A summer at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival: sound in the woods…in a barn, a fun challenge. Got some new gear to play with though; Yorkville's Elite powered speakers. I was skeptical too, but they are great — excellent coverage and unending power. I also had the Yamaha M7CL digital console for a time, a great digital board for live guys — easy to use and reconfigure for different companies. The lighting department was jealous of the touchscreen interface.

One major problem we faced this summer (as most festivals face) was time. At JPDF, we have three theatres with a total of five companies, plus our school to provide varying production needs for each week. The best thing for us was using templates. We created templates for each space in Microsoft Excel and plugged in info and sound requirements as we received them. Our changeovers happen in one day or in one evening with a crew of interns. Having a plan ahead of time helped to maintain a learning environment for them while keeping us ahead of schedule. Seems rather elementary, but it works.

Another potential problem is having a full intern crew that rotates through all areas of production each week. Coming from all over the world, they all have different career ambitions and experience. I have found that individual classes on the operation of the sound console to be invaluable to productive tech rehearsals. Preaching the doctrine of “signal flow signal flow signal flow” also teaches them to be problem solvers, allowing me to be able to float between all the spaces to solve the bigger problems (like, who is going to drink all this beer?)
Brad Berridge, sound and video supervisor
Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival