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Social Distancing Done Right

Thomas S. Friedman • FeaturesOctober 2020 • October 11, 2020

The tent-topped, semi-open air seating consisted of a “main floor” area, ringed by opera house-style tiers. Photo: Frans van der Wijst

Stagelight Puts Adamson on Zomertheater Stage

Located about 50 miles south of Amsterdam, the Pettelaarse Schans near the Dutch city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch was a fort built in 1623 on an easily defensible, star-shaped peninsula surrounded by water.

The fort was demolished 49 years later, and currently, the only reminder of its existence is a row of trees planted in 2012 on the outer line of the former bastion walls. Today, the fort’s flat, open space makes it an ideal locale for fairs, concerts and events. This year, the park site was host to Het Zomertheater (Dutch for “The Summer Theater”), featuring 21 sold-out, socially distanced shows featuring one-of-a-kind performances by some of the Netherlands’ biggest artists and comedians under a tent-top structure, creating a huge open-air theater.

After the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to music festivals and large events, five local companies worked on a solution, with the support of the municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. As one of the initiative’s founders and organizers, ‘s-Hertogenbosch-based production technologies provider Stagelight had a major stake in its success and would outfit the main stage with a substantial audio system from Adamson Systems Engineering.

“When the world went into lockdown, we joined a small group of event suppliers on a path of entrepreneurship and vision. The idea was to set up a one-of-a-kind concert experience that would bring back the excitement of live performances but in a very safe, socially distanced environment,” explains Stagelight’s manager of technical operations Robert De Lorijn. “Obviously, it was well-received, as every single show sold out. We made no compromises with the production, so Adamson was the clear choice for the audio system, and we had unanimous, overwhelmingly positive feedback from engineers, audiences, event partners and local government.”

The wide-spaced seating required a 100-box system to provide even coverage to the socially distanced audience. Photo by Tom Doms

The Venue

Inspired by Milan’s famous Teatro alla Scala opera house, the resulting venue was in a three-story temporary arena consisting of two seating levels per story for a total of six. Drawing from its substantial inventory of 400 Adamson enclosures, Stagelight deployed a staggering 100 cabinets to cover the 750 widely spaced, socially distanced patrons.

The Zomertheater stage was loaded with main arrays of 12 Adamson E12 three-way, full-range array enclosures per side and outfill arrays with 12 sub-compact S10 two-way, full-range cabinets per side. Pushing out the low end were 36 E119 subwoofers arranged in 12 FBF cardioid stacks of three. Rounding out the system were 16 more S10s as various fills.

As per Stagelight’s standard procedures, the system was driven by a suite of Lab.gruppen PLM 20K44 amplifiers on a fully-redundant Dante network with an analog fallback. Local and visiting acts’ consoles were connected via either Dante or AES, and the analog backup to Lake LM44 processors kept the signal path clean and present and the workflows hassle-free.

The main L/R hangs with 12 Adamson E12 line arrays/side and 36 ground-stacked E119 subwoofers offered plenty of punch. Photo by Tom Doms

It’s Showtime!

Over the course of the summer, heralded acts like Latin Billboard hitmaker Rolf Sanchez; YouTube star Davina Michelle; Eurovision Song Contest finalist and The Voice winner OG3NE; The Voice winner Maan; comedian Jandino Asporaat; chart riders Chef’Special; and many more took the Zomertheater stage to much acclaim, entertaining capacity crowds for every single performance.

“We had a large area to cover, with a lot of square meters per patron, but wanted to deliver the sound and feel of a typical concert. That said, we also felt a big responsibility to the urban area surrounding the venue for 23 shows and almost 50 performances,” notes De Lorijn. “We’re happy to say we succeeded with zero complaints — only compliments on the great sound and low environmental impact.”

De Lorijn explains that the partners behind the concert series are working on multiple winter editions of the concept for the coming months, and that so far, Stagelight has been able to keep all of its esteemed staff employed through the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to this kind of outside-the-box thinking.

“We’re lucky to have such an enterprising team, and Het Zomertheater is a great example of what people can do when they collaborate and come up with creative solutions,” De Lorijn adds. “We’re very proud of our work with this series and know that pristine sound from Adamson was critical to delivering such a great experience.”

“We love having Adamson Network partners like Stagelight, who’ve done something really special at Het Zomertheater to keep live event professionals and artists working through these challenging times, all while delivering great entertainment to the public at a time that it’s needed most,” says Jochen Sommer, Adamson’s director of operations for the EMEA region. “We look forward to adapting Stagelight’s ideas as they continue this proven concept for the foreseeable future, and helping more of our partners get back to work safely with creative applications.”

About Stagelight

Based in the central Netherlands city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Stagelight is a mid-sized regional company providing lighting and sound technology for corporate and public events, theater performances, concerts, presentations, etc. Its 75 employees are kept busy handling both rentals and installations, offered through its two divisions — Stagelight Verhuur BV and Stagelight Sales BV.

In addition to serving its existing customers — theaters, community centers, schools, amusement parks, event complexes and AV rental companies — on a continuing basis, Stagelight also prides itself on acting as a “one-stop shop” to assist event agencies, festival organizations, production companies and theater companies, taking care of all their technology needs.

Besides its large arsenal of Adamson E-Series and S-Series speakers (it became one of the first adopters of the S-Series in 2015), Stagelight’s console complement includes: Allen & Heath SQ5; DiGiCo SD8/SD9/SD11; Midas Siena/Verona; SSL Live L300/L500 plus; Soundcraft MH4; Yamaha M7CL-48; and an assortment of Pioneer and Allen & Heath DJ mixers. Mics are a variety of industry standards — AKG, Audio-Technica, Countryman, DPA, Sennheiser and Shure — both wired and wireless.

For more info about Stagelight, visit

For more info about Adamson Systems, visit

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