More Than Just PA Hire

I blogged a while back on some things to consider when choosing a PA company, which centred around the level of advice and production values which professional audio hire companies can bring to your event. As the margins on ticketed gigs and other events fall, professional audio hire companies are bringing more to the table than simply providing audio systems and crew.

Outside of my work with Alex Fernie Audio Ltd., I've done a lot of consultancy in a technical management role for events requiring the integration of the various technical aspects to a production. The Irish National Lottery sponsored
Skyfest is one such event requiring the integration of large format PA systems, 100v line horn systems, RF and microwave transmission, large-scale screens and live performance with a fireworks display and the live TV broadcast of a lottery draw. I've also provided stage management services to festival stages, co-ordinating multiple act changeovers whilst ensuring the backstage, performance and viewing areas are safe for artists, crew and audience alike. These are skills I also bring by default when providing a system for a client.

Many professional audio hire companies are now also willing to share the burden of audio production management for festival organisers. Alex Fernie Audio provided systems on a large number of weekend street festivals in 2011 where we not only provided the PA systems for the various outdoor and indoor stages, but also provided and co-ordinated the backline and instrument hire for the client. For the past two years we have provided a similar service to the Kilkenny Arts Festival, taking care of both the PA and the backline/instrument riders for the over 30 acts involved over the ten-day festival.

Some, but not all, professional sound companies in Ireland offer these "added extras" as part of their festival rental packages. So if you are someone who is at the early part of planning for your 2012 events, it may be worth considering what your PA company of choice can bring extra to the table.