Mint Julips, Derby Hats, and Q-SYS: A Pro AV Revitalization of Churchill Downs

A cartoon depiction of the Kentucky Derby.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

To revitalize the historic Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, Q-SYS Professional Services teamed up with integrator Alpha Video to create an AV foundation that spans over one million square feet and delivers exceptional AV experiences to hundreds of thousands of patrons who pass through its gates every year.

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This project presented several challenges for the design team as they were tasked with replacing 40 disparate processors, managing 650 amplifier loads, and creating a consistent control system for this massive property. With the software-based, Q-SYS cloud-managed audio, video and control Platform, the team was able to reimagine every zone with a single Q-SYS design file, giving them streamlined control with precise granularity.

In addition, the team was able to simplify end user controls with dozens of customized user control interfaces including an intuitive map-based navigation where any provisioned user can easily select any zone in the facility and remotely access volume and routing controls for on-the-fly adjustments, all without any AV expertise. The team also modernized the life safety system where any staff member can initiate a critical page that can override throughout the entire facility.

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The Q-SYS Platform also allowed designers to create and deploy custom voicings for 16 different third-party loudspeakers. With Q-SYS Reflect Enterprise Manager remote monitoring and management platform, the team can gain access to the system for real-time event support and consistent monitoring of the system.

“Delivering extraordinary experiences is foremost in our minds as our patrons travel from around the world to experience Churchill Downs,” said Keith Wetzler, senior director and executive producer, Churchill Downs Broadcasting. “As we continually work to enhance that experience, Alpha Video presented a compelling plan to upgrade our system, which included bringing in Q-SYS Professional Services. We knew immediately it was where we needed to go. Both Q-SYS Professional Services and Alpha Video translated our ambitions into a successful Kentucky Derby and helped to create a standardized foundation that we are confident will continue to reliably scale as our needs evolve."

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