistants who live for that kind of thing (wierdos).

So that's it. Good ideas all around, although the ones that had me renting tons of gear didn't appeal so much. There's a limited budget as always, and the less I rent, the more I keep.
I'm no sound guy, but it shouldn't be that hard. More money due to the sound (and I'm assuming lighting is involved also) having to work from 2 stages. Lighting would be easy. I'd run 2 trusses, front and back, and make sure I could fly them off the roof. If not, genie towers would suffice, but I'd rather not. I'd run 2 separate dimmer racks and one of them would live stage left (not traditional, but oh well) for the left stage, and one would be for the right stage. Then run some moving lights in the center, which could be aimed at either stage. You could do 2 duplicate light rigs, with movers and conventionals, but that would be more money, if you can get it.

since your sound would probably have to be ground stacked, you'll need to get something that can not only go long, but go wide.

And of course, double the monitors. If there's 2 stages, get a monitor mix position up stage in the center, between the 2 stages. That will make mixing monitors a lot easier than having the monitor position off far stage left.

Insist that they pay for 2 sets of monitors and 2 sets of mics. The whole point of 2 stages is for fast turnover. Using 1 set of mics, etc. defeats the whole purpose. Same deal with any backline. Two stages, two backlines. Period.

Sorry, didn't see the follow-ups before I posted this.


- Emily Latella

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