Ombofest is held annually at Ombersley Cricket Ground. It is a family-friendly live music event showcasing local artists.
This is the fourth year that we have supplied Audio, Lighting, Operation of those and Stage Management. While we do not book the acts for Ombofest, we do liaise directly with each act months before the event to ensure the smooth running on the day. This is in the form of a welcome e-mail from Upstage which outlines our policies of stage operation, the policies of the event organisers, the latest time that the act should arrive on site, our request for information which includes channel and equipment listing. This gives us an opportunity to plan for smooth changeovers between acts, particularly for setting up audio. More than anything though it’s an introduction to Upstage and we ask the acts what THEIR requirements are, do they have any special requirements such as heavy reverb on individual tracks, a particular lighting look, roughly what they need in their monitor mix.
As far as Stage Management goes, we have one person backstage for each act to liaise. Having one point of contact giving consistent information is essential. This person makes sure that the acts are arriving in good time, have their gear ready to get straight onto the stage and relays messages or tries to fulfil any needs. For example, this year Ombofest fell on an unusually hot day, and this person made sure that there were provisions for shade and that cold water always available at the stage side.
A full stage audio system was supplied with an operator, as we always will do. Through use of a digital audio desk the operator preprogrammed the channel inputs and a base level for monitors. Doing so means that the transition between bands was as smooth as possible and that a quick line check for each band was possible. In between acts suitable music for the type of event was also played.
A full stage lighting system, again with operator, was supplied. Whilst Ombofest is mostly in day light the last couple of hours do start to get dark, we rig the lighting to complement both of these scenarios. When the day light is gone you get the full lighting effect, but during the day ‘movement’ of light becomes more important to keep the visual look and ‘presence’ of the stage/act going.
Ombofest is organised very well by the event organisers, the only ‘issue’ that this event throws up is the get in. There is a cricket match on the day before. Upstage ensure that we are there in good time and are planning ahead, and in fact setting up in the car park, before the match finishes. We normally work through til the early hours setting up and then in the morning. Ombofest is another of those events where you turn around on stage and suddenly there is a whole festival setup with rides, inflatables, food stalls behind you!
We’re already planning for next year.