|Britannia Row Productions has a long-standing relationship with the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) international arts festival, having been involved in several editions since the very first in 1982. The 2022 festival saw Brit Row provide skilled crew and audio packages for all four stages, catering to a diverse line-up of musical acts and performers.
“We love the festival, particularly because of its ethos to bring in these wonderfully diverse artists to headline,” says Brit Row Director, Bryan Grant. “Another great aspect is that our engineers often mix bands, so it’s excellent experience for them. There are also roles on the crew for relative newcomers, whom the festival always encourages to get stuck in. Our freelancers line up to work at WOMAD!”
Audio Crew Chief Alex Hore had worked on the festival many times over the years, but this was his first time overseeing the audio crew members, 11 in total.
“WOMAD is always an amazing musical experience,” he says. “There’s so much variety in styles and genres there’s never a dull moment as so many different artists are focussed on pushing musical boundaries. Of course, as in any event, particular roles need to be filled with experienced crew, but WOMAD also offers a brilliant opportunity for newer crew to get hands on experience and work with different cultural attitudes towards live sound production. It’s the perfect event to step outside of the norm and get familiar with instruments and musicians that speak a different language.”
As well as being familiar with some of the WOMAD production team, Hore’s experience with the festival meant that he was comfortable with the site layout and some of the more specific audio requirements.
“Dave T and Chris Hayter from Judgeday run the technical production side of the festival and were extremely helpful and supportive,” he notes. “They even gave me some dedicated office space and internet which is very useful on a festival site.”
There are four stages in total at WOMAD, with Open Air main stage being the only one to necessitate a flown PA system, made up of L-Acoustics K1 and K2, with K2 outfills and KS28 subwoofers. Both the Siam and Charlie Gillett stages had ground stacked systems consisting of K2 and Kara boxes, respectively. Like the Open Air, both smaller stages had KS28 subs to look after the low end.
The final Taste the World stage had a much smaller PA setup, which was made up of a simple A10 / SB18 system. All stages had a house consoles from Brit Row’s inventory and a plethora of mic packages.
“We had fantastic behind-the-scenes team at Brit Row,” Hore continues. “They’ve been able to provide a comprehensive support structure despite having a huge logistical workload this summer. Trucking, crewing, and equipment was all first class. With Brit Row you know you’re going to get beautifully prepared kit with a comprehensive list of extras for individual act requirements. We also had above and beyond technical and moral support from our Brit Row Account Handler Dave Compton, as well as Carlene Annon, Khia Bailey, Ed Shackleton, Marcel van Limbeek, and the warehouse team too.”
Christian Bayley served as FOH Engineer on the Open Air, joined by System Tech Sergiy Zhytnikov, Monitor Engineer Nick Jordan, and Stage Tech Felix Threadgill. Pat Coghill covered FOH and System Tech duties on the Siam, while Kevin ‘ Kevo’ Moran was the Monitor Engineer and Jan Pickup the Stage Tech.
The crew was completed by FOH and System Tech Eiran Simpson, Monitor Engineer Giacomo Gasparini, and Stage Tech Will Hall on the Charlie Gillett stage, and Juan Beilin on the Taste the World stage.
“I was very happy from a personal point of view,” adds Hore. “We provided everyone with what they needed and had solutions for any last-minute changes when required. I had a great crew, so I think they made me look good!”
WOMAD COO Mike Large, who originally attended the festival in 1982 as a punter, was also keen to highlight the advantages of having a long-standing and trusting relationship with a technical supplier like Brit Row.
“WOMAD is a nice, chilled event, where we’re lucky to have a lot of very good people involved, both on our side and in terms of the suppliers we choose to work with,” says Large.
“We pride ourselves on being respectful and true to our word, and our vendors, like Brit Row, share that trust and ethos. It takes a lot of the stress off when you can rely on a company to that extent, particularly as they know the site so well.”
He continues: “It’s also great that we can play our part as festival organisers, by including Brit Row’s next generation of audio professionals into our future plans. On our side, we see it as a very productive and vital way of guaranteeing the lifeblood of the industry. It’s encouraging for an event such as WOMAD – which went exceptionally well this year after our pandemic absence – that this drive to help the next generation succeed will hopefully lead to a greater diversity of talent both on our stages and behind the scenes in UK festival production.”
Image credit: York Tillyer