Taste of Chicago, World’s Largest Food Fest, Sounds Just as Good as it Smells Thanks to Martin Audio

Integrator Technotrix says Taste of Chicago live sound owes its vibrancy and punch to just eight boxes of Martin Audio MLAs.

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Taste of Chicago, World’s Largest Food Fest, Sounds Just as Good as it Smells Thanks to Martin Audio

Even the most intoxicatingly diverse food festival, like the world’s largest Taste of Chicago, needs to keep its other senses in line. Sure, there are plenty of scents, sights and tastes to be had there — but a five-day-long food festival needs some sound to provide pep to foodies flocking to Grant Park in the summer heat. That’s why integrator Technotrix went with Martin Audio.

In addition to the classic dishes local to Chicago and central Illinois, Taste of Chicago offers table after table of specialty cuisines from ethnic neighborhood restaurants
and unique creations from chefs. The festival also opted to bring a similar diversity to its two-day live music lineup inside the nearby Petrillo Music Shell. The lineup included artists like Alessia Cara, Cafë Tacvba, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Passion Pit and The O’Jays, to name a few.

The Martin Audio Rig at Taste of Chicago

Technotrix, Inc. supplied a Martin Audio MLA system with only eight flown MLA cabinets a side and six MLX subs a side ground-stacked in front of the stage. Technotrix Audio Department Manager Brent Bernhardt says the rigging capability at The Shell features a weight limit which is difficult to work around.

“You can’t run as big a box count as you normally would for a festival this size,” he says, “so we had to cover about 250 ft. to the delay ring with eight boxes a side, which is pushing it even for a conventional line array with 16 boxes a side. The fact that we made something more than acceptable happen with that many cabinets is remarkable and speaks to the capabilities of Martin Audio MLA.”

Taste of Chicago, Martin Audio

Bernhardt notes that the using Martin Audio MLAs allowed his team to achieve a volume matrix which doesn’t blow people out of their seats in the front row but also throws enough SPL out far enough to cover the crowd — an impressive feat at a noisy, crowded food festival, filled with tons of ambient sound.

The Reaction

When asked about reactions to the system, Brent says that, while FOH engineers for the bands were initially concerned when they saw just eight boxes, they were instructed to listen to the system before passing judgment.

“It was no surprise that not one of them had a complaint after hearing MLA,” he says.

Learn more about Technotrix on their website.