Britannia Row Productions provided audio equipment and crew for all six stages at the WOMAD Festival at Malmesbury, Wiltshire in July.
At the helm was FoH engineer Richard Sharrat: “Having both the Midas H3000 and the SSL Live at FoH worked really well, though sometimes, not knowing a guest engineer's preference, both consoles had to be prepared for an act,” he explained. “Tom and Nathan from SSL were brilliant with this and provided sessions for every act based on a template of I/O, FX, Playback, presenter mics, etcetera that we had settled on. If a band didn’t come with an engineer, I got to mix and opted for the SSL. I really enjoyed working from scratch and having to get a mix together in a festival environment, and was very impressed with the console's flexibility and great sound. All bar two of the visiting engineers opted for the H3K which also still sounds great! My weekend was made even more enjoyable by the great team we had to run the stage.”
Veteran WOMAD engineer Bob Lopez worked the faders on the Ecotricity Stage: “This area of the festival is slightly different to the main 'body' of the site; as soon as you cross the perimeter road you step into tranquility city, far from the madding crowd,” he remarked “Despite the appalling weather every act in this area drew good crowds of between 500 and 1200. This was my third year at WOMAD so I was well versed in what was required. I used an L-Acoustics ARC system with subs; the secret for this roof is placing the system outside the long arms of the tent. This allows for the huge amount of headroom that is necessary for delicate instruments like a Sarangi, Sitar, or Sardar Tanpura to be compatible with modern electronic instruments.”
“There was one act that featured a string instrument I'd not seen before,” continued Lopez, “called a Geomungo and hails from Korea; four strings and emits a relatively quiet bass sound. Of course the rest of the band consisted of loud drums, electric guitar and a raging laptop and wouldn't you know it they wanted the quiet Geomungo to be most prominent in the mix! Thanks to the system being out of the tent, cunningly time aligned and EQ'ed, the Geomungo led the sound above the raging electronic background and their show was a resounding success. Our changeover times were generous enough to cope with some head scratching while miking up some really unusual instruments.”
Many of the artists who graced the stages run by Lopez and Sharrat went on to exhibit their cookery skills on the Taste the World Stage where Britrow had supplied L-Acoustic 112s and L-Acoustic SB15s.
“We had a good couple of setup days and the festival opened with a great atmosphere in the sunny countryside,” commented BritRow’s crew chief for the event, Colin Pink. “The following morning we woke up to what was being billed in the press as “A month’s Rain in a day'. Rain always makes it a lot harder on a festival site, but the crew all came together brilliantly, to help each other out across the site. The festival crowds still came out to enjoy the music and I can happily say that the rain couldn’t dampen the atmosphere.”
“Its always a pleasure working with a great crew,” Pink concluded, “and this one proved that skill, teamwork and humour can make even the muddiest field a great (and fun) place to work.”