It was hot and rained for two of the days, but the latest edition of Summerfest, Milwaukee’s massive music festival on the shore of Lake Michigan, again proved why it’s been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s largest music festival.” This year’s event, which took place June 27 through July 8 at Henry W. Maier Festival Park, drew an official count of 766,192 ticketholders who came to see an incredibly broad range of artists—including Halsey, James Taylor, Florida Georgia Line, Dave Matthews Band, Jason Isbell, Journey, Arcade Fire, and more than 800 other artists—play over 1,000 performances on the festival grounds’ dozen stages.
Those concertgoers enjoyed great music pumped through world-class PA systems from rider-ready brands L-Acoustics and JBL, with literally all of it mixed through the world’s leading front-of-house and monitor live-sound consoles, the SD-Range of desks from DiGiCo. An SD or S-Series console was positioned at all 12 of the event’s stages for its entire 11-day run, provided through Clearwing Productions, the longtime sound-reinforcement provider for Summerfest, and through DiGiCo’s US distributor, Group One Limited, which also had an SD10 console set up in a demo tent backstage for artists and mix engineers to check out.
On the seven largest stages, the festival featured two SD5 consoles at FOH positions, two SD10 desks used for FOH and one for monitors, two SD12 consoles for FOH and four for monitors, one SD9 each for FOH and monitors, and one SD8 for monitors, while five smaller S21 provided the combined FOH/monitor mix for the smaller stages. Clearwing additionally deployed an SD12 for Halsey’s performance at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, and an SD11 as a production desk on the Harley Davidson Roadhouse stage.
“There were also many other DiGiCo consoles at the 25,000-capacity American Family Insurance Amphitheater—the ones that the artists brought as part of their tour sound systems,” notes Jeff Schauer, Clearwing’s audio operations manager for company’s Milwaukee office. “DiGiCo has been the exclusive provider of audio consoles for Summerfest for the past four years, and has been part of the event for twice as long. Not only has the sound been awesome, but DiGiCo’s service and staff have been outstanding. When we talk to the engineers who staff the stages, they all tell us that the SD desks are a pleasure to work with. Their interface is intuitive and easy to pick up, so any mixer can move from one stage to another, from FOH to monitors, and immediately be at home on the work surface. Combine that with great features and great sound and that’s what you need to make a huge event like this happen without a hitch.”