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04 août 2005

Console for Womad

Ampco chooses Midas for WOMAD

UK - For a record twelfth consecutive year, Holland's Ampco Pro Rent (APR) has supplied the complete audio production for the WOMAD Festival at the Rivermead in Reading, where nine stages present an eclectic blend of tunes, poetry, dance and arts workshops, all featuring performers from around the globe. APR's primary console brand of choice for WOMAD is Midas, with around 80% of the Reading event's 25 desks being Midas Heritage Series or XL3 consoles.

"We rarely have time for sound-checks and of course there are a lot of visiting engineers around all the stages who need to be able to jump on a desk and be ready to mix instantly," says APR production manager Dieter van Denzel. "Midas gives us the familiarity, the reliability and of course the essential audio quality."

All in all, APR oversaw the action at the main (Open Air) stage, the ever-popular Siam Tent, the Village Stage, Rivermead Club WOMAD, Spiegeltent, Green Room workshops Thames Suite dance studio and the One World Platform. "The festival has grown again since last year," says van Denzel, who also mixed many of the bands. "This year they added a ninth stage - the BBC Radio 3 World On Your Street Stage, to one side of the main arena. This was planned to be a little booth for 200 people but ended up being a club-sized sound system that drew up to 2000 people."

In the past 12 months, Ampco has also worked on WOMAD festivals in Singapore, Cáceres and Madrid in Spain, Grand Canaria, New Zealand, Australia and Sicily. These locations are being added to this autumn by the first WOMAD Sri Lanka. All operate as a joint partnership in each country between WOMAD, co-founded by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Brooman, and local site production, with APR in charge of the audio and Stage Miracles providing stage management.

"Consistency is a huge part of it," says van Denzel. "Artists love to know that at every WOMAD they'll find the same team, the same technical crew, the same stage setup, the same sound." Among the artistic highlights of the Reading event were Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour, Bill Cobham, Nitin Sawhney, Richie Havens, the Fatback Band, Yasmin Levy and Robert Plant.

(Lee Baldock)

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