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Community Goes Underground

March 1, 2008

St Michaels Cave, Gibraltar - St. Michael's Cave is a network of limestone caves located in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve of Gibraltar, at a height of over 300 metres above sea level. Its name is derived from a similar grotto in Monte Gargano near the Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo in Apulia, Italy, where the Archangel Michael is said to have appeared.

St. Michael's is the most visited of the more than 150 caves found inside the Rock of Gibraltar, receiving over 1,000,000 visitors a year and making it one of the country's top tourist attractions.

The long passages and large caverns were created over thousands of years by rainwater, turned into a weak carbonic acid by slowly seeping through limestone, gradually dissolving the rock itself. Stalactites and stalagmites in the caves are formed by an accumulation of traces of dissolved rock deposited by water dripping from the ground above.

The cave's structure remains as nature intended, but they have been subject to a sympathetic sound and lighting treatment to reveal the natural beauty of the formations and to guide and inform visitors. The largest chamber, called Cathedral Cave, has been used to create a unique auditorium and houses a permanent stage and seating for about 450 people. It has been a regular venue for events such as dramas, ballets and son et lumière shows, as well as the annual Miss Gibraltar beauty pageant. The cave is also used to hold concerts of all music genres, from operas and philharmonic orchestras to pop and rock.

However beautiful the caves, they are very hostile to technology and Community loudspeakers were chosen to be able to provide long-term reliability and outstanding audio quality in this environment. A combination of Community WET and R-Series all-weather loudspeakers are used throughout the caves with R2s providing FOH for the main stage in the Cathedral Cave. In addition to their durability, the R2s power and quality makes them suitable for the wide variety of events and their well-controlled dispersion is a significant advantage in the highly reverberant space.