At the 49 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this year, an FBT sound system took center stage with Propaganda Group, a New Orleans-based AV company charged with designing and managing the sound at the Kids’ Stage. Chris Scott, the company’s front of house engineer at the event, raved about the rig throughout the seven-day outdoor event – along with the featured performers.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has grown since its humble but significant beginnings in the 70’s. Today, the massive festival draws over 400,000 visitors for a two-week long celebration of music that spans over thirteen main stages and several smaller venues. Music includes every genre, from jazz, blues, Americana, blue grass, Cajun, zydeco, and roots rock, to African and Latin. There’s even a family-friendly “Kids’ Stage” that supports everything from puppet shows and storytellers to full bands and orchestras.
Joe Triola of Metro Joe’s Marketing, who has collaborated with the sound and backline companies that work with the Festival since 1993) was responsible for suggesting FBT at one of the nation’s most iconic annual celebrations. According to Triola, “the Kid’s Stage has grown just as much as the festival and, with such diversity, I knew it would be the best test to hear just how good FBT is. It passed with flying colors!”
“Back in the old days the kid’s stage was just a PA on a stick and the most difficult thing was micing a mime, “ he added, laughing. “This year we used a full FBT line array with over 40 different microphones and wireless. Many groups that started playing there have moved up to the big stages and the sound quality reflects this; it’s grown dramatically.”
The FBT system, including six stacked Muse 210 LAs, two Subline 218 SAs and a mix of five Ventis and StageMaxX monitors, captured everything from the rich vocal clarity of puppeteers and storytellers to the full range of sounds accompanied by full bands and orchestras. Performers and Front of House staff alike were impressed.
“It’s a flawless system,” said Chris Scott in a YouTube Interview clip from the event. “We’re used to other, larger cabinets in terms of their physical profile and, when we saw [the FBT cabinets], we were a little bit skeptical… I think one of the greatest comments we heard was that ‘it sounds like there’s actually no PA in here at all, it’s so fabulous.’ And what that means is that the fidelity is off the chart, the low end is amazing, response is incredible… As the deck crew and front of house engineer, we really appreciate the low profile – the small compact nature of these units. The monitors on the stage can be quickly moved and shuffled without a problem; they’re loud and boomy. Everybody who’s been using them thus far, all of the artists, have been commenting on the sound and how the quality of the sound is on the stage… It’s going to be hard to ever go back.”
Triola agrees with Scott’s assessment of the brand.
“FBT is a great, reliable, mid-price brand with a high-ticket sound, and that’s not something other brands in the same bracket can say,” he said. ”Every time I demo FBT – and I’ve done a lot of them – people are consistently amazed. In fact, several have mentioned it’s not expensive enough! I’m just as impressed. In fact, I love FBT so much that I bought a system for myself and it continues to amaze people when they hear it.”