The Changing Sound of Festivals

Duncan Geddes

by Duncan Geddes

Grab your wellies and don your sunnies, because festival season is finally here! As music lovers gather to celebrate the best of modern music, we take a look back at the changing sound of festivals over the years…

In the last five decades, technology has changed how we create and experience music in many ways – from the iPod and streaming to live music. Today, the summer festival season sees farms, fields and parks across the world filled with thousands of music lovers enjoying the music – but getting sound from the stage to their ears is not easy.

The Beatles famously quit touring in 1966 due to their inability to hear themselves play because of the quality of amplification available for outdoor events, in many cases, resorting to playing through the existing PA system at sports venues during their US tour.

Since then, outdoor shows and festivals have grown in popularity and scale thanks to technological improvements such as the main stage array, which first appeared in the 1980s. Modern systems like Martin Audio’s Multi-Cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) can manage the sound so that noise pollution is limited, while fans on the site enjoy the loudest, highest quality experience.

We will see how far speaker tech has come at Glastonbury 2022 where Paul McCartney headlines in front of over 200,000 people – close to ten times more people than saw him perform at The Beatles’ final live concert at Candlestick Park (no pressure, Macca!).

The advancements in festival speakers have played a significant role in making the modern music festival possible. Take a journey with us as we explore this progression in our exclusive infographic:

An infographic looking at the evolution of sound design at outdoor events and usic festivals, from the early 1960s to Glastonbury 2022.

At every festival, there will be a large amount of sound absorbing foam or sound transparent foam, which really enhances the quality of the music. Festival goers probably won’t even think about this, but without foam at their festival, the experience wouldn’t be as good!  

Get in touch to find out more about acoustic foams and how they can be used to improve the quality of your audio projects. 

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