Mackie Helps Sturgis throw a Party for 650,000 of its Closest Friends

(Mackie | Posted 2006-10-02)

Mackie Helps Sturgis throw a Party for 650,000 of its Closest Friends

The Sturgis, SD motorcycle rally has been an annual tradition for nearly seven decades, but it wasn’t until the Buffalo Chip came along that it really kicked into high gear. It was toward the end of the 1970’s when Rod “Woody” Woodruff, a local attorney and fellow Harley owner, invited revelers to camp on a portion of his 500 acres on the outskirts of the town.

Twenty-five years later, the Chip has become a legendary part of the Sturgis gathering, with Woody and company inviting several hundred thousand of their closest friends for a nine day long party with music, food and plenty of room to ride. Far from a stereotypical outlaw biker rally, though, today’s attendees are just as likely to arrive in high-end motor homes with several custom Harleys in tow.

As the Sturgis Rally has gained in popularity and renown (recent years have seen attendance figures in the 600,000 range and beyond) the Chip has evolved into the epicenter of the event, with entertainment on multiple stages this year featuring a roster that included Kid Rock, Gretchen Wilson, Montgomery Gentry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent, Edgar Winter, Billy Idol, Foreigner, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Blue Oyster Cult, The James Gang, David Lee Roth, Alice In Chains and Buckcherry.

This year, the numerous stages scattered throughout the campground also featured high-end audio systems featuring a selection of the latest Mackie Active and Precision Passive loudspeakers, as well as numerous Mackie Onyx Series and CFX Series mixers. Mackie Active models were a mixture of the flagship SA-Series, as well as plenty of Mackie’s popular SRM-450 and SRM-350 models. SWA Series Active subwoofers were also on hand providing low-end punch.

In addition to the Active models, Mackie’s new Precision Passive loudspeakers were on hand, including the range-topping S408 two-way boxes, as well as several of the the powerful S410s subwoofers. Amplification for all passive systems was provided by TAPCO Juice Series amplification.

“Back when we started out, I didn’t know anything about sound systems,” Woody recalls. “We just had a pasture with a three-strand barbed wire fence. We’d chase the cows out, build a fire, and over time we brought in a tent and generators, invited some musicians, brought in some tables for a stage, and gradually added improvements. But these days we’re entertaining more than half a million people, and we want to give them the best experience possible.”

“When people heard that Mackie was being used this year, the reaction from everyone, musicians and management alike, was really positive,” reports Kevin Karns, who works with Woody to book entertainment and manage the side stages at the Buffalo Chip. “We’ve been working hard the last few years to achieve a consistency in the quality of the sound from stage to stage and from day to day, and what a pleasure it was to have such great sounding systems this year and to get so much positive feedback.’

Karns points to the relationship with Mackie as yet another important milestone for Sturgis. “The musicians and the technical crews have all been so happy to find out they’re playing through Mackie gear, and even people in the audience, they see the Mackie banners and so many of them know the name is synonymous with great sound. We’re really looking forward to Mackie playing an even bigger role next year – as Bogart said, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

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