[Dixielandjazz] RE: SOUND at SJJ

Jim O'Briant jobriant at garlic.com
Thu Jun 9 05:54:29 PDT 2005

Tim Eldred wrote, in part:

> The worst sound we found at this year's jubilee were at 
> the RV pavilion (no vocals, and the music was mushy - 
> happened every set, no matter which band was on the 
> stand or what they asked for), 

I'm glad that I'm not the only person who thought so!

> the Cove (again, no vocals and the sound people didn't 
> care when I spoke to them), ...

I have to add a brief word in defense of the sound people at the Cove.  The
Pacific Coast Ragtime Orchestra played there (on Sunday, I believe), and
initially the sound was totally out of whack.  That's not surprising, as
this ensemble is very different in size, instrumentation and style from
almost everything that had been on that state before.  At first the sound
was appalling, to the point that I went to the sound board and made
suggestions regarding balance.  Within a tune and a half or so, the sound
techs had made the necessary adjustments, and the rest of the program was a
pleasure to listen to.

> ... Granted that many of the sound systems may be staffed 
> with volunteers.  But, would it be too much to ask that 
> they be required to go through a basic board/balance 
> training to be able to give the paying folks a reasonable 
> sound?

That would be wonderful if it's possible.  

The sound system volunteers should also be aware of the different sounds and
styles of the various bands, and set levels and balance accordingly.
Reynolds Brothers' Rhythm Rascals are looking for a sound that's entirely
different from Cornet Chop Suey, and the sound people need to know this and
adjust accordingly.  Too often, I also saw bands asking for sound
adjustments, but the volunteers had just set the mike stands in place and
then seemed to have vanished.  They need to be on hand through the entire
set, or until the band is satisfied with the sound and releases them from
further sound adjustments.

(It occurs to me that for someone who's never run a festival, and hasn't
even attended all that many, I'm sure eager to tell the festivals how to run
their business!  [lol].  But I hope that feedback [pun intended] of this
kind is useful to the Jazz Jubilee folks as well as to the board and staff
members of other festivals who may be reading....)

-- Jim O'Briant
   Gilroy, CA

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