The seventh edition of the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival, held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre on the weekend of 21 and 22 September, has been heralded a success by organisers, exhibitors, and festival-goers alike. Central to the success of this year’s event, was a dynamic team of event organisers and technical service providers who collectively pulled out all the stops to deliver a world-class concert within earshot of Joburg’s trendiest suburbs.

A DELICIOUS EVENT

The DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival first took the entertainment and culinary world by storm in October 2013 and has continued to grow in both size and quality over the years. The festival, now in its seventh edition, has become a highlight of Joburg’s social calendar and continues to develop its reputation as the city’s most prestigious celebration of the best live entertainment and culinary experiences that Johannesburg has to offer.

Over the years, the DStv Delicious Festival has hosted some of the biggest names from both the culinary and music worlds, such as MasterChef SA Judge Pete Goffe-Wood, chefs Reza Mahammad, Siba Mtongana, and Jenny Morris. Music legends have included Common, TKZee, Hugh Masekela, Incognito, Lira, Thandiswa Mazwai, Black Coffee, Louie Vega, Jordan Rakei, and Erykah Badu, to name a few.

The last four iterations of the DStv Delicious Festival were held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, where more than 40,000 visitors have gathered, year-on-year, for the two-day event. Situated in the heart of the growing metropolis between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the venue’s expansive grounds and world-class infrastructure provides the perfect setting for the festival, which features a main-stage, with a generous picnic area complete with a fully-equipped bar, surrounded by terraced VIP hospitality suites.  The festival also offers a ‘delicious mile’ where visitors can enjoy a range of sponsored lounge areas, pop-up restaurants, bars and food trucks.

For those who enjoy a good dance party, this year’s festival offered a second stage, the Red Bull Music Dance Arena, which featured local and international deejays on Saturday night. The Engen Kids Fest positioned a comfortable distance from the main festival grounds, provided junior festival-goers with their own stage, live entertainment, indoor and outdoor activities and catering, all presided over by an army of well-qualified childminders. In short, the DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival is the perfect indulgence for all.     

A SOUND MANAGEMENT PLAN

The DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival is a complex event by anybody’s standards, and as such the show’s organising team, led by festival director, Lloyd Cornwall and executive producer, Kim Bultemeier, drew on some of the country’s leading technical suppliers to ensure the show’s success.

Speaking to ETECH in a recent interview, Dave Tudor explains that he was appointed as technical manager by the festival’s organising team and was tasked with overseeing all of the technical aspects of the event. “As in years past, one of the biggest challenges that we had to overcome was ensuring that we delivered a top-quality big concert experience for festival-goers while taking into account that the venue is surrounded by residential areas, including Waterfall Estate, Lonehill, Sunninghill and Paulshof among others.”

Tudor goes on to explain that during the 2017 iteration of the event, festival organisers were flooded with a slew of noise complaints from residents. As a result, the city council placed severe restrictions on the sound team ahead of the 2018 event. Gearhouse senior sound engineer, Jonathan Green explains “In 2018, the city council imposed restrictions of about 96dB at front of house, which is in line with restrictions imposed in the EU for indoor events held in urban areas, but it is simply not sufficient to deliver the sound re-enforcement needed to create a solid outdoor concert experience.”

To avoid a similar situation arising in 2019, event organisers engaged in extensive consultation with the city council, ward councillors and the community with the view to come up with a solution that would respect the rights of residents while delivering a big concert experience for festival-goers. “As a demonstration of our commitment to responding to the concerns of the residence in the area, we appointed one of the country’s leading acoustic consulting firms to establish a comprehensive noise management plan for the duration of the event,” explains Tudor.

Director and acoustic consultant at Acoustech, Oliver Knoppersen, points out that the services of a qualified acoustic consultant are required by law for a noise exemption application to be considered by the city council. “An acoustic consultant is there to ensure that an appropriate noise management plan is set in place, which will guarantee that concerns from the affected parties are taken into account,” Knoppersen points out.

“Once we were appointed to the project, Acoustech prepared a noise management plan ahead of the festival for the event organisers and the local council. This noise management plan included noise modelling, which allowed us to predict noise levels in the surrounding suburbs when the main stage was operational. A noise assessment indicated which suburbs would be affected by the event, and all areas were listed. The noise model also took low-frequency from the main stage into account, as low-frequency from events of this nature are most often the root cause of noise complaints,” says Knoppersen.

SOLID IMPLEMENTATION

Once the DStv Delicious Festival Management team had a clear understanding of the residential areas that would be affected, they systematically informed all the affected area’s ward councillors about the event and the degree to which people could expect to be affected. Information about the event and the expected noise levels was then disseminated to all residence who fell within the area highlighted by the pre-event assessment provided by Acoustech. A dedicated phone line was established to deal with any noise complaints about the event, which was made available to affected residents.

During the event, Acoustech used calibrated sound level meters to monitor noise levels at front of house, as well as the at the property boundaries of the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. Knoppersen points out that this hands-on approach ensures that the sound levels remained within the limits approved by the Department of Environmental Health and City Of Johannesburg local council throughout the event. In addition, consultants were deployed to take decibel measurements from complainant’s locations to ensure that residents were not exposed to levels of noise disturbance that exceeded those set out in the noise management plan.

CONTAINING THE BULL

In addition to the impressive line up of both local and international artists that performed on the main stage over the two-day event, The DStv Delicious Festival hosted the Red Bull Music Delicious Dance Arena, a high-energy electronic dance music experience held in an indoor venue on the Kyalami grounds.

Leading technical supplier, Multi-Media was approached by Riaan Jacobs from Sate Creative, who consults with Red Bull for their live events with the brief for a high-energy dance music event. According to Multi-Media senior sound engineer, Adriaan van der Walt, “the sound had to be great everywhere in the room while keeping the low-end contained within the venue as much as possible to minimise noise pollution to the neighbouring residential areas. Dave [Tudor] reiterated the importance of keeping within the noise parameters set by the city council and event organisers.”

Adriaan states that “Low-frequency propagation is one of the main criteria in finding the critical balance between crystal clear, concert-level sound inside the venue and noise pollution near the perimeter of the grounds. This decision was made easier by auditioning various options before getting to site. The process involves designing the venue in 3D modelling software and comparing various options of sound systems in this virtual space to see how they would behave in the real world.”

Many speaker manufacturers offer this feature, however, in van der Walt’s opinion, L-Acoustics, in particular, goes into great detail, offering the user many different parameters to adjust to find a solution which works best for that particular event and space.  “This was one of the main reasons why Multi-Media invested in L-Acoustics’ KARA system,” he concludes.

THE RESULT

According to Tudor, the number of noise complaints received during the two-day event was dramatically reduced in comparison to previous years, indicating that the strategy employed was a huge success. “The whole team, including event managers, technical suppliers, audio engineers, and acoustic consultants worked together to ensure that festival-goers had a great concert experience while ensuring that the concerns of the surrounding community were comprehensively addressed. We achieved buy-in from city officials and the constituencies that they represent through community engagement, careful analysis, planning and implementation of the noise management plan, and being completely transparent with all parties involved ahead of the event made all the difference,” Tudor concludes.