TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • AUGUST 2019 • ISSUE 240
GLASTONBURY Meet the crew that makes it happen
EAST LONDON TAKES OVER THE FARM...
BACKSTREET BOYS: DNA WORLD TOUR • TRAVIS SCOTT: ASTROWORLD • DAVID BLAINE: REAL OR MAGIC ERIC PRYDZ: EPIC 6.0 HOLOSPHERE • IN PROFILE: MARTIN BY HARMAN • WESTLIFE • PHIL COLLINS
AUGUST 2019 #240
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Vario-Lift See you next year, Glastonbury… This summer really is just flying by. But what a season it’s been. There have been few weekends that one of the TPi team haven’t been on-site at one of the UK’s festivals, meeting the men and women who battled this year’s unpredictable weather. There have been so many highlights, but the pinnacle was undoubtedly Glastonbury. This was the first time that Jacob and I made the trip to Worthy Farm. Throughout the weekend we got to meet a collection of the crew who once again came together to tackle the monumental task of putting on the event for 200,000 punters. Catch the highlights from p44. Also, in this issue I checked in with the Backstreet Boys crew at The O2 Arena to catch the DNA World Tour (p32). Then, a few weeks later, Jacob was also at the venue to conduct a visual focus of Travis Scott’s headline shows, hot on the heels of his Wireless Festival triumph (p22). Meanwhile back in the office, we have another member joining our Mondiale family. Taking on the role of Assistant Editor for TPMEA, we are pleased to welcome Peter Iantorno. Alongside his responsibilities with our Middle East publication, Peter will also be helping out on the production side of TPi and this month has already been getting stuck in to this current issue. Welcome to the madhouse, Pete! As we move into August, we have the last few festivals on our schedule, with James and Jacob heading down to Boomtown Fair this weekend. Then later this month Harley and I will be heading to Creamfields. So the festival wellies can’t quite be put away yet. In the midst of all the festival tomfoolery, I’ve also been trying to squeeze in some cycling training, as in September, I will be joining forces with the PSA’s Andy Lenthall to cycle from Stockport to London in the days leading up to PLASA, all in the name of StageHand. You can read more about it on p102. Till next time. Stew Hume Editor
EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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COVER Stormzy at Glastonbury by Timmsy
Issue 240 - August 2019 Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Publishing Limited, Strawberry Studios, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580 Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456 e-mail: email@example.com www.tpimagazine.com www.tpiawards.com
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2019 Mondiale Media Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Media Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited United Kingdom. The 2019 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Media Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
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Paul MacCallum 1948 - 2019
EVENT FOCUS 10
Eric Prydz TPi gets an exclusive look at the highly anticipated EPIC 6.0 Holosphere. Phil Collins Matrix provides a complete video package for the singer’s latest run. David Blaine The revolutionary magician sets out on his first UK tour with Audio-Technica.
Fog is our passion! Cobra 3.1
20 Westlife The LED Shed captures the band’s stage return after a seven-year hiatus. 22
Travis Scott Jacob meets the visual team powering the artist’s sold-out O2 Arena show.
Backstreet Boys Following a successful Las Vegas residency, Backstreet’s back, alright.
Glastonbury Festival TPi catches up with the talented troupe of crew and technical suppliers behind the tradeshow of music festivals.
FESTIVAL FOCUS 74
This month, TPi checks in with the crew at British Summer Time, Colours of Ostrava, and Roskilde, among others.
IN THE FIELD 86
FOH Engineer, David Shepherd discusses the importance of Shure Axient Digital.
IN PROFILE 88
London to Hungary; a look at Martin by Harman’s manufacturing prowess.
MARKET FOCUS 92
TPi looks at the latest innovations in the outdoor staging market.
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GEAR HEADS 96
RealMotion Director, Geoffrey Plott discusses the company’s Gold Series.
Arcadia Pangea recruits NRG for this year’s Glastonbury spectacular.
CLOCKING OFF 100 Anthony ‘Turbo’ Hall’s 22,000 mile charity drive for Backup 102 PSA and TPi, join forces for an epic bike ride for StageHand.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 103 Andy weighs up the pros and cons of self- employment in the world of live events.
105 The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 110 TPi Awards FOH Engineer of the Year, Mike Woodhouse, takes the hot seat.
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PAUL MACCALLUM: THE WOMBLE OF WEMBLEY The professional sound industry was this month mourning the death of Paul MacCallum, known affectionally to his friends as the Womble on account of his stint as Great Uncle Bulgaria in Mike Batt’s furry collection, but to the many PA companies who relied on his professional services, as Wembley Loudspeaker’s Recone King, writes Jerry Gilbert.
him to give up Wembley Loudspeaker, Paul MacCallum continued to play bass with Zoot’s band right up to the point where it was no longer possible. As a musician, he will be remembered with affection by the crowds at the Bull in Barnes, which along with the 100 Club was one of his favourite gigging venues. “We had endless laughs the whole time I knew him – from secondary school till the end,” stated Zoot. “Paul was a fellow musician, excellent company, a friend and solid in a crisis.” Having shared our landmark 50th and 60th birthday parties together with parties at the 100 Club conveniently during the PLASA Show, I also have many fond memories. Paul was also a major player in every respect on the international circuit. During the heyday of the disco industry, when the industry’s sound and lighting suppliers would decamp to the notorious Rose & Crown English pub, off the seafront in Rimini during the golden days of the SIB trade fair, he somehow managed to sell the owner a new Wembley Loudspeaker sound system for installation. How anyone was sober enough to do business in a bar that never seemed to close, and ended in carnage on most nights, remains a mystery to everyone. I also had the great privilege of presenting him with The Unsung Hero Award at the very first TPi Awards in 2002. It was to be a complete secret and I was to build up the suspense during the blurb before finally revealing his identity. But what made my task harder, was meeting up ahead of the event at the Hilton on Edgware Road with a few industry chums, when who should walk in but Paul. Keeping a straight face had never been harder. Four hours later, standing behind the mic I was following my brief, trying to avoid making eye contact with the Womble on Table 39. But when I set the scene by referring to one TV show, on namechecking a popular female TV presenter at the time, the backstage area and led onto “he’s done just about anything it’s possible to do in a Womble Suit”, the place went wild. But everyone has their favourite anecdote about Paul MacCallum, who was loved by everyone. You only need to look at the swathes of tributes on Facebook and other social media sites to realise this. Paul was married four times. With Vanessa, his second wife, he had three children and then gained a stepson when he married Viviane. He was married to Viviane for the last 22 years of his life, having been together for six years prior to that. He also leaves behind four much-adored grandchildren with another on the way. Paul MacCallum died on 26 June from Multiple System Atrophy, a rare neurological disorder, which progressively started to overwhelm him from early 2016. Several months prior to his death, when already confined to a hospice, a benefit concert was held at the O2 Academy Islington, giving the industry the opportunity to pay its respects. Hosted by Zoot Money, and featuring Papa George and Alan Price, the smile never left Paul’s face the whole evening as he sat in rapt attention on the front row, playing air bass and wishing for all the world that he could have been up onstage with the ensemble. The family is asking for donations to be made to either the MSA Trust or Princess Alice Hospice. MSA Trust: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paulmaccallum Princess Alice: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paulmaccallum1 TPi
Paul MacCallum was born in Harrow on 13 September 1948. He was brought up by his mother and her parents in Bournemouth, where he also went to school. It was here that he first met band leader Zoot Money, with whom he later played bass guitar, and the two performed in the school orchestra together. He was later a member of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band from the late ’80s onwards. During the 1970s Paul played and toured in bands, backing well known pop stars such as Helen Shapiro and Billy Fury, and also working as a session musician. In the ’80s he also played with Ruthless Blues and Dana Gillespie before touring with the Wombles. In 1966 he met Arthur Lampkin, who went on to found Wembley Loudspeaker five years later, and the two men developed a reputation as the UK’s leading loudspeaker repair and refurbishment experts from their workshop in Shepherds Bush. Their clients ranged from nightclubs, pro studios, sound hire companies, musicians including BB King, Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton and when Arthur retired, Paul MacCallum took over the business and employed Paul Mansfield and Tony Collins for many years. But Wembley Loudspeaker was far more than a repair shop. It designed some nifty cabinets of its own, most notably the popular B-Line bass cab, but also the equally popular Spyder, Deuce, Maxicube and Minicube, used by churches, high-profile discos and theatres, both in the UK and beyond. After the onset of a degenerative form of Parkinson’s Disease had forced 08
ERIC PRYDZ: EPIC 6.0 HOLOSPHERE Debuting at Belgium’s Tomorrowland, the highly anticipated Eric Prydz EPIC 6.0 Holosphere sees the legendary DJ perform inside a giant video-mapped, 3D transparent LED sphere.
EPIC 6.0 Holosphere was the latest in Prydz’s EPIC (Eric Prydz In Concert) series of jaw-dropping visual spectaculars, realised by dream team, longterm collaborators Liam Tomaszewski (Punkette), Ross Chapple (RCLD), Mark Calvert and Dave Green (RES) and Bryn Williams (Light Initiative) with the 8m-high Holosphere forming the centrepiece of the new design. “EPIC 6.0 has been two years in the making, starting with conceptual sketches, through to putting together exactly the right team with the skills, know-how and passion to get the project off the ground, and now successfully delivering the show at Tomorrowland,” said Calvert, who’s
been working with Eric Prydz on the EPIC shows for more than a decade as Executive Show Producer, Production Manager and Co-Show Designer. “When our team presented the concept to Michiel Beers and Jan Herinckx at Tomorrowland, they were extremely supportive and excited to co-produce the show with us,” Calvert continued. “We are very grateful for their faith in this production and equally to our chosen technical fabrication team, Light Initiative. We believe the show takes the core elements of dance music, LED technology, creativity, engineering, lighting and video control to the next level.” 10
To deliver Tomaszewski’s holographic imagery, Light Initiative designed and manufactured a lightweight structural and cladding system that provided high transparency. Applied to its structure, Light Initiative developed a miniature LED strip and video distribution system, bringing the total weight of the sphere to a mere 4.6 tonnes. The inner and outer surfaces of the Holosphere were clad in 806,000 LED pixels, equalling 276 sq metres of LED screen surface displaying bright, custom-mapped animations. With a uniform 16mm pixel pitch, the sphere achieved an impressive 64% transparency, revealing Prydz at the centre of the action. Light Initiative’s recent expansion meant that its London HQ was the perfect place for Holosphere’s creation. The company has doubled its warehouse space and opened a new fabrication area, within which the Holosphere was made. Bryn Williams said: “One of the biggest challenges set by Mark and Liam was to achieve a high level of transparency while not compromising the logistical demands of festival productions. To achieve this, the Holosphere was designed so that the structure and panels fit with millimetre precision and packed down into just two trucks. “We designed the individual elements of the Holosphere to be modular and repetitive, so if a component fails – be that electronics, LED or PSU – that component can be replaced rapidly,” Williams continued. “This adds
a further level of robustness and flexibility, which is great when you’re transporting such an intricate yet mammoth object to a festival scenario.” Upstage to the Holosphere was a 31.2m x 9.6m 9mm pixel pitch transparent LED screen that enveloped the stage, expanding the spectacle to the edges of the arena. More than 540 lighting fixtures were used as part of the lighting design. Groups of fixtures were rigged carefully to trussing, controlled by automated Cyber Hoists that surrounded the Holosphere, with a daring but subtle addition appearing as a 1.6m circular rig of fixtures that lowered into the Holosphere itself to mimic an ‘interstellar explosive experience’. Ross Chapple, Lighting Director, Co-Designer and Operator for the EPIC shows, said: “Once we had come up with the Holosphere as the central show concept, it was my responsibility to work out how we would light Eric as he performed. My design aimed to emphasise the form of the sphere and give it some spread into the arena, bringing extra energy and big motion right out into the audience. “We built automated spokes that extended out from a central point of the sphere – the longest of which is 6.5m – and wrapped around to encompass the Holosphere structure. We also had hundreds of LED moving head lighting fixtures behind our upstage LED wall, which interacted with the content and provide high-powered looks behind and around the sphere, picking up key points in the music and animation. I’m really proud of the ambitious effects we all achieved.” 11
Liam Tomaszewski (Punkette), Ross Chapple (RCLD), Mark Calvert (RES), Simon Cox, Dave Green (RES) and Bryn Williams (Light Initiative).
AiM codec developed by Avolites, myself and Trey Harrison of Harrison Digital Media in California. The codec facilitates impeccable video quality along with class-leading performance. The Ai software also has some incredible video-mapping capabilities, which allowed us to drive the near-perfect spherical output map produced in collaboration with Bryn Williams at Light Initiative.” Eric Prydz commented on the design of this latest performance: “I’m excited to see our nearly impossible idea come to life and I hope the people watching are as wowed by the sphere as I am. It’s fun to see how far you can push it, how extreme you can make things, and how you can come up with ideas that people haven’t seen or experienced before. Then, the joy of seeing people going absolutely crazy over it is an amazing feeling.” Calvert concludes: “The EPIC shows get more and more ambitious every time. It’s as exciting as it is satisfying to see the hard work of so many talented people come together for a truly awesome experience. I would like to personally thank everyone involved in both our internal project team, Light Initiative team and Tomorrowland’s team for their dedication and passion to realising EPIC 6.0 – especially Bryn Williams for believing in our original vision and sharing the journey with us to realisation and successful delivery of the project.” TPi Photos: Antonio Pagano and RES www.resgb.com www.lightinitiative.co.uk www.ericprydz.com
Eric Prydz’s Creative Director, Co-Designer and VJ Liam Tomaszewski, commented: “The holographic aspect to the sphere is about us creating visuals in three dimensions. This is unique. I don’t know anybody who has created three-dimensional visuals and displayed them in three dimensions, using what we call the ‘double equirectangular projection’ – a spherical map that wraps images onto the curved surface. “The Holosphere visuals were rendered by six separate virtual cameras and stitched together to create content that would be correct from all viewing angles. Figuring out the process to get to an end result that we were happy with took a really long time. When a sphere is your medium, it’s a whole new challenge. You can’t just render regular aspect ratio video and wrap it around. You have to work from the ground up with the sphere in mind, so figuring out unique looks and forming them into an overarching narrative was an enormous challenge.” Dave Green, Technical and Software Director on the EPIC project and Co-Owner of RES, has been developing the software used to drive the video elements of the show for more than 10 years: Avolites Ai software. Now commercially available in the UK, RES is one of Avolites’ Global Centres of Excellence for Ai integration. The hardware used was two Avolites R4 media servers – one main show machine and one backup. The system outputted three video feeds at up to 2,160 at 50p and playing back media at custom resolutions in the order of 4k also running at 50p. “The major challenge on the EPIC shows is always the same: keeping the media playing smoothly, while driving one of the most complex stage sets in the industry,” said Green. “We achieve this by using the fantastic 12
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PHIL COLLINS: NOT DEAD YET, LIVE! Matrix provides a complete video package for the singer’s European tour.
Following the success of the North America, Australia and New Zealand legs of the Not Dead Yet, Live! tour, Matrix successfully delivered a video solution for the European segment of Phil Collins’ ongoing world tour. Joined by his acclaimed 14-strong band, Collins was also accompanied by a range of Matrix equipment – most notably the PPU, camera systems and LED inventory. The European shows saw the introduction of the company’s recently acquired disguise media servers, packaged in custom configured racks, providing a vast enhancement to the visual impact of the show due to the flexibility of the graphics output. The Matrix PPU with Ross Carbonite mixer controlled a seven-camera
package, comprising four Sony HSC-100 EFP cameras – one FOH, two pitcameras on track and on spider dollies, and one handheld on stage – in addition to a Q-ball and two 4k BM Micro Studio Cameras, also on stage. Matrix’s Unilumin 5.9mm was the LED of choice for the European tour, used as the main 12m x 7m up-stage screen, two 7m x 5m IMAG screens at the stage wings, and LED riser screens. These LED elements were controlled by NovaStar’s impressive 4k processors. Matrix’s Ruary Macphie, who is the Technical Director for camera and video elements on the tour, collaborated closely with the relevant departments within Matrix and Anna Valley, Phil Collins’ production team 14
as well as external suppliers and specialists, to ensure the correct equipment specification and delivery. Anna Valley’s new warehouse space allowed for extensive large-scale prep, pre-production and equipment testing, which proved invaluable for the tour. “The group’s recent investment in the disguise servers and a significant quantity of system cameras – four of which have been on this tour – shows our continued development into the touring arena,” said Ruary. “To see these elements on the Phil Collins tour along with our PPU was absolutely fantastic. The addition of the disguise was brilliant,” he continued. “The quality and scope of the graphics were unreal and created an amazing visual experience for the audience.” TPi Photo: Resolve Film www.philcollins.com www.matrix-events.co.uk
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DAVID BLAINE: REAL OR MAGIC The revolutionary magician sets out on his first UK tour bringing his unique brand of unforgettable interactive experience and death-defying stunts. TPi discovers some of the audio wizardry taking place behind the scenes...
Embarking on his first ever UK tour, David Blaine’s Real or Magic arrived in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Bournemouth and London in June 2019. Renowned for his close-up street magic and elaborate, often dangerous stunts, the American is one of the most recognisable and pioneering magicians on the touring circuit. At the O2 Apollo Manchester, TPi caught up with the double act tasked with handling the audio for the one-man show. Quite the logistical feat, Ben Hammond was drafted in to ensure there was studio-quality sound in a live environment. He told TPi: “The team was having issues with things being heard and required an engineer who had a good knowledge of mic placement and who could think outside the box.” The FOH Engineer explained how the main bulk of the show required audience participation, thus mic placement was essential to the delivery. “The last thing we want is to stop the flow of the show,” he commented. “We need to be able to capture the slightest reaction from the audience.”
Having amassed quite a collection of Audio-Technica mics over the course of a decade, the engineer worked closely with the company to come up with a viable solution. “I typically use Audio-Technica mics with rock bands, but they worked well on this production, too, because they pick up everything I want them to without compromising on sound quality.” For the audio team, the brief was equal parts daunting and straightforward – the mics had to be as discreet as possible. “The thing with magic shows is that people in the audience are immediately sceptical as they think it’s fake,” to which end the crew was careful to represent blatant microphones, such as a headset or a handheld mic in addition to the hidden mics. Hammond added: “We had to achieve the balance between gaining the audio information we needed while simultaneously hiding the mics.” On the props, Hammond specified an AT ES935/C Gooseneck Microphone with an ML6 capsule. During a particularly gasp-inducing scene that saw Blaine invite two audience members on stage to help him sew his 16
FOH Engineer, Ben Hammond.
mouth closed with a needle and thread, a medical table rolled on stage with a podium/lectern microphone and an additional ‘floating’ mic on a stand. “The mic was on a really low stand to keep the audience’s eyes focused directly on David Blaine at knee-height, pointing upwards,” said Hammond on the mic configuration used for the set piece. David Blaine’s vocal mic came in the shape of a BP892cH headset directional mic, which fit into an AT 5000-Series wireless pack. “Using this new Audio-Technica mic, we were able to control the level of feedback when David was stood in front of the PA. A headset mic has a particular sound given its placement,” he explained, while gesticulating towards the
hardware. “Most importantly, using this mic, David sounds like himself, as opposed to a next-door version himself – and you can’t ask for much more than that.” While the main bulk of the show featured structured tricks, no two shows are exactly the same. “David is almost like a stand-up comedian, feeding off the vibe of the room,” Hammond said. “The last 30 to 40 minutes of the show are completely improvised; he sits on the downstage edge and engages in a Q&A with the audience.” Systems Engineer, Stan Saunders, who is no stranger to magic, joined the conversation. “There are certain things you can and can’t do on a show
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Systems Engineer, Stan Saunders.
such as this,” he commented. “I came on board to cover the stage audio because I have an understanding of how a magic show comes together, and the flow required.” Blaine is known for his self-described ‘endurance art’ – pushing his body to the limits in often death-defying situations. Saunders waxed lyrical about the daredevil magician. “In this show there simply isn’t any trickery involved,” he said. “David pushes himself and his body to the limits as a performer, and is highly trained and good at what does.” This astonishing endurance was on display as Blaine spent a full 10 minutes holding his breath submerged in a three-tonne water tank. Saunders walked TPi through the various on-stage mics. “There’s a prop table that sits on the stage – a hole has been drilled in it with an AT mic and 5000-Series wireless pack at the bottom. There’s a bit of interplay between David and the audience members during the card trick.” For the reactionary mics taped to things, it was integral that the team placed them in positions where it didn’t look like part of the act. Saunders explained: “On top of that, getting mics on David in the right place is integral without compromising his versatility on the stage during various gags.” Hammond’s company, ROCK-tech, supplied the audio control package, which comprised an Allen & Heath SQ-5, a Waves server and MultiRack, along with a pair of Lake Processing LM 44s, QLab, as well as Audio-Technica 5000-Series network monitoring and control software. When it came to control, there was only one brand in mind for Hammond. “I own a bunch of Allen & Heath consoles,” he explained. “I used the Allen & Heath SQ-5 during a three-month US tour this summer at both FOH and monitors, and it never missed a beat. It’s scary what it can do at such a reasonable price point.” Hammond utilised his Waves MultiRack as a primary source expander on the vocals, to eradicate feedback. The software was designed specifically for vocals to achieve a soft, tuneable, and shallow gate – with multiple open condenser mics set to -8dB. “It’s like having 20 fingers or an automatic mic mixer, which is less noticeable and very natural,” he enthused. Hammond purposed Waves F6 dynamic EQ to achieve high- and lowpass filtering. “This is the first time I’ve used Waves live and I had these plug-ins in mind straight away as they replicate exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it.” With a plethora of mics onstage, there was plenty for Hammond to contend with. “It’s that constant battle to get the clarity and detail everybody wants without swarming the audience in a world of feedback, which is why Waves, EQ and the SQ are really integral, surgical pieces of kit.” Hammond also praised the 16 channels of RF, dubbing them, “rock solid”. He said: “The massive tuning range of the 5000 helps. Working
on Audio-Technica’s EG41 frequency range, which is 580-700mHz, is just massive.” Between the two systems, the engineer was able to fluctuate between 400 and 700mHz. The PA boasted a Martin Audio MLA Compact system, provided by Stage Audio Services. “The MLA has been spot-on,” Hammond said. With no inears in sight, a pair of L-Acoustics ARCs were also flown and controlled from FOH as a “general atmospheric mix” to allow David to feel like he was in the audience. “Everything David hears comes from flown sidefills, and is not in sightline, to achieve invisible audio.” Saunders echoed: “The MLA Compact is something we stock quite a bit of now. It’s a tiny rig and it doesn’t have a large ground footprint because it’s all self-processed and self-powered,” he added. A single 19-inch rack ran 12 MLA Compact per side. “There’s a lot of set movement on the stage so we can’t have walls of amp racks and cables in the way,” Saunders commented. The PA was run off the VU-NET software, which Saunders described as “quite a small, powerful and tidy little system” for this output – ideal for navigating challenging theatre spaces. He said: “We can transport the entire rig in a flatpack 18-tonne truck.” Additional Martin Audio MLX subs were specified for “extra dB and rumble” with 12dB and 6dB for sidefills. Simply put, delivery clarity and involvement made the show an evening with David Blaine. “From an audio standpoint, the volume needs to be immersive and make the audience feel very close, almost as if they’re watching on television,” Hammond explained. “As technology evolves, I think a massive part of audio in general is that personal approach and involvement of the audience. Nowadays, there’s a certain level of expectation because tickets are so expensive.” He added: “This show is something that you’d watch from home, but David has brought all the risk to the live audience, where there is nowhere to hide. Thankfully, the mics have helped capture the performance, and the 5000-Series body pack has been integral to convey that.” In-line with the theme of ‘invisible audio’, the Audio-Technica 5000-Series wireless pack was ideal for the application. “The footprint and size of the pack enables us to disguise the RF beltpack within his attire, so I’d like to commend AT for making such a tiny pack!” he exclaimed. “AudioTechnica has been excellent to me for many years. Long may it continue.” TPi Photos: TPi www.davidblaine.com www.audio-technica.com www.rock-tech.events www.stageaudioservices.com 18
WESTLIFE: THE TWENTY TOUR The Irish quartet return to the stage after a seven-year hiatus, with a sell-out UK and Ireland tour celebrating two decades of hits. TPi was on site at Manchester Arena to get the inside story from the tour’s tireless video team, The LED Shed.
Twenty years after they first burst onto the music scene, the UK and Ireland legs of Westlife’s The Twenty Tour began at Belfast’s SSE Arena in May. Spanning 32 shows, the grand finale was played out to more than 170,000 fans across two nights in July at Dublin’s Croke Park. Central to show design was a 20m x 7.5m LED screen provided by video supplier, The LED Shed. According to the supplier, this centre LED was a bit of a challenge – “Mainly due to individual venues and their quirks,” began Director Tom Levitt. “Sometimes the roof might not take that weight, or at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, for example, the roof is just too low. We couldn’t do the split there; it had to be a full solid screen,” he added. “We also had to rethink our usual tour workflow based around how the show itself was designed and set up.” Four channels of Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K were placed FOH, instead of the usual one or two. This meant there was one for each band member, capturing a head-and-shoulders mid-shot for the picture-inpicture (PIPs) on screen. Each of the 21 tracks had its own individual styling, and so the PIPs were integrated with custom graphics and
animations, designed by America’s Got Talent’s Sila Sveta. “We used a wide range of real-time rendered Notch effects on the incoming camera images themselves, such as pencil-drawn outlines of the band or cartoons, all in an effort to make them look less jarring with Sila Sveta’s content,” explained Levitt. “Then we had a fifth camera in the pit on a tracking dolly, providing a simple relay feed for the two IMAGs either side of the stage.” Levitt outlined the three main components making up the show’s look. “There’s the pre-rendered animation graphics from Sila Sveta, and there’s the quirky Notch effects. Those two elements, combined with all of the live camera imagery, work together to create the final look.” Cameras relied on B4 optics and Blackmagic’s fibre backs, which were converted back to SDI in the PPU and routed via a patch panel to the switcher. Skaarhoj control panels were used to colour match the incoming camera feeds, while an ATEM 4 M/E switcher and 2 M/E broadcast panel were used to cut the programme feed. “Because of the four cameras FOH, we used ATEM’s super source 20
function to composite the images, which we then took as an auxiliary output to get a quad view of the cameras,” said Video Director Billy Robinson. “That AUX, alongside the programme feed of M/E 1 and M/E 2, was then fed into disguise gx 2 media servers to combine all of the live camera visuals that I cut, with the other show content Tom described.” The Twenty Tour wasn’t the first time Robinson had worked with Westlife. In fact, he worked with the band for more than 10 years before it split. “I know the lads really well,” he said. “Each of them has their own quirks, and I can easily predict how they’ll react or behave. This undoubtedly results in a slicker cut as most of the time, I can anticipate which camera we
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need to go to next.” Robinson continued: “Looking back on the tour, I would say Liverpool was my favourite show as it’s my hometown, but the scale of Croke Park was just incredible. And with it being the final one, after more than two months on the road, it meant we could finally go home!” Levitt added: “It has been great working with Westlife. Though the tour hasn’t been without its challenges, particularly with the venue and staging characteristics mentioned earlier, being able to trust that your equipment isn’t one of those headaches is invaluable.” TPi www.westlife.com www.ledshed.co.uk
TRAVIS SCOTT – ASTROWORLD: WISH YOU WERE HERE TOUR Celebrating a year since the release of ASTROWORLD, Travis Scott transforms a sold-out O2 Arena, London into a raucous Houston theme park. TPi’s Jacob Waite meets the visual team behind the one-of-a-kind spectacle…
Put together by a formidable crew of creatives, the Texas-born and Los Angeles-based multiplatinum artist’s live shows are renowned for their bold looks and brash vocal delivery. Immersed in bright lights, plumes of CO2 and carnival iconography, for one night only, London’s O2 Arena was transformed into carnival-inspired fairground, based on the rapper’s beloved Six Flags AstroWorld – a Houston theme park that inspired the Travis Scott’s latest number-one album and formidable North American tour, ASTROWORLD.
to the the live audio to match his energy.” Not afraid of the challenge, Dalgleish made the executive decision to design a brand-new rig for the O2 show. “I knew as we were not able to bring the rollercoaster from the US leg of the ASTROWORLD tour, the lighting design and programming had to be special.” Dalgleish and programmer Jacopo Ricci took on the task of building a new show in the space of 24 hours, with the pair alternating time on the rig at the O2 to program the 27 song setlist. “Travis Scott one of the most dynamic and engaging performers around at the moment and the lighting is designed to reflect that with arrays of fixtures all across the arena, B-stage, thrust and main stage.” With such a quick turnaround time, there was only one vendor in mind for Dalgleish: PRG. The company’s Account Handler, Benjamin Holdsworth, commented: “The original design that was put forward changed dramatically. We didn’t get the final drawings until very late, but we were able to pull out all the stops and make it happen.” Far from usual but not unheard of in the live touring industry, the PRG team “bent over backwards” to supply lighting, rigging and a crew of 19 faces to the rigging, automation and the lighting departments. “We only had one load-in day before show day and as there are so many moving elements, we thought it was wise to split shift the personnel,” Holdsworth recounted. “This allowed us to identify any issues from the start and mitigate the problems should they arise. With no rehearsals, Holdsworth prepared for the show by watching Scott’s headline show at Wireless Festival. “It meant we were able to come away with a visualisation of how the show needed to look before passing it onto the crew chiefs and rigging team to ensure the end result was well received,” he said. PRG Crew Chief Richard Gorrod got to work putting together the plan of attack. Iestyn Thomas was the on-site lighting chief taking over from
STARGAZING Ahead of the theme park of theatrics, TPi grabbed Lighting Designer, Ben Dalgleish, who previously worked on Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys tour earlier this year. “Travis Scott is a really unique act in the sense that he has the complete oppose vibe of Post Malone, who is all about theatrics and minimalist lighting and design.” Dalgleish dubbed the show’s theme as a “toy box” of ideas, noting the giant teddy bears and carnival carousel on the main stage. “A Travis Scott show mimics the conventions of a rollercoaster; it’s a ‘balls to the wall’ approach to match his energetic performance.” Transcending genre constraints, Scott’s live shows combine punk and heavy metal conventions – stagediving, mosh pits and headbanging. His on-stage movement coupled with automation and lighting is haphazard and intentionally jarring. “We want it as chaotic as possible to match his energy,” Dalgleish noted. Having perfected an eye-watering scream, Scott uses his voice to summon euphoria. His signature sound emits a rapturous vapour trail to make intimate tracks like 90210 intensely poignant. “A Travis Scott show doesn’t compare to the record,” Dalgleish explained on the high-intensity nature of the set list. “The songs are completely unrecognisable to what you’re listening to on the album, so we always program lighting and visuals 24
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Gorrod following pre-production. “At PRG, we certainly enjoy a challenge,” Holdsworth chuckled. “There were points where we didn’t know if we would be able to get our own crew into the show because it was so busy and sold out!” he exclaimed. The large PRG rig housed 96 Icon Beams, mainly covering six automation trusses. On four of the trusses, 12 Solaris Flare LRs outline the trusses. On the side automation truss, 48 Showtec Sunstrips nodded to the carnival theme of the tour, with festoon-style lighting partnered with tungsten light definition. A convention of Dalgleish’s lighting designs, a backwall of 60 Claypaky Scenius Unicos and 30 Claypaky Mythos moving lights punched through the haze. The LD professed: “The Unicos are the only lights that I find are able to keep up with video in terms of brightness while using gobos,” he explained. “There are plenty of looks in the show which feature complex gobo chases and effects. Having a bright fast spot is key for this which I why I always try and use the Unico.” A total of 48 Robe MegaPointes were housed on the roof of the rig and used as a hybrid spot as well as beam. A range of GLP fixtures, specifically 60 GLP JDC 1s, 28 GLP impression X4L and 24 GLP impression X4 20 Bars, were used, while a large number of traditional 4-Way Moles and 34 Chauvet Professional Strike 4s helped light the crowd along with the GLP JDC1 strobes. “It’s a very bright show,” Dalgleish stated. “Travis wants to see the crowd a lot and the JDC1s are invaluable with their tilt function, plus being able to have a colour wash or a bright white strobe.” For control, PRG provided a trio of MA Lighting grandMA2 full size consoles, two for lighting and one for video, along with a grandMA2 lite console, four NPUs and four PRG Super Nodes. To match Travis Scott’s onstage unpredictability, the show was run completely live. “We’re constantly trying to push the envelope to make the show feel fresh each night,” Dalgleish continued. “You couldn’t timecode the show and make it feel the same way each night because it’s so big and brash. It’s controlled chaos for
sure.” PRG identified early on that the four lighting trusses needed to be automated above the audience, so there was only one option. Twelve 500kg/1,250kg Movecat Hoists and V-Motion Hooks controlled four automated PRG Bat trusses over the audience. Holdsworth said: “The production team were absolutely blown away by the capabilities of Movecat.” Overseeing the automation for the tour was Peter MacDonald who was brought in by PRG to work closely with Dalgleish to enable the LD to get the most out of the powerful Movecat automation system. “He’s the go-to guy for Movecat in the UK, and on a prestigious project like this, there is nobody else we wanted to use; we were really fortunate to have him onboard,” Holdsworth said. With hordes of Travis Scott fans leaving the venue happy, Holdsworth reflected: “Overall, I’m really pleased with the outcome. There were lots of sleepless nights and extra hours put in to get the show off the ground, but as soon as we saw the smiling faces in the crowd, that’s when we knew it was all worthwhile.” Holdsworth thanked Gorrod and Q Willis from PRG who “invested a huge amount of time” on the project and without whom, he said, the show “wouldn’t have got off the ground.” He concluded: “I think there are champions of every genre – from hip-hop, to rock ’n’ roll, rap to pure pop. It’s our privilege to be working with artists at the top of their game in every genre.” BUTTERFLY EFFECT To partner the lighting, Dalgleish brought in Notch Designer, Ryan Sheppard of Dark Matter Technologies. “Notch is such a big part of the show. Travis recently posted a photo on his Instagram feed captioned ‘the real me’, while he was stood in front of the Notch-generated screen content,” Dalgleish commented. “I think he really enjoys seeing manipulating visions 26
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of himself, which we’re able to create real-time on stage; it’s been great to work with Ryan to push the boundaries and we’re always looking to try out new ideas. Every show has its own characteristics.” The use of Notch IMAG effects shaped the overall aesthetics of the show by building off both pre-rendered content and Dalgleish’s lighting looks. This in turn created more connection to the artist while still maintaining a visually cohesive look with a lot of field-based effects. Sheppard said: “There were a lot of moments in the show where we needed a slow-moving, almost trippy effect, and image field emitters helped us achieve this.” For higher-energy moments, Sheppard used multiple glitch effects, particle systems set up in a variety of ways and fractal noise generators with a colour ramp to give some looks the colourful ASTROWORLD feel. “Some effects for the O2 show were developed from scratch based on what we had learned from the festival run for specific moments,” he said. “However, a large portion of the effects from the festival run still remained in the show.” This ended up being almost a 50/50 split between content and IMAG effects. Although there was some pre rendered content from Notch in the show as well, as Sheppard described. “The biggest challenge is that it’s simply a live environment. All elements of the show are changing constantly, and we need to be able to react to blown-out camera shots or not having a shot at all very quickly. The solution for this just comes down to a good camera director and shader.” Another challenge for the creatives was simply keeping up with Travis Scott as he could play any track in any order. “We dealt with this by programming and busking the entire show through sock puppet on an MA Lighting grandMA2 console. This allowed us the flexibility to switch quickly to whatever look we needed at any moment,” he explained. The video was run manually through a pair of disguise gx 2 media servers. “We use disguise gx 2s on almost all of our shows,” Sheppard declared. “Having the ability to render notch blocks natively, playback
pre-rendered content from the same system along with the 3D previs when reviewing looks with a client is unparalleled. Remarkably, the team’s entire European run was operated entirely on locally sourced servers. “Trying to source the same hardware and ensure consistency in every country would have been very difficult with another system,” Sheppard concluded. CAROUSEL Creative Technology (CT) was brought in a week and a half prior to the show, to provide a mix of video and custom set pieces. The company’s Project Manager, Pat Dore, wound the clocks back: “We had an idea of what the production team wanted to achieve with the look and visual LED elements of both stages,” he recalled. The CT team made up of 16 on-site crew, then worked back from that, collating everything required to build a fully automated, three-tier carousel on the main stage. The rear back wall centre screen was made up of INFiLED 5.9, 18.5m x 10.5m LED panels, the three-sided SR cube was ROE Visual CB5 18 tiles x 2.5 LED tiles, and the SR cube was ROE Visual CB5 13 tiles x 3.5 LED tiles. The carousel was flown via Kinesys, to move up and down and boasted 20 ROE Visual CB5 20 tiles on the top and 40 ROE Visual CB5 40 tiles on the bottom. The catwalk and thrust comprised a VISS NX7 LED floor display, while left and right IMAG projection came in the shape of two 20ft x 14ft projection screens, with Panasonic DZ21K projectors on each side. CT supplied a Ross Carbonite 4k PPU, four Sony HSE 300 cameras – one at FOH, two long lens cameras at the side of the arena, and a wireless camera that roamed between the B-stage and main stage – in addition to a fixed camera in the pit. A trio of Agile Robo cameras were housed on-stage to provide a variety of shots. “Most of the camera shots were filtered through Notch because Travis doesn’t have a set list and performs on the fly. It’s fascinating to watch the 28
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touring crew, who are well versed in his performance, constantly react to him on stage,” Dore said. “His touring crew know what they’re doing and are well tuned in to his style of performance.” For the entire crew, time was the biggest challenge. “Having custom LED cubes and carousel on Kinesys was really time consuming; although not detrimental to the show, having had some pre-production time before we arrived would have been preferable. However, we understand in some cases this is not possible and the team are prepared to work to whatever restraints may be in place to ensure the show runs without a hitch”, commented Dore. The video team included Arkadiusz Wegrzyn, Jack Gibson, Lee Hunter and John Richardson, as well as Media Server Operator, Christian Dickinson, and Camera Director, Tom Robinson. Show communication was achieved by 25 Riedel Communications Bolero wireless comms packs. Dore summed up: “All the crew were unbelievable and put in a serious shift to get it done. It was a great show with fantastic energy and all the hard work was well worth it!”
12W RGB OPS Laser Projectors and a trio of 20W RGB OPS Laser Projectors were integrated on the show, particularly on the automated carousel. “These are all trademarks of a Travis Scott show,” Heap began. “However, on this run we increased our SFX arsenal with the addition of extra pyro and more things to the B-stage, such as CO2 jets, to create an extra ‘wow factor’ to the performance.” With special effects in abundance, health and safety was paramount. “We only really fire the effects on the main stage when he is either up on the carousel or on the thrust. Often artists can get too excitable when they’re performing and enter the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “It’s our job to anticipate movement, especially when guests enter the fray; it’s integral to be mindful of multiple people on-stage. However, the nature of a one-off show meant that time was at a premium. Heap said: “It takes a lot of time and thought to achieve this kind of show safely.” Blake Harward joined Heath in the SFX crew, while the laser team comprised Toby McKnight and Dan Wilce. “It was a great show to be a part of,” Heap said. “I loved working for the team, and I look forward to working with them again. Overall, it looked great and the audience loved it. I don’t think the hype will disappear any time soon, especially with the likes of Ed Sheeran coming out as a special guest.”
ASTROTHUNDER A rush of adrenaline accompanied by theatrical SFX; Travis Scott’s shows violently opposes lethargy – there is ferocious energy throughout. Keeping pace was BPM SFX Project Manager, Matthew Heap, who has witnessed the evolution of the rapper’s UK live shows from academy-sized venues to soldout London dates at Wireless Festival and the O2 Arena. He commented: “We wanted to upscale the Wireless Festival date for this show and put in my ideas for pyro and airbursts in-action.” Heap explained that 40 Airbursts with Concussion and 90 Units of stage pyro created a series of “big looks” throughout proceedings. “It’s not a standard setup but it’s one that the artist is used to, with the addition of pyrotechnics.” Ten CO2 jets lined the main stage, while a further eight covered the B-stage. Bringing the heat, 10 GFlames were located on the main stage, along with a pair of Low Fog Generators to create atmosphere. While seven
SICKO MODE Bridging the gap of the so-called ‘Soundcloud rap’ scene and arena touring, Travis Scott’s latest live offering has laid down the gauntlet and firmly set a benchmark for his contemporaries. What is more, if the enthusiasm of the artist’s visual team is anything to go by, this is just the beginning... TPi Photos: @felix.aaa www.travisscott.com www.prg.uk www.ct-group.com www.bpm-sfx.com 30
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BACKSTREET BOYS: DNA WORLD TOUR Following a successful Las Vegas residency, the legendary boy band has set out on the road, showcasing a modern stage design to accompany a setlist of nostalgic hits. TPi’s Stew Hume checks in with the crew behind the five-piece’s latest live offering.
I can honestly say that I didn’t realise quite how many Backstreet Boys tracks had made a home in the back of my mind. That was until last month when I got to witness the five-piece powerhouse at London’s O2 Arena, and to meet the men and women behind the DNA World Tour. Despite it being some 23 years since the band’s self-titled debut album was released, the group has maintained much of the energy that brought it success in its formative years. “It’s always our goal to give the fans something new each time we create a new show,” began the band’s Production Manager, Dan Mercer. “A lot of our audience are return customers and the boys don’t want them to see the same show twice.” Mercer is widely known as one of the cocreators of Australian company Mandylights. However, after 10 years with the company, he opted to head out on the road, and for almost five years he’s been the man behind the Backstreet Boys’ live shows. Many of the crew that TPi got to shake hands with during the day had also been involved with the Larger Than Life Las Vegas residency that came to an end in April. “There is a core crew of 10 who have been around for some time,” mused Mercer as he walked TPi around the O2 Arena, making introductions to his team. “For example, our head of wardrobe, Tierney Burchett, has been with the band for over a decade.” Following a European run, the touring family hopped over to the UK. For the tour Mercer brought in PRG, Sound Image, ER Productions, TAIT Towers, Coach Services and Fly By Nite.
with a large, automated V-Screen hung downstage, a rear video wall, a selection of automated lighting trusses and an elaborated ‘Vortex’ made-up of several arches of Martin by Harman VDO Sceptron 10s. “Conversations about the design for this tour started early into the residency,” commented Anderson, standing at FOH overlooking his and Mercer’s creation. “Our first stage has always been to speak to all five of the boys and ask what they wanted for the tour. Once they had presented their ideas and spoken to Creative Directors, Rich + Tone, we got to work designing the show.” The Vortex was one of the first elements that was put on the drawing board. After sending the design to a selection of suppliers, TAIT was brought in to create the skeleton of the DNA World Tour. “They have done a great job with the stage,” commented Mercer, making special mention to the elaborate underworld. “We’ve come from the comfort of Vegas, with private dressing rooms. But TAIT did a great job creating an underworld with plenty of space for quick changes, along with the two stage lifts.” The LD furthered, praising the tour-ability of the system. “Due to our schedule and the design, getting this show up and down each day quickly and efficiently was a major consideration. TAIT has certainly found the best way to facilitate this.” Collectively, the eight Vortex arches were created by 456 Martin by Harman Sceptron 10s. “I’ve been really impressed by them,” commented Mercer. “It was a huge logistical challenge getting them in, but now we are on show 22 we find it goes up fairly quickly.” Due to the size and complexity of the Vortex, the structure actually had its own team, consisting of Crew Chief, Michael Gallagher and Tech, Patrick Hatung. “From the initial design we knew the structure was going to need its own team and Mike has done a great job getting it in and out every day,” commented Anderson. With the Vortex team in place, Anderson went on to explain his process of fitting a lighting rig around the scenic elements. “One of my first
DESIGN ORIGINS Alongside steering the Production-ship, Mercer also wore another hat within the touring party. “I did the Production Design for this tour together with Lighting Designer Graham Anderson,” stated the PM. Holding the dual role played into Mercer’s “hands-on” Production Manager approach. “I like to get involved and the last thing I would want is hide away in an office,” he asserted. The stage was a feat of engineering 34
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goals was to ensure I had a decent floor package,” he began. “Unlike the residency, where we had lots of dancers, this tour it’s just the five of them on stage, and I wanted to ensure they were lit up as much as possible.” Due to the Vortex, the only real option was to create a lighting rig that would be able to be placed between each arch, leading Anderson down the automation route. “Automation just brings another dimension to the show,” said the LD. In total there were six automated lighting trusses, “although only four are really used actively during the show.” The system itself utilised TAIT’s Nav Hoist system. “During rehearsals we were able to come up with a selection of looks just by experimenting,” recalled Anderson. Anderson’s main workhorse fixture was the Vari-Lite VL4000, with 41 in the rig and a selection on the floor and the torms. “It’s my main overhead beam wash,” continued Anderson. “It’s so flexible – a necessity while working with this band and collection of creatives. It is one of the most versatile beam washes on the market right now and it’s still relatively new, so not many people have seen it out on the road.” Other noteworthy additions on the rig were the GLP JDC1s and impression X4 XLs, each on alternate trusses. “This meant I could bring the various trusses in and out to create different looks,” explained the LD. “I’ve also got lasers on trusses one, three and five which, again, can be brought in for their moment, then taken back to trim for another song.” Anderson went on to explain his fixture choice. “The JDC1s are one of my favourite fixtures, mainly because they’re more than just strobes. You can do so much with them.” Also featured on the rider were 66 PRG Icon Edges covering the top and bottom of the large V-screen, “which plays an important part in the show,” stated the LD. “Like the VL4000s, versatility is of the utmost importance. They can flip from a beam to a spot and the colour mixing is fantastic.” Making up the back wall were 63 Ayrton MagicBlade-Rs. “Dan had
come up with the idea of the MagicBlade wall on a previous run,” stated Anderson. “I’ll admit, I was slightly sceptical, but they have been a lot of fun to work with. It was great to think outside the box to create some looks outside the norm for this style of fixture.” One example of this out-of-the-box thinking came during the latter stages of the show, during the ‘Remix’ portion, where the video content incorporated a lot of audio fader visuals, which Anderson then replicated with the wall of Ayrton MagicBlades. “It involved a lot of work with my programmer Joey Troup.” The LD went on to complement his number two. “He was working with DNCE and we crossed paths on a festival run. I had a gut feeling we would work well together and was happy to be proved correct. It’s always a dream situation when you find a programmer who can translate your ideas into a design.” The final element of the LD’s lighting arsenal was the PRG GroundControl Followspot System. Working in tandem with the PRG Bad Boys, the crew had six controllers – one for each member with a spare in the wings. “I had never got to use the GroundControl system, always having to rely on house spots,” stated Anderson. “Working with house spots always has its challenges, but the fact that we always require five spots tends to exacerbate the problems. Most venues can supply four, but the fifth is often rented and you don’t always get the correct angle.” It was clear the LD was happy with the addition to his lighting package. “The fact that we have six spots in the centre of the rig, all operated by members of our touring party who get to learn the show, makes all the difference. They really are a game-changer for a show like this.” At FOH, Anderson drove the show with two full-size MA Lighting grandMA2s – the LD’s go-to for a number of years. “One of the main reasons I chose the MA2 is down to convenience,” he explained. “With this tour we are doing so many festivals where we rely on local production. I considered 36
Production Manager, Dan Mercer; Lighting Designer, Graham Anderson; FOH Engineer, James McCullagh & Audio Crew Chief, Cameron Whaley; SFX Crew members: Stuart Wickens & Daniel Pecora; disguise Operator, Jean-Pierre Jammaers.
jumping to the MA3, but realistically I know this tour will be out for a few years and it’s a case of what I’m more likely to get my hands on.” He joked that one of the greatest advantages of being both the designer and the operator, means you can make decisions so that you don’t cause problems for your future self. Due to the intricacies of the lighting design, Timecode was a necessity. This was overseen by Playback Engineer Romain Garnier backstage – more from him later. “My main responsibilities during the show include calling spots as well as some cues that involve some audience interaction,” stated Anderson. “The show is a behemoth of programming. There is simply no way I could launch everything manually. Programming-wise, I spread everything out, rather than embedding everything into one cue stack. The reason for this, like my console choice, all came down to foresight. So later down the line, if I can’t get a certain fixture, it will be easy to swap in a new model without having to redesign my whole show file.”
in the VIP area within the thrust – a special moment for those fans.” The team also made used of six Look Solutions Unique Hazers to produce the classic low-fog looks. Laser Operator McCoy oversaw the impressive rig, which featured 18 ER Production BB4s and six Storms. “We are using them a number of times in the show,” commented Pecora. “All the BB4s are on the automated trusses, with four of the Storms in the rear, with the other two on the downstage edge. Thanks to the diffraction wheel within the BB4, the beam can split to create massive looks that fill the arena, while being completely safe for audiences.” VIDEO Supplied by PRG, the DNA World Tour video design consisted of WinVision 9mm LEDs for both the upstage V-screen and the rear wall. Outlining video setup was disguise Operator Jean-Pierre Jammaers. “The show is very content driven from start to finish,” he began. “From my point of view, it was fairly straightforward once it was programmed. We had to make some modifications when we went into certain venues, but other than that, it ran like clockwork.” Situating himself at FOH for the duration of the show, Jammaers had each video segment triggered by an MA Lighting grandMA2. “FOH is usually my preferred position as it’s easier to communicate to the lighting team and gives you a better overview of the show,” he commented. Driving the system were two disguise gx 2s – a main and a backup. The operator admitted that he was still fairly new to disguise, but really enjoyed working with the brand. He commented: “I’ve been really impressed by the power of the disguise software. It’s relatively straightforward, with user-friendly programming. Everything you need is just a click away. I’ve used a selection of other servers and, for me, disguise has always been the logical next step. Some of my favourite shows on this run have been when
SFX ER Productions provided the special effects for the tour. With a crew consisting of Daniel Pecora, Matt McCoy and Stuart Wickens, the trio supplied a collection of lasers, confetti blasts, hazers and streamers. Pecora, SFX Crew Chief, spoke to TPi about the touring experience. “We have four Stadium Shot IIs, which fire off 20m x 5cm streamers via Galaxis PFC Advanced Black Edition wireless control,” he began. “The wireless solution has been increasingly useful as we are going through various venue sizes and it gives us the flexibility of placement without the limitation of cables.” For the confetti looks, the crew deployed Typhoon blowers in the flown rig, which were used for Larger Than Life and Shape Of My Heart. “We placed the fans in such a way that, during Shape Of My Heart, the confetti falls only 37
Video Engineer, Max Ramsden; Monitor Engineer, Austin Schroeder & Playback Engineer, Romain Garnier.
we went into more challenging venues and had to alter the content to fit on the screen. It gave me an opportunity to be more hands-on and learn more about the system.” Overseeing the colour balancing for all the video feeds was Video Engineer, Max Ramsden. “The first three quarters of the show is fairly straightforward on my end in terms of colour balancing,” he commented. “It’s only the last quarter when all the guys come on in white suits that things get interesting. They’re a bit of a nightmare to deal with for the cameras. During that section we change the colour temperature on the spots and I have to alter the colour balance on my end.” Capturing all the live footage were four Sony HXC 100s, with two at FOH and a further two in the pit. Also on the camera spec were a selection of Q-Ball 3s, although their placement was specifically a safely measure due to the large amount of automation. For control, the tour’s Video Director, Randall Garriott, opted for a Grass Valley Korona. “We are not really using it to its full potential,” said Ramsden, commenting on the potential size of rig that the Korona can handle. “We only had the four camera inputs and, with five guys on stage, this meant a lot of work with our four camera guys, who are continually repositioning themselves to ensure each of the band get equal screen time.” All four of the cameramen were part of the touring party, with two LED techs, a lighting tech and a truck driver filling the roles, which meant each of them got to know the show and provided some consistency each night. Ramsden concluded by adding his thoughts on the LED product deployed on the show. “WinVision is now a slightly older model, but it’s still a great product,” he said. “It’s incredibly reliable and super lightweight. All this means it goes up very quickly.”
a change. McCullagh explained: “The first major difference is that we both changed to the SSL L550,” he began. “This decision came off the back of the overall goal to stick as close as we could to the ‘studio sound’. “The SSL brand has much more of an analogue feel. It feels as though they have created their desks with this in mind, which really attracted me to SSL.” The Engineer went on to complement the support the company had provided throughout the process, sending a console to both his and Schroeder’s house to trial. At FOH, the SSL story didn’t just finish with the console. “Out of the SSL I have an SSL G-Series Compressor and the company’s latest Fusion box.” stated McCullagh. He explained that he was using the compressor in a “studio style” – in that he was monitoring compression outside the console, so he could keep an eye on it throughout the show. “I was particularly excited about the Fusion,” he continued. “We don’t have a live band with us. Using pre-recorded tracks, what the Fusion is able to do is give the digital playback a more analogue quality.” He admitted that when he first put in the request with SSL to include the Fusion in his rider, he didn’t have a concrete idea of what he was going to use it for. “I just knew I wanted it,” he laughed. “What I have found is that it’s really good at rolling-off the high-end. I also found that it adds a bit of crunch to a mix – a tone you simply don’t get with any digital emulator.” Before leaving his outboard collection, McCullagh was keen to give special mention to the Bettermaker Mastering Limiter. “Essentially it’s a digitally controlled, analogue limiter,” stated the Engineer, clearly satisfied with addition to his rider. Adamson Systems Engineering was the PA of choice for the tour. “I’ve had a long relationship with Adamson and known Jesse Adamson for a long time,” said McCullagh. “Jesse is actually our Account Manager on this one,” chimed in Mercer, while praising the service they’d received both for the manufacturer and audio supplier Sound Image. The PM went on to state how Adamson was the “best-sounding PA on the market.” McCullagh also explained the choice of PA came down to the personnel that came as a package deal with Sound Image – specifically Cameron
AUDIO Providing audio support for the five-piece was FOH Engineer James McCullagh and Monitor Engineer Austin Schroeder, who both worked side by side throughout the Las Vegas residency. When the time came to create the audio rider for the DNA World Tour, the duo saw an opportunity to make 38
Whaley, the tour’s Audio Crew Chief. The PA comprised 18 E15 per side, with a left- and right-side array consisting of 12 E15s and six E12s. The rear hangs were made up of 12 S10 per side and 12 E219 Subs per side for the low end. Finally, for the front fills were the Adamson S10N and new IS7P, which is specified for the VIP area within the thrust. “All systems have their own sonic qualities,” contemplated the FOH Engineer, while describing the characteristics that made the Adamson boxes ideal for the Backstreet Boys. “It’s a very ‘mid-forward’ PA. It’s not something you can EQ or process into your mix. It’s just the sound of the box, and when you mix five individual vocals, that mid-range is vital.” Whaley was also complementary of the mid-range capabilities of the box. “Thanks to the Kevlar Neodymium drivers, it is one of the best midrange drivers on the market,” enthused the Crew Chief. He continued to explain some of the logistical challenges with the setup, namely working around the various set elements. “The V-screen and keeping the PA off the thrust was certainly a challenge,” he reminisced, discussing the initial system design.” To work around the various elements, Whaley created a solution where the main PA overshot the whole thrust. “We then have the 120s bent back to cover the side of the thrust,” commented McCullagh. “It’s a really efficient use of boxes and space which, in turn, helps me out a huge amount with my mix.” The FOH Engineer oversaw two mixes during the show – one for live and the other for broadcast. Despite the instrumentation consisting of playback, McCullagh treated the mix as if he was dealing with live musicians and ensured signature moments in the songs still had an impact. “This often means battling against the crowds, who can be very loud,” he laughed. “Like all productions, we have a dB limit, but we have found that our crowds often exceed this – especially between songs.” MONITORS Monitor Engineer, Austin Schroeder, continued the conversation. “This was my first time using the SSL outside of playing around with them on a few demos,” he began, discussing his move over to the audio brand. “I have some other audio engineer friends who had said great things about them. As a company they are still growing their touring division and it’s cool to jump in and be part of it.” While based in Las Vegas, Schroeder made use of SSL’s facility to trial the desks in preparation for the upcoming tour. “James and I got stuck in a similar workflow and mindset during the residency. Setting out on this tour, it was good to reset and shake things up with a new control surface. The support we have received from SSL has also been second to none.” The engineer went on to describe some of the demands from the five men on stage. “All of them tend to veer towards more of the album sound in terms of their mixes,” he commented. “My most important role as a Monitor Engineer is to ensure each one of the band are comfortable so they are able to perform to the best of their ability.” When Schroeder took up the monitor gauntlet, he was always warned about one potential issue – namely one of the members’ tendency to use only one IEM. “I think that is one of my crowning achievements,” beamed Schroeder. “Kevin [Richardson] has only ever used one IEM. I remember looking at the show file from a former engineer who had done everything 39 TPI_92.5mm x 277mm x 3.indd 1
they could to compensate for him having only one earpiece.” However, following what the engineer referred to as “baby steps” – such as sending him to an audiologist – the singer became more comfortable with both monitors in at the same time. The IEMs in question were Jerry Harvey Roxannes in tandem with Shure PSM1000s. “I’m a big fan of Shure’s Wireless Workbench – one of the determining factors for using Shure,” commented Schroeder. “Handling the RF each day is my tech, Valentin James. He’s been crushing it throughout this one without a single problem.” Schroeder explained that his tech didn’t just have to deal with the usual RF demands from IEMs and microphones, but also a fairly elaborate comms system. “Our PM Dan comes from a theatre background and has implemented many of those principles into the touring infrastructure including a complex communication system. We are utilising a Riedel network and a selection of Clearcom equipment so everyone can communicate with one another. This is yet another advantage of the SSL; it’s built to be able to handle additional communication demands.” All five band members used the Sennheiser Digital 6000 with 9235 capsules. “We tried a number of different options and this one came out on top,” commented McCullagh. “They are very broad and give great representation of their voices. We brought in Sennheiser during the residency and kept them on for the tour.” The FOH Engineer commented that one of the real selling points for the models was that intermodulation was not a problem – “A necessity when you have five microphones in such close proximity to one another.”
his workstation. Prior to the residence, in collaboration with our Musical Director, Keith Harris, we agreed to re-record the instrumentation for all the tracks.” But rather than a simple re-recording, the audio team took these multi-track files and played them live so, in the words of the FOH Engineer, “you are getting a live band each night.” Standing behind his rig, Garnier walked thought the finer points of the system. “It’s a huge file coming in at over 100 gigabytes,” he enthused. Garnier ran a full redundant system with A and B system utilising the DirectOut EXBOX, which allowed seamless transitions between the two systems in the event of a drop off from the main computer. The system used by Garnier was Digital Programmer. “There was a learning curve like most systems, but due to the sheer number of tracks we are dealing with in each song.” GUESS WHO’S BACK… Following the success of the O2 Arena dates, the ’90s pop-veterans continued the DNA World Tour, with their sights set on mainland Europe till the end of July with band and crew seeing out the rest of summer in the US. “I’m really lucky as a PM to have such a great crew,” concluded Mercer, giving his final thoughts on this latest live outing. “Like every show, there are challenges, but thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, 20 shows in, we are all really enjoying this outing.” TPi Photos: Jess Gilbert & TPi www.backstreetboys.com www.prg.com www.sound-image.co.uk www.er-productions.com www.taittowers.com www.flybynite.co.uk www.coachservice.com
PLAYBACK Key to the live setup for the Backstreet Boys was found stage left, behind two Apple Macs – the brain of the live tour and the ‘band in the box’, overseen by Playback Engineer, Romain Garnier. “He’s got an intense rig!” enthused McCullagh. “He’s got a total of 64 channels of MADI coming from 40
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GLASTONBURY 2019 HIGHLIGHTS Following its fallow year, the world’s largest greenfield festival was back with a vengeance. Hitting the site for the first time, TPi’s Stew and Jacob loaded up the car and headed down to Worthy Farm to meet some of the industry’s finest, battling the heat to put on a show for more than 200,000 festival goers…
I’m usually a bit of a last-minute packer when it comes to festivals and work trips. But as Jacob and I were setting out on our first ever Glastonbury weekend, I thought preparation was going to be key. However, as I was setting up our tent in over 30° heat, my over provisions of wellies, several coats and hand warmers suddenly seemed fairly redundant. For those on-site, or at home viewing the BBC coverage, this year’s Glastonbury was indeed a scorcher in many ways, with endless highlights and standout performances that are still being talked about months after
the event. As is the annual tradition, the UK’s biggest festival saw some of the industry’s best known suppliers, manufacturers and crew members come together for one almighty gathering. With water bottle in hand, we ventured out to visit the various stages, tents and cranes – yes you read that correctly – to meet some of the teams that collectively create one of the most talked about cultural experiences of the year. TPi www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
performance. “We got the green light in the Autumn and started in earnest in February with Production Manager, Joel Stanley and Misty Buckley completing the team.” The main goal for this collection of creatives was, in the words of Routledge, to bring “South London to the farm,” and going by the mainstream reports, it seems they succeeded. The build for the show was certainly a logistical challenge, and Routledge was quick to complement the work of Crew Chief, Keith Duncan. “All the fixtures we brought in were from Neg Earth – as is Duncan – which made the process slightly easier as they were the house supplier for the rig. We were certainly pushing the capabilities of what the Pyramid Stage could handle in terms of weight loads and the time available.” The LD explained that to fit the impressive structure required a twostage build process that involved hanging the top-tier balcony while loading in the lower tier and band structure, before joining it all together. All of which couldn’t be completed until the festival’s back lighting truss and half the house screen had been removed. “It was pushing the limits of what could be created during a 45-minute turnaround, but Duncan was the man for the job as we have done many major turnarounds together.” Supplementing Stormzy’s rig were 116 GLP JDC1s, 47 impressions X4
MAIN STAGES PYRAMID Where better to start our Glastonbury journey than the iconic Pyramid Stage. This year hosting headline performances from The Killers, The Cure and Stormzy, with many of the biggest names in the world of live touring making a home at FOH and on the stage. Once again, technical infrastructure of the stage was overseen by Neg Earth, Creative Technology and RG Jones. To kick-off the conversation about the main stage, it seemed only natural to speak to the team responsible for one of the most talked about performances of the year – Stormzy’s Friday night headline set. Fresh from his success with the Spice Girls, Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge was one of the main creatives alongside Creative Directors, Amber Rimmel and Bronski from Tawbox behind the grime star’s set. Routledge has been involved with the artist since his 2018 Wireless Festival headline 44
20s, eight impression X4 Bar 10s, 15 Robert Juliat Dalis 862, 20 Robe BMFL Blades, 12 SGM P-10s, 16 Chroma-Q Color Force II 12, four Color Force II 48s, 20 Claypaky Aleda K25 HY B-EYEs and 23 Chauvet Professional COLORado Solo Battens. For spots, Routledge utilised three rear Robe BMFL Spots, working in conjunction with the in-house Follow-Me remote spots system and front Robert Juliat spots. The LD spent the show calling spots and balancing the lights for television, with the main show being operated by Programmer, James Scott via an MA Lighting grandMA2. Adding to the visual onslaught was Quantum Special Effects, who provided two of its own FL Flames. The fixture, which had been designed for Stormzy’s Wireless headline show back in 2018, was used to create an iconic ‘wow moment’ to open his set – a selection of 100ft pyro shooting from 10 stage positions and four display positions on scissor lifts out the back behind the IMAG screens. Video Design also provided additional LED required for Stormzy’s set. On the subject of Video, TPi managed to grab a word with Creative Technology’s Will Harkin, the night after Stormzy’s set, to speak about the video demands for the Pyramid Stage. “It was certainly a challenge,” he laughed, recalling the process from the night before, which involved taking apart half of the upstage screen to get the stage in. Although CT has been involved with Glastonbury for a number of years, this was the first time the company provided a complete video package, including LED screens, camera package and a backend control system. The IMAG screens chosen for this year were ROE Visuals CB5s with a Barco E2 processor handling the switching of sources. Harkin himself actually has a familial connection to Glastonbury, with his father, Bill Harkin, designing the first Glastonbury pyramid stage in 1971. “My main goal was to create a system that you could shoot holes in and it will still run,” he started, while describing the sheer level of redundancies in place for the video package. “The other goal was to give productions as many options as possible. We’ve developed a system where you can plug-in
at various points around the mainstage including FOH and the ever-popular stage right. The demands from touring artists get greater each year, with more acts using their own camera setup or wishing to take camera feeds for their media servers. It’s all about having a system that is flexible to deal with the demands.” One such company that made use of the CT’s visual setup, was Really Creative Media (RCM). Directors Nick Dew and Jack James were on site to support the bands’ production teams at the Pyramid, John Peel, and The Other Stage. Having supplied Bastille with projection equipment on the road, RCM recently started designing new live content updates for the band’s summer tour dates, including new material specifically for the all-important festival slot on the Pyramid stage. The company also created a series of animations revolving around the album artwork for Vampire Weekend’s set on the Pyramid Stage, which centred around a giant globe suspended in the centre of stage. Another familiar name on the main stage and providing the audio backbone for the Pyramid was RG Jones. The PA system deployed was impressive in every respect – designed to maximise SPL levels and even coverage for the 150,000-strong audience while respecting offsite limits. A total of 72 MLA comprised the four main hangs with a further four MLA Compact arrays for infill flown from the proscenium arch. Eight delay positions in an inner and out ring consisted of MLA and MLA Compact arrays to optimise coverage across the expansive field. A massive broadside cardioid array of 38 MLX subwoofers stretched across the entire width of the stage to provide sub-bass support and control to the entire system. Despite the glorious sunshine, the site is always susceptible to windy conditions and this year was no different, with the wind changing from all points of the compass. But again, this was something the PA system was able to confine with ease. As is the annual tradition, the Pyramid’s FOH hosted a revolving door of some of the industry’s most respected engineers to each take the reins 45
Lighting Operator, James Scott & Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge; Really Creative Media’s Nick Dew & Jack James; Creative Technology’s Will Harkin; RG Jones Project Manager, Ben Milton; CT’s Alana Coyne and Graham Miller.
of the MLA system. On site to cover a selection of engineers was the DiGiCo team to oversee a range of its consoles supplied by RG Jones including SD12s, SD10s and an SD7 Quantum. All desks were spec’d by Project Manager Ben Milton. Another brand also getting its place FOH was Soundcraft, with the Vi Series being used by FOH Sound Engineer Raphael Williams for Stormzy’s headline set. To mix the show, Williams used a pair of Vi2000s at FOH connected together in Mirror Mode, provided by his own company Bethel Productions. In addition to the two consoles, he also carried two Soundcraft Realtime Racks, augmenting the consoles’ world-class onboard processing with the full suite of UAD-2 Plug-Ins. “The Vi2000 is easy to use,” commented Williams. “As a generic sound engineer you can walk straight up to it. The functionality is great, as are the preamps, and sonically you don’t argue with it.” Martin Audio’s unique MLA technology enabled fine control of how each array covered its designated audience area. Acoustic cells housed within each cabinet were independently controlled by their own amplifier and DSP channel – a total of six in each MLA. This control allowed RG Jones to specify exactly what SPL and frequency response was required across the audience, with the intelligent software automatically controlling the array to produce that result. As Milton commented: “This amounted to just a 3dB drop off over the 200m-long audience area, with incredibly even frequency response.” The results overall were stunning, and for headliners The Killers, in particular, it was a resounding triumph. The Killers FOH Engineer, Kenny Kaiser had nothing but praise. “I’ve been touring with MLA for the past five years, but I’ve not had much experience with it outdoors and I was a little scared,” he began. “But this system was phenomenal, everything was there, and MLA still has a very
long lifespan in my opinion.” For The Killers, it was a resounding triumph, putting to rest their previous headline set in 2007 that was marred by sound problems and ultimately led to RG Jones and Martin Audio being installed as the audio providers for the Pyramid stage ever since. Providing stage infrastructure for the Pyramid was Serious Stages. With a history spanning over 35 years, this year Serious brought the Pyramid’s iconic steel frame to life once again, providing all of the stage decking and loading bays, broadcast camera runs, VIP viewing platforms – all flanked by giant PA and screen steel truss goalposts. In front of the stage were broadcast camera platforms, eight PA delay towers, two front of house structures, two spot pods, and an assisted viewing platform (AVP). The Next Stage were pleased to work closely with Stephen Reeve of Pull the Pin Out and Show Designer Rob Sinclair to manufacture and supply the stage set for the Kylie Minogue’s long-awaited Glastonbury performance as part of the legends slot on the Pyramid Stage. Called on for the first time to provide crew for the Pyramid Stage was Showforce. The company was awarded the contract by the stage’s Production Manager, Emma Reynolds, who has worked with the Showforce team on several events in recent years. Showforce’s in-house operations team made certain that they had the correct personnel in place at every stage of the project and everything was planned to a tee, from allocating crew to appropriate roles based on their expertise, to ensuring they were correctly accredited prior to arriving onsite. Showforce’s Operations Manager, Laurence Jones, was on site for the duration of the project, liaising with the client and crew chief, managing the crew and generally making certain that everything ran smoothly. Onsite from 24 June, Showforce’s initial presence included two teams of crew, each headed up by a highly experienced crew chief and assisted by forklift drivers to support the install of lighting, sound and video equipment 46
Serious Stages Senior Project Manager, Simon Fursman; Avolites’ Koy Neminathan & Francesca Parry; The Transition Video team; Universal Pixel’s Roly Oliver.
for the Pyramid Stage. Prior to the opening day, an additional 18-person Showforce crew, chief and forklift driver ensured that the stage was prepared for headliner Stormzy’s performance on Friday. A team of more than 30 crew, three forklift drivers and a crew chief worked through the night on Friday and Saturday, removing all the previous headliner’s kit and preparing the stage for the next day’s performances, including Saturday and Sunday’s headline acts: The Killers and The Cure. Given the number of acts performing and the tight turnaround time between each, the backstage area was heavily congested with kit. At any one time there was an act leaving the stage, a new act going on and the following artist loading in. It was vital that every performance began on time as there were financial implications if they didn’t. The average time allowed for a changeover is eight minutes with no margin for error; this was the case following Kylie Minogue’s performance – there was a lot of kit involved and it needed to be changed over quickly for Sir David Attenborough’s appearance. The Showforce crew was able to turn it around in an impressive six minutes. Showforce also provided eight follow spot operators for each of the show days; four were situated at FOH and 18m high, and the other four operated from under the stage.
Chemical Brothers and Christine and the Queens all transforming the stage into their own unique worlds. Not only that, but The Other Stage was home to one of the most viral moments of the festival when Dave gave one unexpecting bucket hat-wearing reveller – now known to the world simply as Alex – a chance to perform with him on stage, a production also designed by Routledge and Tawbox. Providing rear and IMAG house screens was Transition Video. Speaking about the experience, company Director Rhodri Shaw said: “Video technology has come a long way, even in the past two years. With this in mind, we suggested to the festival that we should upgrade the screens on the Other Stage to ROE CB5s – matching the product on the main stage. It’s almost double the resolution and you can really tell the difference.” Transition also provided Barco e2 to deal with incoming touring artists. Providing the camera package and its own OB truck was Video Europe. The company supplied two of its highest-spec, state-of-the-art, outside broadcast trucks for the festival along with seven Sony HDC-4300 cameras and 18 crew trucks. The OB5 and OB7 were the workhorses behind Glastonbury’s most visited stages, the Pyramid Stage and Other Stage. “Thanks really have to go to Laurence Delany, who created the team of suppliers and crew for this one,” commented Shaw. “He’s brought in a great group of people, many of whom have done several stints at Glastonbury.” On the Saturday night, The Other stage underwent quite the transformation, as The Chemical Brothers landed to bring their visually stimulated and content-heavy show. This presented an interesting challenge for the stage crew, who removed the house screen and replaced
THE OTHER A short walk around the corner, Glastonbury’s second stage offered an intriguing line-up throughout the weekend with headliners Tame Impala, 48
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it with the group’s own touring set up – which came courtesy of Universal Pixels. The company deployed the biggest LED screen at this year’s festival. The 2019 TPi Awards Favourite Video Rental Company supplied a 19m x 11m Leyard CLM10 screen, which was more than a third larger than The Chemical Brothers’ usual touring video screen. This increased the resolution, had 44% transparency and, crucially, weighed under three tonnes, which was essential for The Other Stage’s weight-loading limits. Universal Pixels also continued its support of Years & Years at the festival and provided a server package for Vampire Weekend – both bands played the Pyramid Stage on the final day. Audio duties for The Other Stage were overseen by Skan PA. This year, the company’s design consisted of 20 d&b audiotechnik KSL 8/12s, 18 KSL side hangs, 20 SL subs in an end on sub array, V8 centre hangs and J12 front fills between the main and side arrays. Using array processing and careful temperature and humidity monitoring, Skan was able to provide consistency across the audience area. Along with stage and control, Skan put multicores of every flavour into the ground tunnels so that all artists could simply turn up and plug in. This comprised eight multicores, two dual HMA, three dual OpticalCon Duo, Quad Ethercon, eight-way BNC and a dedicated headline multi. Each multi had its own power and tielines. FOH control was all matrixed by a DiGiCo SD11i with mini racks on stage and at FOH. This also took care of shouts, VIP and transmits for sign language signers.
were invited to supply audio and lighting solutions and quickly developed into supplying solutions for other venues in The Park, including The Rabbit Hole, Stonebridge Bar, HMS Sweet Charity and the Land’s End Bar.” Bott continued to outline the challenge of overseeing the site year on year, especially with the much-anticipated secret sets. “Each year, we welcome surprise acts at The Park who are used to performing on much larger stages. Our challenge is to accommodate both the incoming production and incoming audience sizes.” The audio offering that SWG now provides for The Park stage has certainly evolved from the original analogue package to a full digital console set up and Martin Audio line array system. “This year we upgraded to a DiGiCo SD10 mixing console on monitors,” stated Bott. Meanwhile FOH control and matrixing was covered by Lab Gruppen LM44 Lake processors and the house console was an Avid Profile. “With the audio system, it’s really important that engineers feel they have the level of control over the PA so they get the best sound possible for their artist,” said Bott. “The Avid Venue Profile is still a good festival choice as every visiting engineer has a file or knows the console. We also have a large number of visiting consoles at The Park, so we add various types of cable systems and connectivity choices to cover these.” This year, SWG’s set up consisted of two 12-box hangs of Martin Audio W8LC, 16 WS218X subs, four W8LCDs and a combination of fills. When it came to lighting, Bott explained that the goal was to provide visiting artists and lighting engineers with “plenty of options to enhance their performance”. By selecting a range of fixtures from Robe, SWG was able to satisfy the majority of the artist riders. The main rig comprised 24 Robe Spiiders, eight SuperSpikies, Robe MegaPointes and Robe LED Beam 150s. Also on the rider were eight Martin by Harman Atomic 3000s, 12 SGM P-5s and myriad pars and blinders. “We did provide some additional units as floor packages specific to individual acts across the weekend,” commented Bott. The FOH console provided was a ChamSys MQ500 and a ChamSys Stadium Wing. “For lighting, we installed a fibre optic Art-net network this
THE PARK Tucked away in the south west of the festival site was the Park stage. Famed each year for being the site of many secret sets throughout the weekend, this year was no different, with performances from Vampire Weekend and Foals. Having been involved with the festival since 1995, Bristol-based SWG Events took up residence at the Park Stage for yet another year, providing a audio, lighting and video package for the three days. “In 2007 Emily Eavis began a new project to develop The Park as a whole area of the festival,” recalled SWG’s Operations Manager, Mark Bott. “We 50
year, linked to a rack of ChamSys R4s. This enabled us to integrate guest consoles quickly and easily into the control network and switch seamlessly between these and the house console throughout the day.”
a sound engineer. “This year I arrived a few days before the festival to set up and fly the loudspeaker system at West Holts, then worked on stage in patch and monitor world.” All weight monitoring was done from the BroadWeigh App using an Apple iPhone XR. With windspeeds creeping up on one of the days, Van Leare could see how the weight fluctuated with any sudden gust. “This would be rather surprising and would sometimes show an addition of over 100kg to the standard weight,” he stated. “We were flying at under half the capacity weigh load, but it just goes to show how important it is to monitor if you’re flying equipment close to its maximum weight load.” With the system in place Van Leare was able to capture all data required from the FOH position on the app considering the delay towers were more than 25m away. “Take into consideration the 30-plus thousand people that made up the crowd along with its Bluetooth enabled devices, and it’s a great result. This was more than what was required as monitoring delay towers.” TPi Photos: TPi, Timmsy, SWG Events & Plaster www.negearth.com www.ct-group.com www.rgjones.co.uk www.q-sfx.com www.video-design.co.uk www.stages.co.uk www.swgevents.co.uk www.thenextstage-uk.com www.pullthepinout.co.uk www.showforce.com www.tawbox.com www.timroutledge.co.uk www.broadweigh.com www.unipix.tv www.reallycreativemedia.co.uk
WEST HOLTS A stone’s throw from the central Green Peace area, West Holts enjoyed a selection of stellar performances from the likes of Lizzo, Janelle Monae, Jorja Smith, Wu Tang Clan and Jeff Goldblum. This year, RG Jones supplied West Holts with 14 MLA per side, an out hang on house left of six MLA compact and a house right outfill of eight MLA Compact, which helped to extend coverage out to the Pathway to extend arena space. Twenty-one MLX subwoofers deployed in a cardioid pattern kept noise on stage to a minimum but delivered chest-pumping energy to the audience. Two hangs of 16 MLA Compact delays were positioned 95m from the stage and extended coverage for another 75m before tapering off sharply using Martin Audio’s unique Hard Avoid feature to prevent sound spilling into market stalls. As System Tech, Jack Bowcher, commented: “This was a massive improvement from two years ago, with better quality audio through the field and better containment as well. This audio quality was further endorsed by Andrew Lorenzo, FOH Engineer for Hollie Cook. “MLA sounded really crisp to me; I didn’t do anything to the graphic, it has been really well tuned by RG Jones on site and I found it really full in both the bottom and high top end, which is what I need for reggae. But it wasn’t harsh, which is the other thing I noticed and really liked. A thumbs-up from me.” To ensure an unrestricted view for all, Creative Technology installed a 7.5m x 5m Upstage screen and two 6m x 3.5m IMAGs, both using INFiLED 5.9mm as well as providing screen switching for video relay, sub-cutting cameras from the BBC. On site at the West Holts stage, BroadWeigh’s Sales Executive, Elliot Van Leare, spoke of the use of the company’s Bluetooth-enabled shackles. Van Leare wore multiple hats during the weekend as both a Sales Executive and 52
EV E NT S
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Sound • Light • Video • Production • Staging
continents we know today],” began Bertie Cole, Co-Founder and Technical Director for Arcadia. “It was all about going back to the beginning. The spider was born in Glastonbury and we wanted to start a process again.” But starting from square one, scale was always something in the back of the team’s mind. “We had got to the point where we needed something much bigger,” stated Co-Founder and Creative Director Pip Rush. “In our area we could have up to 50,000 people come through, with many of them staying for a few hours. It meant that even the spider was getting dwarfed in the space. I think one of our strongest points is that we take over the sky, so from the start we had the idea of building a structure that would accomplish this feat.” The structure in question was an imposing crane that was transported from the Bristol docklands. “We looked at a few potential structures for the project, from sea-container lifters to various structures in Russia,” reflected Rush. “Eventually we found this crane and started the conversation with the harbour authorities. I think it took them a while to realise we were serious and wanted to put this giant structure in a field in Somerset.” The Arcadia team has collaborated with experts to help make its lofty ambitious a reality, and Pangea was no different. “We had to bring in a lot of
ARCADIA: PANGEA The Arcadia team has come a long way since the day when a group of plucky young Bristolians knocked on the door of Michael Eavis with an offer to host a rave like no other at Glastonbury. Since its first year in 2009, Arcadia has become a staple within the Glastonbury line-up and evolved year on year, reaching a milestone in 2017 with the Metamorphosis show. With the Spider now becoming a certified touring production, crawling all over the world, the Arcadia team thought it was time to start with a fresh slate and build a new experience that would be unique for Glastonbury. The end result was Pangea, a whole new concept centred around an old Bristolian dock crane. With the dust settled on 2019’s festival, TPi got to sit down with some of the creatives to speak about the origins of this year’s events and the technical backbone that made it all possible. “We always knew we wanted to call the installation Pangea, [the name of the supercontinent that existed prior to the current configuration of 54
people from various disciplines to make this structure not only workable in a live environment, but also safe,” stated Rush. Talking through some of the technical challenges at play was Technical Production Manager, Dorian Cameron-Marlow commented: “One of the first barriers we had to look at was that the crane rotates continually. So straight off the bat we had the issue that we couldn’t run cable up the structure.” The solution was a fairly rudimental one: a series of slip rings. “But the big issue was that slip rings are not designed to transmit data,” he commented. “We developed a fibre-optic system, using a slip ring principle, so we continually pass data up the structure to the lighting rig on the arm of the crane. This tech doesn’t exist in any other sector and we spoke to various industries including experts in robotics to make this a possibility.” As well as bringing in experts from the cutting edge of their fields, Rush chuckled that they even brought a few out of retirement. “We have a few guys who worked on the crane for years to come in as they had the greatest knowledge of the structures,” he said. “It was great to have them collaborate with these young tech companies. Between this collaboration we were able to create some really strong safety protocols which will help us out in future years.” Cameron-Marlow added: “Our understanding of health and safety is one of our biggest strengths as a company. We work outside the realms of other live events and often there is no legislation. We’ve found we often lead the way in helping bring about new legislation to continue to make the grander avant-garde events as safe as possible.”
PROJECTION From the inception of this year’s design, one element the team wanted to enhance was projection mapping. “There was projection with the Spider during the Metamorphosis show, but we were always limited with what we could do due to the structure,” stated Cole. “With the crane in place we found a face to include some kind of mapping, and with the whole show being called Pangea, the idea of a globe made sense.” Using the remanence of a military satellite dish, below the main body of the crane was a large sphere that was used as a projection surface throughout the performance. “We worked with some guys from Astral Projekt and Heckler to produce content revolving around planets,” said Cole. “They produced evolving content for the three days and collaborating with various artists.” Technical production specialist CPL, having worked with the Arcadia team on previous occasions, was brought in to provide the projection infrastructure for the event. CPL supplied six Barco UDX-4K32 projectors with fibre-optic signal and control infrastructure for 360° projections that were integral to the show based around the magnificent 140-tonne centrepiece of Pangea. The projectors were positioned on six 10m-high purpose-built towers located 40m away from the radar dome in weatherised hides. All the video content for the Pangea shows was created by Joe Crossley from digital art collective Astral Projekt alongside Heckler and programmed into Arcadia’s own Avolites AI media server by Ciaran Abrams. CPL also supplied an array 55
of its 1.2m ROE Visual pixel Strips for internally lighting the DJ booth, and dispatched three crew – Mike Radford, Robin Emery and Anthony Condon – for the weekend to ensure that everything ran smoothly. CPL’s Dickie Burrow commented: “It was fantastic working on this new Arcadia project. We all loved the spider and this next phase is another great testament to their imagination, craziness and huge inspiration. The ideas are always ambitious but really cool. It was amazing to be part of this show and another great Glastonbury.” Coinciding with the impressive projection work was a lighting rig to match. “One of the main fixtures that we used on the rig was the Robe iPointes,” commented Cameron-Marlow. Robe’s brand new IP65-rated iPointe combines innovative ingress protection with the spectacular effect features of the MegaPointe. “Over the years we’ve developed a very good relationship with Robe. When we were looking at the lighting rig, we knew we needed a bright fixture but that didn’t have to be covered by any dressing or protective coating. For us the iPointe was the only fixture that ticked both of these boxes.” Another notable inclusion on the lighting rider came from AO Technologies with its FALCON Beam 2 fixtures. The FALCON Beam 2, with over 300,000 source lumens, were mounted around the outer circle of the arena, creating architectural definition, a towering central focus and a stunning aerial display. Cameron-Marlow commented: “The FALCONs integrated into our main lighting system perfectly and allowed the experience to take over
the sky. They were easy to install and performed flawlessly throughout the weekend.” Controlling the impressive light show were two Avolites Sapphire Touch. “We’ve used Avolites across the board this year,” commented Cameron-Marlow, reflecting on Arcadia’s long relationship with the console brand. “We’ve also used their Ai RX8 Media Servers – with one main and one back-up – for all the 3D modelling for the media servers. We also have one of their consoles firing all our pyro.” FIRE AND SNOW It wouldn’t be an Arcadia show without a dose of pyro. This year was no exception, with the team deploying its own arsenal of in-house fixtures. “It certainly become a speciality of ours,” smiled Rush. “A part of our ethos has always been to keep recycling of the upmost importance. This goes for our pyro shots with half of them using biofuels.” This ‘recycling ethos’ also led the team to come up with a brand-new look for the show, namely a snow blast. “The snow effect has been a long collaboration between us, Bristol University, Green Peace and a company called Snow Business,” stated Cole. “We were looking at other effects we could use to take over the sky. Confetti was always a no-go due to the impact on the environment. The snow blasts didn’t have this problem and were 100% safe for people and the surrounding wildlife.” Also, on the effects rider was a collection of MDG Me8s. “The haze they produce complements the show much better than most and we find they really amplify everything,” enthused Cameron-Marlow. 56
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SOUND A bespoke audio solution for the unique stage was provided by Britannia Row Productions. The Arcadia team has worked with L-Acoustics for a number of years, and following a recommendation from the loudspeaker manufacturer, Britannia Row was appointed as the 2019 audio rental supplier of choice. “This was our first year working with Britannia Row and, right from the outset, we were very impressed with their knowledge and consummate professionalism,” Cameron-Marlow commented. “Whilst working through non-standard applications and system usage, their team were flexible, creative and always on point.” Britannia Row’s Marc Soame said: “The new stage is a real centrepiece and sets a great platform for future expansion of the show. Audio is a key component of any Arcadia show, and the production team are well versed in audio design and its considerations for being able to provide a highquality experience for eager audiences. “The Arcadia team is incredibly creative and forward-thinking, but also very practically minded. They’ve refined their approach over a number of years with the development of the previous stages and wanted to retain a similar approach for 2019 as it was a proven model.” The main tower systems were inwards-facing L-Acoustics K2/ KS28, with localised outward-facing flown ARCS II on the crane and X12/ KS28 for coverage under the crane – all powered by LA12X. This design was crucial to maximising the audio quality throughout and minimising any overlapping sound sources. Britannia Row also provided the control package including console, RF and IEMs, as well as DJ equipment and the monitoring system, all safeguarded with a fully redundant fibre-optic drive system and redundant control package. The Britannia Row crew at Arcadia included main PA
system engineer Terrance Hulkes and rig/de-rig technician Jacopo Fois, who worked alongside Matt Howes and Arcadia’s in-house audio team. Although this year’s Glastonbury has come to an end, the story of Pangea is just beginning. In fact, the mission statement for this year, which was plastered all over Arcadia marketing materials, social media and website, was simple: ‘This year – step inside Pangea and unleash your imagination. Next year – get involved.’ In short, the team want to hear everyone’s ideas about where they can take the show next – be that from an industry peer or even a punter from the field. As soon as the gates opened on the Friday of Glastonbury, the team opened a link on its website that let people suggest how they would like to see the show evolved next year. While speaking to Rush, Cole and Cameron-Marlow, they were delighted to report that the inbox was already brimming with ideas coming from a collection of people and the notepads had already been out jotting down ideas. Rush gave his final thoughts on this year’s event. “It was a challenge to take a step back from the Spider shows but a necessary one. By the time the festival was over, everyone was brimming with ideas. Now we can really start to push the boundaries of how we can continue to take over the sky. I’m excited where we will take this next.” TPi Photos: ShotAway, Lukonic Photography and Charlie Ravem www.arcadiaspectacular.com www.cplav.com www.britanniarow.com www.snowbusiness.com www.robe.cz www.ao-technology.com www.avolites.com 58
trusses of lighting provided a variety of looks. Ten of GLP’s new FUSION Stick FS20s were adorned to each truss, with three on the floor either side. The rest of the rig was made up of Martin by Harman MAC Vipers, among others. GLP loaned the fixtures to Bryte Design to complement its show design, while Lite Alternative supplied everything else.
TENTS Providing much-needed shelter during one of the hottest Glastonbury Festivals to date, a range of tents – each with its own, unique character – welcomed festival-goers in droves. Standing firmly as the largest indoor venue at Glastonbury Festival, the John Peel Stage remains one of the most popular arenas at the event. Named after the late BBC DJ and radio producer, who championed up-andcoming talent as well as the festival, the stage has welcomed a wealth of diverse talent over the years. In keeping with the theme of constant innovation, SWG Events changed the John Peel Stage FOH PA to a Martin Audio MLA system. The main PA hangs comprised 20 MLA cabinets, 10 elements flown each side, with 12 MLX subwoofers providing LF extension. Four DD12s positioned on the stage focused the sound on the nearfield, while further out-fills were provided by six MLA Compacts per side. The MLA system delivered highquality audio within the boundaries of the tent, while ensuring minimum interference with other stages close by. In the throes of Bugzy Malone’s headline set, TPi met with the incredibly proud Adlib team, who designed, created, engineered and supplied the Manchester grime star’s festival package to the John Peel stage. There was a good representation of GLP lighting packages across the site. Three
ACOUSTICS STAGE Undoubtably the top blues, folk, contemporary and country music space on Worthy Farm, the Acoustics Stage welcomed headline acts, Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock & Roll Revue, Hawkwind, Keane, and Rickie Lee Jones to its marquee this year. The diverse line-up also featured the likes of Lucy Rose, Gabrielle Aplin, Albert Hammond and The Bootleg Beatles, among others. Lighting the way, Rob Sangwell and Simon Johnson of Fineline Lighting added a powerful punch to the Acoustic Stage for artists like The Mavericks and Keane with a festival rig that featured 16 aptly titled Chauvet Professional Maverick MK3 Spot and 18 Maverick MK3 Wash fixtures. The quality of the colour and the intense brightness of the Maverick fixtures meant Fineline was excited to include these lights as an essential part of its Glastonbury plans. Apparently visiting LDs also shared this enthusiasm. When Landon Bloss, Lighting Director for the Grammy Award-winning country band The Mavericks, first saw the Maverick MK3 Spot on the Acoustic Stage, his reaction was: “What on earth are those?” He commented that he thought the brilliantly bright fixtures, “must be lamps” and never expected they were really LED units. But Glastonbury has a tradition of serving up 60
The Adlib crew; the Bryte Design team with GLP.
surprises, and on this stage that didn’t just happen for fans but visiting LDs, too. For the first time, Avolites took control of the Acoustic tent with the Fineline Production team using the Arena to take care of the diverse line-up.
drama to the mix. It was amazing to use, and it really added something special to a magical weekend. It was fun to create strange sounds in our headphones – and then throw them around the room via TiMax.” He added: “Using the ‘AUX send’ function on the Pioneer DJM 900 Nexus 2, we could assign any audio channel to be sent to RMX 1000 effects sampler. This meant we could EQ out the Bass, add delay to the track and send this delay around the room at various speeds – blended in with the original Dry track from the mixer. It really ‘wonked out’ some already wonky characters on the dancefloor!” DJs performing with the system at Funkingham Palace included Isaac Ferry, Bushwacka! Craig Charles and Carl Cox, among many others.
RABBIT HOLE The unique immersive audio capabilities of the TiMax SoundHub were in evidence at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, where two experiential spaces were driven by the pioneering spatial audio engine. Within the warren of underground venues of The Rabbit Hole, Sova Audio applied TiMax spatialisation to create an altogether different dance arena experience at Funkingham Palace, through a multichannel Funktion One sound system. Within this inner world, guarded by Alice in Wonderland-inspired thespians with riddles, carrots and magic potions to test wit and determination, Sova Audio’s George Yankov created a sophisticated and memorable sonic experience for house and disco lovers. Complementing the venue’s dancefloor surround system was a matching monitor set-up for the DJs to experience the same dynamically spatialised audio mix. This was essential because Yankov leveraged the TiMax OSC integration to programme various spatial audio movements controllable from an iPad for the DJs to play with. An extra mixer was used just for effects and additional sounds, featuring two Korg Kaoss Pads, a Kaossilator, a drum pad and a laptop running samples from Ableton. All sounds were occasionally warped out through a Roland Space Echo. The Rabbit Hole organiser, Isaac Ferry, explained: “Sova Audio created a sub mix where we could send certain sounds around the room to add
AVALON STAGE Southampton-based GLS Lighting supplied a MagicQ MQ100 plus Playback Wing for the Avalon Stage, which was overseen by Console Operator, Will Thomas. The impressive artist list on that stage included James Morrison, with the desk operated by long-time ChamSys user Martin Dudley of Martin’s Lights, and The Cat Empire with LD Paula Trounce. Elsewhere, ChamSys continued to be a common sight at the Worthy Farm. The BBC Introducing Stage had a ChamSys MQ80 plus an Extra Wing Compact operated by Zac Leighton and Alex Merrett over the festival. Silver Hayes’s Wow Stage featured a ChamSys MQ100 Pro 2010 kit supplied by Fineline Lighting and operated over the weekend by James ‘Chimpy’ Harrington. Left Field was covered by a ChamSys MQ80 and Extra Wing Compact supplied by and operated by South West Group Events. And finally, Greenpeace Field featured a ChamSys MagicQ MQ500, programmed by David Howard. 61
THE BEAT HOTEL A much-loved party hub and Glastonbury mainstay since 2011, The Beat Hotel ensured the party took place one last time before checking out for good. Of course, this meant going out in style. Showtec Sunstrip LEDs were embedded into the walls of the stage area dividing the three bedrooms with PALSAR ChromaSpheres suspended down each side of the venue, while the main centre truss consisted of Martin by Harman MAC 101s, MAC 301s and Atomic 3000 strobes. Lewis Beard manned an Avolites Tiger Touch Pro running Titan v11.3 alongside the AV51 team providing technical production and power distribution for the venue.
spectacle, Maverick provides a unique alternative for the late-night entertainment. Ben Dodds of Enlightened used an Avolites Tiger Touch II to bring the night to life. Elsewhere, the iconic Ribbon Tower of the Park area stood high and mighty over the spectators. At night, the tower was illuminated by LED batons, all programmed by Adam Davies on the Avolites Quartz provided by Enlightened. While nestled in the corner of the circus field, Summer House brought dance troops and live music entertainment throughout the day. Matthew Dunford and Alistair Brick working for Enlightened used their own Titan Mobile to control the rig to ensure complete reliability over the weekend. TPi Photos: SWG Events & TPi www.swgevents.co.uk www.adlib.co.uk www.glp.de www.brytedesign.co.uk www.lite-alternative.com www.finelinelighting.com www.outboard.co.uk www.chauvetprofessional.com www.avolites.org.uk www.sova-audio.co.uk www.glslighting.com www.enlx.co.uk
THEATRE AND CIRCUS Nestled in the heart of Worthy Farm is Theatre and Cabaret â€“ three fields of spectacles, music and comedy. Complete with high-flying acrobats and puppetry in the theatre and circus field, a wild mix of comedy, ventriloquism, spoken word, and trapeze was the flavour of the space. Inside the Big Top, Fineline Productions brought the show to life with the Arena and the Art 2000 dimmer, creating drama and atmosphere for the huge range of performers and acts. The Cabaret tent was a unique experience at Glastonbury, with comedians, dancers and a host of different performers gracing the stage. Fineline brought in the Avolites Quartz with a mobile wing to set the mood. A firm favourite with the Avolites team, Glasto Latino brought the eclectic atmosphere of Carnival to the Glastonbury fields. Martyn Sargent of Enlightened kept the party going with the Pearl Expert. A late cabaret 62
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live and electronic acts alike. It’s the best system I’ve ever worked with.” The Glade Stage system comprised left and right hangs of seven Vero enclosures per side – three V315s, two V90s and two V60s. These flown arrays were paired with an asymmetric bass set-up consisting of a twowide x six-high block of F124s stage left and a stack of four F221s stage right. The system was powered by Lab.gruppen PLM20K44 amps. A fill system was deployed around the video relay screen which serviced the overspill area. It featured Evo 7Ts with Evo 7THs for enhanced mid/highs and F221 bass enclosures and could be turned on or off, depending on the size of the crowd. Funktion-One implemented crossover filter discoveries made during the development of Vero VX, leading Funktion-One founder Tony Andrews to conclude that Vero at The Glade was: “The best I’ve ever heard it.” Dub Pistols’ FOH Engineer Bill Borez was also pleased with the result: “I used the new Funktion-One Vero on The Glade Stage at Glastonbury festival and was extremely impressed with this system – very clean, very precise with great stereo imaging. Vocals cut though beautifully, and the bass was – for want of a better phrase – absolutely enormous.” Kuenta’s FOH Engineer Jovani Kock enthused: “I had a really wonderful
THE GLADE & SILVER HAYES Funktion-One teamed up with long-term partner Audio Plus to give Vero its first Glastonbury outing at The Glade. The stage, which enjoyed a mixed programme of DJs and live performances, received plaudits from artists, festival goers and sound engineers, who praised the system’s precise stereo imaging and generous headroom. Area Coordinator of Avalon, Glade and The Wood, Luke Piper, commented: “I was overjoyed with the new system – it surpassed all expectations. We quadrupled the normal capacity of the venue up to 20,000, with people dancing right at the back of the crowd to Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim and Squarepusher. “It sounded just as good at the back as it did at the front, with a full range, solid, clear and real bottom end, and great mid-range separation. Vero is a very real ‘non-synthetic’ alive-sounding system that’s perfect for 64
Next level performance in a versatile format
Vero VX’s more compact format brings Vero sound to a wider range of venues. Funktion-One’s unique driver and waveguide technology ensures vocals and musical harmonics are coherent in time and space, providing beneﬁts in clarity, intelligibility and immersive stereo imaging. The high crossover point to the compression driver means increased headroom and reduced harmonic and modulation distortion. The very high electroacoustic eﬀiciency of the horn-loaded mid/high section is supplemented by new bass driver technology up to eight Vero VX cabinets can be powered by a single ampliﬁer. Vero VX’s patented Lambda rigging system ensures accurate array alignment.The naturally ﬂat response does not require corrective EQ, thus preserving headroom and phase coherency, resulting in very clean output, even at maximum power.
The audio crew at the Glade Stage; The Video Illusions duo at the Sonic Stage.
time mixing on Vero – it is everything you want from a PA. As an engineer mixing a band that is low-end heavy, the Vero system exceeded all my expectations by miles. Lots of headroom, without compromising sound quality. I could mix in great detail without having to push the faders too much.” The XTA MX36, a DSP-enabled console switching system, also made its Glasto debut at the Glade. “Using the MX36 was a breeze,” Kris Hayes, Audio Plus System Tech said. “It made the whole process of console switching straightforward again. A must-have for any festival drive racks needing multiple formats. A rack of MC2 E Series were paired with DP448s to handle monitoring at the Glade, and we were delighted to step in with the DNA120 and the MC2 Delta 120.” When it came to lighting, Sam Akinwale took care of the DJs and artists during the day before the main headliners hit the stage using the house Avolites Arena lighting console. Fatboy Slim rocked the crowd on Friday
night with Stephen Abbiss behind an Avolites Arena lighting console and Saturday night Idris Elba put on an incredible performance with Abbiss also in control Funktion-One speakers were not only featured in the Glade stage but on several of the stages within the Silver Hayes area of the site. TPi met up with the team for Video Illusions’ Nick Whiteoak at the Sonic stage. This was the seventh year the company had provided video for this area of the site. Its main focus was the Sonic Stage and Pussy Parlure alongside adding the legendary Gully Blues stage for Chris Gaines – who started Video Illusions Glastonbury adventure all those years ago. TPi Photos: Funktion-One & XTA Electronics www.funktion-one.com www.audioplusuk.com www.audiocore.co.uk www.videoillusions.net
with 6k content, fully immersing the audience into the world of a honey bee. Squint Opera was the Creative Content Director, with the Hoarlea taking care of the sound design. “I am delighted with the NEC laser projectors that are being used in BEAM,” explained BEAM creator Wolfgang Buttress. “They have been essential in creating a multisensory experience, which highlights the existential challenges facing the honey bee. I wanted to use the best technology available to create a sense of magic and wonder. The projectors have helped make this happen.” At night, the space was filled with 360° projections from 12 NEC PX1004UL laser projectors, animating the walls of the clearing with footage from bee hives with high-definition film, MRI and thermal imagery. “Our laser projectors provide the robust performance needed for powerful delivery of this breathtaking showpiece,” said Graham Kirkpatrick, technical solutions architect, NEC Display Solutions. Chauvet Professional Maverick fixtures also had a transformative effect on the festival’s Greenpeace Field, where the Bailes + Light team relied on the IP65-rated Maverick Storm 1 Wash to create an eco-friendly forest of light. Adding to the wonderous outdoor panorama were COLORado Solo Batten, ÉPIX Strip IP, COLORado Panel Q40, STRIKE 1 and STRIKE P38 fixtures, along with F4IP video panels and a ChamSys MagicQ MQ500 programmed by David Howard. TPi www.outboard.co.uk www.nec-display-solutions.com www.avolites.com www.chauvetprofessional.com
GREENPEACE Greenpeace made its mark on Worthy Farm this year by installing BEAM – a brand new permanent sculpture, to create a stunning multisensory experience, highlighting the power and importance of pollinating insects to our ecosystem. Inspired and indeed controlled by the activity of real bees – a colony of Cornish Black Bees in Michael Eavis’ own beehive, to be precise – BEAM was an interactive, multisensory and experiential sculpture that, with the help of TiMax and visual specialists RES London, enveloped visitors in immersive soundscapes and 360° projection and lighting. Movement-sensing accelerometers, installed within the Glastonbury farm beehives, streamed live vibration data – sounds and vibrations from the bees’ activity – into the BEAM sculpture, to control the musical key and tempo of the soundscape experienced by visitors, refreshing in real time. Live bee broadcasts, multichannel recordings and a mix of multitrack music stems, by artists from Sigur Ros, Spiritualised and Coldcut were also interwoven and propelled through the space by TiMax SoundHub. Partnering with specialist collaborators in science, light, film, sound and projection mapping, NEC Display Solutions provided laser projection technology in the creation of BEAM. Projection mapping across the centre of the sculpture was designed and controlled by RES on two Avolites Ai R6 Servers supplying 12 projectors
very cold at night – have been an issue this year, but the snapshots that are uploaded easily in an instant without artefacts have meant that we have been able to keep the coverage patterns we need. It’s been great.” Reflecting on the striking giant human head backdrop used for the IICON stage, Block9 co-founder Gideon Berger described how it evokes the pervasive nature of technology on the human spirit: “It’s a sinister monument to the terrifying realities of this digital, post-truth age that we find ourselves in,” he began. A mammoth 65ft sculpture of a head, it is “anonymised by a giant block that contains an LED wall entranced by the image of itself, and by the screens”. The visual spectacular was matched by an audio spectacular with Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision Longbow (WPL) making its festival debut in a stunning immersive 6.1-channel surround sound system designed by RG Jones’ Simon Honywill, Consultant Sound Engineer for the festival. WPL is Martin Audio’s new large-format optimised passive line array from the best-selling Wavefront Precision series. It offers an adaptable approach to optimisation of line arrays through scalable resolution where the user decides on the number of enclosures with dedicated amplifier channels that are required for the coverage, consistency and control of the space. “I thought rather than having this incredible structure and then just using straightforward left and right standard deployment, let’s go a bit crazy and do it in surround sound,” said Honywill. “So, we had six hangs of 10 WPL all pointing inwards with optimisation of the sound fields to maximise the experience through the space for a 15,000 crowd. A single 23m-long SHX218 sub array in a broadside cardioid pattern provided the thumping bass, but also control too. Each night there was a specially commissioned presentation where the stage structure is projection mapped combined with 6.1 surround audio, which worked highly effectively. Then for the DJ sets we used a Trinnov Altitude 32 system to effectively up mix the stereo output to the 6.1 surround system and the results of that, were frankly outstanding.” Trinnov Audio’s Benoit Munoz commented: “Live Sound is not a market Trinnov Audio addresses but thanks to Simon’s enthusiasm for our products, we get the chance to experiment and realise how relevant our technology would be for such application. We were really excited to contribute to this unique sound system, especially with such phenomenal results, and most certainly look forward to being there again next year.” This was endorsed by Gideon Berger: “This was an experimental design brief, but we’ve been really helped by Martin Audio, RG and Simon, who gave us demo suites to mix in, engineers on the ground to support, and the whole thing has been a pleasure to work with them.” Summing up, John Carroll, Managing Director of RG Jones, said: “It’s an honour and privilege for RG Jones to once again be at the forefront of the Glastonbury Festival. From headliners to all-night dance music, this was a triumphant year and we are so pleased with the feedback from audiences, engineers and organisers to what we were able to deliver. My thanks also go to Martin Audio, who provided such unwavering support in the planning and execution this year and we can’t wait for next year and the 50thAnniversary of Glastonbury Festival.” In closing, Dom Harter, Managing Director of Martin Audio added: “What sets Martin Audio apart is its signature sound that can faithfully
SOUTH EAST CORNER
As the principle Glastonbury stages grind to a halt after dark, Worthy Farm offers a vast array of entertainment options for nocturnal revellers, including legendary areas in the site’s South East corner – Shangri-La, Block9, The Common and Unfairground. Shangri-La, Glastonbury’s late-night party zone, was once again a maze of weird and wonderful stages and venues this year, each serving up its own unique vibe to festival-goers. While the area primarily came alive at night, The Truth Stage’s all-dayers saw the likes of Craig Charles, Norman Jay, and more take over the day duties. Sleaford Mods also performed as special guests on The Truth Stage. Created by designer-extraordinaire Block9, IICON, a colossal, anonymised head covered by projection and boasting a six-point ambisonic sound system, made its Worthy Farm debut this year. Working tightly with Block9 during the past year, Bild Studios provided the pre-consulting and installed the system on site, including the supply of disguise servers, Omnical and projection hardware, supported by Creative Technology. Martin Audio MLA Compact was once again deployed on the Block9’s Genosys stage, a massive, 70ft-high post-industrial piece of architecture draped with exotic plants and steaming tubes, at the centre of which was a DJ booth. System Tech, Sean Hatton, described the set-up: “We’ve got 10 MLA Compact aside with six DSX subs either side of stage,” he began. “The massive changes in temperature – from searing heat in the day to then 68
reinforce the eclectic artists and genres that Glastonbury offers. Combine this with our unique technology that optimises sound coverage, consistency and control and we’re able to unite massive audiences while respecting other stages and local residents. We are grateful to RG Jones for their continued faith and faultless deployment of our systems.” Transition Video supplied the LED screens for IICON at Block9, working closely with Alan King at production company Rocking Horse and deploying a crew across the Glastonbury site made up of Carl Stage, Peter Hume, Pete Cross, Nathan Dunbar, Kristian Fox Maunder, Ben Sanderson, Arran Vj-Air, Adam Birch and Alexi Parkin. Standing tall amongst the well-established late-night venues, the new stage aimed to transport visitors to another world. Tim Meadowcroft used an Avolites Arena to control the huge number of fixtures that surrounded the dance arena with the beams visible from across the site.
THE COMMON The Temple was a haven for Glastonbury’s late-night ravers, with a range of big-name performers and DJs gracing its stage. It’s not just the music and the eclectic atmosphere that makes Temple so special; since its launch in 2017, the face of the Temple has become the centre of attention with a stunning range of visuals bringing it to life every night thanks to the creative minds of the production team. The team comprised Paul De Villiers as the Lighting Designer, Arran Rothwell-Eyre taking care of the media servers and a team from Limbic Cinema curating the content and operating the live video mixing. Lightwave Productions provided the lighting equipment with the assistance of SGM Events. This year, Avolites introduced Synergy – the new feature set in its Titan and Ai v12 software, which integrates lighting and video control into one
system. “Due to the video-led nature of the structure, it was great to be able to blend the video content and lighting with Synergy to achieve cohesion between the content and the lighting fixtures,” De Villiers explained. For the kit, De Villiers chose the Avolites Arena for the lighting control. “The Arena is my go-to desk for many reasons; it has a large number of faders and execute buttons and the mini screen can be quite handy,” he explained. “The native optical output is also really useful; on previous jobs we’ve had a mile-long run of fixtures with no latency at all. The large main screen is also great for the Pixel Mapper and NDI overlay.” To handle the video, three Avolites Ai Q3s were brought in; one main, one for Synergy and one as backup. A Titan Net Processor was also installed to create a content distribution and server management network. For software, the Arena ran a beta of Titan v12 with the Q3s running the newly released Ai v11. The media servers used five HD outputs with the live input running at 2,048 x 2,048 resolution. To bring the set to life, the team needed content and on a large scale. Limbic Cinema was commissioned back in 2017 to curate the video content and since then it has been building up a library of video of all different artistic styles, textures and colours. Once the stage was built, a team of five designers was on site, creating more content. Formatting video to the preferred video codec of the server can be a major issue when working with large teams of designers, but a key feature of Ai allows content of any format to be fed into the software and the Ai Transcoder automatically converts it into the AiM Codec. It also didn’t matter what size or shape the content was. Once the content was uploaded
to the server, the Ai Mapping Editor could process it and map the content to the structure with ease. The next stage was to bring the show together. Five HD projectors were used for the mapping and a total of 65 fixtures including 12 Aqua beams that surrounded the face of the Temple were brought in. The trick was to make it all work cohesively. To create a fully immersive experience for the attendees, it was vital all of the visuals told the story together; this was where Synergy took centre stage. De Villiers used Lightmap – a key Synergy feature – that allowed him to directly pixel map the video content to the fixtures. “The structure was mapped to the pixel mapper on the desk and from there I could control how much the video content affected the lighting using a mode 2 fader. This allowed us to make a smooth transition between the video cues and lighting,” he said. Getting this map right was vital. The original UV map of the stage was complicated and didn’t match up directly with the stage itself, so a camera was set up in Ai with the live feed going into the Synergy Q3 server. The live output from this was then fed to the Arena, giving De Villiers the picture, he needed to design his show. Projection mapping such a complex structure was no mean feat. Many of the areas of the outer structure were layered and therefore regular edge blending was not suitable. Lighting Designer Rothwell-Eyre used the Salvation Patching in Ai to add masks to certain areas, allowing the projectors to map out the structure accurately. Once the preparations were done, it was time to go live. The video was operated by multiple people, all 70
bringing their own style and creativity to the show. The Arena was operated by De Villiers and his team. The weekend was a slick and spectacular success. “The show went really well,” De Villiers said. “Once the map was correct everything went really smoothly. Synergy is surprisingly easy to use as everything is native to the platform. It really is a game changer. “It’s changed the way I design my lighting,” De Villiers continued. “It’s made it so much easier to work around video. I’m able to frame the video screens and make maximum use of them. You can frame the screen with a group of fixtures and pixel map to amplify the video content and have it blend out.” Not one to mince his words, De Villiers has had enough industry experience to know a good thing when he sees it. “I was happy to take a risk with the new software after popping into the Avolites office and having Matt Jennings run me through it,” he said. “You have to use it out in the field to really see if it works. I’m looking forward to using it at Boomtown this year.” Just around the corner, TPi witnessed LUCID’s latest creation at Samula. Two Avolites Q3 powered the stunning waterfall effects on the Samula stage. Limbic Cinema created the content for the waterfall effect, which was designed by Tom Price. Using Notch, Price developed real-time lighting effects on the waterfall. All of this was controlled natively using Midi controllers for live VJ-ing. The stage was designed and built by Chris Carr at Lucid Illusions, while Mel Cornish used an Avolites Tiger Touch II for the lighting design. Video Illusions were also in the Common providing the video for the remarkable brand new Samula Stage. The Samula stage boasted a 11.5m high by 9m wide Video Illusions VIL6mm making it a breathtaking, unique and captivating stage based on a phenomenal design by LUCID. Video Illusions’ Nick Whiteoak stated: “This year has set the bar very high for Glastonbury’s big 50th in 2020 but then with this year’s suppliers – that challenge is already on. See you in 2020!”
UNFAIRGROUND Unfairground welcomed a new venue, The Blind Tiger. Artists such as 50 Pence, Fanny Tastic and Jim Bitch were names among the line-up. The GLX Productions team, led by Managing Director and Lighting Designer, Glenn Gridley, took care of the install and lighting design of the stages. The Flying Bus Stage was a hub of activity, featuring an extensive array of Chauvet Professional Maverick fixtures to create transformative moments. Engaging and surreal effects were conjured by 12 Maverick MK Pyxis, 12 Maverick MK1 Spots and three Maverick MK1 Hybrid units. Positioning these fixtures inside and under the bus, they endowed it with a glowing otherworldly vibe powered by an Avolites Arena, whilst the Tiger Touch II and Tiger Touch Wing lighting consoles brought the party to the rave tent. The area also featured a ChamSys MagicQ MQ80 lighting console. TPi Photos: RG Jones www.block9.com www.bildstudios.com www.ct-group.com www.rgjones.co.uk www.martin-audio.com www.limbiccinema.com www.transitionvideo.com www.rockinghorse.tv www.lucidcreates.co.uk www.lightwaveproductions.co.uk www.lucidtechnologies.co.uk www.videoillusions.net www.glxproductions.com www.chauvetprofessional.com www.chamsyslighting.com
PROUD TO BE SUPPORTING BASTILLE
PERFORMANCE VISUALS FILMING & IMAG POST PRODUCTION VIDEO EQUIPMENT HIRE
Live Performance Visuals, Media Servers and Crew provided by Really Creative Media for Bastille on Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury
CATERING Eat to the Beat ensured that crew, artists, production and BBC personnel at the Pyramid stage, Other Stage and interstage area were well catered for at Worthy Farm. They produced breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days; a steady stream of snacks and refreshments; band riders, incorporating numerous dietary requirements, along with post-show spreads. This year’s festival saw more than 24,000 meals served by a 64-strong Eat to the Beat team. They used 2,160kg of potatoes, 4,000 bananas, 80 litres of tomato ketchup and served 400 homemade pizzas. Whilst its crew members were clocking up, on average, a staggering 40,000 steps per day. Sustainability is always at the forefront of Eat to the Beat’s service delivery. This is across the board, from recyclable and biodegradable disposable service ware and effective waste management to developing menus that offer plenty of tasty alternatives to meat dishes including vegan options and securing local produce wherever possible. The company reduced the quantity of beef it served by 30% from 2017 and served 10% more vegan meals than 2017. And, in line with the festival’s pledge to ban single-use plastics across the site, there were zero bottles served in any of their dining rooms. Commenting on Eat to the Beat’s 20th successful year at Glastonbury, Mary Shelley-Smith, global operations director said: “Having delivered catering for crew and artists for 20 years, Eat to the Beat is now
undoubtedly part of Glastonbury’s history. As events go, they really don’t get any bigger. A quick look at our numbers for this year’s festival; the quantity of meals served, the sheer volumes of produce needed or how many team members were involved and how hard they worked, is indicative of that. We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing relationship with Glastonbury and look forward to working with the team for many more years to come.” TPi Photo: Eat to the Beat www.gigcatering.com/what-we-do/eat-to-the-beat/
THE EVENT SAFETY SHOP power contractors, down to people that come in and only do a small build – we are here to enable creativity without the audience even realising there is a layer of safety behind it. It is the uniqueness of it that keeps it interesting. “We have a permanent on site presence from the beginning of the build, with the arrival of the full team from the week before the festival getting everyone fully up to speed with the precise details. We are in regular meetings throughout the event and are co-located close to event control, making sure they’ve got information that we might be aware of along with anything we’ve done in advance. “A large, qualified TESS safety team was deployed, incorporating subject area specialists: electrical, structural, gas and noise at work. The teams made sure we checked on compliance and get venues signed off. Gates opened on 8am on Wednesday but some venues and principal stages didn’t start until Friday, so TESS carried out constant inspections to allow build areas to operate with public on site across a staggered opening. “As well as engineering weight and wind loading calculations, 25 stages or venues had special effects brought in, ranging from large spectacular laser displays to gas flame effects, which required specialist attention. “2019 was the first year Glastonbury banned plastic drinking bottles, which was really positive, and they had plenty of Water Aid booths where people could go to get drinking water, along with a huge number of standpipes and taps to keep everyone hydrated.” TPi www.the-eventsafetyshop.co.uk
The Event Safety Shop (TESS) has been the appointed safety contractor for Glastonbury Festival for nearly two decades. Hannah Charlton, who has worked with TESS on 15 years of Glastonbury Festivals, was the company’s festival safety co-ordinator, supported by Adam Blaxter and the wider TESS internal team. Charlton told TPi: “There have been a huge amount of positive changes over the years and we make sure an enabling safety culture is interwoven into the creative fabric of Glastonbury Festival. With more than 200,000 people on site the organisers are confident of public welfare thanks to precise plans and on site expertise. “TESS’s overarching responsibility in 2019 was providing strategic advice and information in advance and on the ground practicable implementation to permanent staff at the festival in the operations team and the area organisers. We are also liaising with agencies and providers of medical welfare and fire safety, creative and technical production teams, contractors, licensing authorities and the Civil Aviation Authority. “We produced and managed a whole suite of safety documentary information and distributed the information to all the relevant stakeholders. We introduced a new online induction system and online reporting, vastly reducing paper use, while making it quicker for everyone and allowing us to capture the information we need,” Charlton commented. “One size doesn’t fit all at Glastonbury – from small areas to big staging and 72
BACKLINE Supplying backline, risers and crew throughout the site for another year was Music Bank. Setting up a base behind the Other Stage, the company used its arctic truck as a base for the impressive logistic feat, ensuring that orders were met on time at each stage. In total Music Bank provided four crew members to battle the scorching temperatures. Discussing its involvement with the festival was Jon St Claire. “I was very happy that we were quiet on the Saturday,” he laughed, as he looked back at this year’s event. “We had made sure that everyone had their orders which meant we weren’t having to do many moves during the highest temperatures of the day.” He went on to explain that usually the biggest challenge for the Music Bank team came during the collection of orders once they had been used but not packed up correctly. “That wasn’t as much of a problem this year – in part thanks to us make a comment to our customers prior to deliver.” Another key player within Music Bank’s success wat the festival was Julie Sparrow, the company’s bookings manager. Among Sparrow’s responsibility were liaise with artists, stages and Glastonbury team to make sure everyone gets what they want.
To get all the equipment from A to B, the team had a fleet of three vehicles including a pickup truck with a winch system, which due to the dry condition thankfully didn’t have to be rolled out this year. “We worked well into Monday morning, collecting equipment from all across the site and finally had everything accounted for by 2pm Monday.” The arctic truck located behind the Other Stage was also stocked to the brim with all the products artists might require on the day from drum heads, sticks, guitar strings and tape.” TPi Photo: Music Bank www.musicbank.org
BARCLAYCARD PRESENTS BRITISH SUMMER TIME Certainly one of the more sophisticated events on our schedule this year, TPi headed to Hyde Park for British Summer Time to meet the crew behind the annual event – all to the smooth stylings of Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder. TPi reports…
Following a weekend traipsing around the arid festival lands of Glastonbury 2019, Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time (BST) was a welcome reprieve for the TPi team. As has become something of an annual tradition, we joined some of the crew and suppliers for a mid-summer catch up. Heading backstage of the iconic tree-clad main stage, TPi caught-up with Production Director Mark Ward. Founder of Proper Productions, Ward and his team – consisting of Tyler Cole-Holmes and Harry Ford – have been involved in BST for the past seven years. From the comfort of his office, he walked us through his history with the event. “I was originally brought in by Dan Craig and Jim King from LoudSound,” recalled Ward. “We already knew each other from a number of shows and worked really well together. They also knew I had a bit of history with
site, having run Party in the Park for a number of years.” Having steered the production for many years, Ward has remained loyal to a selection of suppliers, including Video Design, PRG, Capital Sound, Stage Miracles, Production House, John Henry’s, Star Hire and Eat to the Beat. The PM explained how this continued deployment of the same key suppliers all came down to the world-class crew behind each company involved. “Nobody gets carried,” he commented. “We have an amazing crew and I think it’s testament to the people we brought in from day one, that there hasn’t been a change in supplier for the past seven years.” Ward and the BST crew have overseen some ambitious productions over the years. His secret, he claims, is surrounding himself with world-class pros. “When it comes to the visual teams, both PRG and Video Design give us the ability to say ‘yes’ to most incoming productions,” he commented. 74
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The Video Design team, led by Richard Corns, once again deployed weekends – and frequently free of charge.” the iconic curved screen on the festival’s main stage. “The 950 sq metres Alongside Video Design, PRG provided lighting and rigging services. of WinVision 8HD that we installed across the full panorama of the main Amongst the company’s offerings were PRG Best Boy HPs, Icon Edges, Vari-Lite VL3500 Washes, GLP impression X4 Bars, stage and wings was fed by a very carefully SGM P-5s and Solaris Flares. Also on site were PRG chosen HD camera and disguise gx 2 package,” GroundControl Best Boy followspots and PRG he said. “From Barbra Streisand, to Celine Dion, GroundControl Longthrow followspots. or Florence + the Machine, some artists have “Our take on lighting is to give incoming very distinct styles. These are not the sort of productions the best quality rig,” explained shows for an ever-hungry camera. It might sound Ward. “A lot of the acts we have performing at counterintuitive, but through that huge panorama BST are not necessary touring and therefore are of LED the music is given space to speak for itself. not travelling with a great deal of productions. To mangle a cliché, less is more, more or less.” Essentially, we want to give both artists and their That BST screen might remain the largest creative teams enough tools to put on the show contiguous installation of LED video at any event “We have an amazing crew they want.” in Europe, but there was another 135 sq metres and I think it’s testament to the On the audio front, Capital Sound deployed spread throughout the BST site by Video Design its Martin Audio MLA multicellular loudspeaker for relay screens and the smaller Barclaycard people we brought in from day array technology, which proved under test Stage. “That’s an aspect of working Barclaycard’s one, that there hasn’t been a conditions its unique ability to meet required BST we really enjoy,” added Video Design’s Alex propagation thresholds, both inside the bowl Leinster. “When the big acts have played their change in supplier for the last and beyond the perimeter. last note and everyone has gone home, all that seven years.” Monitored by acoustics consultants hardware is put to good use for the people of Vanguardia, MLA, optimised using Martin Audio’s the city through the weekdays between BST Mark Ward, Production Director 75
BRITISH SUMMER TIME
proprietary advanced DISPLAY software, was equal to a wide range of performance over the two weekends. Capital Sound Account Manager Martin Connolly commented that Barbra Streisand had given the system a good workout, and the vocal clarity from both her and Josh Groban as well as Celine Dion, had added a new dimension to the event – as had Robbie Williams and Keane, who brought British Summer Time to a spectacular close on the final Sunday. The Great Oak main stage was equipped with two hangs of 16 MLA and a single MLD Downfill per side, with 13 MLA and an MLD Downfill for the sidehangs. The sub array comprised 32 MLX in the broadside cardioid design (21 front facing, 11 rear facing). With 12 MLA Compact serving as front fills, all MLA components were running on the same network. Out in the field, the main 10 delay towers comprised seven MLA and a single MLD Downfill, supported by 12 MLX subs, while delay positions 10 and 11 deployed eight MLA Compacts. One slight change this year, confirmed by Martin Connolly, was that delay position nine was bolstered
with the addition of two further MLA elements in respect of the depth that the site now runs to, enveloping those at the rear of the field. Martin Audio systems were also provided elsewhere. On the Barclaycard Stage (stage two), eight MLA Compacts were flown on each side with 14 WS218X subs in a spaced and recessed cardioid configuration, with four Martin Audio DD12 providing front fill sound, while two MLA Compacts were provided as outfills on Stage Left. Ward supported Martin Connolly’s assessment that both this year’s event and the entire seven-year programme had been an unqualified audio success. “We’ve relied on the talents of Capital Sound and its expert use of Martin Audio’s MLA PA rig since 2013 when BST began,” he confirmed, “This year was no exception. With a few tweaks to the system layout and drive mechanics since 2018, all sound level thresholds, both on and off site, were once again comfortably met at this notoriously difficult Hyde Park location. Consequently, the paying public, the Royal Parks team, incoming engineers and the local authority were once again very pleased with how the show’s 76
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Proper Productions’ Tyler Cole-Holmes, Harry Ford and Mark Ward.
audio team and audio system delivered.” The audio team comprised Crew Chief, Al Woods, FOH Engineer, Chris Whybrow and System Engineer, Toby Donovan. “Our seven-year relationship with BST shows that you don’t need to compromise the quality of audio for the audience in order to meet exacting off-site SPL limits,” concluded Martin Audio’s Managing Director, Dom Harter. “We are grateful to the whole technical team who have worked tirelessly over the years to deliver our signature sound, consistency and control to audiences across the whole site. We hope it will continue for many more years to come.” TPi Photos: Martin Audio www.bst-hydepark.com www.properproductions.org http://www.loudsound.net/ www.video-design.co.uk www.capital-sound.co.uk www.prg.com/uk/en www.stagemiracles.com www.gigcatering.com www.johnhenrys.com
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COLOURS OF OSTRAVA
COLOURS OF OSTRAVA During its peak summer season, DiGiCo links up with Czech-based distributor Pro Music for one of the biggest music events in central Europe.
Held every summer since 2002 in the north-eastern Czech city of Ostrava, the Colours of Ostrava festival features 22 stages and countless performers from all corners of the world. A regular fixture in the Czech music calander, Pro Music’s co-operation with the festival came as a result of its partnership with technical producer, Smart Production and main stage audio supplier, High Lite Touring. In 2012 the festival moved to a new site in the area of a former ironworks in Ostrava city centre. There were serious challenges with infrastructure, which had to be solved within the tight 11-month timeframe. “To be honest, I was not quite sure if everything would be ready in such a short period of time,” said Josef Ženíšek, Smart Production CEO and Technical Director of the festival. “But the owner of the site made a huge effort to sort out any issues and invested in large preparation works. I visited the site on a regular basis and was surprised how quickly the changes were made. They had to build a completely new backstage road around the site and so many more field repairs. Also, the unique Cylinders Gong Theatre was built in just a year,” he commented. “When building stages, we always kept in mind that audience capacity
might rise in the future. We also needed to make sure that sound from each stage doesn’t affect the audience of any other. It’s been eight years since the festival moved to its current location and we haven’t had to change anything regarding the setting, which shows that we did a good job back in 2012,” continued Ženíšek. As an exclusive DiGiCo distributor for the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the past 15 years, Pro Music was delighted to provide technical support for all DiGiCo users in a dedicated prep room, located right next to the main stage. Technical support was done by Petr Šťásek, who works for Pro Music as a DiGiCo product specialist. DiGiCo headquarters were represented by Jaap Pronk and Mark Saunders. “The first two years were particularly challenging,” explained Ženíšek. “We had to figure out the best audio set-ups for all stages to cover the area, which wasn’t easy as we had to be aware of reflections from steel constructions. The feedback from visitors was very important. Regular visitors to the festival can see changes every year – some of the buildings have been repaired, some new roads and paths have been built. All this work has one ultimate goal: to protect this national heritage site and 78
COLOURS OF OSTRAVA
keep it open for cultural and scientific events.” This year’s big update was the Hidden Stage. “The idea of such a stage was made shortly before the festival, and it was a great success,” enthused Ženíšek. “visitors just loved exploring the site and finding smaller more hidden stages.” The PA set-up at the Česká Spořitelna main stage was an all L-Acoustics affair, with a main array of 16 K1s, four K2s and eight K1-SBs per side. Outfills came in the shape of four K1-SBs, four K1s and eight K2s per side. For subs, 36 KS28s were stacked in threes to compliment a delay pair of 12 K2s. Frontfills comprised 18 Karas, powered by 66 LA12X. System Tech, Radek Lesa and FOH Tech, Pavel Vojta oversaw the set-up. Radek Lesa, Pro Music Application Engineer and the System Engineer for High Lite Touring, praised the on-site DiGiCo support. He said: “Any audio engineer could come to the prep room to prepare or just check their show files. The DiGiCo Team was always ready to help. DiGiCo consoles are becoming the first choice on most riders so it’s always great to have some professional help in case an audio engineer requires a consultation. The fact that there was also technical support from Pro Music was great for many local engineers.” This year marked the first time at Colours of Ostrava for DiGiCo. Having tried the formula of having a prep room at festivals like Coachella, Pukkelpop, Lowlands, North Sea Jazz and the Montreux Jazz Festival, the company looked to roll out this concept. “The relationship between Pro Music and the festival technical production company, SMART Production, as well as the acts, made Ostrava a perfect choice to continue the initiative,” DiGiCo Sales Support Manager, Mark Saunders commented. The prep room contained a DiGiCo SD12 and an S21 for programming purposes. As well as this, offline computers set to house console specs were provided to allow engineers to prep specific show files. “The feedback we received was immensely positive,” Saunders commented. The decision allowed engineers to prep with any assistance required, on a pre-prepared format for live consoles around the stages. “Having Jaap Pronk on site also
allowed conversations regarding hints and tips for more experienced users, on top of basic training for newer users, and allowed engineers to get a sneak peek at some future developments.” Petr Šťásek, the technical support in Pro Music added: “We were pleasantly surprised by how many people visited our prep room during the festival. I expected that there would be only audio engineers coming to check their files, but there were also multiple representatives of the biggest Czech and Slovakian rental companies. Numerous local audio engineers – many of whom weren’t even working at the festival – came just to speak to DiGiCo representatives about new products and about live consoles in general. The huge interest shows just how popular DiGiCo consoles are.” The festival boasted DiGiCo SD10 and SD7 consoles on the main stage, as well as SD9s and S21s out and about on some of the smaller stages. DiGiCo consoles were also supplied for parts of the festival by additional rental companies, including SD11 and SD12s. The festival helped further establish DiGiCo in the Czech market. Šťásek explained: “Pro Music was in conversation with the local rental companies, including a visit to High Lite Touring headquarters in Ostrava during the festival, who provided audio to two of the main stages and also showed our incoming engineers from other countries great hospitality and support. Overall the festival collaboration was a great success.” DiGiCo strives to be out and about as much as possible. Saunders concluded: “Backing up our product in the field (with both rental companies worldwide and freelance engineers), as well as supporting our distributors, is key to ensuring that the brand’s products are fully recognised as the perfect festival console, but also provide an excellent solution for any event or tour, big or small, indoor and outdoor.” TPi Photos: Pro Music www.promusic.cz www.digico.biz
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ROSKILDE Meyer Sound returns to Denmark as the exclusive sound provider for the Roskilde Festival, Northern Europe’s largest and longest-running music festival.
The event marked the second year of a groundbreaking five-year partnership that aims to leverage the strengths of the iconic music festival and the supplier of professional audio systems to elevate the festival experience for artists, fans, and technology providers. Now in its 49th year, the Roskilde Festival is massive in scale: This year’s events took place over eight days from 29 June to 6 July and showcased nearly 180 acts across eight stages – from big-name headliners Cardi B, Bob Dylan, Travis Scott, Janelle Monáe, Robert Plant, and Wu-Tang Clan, to Scandinavian superstars Robyn and MØ, to emerging regional artists, performing to daily crowds topping 130,000. But Roskilde is about much more than music, camping, and fun. The festival, which operates as a non-profit foundation, is a celebration of community and solidarity – ideals fostered year round through the generous support of humanitarian and cultural organisations in Denmark and beyond. Since its inception, the Roskilde Festival Charity Society has generated more than $58 million for charities around the globe. It’s these values that make the Roskilde Festival an ideal partner in the pursuit of providing a better festival experience, said Meyer Sound Executive Vice President Helen Meyer. “This is a festival with a heart,” she began. “They really care about what it feels like for everyone and they’re willing to do things differently to anyone else, and for us, that’s very, very exciting.” The partnership is a year-round collaboration focusing on education initiatives, R&D, and large-scale festival management. For partners steeped
in common traditions of creativity and innovation, this multifaceted approach provides an unprecedented opportunity to innovate and inform, with the event serving as both a technology showcase and a living laboratory where research efforts focus on sound propagation and management techniques. With a total area stretching more than 2.5 million square metres – the equivalent of 350 football pitches – there’s a lot of ground to cover at Roskilde, and a lot of potential cross-talk between stages that needs to be controlled. Nearly 1,000 Meyer Sound loudspeakers, supplied by European AVL integrator Bright Group, were deployed across all festival stages and performance spaces, from the 1,000-capacity Gloria stage to the iconic Orange main stage, with its staggering 60,000 capacity. LEO Family systems provided seamless solutions for the event, thanks to their clarity, linearity, reliability, and ease of use. “The LEO Family was developed to create an idea that linear theory applied to systems like these would mean that you could do a variety of stages with different kinds and sizes of equipment and keep the same sound,” said Meyer Sound President and CEO John Meyer. “This allows people to understand you don’t have to run it so loud all the time. What we’re trying to show here is that the sound system should be transparent.” The Roskilde stages were powered by the entire LEO Family, including LINA, LEOPARD, LEO and LYON arrays and 750-LFC, 900-LFC, and 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements, with VLFC very-low-frequency control elements adding bone-shaking low-end impact. Numerous point source loudspeakers including UPA-1P and the brand-new ULTRA-X40 – which was also used as main field monitors at FOH – provided delay and front fill support, while MJF-210s served as stage 80
John Meyer, Meyer Sound co-founder; Signe Lopdrup, Roskilde Festival CEO; Helen Meyer; Meyer Sound, Bright Group & Roskilde Festival Technical Crew.
monitors. Network processing was handled by Galileo GALAXY processors. Technical teams from Meyer Sound, Bright, and the Roskilde Festival collaborated on sound system design and deployment, drawing from previous successes to improve overall performance. This year, advancements ranged from enhanced AVB control to inventive new PA configurations. “All the lessons learned from 2018, we’ve taken directly into 2019,” commented Roskilde production head Lars Liliengren. “We are kicking off at a much higher level, even from the beginning.” Other new tech initiatives included implementing an innovative subwoofer array at the Orange stage and significantly reducing leakage at Gloria. “We were able to apply our learning from last year to make meaningful strides going into Year Two,” said Dennis Tholema, Meyer Sound Senior Technical European Support. “Last year, we had the normal end-fire subwoofer array flown; this year, it’s a gradient end-fired subwoofer array, which is upward staggered and down steered to be able to get the maximum cancellation on the stage and backstage, which was the wish of festival production. We achieved a reduction of around 17 dB, so it was very, very quiet on stage. At Gloria, we used gradient setups of two band-limited UPQ-1Ps behind each line array to reduce low-mid and low-end leakage from the arrays on stage.” Ensuring a seamless festival experience for visiting engineers starts with providing personalised support on site. To that end, Meyer Sound embedded a crew of 22, working alongside 32 Roskilde sound staff members, to work hand in hand with artists’ technical teams throughout the event. “It’s really good to know when you’re coming into a situation like this that you are coming into the familiar situation with Meyer Sound and Meyer Sound technicians,” said Icelandic engineer Ingvar Jónsson, who mixed front-of-house for Robyn. “It’s a real comfort to know the system and know that you have well-trained technicians who take good care of you.” And for
these engineers, encountering a premium sound system makes their work go even more smoothly. “Festivals are always tough in that you’re faced with so little time; you have a fast changeover,” said Penelope Isles’ FOH Engineer Max Jacomb. “But the thing that overrides that for me is the fact that with a Meyer Sound system, there’s more room to manoeuvre.” Jacomb added that he appreciates the support team’s collaborative spirit: “I have a system tech who’s asking me questions about what I want instead of telling me what is going to happen, and that is huge,” he continued. Backstage, Meyer Sound hosted Sonic Lounge and Tech Lounge hospitality spaces where artists and production crews could relax and recharge, enjoy refreshments, and learn about the technology powering the festival and research conducted on site, taking in presentations by Meyer Sound Director of System Optimisation Bob McCarthy, Roskilde Festival audio consultant Morten Büchert, and other sonic experts. Ultimately, elevating the concert experience is all about narrowing the gap between the artist and the audience, said John Meyer. “The relationship between the artist and the audience is really what matters here. It is all about content and the experience of people enjoying the music that they come to hear.” That passion for music and sound is at the core of this unique partnership, which is destined to reach new heights as it ushers in a milestone year for Roskilde. “This year is Meyer Sound’s 40th anniversary and next year is Roskilde’s 50th anniversary,” said Helen Meyer. “So we’re very, very excited about building on everything this year, making it even better next year, and helping Roskilde celebrate its 50th in great style.” “Roskilde Festival is the biggest event happening in the Nordics,” added Bright CEO Fredric Holmgren. “This is one of the big crown jewels of festival production... we’re really proud to be a part of it.” Photos: Ralph Larmann and Nalle Magnusson www.meyersound.com 81
DYSTOPIA FESTIVAL Pioneer Pro Audio XY-Series system delivers an immersive experience at Dystopia festival in Belgium.
Growing from humble beginnings as a one-day event in 2014, Dystopia is now a full-blown electronic music festival spread over two days and three stages. Taking place at the historical 19th Century fortress, Fort 3, in Borsbeek, near Antwerp, Belgium, the festival is fame for its alternative outlook and unique location. At this year’s renewal in June, rental companies Kage Audio and FOL Rental were engaged to supply audio systems for the Main, Techno and VIP stages and chose Pioneer Pro Audio XY-Series throughout. On the Main Stage, which featured The Magician, DJ Licious and Low Steppa amongst many others, 14 x XY-3B were deployed with six XY-2, four XY-122, 12 x XY-218HS and four XY-128S. The DJ booth was equipped with two XY-122 and two XY 218S. On the smaller Techno Stage, which featured DJs such as Tach, Daoud and Ravenous, Kage Audio set up an immersive system based around eight horizontally mounted XY-122 and four XY-218S, employing Sonic Emotion’s
Wave 2 3D sound processor and a Digital Audio Denmark matrix. The system took full advantage of the 90° dispersion available across the XY range.This setup offered a glimpse into the potential future use of immersive sound at live events. The technology enables engineers to deliver a carefully controlled and enhanced listening experience for the audience, and Pioneer Pro Audio’s XYSeries provided the perfect vehicle for realising Kage Audio’s ambitions. The Techno Stage DJ booth used two XY-122 and two XY215S, and the overall picture was completed on the VIP stage with two XY-122 and two XY-115S. Pioneer Pro Audio’s XY-Series systems are enjoying a busy summer, featuring at a range of festivals across a wide spectrum of genres. Whilst they are a go-to choice for electronic music events, more and more rental companies are tuning in to the power and versatility that can be harnessed just as usefully for live bands, with appearances at rock festivals very much on the increase. TPi Photos: Pioneer Pro Audio www.dystopiafestival.com www.pioneerproaudio.com 82
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Team Prolite’s Andreas Mohl, Sebastian Seibert, Dennis Hertrich and Raphael Herrmann.
ELEMENTS FESTIVAL Robe IP65s create a diverse range of looks on the main stage of this year’s Elements Festival.
A two-day showcase of techno, tech house, future house, hardstyle and EDM, Elements festival features three stages and is set in a beautiful amusement park at Dormettingen, 80km southwest of Stuttgart, Germany. At this year’s renewal in June, rental comLighting for the main stage – located in a natural amphitheatre-like dip in the topography – was designed by Raphael Herrmann whose company, Prolite Event Solutions, also coordinated the supply of the lighting kit. This included eight Robe Pointes, 16 LEDBeam 150s and 22 iPointes. The set was also designed by Herrmann and featured a 35m-wide pyramid structure, which supported striking columns of LED, with a large scenic / LED event logo sign in the centre upstage and above the DJ riser. The highest point of this back wall was 14.5m. An overhead canopy provided immediate weather protection above the DJ, but the main structure was completely exposed to the elements. Since only the final acts of the two-day event each night played in full darkness, lighting for daylight was another challenge, which required the use of highoutput fixtures that registered in daylight and were weather resistant. Realising that iPointes would be perfect for all the uncovered positions on the stage, Herrmann used 22 Luminaires, which were rigged to the top of the LED structure at the back and positioned on the deck and in front of the PA wings – all completely open to the elements. And sure enough, the weather tested the iPointes to the limit, as bouts of sunshine were punctuated with violent downpours. Due to the shape of the design “they were the main light to carry the show, giving those huge super beam looks and mid-air effects that are so important for dance music festivals,” commented Herrmann.
The standard Pointes were placed centrally above the DJ booth below the canopy roof and proved an ideal complement to the iPointes, allowing numerous effects that could fill the black hole immediately behind the lower central area of the booth. Eight LEDBeam 150s were tucked away behind the DJ on the main stage, and another eight were specified for the Lakeside Stage, where they were also the primary backlight for the DJ. This was the first time that Herrmann had used the iPointe, which was developed to offer a complimentary water-resistant version of Robe’s standard Pointe. “The large zoom range is incredible,” enthused Herrmann. “It opens up incredibly wide.” Also helpful were the high output and rich colours. “It’s a great extension for outdoors and it means that we don’t need to use domes, which can sometimes have distracting reflections.” Two lighting operators ran lights for the Elements 2019 and both were also suitably impressed with the iPointe. Sebastian Seibert commented: “They are definitely in a class of their own in terms of powerful, bright and well-engineered IP rated spotlights. The incredible zoom range is absolutely wicked for EDM.” And fellow lighting operator Dennis Hertrich agreed: “Even at a great distance, the beam power is amazing – you can still clearly see the beams piercing the sky,” he began. “The IP protection saves us serious amounts of work on site in not having to use domes as well. It’s a super package.” Some of the event lighting kit was cross rented by Herrmann from NicLen. Marcel Bognar built the set and coordinated the décor, while video was operated by Marc Schuler and the event was organised and hosted by Happyland GmbH. TPi Photos: Paul Bossenmaier & courtesy HappyLand GmbH www.elementsfestival.de www.robe.cz 84
WOMAD d&b Soundscape delivers an enhanced live sound experience for touring front of house engineers, artists, and musically inquisitive audiences at the 2019 UK incarnation of art and music festival, WOMAD.
The WOMAD d&b Soundscape stage line-up featured some of the most inspiring artists and performances of this year’s festival, including the acoustic mastery of Saving Grace feat. Robert Plant, drum and bass DJ LTJ Bukem, Kenya’s Muthoni Drummer Queen, and Roosevelt Collier, whose blues, rock and gospel sound was described as ‘dirty funk swampy grime’. The d&b Soundscape stage is the result of a relationship between Real World Records – the music label owned by the founder of WOMAD, Peter Gabriel – and the d&b team. Born from a mutual ambition to enhance the sound experience at WOMAD for both artist and audience, using a d&b Soundscape system. Positioned prominently within the main arena site in Charlton Park, Wiltshire, the Soundscape stage held capacity audiences of over 4,000 people and was created to galvanise WOMAD’s mission to be the ‘best sounding festival’ featuring ‘the best music you’ve never heard’, and curated to give acts from around the world a space to showcase their landscape of genre-diverse sounds. “This stage was special, because of the the incredible sound experience that was created,” says Chris Smith, Festival Director. “WOMAD is a festival for music lovers, but it’s also about innovation in music and technology and now we have one of the finest sound systems in the world.” At the heart of the d&b Soundscape stage arena setup was d&b V10P loudspeakers for the main system, and Y10P loudspeakers hung at regular
intervals around the tent, which measured more than 60m across. d&b E8 loudspeakers were used as front fills with a sub array mixture of V-SUBs and SL-SUBs. The entire system was driven by 18 d&b D80 amplifiers. The d&b DS100 signal engine, the network-controlled, Dante-enabled DSP platform for Soundscape, served all of the object-based mixing, room acoustic emulations and system matrix functions. It was also interfaced with the array of different console surfaces required for the busy festival environment. This was all integrated with the d&b R1 Remote control software and a Soundscape touchscreen, facilitating simple operation to enhance the mix graphically, channel by channel, loudspeaker by loudspeaker, group by group. While mostly invisible within the tent set up, the system effortlessly delivered significant SPL with a wide screen, high definition sound that was able to be driven by each of the touring engineers to suit their needs, whether fully immersive 360 or using 180 focused frontal arrays only. “Our relationship with WOMAD allows us to offer international artists and engineers exposure to a system concept that is changing the nature of the way sound can be delivered for events of all scales, programmes and purposes.” Stephen ‘Oggi’ Hogg, d&b UK Managing Director, comments, “Combining the creativity of the performers with the flexibility of the sound design inspires a whole new dimension of experience for the festival.” TPi Photo: York Tillyer www.womad.co.uk www.dbaudio.com 85
IN THE FIELD
IN THE FIELD: SHURE AXIENT DIGITAL Nile Rodgers & CHIC’s FOH Engineer, David Shepherd, speaks to TPi in the midst of a busy festival run to break down the importance of Shure Axient Digital to the disco icon’s live shows…
Fresh off the back of completing three festivals on the bounce, Nile Rodgers & CHIC’s FOH Engineer, David Shepherd spoke to TPi ahead of Meltdown Festival, curated by Rodgers himself, to lift the lid on the “integral role” played by Shure Axient Digital. At its very core, Nile Rodgers & CHIC’s touring rig comprised eight channels of Shure Axient Digital to handle radio mics and Nile Rodgers’ iconic Fender Stratocaster guitar – The Hitmaker – along with the brass section. As well as the four handheld and four beltpacks, the crew used 12 channels of Shure PSM1000 and AXT600 Axient Spectrum Manager to overlook frequency management. Working alongside regular updates of Shure’s Wireless Workbench software, the system gave the crew the flexibility to select from a real-time group of back-up frequencies, should the need to reallocate due to local interference arise. The kit on the rig, part-owned by Shepherd’s company, BCS Audio, also used Shure rechargeable batteries and recharging system. “We’ve worked with Shure for a long time, we’ve probably got about 150 channels of Shure RF, there’s a lot of it,” Shepherd began. With an
unprecedented level of signal stability and audio clarity, plus flexible hardware options, advanced connectivity and comprehensive control, Shepherd coined the Shure Axient Digital as a wireless system built to take on the challenges of global touring. An increased scope from day to day, the AXT600 made it the perfect unit for “scanning with” and “working out frequency coordination”. Shepherd added: “Axient Digital allows us to get more into RF channels, squeeze more units in and gives us a bit more scope when we’re moving around festivals and jobs requiring RF spectrum management.” Having a wider spectrum also meant some of the pressure was relieved from Shepherd’s shoulders. Shure’s Axient Digital has proven itself, time and again, to be a crucial tool in this area for Shepherd. “Obviously, checking around different parts of the world it allows you to tune into different bands without having separate units to do, so it’s ideal,” he said. Monitor Engineer, Marco Dellatorre handled all of the frequency planning and programming the gear on the road. Nile Rodgers is reportedly a fan of the freedom that wireless offers him. “Nile still uses Shure UHF-R, 86
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FOH Engineer David Shepherd
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but for vocals we’re now touring with Axient Digital, which has taken the RF world to a completely new level,” Dellatorre stated. “It’s the best system I’ve ever used in terms of its functionality and sound quality.” To this end, the audio duo specified a system with Radial Engineering boxes as well to keep the RF off stage “so everything lives on the same rack,” Shepherd explained. “He’s been wireless because he loves to move around the stage; we’ve tried everything, and he enjoys using Axient Digital the most. Having everything in one unit means we can put in all the frequencies from workbench and quickly change anything we need to change.” Despite using UHF-R for vocals, Shepherd dubbed the Axient Digital system as a step up. “It’s very compact,” he said. “With four channels in one unit, the dynamic range is great, and the charging options make it great and ideal to have on the road – I don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on batteries. “The communication between end user and the guys at the warehouse is always fantastic. If we were to compare other units on the market, the Axient Digital, I would say, is the best system out there.” TPi Photos: Shure, Andrew Benge & Mark Cunningham www.nilerodgers.com www.shure.co.uk www.bcsaudio.com
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DYNAMIC STAGE TECHNOLOGY
MARTIN BY HARMAN
MARTIN BY HARMAN: LONDON TO BUDAPEST With Harman Professional Solutions making some major changes to manufacturing and R&D in the Martin Lighting arm of the business, TPi’s Stew Hume travels from the company’s London Experience Centre all the way to the manufacturing plant in Pécs, Hungary, to get the lowdown.
As you drive into the carpark of Harman’s Hemel-Hempstead office, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is yet another anonymous industrial park on the outskirts of London. However, once you pass through its glass doors, you step into a showcase room unlike any other. Due to the sheer scope of the Harman brand – not to mention the reach of its parent company, Samsung – you find that its products find their way into a variety of industries The London Experience Centre, which houses a selection of ‘sets’ to demonstrate the various uses of its products, shows off the sheer volume of solutions that it can deliver to its customers. From a mock retail outlet that uses the latest custom recognition software to provide tailored adverts, to the hotel rooms with the latest Smart Technology giving a glimpse into future hospitality. From the world of live touring, Harman demonstrated the latest JBL VTX A12s, on the live stage demo complete with a Soundcraft Vi2000 and a lighting rig with a collection of Martin by Harman fixtures. The later was actually the reason for TPi’s visit to the London headquarters, to hear from some of the Martin team – including Peter Skytte, Director of Lighting, as well as our tour guide for the next few days, Harman’s Director of Global Communications, David Glaubke – about the future of the lighting branch of the organisation. Since Samsung’s acquisition of Harman in 2017, a great deal of work has gone into fine-turning the Martin Lighting side of the business. During the initial evaluation stage, the company created three goals: to optimise its R&D footprint; to improve product differentiation; and to boost the amount and speed at which new products come to market. To achieve these goals, Harman went about consolidating its assets both in terms of people and locations. In 2017, there were over 14 engineering sites across the globe. This has now been concentrated into six locations, and the overall R&D engineering base for lighting has been boosted from 42 to 64 with the ability to rapidly scale up using engineering expertise deployed in other areas of the business. Since the reorganisation,
Martin’s R&D footprint is now split between two sites. One is the Centre of Competence (CoC) in Denmark, which focuses on technology-enabled key differentiators in products, while the other is the Product Development (PD) centre, located in Shenzhen, China, which focuses on engineering excellence and fast project execution close to supplier base. “Denmark is where the company is really pushing the future of lighting and where the technology will be in three to five years and beyond,” stated Glaubke, giving an overview of some of the changes within the company. “We have already got to see the result of this consolidation with the release of the MAC Allure. “Then we have the Shenzhen operation, which is all about taking that engineered product prototype from Denmark and developing it further to bring it to market quickly, efficiently and cost effectively – ultimately to be built and shipped to customers here in Pécs.” The message coming from Martin is that of streamlining its development and manufacturing process. It’s worth noting that this framework has also rolled out across the other divisions in the Harman family. Each arm of the Harman brand informs the others in the development of new products. “Cross-division learning at Harman drives innovation in profound ways.” commented Glaubke. “For example, what we’re doing in Professional Solutions to develop the future of professional audio can impact developments in lifestyle and car audio. “Conversely, the technology that Harman is creating for the connected car can influence development for Professional Solutions, such as in live events or hospitality industries. No other audio, lighting and control company has that level of access to engineering.” During TPi’s time in the London, we got to hear about some of the latest innovations taking place under Martin’s roof, including future light source with alternative sources and new cooling technology. To see the procedure first hand, TPi left Harman’s London facility and boarded a plane heading to Pécs, Hungary – a small town a few hours’ drive from Budapest city centre. Having opened in spring 2016, the Pécs facility 89
MARTIN BY HARMAN
Senior Manager for Materials and Logistics, Istvan Prehoffer and Senior Manager for Manufacturing Engineering, László Bencsik.
oversees the creation of a number of Harman products including Studer, Soundcraft, Intellivox and Martin Lighting. At the time of TPi’s visit, the facility was going through a reorganisation, with one of the main work areas being rearranged to make way for the expansion of Harman’s automotive manufacturing. Greeting us at the facility were Senior Manager for Materials and Logistics, Istvan Prehoffer, and Senior Manager for Manufacturing Engineering, László Bencsik. Prehoffer starting proceedings by giving a brief history of the facility, which for over four decades has been involved in various electronic manufacturing with a variety of companies, including those in the telecommunications industry. When Harman purchased the space in 2016, the group repurposed the 31,000 sq metre warehouse to conform with safety standards. With years of experience working with technology-based products, Harman had a huge pool of experts within the Pécs region to call upon in order to get the ball rolling with the state-of-the-art facility. While walking through the warehouse, it was clear that quality control was of utmost importance. From the floor shaker to test product robustness, to the in-depth LED calibration, down to the individual circuit board tests, no stone was left unturned in making sure that each product met the grade. What was also impressive was how many manufacturing processes took place within the facility. One was the manufacture of circuit boards – done with the company’s own SMT line, which is tested rigorously to create the highest quality product. These tests include various QC checks, including X-ray machines to look at every individual solder joint. “This means that the circuit boards are of a much higher standard when they are sent into manufacturing,” commented Bencsik. This level of detail remains even when the products go out the door, as Prehoffer explained. “We want to ensure that everything leaving the facility gets to the customer safely,” he said. “We have even run tests where we have put sensors in our packages, to decipher any points of issue within transit and how we might better prepare the products to ensure they are safe.” Both Prehoffer and Bencsik had worked in the facility for some time for other companies that had used the manufacturing plant. Like many of
their colleagues, both men had wealth of knowledge about manufacturing processes – a fact that Harman as a group clearly values. “We want to make our processes as efficient as possible,” commented Prehoffer, gesturing to a white board displaying several photographs from around the factory. On closer inspection, this ‘wall of fame’ proved as a record of new protocols, which had been brought in via the suggestion of those working on the warehouse floor. Any worker is able to suggest an idea that they think will improve working procedures and product quality. Moving to another sector of the warehouse, Bencsik walked TPi through the multiple stages of the manually intensive process that goes into making each Martin fixture. “In total we have 120 people working solely on the production side the lighting fixtures,” he began. “We put them together from scratch – it’s like a Swiss watch, only bigger.” How much bigger? Well, the largest fixture in its range, the MAC Viper, is made up of some 4,300 individual components. As you might imagine, to piece these fixtures together involves a regimented training scheme that takes place in house. “It takes about a month and a half to train an engineer to be able to work on the production line,” stated Bencsik. “Once trained, however, any one of the workers is able to jump on the production line of any of the fixtures, as they all follow similar protocols and methods in production.” The theory is that such a methodical level of manufacturing, backed up by consolidated R&D, can lead only to greater innovation down the line. “It’s one of the biggest things we learned from the consolidation process,” concluded Glaubke. “Originally all the brands under the Harman banner were operated as individual entities. But we believe as a group, consolidating manufacturing process is a good thing as we have been able to take the best elements from each brand and create a group-wide standard. Martin, like the rest of the brands, has certainly benefited from this and it will lead to greater innovations in the future.” TPi Photos: Harman www.martin.com/en www.pro.harman.com 90
IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT, WE CAN BUILD IT.
Concert stages in all sizes. Temporary structures for every event.
WORLD RENOWNED INNOVATIONS FOR TOURS, FESTIVALS AND SPECIAL EVENTS SINCE 1985. BELGIUM
STAGECO SUMMER 2019 AD.indd 1
Stageco Belgium N.V. Kapelleweg 6, 3150 Tildonk Tel : +32 16 60 84 71 | Fax: +32 16 60 10 61 email@example.com
W W W. S T A G E C O . C O M
U N I T E D S TAT E S
OUTDOOR STAGING An overview at some of the leading outdoor staging providers on the market.
PROLYTE Prolyte offers a wide variety of roof systems and stages. The Arc Roof is a fixed construction, based on three inward-curving trusses that are mounted to side masts. Special corners connect the arches to the main grid. Different configurations are made possible by simply changing the arches. The arched trusses have a keder profile on top for fitting the optional canopy. The Arc Roof is suitable for small to medium temporary events, like festivals, concerts, roadshows, fairs and other promotional activities. Arc Roof comprises a range of multiple sizes and dimensions (6 x 4m, 8 x 6m and 10 x 8m). H30V and H30D are the building blocks of the system. Depending on the size, the loading capacity varies from 1,800kg up to 2,450kg. Each system is delivered with a structural report and, where applicable, an initial instruction training is part of the sales process. PRODUCT FEATURES: • Versatile application • Easy to handle, quick setup • Significant loading capacity • Ideal for smaller events • Extra options available www.prolyte.com
loading, easily set-up by hand and contains no side guy wires – available in 6 x 4m and 8 x 6m sizes. Stage decking products include the SIXTY82 Livedeck, which consists of welded aluminium lattice truss stage modules, handrails and stairs, designed around the imperial measurement system. All products comply with national and international regulations for safe work practices and are also compatible with other brands. Moreover, SIXTY82 has introduced innovative, unique technology that guarantees every structural component is traceable, safe and properly engineered. The integrated SixtyTag enables RFID product tracking and traceability, always tied to the unique serial number. In addition, the brand’s Product Personality Label system gives a unique identification to every piece, which links data about its specific manufacturing date and process, and its TÜV certification. SIXTY82 products are distributed exclusively in the UK by A.C. Entertainment Technologies, and in Ireland by A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ireland. www.elationlighting.com
Utilising its British, Dutch and French alliance of innovative industry leaders in the design and manufacture of lightweight staging and trussing systems, SIXTY82 brings a fresh perspective of the outdoor staging market by providing innovative ‘next generation’ rigging solutions. The brand offers a range of temporary demountable truss structures for indoor and outdoor events, which are available in a variety of sizes and specifications, from small LED portals to large roof systems. Bespoke structures can also be manufactured. Truss structure products include the SIXTY82 Arc Roof, which is high
SERIOUS STAGES Celebrating its 35th year supplying stages to the music industry, Serious Stages continues to push boundaries, introducing new products and adapting the company’s offering. The most notable new product this year is the MegaNova building. Designed and constructed at Serious Stages’ UK headquarters in Wells, large-scale engineering allows a 100m span and 30m heigh relocatable venue, with modular component steel elements enabling clients to go to any length or configuration. The weight loading capacity of 10,000kg per arch, coupled with acoustic and thermal walling, means these are ideal temporary arena venues, while ancillary green-screen products helped the first of these buildings produced by Serious to be used as temporary film studios. The smaller 50m span Space building was used once again this summer at Parklife for the festival’s Warehouse venue. Elsewhere, Serious introduced a new steel beam-based front-of-house tower at Download Festival, which incorporated VIP viewing capacity on the third and fourth levels. The curved screen beams on the tower’s rear wall were again designed and manufactured in-house, in line with client
Festival Republic’s request to introduce more immersive curved screen viewing experiences for the audience. A similar curved beam system was also installed at Wireless, Latitude and Reading festivals to link the main stage screens to the goalposts flanking the Serious TZ Tower stage, to create a continuous spectacular screen viewing vista for fans. www.stages.co.uk 94
STAGECO In the midst of another incredibly busy summer, Stageco has supplied roof systems, staging solutions and a variety of structures throughout the European festival circuit and, notably, at Wembley Stadium where the Belgian-headquartered company serviced major shows by BTS, Spice Girls, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles and P!nk during a short residency at the venue. The company’s presence on some of the world’s biggest current tours has included Rammstein’s 2019 stadium spectacle, for which Stageco specifically developed a new addition to its wide range of innovations. Based on a requirement identified by project director Dirk De Decker, Stageco created two 23m-high, 1.4 x 1.4m downstage PA towers in order to combat a practical issue. De Decker explained: “The show’s iconic 5m-diameter lighting pods travel on a track but, in the original design, two of them were going to interfere with the PA bracket so we had to engineer a tower solution capable of dealing with above average wind loads. After the pod is built on the ground, it is hoisted up the tower on a tracking system until it reaches its final position, allowing the track to become the PA bracket. The bracket then hinges 90° upwards and is then ready for the PA hang to be hoisted and locked.” www.stageco.com
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REALMOTION GOLD SERIES Following its InfoComm launch, RealMotion Director, Geoffrey Platt discusses the Gold Series.
Talk us through the origins of RealMotionâ€Ś How did it all begin? RealMotion was created out of the gaming industry by a few developers who were really interested in creating interactive visuals back in the late 2000s. At the time there werenâ€™t any products that really focused on generative content or interactive design opportunities.
What different markets could each part of the Karat range cater for? The Karat range was built with scalability in mind. We also wanted to make sure to keep the product line very affordable with exceptional built quality. On the smallest end of the spectrum is our Nugget product, which caters to the basics very well. This was designed mainly to handle tight spaces where there is not the room for a full rack-mounted machine. It plays very well in the digital signage world along with some applications in themed-based entertainment. On the highest end of the spectrum is our 16Karat performance server. This server fills in areas where heavy lifting is needed to deliver the very best in generative content demands and content-rendering needs. It was
What was the original aim of the Gold Series? Our main goal was to create a product line using some of the most up-todate rendering and computer technology available. We thrived on creating a robust product that can be serviced easily and supported on a global scale, which is why our highest end servers are serviced and built by Dell. 96
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RealMotion Director, Geoffrey Platt; The RealMotion team at InfoComm.
built for 24/7 operation and can be used for large-scale shows or anywhere that requires long-term operation and performance.
implemented already – including Notch support and NDI. Where are we likely to see RealMotion projects this year? RealMotion has been used in quite a few projects worldwide. I would say that one of the largest and most recent installations was the Statue of Liberty Museum in NYC that is using a total of 16 of our 16K servers to deliver loads of different exhibits and interactive experiences. We have also been involved with some upcoming TV and film projects along with some other projects tailored by the sports industry.
One of the selling points of RealMotion is the motion-tracking abilities of the software. How has this technology developed and improved? RealMotion has a fairly unique and flexible software structure that allows us to implement different types of technology and hardware devices into our software platform quickly. Motion tracking hardware and software has definitely changed drastically over the years; it’s becoming smaller, cheaper, more powerful and more accurate. Our main challenge is to try to stay on top of the technology and keep an eye out for next-gen technology that is going to make all of our lives better and easier and create really cool experiences.
What feedback have you received from end users? Excitement! People seem genuinely impressed and interested in how RealMotion works and what it can do. It’s such a diverse tool that it’s easy to get lost in everything that it’s capable of. We’re always working on making it easier and better for our end user. The software itself is free to use and explore. I would highly recommend that anyone looking to explore what RealMotion is capable of, please visit our website or Facebook page for a look into the future of generative media and interactive video technology. TPi www.realmotion.com
How could RealMotion be used in the live touring and temporary events markets? Even though RealMotion was built primarily for the fixed installation markets, it could easily be used in the touring and temporary events markets. We render in real time, are built for 24/7 operation, have plenty of flexibility and support, and have most of the main control protocols 97
NRG Goes Pangea TPi chats to the students brought in by Arcadia for its latest Glastonbury spectacular.
Robe UK’s Ian Brown, NRG’s Jake Paige, Jasmine Williams, & Arcadia’s Dorian Cameron-Marlow.
For the second year running, Robe’s NRG (Next Robe Generation) teamed up with Arcadia, this time offering two NRG crew members the opportunity to work on Pangea - Arcadia’s brand new Glastonbury installation. Jasmine Williams (recently graduated from RWCMD), and Jake Paige (studying at Rose Bruford) travelled to Somerset for a roller coaster of a production experience as an integral part of the Arcadia team. Arcadia’s Technical Production Manager Dorian Cameron-Marlow explained why they reached out to students engaged with the NRG initiative. “A huge part of our ethos is about supporting the next generation - keeping fresh energy and ideas flowing, maintaining a cycle of opportunity, and exploring new ways to co-operate. Robe’s NRG is such a great programme and we want to do what we can to encourage that kind of thinking across the industry.” “This was an incredible opportunity to work on one of the most creative installations at Glastonbury,” commented Williams. “I learnt more than I could have imagined and working on such a large-scale project has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and understanding which I can take forward in my career. The Arcadia crew were fantastic – pushing me, taking the time to help me learn new ways of working, enabling me to better judge what is required in a pressurised environment, working at a
faster pace and how to balance work and play! The experience has built my confidence and increased my passion for working on innovative, creative projects that challenge limits and provide a unique experience for crew and festival-goers alike.” Paige agreed: “I’ve engaged with NRG initiative since I started my course – and without NRG I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am now and these amazing opportunities would never have been accessible to me at this stage in my studies. I’ve taken so much wisdom and knowledge away with me as a result of being on site for three weeks with Arcadia. It’s been incredible to see all the backstage workings of a huge festival at this stage in my career.” Cameron-Marlow summed up having NRG crew members on his team. “Working with students who are part of the NRG programme over the past two years has been a pleasure. All of the students have been very talented, hard-working and eager to learn with a keen eye for detail. They all have strong futures ahead and I am certain our relationship with Robe and the NRG will continue as Pangea evolves organically over the next few years.” TPi Photos: Robe and Lukonic Photography www.robe.cz www.arcadiaspectacular.com
Fly By Nite Studios, Redditch Wednesday 13 November 2019
Register for tickets www.productionfutures.co.uk
Sponsors & Supporters
TSL Lighting Design Director, Anthony ‘Turbo’ Hall.
TSL’S ‘TURBO’ EMBARKS ON EPIC MONGOL RALLY FOR BACKUP TSL Lighting Design Director, Anthony ‘Turbo’ Hall, has set off on a mammoth 22,000-mile return road trip from Kent to Ulan Ude in Russia to raise money for the technical entertainment charity, Backup.
TSL’s Anthony ‘Turbo’ Hall set off on Friday 19 July in ‘Poppy’ – a wholly take care of all our own travel arrangements, accommodation, visas and unsuitable 1000cc Perodua Kenari – with his teammate Abby ‘Henri’ other elements, so getting everything sorted has been quite a process. Cooper. Over the next 12 or so weeks, they will drive We’re excited for this adventure and proud to be through no fewer than 22 countries. raising money for such a good cause.” The car joins a fleet of vehicles as part of the The team has already smashed its initial world-famous Mongol Rally. Turbo and Henri have fundraising target, raising almost £4,000 for Backup named their intrepid team the Nomadic Numpties, so far. TSL HQ will be tracking the Nomadic Numpties’ which is certain to be eye-catching as they race progress over the next few months via their Instagram through eastern Europe and into lesser-travelled page. They are inviting the industry to make a terrains towards deepest Russia. “I’ve known about donation to Backup, the benevolent fund set up to www.tsllighting.com the Mongol Rally for many years and it’s always provide financial support to technical professionals in something I’ve dreamed of doing,” said Turbo. their time of need, via the TSL Lighting website. /turbo “When the chance to enter arose, we jumped at it. TPi www.tsllighting.com/turbo It’s an unsupported drive, which means we’ve had to
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TPi AND THE PSA HIT THE ROAD Andy Lenthall and Stew Hume, saddle up for a 200-mile cycle, all in the name of Stagehand.
For this year’s PLASA, TPi’s Editor Stew Hume and PSA’s Andy Lenthall along the route. The effort is all in aid of Stagehand – the original Live have opted to travel down to London via an alternative mode of Production Welfare fund, founded by the PSA, which this year is celebrating transport. Rather than catching a Virgin Train or its 21st anniversary. jumping into a car, the pair will opt for two wheels, Stagehand was set up to aid current and past tackling the 200-mile cycle, all in the name of the PSA members and their families who fall on hard PSA’s welfare and benevolent fund, Stagehand. times when unable to work due to illness or injury. The ride will begin on Friday 13 September from The charity pays small grants for specific expenses to TPi’s offices in Stockport and – if all goes to plan – will qualifying claimants. Stagehand has also focused over roll into London on the Saturday prior to the show the past few years to work proactively to improve our opening. industry’s approach to mental health. With the ride taking them over the Peak District, Both TPi and the PSA appreciate any donation www.justgiving.com/ through Rugby, Northampton and all the way to that members of the industry are able to contribute. fundraising/teampsa London’s Olympia, the duo hopes to complete the If all goes well, they’ll see you at PLASA… ride in two days, with an open invitation to any fellow TPi www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teampsa cyclists from the industry to join them at any point
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
THE PROS AND CONS OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT PSA’s Andy Lenthall weighs up the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment or freelance work in line with government legislation. “Just don’t do it,” was one response to a recent question on social media about taking the leap from the salaried day job to self-employed tech. That and advice about putting cash aside for tax bills and quiet periods, if you get ill or maybe start a family; all this – plus the sound advice that sauce sachets from takeaways make instant noodles almost palatable – left the original poster with some serious thinking to do. That post and a recent workshop around skills, talent and diversity getting a bit stuck on how to deliver vocational skills to a largely selfemployed workforce that can’t really afford to carry trainees got us thinking about the advantages and disadvantages to both workers and employers – something that has seen a gentle shift towards PAYE employment in some areas, along with an enforced legislation-driven shift in others.
rates haven’t risen by as much as inflation for many, leaving some people with a lifestyle rather than a living. ADVANTAGE EMPLOYER Nobody can deny that the seasonal, feast-and-famine nature of live production means a flexible workforce is needed. The ability to grow and shrink with the ebb and flow is by far the biggest advantage to our sector. TPi’s very own business leaders’ survey cited the largely self-employed as advantageous to their companies. The flexibility is one thing, but the exclusion of the added benefits of PAYE employment such as holiday pay, extra pension contributions, sick pay and shared maternity leave can soon outweigh the difference in salary and day rate. Small wonder, then, that only 10% of respondents to the TPi survey reported that they don’t use freelancers, and the PSA’s own research showed 40% spending over £100k per year on self-employed labour. Only 23% of industry leaders saw a move towards employed technicians as a growing trend. Of course, there is always the often-ignored Working Time Directive. Apparently completely disapplied for self-employed people, it’s perhaps more easily managed in an employed environment. In fact, a ruling by the European Court of Justice back in May obliges employers to record all working hours and breaks for all employees – a protection not afforded to self-employed individuals.
ADVANTAGE WORKER For those who were of working age and touring the world before 1998, the distant memory of tax-free overseas income, as long as you spent less than 62 days on UK soil, were a major advantage to everyone involved in global touring. One tour, big bag of cash, pop down the exchange bureau, pay off mortgage. Anyone done that recently? Sure, there were disadvantages such as access to education for the kids, access to healthcare and the benefits system, but it was a young industry with young people with not a great deal of responsibility and a certain air of invincibility. Some 20 years later, income is taxable and day 103
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plus bank holidays (in lieu perhaps) and pay 10% of everything they earn into a pension? With the concept of free at the point of delivery healthcare also under threat and health insurance likely to be an employee benefit that becomes the norm, day rates will surely have to rise. THE DIVERSITY QUESTION Something that isn’t often considered is whether self-employment encourages a diverse workforce. Does our sector attract a certain type of person? Our research suggested single straight male, state school educated with the majority living in London and the South East. As work can generally be geographically disparate, using self-employed techs for anywhere means that a company’s workforce may not reflect the diversity of its locale. Those companies that make efforts to reach into their local community, to open up opportunities to those who might mistakenly think that this industry isn’t for them, may well find hidden gems and potential assets. HANG ON, ARE YOU ACTUALLY SELF-EMPLOYED? Who makes the decision that you’re self-employed, anyway? You? You have made the decision that you want to offset some expenses against tax. Your client? They have decided that they want to pay you their day rate and leave you to sort the rest of your personal fiscal arrangements? Of course, it’s neither; HMRC decide what is and what isn’t self-employment, according to a range of indicators. It’s been a long time since simply working for more than one company secures self-employed status; there’s also talk of entrepreneurial risk, not charging by the hour but invoicing for a job, one price agreed and charged, if the job takes longer, the price is fixed. Look at the HMRC website and use their employment status calculator and only one indicator is considered: substitution. The calculator asks if the individual contractor can provide a substitute, if they are required to find the appropriate substitute and if they are required to pay the substitute. Three ‘yes’ answers gives clarity: they are self-employed. Any other combination gives a hugely helpful ‘maybe’ or a clear ‘not self-employed’. Not everybody has a clear picture in their head of providing technical services rather than being a technician. Sure, the intention is of turning up and doing the job in exchange for money, but the nature of the relationship must be a contract to provide services, to take that inert pile of boxed technology and apply your skills and knowledge to turn it into a functioning system because the people who own it can’t. Are we fine just carrying on because that’s the way it’s been done in the past? Are the advantages fairly balanced between client and individual? Are we actually sailing a bit close to the wind in the eyes of HMRC? Perhaps that’s just down to you and your accountant but it’s always good to keep up with those subtle changes in approach. TPi www.psa.org.uk
DISADVANTAGE EMPLOYER Perhaps that’s enough for employers; the flexible workforce and costeffectiveness outweighs the complete lack of commitment to any one client. Sure, there’s loyalty out there, but self-employed status starts but by no means ends with no mutuality of obligation; there’s no guarantee to either offer or accept work, just like the much-maligned zero-hours contacts – we are, after all, the original gig economy. Changes in legislation back in 2014, designed to combat ‘false self-employment’ gave intermediaries such as crew companies the responsibility for collecting PAYE contributions. This applies only to companies who contract to supply personnel only to a client; adding technicians to the supply of kit is not seen as an intermediary-type relationship. Even so, the presence of a zero-hours contract doesn’t guarantee loyalty. There are, however, companies out there that employ technicians on a minimum-hours contract, giving guarantees of earning for the worker and availability for the employer. ADVANTAGE WORKER Although not quite the same as the days of tax-free overseas earnings, self-employment is seen by some as a tax-efficient way of working – latterly higher earners forming single director Ltd companies as a way of taking earnings as dividends until that advantage was neutralised by the man with the red briefcase. Freedom to pick and choose when and where you work is attractive, but only when there’s the work to choose from. Our workforce survey last year suggested that workers are typically busy for 200-250 days per year. DISADVANTAGE WORKER Tax efficiencies don’t count for much for the 24% of respondents to our survey that earn less than £20k. The savings count for nothing when you take away the protection of sick pay, maternity/paternity leave, paid holiday and other employee protections; let’s not forget the regular monthly pay, too, rather than the possibility of having to chase payments that are relied on to pay household bills. Advantages may exist somewhere in the turnover sweet spot of £20k to £60k where 55% of workers reside, perhaps at the higher end of the range. Consider recent changes to employment legislation – workplace pensions and shared parental leave are but two; every workplace improvement is an advantage to employees that doesn’t find its way to the self-employed workforce, the current #selfieleave campaign highlighting the need for self-employed people to have the same paid parental leave as those who are employed. The legislative stick is backed by the employee benefit carrot, but that in turn increases the perceived cost of PAYE employment to companies. Can a self-employed technician really be in a position to pay themselves if they’re ill, take time off to enjoy the joys of new parenthood, take 20 days 104
Sponsored by www.interfacio.com • +44 208 986 5002
NMK Electronics’ Darren Caithness; Consultant, Steve Warren & Light Engine Dry Hire Directors, Jon Newman, Colin Bodenham & Angus Chinn; Bandit Lites’ Roth Edwards; CEO of Lunatec, Michal Bisikiewicz & International Sales for Ayrton, Linnea Ljungmark; Avid’s Michelle Munson; dBTechnologies’ Sebastian Hayer.
Astera has appointed NMK Electronics to distribute its products in the GCC. The German wireless LED lighting specialist chose NMK Electronics due to its vast experience and exposure in the region’s events market. “Having simple and powerful control of complex lighting programs and effects coupled with the portability of Astera means that lighting designers can focus on being creative without worrying about potential limitations like cables and rigging,” commented Darren Caithness, Lighting Business Manager, NMK Electronics. Avid has announced that it has enhanced the technology and industry expertise of its board of directors with the appointment of Michelle Munson as a Director. Munson joins the board with more than 15 years of experience in developing new technologies and guiding companies that deliver innovations for the rapidly evolving media landscape. “Avid’s board is deeply committed to providing strong and supportive governance and counsel in order to help accelerate the company’s strategy for innovation and growth,” said Peter Westley, Avid’s Chairman of the Board. “We welcome Michelle Munson as a director following our extensive search to significantly enhance our team with proven media technology and business expertise. Throughout her career, Michelle has repeatedly demonstrated her abilities to foster and guide organisations in the media technology sector toward successful outcomes. We look forward to the benefits of having such a distinguished technologist and entrepreneur on the board.” “With Michelle Munson’s background as a technologist and business leader in media technology, Avid’s board strengthens its extensive industry expertise in order to best represent the markets we serve, as well as support our shareholders and their interests,” said Jeff Rosica, Avid’s CEO and
President. NMK Electronics has also been appointed as Ayrton’s exclusive distributor for the GCC. “Partnering with NMK in the GCC is a great move for Ayrton,” said Zane Cretten, International Sales for Ayrton. “The company is a premium brand distributor with a great knowledge of the GCC market, having been in the industry for 33 years. Adding Ayrton to its basket on top of its audio and video brands increases its offering to the market and ensures NMK customers have easy access to Ayrton’s state-of-the-art LED fixtures.” Elsewhere, Ayrton has appointed Lunatec as its new exclusive distributor for Poland. While Lunatic is a new company, CEO Michał Bisikiewicz and Sales Manager Adrian Gediga bring a wealth of industry experience. “When Ayrton released its Ghibli profile spot, followed by Khamsin, our decision was made,” said Bisikiewicz. “Here was a product that could do everything and showed Ayrton was moving in a good direction; it caught the attention of all the big companies in Poland.” Bandit Lites has appointed long-time Bandit Roth Edwards to the new position of Director of Operations. Roth has been at Bandit for 20 years and was most recently Director of Special Operations. “You could never find a smarter, more dedicated person to have on your team or in the trench with you,” said Bandit Chair Michael T. Strickland. “Roth has a relentless quest for knowledge and wants to get it right every time. There is no task he will not tackle, and he will always succeed.” Bandit Lites has also expanded its sales team with the hire of Jesse Poreca, who has joined the Charlotte office as an Installation and Service 105
www.interfacio.com • +44 208 986 5002
Dear Reality CEO Uwe Cremering, Achim Fell & Christian Sander; Elation Professional’s Grant Geiselman.
Specialist. As part of his role, he will assist in project management, installation and customer support of new theatrical lighting system install projects and renovations. “Jesse brings years of permanent AVL installation experience to the team and will immediately lead another crew to service the multiple ongoing projects we have,” said Chris Barbee, Bandit Lites Director of Sales and Installations. “He is a very welcomed addition to an incredibly busy time of growth.” Chauvet has appointed Chromasound Plc as the distributor of its products in Hungry. The company will be representing the Chauvet Professional, Chauvet DJ, and ChamSys lines of products. “We’re extremely excited to welcome Chromasound on board,” said Stéphane Gressier, International Sales Director of Chauvet. “Our company has made a major commitment to this market, and it’s great to have a service-driven, professional organization like Chromasound representing us. Working together, we will build on the momentum we’ve established in Hungry.” Sebastian Hayer has joined the dBTechnologies team in Cologne as Sales and Brand Manager for the RCF brand. Drawing on many years of experience with Cologne-based provider of musical instruments and equipment Music Store Professional, he is an expert in the industry. “With his many years of experience in purchasing and sales, Sebastian is the perfect choice for the Sales & Brand Manager RCF,” said the company’s Managing Director, Arne Deterts. “He knows the customers and their needs as good as the sales business, and I am sure that the team will benefit from his experience.” Sennheiser has taken a majority shareholding in Dear Reality GmbH. The expert in spatial audio algorithms and VR/AR audio software will continue to operate as a separate company based in Düsseldorf, offering both its existing dearVR products and new joint VR/AR workflows in cooperation with Sennheiser. Uwe Cremering, responsible for AMBEO Immersive Audio at Sennheiser, will support the company as a third CEO alongside founders Achim Fell and Christian Sander. “For us, 3D audio is the future. With AMBEO, Sennheiser is active in all areas of immersive audio production, from the initial recording to mixing and processing and, finally, reproduction,” said co-CEO Dr. Andreas Sennheiser. “Audio software is an important building block in this production chain, especially as regards VR/AR applications.” Grant Geiselman has been appointed as the latest Elation Professional Sales Rep Product Specialist. RL Wilson and Associates and JLH Marketing, both independent sales representative firms based in Southern California, are pleased to announce the hiring Geiselman as a Product Specialist to assist both companies with product demos and overall knowledge of all Elation Professional product lines. “Grant brings with him valuable knowledge about multiple aspects of the industry and we are extremely pleased to have him join our team,” commented RL Wilson & Associates’ Richard Wilson and JLH Marketing’s
Jim Harrington in a joint statement. “He has extensive knowledge of both lighting fixtures and control platforms and will be an invaluable asset to both of us, as well as our dealer network.” Luis Steffen will join the eps australia team as COO on 1 September, 2019. With a focus on operations, he will take care of project implementation, reporting, warehouse optimisation and strategic orientation. “I am very excited to contribute my knowledge and experience in a completely new country and environment,” he said about his new position. “I am looking forward to taking the next step with eps australia and working with a motivated and experienced team to build the future.” Eventec has been appointed as PR Lighting’s new exclusive Australian distributor. According to Eventec MD, Emanuel Maniatis: “Given the prior relationship between PR Lighting, and notably Sasha Xiong, with myself and our operations manager Yan Shao, it seemed obvious that Eventec would be in an excellent position to bring PR Lighting back to Australia.” Xiong herself said she was “thrilled” by the new relationship. “Emanuel Maniatis is an old friend of PR Lighting, and his extensive knowledge about our products, the industry and the market trends makes this an ideal partnership.” The Focusrite Group, which comprises Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Novation and Ampify Music, has acquired leading Berlin-based studio monitor company, ADAM Audio. “I am delighted that we have an important new addition to our family of brands,” said Focusrite Founder and Chairman Phil Dudderidge. “With a vision to create the most holistic creative experience for recording professionals and musicians alike, choosing the right highprecision studio monitor brand is key. Together with ADAM Audio we can achieve so much more, removing the technical barriers that frustrate artists seeking to record and reveal their true sound.” Illuminate Lighting has become one of the first companies in the UK to take delivery of the new LumiNode from Luminex; supplied by exclusive UK distributor A.C. Entertainment Technologies Ltd. LumiNode is the next generation Ethernet to DMX family from Luminex, offering the ability to Convert, Merge, Backup, Switch and X-Fade any incoming data to any output. Illuminate Lighting’s Managing Director, Jonathan Pask commented: “I chose to invest in the new LumiNodes because they are the latest generation from Luminex, which build on the features and reliability of the previous generation.” King Sound Reinforcement is pleased to announce that Richard Watts has joined the company as Head of Sales and Installations. Having worked at SSE Audio for 10 years, Watts is an experienced, respected and popular figure in the industry. Managing Director, Paul King commented: ‘We are excited to welcome Rich to the team and feel lucky to have such a great guy on board. We have long sensed a real gap in the south west and have been focused on finding the right person to head up our equipment sales operation. In Rich we have one of the most well-known people around who’s links with both 106
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eps’ Luis Steffen; The Eventec team; Focusrite Group acquires ADAM Audio; Illuminate Lighting & Luminex LumiNode; King Sound Reinforcement’s Richard Watts; Lawo’s Jamie Dunn; Maestra Barcelona’s Tom Clements & Justin Hammond; Prism Sound appoints Digital Media Technology as its exclusive distribution partner for China.
Maestra Group has launched a new Scenic division, which will be headed up by Mark Davies as Director of Production and will be based at the company’s London HQ. The new department will be housed in a dedicated 55,00sq ft facility with a team of around 20 of the “most experienced and talented people in the industry,” according to Davies. Maestra has also announced that it will open a European base in Barcelona. Well known for its vibrant culture, the city is the “perfect hub for Maestra Group’s growing business in Europe” commented Group Directors, Tom Clements and Justin Hammond, who will be overseeing the launch. Movecat GmbH has hired Florian Pfeiffer as Marketing Manager. “I’m very much enjoying working with the young and dynamic Movecat team and looking forward to the exciting task of combining tried-and-tested methods with new ones in a highly innovative environment,” said Pfeiffer, who left his position heading up the Internal Sales Department at oven manufacturer Swabian to take the role. Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik has installed the first permanent hub for Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) in Neuhausen, Germany. The remote hub is a kind of studio that provides services for international conferences and multilingual events. Sound and images are transmitted to simultaneous interpreters in four permanently installed booths, and it is from here that they provide interpreting services for the event. Their translation is transmitted back to the venue and can then be heard by attendees by means of conventional receivers or their own mobile devices. Prase Media Technologies has been recruited into Absen’s Value Added Distributor (VAD) network. The Italian company will promote Absen LED products in its home region and provide training for local end users, as well
manufacturers and clients are unsurpassed.” Watts added: “It’s great to be part of something at ground level again and have an opportunity to put my own mark on the industry.” Lawo has expanded its Executive Management Board with the promotions of Jamie Dunn to Chief Commercial Officer and Phil Myers to Chief Technology Officer. “This development reflects the continuous execution of our growth strategy and is a natural step in the evolution of our company’s structure,” said Dunn, who joined Lawo in 2011, of the step up. “I look forward to driving the company’s technology strategy at board level and ensuring that our heritage of engineering and manufacturing excellence continues,” added Myers. Launched in May 2019, Light Engine offers a brand-new stock of the latest technologies and innovations in LED fixtures from a wide variety of manufacturers. The Light Engine Dry Hire directors of Colin Bodenham, Jon Newman and Angus Chinn were drawn to its strict fixture selection by the clear advantages offered by LED fixtures of improved sustainability, minimal waste and high efficiency. The core team is completed by Ayesha Chinn as warehouse manager and Steve Warren and Carolina Fajardo-Linares of LDC as the contracted marketing and promotional dept. The Light Engine Dry Hire centre is conveniently located in London’s Park Royal NW10. Light Engine Dry Hire already holds substantial stocks of exclusively LED sources, with the focus on IP rated outdoor luminaires. Assets Director Jon Newman stated: “Light Engine will focus on our core values of offering the highest quality and latest technology with further planned investments to be driven by the demands of lighting designers and rental company customers.” 107
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Riedel’s Eugenio Menichella; ROE Visual’s David Morris; Sennheiser Middle East’s Shraddha Makul; Smart Monkeys’ Joy Burke; Solotec’s Lee Moro.
as building showrooms, exhibiting at relevant trade fairs and organising roadshows. “Prase started life as an audio distributor, setting very high standards for ourselves along the way,” said Ennio Prase, the company’s Managing Director. “Recently, we have been working hard to build up our video portfolio to meet those same levels and have identified Absen as a perfect partner in this process.” Prism Sound has appointed Digital Media Technology (DMT) as its exclusive distribution partner for China. “We are delighted to be representing Prism Sound in the People’s Republic of China,” said Owner and Managing Director Clement Choi. “Prism Sound are very well-respected by audio professionals around the world and they complement our existing high-end audio brands very well.” Riedel Communications has hired Eugenio Menichella as System Consultant for the company’s Italian operation. “Eugenio is an outstanding addition to our team,” said the company’s Sales Manager for Italy, Giuseppe Angilello. “His expertise will be a great asset as we continue to expand our local capabilities and help our Italian customers roll out landmark new projects based on our award-winning video, audio, data, and communications networks.” ROE Visual Europe has appointed David Morris to lead business development in the UK and Ireland region. “Having worked in the AV market for several years and with a broad experience in the live events market, Morris is the perfect candidate to support our current client base on the one hand, and open up different market segments on the other,” said Operations and Sales Director, Auke Meijer. Sennheiser has extended its Middle East investment with the appointment of Shraddha Mukul as its new Marketing Manager for the region. Mukul will report directly to Mig Cardamone, Director of Sales and Marketing at Sennheiser Middle East, who said, “We have been steadily growing our footprint in the Middle East and believe it’s now the right time to bring an experienced marketing manager on board.” Joy Burke has joined Smart Monkeys, in the new position of Senior Manager of Special Projects. “I’m excited to be working with the team that’s using some of the most cutting-edge programming languages and
technologies in the continuing development of ISAAC,” she said. “I’ll be using my experience in product engineering to take the lead in collaborating with ISAAC’s third-party partners and expand our network of vendors.” Solotech has promoted Lee Moro to the role of Vice-President, Live Productions, USA. “For the past five years here at Solotech, he has shown exceptional leadership skills and has taken on many significant challenges with great professionalism and dedication,” said Mickey Curbishley, President, Live Productions Division, USA “We are delighted to welcome him to his new role and look forward to his continued success with us.” Four of the industry’s businesses; Mobile Promotions, BluePeg, Star Events and Beautiful Minds, have merged to become Star Live, a fullservice live event and brand experience partner. The four businesses have been acquired over the past eighteen months by entrepreneur David Walley. The founders of the businesses all remain with the new company to form its senior management team, providing vast expertise across live events and experiential. The integration brings to life a unique business, with teams based in multiple locations across the UK and an international presence in Shanghai, China. Star Live offers a powerful proposition of event services including stages and grandstands, trailers and roadshows, brand ambassadors and crewing alongside design and creative, sponsorship management and partnerships, event production and brand activation. Commenting on the merger and new identity Walley said: “This is a logical and exciting step for us. We have brought together four market leading companies with a clear vision; to be the full-service live event and brand experience partner for all our clients.” TSE AG has invested in ZENIT W600 Outdoor LED Washlights from Cameo. “We have been following Cameo’s development closely for quite a while,” explained Marcel Fery, Managing Director and founder of TSE AG. “The ZENIT W600 is an excellent LED washlight. Impressive not only because of its excellent light quality and multifunctionality, but also for its steadily increasing distribution across the market. Because of this, the spotlight can now be rented in higher quantities for quick and easy implementation even at larger events.” TPi www.tpimagazine.com/industry-jobs/ 108
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MIKE WOODHOUSE TPi Awards’ FOH Engineer of the Year
had that realisation, ‘I’m on the other side of the world!’ I couldn’t contain myself. It was a fantastic realisation about what I’d started and where I’d got to. When I started in this industry, touring to exotic places for work was a level I never envisioned getting to, so hitting that milestone made me realise I was actually doing something right.
What have been your career highlights so far? There have been quite a few moments where I’ve looked back and gone ‘Wow that was really quite something’, although one that really stands out from the others took place during summer 2018. I was on the road with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, who had a couple of shows supporting Foo Fighters, and I got to mix in London’s Olympic stadium. Halfway through the show I walked out of the FOH area and into the Golden Circle to just take it all in. I was working in 100-capacity clubs just five years before, so to go from there to an 80,000 stadium show felt pretty special. I even brought my parents to that one – the old man loved it!
What first sparked your interest in live events? Ever since I was a child, I was always interested in music. My parents saw that and encouraged me to take it through school. At 15 I attended my first ever live gig, Motorhead’s 30th anniversary show at Brixton Academy, back in 2005. That show changed everything for me; from Lemmy and the band’s stage performance commanding the crowd, to the sound and light show their production team put on, had me in awe of what a live show was. That was when I decided that this was an industry I needed to be a part of. That show also gave me a decent crash course in what a mosh pit was… Fast-forward to university, and I studied sound technology at Oxford Brookes. This gave me a much better idea of what is involved in the whole mixing process – the way we listen and perceive sound in general – and from there I started to craft my trade as a sound engineer.
This year you walked away with FOH Engineer of the Year at the TPi Awards. What did it mean to you to win this accolade? Just having my name on the shortlist was a feat in itself to be honest. I never thought I’d actually take the award home! Everyone else on that list is truly exceptional at mixing. Take Phil Gornell, for example; a good friend and stellar work on Bring Me The Horizon’s live shows; or Dave Shepard – he mixes CHIC. To even be viewed in the same category is hugely overwhelming. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen from the world of pro audio, since you first entered the industry? The main change I have seen is all the old analogue consoles and outboard I learned how to mix on in the small clubs have since been replaced with compact digital consoles armed to the teeth with plugins emulating all the old outboard that we knew and loved. I’m certainly not opposed to it – we are fully in the digital age now and anyone would be foolish to oppose it as times change, technology gets better and better, and right now it’s amazing. I do feel like an IT consultant at times though… I have also noticed the increased need for in-ear monitors over the old-school wedges; they have got so good now. Take the Shure PSM1000, for example. The clarity you get from them is fantastic. People are also thinking about stage SPL levels a lot more and how it affects us long term. I personally love it as it clears up my FOH mix for the louder bands I work with, but it is nice to see more musicians taking care of their ears.
Was audio always your main passion? I started out as a bassist in various bands from school and continued early into my career. As previously mentioned, I studied sound and started to try to incorporate being both an engineer and musician as one. I bought myself a splitter from Network Rail and used to tour it with the bands I was in. With one of the acts we used to tour a small PA system and sound desk, which I used to set up and assist with the FOH as well. It was only once I started getting more FOH/ driver jobs than session playing that I hung up the bass and focus on mixing. Is there a moment that you would consider as your ‘big break’ into the industry? Yes. I was out with Catfish and the Bottlemen and we had just touched down in Australia. I was in my hotel room and 110
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