The Byron Bay Bluesfest is a premier Australian music festival which has operated for over 32 years. It is the most highly awarded festival in the Australian entertainment industry and regularly attracts up to 40,000 attendees. The festival is held over five days at the Byron Events Farm each Easter long weekend and event facilities include seven performance stages. For this year’s festival comms they turned to industry specialists D2N Technology Solutions.
Byron Bay Bluesfest operations site manager, Nova Mikin, explained, “Our relationship with D2N goes back over a decade when D2N’s MD, Jason Owen, then worked for Riedel and helped supplied the comms network for the festival. As the festival grew and Jason started D2N our relationship continued and grew too. Quite honestly, we couldn’t put on the festival without them as they are the only company who could supply that number of quality radios and their onsite support is second to none.”
Blues Fest operates over a very large area so coverage is a challenge if it is not engineered to a high standard.
Mikin continued, “The intercom system is a key piece of infrastructure allowing the festival management team to communicate in a secure manner and be across all the key radio channels at once. This was very important for the security team who had a large presence onsite alongside NSW Police, the Rural Fire Service and NSW Ambulance.”
On site at Blues Fest D2N’s support hours were long and they were often on-call from 6am to midnight every day as crews are rostered across multiple shifts. D2N also carried a large compliment of spares, which is another a key requirement as there is nowhere close by to get spares in a hurry.
The radio network D2N provided Blues Fest with was based around a Hytera XPT Digital Repeater package using Hytera HP682 and PD662 digital handhelds. The system catering for up to 30 talk groups across 500 radios with interfacing of 16 channels to the intercom system.
The intercom package, in turn, was based around the GreenGo range of products with desktop and rackmount panels provided for various teams across the site.
D2N MD, Jason Owen said, “We were able to use a mixture of fibre and P2P links to deliver connectivity to all sites. This enabled the festival team to deliver a world-class event. As the event was post-Covid there was a lot of pressure to ensure all the infrastructure partners performed to a high standard and we always bring our A game. Secondly, interference free comms is a must have for festivals like Blues Fest. As D2N own our own ACMA licenses for this site and we use digital encryption, there was almost zero chance of any interference.”
As Mikin described, there were multiple teams onsite, all of whom were critical in making Blues Fest a success and every single one of them required radios and comms.
D2N MD, Jason Owen added, “We supplied and supported comms for all the teams including car parking, security, first aid, production audio, lighting and video, recycling and rubbish collection, ticketing, stage management for each separate stage, food and beverage and more. It’s not just about the shiny stuff up front, there is a whole machine working tirelessly back of house to ensure the patrons are living their best life at the festival.”
To ensure reliable and seamless comms D2N used hybrid combiners for the repeater network with a pair of transmit antennas. Then, a single receive antenna patched into active multi-couplers ensuring site-wide coverage was achieved and for audio they interfaced all the repeaters into the GreenGo network using their Quad 4 Wire units.
Nova Mikin concluded, “We are delighted with the comms, service and support D2N provided us with at this year’s Blues Fest. The audio quality, the reliability, the professionalism and the support was excellent. The D2N team onsite understood our requirements and worked as a single efficient unit with the core goal being to service those in the best manner possible. Blues Fest’s technology partnership with D2N centres around our successful, long-term relationship. I’m very happy to say that year after year D2N provides Blues Fest with consistently good radio comms and give us maximum flexibility and support throughout the entire event. They always turn up ready to help and always work within our budget.”