Dillon approves new $627,000 sound system for amphitheater
The melodies floating out of the Dillon Amphitheatre will sound a little sweeter this summer after the town signed off on a new $626,900 sound system for the venue.
The Dillon Town Council passed a resolution to purchase the state-of-the-art system in a split 6-1 vote at their regular meeting on Tuesday night, with Councilman Mark Nickel as the lone dissenter.
The new purchase comes about two years after the town launched a large-scale renovation of the amphitheater, a near $10 million project that revamped the stage, constructed a new concessions building, quadrupled the number of on-site bathrooms, added green rooms, changing rooms and more. But town officials are intent on continuing to improve the production value at the venue, a move they hope will help to attract bigger national acts and mitigate noise pollution in the surrounding neighborhood.
“We really felt like the next step in the amphitheater’s evolution was to invest in a sound system,” said Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s marketing and communications director. “We want our production value to be on par with the new facility and the iconic beauty of our location. That’s one of our areas of focus this year, and a main objective moving forward.”
The town is partnering with Brown Note Productions on the project, a Thornton-based company that works with the Red Rocks and Fiddler’s Green amphitheaters. The new system is comprised of almost four-dozen speakers, subwoofers and front fill speakers built by L-Acoustics, a manufacturer headquartered in Marcoussis, France. Once the system arrives — the equipment, including rigging gear and audio consoles along with the speakers will have to be shipped overseas — Brown Note will send a group to help train Dillon’s in-house production team on how to properly operate the system.
With the addition of the new system, the town is hoping that it will create a better experience for both concertgoers inside the venue and with neighbors concerned about noise levels leaving the venue. Along with a generally better quality of sound, the new system will be installed using a predictive sound-sculpting analysis, designed to eliminate “holes” in the sound and create a gradual reduction in noise as the sound exits the venue.
“What we’re looking at this year is more advanced sculpting opportunities,” said Anderson. “Basically you take a footprint of the sound and you’re able to read the levels across the venue. We can provide 180-degree coverage in the venue with a really consistent sound throughout, whereas last year because of the placement of the arrays, there were some areas where we had some holes in our sound.
“As part of this we can also monitor decibel levels more closely within the facility and watch them fall off outside the facility — because one of our main objectives is to minimize the impact to our neighbors.”
The town is optimistic the improved system will help to attract more notable musical acts to the amphitheater. Anderson said that often with bigger shows, such as the String Cheese Incident last year, the town needed to supplement their sound system with additional pieces of equipment to meet the needs of the bands. The new system should eliminate the need for supplemental pieces of equipment, opening up the theater for a spectrum of more diverse acts.
“It’s about bands looking at the facility and saying the town of Dillon has it going on as far as the production side of things,” said Matt Lopé, Dillon’s events coordinator. “Over the past two years the amphitheater is starting to get on the map. Bands talk to other bands, and managers talk to other managers and that’s exactly what we want to start happening.”
“Instead of switching out this and that, it’s easier for them to say, ‘Wow they’ve got the system. We can plug in, play and leave,’” added Suzanne Phillipson, Dillon’s marketing and events coordinator.
The town has already booked a number of musical acts including Bruce Hornsby, Ghost Light, The Long Run, Hazel Miller, Nacho Men, Buckstein, Lake Street Dive, Devlon Lamarr Organ Trio, Ghost of Paul Revere, the National Repertory Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Other bands are yet to be announced.
Additionally, the town will be rolling out new programming options, including educational opportunities such as a presentation on birds of prey from the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, wherein kids will get a chance to see eagles, owls and falcons up close. The town is also working to secure a production by Science Tellers, an interactive science and storytelling program where kids can embark on an intergalactic journey while helping to complete science experiments. Movies will be returning this year, too, along with yoga at the venue through Peak Yoga.
The season is scheduled to begin on June 8, and this year the town is bringing in local food and beverage vendors such as New Belgium Brewery out of Fort Collins and Carboy Winery out of Breckenridge. Visitors will be able to set up blankets and chairs once gates open before shows. Gate openings are determined by specific showtimes and will be listed on the town’s website once the schedule is finalized.
“We’re really going to have a diverse lineup this year, with everything from acapella to orchestra to country Western to folk in the lineup,” said Anderson. “There’s something for everyone. We’re thrilled for the season.“
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