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The Sound & Light Hire Company Discuss The Past, Present & Future In The Events Industry

The Sound & Light Hire Company Logo

The Sound & Light Hire Company Logo

The Sound & Light Hire Company in the events industry as a event production hire company

The purpose of this article is to discuss & recap over the past 7 months in dealing with the Covid situation and how this has shifted a completely different change in the events industry.

We will also discuss some of the essential services we supply to the wedding, corporate and private event sectors. With this we will continue to improve each service and thus where we see our business heading in the future and some of the new hire products and services we will be offering moving forward.

Let’s go back to November, December 2019… our event diary was fully booked, we were finishing off some of our Christmas parties and we were getting ready to supply a production for The Novikov in London for New Years Eve. We were looking ahead to a stable, reliable fully booked 2020, with a happy customer base. January & February were booking up fast and we were already turning away work for May onwards. Then shit hit the fan!! If you are reading this thinking it is unprofessional to put it that bluntly then I apologize, but I think most people would agree that the events industry has been one of the worst hit with the Covid-19 saga. Within 12 weeks of the pandemic announcement our bookings had dropped nearly 80%. Most calls or emails were from clients asking about rescheduling or cancelling.

Let’s not dwell on what’s happened we need to be positive looking forward. It hasn’t been all doom and gloom. Once the government eased certain restrictions and regulations event promoters were keen to put on any form of event as this pandemic has not just hit suppliers but also the event planners & event organizers who have spent months planning events only to be held back and restricted whilst the world works out how to solve the crisis.

Now we have got the negative bit out the way let’s talk about the events we did work on this summer, what we have changed and new products we have brought into our hire stock as an outcome of the above.

What we have found as a company is anyone who was putting on an event quickly moved this to be an outdoors gathering, socially distanced of course but a huge shift to move events outside. This is where it comes in handy if you own a stage, outdoor screen and sound equipment…

Below we will talk about and explain the package we supplied to a local orchestral music event.

When Simon from Squarebox Events approached us with his idea of a socially distanced outdoor music festival, he was looking for a local event production company in Surrey who would be able to supply outdoor stage, sound, lighting and outdoor LED screen. Hence why he came to us!

”Surrey’s Leading Festival Stage Hire Company”

The events were to be spread across 10 weekends with the addition of 3 outdoor cinema nights across this time period as well. It was imperative to make sure that the artists were safely, socially distanced whilst on stage performing, so they opted for a 10m x 8m outdoor covered stage which gave them a minimum of 2m distance from one another, allowing licensing officers to sign the event off.

The event was capped at 350 per event where guests were to be separated and sectioned off into 3mx3m grass squares with the option of upgrading your ticket and hiring a raised stage platform for better viewing experience.

The events primarily took place in the daytime with all events finishing by the early evening. This meant that lighting acted more as eye candy rather than the need for a full-on lighting show. With this in mind we installed a comprehensive package of 24 B-eye moving head washes, 18 LED tourcans and a pair of 5m x 3m LED screens hung either side of the stage.

The screens allowed ticket holders to text and have their text displayed as digital signage on the large LED screens when artists were not performing, footage was not being played or they weren’t using the screens for the outdoor cinema.

The orchestral performances were stripped back so there was no need for lots of visuals as they are incredible talented people, gripping the attention of the audience with simple basic lighting and calming content displayed on the screens. The screens were really for interaction for the audience and for displaying the film.

When it came to the outdoor cinema events customers would be sectioned off into their area, lights would be turned off on the stage, sound system turned up and voila what do you have an incredibly sounding, amazing viewing experience.

It is at this point we must give you some more information about our LED video screen.

Previously event organisers would opt for a trailer style pop up mobile LED screen. These cheap inferior products don’t have the pixel density, the refresh rate or the overall quality to reproduce video content.  Mobile screens are great for events where you need logos or signage put up or messages displayed but when it comes to showing live event footage or films there is a vast difference between that an a modular screen like we use. Also most of these screens have a pixel pitch of 8mm or even 10 or 12 mm and when your audience is only 10-15m back this isn’t acceptable these days and event organisers / planners are looking for a company that can supply LED screens with superior HD quality.

Outdoor LED screen has a pixel pitch of 3.9mm with a refresh rate of over 4000hz and a maximum brightness of 5000 nitts. You can watch your film outside even in direct sunlight and with such a small pixel pitch you can stand just 2.5m back and watch a seamless video in incredible quality.

To accompany the LED screen they needed a decent sound system. Without a well-designed sound system the event would be nothing! As with any event it is nothing without good sound.

Hire Outdoor Screen Hire From The Sound & Light Hire Company

What did we provide for this orchestral music event…

The client wanted a flown PA system with the addition of distributed PA speakers around the site as the clientele at this event would be of a slightly older generation and to meet the regulations of the licensing a flown array of cardioid subs was put forward by the licensing officer. As well as this to minimize offsite noise a CSA sub array across the front helped with this.

Due to the restrictions on how many artists could be on stage at one time, any act that played were relatively small and compact. We opted to use the trusted Midas M32 digital mixing console for front of house with the smaller Midas M32r on stage monitor duty.

Shure, Sennheiser and DP mics were used on the production giving us a vast and professional choice for these incredibly talented musicians.

Stage monitoring was taken care of by an 8-way mix using the proven and reliable formula (the d&b Audiotechnik M4 stage wedge) while processing and system delay was the job of our XTA digital sound processors.

Lighting control was via the Chamsys MQ60 and although not supplied by us we instructed production company On Tour Events to install 1500m of festoon across the site lighting up walkways, entrances and exits and public toilets across the site. There were also some large trees that the client wanted lit up so outdoor lights were supplied by On Tour Event as we generally don’t deal with architectural lighting.

The events were highly successful with lots of positive feedback from audience goers. People were delighted they were able to get out and enjoy themselves again in a slightly different way to before. This allowed further events to be planned for summer 2021 in a socially distanced organized format, complying with the current state of affairs.

The next section to this blog leads us onto the future of our company and where we see our events going, We don’t see events going anywhere, but we foresee most event organisers planning on outdoor productions just like the above.

Although we have discussed stage, sound, screen and lighting nothing happens without one thing…..

Power!

When Simon first contacted us, it was made noticeably clear whoever the production company was they had to supply everything, under one contract and power was included in this. As we all know in this industry finding a reliable generator company can be tricky and it is common knowledge that unless you are hiring a lot of generators you are left with a very small number of suppliers.

With this in mind it was to be that we would invest in a brand-new state of the art road towable generator. So, what are the specs or skip this part if you are not into reading the technical jargon!

We invested in a 70KVA road towable generator, UK manufactured and UK built this generator has an overspecd alternator, deep sea control panel for power and load monitoring and we stock a vast and extensive range of rubber box power distribution enabling us to safely distribute power across your stage.

It must be noted we don’t currently, nor do we plan to offer full site power for festivals or catering power at events. We would rather leave that side of the industry to power companies who specialize in site power. A lot of our events are for 1 / 2 stages and the event organisers are looking for a company to supply everything within a package.

One of the reasons we invested in a road towable generator is even if you don’t need to hire a stage for your outdoor event most events for the next year or so are most likely going to be outside. Outdoor cinemas will become more popular and the want and need for showing content outside on large screens is becoming ever more popular. As with most locations or fields, or larger outdoor spaces there is no power on site. So before organisers can plan anything they need to source where the power is coming from.

If you are an event planner it is a lot easier when one production company can supply everything, If you are using that company because they have a very good reputation for delivering an exceptional sound & lighting production it makes sense they would need the power to come from the same company so although we aren’t the biggest power company in Surrey or London we plan on being one of the most reliable power companies.

If you are planning a festival or event outside, that requires lighting, sound, stage, LED screen or power you know you can turn to that long and well established sound & lighting hire company that started 15 years ago and that company morphed from True Sound Hire rebranded into the Sound & Light Hire company.

For more information on our event services / hire stock we would love to talk to you to understand more about what you are trying to achieve and in turn give you a competitive & comprehensive quote.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and here is to a happy, malleable 2021!

Contact The Sound & Light Hire Company on the details below:

https://www.truesoundhire.co.uk/

https://www.google.com/maps?cid=177697462353676083

The Sound & Light Hire Company Talks Festival Stage Hire & What Other Event Equipment You Might Need to Hire

The Sound & Light Hire Company Logo

The Sound & Light Hire Company Logo

Despite the cancellations across the board in 2020, the music festival industry is still in a strong position for next year’s summer season. In fact, we are a nation of revellers with over a quarter of all UK adults attending a music festival last year.

As a festival or music event organiser, you should know that the stage is the cornerstone of any successful musical event. It focuses the attention of your attendees, provides an elevated platform for your performers to look out over their adoring fans, and it houses of all the technical production equipment required for artists to sound their best.

Get your festival stage hire wrong though, and both fans and performers will be quick to notice that you’ve missed the mark. So if you’re organising a music festival or event for the spring or summer of 2021, what are the factors that you need to be thinking about now for your event to be a rip-roaring success?

Let’s take a look with a little help from our sister company Outdoor Stages, the arm of our operation dedicated to providing all manner of festival and music event stages.

Determine Your Requirements Based on the Scale of Your Event

It may sound obvious, but you’ve got to start with the scale of your event to make sure you’re choosing the right size of stage to hire. Hire a stage too small, and the performances can look awkward and cramped. By contrast, go way too big, and your attendees will think you have suffered from delusions of grandeur and you’ll likely lose money given the costs involved with hiring a much larger stage.

If this is something you’re initially struggling with, it’s often helpful to determine your needs based on the size of the audience. Generally, the larger your anticipated attendance, the larger your stage hire requirements will be. But this is not always the case. For instance, you may prefer to hire several compact stages to accommodate multiple performances in one central festival site location.

Once again, the larger the number of attendees, the more likely you are to invest in a large stage that provides a central focal point, an unobstructed viewing experience, and that can accommodate the technical event equipment hire required for clear sound and visuals for audience members hundreds of yards away from the stage.

Consider the Needs of Your Performers 

Next, you’ve got to factor in the requirements of the performers. If you’re hosting a classical orchestra, then obviously they are going to require a stage with a larger surface area than a local rock band, for example.

But it goes beyond merely space requirements, think about the technical specifications of your performers. While the acts scheduled to perform earlier in the day may not require much in the way of technical support, headline acts will often demand all kinds of additional technical support such as special effects, lighting shows, and superior sound equipment hire.

That’s without mentioning the offstage and backstage demands of top musical performers. Many will require at least a changing area. Some will specify a specific stage monitor mixing area or a musical instrument changeover zone. You might also need to put on a hospitality area and a side-on viewing platform for esteemed guests. By contrast, if you’ve booked an orchestra or a dance troupe, you’re going to need a sizeable backstage area to accommodate the sheer number of performers and their warm-up routines.

As the event organiser, it’s crucial that you receive each musical act’s rider in advance of booking in your festival stage hire so that you can make the necessary accommodations without any hassle.

Nature of Your Event Will Influence Your Event Equipment Hire Choices

Of course, you’ll also have to consider the nature of your event. For instance, are you running a festival with 12 local bands spread throughout the day? If so, it may be the case that you can have the artists share much of the technical equipment, saving on space and auxiliary event equipment hire requirements.

On the other hand, if you’re planning more of a one-night musical concert with two or three well-known national performers, each may demand their own specific technical setup. That means you’ll have to budget extra space for equipment storage in the wings ready for changeover between performances, even if the acts in question are solo performers.

Next, think about your preferred setup, which was briefly referred to previously. Are you going to out for one large stage for all performances, or are you going to over a couple of smaller breakout stages for solo performers? If so, you may want to spread you hire budget over several stages, rather than investing everything in your allocation on just the one.

Are There Any Venue/Location Restrictions?

One of the biggest mistakes we see from new festival organisers is not considering the limitations or restrictions of the venue. Erecting a stage requires significant engineering and logistical planning.

One of the first considerations you should make before you hire an outdoor stage is the ground. You need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of concrete and grass. If it’s going to be grass, is it even? Very rarely is the location proposed for a stage exactly flat in the case of those erected on lawn areas. But if it’s smooth and even, then it’s usually a suitable location for a stage.

Next, make sure that the area is free of any trees and human-made obstacles which might not necessarily be visible. Think underground pipes or wiring, as well as drainage systems. You can investigate the location of underground obstacles by obtaining ground surveys for your local council.

Lastly, turn your attention to logistics, even in their component parts, outdoor stages are not small. That means you’re going to need space for several HGVs to gain access and unload. Without sufficient access, your stage may never make it to the intended location, so don’t overlook this critical factor!

Other Considerations for Stage Hire That Are Often Forgotten

Perhaps the most underestimated factors of stage hire by festival organisers are the factors that are outside of their control, namely the weather. We don’t have to tell you that we live in one of the most unpredictable climates on the planet, and it’s par for the course to experience four seasons in one day, even in the middle of summer!

The important takeaway for you as the organiser to realise is that poor weather causes issues with building an outdoor stage. Firstly, it can cause access issues (particularly for grass setups). Secondly, poor weather means slow-going on the building of a stage. That’s why you must budget enough time for the building phase. You don’t want to find yourself on the morning of the event still having little bits and pieces to finish off on stage construction.

Speaking of time, don’t underestimate how long stages take to build regardless of weather conditions. While we can erect our smallest mobile outdoor covered stages in a matter of hours, our large 12m x 9m arc roof stage can take well in excess of a day to build and set up with the necessary technical rigging.

For allocating time allowances for stage set up, we say plan for the worst, hope for the best. That way you’ve got plenty of slack in your schedule should the weather, or any other unforeseen issues, cause any snags.

On a similar note, don’t wait to book in your stage hire once you know what you need. Most stage hire companies need advanced notice to build you into their schedules. While we don’t need as much as half a year, we do ask for at least three months to give us enough time to make the necessary adjustments to our inventory and works schedule. We can work off less in emergencies, but we can’t promise anything.

Stage Hire is Just the Beginning

For the less experienced among you, it’s important to point out the stage hire itself is only just the beginning. The structure is not going to achieve much for you without the help of professional lighting, sound equipment, and all other aspects of event production.

We believe it’s crucial to source these items from the same company that’s building the stage. It’s a better arrangement for several reasons. For a start, it’s fewer contractors to deal with on-site, all of which would turn up with lorries and several staff members. But it also eliminates any confusion between contractors.

By instructing one company to look after the stage, lighting, sound, and event production, every single team member is singing from the same hymn sheet. The stage builders erect the trusses the way the lighting team are used to working with, and the sound production team are using PA speaker systems and mixing desks they know like the back of their hand.

Given that you could have dozens of suppliers to work with on a musical festival, including caterers, performer booking agents, ticketing websites, wristband suppliers, and merchandisers to name but a few, it makes sense to hire just one company to handle all aspects of event production. We can handle all elements including staging, lighting, sound equipment as well as extras such as LED screens and special effects.

Why Choose Outdoor Stages for Your UK Music Festival?

The Outdoor Stages arm of the Sound and Light Hire Company has been providing stage hire and associated event production services festivals right across London, Surrey and Hampshire for over a decade.

We’ve taken a fresh approach to the festival stage hire industry by combining all required aspects of live musical performance and providing them bundled together as part of all in one stage hire packages. We genuinely offer an end-to-end solution for event organisers.

Take our biggest stage hire package as an example. Not only does it include an arc roof stage of 12m x 9m with a maximum roof height of 6.5m and a payload of 3500kg, but it also comes complete with a full-touring-spec sound and lighting system. We’re talking about the best in the sound business with the d&b audiotechnik PA systems used by the likes of Coldplay and Rhianna paired with over 70 lighting fixtures from 17R beams, moving heads washes, pixel battens and stage blinders!

When you also add in our highly-skilled and experienced crews and technicians who love what they do, you’ll receive an all-in-one event production package capable of amazing up to 10,000 music fans! Not bad for one easy-to-understand price, right?

We’re also on hand to help you through every step of the process should you need our consultation. We can assess venues, make recommendations, and provide bespoke quotes that match the specific challenges of either your site or the nature of the event in question.

In short, we are your one-stop shop when it comes to event production for your music festival or event. We have expert technicians, engineers and crew members, we offer top-of-the-range event equipment hire, and our stage hire options can cater for over and above 10,000 attendees giving us one of the largest capacities in the South East.

So if you’re putting together a music festival in the Spring or Summer of 2021, don’t hesitate to get in contact with a member of the Outdoor Stages team to arrange an initial consultation.