A mecca for jam band devotees, the Peach Music Festival at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA, is known for presenting a diverse, multi-genre array of artists most known for their free-flowing improvisation and danceable rhythms. Launched in 2012 by Live Nation and the Allman Brothers Band, the Peach Music Festival has been an annual event drawing enthusiastic music fans to the Montage Mountain Resorts. Headliners for 2022 included Billy Strings, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Trey Anastasio Band, and The Black Crowes, with more than 70 bands total on the bill. From an audio standpoint, the 2022 Peach Music Festival was notable as the North American major festival debut of Meyer Sound’s new PANTHER large-format linear line array loudspeaker.
This year’s Peach Music Festival was also the first for Coatesville, PA-based DBS Audio Systems as the principal audio provider. Company president Dave Brotman was elated with the PANTHER system’s performance at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain for the main Peach Stage.
“Amphitheaters with tent roofs can generate a vast amount of reflections,” noted Brotman, who served as system engineer at the main stage. “FOH engineers come in here expecting to be fighting the room acoustics all night. But the PANTHER boxes with the new ‘L’ horn can focus the coverage pattern with knife-edge precision. At 120 feet from the stage, vocals were sharp and articulate. Most engineers were thrilled with what they heard, saying it was the best experience they’ve ever had in a tent like this.”
“I couldn’t have been more excited going into the Peach Music Festival knowing I was going to be one of the first sound engineers in the states to get my ears on the new PANTHER rig,” commented Andy Lytle, FOH engineer for Billy Strings. “Dave from DBS could not have tuned the PA better and I was completely blown away by the experience. The clarity that the PANTHER provides while paired with the 1100-LFC met my expectations and I was very pleased. I can’t wait to use PANTHER again.”
“I was absolutely delighted to mix on the PANTHER system,” concurred Erich Miller, FOH engineer for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. “That pavilion can definitely be a bit of a bear to mix in, but I felt as much in control as I could have hoped for. It was smooth and responsive, a truly quality sound system. What more could I ask for?”
Sam Bardani, who mixes for the Connecticut-based rising rock band Goose, recalled his “great experience” with the new PANTHER system. “When you come into a set without any kind of sound check, and with a quick change-over, having a PA you can trust makes all the difference. I was ecstatic with the results right off the bat. These boxes pack a serious punch without compromising top-end clarity. PANTHER made the set a breeze.”
[Playing in the Band: Meyer Sound's PANTHER Powers Dead & Company's U.S. Tour]
Nathan Gilberg, after mixing an acoustic set for Duane Betts, said he was “blown away by the control and clarity. In reverberant situations like amphitheaters and arenas, this rig really shines.”
The two main hangs at the Peach Stage each comprised 12 PANTHER line array loudspeakers, with eight “L” horn long-throw cabinets over four “W” horn wide coverage versions. A horizontal 6x2 ground array of 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements pumped out deep bass, six MINA line array loudspeakers supplied front fill, a single ULTRA-X40 compact loudspeaker per side served as corner fill, and six GALAXY 816 Network Platforms handled system drive and optimization. The foldback system included 15 MJF-210 stage monitors, twin drum monitors each comprising one ULTRA-X42 compact loudspeaker over one 900-LFC low-frequency control element, and MSL-4 loudspeakers as flown side fills.
“The way that PANTHER integrates seamlessly with all the other Meyer Sound speakers really helps where we are coming from as a rental company,” said DBS Audio vice president Mike Shoulson. “When you add to that the reduced size and weight, which saves on trucking and labor, it means we can bring more to the equation regardless of the event type.”
“To me, a one box solution that can scale from a theater up to a stadium is a no brainer for a rental company,” added Brotman. “Just keep adding PANTHER and scale up to meet the application. We expect to be adding more to our inventory very soon.”
[Check Out the AV that Rocks Between the Dawn and the Dark of Night]
At the Peach Music Festival’s smaller Mushroom Stage, reinforcement was supplied by a complete Meyer Sound system based around a total of 24 Meyer Sound LEOPARD compact line array loudspeakers with bass augmented by six 1100-LFC elements. “LEOPARD is one of the easiest rigs to mix on that I have ever used,” observed the stage’s resident engineer, Ted Fletman. “Whatever you put into it is exactly what you get out of it. You can’t hide behind it, but you hear exactly what is going on, something I enjoy.”