Folks. as you may have read below, Chris and I and our band had a great time last weekend at the Gamble Rogers Festival in St. Augustine. Florida. Our sets sounded really good, and the people liked them. As a result, we had a great time and sold lots of CD (always a morale-booster). But even with the same band and the same playing locations and times, things could have been pretty different. We might not have had a successful weekend at all. What made the difference?
The difference was in the sound. That's the sound reinforcement or P.A. system, something that the audience (properly) doesn't think much about when listening to a band. If the sound equipment and personnel aren't up to the job, the band might not sound very good on stage, and the audience may not realize just why. Some of the instruments might be pretty faint. The vocals might not be balanced. The sound personnel might not have their attention on the moment-by-moment stage sound, and corrections might not get made. All professional musicians have played shows like that, and the sound has really turned many good performing situations into marginal experiences on stage. When that happens, we just have to keep on performing and hope for the best.
But at GambleFest, the sound systems were excellent. The equipment was plenty adequate for the job. The sound personnel were prompt and efficient in setting up the stage for each band. And once we got behind the microphones and started our shows, the sound guys (and gals) were right there on the board, "tweaking" the microphone levels and tone controls to help us sound our best. That's not something the audience should notice (the process should be invisible to the listeners-- they just deserve all the good sound possible all the time-- but it sure is important to the band). And the sound folks at GambleFest did a really fine job. Thanks to all people on the sound boards at GambleFest!
NEXT UP: The Florida Folk Festival, Memorial Day weekend!