Mudcat Café message #3398016 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #146386   Message #3398016
Posted By: GUEST,SoundMan
31-Aug-12 - 07:14 AM
Thread Name: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
Subject: RE: So how was Sidmouth 2012 for you?
Thank You FloraG..I am glad you enjoyed the mix, I will be the first to admit its not always ideal, as you may have noticed due to the permanently open to the public nature of the venue, and the short changeover times, I don't get to do a proper soundcheck, at best its a quick line check, balance check and then go, the first time the audience get to hear the band play properly is also the first time I do, so the first few songs of the set are essentially the soundcheck, and the mix can be a bit rough at first. Unless I have been given specific instructions, or have an associate of the band on hand, I have to second guess what I think the band want to sound like. During the brief line/balance check I tend to concentrate more on getting the foldback mix, that the band hear in their monitors, right for them, my theory being that if the band can hear themselves they will play better and more cohesively, which should then make the job of getting a good front of house mix for the audience easier, as if a band isn't making a cohesive sound no amount of knob twiddling is ever going to make it sound good.
The sound for a band playing at the ceilidh dances will often be different from the same band playing a concert, as I try and find the instrument playing the rhythm that the dancers are dancing to, often its the melodeon, and have that a little higher in the mix, so the dancers can keep time easier. I feel this is especially important at the Anchor, as the dancers there are often less well practiced, many being holidaymakers 'giving it a try', there are often many children, and also more alcohol may have been consumed by the participants than at other venues. For the same reason I also have the caller a louder than may be normal, so the dancers can hear the instuctions clearly above the music and general noise of the pub, to try and avoid a 'train wreck' on the dance floor, especially given the unforgiving and less than ideal tarmac surface.
I feel sorry for groups such as the middle bar singers as they are having to compete against an increasingly 'heavier' sound from both the ceilidh and the concert bands and even some of the buskers. In the short time I have been working at Sidmouth I have noticed the bands having a more amplified and bass heavy nature. Whether that is a general shift in the folk world as younger people more used to that sound come into it, or because those type of bands often work better at the Anchor, because of the mixed nature of the audience, and so get programmed there more often, I can't really say. As the festival takes place across the whole of Sidmouth, there may be a case for having certain areas of the town and certain venues set aside and dedicated to unnaccompanied and unamplified singing and music, away from the louder venues. I don't know how much use is made of the Connaught gardens bandstand at the folk festival, but that would be an ideal outdoor venue for some of the quieter acoustic acts, and is well away from any interfering background noise.