MELBOURNE, Australia – December 2023 – Marking the end of winter, Melbourne’s inaugural Now or Never festival attracted over 150,000 attendees to a 17-day, city-wide takeover featuring over 300 local and international artists. Exploring potential futures through a program of innovative audio and visual art, performance, visionary thinkers, digital culture, and commissioned work, the festival took over dozens of Melbourne’s iconic street locations, art galleries, late-night venues, and historic buildings. The festival culminated with four nights of live music and visual performances in the 143-year-old Royal Exhibition Building (REB) at the World Heritage Site of Carlton. Highly anticipated sets by international artists like Kelela and Max Cooper were featured alongside established Australian performers such as CC:DISCO! and dameela.
The Royal Exhibition Building features an exquisite Renaissance-style cathedral in which Gig Control Australia, who was appointed to deliver the event for Now or Never, designed a stunning 16-meter-high video scrim that became a canvas for innovative visual displays. L-Acoustics Certified Provider Novatech co-designed and deployed a professional audio system to accompany the spectacular lighting and video.
Along with Gig Control, Novatech’s imperative was to create a concert-grade sound system that would give pristine, full-range coverage to the massive audience while supporting the innovative audio-visual acts. The catch? It all had to be done inside a World Heritage-listed building that imposed strict audio limits. Leko Novakovic, Managing Director at Novatech, explains that the team needed to pay strict attention to guidelines so as not to cause structural damage to the building. “Calculating the system’s output Peak Particle Velocity measurements associated with ground vibrations was essential to ensure the preservation of the building’s structure,” he explains.
Designing within a tall, reverberant hall, Novatech’s solution featured left-right arrays of eight L-Acoustics K2 per side with a delay system of eight Kara per side. The adjustable Panflex horizontal directivity of K Series allowed Novatech to direct sound away from empty balconies and reverberant walls. Four ground stacks of three KS28 subwoofers each provided low-end extension. Twelve Kara boxes placed evenly across the stage provided front-fill, while six Kara were used as out-fill to cover the audience areas on the sides of the main hall. DJs and live electronic music artists on stage received monitoring from 14 L-Acoustics X15 as well as six Kara over four KS28 subwoofers. Twelve LA12X amplified controllers drove the entire system.
The result was a spectacular closing to a dynamic new event in Australia’s festival scene. “It was monumental to witness one of Melbourne’s iconic, historical buildings filled with the sounds of live music for the first time in over two decades. Novatech is proud to have been involved in delivering a world-class sound system as part of a larger festival that emphasized the highest production values,” concludes Novakovic.