How we did the MegaFonLive Music Festival

    There are many music lovers among Habr’s readers, and therefore we want to talk about the experience of organizing (its technical part) the unique music festival “MegaFonLive” “Close cities. Close people ”, which took place in August-September this year in ten cities with a population of over one million in Russia. The event was held in support of the new position of the company "Truly Close." With this project, we wanted to show that each of us has a lot more truly close people than we think, and to demonstrate how mobile communication helps bring together not only individuals, but entire cities.

    In this post, the organizing team spoke about the preparation and conduct of the festival, and Andrei Basikov, the head of the MegaFon federal center for project implementation, told how the technical implementation of the project was arranged.

    New big idea

    Background. As everyone remembers, for a long time the main slogan of MegaFon was the phrase "The future depends on you." This year, we changed our global positioning strategy to "Truly Close." Why did we choose this positioning? The task of modern technology is to bring people together and constantly maintain their emotional connection with loved ones: write, call, send a photo or show a video.

    Based on the new brand platform, a series of concerts “Close Cities. Close People, ”revealing the essence of a new key idea. We liked the format of the music festival, because it is massive, and we, like our subscribers, love quality music. Just as the MegaFon connection connects people across Russia, so the MegaFonLive concerts bring people from different cities together.

    The main feature of the project is the idea of ​​the final song: its simultaneous performance by two artists, two cities. Yes, it was possible to do the usual series of concerts in different cities, but all this already happened. But it was important for us to convey our new positioning, and therefore we liked the idea of ​​uniting cities, uniting people. When you are at a concert in St. Petersburg, and your friend is in Moscow (or vice versa), you get incredible emotions, the feeling that you are nearby, you are together right now, even when you are in different cities. Thanks to the live broadcast, you can see each other and interact with each other: even send your own selfie hello to the screen next to the scene. The culmination of the project - when one song is simultaneously sung, for example, “Chayf” and Garik Sukachev in different cities!

    The difficulty in organizing such a project was to establish a one-time uninterrupted, stable inclusion and parallel performance of one song between two cities and two musical groups, respectively. To participate in the event, we gathered the most famous Russian rock musicians (among them Zemfira, "Splin", "Chayf", Vyacheslav Butusov, "Semantic Hallucinations", Garik Sukachev, Olga Kormukhina, Chicherina and the Beasts group). Each of them has very high requirements not only for sound quality, but also for show quality. It was not easy to persuade them to experiment, each had to choose a song separately, rehearse the sequence of performances, both before the start of the project, and already during the sound check. Yuri Dontsov, the concert director of the project worked with musicians, the repertoire, including organizing rehearsals.

    Two cities, two songs and two-way internet

    Andrei Basikov, head of the MegaFon federal project implementation center: From a technical point of view, our main task was to organize a live broadcast between cities. It is important that the broadcast proceeds with a minimum time delay and does not interrupt.

    What does the standard technology for organizing a teleconference during a music festival look like? A signal is sent from one city to another, received, and then sent back in turn. And such that the signal worked on two sides at the same time, did not exist yet.

    So, for example, on July 13, 1985, in two different parts of the world - London and Philadelphia - the “Live Aid” charity festival was organized by Bob Geldof to raise funds for the starving of Africa. In those years, there were many problems with transatlantic broadcasting and technology. So while the band “The Who” performed the song “My Generation”, right after Roger Daltry sang “Why don't you all fade ...”, the generator exploded.

    At the end of the festival, artists Mick Jager and David Bowie were supposed to sing together, being in different cities - London and Philadelphia. But to realize this bold idea failed because of the imperfection of technology of that time.

    After 30 years, we decided to repeat this large-scale technical experiment. And we did it - not only because the technology has evolved, but also because our technical experts have done a great job.

    Channels for video broadcasting

    In fact, channel organization is a fairly standard task. Our main problem was the tight deadlines for implementation: in some cities, the sites on which we were supposed to install the equipment were determined a few days before the event. Finished the construction of the site, that is, the cable and related infrastructure, directly in the control room, where the event's directorial group was located.

    We had to not only organize and test the channel, but also hand it over to the director's group so that they could test it already on live equipment, evaluate how the picture would look from the side, whether it corresponded to the quality parameters that were presented to the channels.

    Sound engineers, broadcast directors and technical specialists worked in the control room:

    Initially, as planned, we organized them with geographically dispersed reservations. That is, the channels, for example, from Nizhny Novgorod to Kazan, were physically spaced along the entire route, which excluded service degradation in the event of a single break. At one of such events, we had an emergency when one track failed, but, nevertheless, due to the fact that the technical solutions were developed and implemented correctly, for the end users (MegaFonLive viewers) the incident went unnoticed .

    In our area of ​​responsibility was the organization of the L2VPN channel between cities to provide video broadcasting. For this, we, as already mentioned, made channels with redundancy geographically distributed over the network. Plus, an additional service was also organized - an online broadcast on YouTube.

    MegaFon and NetByNet were our main partners in cable channels, communication channels and Internet setup networks. For 2-3 weeks, we sent the technical scheme of the site from the venue, the company analyzed the technical capabilities (cable laying, installation of equipment, installation of mobile base stations, etc.) so that the Internet worked stably and, most importantly, not in one side, and in two, as the event was designed for two cities. In some cities, significant construction work was needed to organize cable infrastructure, and MegaFon was involved in the global organization of communications. NetByNet and Synterra-Media also helped us.

    Kilowatts of sound, kilometers of cable and rock stars of the first magnitude

    Ekaterina Sokolova, project manager of MegaFonLive on the Brandnew side:
    To build a concert venue, 1000 lighting fixtures, 600 tons of stage equipment, 20 km of cable, 18 cars of 20 tons, 1200 kilowatts of sound were needed.

    About the difficulties. For the project technical director, the main difficulty is to understand the sound delay, to make the sound perfect and clear. For the contractor and the company that organized the broadcasting on YouTube and the teleconference-Internet, the main task was high-quality and fast communication - the Internet had to “fly” and the channel between the cities was as reliable as possible. For a music producer, the main goal is to agree with the artists, convince the artist to sing what we need, sing the final song, sing it together with a certain artist.

    There were a lot of nuances: someone needed to prepare arrangements in advance, because the tone did not match. The logistician and the logistics company had to find the right number of machines, if necessary, urgently bring the necessary details and infrastructure elements. The broadcast director (for example, in Moscow we worked with a German director) had the task of ensuring the broadcast with this artist, in accordance with his deadlines and vision.
    All this was very difficult, but in the end we did it.

    Concert Sound Level


    In the final of the Moscow-Peterburg concert, all the participants — almost 100,000 people in the Northern capital and more than 150,000 people in Moscow — sang Vyacheslav Butusov’s song “Goodbye America!” Together. With the help of a sound level meter, we measured the sound: it turned out that this song was performed the loudest!

    A gadget for noise measurement

    And here is the same joint song through the eyes of our viewers in a one-time performance of Yu-Peter & Chayf, Garik and Zemfira - Goodbye, America (MegaFonLIVE):

    We traveled to 10 cities in different parts of Russia (Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Samara and Rostov-on-Don), bringing together more than 420,000 guests and about 590,000 viewers videos and broadcasts on the Internet. In total, this is more than the entire population of Cyprus or Montenegro! We filled the Internet: over 200,000 photos from concerts were published on various social networks.

    Watch our movie Backstage MegafonLive about how it was:

    How we worked with a high network load

    Andrei Basikov, head of the MegaFon federal project implementation center:
    Since our company is the largest telecom operator, we also had to improve the quality of coverage at the festival venues. Our colleagues did this directly in the branches, as they best know the state of the network in a certain territory. The company’s specialists from our regional offices carried out drive tests at the sites, analyzed the results, developed and applied solutions to the network that allowed the network to work stably during peak loads.

    We recorded that the maximum load on the network at peak moments of concerts exceeded the usual average of 5 times. We worked on the quality of communication, the network withstood, and made it possible for hundreds of thousands of people to feel that they were all close, despite the distances, really close.

    Drive tests are a site survey directly on the spot. Special measuring equipment evaluates the quality of the coating, the maximum and minimum loads that the network can withstand. Based on these data, either modernization of current base stations located in this territory was carried out, or, if this was not enough, additional mobile base stations were installed precisely for the duration of the event.

    Mobile base station is being installed

    From the functional point of view, practically the entire MegaFon infrastructure was involved: colleagues from the development of the network developed technical solutions; builders who modernized and built fiber-optic communication lines (fiber-optic communication lines) to points; employees involved in radio network optimization performed measurements and parametric optimization; colleagues from the operation who installed, set up the equipment, were involved in the organization and testing of channels. The Unified Network Management Center was also involved, which provided, among other things, monitoring of both the transport network (organized channels) and the radio network for the high-quality functioning of mobile services. At the time of the event itself, operational staff was organized in case of unforeseen problems. In each city of the event, at least 7-10 MegaFon infrastructure employees were involved. In total, 90 technical specialists of Megafon worked on the project.


    In preparation for the festival, our technical experts carried out all the necessary work so that each concert audience could easily reach their loved ones, share their impressions and post vivid photos and videos to social networks.

    Once again, we were convinced that for such events, high-quality and reliable communication is as much an integral part as the concert itself. Therefore, all of our work aimed at increasing capacity, organizing reservations, was justified by the result and the assessment that we received from the organizers and spectators, both who visited the festival “live” and those who watched from the screens of their gadgets.


    Thanks to our media partners! The MegaFonLive festival was supported by: Our Radio , the Rambler & Co group of companies , and the cultural and entertainment portal . Next year we will repeat!

    Have you been to our concerts? Share your impressions!

    Also popular now: