AV Amphitheater Installation: The City Church Project

At RYGID AV, we collaborated with City Church of Gastonia on an exciting project with a long-standing vision for their community. The COVID-19 pandemic brought this need into sharp focus, underscoring the importance of having a versatile outdoor venue. In response, City Church took the bold step of constructing an amphitheater, which opened in 2023.

This outdoor venue is primarily a worship space for church services, but other considerations were important, too. The amphitheater will also serve as an overflow for worship services and a vibrant gathering spot for the community. It's a place where the congregation and visitors can come together to celebrate, connect, and find peace, all while surrounded by the landscape's natural beauty. For that space to function correctly, it needs a carefully designed and installed AV system.

Project Overview and Vision

At the heart of this project was the desire to create a space where the community could gather and worship outdoors, especially in light of the need for socially distanced events during the pandemic. We worked closely with City Church's tech director to bring this vision to life, focusing on creating a user-friendly, turnkey amphitheater.

One key requirement was that the space be easily operated by their trained staff. We aimed to design a setup that was ready for use in short order, ensuring that the amphitheater could be utilized efficiently for various events. Additionally, we ensured that all outdoor Installed equipment was weather-rated and capable of withstanding the elements to provide a reliable outdoor experience. Everything that couldn't stay outdoors was kept in quick-deployment road cases, allowing them to be set up quickly and efficiently. This approach made the venue more versatile and required careful consideration during design. 

Seven people sing praise songs on an outdoor stage covered by a shelter covering. A large screen with a cross and the words to a song are displayed prominently.

Photo by Michelle Andrews

Design Challenges and Custom Solutions

Audio-visual projects need to solve for the same elements - sound, lighting, and video needs. These are crucial for any event, whether a worship service, concert, or community gathering. Sound systems must ensure that speakers or performers are heard distinctly, lighting should enhance visibility and create the desired ambiance, and video displays must be large and clear enough to showcase multimedia elements to the entire audience. 

Designing an outdoor amphitheater presents unique challenges, and weather was a major factor for us. We had to ensure the equipment could withstand rain and wind while delivering top-notch performance. Finding a sound system that met these criteria without breaking the bank was a significant challenge.


Technology and Equipment for Versatile Use

Creating an immersive outdoor experience requires the right blend of technology and equipment. For sound, we chose the Adamson IS7 line array boxes and IS119 subwoofers, renowned for clarity and power. Combined with the Allen & Heath soundboard and Audix wireless microphones, this ensures crisp, clear audio that can fill the open space without distortion. The Allen & Heath in-ear monitor system provides performers with precise sound monitoring, which is essential for outdoor events where acoustics can be challenging.

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood and enhancing the visual appeal of any event. We opted for Chauvet's outdoor-rated professional lights, which offer robust performance and versatility. Controlled by a Chroma-Q Vista system, these lights can create a wide range of atmospheres, from solemn and introspective to vibrant and celebratory.

While RYGID AV assisted in designing the video wall, we did not handle its purchase or installation. However, it's worth noting that video walls are a powerful tool for outdoor venues, providing clear visuals even in bright daylight and enabling creative visual storytelling.

Community Impact

The amphitheater at City Church has become a space for the church and the wider community. On sunny days, it serves as a beautiful setting for outdoor worship, allowing the congregation to connect with nature and each other in a more open and relaxed environment. It also acts as an overflow service area, ensuring everyone can participate, even when indoor spaces reach capacity.

The amphitheater's versatility extends beyond church services. It has hosted concerts, including performances by nationally recognized touring acts, bringing a new level of entertainment and cultural enrichment to the community. Additionally, the space has been utilized for various local events, providing a scenic and accommodating venue for gatherings of all kinds.

A picture of an amphitheater with a beautiful lake behind it. A crowd of people sit in folding chairs and on concrete steps facing the stage, listening to a performer; the church sound system lets everyone hear her clearly.
A full amphitheater for a church during a worship service; a large screen displays the church's name and speakers are mounted to get sound to all attendees sitting on the steps.

Photographs by Michelle Andrews

Looking for an AV Installation Partner for Your Community Space?

If you're seeking a partner to bring your community space to life with professional AV installations, look no further than RYGID AV. Our successful partnership with City Church and the innovative solutions we implemented at their amphitheater are testaments to our commitment to excellence and ability to tackle complex challenges. Contact us today to discuss how we can enhance your community space with top-notch audio-visual technology.