The Montreux Jazz Festival is currently in the middle of its 55th edition, running from July 2-17 in a reimagined format to accommodate health and safety guidelines. And despite the changes, many of the performers’ FOH engineers have hailed its Meyer Sound set-up as the best they have experienced yet, production manager Marco Güntensperger tells Headliner.
This year sees Meyer Sound return for its 35th year as strategic partner and official sound provider for the Swiss festival. Scaled back with fewer venues and lower capacities due to the pandemic, the principal venue has moved outdoors to the picturesque shoreline of Lake Geneva.
“Festival management took an early decision to hold the festival at a very reduced format given the restrictions announced back in early Spring,” Güntensperger told Headliner. “Swiss government communicated the road map of re-opening early enough for us to plan ahead. Due to the fragile situation in regard to indoor concerts, we decided to create a new outdoor location in close proximity to the 2m2c Music and Convention Centre. Based on the experience we’ve had building other partner platforms onto the lake, the Lake Stage concept started off.
“It was great to again collaborate with our long-time partner, Meyer Sound. Their team was instrumental in finding the best audio solutions, such as at the new Lake Stage, to ensure a great experience for artists and fans alike.”
The Meyer Sound system at the Lake Stage is centred around LEOPARD line arrays, with bass support from 900-LFC low-frequency control elements. ULTRA-X40 and ULTRA-X20 — Meyer Sound’s newest point source loudspeakers — have been specified to cover the outer seating terraces.
With seating for 500 and hosting most of this year’s headline acts, including Camélia Jordana, Zucchero, Woodkid, and Ibrahim Maalouf, the Lake Stage presented numerous technical challenges for the production team.
“A stage built entirely on the water does bring the obvious challenges: static engineering, wind and rain exposure, plus lighting,” Güntensperger explained. “As an additional element, 24/7 health and safety rules need to be followed, including a custom made windspeed control unit and alarm system etc. in case of heavy thunderstorms, as it can get very rough fast at our location.
“Furthermore, truck deliveries are a challenge since we need to bring them directly on the narrow Quai Jaccoud to our loading ramp. It’s a fairly long push for cases given (app. 60m).”
Over 160 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers and MJF Series stage monitors are deployed across the festival’s four venues. The second venue, the Petit Theatre, seats 300 and features Meyer Sound LINA line arrays, augmented by 1100-LFC and 750-LFC low-frequency control elements with ULTRA-X40 loudspeakers for fill systems.