Rich historical roots, national recognition, and large crowds make the annual Tulip Time festival a priority for the city of Holland. Included in the festivities are three parades on different days: the Volksparade (also known as the “People’s Parade”), the Kinderparade (Children’s Parade featuring lots of little ones), and the Musiekparade (Music Parade with all the bands). Of course, each of these parades are preceded by the famous Dutch Dancers. The Dancers rely on the downtown sound system to dance in time with the music and other dancers. Sadly, the event has suffered in recent years from an aging, outdated paging system installed along the main parade route.
In seeking to improve the overall listening experience, Technology Services Director for the City of Holland, Matt VanDyken, brought in Hamilton AV Design to redesign the existing system. There was ample need for an update – the current sound equipment was significantly worn down, limiting effective coverage of the area and causing onlookers and dancers to struggle to hear the system over the sound of the wooden shoes worn by the dancers. These issues in turn reduced the effectiveness of the system to function as a paging system for events in the downtown area, complicating the communication of important weather-related or security announcements to attendees.
Tim Hamilton, owner of Hamilton AV Design, worked closely with the city to assess the needs of the area and to deliver a loud, clear, and long-term sound system solution for 8th Street. The design features all-weather JBL loudspeakers hung strategically on existing poles and connected with a combination of new wiring and existing wire pulls. Fueled by a beefy Lab Gruppen power amplifier, they provide excellent and consistent sound coverage over the entire main parade route, despite the considerable distance between the amplifier and loudspeakers. A Dante connection over Holland’s network provides a handy solution to pick up the city’s announcement loop, and an easy-to-use control station on the parade route allows event coordinators to communicate directly with the crowd.
“The new downtown speaker system works like a charm” VanDyken remarked. “You can hear every word clearly no matter where you are on 8th Street, and it sounds fantastic overall. It’s been great to work with Hamilton AV Design, and I think the result speaks for itself.”
Completed only weeks ahead of Tulip Time, the festival took full advantage of the new system, stepping confidently in time with the music heard from start to finish!
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