When you think of the northern lights, images of the vast open skies and mystical lights come to mind. Blueprint AB and PK Sound brought this atmosphere to the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Canada for the Northern Lights Music Festival on March 25th & 26th. This 5000 person event drew people in from throughout North America to dance to their favorite music over the Easter long weekend.
The two days of NLMF hosted a multidimensional range of electronic music that kept concert goers out of their seats. SNBRN, Thomas Jack, Gryffin, Duke Domont and ODESZA capped the first day’s lineup, followed on day two by Ekali, Mija, Keys n Krates, RL Grime and Porter Robinson.
To accommodate such a broad spectrum of sound, PK deployed an 18 module VX12 high powered line array consisting of 9 speakers per side, 24 CX800 dual 18” sub woofers, 4 VX10 compact line array loudspeakers as delays on each side, and an additional 2 VX10 front fills. This was combined with a variable configuration of stage monitors, that depending on the act consisted of Klarity 12 and SW215 loudpseakers. Topping off the system was a DJ monitor with a CX800 and 2 VX10s on each side.
Kyle Yzerloo, sound engineer with PK sound explains, “the maximum number of VX12s, which were controlling the mid and high range frequencies, were hung from the ceiling - meaning that the combination of more speakers and less power produced a sound that was louder and clearer than if fewer speakers had been used. The VX12 hangs had quite a bit of distance between them, creating dead space in the center. We addressed this with the smaller VX10s set up on top of the CX800s in the center. To ensure even bass throughout the venue, the CX800s, which were controlling the low frequencies, were spread across the floor in front of the stage. The combination of quarter-wave spacing and arc delaying evenly spread the sub frequencies from wall to wall in the venue. Overall, the system worked perfectly.”
The Shaw Conference Centre has a hard tile floor, which makes the venue a challenging one for a sound engineer. Kyle says, “The huge amounts of reflection make it hard to do a sound check when the room is empty, since it will change enormously as the room fills up.” Kyle and the rest of the sound team kept this in mind when performing sound check. They made small adjustments to the EQ as guests started to arrive, and the end result was rich, powerful sound.
Different sub-genres of music between nights meant that the sound engineers at front of house needed to take a varied approach in making it all sound good. From house music to live instrumentation and vocals like those in ODESZA’s set on the first night, to the dynamic complexities of Keys n Krates and Porter Robinson on the second night, all required constant vigilance on the EQ. In the end the music was well-represented by the sound system and the fans were on cloud 9.
During shows at Shaw Conference Centre there is generally a divide between the main room and the foyer, where people tend to mingle outside of the dancefloor; however, for Northern Lights there was a different vibe. The mesmerizing visuals and transparent quality of the sound meant that guests were captivated in the main room, leaving the foyer largely vacant. PK Sound provided guests not only with an amazing auditory experience, but also a feeling of total unity.
From the music and sound to the lights and atmosphere, Northern Lights Music Festival will be one not easily forgotten by concertgoers. There was a sense of belonging and community that soared above expectations, and PK Sound is proud to have been a part of that legendary Northern Lights weekend.
by: Siobhan Owen