Red Kite at WOMAD 2019
This summer we returned to Womad for Sue’s 11th year providing noise management at Charlton Park. It was great to be back after a year off in 2018. This year we partnered with dBx Acoustics for crew for the second year and Anderson Mitchell for monitoring equipment and support for the first time.
It’s been an exciting journey with WOMAD since the first year at the Charlton Park site in 2007 (also one of the muddiest!) Over that time we have assisted with site layout changes and licence applications. We have been building trust with the local authority, and with the sound engineering crew and developing an understanding of the challenges of the topography of the surrounding area and the effects of the weather on the way that sound travels and how that affects on and offsite sound levels.
The effect of weather was the subject of a paper that Sue presented to the Institute of Acoustics “Music to your Ears” conference in 2012. It is an interesting aspect of the WOMAD site that a positive wind vector can make up to a 10 dB difference in offsite sound levels and there has been a lot of work with the festival and the local authority to understand the implications of this for the licence conditions and the event. It is particularly challenging for the sound engineers for whom a big difference in front of house noise limits from one day to another can be difficult to manage.
Trust is the most important element of the teams that Red Kite Acoustics builds for outdoor events. If we are advising that onsite levels need to be reduced it can have a detrimental
effect on the audience experience and can be incredibly frustrating for the sound engineers who want to provide the best possible sound for their artist and the audience. It is therefore critical that there is trust between the offsite monitoring team and the onsite crew and production team.
A mutually respectful relationship with the local authority is also important. When offsite limits are being reached, communicating with the EHO about what we are doing and how we are responding is essential so that they can describe this to the community if there are complaints.
Apart from the wind direction, the weather this year was good, no mud at all. As ever there was a dynamic mix of music, dance and food from all over the world, and we even had time for a team competition of crazy golf, for which dBx took the trophy, and Red Kite got the wooden spoon!