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Sound Advice

Four Key Tips For Mixing An Outdoor Festival by Pete Bartlett

1. Well, outdoors or indoors, you apply your modus to your mix. We all have our tricks we’ve picked up along the way, and so just because you’re outside doesn’t mean this should change.

2. It’s always nice not to be fighting with some dreadful hall or bad mix position, which is helpful, but it means that outside there are less excuses.

3. If you have a good system tech (the guys at Toronto’s Virgin Festival were superb), you have to trust him.

4. Most of all, remember you’re not mixing for audio engineers – you’re mixing for kids who have the record and want that same experience, only bigger, better, and louder. Be bold.

I don’t dig the “chin scratching” static-sensible mix, where people are going, “Hmm … nice mix.” Give me excitement any day. I try to remember the way I felt when I was 17 (that was some time ago), when your life depended on this gig. If the kids walk out saying, “That was fucking amazing,” then the job is done…

Pete Bartlett is FOH engineer for UK-based indie rockers Bloc Party, recently in Toronto for the Virgin Festival. He can be reached at fohpete@aol.com.

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