Officially opened at the end of November 2014, the outdoor live music venue at Molapo Crossing in Gaborone, Botswana features an L-Acoustics Arcs Wide and Focus system, installed to supply the coverage and sound quality demanded by the venue’s owner, whilst ably addressing the restrictions of local noise regulations.
Situated within a shopping mall, the venue is the brainchild of Belgian-born Managing Director Luc Vandecasteele, who wanted to create an outdoor performance area that could predominantly host classical and jazz concerts.
L-Acoustics reseller for Botswana, Keyman Ventures, was employed to source technical equipment for the venue and called in Gauteng, South Africa-based L-Acoustics Certified Provider Sound Harmonics to take part in a three-system shoot out.
“Luc’s vision was for the venue to be a cultural centre,” explains Sound Harmonics’ Richard Smith. “In the first instance, we were sent drawings of the venue and asked to create a system that would cover the entire venue and suit anything from a ballet or orchestral performance, to jazz or even hip hop.”
Richard knew they needed a line array to manage the 55-60 metre throw, so he produced a design based around an L-Acoustics system. From that proposal, Richard and his team were invited to a ‘blind’ shoot out, along with two other well-known loudspeaker brands.
When the demo was completed, Luc raised concerns about the strict Botswanan laws surrounding noise pollution. Since Molapo Crossing flanks residential areas, he decided he wanted to keep the audience away from the back of the venue, so a system with less throw was required.
“We recommended Arcs Wide and Focus, as its reach is contained to around 30 metres,” says Richard. “This would allow us to concentrate the sound right near the stage and, by positioning the subs quite close to the PA, it also wouldn’t bleed out far into the surrounding areas.”
This was the first part of the rational for the final solution, the second part was cost driven, as to buy a line array, monitors, backline, mixing consoles and other items that would be needed was stretching the budget.
“Luc considered whether he should provide all the technical equipment, or if, in fact, he should just allow visiting acts to bring their own systems,” Richard continues. “However, he realised there could legal ramifications if he were not in complete control of the sound levels. The ability of Arcs Wide and Focus to do just that was a major selling point.”
Richard and his team prepared another proposal, showing a solution that satisfied the restrictions without compromising on audio quality and that had the additional benefit of being able to add to the system should there be a need to cover the entire venue, either permanently or for certain events.
“By positioning delays halfway down the space it’s possible to reach the very back, which is ideal for the type of classical concerts they want to hold. Any additional equipment needed can be accommodated with a rental solution from Keyman,” says Richard.
“We configured the system in this way because we wanted to achieve the maximum possible height,” Richard explains. “I generally like to fly the subs on top of the system, but from a site line point of view it would have made the hangs too low and also wouldn’t have been ideal for throw, as the PA is quite far forward from the front of the stage.”
The main PA is driven by an LA8 and an LA4X amplifier. Additionally, there are eight 12XTmonitors with just two further LA4X, allowing them to run eight sends in passive mode. Time alignment is done via the amplifiers, so the system operates as a simple ‘plug and play’ solution on a day-to-day basis.
“We’ve also installed a cabling infrastructure into the venue and provided mics and a mixing console as per the spec,” Richard continues. “On the left hand side of the venue there’s a VIP room overlooking the stage. We have put lines to and from this, so if they want to put extra powered speakers in there they can.”
In the past year, Arcs Wide and Focus sales have increased dramatically, with a number of systems sold to rental companies and for local installs.
“The market in Botswana is growing and we are proud to help L-Acoustics be a part of that,”says Keyman’s Mothusi Mokone. Adds L-Acoustics’ Tim McCall, “Our sales are branching out beyond their traditional borders in Africa with recent installations being completed in churches in Lesotho and Nigeria – and we expect further success across the continent in 2015.”
The Molapo Crossing venue’s official opening took place on the 21st of November and every show held so far has sold out, which is testament to both Luc Vandecasteele’s vision and the quality of the L-Acoustics Arcs Wide and Focus system.