As Zimbabwe’s most popular religious musical event, the Gwanda International Gospel Music Festival recently attracted artists from all corners of the alternative gospel music sphere to Phelandaba Stadium. Taking place over three days and nights filled with entertainment and worship, the festival was organised by the Bigtime Strategic Group under the theme “The Walls of Jericho Did Fall”. Providing suitably impressive sound reinforcement, meanwhile, was a TW AUDiO VERA36 system.
Bigtime group corporate affairs director, Alson Darikayi, had told the press in the run up to the festival that millions had been invested in making this year’s festival a big success. That investment was underlined by the world-class line-up including headliners Dr Tumi, Minister Takesure Zamar, Mathias Mhere, South Africa Spirit of Praise duo Pastor Neyi Zimu and Omega, Thinah Zungu, and Deborah Fraser.
Provided by local rental company Events Evolution, the TW AUDiO system comprised a total of 42 VERA36 line array enclosures flown in a left-right configuration of 15 per side. A further six VERA36 per side were flown as delays. Low frequency support was courtesy of 24 VERA S33 cardioid subwoofers and eight BSX dual 21” subs. Four T24N cabinets provided front fill across the stage front, and the entire PA system was driven by 15 Lab.gruppen PLM 10000Q and three PLM 20000Q amplifiers.
A key requirement for the festival was that the sound system should be able to contend with wide variations in atmospheric humidity throughout the course of the event. “Early in the day the relatively dry air was absorbing the high frequencies, but as day turned to night we needed to compensate for atmospheric changes and the contribution to humidity that the 25,000-strong crowd had on the high frequency propagation over distance,” explained Augustine Edward, TW AUDiO’s Technical Support Manager for Asia.
“During the course of each day the humidity rose and allowed the higher frequencies to travel further. So we were dialling back the HF throughout the day in order to keep a well-balanced frequency response and ensure that the high frequencies were projecting well to the whole audience.”
The resulting performance delighted the organiser. “Our theme this year is especially foretelling as we work towards rebuilding the economy of our beautiful nation,” commented Alson Darikayi. “We are very happy that the festival has been a big success, thanks to the excellent sound quality of the PA system helping to engage the impassioned crowd, and the great service provided by the production crew. As well as breaking down the walls of limitation that have kept the nation of Zimbabwe stagnant, we are confident that the Gwanda festival has also helped to improve the economy of our small Matabeland town.”