K-array Offers Musical Escapism At Italy's No Borders Festival

K-array recently brought its sonic quality to the No Borders Music Festival 2023 – a listening experience in contact with nature that ran throughout July in Italy’s Friuli Alps. Headliner discovers how the K-array sound system has become a signature feature of the festival, and hears from some of those involved in this year’s outing.

Friuli Venezia Giulia’s No Borders Music Festival, which this year entered its 28th edition, is one of those events you don’t want to miss. The location on the border between Italy, Austria, and Slovenia – although rather tricky to get to – is arguably one of the most beautiful and inspiring of any European summer festivals, accompanied by incredible sunrises, fresh mountain air, and scenic views of the valley below. Good vibes were promised from the jump, with a lineup that included Ben Harper, LP, Skunk Anansie, and Mika amongst many others.

K-array was the chosen audio system by the rental company and festival organisers. Having sponsored the event in previous years, K-array has now become a signature audio style of the event itself.

The collaboration aligns with K-array's commitment to support events that promote culture and respect for the environment, people, and artists. In a concert, sound plays a fundamental role, yet the listening experience can often fall short of expectations. Issues like excessively loud sound, uneven distribution, or unnatural audio quality can affect the audience's experience and distort the artistic performance.

K-array’s audio technologies ensured superior sound quality, providing all attendees with the same listening conditions without altering the original sound. In this case, the sound system became a true artistic extension of the performer – respecting and enhancing their performance. As a festival with comparatively simple technical characteristics, the audio requirements demanded a classic L-R system with an arrayed sub line and front fills.

Speaking exclusively to Headliner, K-array concert series product specialist, Klaus Hausherr, says, “The type of concerts that take place at the No Borders Music Festival require a very precise coverage of the public area, without disturbing the quiet of the mountains that frame this amazing location. The relationship with K-array started five years ago and we supplied, during the first years, a Mugello system (KH5 + KS5), to then move on to the Firenze series in the last two years (KH7 + KS8), with great satisfaction from the production.”

The most important and unique feature of the K-array system on this occasion was its beam steering, which ensured an uncompromising listening experience throughout the festival area:

“The configuration of the system was very simple, therefore there were no major difficulties,” adds Hausherr. “The use of beam steering in the system has guaranteed a very significant SPL balance (difference between front stage and back area 2/3dB), and a consistent frequency response over the whole area.”

For the area's sound setup, a K-array Firenze-KH7 system was used, chosen for its uniform diffusion and precise sound control through digital steering, a crucial feature in reducing acoustic pollution in pristine environments like these. Sleek and compact, these self-powered and weather-resistant speakers offer a unique solution for live events. The compactness and efficiency of K-array speakers also make them ideal even for a setting like the No Borders Music Festival, handling these logistical challenges without compromising sound quality.

“Since I have been following this festival for many years now, I can only give positive feedback on the behaviour of the system and the professionalism of the production,” Hausherr continues. “Almost all the sound engineers approached the sound system with a little diffidence, but as soon as they heard how it behaves, they all recognised an extraordinary definition, guaranteed by a very fast and constant transient response throughout the area.”

The feedback on the system and its performance from all engineers involved has been overwhelmingly positive. The K-array system was provided by Arcadia, which has gained considerable experience over the years in technical services for entertainment, specialising in creating significant structural and scenic installations, lighting, audio, and video systems for theatre, television, and high-profile live music events.

K-array has also established a close working relationship with Claudio Tognoni and the No Borders Music Festival production team, whose trust built over the years has led to continuous success in previous editions of the festival.

Musician and songwriter Doro Gjat, who hails from the Friuli region and played No Borders again this year, tell Headliner how he first played the festival in 2017:

“It was in a wonderful valley named Val Bartolo in amongst the mountains of Tarvisio, surrounded by little huts,” he says. “I loved the location and the energy of the crowd as well. What makes this festival so unique in its experience is the surroundings. Imagine being on a stage placed in front of a pine forest, right on the side of a little lake. The energy coming from the crowd is so synced with the environment – it's amazing!" 

“Those in the crowd are the best qualified to answer the question of how the audio sounded; for me, based on working with everyone involved, I’ve never had any reason to complain. The audio service personnel have always been very professional, and absolutely on point with the equipment."

“For me on stage, the K-array system sounded beautiful without being too loud, which is probably why the artistic direction of the festival leans more towards acoustic sets. The environment calls for moody sounds which pair well with the surroundings. Imagine being in a natural environment listening to industrial sounds – they won't fit. Otherwise, mellow guitars, beautiful voices enunciating beautiful words, long reverbs, natural delays and the right amount of percussion resonating through the woods is like the perfect solution.”

Read the full article of Headliner Mag here