Small-scale Offshoot of Famed Swiss Festival Proves a Major Success in its First Year.
Hangzhou, China is more than 9,000 kilometers from the shores of Lake Geneva, yet for four days in October the first Montreux Jazz Festival China successfully bridged both distance and cultural differences with the universal language of music. Also, to ensure the same sonic excellence experienced for 35 years on the shores of Lake Geneva, Montreux Jazz Festival China collaborated with Meyer Sound to ensure the best quality sound.
The festival was held from October 5 to 8 at the Sofitel Westlake Hotel, with the main stage outdoors on the terrace and a special immersive experience installed in the lobby bar. The live performances featured artists from six countries, though all currently reside in China, with musical styles ranging from jazz to pop, folk and R&B.
Although prudently limited in scope due to continuing COVID-19 concerns, MJF China’s first edition proved a resounding success in terms of both audience satisfaction and artist involvement. More than 1,000 visitors turned out for the event, and the inaugural festival received accolades from the press and dignitaries — including the Swiss ambassador to China — for the quality of the music, the intimate connection between musicians and audiences, and the high production standards.
“The musicians told me that they were very impressed with our sound system, and some even said it was the best they had heard in China,” comments Joyce Peng Peng, CEO of the Montreux Jazz Festival China. “We also had invited some of the top music critics and they also said the sound quality outdoors was more like what would be heard in a fine theater.”
The outdoor stage was equipped with main L/R arrays of five each LINA® line array loudspeakers with low frequency support from a quartet of 900-LFC™ low-frequency control elements. LINA loudspeakers also provided front fill (2) and stage left fill (4), with a single UPQ-D1™ as stage right fill. ULTRA-X40™ loudspeakers were deployed for side fill (1) and VIP lounge fill (5), the latter group paired with five 750-LFC™ low-frequency control elements. A dozen MJF-210™ stage monitors were available as needed for artist foldback.
The system was provided by Hangzhou Yaoyue Culture Creative Ltd., with the cooperation and assistance of Shanghai Broad Future Electro Technology, Meyer Sound’s distributor for China, and Meyer Sound Technical Sales Support Specialist Theodore Huang.
For Kent Poon, chief technology officer for Montreux Jazz Festival China, selection of a Meyer Sound system was a natural fit. “Meyer Sound has been the official sound partner for the festival in Switzerland for more than three decades, and for a good reason. Meyer Sound systems are capable of high headroom and SPL with extremely low distortion. Also, it is important not to have just one spot as a prime listening area, but to provide balanced sound throughout the audience. Meyer Sound systems are very good at providing this uniform coverage.”
Inside the hotel, the ImmersiveSpace featured recorded performances of artists from three countries. Playback here was heard through a system of nine ULTRA‑X20™ compact loudspeakers with deep bass from a USW-112P™ subwoofer. The immersive program featured 15 musicians from three countries.
Certainly, the sound partnership established in Switzerland has been fully embraced in China as well, as expressed by festival CEO Joyce Peng Peng. “We were totally happy with what we heard this year. The sound from the Meyer Sound systems feels like a warm hug and you sense a clear and strong heartbeat.”
Plans are underway for a much larger second edition of Montreux Jazz Festival China, to be held in mid-October of 2022. Expectations are for attendance of 5,000 per day over three to five days, with more than 30 concerts on three stages with predominantly international acts.
Photo: © Courtesy of Montreux Jazz Festival China