Photo above: Vanilla Ice (pictured), Everclear, En Vogue, 38 Special, Matthew West, Air Supply, Blue Oyster Cult, and others are all using the venue’s new PA system
With summer in full swing and theme parks finally welcoming visitors in large numbers again, SeaWorld San Antonio is celebrating by offering guests its two-month Electric Ocean Concert Series as an extra “free” perk to the park’s standard admission price on show days. Boasting a diverse roster of popular acts—Everclear, Little River Band, Josh Abbott, En Vogue, Newsboys, Chris Jansen, Vanilla Ice, Jesse McCartney, 38 Special, Matthew West, Shelly Lares, Air Supply, Blue Oyster Cult, and others—shows are staged at the 3,000-seat Nautilus Amphitheater, which recently got a powerful sonic boost, just in time for the new concert series. LD Systems designed and installed a new L-Acoustics A Series-based loudspeaker system in record time that allows the concert pavilion to host more guests now that the sound finally covers every seat in the house.
According to SeaWorld San Antonio Theatrical Services Manager Douglas Ferguson, the park already had a good track record with another L-Acoustics system that another Certified Provider (CPr) supplied three years earlier. “SeaWorld owns an ARCS WiFo system that was originally flown at our Bayside Stadium in 2018 for the summertime HydroPower Extreme FX Ski Show,” he says. “Since the Nautilus Amphitheater did not have its own dedicated system, we would occasionally bring Bayside’s WiFo rig over as needed for events and shows, but it wasn’t truly sufficient to cover the larger seating area. When planning for our Electric Ocean Concert Series, we knew that we wanted to install a rider-friendly permanent solution at Nautilus that would deliver full venue coverage and eliminate the need to bring in a long-term rental system.”
Ferguson reached out to LD Systems Sales Engineer Jordan Pierce for assistance on April 19, and the process went rapidly from there. “Jordan immediately collaborated with Marcus Ross at L-Acoustics, putting a design proposal in my hand within two days that met our tight timeline and budget, and we agreed to terms for the purchase on April 23,” Ferguson recalls. “The install began on May 24, and our first concert was held just five days later.”
The 180° fan-shaped amphitheater’s new system now features a center array comprised of four A15i (three Focus over one Wide) backed by two sub hangs of four KS21 each, while left and right arrays are each made up of three A15i (two Focus over one Wide). Single vertically-oriented A15i flank the subs for additional mains fill, while two vertically-oriented A10i flown outside of the left and right arrays deliver far out-fill coverage. Lastly, two Kiva II are deployed for added front-fill intelligibility, while six LA4X amplified controllers power and process the entire system, which was tuned by LD Systems Audio Department Operations Manager Thomas Ruffner.
The venue, located next to the park’s “Journey to Atlantis” ride, soft opened on Memorial Day weekend with eight shows by Garth Brooks-tribute artist Shawn Gerhard, followed by Everclear officially kicking off the 18-show Electric Ocean Concert Series on June 5. All of the acts for the summer concert run are using the new L-Acoustics house rig. Following the concert series, the venue will host a Halloween Musical Revue, Christmas-themed shows, Cheer and Dance competitions, and a host of other various special events throughout in the year.
“SeaWorld San Antonio’s entire entertainment department has been ecstatic to hear Nautilus Amphitheater fully come alive, but more importantly, SeaWorld’s guests have thoroughly enjoyed the immersive sound and enhanced concert experience,” Pierce reports. “In fact, this is the first time in many years that SeaWorld has opened up the amphitheater’s outer seating sections because the new system perfectly blankets the entire audience area with beautiful, high-SPL sound. The A Series’ ability to cover the venue without a tall array blocking sightlines made it fit in the curtain proscenium pocket well, and everyone has been extremely impressed with how nicely the low end fills the venue to the point that no performance group has needed supplemental sub enclosures. For many reasons—sound, coverage, budget—A Series was absolutely the way to go for this project. Its SPL for the money is astounding!”
Ferguson agrees: “The quality of sound and coverage of our new L-Acoustics loudspeakers have been absolutely phenomenal. Our goal with this project was to ensure that we had great venue coverage and depth. When LD Systems proposed the A Series, I was excited to get a top-notch PA that I knew would cover all the bases for years to come. I’m extremely impressed with the system we’ve received, its ability to meet the needs of all the talent, and most importantly the ability it gives us to grow and expand this concert series, along with many other events for many years to come.”