On and off for 15 years I have been attending the fireworks celebration on the 4th of July in my adopted home town of Grimes, Iowa. Each year, three to four thousand people gather at our sports complex starting around 7 PM to get that ideal spot to watch the fireworks, catch up with friends and chill before it gets dark.
As I left it last year, I thought “Couldn’t this be a lot more fun and more exciting; and how could I help?” The idea is simple, entertain everyone there until the fireworks start and then add to the fireworks with some inspirational music. This year, I was part of the celebration. If you want to do something similar, you need to start now—11 months before the next time the gig can happen. The time to pitch your town on this is now.
Our pitch was to the city and the city festival committee that organizes the event. I zoomed in on Google maps to the area I wanted to cover and drew on the map the area that needed sound. It figures to being a total of just under a square mile that is very flat. We knew we could cover the flatlands well and use some of the smaller hills in the park to our advantage. But after doing some research online, we decided to aim higher and broadcast it on the radio.
Using hardware from an Amazon store, and also doing some experimentation with various possibilities, we have set up ourselves to broadcast on a 5w FM frequency. We didn’t heavily promote the FM broadcast this year because we weren’t 100% sure of the outcome, but next year we look to have even more people listening to the show through their car stereos and other radio receivers. The range of our broadcast ended up being approximately a mile in every direction when tested using car radios. Our only additional cost involved in doing this gig was the transmission equipment; no extra gear was needed, beyond gathering all the speakers from each of our multi-system rigs.
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Filed Under: Issue #172
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