The Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival returned to Las Vegas September 17–19, transforming 18 downtown city blocks into a dazzling hub of music, art, culture, and excitement. The event roared back to life, drawing a record 170,000 attendees for its blockbuster three-day lineup of performances by Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, A$AP Rocky, Green Day, and more than 100 additional acts. Between shows, festivalgoers took in comedy events, culinary demonstrations, and multidisciplinary creative installations by local, national, and international artists.
Life is Beautiful planners couldn’t be more thrilled that music festivals are back and booming. “We were the first festival to put a lineup out and say, ‘We’re going to do this,'” Craig Nyman, the festival’s head of music and live performances told Billboard magazine. “I think that really sparked a bit of hope and energy in the industry and let people feel that, ‘Hey, let’s go out, we can do this.'”
The sound solutions were supplied by Solotech in partnership with Meyer Sound, which provided PA systems for the festival’s three main stages. The main Downtown Stage and Bacardí Stage were anchored by Meyer Sound LEO® and LYON® linear line array loudspeakers, augmented by 900-LFC™ and 1100-LFC™ low-frequency control elements, and the Huntridge Stage featured a mix of medium and wide-pattern LYON loudspeakers and 900-LFC low-frequency control elements.
For production teams, designing systems with fixed placement inside the tight confines of an urban environment meant finding creative ways to tackle sound management and noise mitigation. Compounding the challenge of keeping sound — particularly low end — within festival grounds and out of residential areas, the team could not control delay tower placement. To overcome these constraints, they turned to system modeling, with help from Meyer Sound’s MAPP 3D™ system design and prediction software.
“Weather conditions — not just wind, but atmospheric issues like humidity — play a large part in how the system sound carries,” says Mike Smeaton, Solotech’s U.S. Director of Operations. “In MAPP 3D, you can look at the predictions that you want to do, then you can put it into your production, which is a real help.”
To manage low-end patterns, Smeaton says Solotech and Meyer Sound worked together to design both gradient and end-fire subwoofer arrays. “There was a combination of gradient flown subs on the main stage, plus we’ve done gradient stacks as well with 1100-LFCs. Outside of that, we have VLFC™ very low frequency control elements in two blocks on each side. We flew some subs in gradient, six VLFCs behind each array. I think that really helped with the coverage and helped control the pattern. The VLFC is very musical; they are really great subwoofers.”
For both Solotech and Another Planet Entertainment, working with a trusted sound partner elevates every aspect of production. “Solotech has been doing Life is Beautiful for many years now in conjunction with Meyer Sound,” says Smeaton. “This collaboration means we have continuity, we have lots of factory resources. It helps that we know the product. We know that each product is doing what we ask it to do, and we’re not competing manufacturer to manufacturer.”
Allen Scott, festival co-producer and President, Concerts and Festivals for Another Planet Entertainment, seems to speak for everyone when he shares his enthusiasm and gratitude for being able to bring people together for live events once again. “There’s nothing that can replicate the experience of being at a festival or a concert,” he says. “It gets me a little misty-eyed just to think about putting an event of this size after what we’ve been through as a nation and as the world.
“It has been 18 months or longer since we put on an event like this and people are a little rusty; throw in all the preparation that needs to go in for COVID and it’s been pretty monumental this year, but everyone’s been doing it with a grin and excitement,” Scott continues. “They are so genuinely thrilled to be back doing what they love.”
Life is Beautiful returns to Downtown Las Vegas September 16–18, 2022.
Photo: © Life is Beautiful / ALIVE Coverage