Synchronizing thousands: how to prepare a stadium for a grand concert

This summer Moscow will see a unique show – a concert where 1000 musicians will perform world hits from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Metallica, Nirvana, AC/DC and KINO. Hundreds of guitars, drums and voices will create a grandiose sound. How to organize such an event and synchronize a thousand performers? Sound engineer of the MEGAROK concert Andrey Aksenovreveals details of preparations for a significant event in the world of rock music.

Synchronizing a thousand: how to prepare a stadium for a grand concert. It's moments like these that make life worth living. Photo.

It’s moments like these that make life worth living

In winter“ MEGAROKlaunched an all-Russian casting of artists, and already on the first weekend the number of applications turned out to be so large that the producers and director of the show had to help the casting department process them. The enthusiasm of the participants was so strong and sincere that “MEGAROK” for many of them turned into something more than just a concert – it became a key event in their musical career.

After three months, the team had processed more than 2,500 applications and watched about 1,000 casting videos, sending 860 people for training. Among them were musicians from popular rock bandsprofessionals with musical education from Gnesinka, many of whom have already played in various groups or even taught music. Also among the participants were talented amateurs who mastered playing instruments with the help of lessons on YouTube.


  • 1 Parties for professionals and fans
  • 2 A serious team for a big concert
  • 3 “Wall of Sound” and visuals
  • 4 Signal delivery and kilometers of wires
  • 5 The concert turns into a studio
  • 6 “MEGAROK” and 10 concerts of “The King and the Jester”

Parties for professionals and amateurs

Parties for professionals and amateurs. Organizing something like this is very difficult. Photo.

Organizing something like this is very difficult

Many concert participants have already played < strong>Nirvana or KINO compositionsat home, in yards, at concerts, clubs and festivals. But the uniqueness of our project is that none of them have previously performed in such a large-scale rock orchestra. We adapted the instrument parts so that everyone could master the entire concert repertoire. For this purpose, we have developed a distance learning system with online rehearsals, allowing musicians to prepare for a performance independently of each other, achieving a single level of skill and harmonious sound.

MEGAROK musiciansdivided into four categories: drummers, bassists, guitarists and vocalists. Each of them studies in their own group, gaining access to sheet music, scores, backing tracks and video lessons from mentors who show playing techniques and analyze the parts. Also, each artist must provide a video of the performance of works from the concert program. Mentors watch these videos, correct the performance and provide feedback. The development and management of this educational system has become a great challenge for us.

A big concert has a serious team

It was possible to copy all the organizational features from the world famous project Rockin’1000< /strong>, who inspired us to organize the show. But our concert will take place in a closed area and this makes us strikingly different from our global counterpart. The first and most obvious advantage of a closed site is protection from the unpredictable Moscow weather. Inside the indoor area, MEGAROK team members are not affected by rain, which guarantees the event. This is a significant advantage, especially given the unpredictability of the weather, which can seriously interfere with the organization and execution of a show in an open area.

From an acoustic point of view, an indoor area presents more difficulties. Reflections from the roof can degrade sound quality, requiring additional setup efforts. In particular, to minimize reflections, it was decided to lower the height of the audio equipment, which helps reduce unwanted effects. Despite these difficulties, the MEGAROKA team is confident in its ability to overcome them and provide high quality sound.

Our technical team includes specialists working in front-of-house positions: sound engineer and systems engineer, as well as specialists who help assemble vocal and guitar stems. The monitor part consists of a monitor sound engineer and his assistant, who helps collect mixes from a large number of musicians.

Our RF managers monitor the stability of radio signals. Among them are specialists in infrared and classical radio channels, responsible for radio microphones, guitar radio channels andIN-EAR systems. The backliners team is responsible for arranging microphones and switching stage equipment.

“Wall of Sound” and Visual

The entire event was built «around» sound

An enclosed area also opens up new possibilities for lighting effects that are difficult to implement in open areas due to daylight. Indoors, smoke and light beams can be used to create an impressive show. This aspect significantly improves the visual component of the event, making it more vibrant and memorable for the audience.

Accommodate 1000 people on stage– difficult task. We placed the drummers in the center so they could be seen from all sides, with the bassists and guitarists behind them and the vocalists in front. The “wall of sound” principle used by the Grateful Dead and symphony orchestras allows the sound to be generated on the field, and not just from the portals.

We were able to find a compromise between the directing team and the sound engineers. We needed to achieve a great sound and a great visual concept. As a result, the arrangement of thousands of artists on stage ensures that the audience is seated and can comfortably view the show from any sector of the stadium at 360 degrees. At the same time, MEGAROK is one of the fewconcerts where the technical team is integrated into the stage: The monitor console and sound engineer are located in the center of the stage, allowing the audience to see the work of the technical team. Usually the monitor sound engineer is behind the scenes, but we decided to make him an additional element of the show.

Signal delivery and kilometers of wires

We will have a lot of wires. The team has a separate specialist who deals with the entire distribution of signals, since several consoles and different digital protocols are used: Dante, AVB and MADI. A special team thinks through all the cable routes, routing, which switches will be used and where everything will go. They are also responsible for track recording and digital splits between the monitor and recording systems. We need control of all amplifiers to monitor the system in real time: so that the portals work, the amplifiers do not overheat and there are no overloads.

The entire monitoring system and the main portal signal will travel through the optical fiber. A regular XLR cable will be used before the microphones. All this will be combined into multi-pin boxes and then into remote controls. The split between the FOH and the monitor will most likely be on an analogue signal for FOH independence.

FOH (Front of House)is the sound control area at the front of the stage where the engineer is responsible for mixing sound for the audience.

The concert turns into a studio

The concert is turning into a studio. The project required a lot of effort from its organizers. Photo.

The project required a lot of effort from its organizers

Concert and studio work have become similar. Sound engineers use studio plugins to process the sound of channels and add effects. Concert consoles are now digitalized and support these plugins without additional servers.

For our show, the Avid s6l system was chosen as the main console at FOH; of the plugins, first of all, I will use the Oxford Sonnox pack, including equalizer and Oxford Reverb. On the monitor console there will be a Yamaha Rivage, for stem mixing a Yamaha CL5.

Each of the 1000 musicians needs their own mix. We used infrared ear monitoring and Shure PSM 1000 IN-EAR systems for soloists and headliners. Four main mixes – for guitarists, bassists, vocalists and drummers. In Moscow, the use of Bluetooth systems causes a number of difficulties, so RF managers will constantly monitor the radio frequency environment.

Some drummers will use wired monitoring, others will use wireless bodypacks. Two drummers on the main stage will receive IN-EAR monitoring with individual mixes and their own radio channel.

MEGAROK and 10 concerts of the King and the Jester

The event turned out to be truly grandiose

The formation of the wall of sound comes from symphonic music, and it can truly be regarded as a very large rock orchestra. In terms of equipment and sound formation, “MEGAROK” is similar to 10King and the Clown concerts with an orchestrataking place simultaneously.

But no matter how the concert is designed technically, the success of the show greatly depends from the mood of the musicians and spectators. The energy of all participants works like communicating vessels: when the audience is enjoying themselves, the musicians receive a charge of energy and play with great enthusiasm. Such things are especially noticeable on long concert tours: despite the fatigue of the artists from constant travel, if the audience receives the performance enthusiastically, the musicians come to life and perform more powerfully, which excites the audience even more.

The technical side, of course, is important: sound , light, equipment. But without the right energy, the concert will not be successful. It is important that everyone – the musicians, the technical team, and the directors – are on the same page. The task of the technical team is to smooth out all possible friction and make every musician feel important and significant on this huge stage. With a general positive attitude, I am confident that everything will work out.