BBC Radio 1 held its Big Weekend in Earlham Park, Norwich on 23-24 May, relying upon rental firm Britannia Row Productions (Brit Row) to supply equipment for the event.
“It’s a pressure situation,” confirmed Brit Row’s project manager Lez Dwight, “with simultaneous live broadcast and relatively short changeover periods between what tend to be full production level performances. There is a driving imperative for speed and precision; you simply cannot afford even the slightest error.”
It is perhaps with that mind, that this year Brit Row was also contracted to provide audio for the ‘In New Music We Trust’ (INMWT) stage, a 10,000-capacity tented second stage.
“The demands of the INMWT stage are no different to the Main," continued Dwight. “Stars the calibre of Rudimental, Hozier and Jess Glynne expect and deserve the same treatment we afford Muse, Taylor Swift and the Foo Fighters on the main stage.”
“Like everyone else we are doing loads of festivals right now so it’s hard to remember which one’s which," said Al ‘Nobby’ Hopkinson, who mixes front of house for Jess Glynne. “But this one was absolutely fine. We had a very good gig. We took in our own desk, Brit Row were providing a [Avid] Profile and a PM5D at each end for the INMWT stage which is fine, but we wanted our own Pro2c.
"It couldn’t have been easier, they had already laid in a couple of ‘guest’ Cat5 runs so we had none of that ‘come in early and run your own snake’ nonsense, just turn up and plug in your desk. Brit Row have really got that down. It’s a small thing in terms of cost, but really appreciated, not everyone does it and other companies would do well to follow the Brit Row example.”
Hopkinson was treated to the L-Acoustics K2 system in the tent, while for the main stage Brit Row supplied left/right mains of K1, with K2 for field delays and for side hangs to cover the crowd to the extreme sides. Desks here were Digico SD5s and Avid Profiles, a wide microphone inventory, and a full monitor offering of d&b M2 wedges and Sennheiser IEMs.
When Muse topped the bill on the Saturday night, their long-time engineer Marc Carolan was well satisfied: “It went very well. The Brit Row guys were great; between them and the BBC led by the excellent Andy Rogers, they are a very experienced team. The flow of information was easy and everyone grasped what was needed. I think we all got what we wanted.”
“The additional responsibility of the INMWT stage was a good fit for us,” concluded Dwight. “We had the equipment resources obviously, and we also duplicated our crew counts so both venues received the same level of attention. I have to say Carolan on the first night really produced one of the best mixes I’ve ever heard. For a band with a complex signature sound he doesn’t miss a detail. And Bryan Worthen on Sunday for the Foos was equally skilled, squeezing sweat and energy out of the system as only he knows how.”
Hopkinson was equally pleased: “We had a really great show. . . I’ve no complaints whatsoever.”