For the last 14 years I have been working as a freelance sound engineer. I have worked in a wide variety of circumstances from theatre tours to festivals both in the UK and abroad. Much of my work was with PA company Spadger Sound Services. This has provided me with a second to none training base. Spadger was a one-man outfit and therefore I have been exposed to every aspect of public address: from loading the van, to system set-up and design, stage management, and sound engineering (FOH and/or monitors) single handedly, for any one concert!
Spadger's equipment was good, capable, and yet "un-badged". This taught me how to obtain the best results from modest equipment - many engineers cannot cope unless the name tag says d&b, Nexo, l-acoustics etc etc. With a handful of necessary items, I am able to make any functioning sound system sound extensive, expansive and ultimately expensive!
Spadger Sounds main business was folk festivals. This poses its own set of unique challenges namely: numerous acts in very little time with contrasting stage set-ups, acoustic instruments with "open" microphones, and a demand for high fidelity audio. To say we worked miracles is somewhere near the truth! In 2006, Spadger provided sound systems for 23 major folk festivals and events, meaning an estimated 300-400 artists have been engineered by Spadger per year!
The ability to do our job with speed yet without compromising quality was Spadger's motto. Demonstrated well at Shetland Folk Festival whereby every act plays for 20 minutes with no sound checks! From Rolf Harris to an African acapella choir Imbizo - 14 acts later and you know if you can survive that, you can survive anything!
After 26 years of services, Spadger's owner John Eeles has decided to throw in the towel (300-400 artists - no wonder!) I now own my own system, and continue to work as a professional sound engineer. Over the years I have been responsible for teaching and training several technicians up to "festival speed". I have become aware that all manner of individuals class themselves as sound engineers, from the highly proficient to the completely incompetent - very often engineering for big name artists (no names mentioned!). It has become clear to me that many courses are available in recorded sound engineering, and yet there are very few courses covering specifically live sound. I am hoping to address this situation with a series of training sessions that offer real hands on experience as a live sound engineer.
La Bottine Souriante
Over the Rainbow - Eva Cassidy's Story
Salisbury International Arts Festival
Sidmouth International Arts Festival
Shetland Folk Festival
Sambasunda Gamelan Orchestra
The Glenn Miller Orchestra
Taraf de Haidouks