Eighty miles from Bogotá, in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes, sits the city of Tunja. It’s a university town and popular tourist destination spotted with beautiful colonial-era churches, elegant architecture, and an immense, 140,000-square-foot town square known as Plaza Bolivar. Tunja is also home to several internationally known festivals, including the oldest celebration in all of Colombia — Aguinaldo Boyacense.
In 2017, local vendor Sound Republik and rental company Iluminación decided to use the week-long festival as a way to put Bose ShowMatch loudspeakers to the test. For festival-goers, the Aguinaldo Boyacense would be a week of joy and celebration. For Sound Republik’s new ShowMatch system, it would be a trial by fire.
An annual Christmas festival, Aguinaldo Boyacense is a lively blend of parades, sporting events, colorful costumes, and dozens of musical artists, bands, and orchestras. The festival was founded in 1955 and draws 25,000 people to Tunja every year.
The rental team at Iluminación heard that Sound Republik had acquired a complete ShowMatch system for demo purposes. They wanted to try it, telling Orlando Gutierrez of Sound Republik that if the system failed to perform to their expectations, they would simply “take it down ourselves.”
Adding to the pressure was the fact that several high-profile engineers, both local and foreign, would be using the system, pushing its capabilities with their own exacting performance expectations.
Using Bose Modeler sound pattern analysis and setup software, the team quickly gained confidence that the audience in Plaza Bolivar would be completely covered by two main arrays comprised of 18 ShowMatch modules per side along with two six-module arrays for rear fill and individual SM20 modules for front fill.
In total, Iluminación would use 54 ShowMatch modules, 32 SM118 subwoofers, seven Bose PowerMatch amplifiers, and six Powersoft amplifiers all controlled with a Dante-based network.
The performances that week in Plaza Bolivar involved five to ten different music shows every day, all of them from a wide variety of music styles and genres: Colombian folk, salsa, vallenato, pop, rock, and even metal.
Many of the artists, engineers, and producers thought the unobtrusive ShowMatch system — noticeably smaller than the typical systems used for such events — wouldn’t be powerful enough. But doubts were cast aside once the system started playing in Plaza Bolivar.
“I liked the clarity on the voices. The high notes are well defined — I enjoyed that a lot, I mean, it really shows very rich clarity in the high end. I think that is the system’s greatest virtue,” said Marcelo Sanhueza a FOH engineer for the singer Nacho.
For Lucho Fernandez, the sound engineer for the band Alkilados, the ShowMatch system was a pleasant discovery: “Since the moment we first played a song for the sound test we were surprised. At first, we were a bit reluctant, to be honest. Let’s just say we’re used to much bigger systems, physically speaking, but [ShowMatch] response at the show was amazing.”
Three days after the conclusion of Aguinaldo Boyacense, Iluminación contacted Sound Republik. The ShowMatch system had passed their test, and they wanted to use it again — this time in an open arena at the Puerto Gaitan 2018 Summer Festival in front of 40,000 people.