Set in the breathtaking grounds of Ballinlough Castle in Co. Westmeath, Ireland, the Body and Soul festival is unlike any other in the country. Combining Glastonbury’s arts and performance heritage, with close connections to the summer solstice, and the holistic 24 hours a day experience (without the extreme heat!) of Burning Man, it is more about “atmospheric engineering” than just a collection of music gigs with tents.
Art pieces and installations at one turn, give way to a bass filled Speakeasy for late night revellers. Hot tubs, disco yurts, and a magnificent moonlight masquerade ball all serve up a platter of delights for music and nature lovers alike.
The attention to detail and line-up of events did not go unnoticed by Ireland’s most famous music magazine, Hot Press, who had this to say:
“The marvellously manicured site is dotted with ornately decorated bars, kooky vendors and bizarre art installations… Ireland finally has a worthy competitor for American counterparts like Burning Man.”
Let’s not play down the amount of music on offer as part of this three day mid-summer celebration – the main stage hosted the likes of Savages, Lamb, Super Furry Animals, with sets by Leftfield and Nightmares on Wax amongst many others. Dublin based Hertz-U Soundsystem were responsible for providing top quality audio in the “Midnight Circus” tent – which itself saw dance and music acts such as Tiga and James Holden playing live sets late into the evenings.
Hertz-U had recently taken delivery of some MC2 E100 quad channel amplifiers providing them with extra power and flexibility to drive both subs and multiway systems from the same amplifiers without compromising on audio quality as can happen with some “bass amps”. Colm Doyle of Hertz-U commented:
“The fact is that we are delighted with the huge headroom the new E100s give us to power the [Funktion One] F215MK2 and Res3EH parts of the system. A pair of E100s powered 12 x Res3EH/SH and 8 x F215MK2 between them and delivered dynamic and transient sound from the live acts and electronic acts on the stage.”
The system was further augmented with more subs in the form of Funktion One F218s, double 18” subs, sixteen of which were driven from MC2 E45 dual channel amplifiers.
As if that wasn’t enough, another new purchase, an additional MC2 E90 dual channel amplifier was added for infrabass power. Colm enthused further about this:
“Our new E90 also powered the two double infrahorns and really put out amazing sub-bass from 20-45Hz . Lots of headroom and that power enables it to form such smooth clean sub-bass effortlessly.”
Processing and managing the system was achieved with XTA processing in the form of DP448s and even some DP226, still going strong! Colm explained about the “Midnight Circus” tent requirements and how they had arranged the system to provide excellent, even coverage throughout such a large area:
“The shape of the main crowd area in the Midnight Circus tent requires up to 150 degrees of dispersion . The tent got really packed for certain acts but the wide array enables us to point source audio coverage to the outer perimeter of the tent all the way up to pretty much where the crowd barrier meets the tent sides. You can see people on the outside areas are enjoying this with the total atmosphere of [the] tent .”
With another successful year under its belt, Body and Soul seems destined to become a permanent fixture in Ireland’s ever expanding calendar or quality festivals. The Irish Times was moved to comment in it’s review that ”When it comes to favourite Irish festivals, Body&Soul is less a contender and more like a defending champion”
The last word must go to Mr. Doyle again though.
“Body and Soul create a very special vibe that few festivals can match in Ireland and we are delighted to be part of it with MC2, XTA and Funktion-One.”