Axiom Reaches Half a Million in Havana

Electronic dance music artists Major Lazer has become one of the first major American acts to play in Cuba since diplomatic ties were restored between Washington and Havana in July last year. The trio played a free concert to a reported 500,000 fans at the Tribuna José Marti in front of the U.S. Embassy in Havana on March 6th in an historic event presented by the Musicabana Foundation in association with the people and government of Cuba.

The Diplo and Major Lazer show was truly a ground-breaking multi-cultural occasion, opened by Cuban DJs Lejardi, Adroid, Raith and IA, and a rumba band called Osain del Monte. It comes ahead of 'Musicabana', the first international music festival planned for May 5th to 8th in Havana which will feature more than 30 artists at three venues.

Sound reinforcement for the landmark event was provided by OKeventos, one of the largest sound rental companies in Cuba, fielding an Axiom powered line array as the main PA system. A total of 24 AX2010A powered dual 10-inch line array elements per side were rigged at a height of 12 metres, with Proel EDGE ground-stacked dual 18-inch subwoofers giving sub-bass support among a total of 24 subs arranged in virtual (electronic) arc configuration. The whole system was driven by a Wave MaxxBCL.

In charge of all technical productions was OKeventos' owner Mauricio Blanco Alvarez. "This is the second time we have used Axiom for this venue – the last time for a salsa band in front of a crowd of around 50,000 – but this is the first time we've been asked to provide a PA for half a million people!" he says. "It definitely stretched our rental inventory to the limit, and although the Axiom line array (which is our main system) gave excellent coverage at the front of the audience, we had to bring in every last box we had for the first and second delay positions.

The PA was configured using EASE Focus and on the day before the show day, front of house engineer Hoffman Brendan and monitor engineer Justin Jones went to the venue to check everything. When they saw and listened to the main PA they decided that a sound check was not necessary. "Everybody, me included, was really surprised mostly at how much low frequency pressure we achieved," comments Blanco. "We lacked a little SPL in the middle of the audience area, but in the first 90 meters the Axiom behaved really well. The system sounded good, well balanced and the coverage was great."