Singapore’s mammoth ZoukOut Festival returned to the city’s Siloso Beach in December, treating more than 30,000 revellers to DJ sets from some of the world’s superstar DJs. Nestled between the water, a nature reserve and high-end hotel resorts, the festival’s sound needed to be full frequency, highquality, and directed only to the ears of attendees. To achieve this, a d&b audiotechnik GSL system was used, in conjunction with d&b ArrayCalc and NoizCalc software.
Standout moments of 2022’s ZoukOut – which is the outdoor festival incarnation of Singapore’s internationally famous Zouk nightclub, which has been running since 1991 in the Clarke Quay district – included sets by Tiësto, Zedd, Armin Van Burren, Slander, and Gryffin. Preparations for their appearances started more than six months prior to the festival’s two-nighter on 2 and 3 December, when AEG Presents,
the live-entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG, and co-organisers the Zouk Group approached d&b Singapore for a sound solution for the 2022 event.
In 2022, for the first time, ZoukOut altered the main stage orientation so that it was side-on to the ocean, with loudspeaker rigging points directing sound along the beach across the crowds but towards the luxury Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa hotel and its grounds, which is just 400 metres away. Adjacent to the festival site is the Imbiah Nature Trail wooded area where rare birds and wildlife find sanctuary. Therefore, the team conducted an impact study, and needed to direct sound to just the beach festival site, minimizing bleed into the surrounds as the music ran from 6pm on both days to 5am on the Friday and 7am on the Saturday.
“The new positioning of the festival’s main stage, crowd areas and backstage area fits much more neatly into the new location, which is why we moved it there,” explains Dan Mosley, production and operations director at AEG. “As soon as we started planning the 2022 event I contacted Gareth Kelbrick at d&b in Singapore to discuss the ambitious sound requirements, included the limitations and he invited me to the d&b offices. We had been using an old Google Maps drawing of the site but then Gareth introduced me to NoizCalc, which changed everything.”
Mosley conducted multiple meetings with stakeholders, including the hotel’s management team, government officials and local residents. In previous years, there had been reports of rattling windows and sound spill into forested areas, so a solution needed to be presented and realized, to allay concern.
“NoizCalc was the perfect solution, tying nicely into ArrayCalc to help us not only design the GSL system, but also visually map sound levels, dispersion and predict sound propagation,” Mosley continues. “It delivered an easy-to-read picture of audio levels within the site and environment, enabling me to go reassure everyone involved that we would have great sound for those who wanted to hear it, and minimize volume for those who didn’t. Gareth even shared a NoizCalc video which made it look clear and simple, leading to no objections to the new festival layout.”
Singapore-based The Show Company (ShowCo) supplied the d&b GSL system to ZoukOut, comprising GSL8 and GSL12 loudspeakers to form left-right line arrays either side of the main stage, with SL-SUB subwoofers on low-end duty.
“During the festival, we hit 102 dBA at the FOH position, and it sounded awesome,” says Mosley. “And the good news is that we had the acoustic experts from our independent partner company Electronics & Engineering with sound meters in the surrounding areas and we were well within the allowed limits.”
Overseeing Front of House mixing during the festival was CT from ShowCo, while some of the big-name DJs also brought their own sound engineers. “We had two very successful nights with all the acts loving the d&b system – artistes Zedd and Armin Van Burin were all very complimentary about the sounds at the FOH position, with peaks at 102dBA -120dBC,” says CT. “The GSL system performed extremely well.”
Dan Mosley continues: “It was fantastic to see the crowds in front of the d&b GSL system, dancing and enjoying the party. And it was great to see the visiting Front of House guys feeling comfortable and loving the sound, giving the thumbs up. I’d like to thank the d&b team in Singapore for their support.”
“Having a superior sound system goes hand-in-hand when showcasing many of the best DJs in the world,” says Andrew Li, CEO of Zouk Group. “This year, we wanted to level up the experience – visuals, sound, activities, food and beverage, and of course the artiste programming. The experience is only as strong as the weakest link, so they all need to be ironclad.”
ZoukOut 2022 was supported by the Singapore Tourism Board and ran with the
tagline ‘The Futuristic City of Dreams’.