Besides the finest in American music and cuisine, Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Music & Food Festival featured the largest Martin Audio MLA system ever deployed for this type of event.
Over 15,000 people a night attended the outdoor event at Nashville’s Lawn in Riverfront Park to see headliner Zac Brown Band, Willie Nelson & Family, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves, The Head and the Heart, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Special guests Kenny Chesney, John Fogerty, Jason Mraz and others also sat in with Zac Brown each night.
The music was augmented by an “Eat and Greet” food component with some meals prepared by festival organizer/headliner/foodie supreme Zac Brown and executive chef Rusty Hamlin. Celebrity chefs such as Chicago’s Guiseppe Trentori and 2013 James Beard award winner Stephanie Izard were also showcased along with local Nashville favorites. In addition to the on site food stalls, 14 private boxes, each holding tables of 24 gourmet aficionados enjoying catered meals, were situated directly in front of the stage for maximum eating and listening pleasure.
SES (Special Event Services) of Nashville and Winston Salem deployed a massive Martin Audio MLA setup for the event consisting of 22 MLA, two MLD (downfill) and 12 MLX subs flown per side. 12 MLX were ground-stacked under center stage with three W8LM per side for lip fill. A DiGiCo SD7 console was at FOH and two DiGiCo SD10s were used for monitors.
The crew included Zac Brown FOH engineer Eric Roderick along with ZBB monitor engineers Mark Frink and Andy Hill. The crew from SES included system tech Preston Soper, Alex Ritter and Joe Lefevbre.
Asked about the reaction to the MLA system, SES Director of Touring Operations Michael Brammer responded, “Eric always has a good night when he’s behind MLA and even though Zac was having some vocal issues because of a head cold that weekend, we were able to compensate for that with the PA and really make those problems disappear.
“Then the fact that we could walk outside of the festival site and have no noise pollution in terms of the nearby residential areas and hotels was ideal. We never got a phone call about it being too loud.
“All the guest engineers were absolutely blown away, especially when they walked the field and found out the mix still held together 600 ft. away from the stage with no delays!”
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