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Sound and Light for Live Music Events.

Andy Robertson

A complete sub industry in itself the business of providing light and sound for any live music event is big business and it can be a very expensive element in running a live event. Event organisers have a good choice of suppliers to go to and most will provide a one stop service including equipment hire and professional production.     


The business of providing light and sound for any live music event is more complex and probably more expensive than is believed. There is a story doing the rounds that a well-known artist would perform at a live music festival for a hugely reduced performance fee on condition that the event organisers pay for his light show which ended up costing the organisers more than $50k. This demonstrates just how expensive light shows can be and the need to tightly control budgets balancing cost with the final visual effect. 

Equipment Hire. 
Almost all live music events use hired equipment, this ensures that organisers get to use the latest and most up to date technology without the need to invest in expensive equipment. If you have a proficient production team in place you could consider dry hire but you’ll have to specify and set up the equipment and systems yourself.

  • Sound equipment usually includes not only speaker and monitor systems but mixing consoles, wireless microphones and in-ear monitoring systems for example.
  • Lighting equipment for hire could include old school PARs (Parabolic Aluminized Reflectors) and blinders to the very latest in intelligent LED fixtures, truss, motors, rigging equipment plus projectors and screens, cycloramas, gauzes, star cloths and other soft goods.
  • Stage equipment can be hired including stage furniture such as drum risers, keyboard risers, BV risers and DJ riser/tables.
Live Production Skills.
Unless you have your own in-house production specialists it is always possible to hire in an external production service that can help you with video, staging, set design, rigging and stage management. Many artists also have their own sound and light engineers or production managers and it is common for equipment specialists and engineers to work closely with the artists team to achieve an optimum professional and memorable show.

However you organise your light and sound production an understanding and experience of event logistics with solid processes are key. This should also include suitable Health and Safety measures and adequate insurance cover. In organising any event that involves installation of temporary high voltage electrical systems or pyrotechnics extra care is always required. This should never be over looked, nobody wants a repeat of the fire disaster at Santika Bangkok just over 10 years ago caused by the use of indoor fireworks combined with a suspect electrical system and non-existent considerations for health and safety. Hopefully the live events industry learns from previous mistakes.

If you use an events management software solution like FestivalPro it already has built in functionality for all your event equipment management needs. 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 all the features you need to plan and manage every aspect of your live music event covering equipment logistics, scheduling and collaboration between relevant parties.  

Photo by Gustavo Juliette from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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