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Managing Music Festival Electrical Engineering Resources.

Andy Robertson

Wiring up the electricity supply for a large music festival can be a complex, demanding and potentially dangerous task. It takes a team of qualified and dedicated electrical engineers to connect and set up a reliable electricity supply and without doubt any music festival will not succeed without competent and successful implementation.      

It is not unusual for electricity generator suppliers to deliver the pre-ordered generators to a music festival site and then promptly disappear leaving the connection and set up to on-site staff. Event organisers will no doubt make plans for a qualified electrical engineering team to be available on-site from the festival set up through to breakdown.

The options for music festival organisers are varied with the most reliable being to employ the services of an end to end power supply contractor who will supply generators, transformers and cabling along with a team of qualified electrical engineers to do the installation and set-up. This one stop solution can alleviate any potential headaches and although more expensive the organisers can be safe in the knowledge that a power breakdown during a performance is minimised. Organisers should do their due diligence on any potential contractor and thoroughly check their experience in providing power supplies to the music festival sector as well as the qualifications of their technical staff. Equally important is the contractor's commitment to a reduced carbon footprint and use of emission compliant generators.

For music festival organisers on a tight budget there is the temptation to employ an in-house electrical engineer and make them responsible for delivering a satisfactory power supply for the duration of the festival. This would probably entail the ordering of equipment without any support, generators, transformers and cabling will simply arrive and be offloaded on-site. The in-house electrical engineer is then responsible for set up, testing and running a reliable power supply. Whilst this a lower cost option it is not unusual for unqualified stage hands to be involved in the installation of the power supply.

Music festival organisers need to be aware of the legal requirements regarding the supply of electricity patricularly in relation to any health and safety regulations that may apply as well as ensuring that only suitably qualified electrical technicians are used. In addition is it worth checking that the festivals insurance covers the organisers for any mishaps related to the electrical supply that may cause fire or injury to staff and visitors. The requirements for generator emissions compliance are getting stricter every year and it’s worth considering a move over the hydrogen powered generators that are starting to become more popular than the traditional diesel generators. They have zero emissions yet cost about the same and produce just as much power as diesel generators. For now, hooking up wind and solar power as part of the festival electrical supply is probably more of a novelty and PR exercise as they have no potential to produce the huge amounts of power typically needed for the sound and light equipment on a main stage.

Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro event organisers get all the functionality they need to manage their external contractors and equipment suppliers. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features for managing contractors and equipment suppliers' agreements, contracts, technical specifications and delivery schedules with dynamic calendars for on the fly changes.    

Photo by Matheus Viana from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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