For the last few days, I’ve been working on the set for an artist I work with for a BBC Introducing show.
Preparing for this show reminded me of the first time I played a BBC Introducing stage and the things I learned that will help me be better prepared (from a Musical Director’s and Production point of view) for one of these types of shows in the future.
This blog will be most helpful for/aimed at other MD’s, techs and possibly even managers than just musicians (like my other blogs are) but I still think this will be useful/helpful information for anyone who reads it.
So without going into too much detail, here are a few things that I now take into consideration when preparing a show for a BBC Introducing stage.
Backline is usually provided and shared between all performers so be sure to check what is provided and prepare for that. This helps with changeover times but also means that there’s limitations to what you should prep with in rehearsals so everything can run smoothly for the show, especially as part of playing the BBC Introducing stage, at least one song will likely be recorded for broadcast (whether that be YouTube/Radio/TV/BBC iPlayer) so everyone needs to be as comfortable as possible to deliver a solid performance worthy of being broadcast.
Whether the BBC Introducing stage is at a festival or a showcase it will most likely take on the format of a festival with quick changeovers because of multiple artists/bands performing and not much time to get everything set up. Take this into consideration when working with complex set ups, especially when there’s a lot of digital/tech involved.
If you use IEM’s, take into consideration that there may not be a separate monitor desk and the FOH engineer will be dealing with getting that right, so dealing with IEM’s as well in a 20-25 minute changeover could lead to a band who can’t hear, terrible sound for the crowd or a combination of the two. As a failsafe, make sure the drummer has an independent feed for the click, so if anything goes wrong, the show can go on. Unless you have your own engineers, it may be best to use wedges over IEM’s or come to a compromise with who it’s essential for and who can work without.
Like most small-medium production shows I run 7-8 channels of playback. For those that are wondering, it normally goes something like this:
- PERC L
- PERC R
- MUSIC L
- MUSIC R
- VOX L
- VOX R
I learned very quickly that the BBC Introducing stages aren’t really set up for that amount of channels of playback (although the BBC crew were great and managed to make it work, it took quick thinking and initiative to accommodate that) and I’ve come to the conclusion that in the majority of cases, 8 channels can be too much.
As the BBC Introducing stages often have very new artists/bands, a lot of the bands I’ve seen have often run playback from an iPod, out of the headphone socket of a laptop or a stereo output audio interface and it seems that there’s usually an allowance for 2 channels of playback, so you can see how 8 channels may cause an issue.
The point to be taken here is this… Bounce your playback tracks down to a stereo L and R (and get the balance as good as you can) with an additional click channel.
There’s much more I could say but these few things will hopefully help anyone preparing to play a BBC Introducing stage for the first time and give helpful insights to help you deliver a solid performance with minimal stress.Tags: Advice, Backline, BBC, BBC Introducing, Festival, FOH, Gig, Introducing, Live, Matt Wills, MD, Monitor, Musical Direction, Musical Director, Performance, Production, Set, Show, T In The Park, Tech, Tips