NY CityFest, a region-wide initiative focused on helping churches saturate their neighborhoods with the good news of Jesus Christ through regional gatherings and evangelistic outreaches, teamed up with Luis Palau and dozens of other partner evangelists to celebrate its achievements with a free concert and gospel sermons at Central Park in Manhattan on July 11, 2015.
The combination of great weather and an all-star Christian music lineup left few open spots on the Great Lawn in Central Park. With attendance limited to 60,000 people plus another 20,000 people encircling the perimeter and an additional audience in virtual attendance globally via radio, television and live internet streaming, the pressure was high to provide clear and quality sound throughout the entire event.
Production company L&M Sound & Light was tasked by the event coordinators to meet these needs and their choice was K-array. Originally raising their eyebrows at the decision to use a system that they had not had the opportunity to experience before, engineers and event planners alike quickly changed their minds once they heard the sound from K-array’s Firenze Series speakers.
“I was skeptical since I had never seen a system set up like that before and, on such a large platform with a global audience, we had little room for error,” explained Ryan Lampa, Sound Engineer for Toby Mac. “But I was extremely pleased with the power, coverage and accuracy right out of the box! I was inspired by the clarity of the PA and found myself making the tiniest changes to the mix, and enjoyed hearing those tiny changes.”
Extending 55 acres and measuring a length of around 400m, a main PA with 2 line delays were needed to cover the large area. The K-array arsenal included a wall of twelve KH8 line array elements paired with eight KS8 subwoofers per side. Two KH3 loudspeakers combined with two KS5 subwoofers for stage side fills to the left and the right of the performers. Four KH2 loudspeakers were originally planned for front fill coverage, but with the impressive digital steering and 120° horizontal coverage of the KH8, they were no longer needed.
The side fill amazed both the artists and sound engineers who were surprised by the power of the KH5 despite their size. The sound quality was even and seamless all over the stage that some of the performers didn’t even use wedge monitors.
“There are some PAs that you know you are going to have a good show with the moment you start to tune, and this was one of those boxes,” said Lampa.
At Delay Towers 1 and 2, the longest array of Firenze KH7 loudspeakers ever amassed was flown with five of the line array elements connected end-to-end and hung vertically. They were paired with three KS5 subwoofers each that withstood a couple hours of heavy rain then extended periods of typical New York summer heat.
The final set of towers consisted of four KH4 loudspeakers with 8 KS4 subwoofers each.
It was reassured that the system performing as it should when the man of the hour himself, Luis Palau, took the stage and asked:
“Can you hear me where out there where I can’t see you?” His question was met with a roar of affirmation from the tens of thousands of attendees in the back who could vaguely make out his silhouette on the stage, yet could hear him clearly.
The event marks one of the largest religious events in New York City in over a decade with Mayor Bill de Blasio even making a cameo appearance.