For the fourth consecutive year, Riedel Communications supplied the communications backbone for Passion Conference — an annual Christian gathering of tens of thousands of students and young adults that took place in early January. Riedel’s Artist digital matrix intercom system and Bolero wireless intercom enabled tight choreography and seamless delivery of coordinated sessions, speakers, and worship music across four venues: State Farm Arena and Infinite Energy Center in Atlanta, The Anthem in Washington, D.C., and The Theatre at Grand Prairie near Dallas.
As in previous years, the goal for Passion 2019 was to give attendees across the venues a seamless experience and help them forget they were separated by hundreds of miles. Over the course of the three-day event, Louie Giglio, Pastor of Passion City Church and Founder of Passion Conferences, and several bands and worship leaders moved from one location to the next. As they shifted between sites, they needed the ability to interact with one another remotely to ensure they could provide the same experience for every attendee, regardless of the venue. The addition of a fourth venue this year added further complexity to the communications challenge, requiring technology that could work flawlessly and fade into the background.
“With the added venue, this year’s Passion was a big scale-up from previous years. Our trunking requirements increased exponentially; in fact, over the three days of the show, there were more than 167,000 individual trunk calls generated from one site to another,” said Jeremy Lommori, Lead Communications Engineer, Passion Conferences. “There’s no way we could have accomplished this without the VoIP stability, integrated trunking flexibility, and easy deployment of Artist.”
Working with U.K.-based logistics and event management company Black and White Live, the Riedel team deployed the Artist intercom with Trunk Navigator software to link TNDV mobile production trucks and enable communications across an 800-mile fiber network. Riedel’s Trunk Navigator system, along with Riedel Artist 64 systems deployed across the four sites, established temporary VoIP trunk lines between each venue and dynamically connected key panels across all venues. The trunked Artist system allowed for point-to-point communications between the venues and from any one panel to another, which in turn facilitated the detailed and complex communication needed to execute a coordinated event at four venues simultaneously.
For the second year, Riedel’s Bolero wireless intercom provided clear and reliable communications for production managers, production assistants, and other technical managers working the show. In all, there were more than 150 Bolero beltpacks spread over the four venues. In order to support the additional venue, the Riedel/Black and White Live team added a master control room at the State Farm Arena. This gave Passion 2019 executive producers the ability to talk directly to every panel, Bolero, IFB, and radio at every venue.
Lommori added, “The ability to replace many of the wired intercom panels with Bolero beltpacks made on-site deployment, with very tight load-in timelines, a reality. At most of the sites, we had only one day to be up and operating with this complex system.”
Deploying Bolero at all sites allowed the few individuals who needed to travel between sites to keep using the same beltpacks, since Bolero can automatically re-register with the local antennas when they arrive at a new site. The lead production manager had the same Bolero beltpack with him at all venues, so no matter where he was, he could talk to the same people.
“Hosting an event that happens in four venues simultaneously requires an unbelievable amount of coordination. That coordination was only made possible by Riedel Communications,” said Taylor Charboneau, Production Manager for Passion Conferences. “The flexibility Riedel gives each user — wired and wireless — is unmatched and what made Passion 2019 work!”