Once again, the arguable flagship in South Africa’s international-grade one-day
festival repertoire, Joburg Day brought to you by 947 and MTN, occurred at the
Crocodile Creek Polo Club north of Johannesburg on 13 September 2014. If you
attended last year’s event you’ll know that it was staggeringly big. So big, in fact,
that you could have been fooled into thinking you weren’t in South Africa at all. This
has to do with the fantastic talent we have in South Africa and, of course, the top
notch quality and larger-than-life scale of the technical aspects of the show,
supplied by Gearhouse SA.
This year’s event was a slamming success and saw 30 000 people attend, beating
the previous year by at least 5 000. Everyone involved, from the artists to the techs
to the crew, delivered the goods with utmost precision and set a new benchmark for
what the South African industry can accomplish. We are certainly not “Mickey
Mouse’ and it showed.
Given the success enjoyed by all, one has to wonder, what, if anything, was
different? Why change a good thing? Well, this is exactly what I sought to find out.
According to Llewellyn Reinecke, head of audio for the event, there was very little
difference in the audio systems. The last rig had performed so well that the decision
was taken to supply (almost) the exact same one.
“Let’s just say that it was pretty much a carbon copy because they (the organisers)
liked it so much. The main differences were on the stage,’ says Reinecke.
Kholofelo “Rast’ Sewela was the monitor engineer for the day and so was heavily
involved in the new on-stage developments that had happened there this year.
Sewela is very passionate about young talent coming into the company through the
Gearhouse Academy and Joburg day was a proving ground for this initiative.
“Aside from the partnerships that we had developed with Prosound and Splitbeam
with the Midas consoles and Audio Technica, we focused a lot on development and
looking at the future in terms of festivals for the company,’ Says Sewela. “We put
our concentration on the [Gearhouse] Academy and tried to get more and more
students involved in what we are doing in festivals. So, we had more students that
were actively involved in changeovers and with the development that has been
happening we now have students who have been put into more senior positions. It
was actually surreal to see something like that happen. Load out was significantly
faster than last year; almost cut down in time by half.’
As Sewela mentioned, Audio Technica came on board through Prosound and this
was a big eye opener to him in terms of getting to hear a brand that has not had as
much exposure in South Africa as others in the past.
“Audio Technica was actually a revelation. We miked most of the festival with their
mics.’ says Sewela.
The main PA comprised 12 K1 boxes and four K1-SB low frequency extension
elements set up in “throw configuration’ for the main-hangs and a combination of six
K1 and six KARA elements for the down-fill out-hangs. Two KARA arrays, consisting
of three stacked elements, were used as front-fills and 48 L-Acoustics SB28
subwoofers were used in a left, centre, right configuration.
Once again, delay systems totalling ten delay structures were employed to cover
the venue in its entirety (including the beer garden). The first and second delay
towers placed roughly behind FOH and halfway down the field, respectively,
included 12 V-DOSC enclosures per side. Additional clusters of Turbosound TMS3s
were placed near the rear of the venue and in the beer garden for additional
coverage. As per last year, the system was inter-connected via Neutrik OpiticalCon
Quad fibre cabling and powered by L-Acoustics LA8s.
Another main difference this year was the consoles employed. A Yamaha PM5D and
a Midas PRO2 (supplied by Splitbeam) were the consoles of choice, which were
switched between for each act. A duplicate system was employed on stage for
The monitor system was also bumped up in size from last year. Sewela explains:
“We had monitoring from L-Acoustics. We had three ARCS2s per side-fill, which was
one more than last year, and two SB118 subs. The floor monitor counts were
exactly the same at 18 115 HiQs and a further SB18 sub for the drummers.’
Gearhouse’s Lucky Nkosi was head of lighting for this year’s show and according to
him, little was changed besides the configuration of the trussing.
“We just changed the look slightly,’ explains Nkosi. “Originally it was an A-type
truss central box measuring 9.6m wide and 7.2m deep with 4 x 4.8m L-shaped
trussing but I had to collate it all to three trusses because they (LEDVision) had to
put a big screen in the back. I had to work so people could see the screen.’
Being that the show was mostly during the day, the lighting was mostly centred on
lighting the inside of the stage so it could be seen clearly by the audience and by
the cameras feeing the LED screens.
“There is only two hours of the show that happened in the evening,’ says Nkosi.
“There was more LED lighting than last year so we used them to light the inside of
the stage for the cameras.’
Lighting fixtures list:
• 24 x Martin 2kW Viper
• 24 x Martin 2kW Washes
• 24 x Robe Robin 600 LED
• 12 x Martin 3000 Strobes
• 24 x Tri-Tour LEDs
• 12 x Robe Red Wash
• 24 x four cell cyclites
The lighting console employed was a MA grandMA2 full-size paired to an Avolite
ART2000 48-way dimmer rack while an MDG Atmosphere APS hazer supplied hazing
Probably the biggest difference to this year’s event was the LED system, supplied by
Gearhouse company LEDVision.
“Last year, the emphasis was placed on artistic elements, as far as the LED
contingent was concerned,’ says Graeme Baker, project manager at LEDVision.
“This year, we tried to combine enhanced viewing with artistry by putting a large
centre screen on the stage, surrounded by “commas’ on either side.’
In line with that plan, the kit supplied to gig was as follows:
• 1 Barco B10 trailer
• 40 Lighthouse R16 LED panels
• Stage screens: configured as 2 of 5 panels wide by 4 panels high (5.08m x
3.048m), 16:9 ratio
• 100 Lighthouse R16 LED panels
• Delay screens: configured as 5 of 5 panels wide by 4 panels high (5.08m x
3.048m), 16:9 ratio
• 220 Lighthouse DuoLED 18 LED panels configured as:
• Centre screen: 144 panels: 1 of 16 panels wide x 9 panels high (9.216m x
5.184m) 16:9 ratio
“Joburg Day is truly one of the largest annual South African events of its kind,’
concludes Baker. “For artists and technical suppliers alike, it is the perfect
opportunity to showcase this country’s talents. Every year we try to better the last,
ultimately giving audiences an event to remember: a concert of international
standard, featuring South African artists!’
Once again South Africa shows its loyal concert-going population that we can roll
with the big boys. Of course, when you’re rolling with the big boys it’s time to bring
out the big guns and that’s exactly what Gearhouse did for Joburg Day. Contrasting
this year to what they did at last year’s event, it’s clear that this was more an
exercise of refinement than anything else and with the ever increasing inclusion of
their skills development through the Gearhouse Academy, it seems things can only
get smoother from here.