Capital FM Summertime Ball Gets Audio Boost at Wembley Stadium from Adlib

by Frank Hammel
in International News

From left, Richy Nicholson, Mark Saunders (Sennheiser), Ant Carr (Production North), Tommy Bradshaw, Dave Kay, Marc Peers, Pete Seddon, Carlos Herreros , Michael Flaherty and Simon LawsonLONDON — Adlib’s audio division again supplied a complete L-Acoustics sound system and crew to Production North for the 2012 Capital FM Summertime Ball staged at Wembley Stadium on June 9.

More details from Adlib (

This year’s line up included Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Usher, Katy Perry, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, The Wanted, Flo Rida and many more, kick starting the Summer with an action packed day of pop music and vibes.

Adlib’s crew line up of 17 was chiefed by Marc Peers. Key people included systems tech Tony Szabo, RF coordinator Dave Kay, presenter console operator Ian Nelson and patch by Michael Bernard Flaherty all intent on delivering a precisely planned mission involving some superlative teamwork.

Adlib Techicians Ian Nelson and Tony Szabo at FOH with a birds-eye view of Wembley Stadium. Photo © Robert MallowsPeers worked closely with Production North’s sound supervisor Ant Carr and their event production manager Sarah Hollis on the advance logistics ensuring all the requirements of the acts performing were met.

“We have an extremely harmonious relationship with Production North on these shows,” said Peers. ”A vast amount of detailed ground-work in the months leading up to the event is needed in order for things to run smoothly on the day,” he added.

It’s the second time the Liverpool based company has supplied audio for the Summertime Ball and it also currently services the Jingle Bell Ball winter version – again under the auspices of Production North - at the O2 Arena.

The precise schedule, similar in format to a large live TV show, kicked off at 4.03 p.m. and ran until 10.30 p.m., with the average changeover between bands being two minutes and the shortest just 30 seconds.

A birds-eye view from the FOH tower, Photo © Robert MallowsA flip flop desk setup and two days of sound checks enabled all bands to be catered for.

Everyone was miked up separately, so it involved a lot of gear and there was absolutely no margin for error. A revolving stage was used so upcoming bands could be set up and the backline be rotated around & ready for their performance, and a large upstage LED screen also flew in and out for stage entrances and exits.

The sound system included a L-Acoustics K1 system, with two 16-speaker arrays for the main hangs, with side hangs of 15 V-DOSC speakers left-and-right and an upstage hang of five V-DOSC a-side.

Two sets of delays – with another 10 x K1s in each - were located just behind the FOH mixer position. To cover the top tiers of seating, Adlib integrated the venue’s house system speakers into theirs.

The subs included 16 L-Acoustics SB28s per side, ground stacked, and the system was processed through the standard Adlib Lake set up with the audio transported back to the amp racks via a Dante optical backbone.

Three Avid Profile consoles were provided for the FOH mix, two were used for the live acts and one for the video play-ins which featured heavily throughout the show, this console was also used for all the presenter mics.

For monitors, Adlib supplied two Yamaha PM5D consoles and 24 of their new MP4 low profile wedges, which feature upgraded drivers from the original MP3 wedge. The stage was approximately 60 feet wide, 100 feet including wings, and the side fills included 3 L-Acoustics ARCs  and 2 SB28s per side.

The monitor system was powered by Lab.gruppen PLM 10000s, for which the wireless remote was invaluable for tuning and EQ’ing.

To accommodate the quick changeovers, every band was miked up separately resulting in a large selection of microphones on site.

Many of the bands performing brought their own mics and stage cabling, all of which had to be integrated into Adlib’s line system with over 65 channels of mainly Sennheiser and additional Shure wireless to meet the band’s specs.

Sennheiser also provided additional support on the day, “Thanks to Mark Saunders and Tim Sherratt, we always have Sennheiser’s invaluable support on these shows,” said Peers.

The load-in started on the Wednesday afternoon and everything had to be up, running and ready for inspection 24 hours later. Friday was a full day of sound-checks as was Saturday morning, and then straight into the show.

The schedule was intense, noted Peers. “Each and every one of our crew were complete superstars on this, all playing their integral roles in ensuring a seamless audio performance under very high pressure - a real team effort in every sense of the word.”

“Working with Steve Levitt, Ant Carr and all of the Production North team is always a complete pleasure,” said Phil Kielty, account rep. “People have no idea what a huge military-style operation goes on behind the scenes, but no-one gets flustered, and everyone pulls together with a great stage crew to make it all look so effortless and smooth. The K1 system was so well received and I can’t think of many pop festivals that can pull off the staging of performances by such an amazing array of superstars.”