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Organising the Music Festival Stage Backline.

Andy Robertson

The logistics behind organising stage backlines for a music festival with multiple stages can be a huge challenge for festival organisers. What are the key considerations in organising stage backlines to ensure perfect live performances that stick to scheduled timetables without any technical issues?

A music festival could have many stages, many with in excess of 25 to cater for different genres, themed shows and main stages for the most well-known performance artists. Festival organisers will likely have to cater for the majority of artists with no equipment other than their instruments as well as headline acts who insist on supplying their own backline. 

in a Backline? 
The backline equipment usually includes amps and speakers set up behind the performing artists. Music Festivals will be managing multiple artists on multiple stages requiring fast turnaround between sets and organisers will usually opt for the best quality professional equipment they can afford. This can be complicated on occasions when an artist specifies a specific brand in their tech specs although if the equipment is of a high standard most will accept the backline equipment installed for each stage. Each artist's soundcheck settings are done on a single backline set up and the sound technicians' job is easier if the equipment is of a professional and high standard.

Typical Challenges. 
Backline equipment can be sensitive to weather and climate and this presents problems for music festivals running outdoor events. This very expensive equipment can be stored in secure locked climate controlled temporary rooms backstage along with instruments when not in use. This protects the equipment and instruments from theft, damage or inclement weather. Not all stages are being used continuously and this allows for a break in equipment usage and for collection and delivery of artist's instruments between sets. Backline technicians also need to monitor and maintain equipment, especially when it’s used non-stop for hours on end. The breaks in stage use allow for repairs and maintenance as required. On occasions one size does not fit all and a headline artist may insist on providing their own backline, this can be managed but is going to require considerable set up time and may be a contributing reason why many headliners are the last to perform. 

Managing Backline Logistics.  
The artist's advance will include their tech specs and analysing these will to some degree dictate which stage is most suitable and the corresponding backline set up. Festival organisers may opt for varying levels of backline equipment for different stages and these need to be booked in good time with delivery and collection schedules arranged in good time. Each artist will also specify in their advance the number of technicians they need to support their performance. The organisers need to log all names and pass details along with arrival and departure times. 

For music festival organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their stage backlines. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Photo by Andre Moura from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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