“Choose your battles, but make sure you fight them” – Jon Burton considers compromise when things aren’t quite as you’d like them to be…
Well, what do you do when disaster strikes? In audio terms this is usually when everything suddenly goes dead for no apparent reason. Usually this doesn’t happen too often, but sure enough last week in front of 60,000 people I had the full on silent treatment from the festival PA. To be honest no matter how many people there are, the feeling is just as bad.
That was a weekend of extremes. I spent Saturday night at one of the most well organised festivals in the world. Werchter is a dream to work at. A huge stage with lots of space. Great catering and a really well designed backstage area. It doesn’t get better than this.
In the last two weekends I have visited about 6 countries. The festival season brings with it long hours and lots of travel. As festivals take place all over the world, and in the Northern hemisphere all around the same time, the distances are only limited by how far you can fly between shows.
The summer festival season is almost upon us and actually for some it has already started! This is a great time of year to get a foot in the door work-wise.
Summer is festival season and these fun events are separated by dull journeys by rail and plane. Most of these journeys for me provide a rare opportunity to sit, relatively undisturbed, and work on the various on-going mix projects I have.
After being harangued about how much space my analogue set up occupies at FOH at the various festivals this year, I was relieved, for once, to find one larger. I was pipped to the post on the last date of the summer by Portishead with their vintage digital set up!
Well, this is less of a blog post than a rant. A month or two before every festival I start what is known as the advance. This involves badgering agents and promoters to provide information about what we are likely to expect at each festival. This varies in detail (and accuracy) usually producing a fairly hefty back and forth of email between our production and theirs. Recently, though, a new phrase is becoming more prevalent and with it my heart sinks…
This year, in Sweden, I was presented with one of my lowest ever levels of 97dBA over 60 minutes. The reason for it being lower than the normal Swedish level is that the concert was open to under-13 year olds. My band went on stage at 1 am, few under 18’s in the audience and certainly no pre-teens.
Festival season is almost over for this year, which is shorter than last year’s, as we haven’t extended beyond Europe. This means means that by the beginning of September I can stop worrying about packing sun cream and waterproofs in the same case, not knowing what the weather will throw at me for the coming weekend.
Today we are back at the Hockenheim race track for Rock ‘n’ Heim. We had a show last night at Sziget Festival with our B rig, but today is the A rig. We have two sets of equipment, as often the distance between the festivals is greater than you can drive in a night, so a second set is needed to do the show.