Since 1977, The Port Fairy Folk Festival (PFFF) has been the cornerstone event for the humble ex-fishing village of Port Fairy in Victoria Australia.
The most invited attendee over the last 15 years to some of Australia’s leading events… The humble RCF plastic box. From the RCF 300a to the latest in D LINE; RCF is still the preferred self-powered workhorse
With its origins based firmly around Irish folk music and culture, the four day event has grown considerably in popularity over the past four decades and has evolved into an eclectic festival that encompasses the broader realms of blues, roots and world music.
In the middle of Victoria’s longest ever hot streak, the 2013 PFFF was feeding the appetites of some 50,000 lawn chair wielding music lovers. The heat was certainly no deterrent with capacity crowds as far as the eye can see. With a really healthy mix of great music from Australia and abroad, as well as expert production management from Monitor City; the PFFF was executed in fine form.
Killer Performances from Port Fairy 2013
Ade Barnard, Production Manager for PFFF caught on camera
Monitor City were managing production for stages 1, 2, the Guinness Stage (also known as the Shabeen Bar) and Stage 5. Each stage saw a varied selection of acts throughout the day including artists such as Kate Miller-Heidke (AUS), Ruthie Foster (USA), The Popes (IRE), The Cactus Channel (AUS), Tuba Skinny (USA), Chris Smither (USA), Grace Barbe Afro Kreol Band (SC\AUS) and Alanna & Alicia (AUS) to name a few.
Walking around, sampling the awesome Thai curry puffs or hippy happy organic pizza, there was a great vibe with loads of layback groove connoisseurs soaking up the sunshine and clocking down a gear from their fast paced city routines.
Throughout the Monitor City stages Nexo STM was the PA of choice for front of house. Making full use of the scalable nature of the STM system, the guys at Monitor City put their PA to good use. The three modules of STM provided a world of possibilities.
Stage 1 was comprised of 5 x M46 and 5 x B112 Bass a side. The impressive system was throwing over 65 meters to the back of the tent without any side fill or delays and still sounded amazing. With the tent at capacity for most of the day, many were happy to sit outside the tent on their picnic blankets as the audibility was still fantastic, even from that distance.
45N12 wedges were used throughout Stage 1 also with artists and monitor engineers such as Rod Matheson very impressed with the performance of the wedges. A DiGiCo SD8 was handling monitoring side of stage also and the combination of an SD Series console with Nexo wedges proved an expected success.
A DiGiCo SD8 was also at front of house and the gambit of engineers who took to the hot seat all happy to be using what is now considered by most as an industry standard console for high profile events.
DiGiCo Operators at PFFF 2013
Matt Dufty, also Production Manager for PFFF
Stage 2 featured a more creative setup of 4 x M46 Nexo STM cabinets per side with 4 x B112’s ground stacked along the front of the stage. PS15’s were given monitoring responsibilities and PS10’s were used for a touch of front fill for those who couldn’t help but dance up close to the stage.
A DiGiCo SD9 was used for monitors and a DiGiCo SD8 was at front of house. It’s no surprise that the system sounded fantastic and every engineer was delighted with the configuration provided.
A lot of acoustic and bluesy types graced Stage 2 attracting a varied crowd and the really noticeable aspect here was the PA’s low end response with only Bass cabinets ground stacked. The balance and even dispersion across the entire tent was extremely impressive.
The Guinness Tent fashioned an even smaller STM setup which delivered a mind blowing performance for its size. A mere 3 x M46 and 3 x B112 cabinets per side easily delivered the sonic goods for the tent even when filled to capacity with over 2000+? patrons. A trusty DiGiCo D1 was at the helm for monitoring along with a spread of Nexo PS-15’s; probably the most popular speaker in its class in Australia.
Plenty of wine and cheese fans were making use of the banquet style seating in this monster tent. The beer kept flowing and seemed to lift the crowds to just the right level when the Popes came to play. Irish band The Popes have done more than their fair share of gigging around the world and they managed to turn the Guinness tent into what felt like an Irish Pub on Saint Patricks Day.
Stage 5 was a cooler venue (temperature wise at least) with a GeoS12 system flown in pairs around the circular truss overhead. A total of 4 pairs of GeoS12 were flown with N4512 wedges in charge of keeping the artists happy. Two STM S118 subs, one tucked away either side of stage, were used for subtle bass enhancement throughout. With the ability to control the response of the S118, the cardioid configuration made it possible to have the subs up against the walls and out of the way.
Some really mind blowing performances were in the mix over the four days. The Saturday night was really spectacular with The Cactus Channel playing some really funky stuff and Ruthie Foster was phenomenal with her gospel pipes luring listeners in from every direction. STM did everyone justice including Grace Barbe’s Afro Kreol band, so much so it was hard to stop moving even for a moment just to take a photo. A really wonderful mix of very talented musicians and a festival that every music lover needs to check out.
More Performers from Port Fairy 2013
In terms of gear, you’d be hard pressed to find a better combination of Nexo, DiGiCo and of course, the one brand pretty much guaranteed to appear at every event, RCF.