The return of live events has been exciting for US production company Soundworks of Virginia for a couple of key reasons. One being the opportunity to get back to the business of putting on stellar shows, the other being the brand new Martin Audio system it has been itching to blow audiences away with. Owner, Steve Payne, president and chief engineer, Grant Howard, and system tech, Bryan Hargrave, speak to Headliner about the return of live shows and its partnerships with the UK pro audio specialist…
How encouraged have you been by the return of live events?
GH: I’m very optimistic. Seeing how things have progressed since around April 2021 when people were very tentative about having events. Folks started doing more and more and we got busier and busier, so if we can keep on that track, I think we’re heading in the right direction.
What have been some of the key shows you’ve worked on during this time?
GH: The first things that started were local concert series. For the most part it’s been music, but we do have some clients where it’s more spoken word things, like college graduations. We did the Richmond Folk Festival with a few stages and that seemed to go well. It’s kind of been the norm, but just not as much of the norm!
Have you seen an increase in things like regional tours during this time?
GH: The weekly concert series we’ve done used to have more international and national acts, but to get the ball rolling there have been more local and regional acts. That was beneficial because we got to have shows again and the local acts got to perform in a big environment. That’s certainly how people have been approaching it here.
SP: The Richmond Folk Festival historically hosts international artists across seven stages, with crowds reaching almost a quarter of a million over three days. This year, we didn’t have any international, so we’re really grateful the organisers stuck their necks out and went ahead anyway. The crowds, of course, weren’t quite as large, but they were really happy with the turnout.
Have you been encouraged by the way the industry has continued to make live music happen despite the challenges so many have faced?
SP: Absolutely. We knew the desire was always there because we were all personally feeling it. We were in no doubt that as soon as it became safe to do so, people were going to come out en masse. There has been a huge desire to hear live music, get together and socialize.