A Swashbuckling Adventure

Albert docks Liverpool

We’ve just got back from a fantastic weekend at the Liverpool Albert docks once again supplying all the audio for the Pirates festival. Myself and the team here at dBS Solutions were thrilled to be asked again following the success of previous events.

Last year the team at Gower Estates who manage the Albert Docks got in touch with us as they wanted to bring back the Pirates festival but had always struggled with the audio on the show before. With the audience area being all the way around the docks some 700m, much of the story and soundtracks had been lost on previous festivals. With the brief of the new festival being much more theatrical, it was important to The Docks and event producers, Fit The Bill, that the audio of the show could be experienced by all.

Sound designer and dBS Solutions director Chris Bogg, set about designing a sound system that would cover the audience area around the perimeter of the docks. Speaker placement was always going to be a challenge as the pontoons on the edge of the water sit 4m lower than the audience. This years system comprised of sixteen of the companies dB Technologies VIO 210 line array modules spaced around the docks, and some compact stacks of Martin Audio W8LM array.

Pirates Festival Liverpool

With the event featuring two tall ships manoeuvring around the water with live action pirate actors on each, communication between the ships skippers, actors and the shows stage manager was crucial. dBS Solutions provided a powerful in-ear monitor solution so that the show caller could talk directly with the actors and separately to the boat’s skippers who could also talk back.

It was interesting running a show that was entirely timed around the ships movements and speed. The playback of the show’s music had to contain lots of looped “vamps” and revamps within Qlab to keep the show as flexible as needed.

With all the actors on headset radio mics and several riffle mics on plug-in radio mic transmitters for catching the sword fights, the team needed to have audio engineers on the ships to ensure the radio mics worked as they should, as once the ships left the docks there would be no access.

We were grateful that the sun shone on the day of the event and good triumphed over evil with the good pirate saving the day! Thanks to all the team for their hard work, Sam Edwards, Danny Clare, Jethro Hall and Richard Pomeroy.

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