Monday, 13 August 2007

Sheep Music...

A few weekends ago, a group of us provided the sound equipment for multiple tents at a festival in Wales called Sheep Music.

Aerial shot of a previous (dry) year

Living mainly on beer and little sleep...
This is what happened:

After a lengthy and tiring set-up on a sunny Thursday, mother nature stuck her oar in on Friday morning and put an end to the smooth running thus unleashing a preposterous amount of rain onto the festival site!
I heard a weather forecast and it was "Heavy rain all day with outbreaks of heavier rain" and oh, they were NOT wrong...

This bridge takes you over a very small stream to the main campsite

By Friday afternoon it looked like this!
The bridge was closed for safety reasons and the campsite evacuated.

The whole site became a disaster area, but carried on regardless.
We became a refuge zone, as the campsite site was cut off from the main site!!!

Mmm, an all too familiar festival scene

The ground was a little... squishy underfoot shall we say?

Anyhow, enough of ugly mud pictures and over to some handsome geezers! :]
The elite main stage crew from left to right:
Lewis = Stage Hand#1
Big Rich = Lighting Engineer
Mike = Stage Hand#2
Stu = FOH Engineer
Phil = Monitor Engineer
Andy = Sound Guru Advisor

In crew catering, I found an adorable German Shepard called 'Rocky'.
He was a large, hairy, gentle giant - more like a bear really :]

Main stage monitor position - My home for a few days

Our on-stage fridge; mostly stocked with healthy beer.

At the end of the 1st day, only one band actually played because of the weather situation, so it was time to crack open the cheese, biscuits and wine - Cor we're decadent!

There's nowt like an inflatable sheep with a rear orifice to provide some quality entertainment:]

Saturday morning, the first band of many and I got to put a new Yamaha M7CL digital mixing console through it's paces... Very impressive! Touchscreen + Motorised faders = Phwoar :]
It was also my 30th birthday - A great way to spend the big day...

The video crew even put up a special message for me on the screens!

The Silver Fox looking slightly unimpressed at Big Rich busting a move or two in audio airspace.

Nizlopi headlined Saturday night

After the mad rush and zero line check for Nizlopi, we all sat on the stage, boozed 'til 3am, did card tricks and had a right old laugh.
Esme (seen in the background) decorated me in UV paint, as you do, and everyone brought me cakes, wine, port, cheese and a Noah's ark puzzle book - Oh the irony!

Sunday morning - You know it's bad when a tractor has to be towed out of the mud!

Main stage tent mud on Sunday morning - A scraping was needed :[]

Big Rich bags himself a promotion from Lighting Engineer :0)
*I'm sooo dead when he reads this*

Health and safety shut down the dance tent on Sunday.
Spot one of our sub-bass speakers?!?!?

There it was, to the left of the chairs - This is what we pulled out!!! NOT GOOD.

The punter's toilets were starting to look pretty rank eh!
Do you not think Stu?

At the start of the festival I put my sunglasses on the spare channels on my mixing desk and they didn't move all weekend, so I just had to label them :)

Due to rapidly diminishing set-up time between bands, the stress levels were at an all time high on stage, so I made this sign, and as you can see, Mike put it into practice just nicely!

I was shouting out patch lines very hurriedly at times, so Lewis thought it was a good idea to write instructions in permanent marker on his hand LOL!
(Channel 9 Bass Guitar, Channel 10 Guitar, Channel 11 keyboard Left etc :)

OK, where the hell I'm going to plug that into?

The headline band on Sunday was Dreadzone!
We cracked a bottle of Jack Daniels and I partied *ahem* mixed the night away :]

Eww, Monday morning load out!
The horrified look on Stu's face while pulling cables out of the stinking mud

Crew pulling out cable protectors buried in the mud

I found this sign and couldn't resist the photo :)

Site Manager Gareth;
"Is that a wooden fork down your overall or are you just pleased to see the sound crew?"
It was just a wooden fork by the way :0)

Loading a 10-tonne truck full of muddy PA gear wasn't very fun :[
How's that tail-lift button finger Bee?

Festival Aftermath

1 week later a couple of us returned to the site and helped clear up

Hal trudging through the piles of now semi-dried mud

After cracking open a beer, we then set fire to the last muddy remains of Sheep Music 2007

Gareth (AKA 'Gary' :0) I think you have the wrong idea of what a Fire Point is!

So, there you have it - Another fabulous Sheep Music completed.
It really is a fantastic event put on by fantastic people and it just goes to show, that even in the face adversity, when peole pull together you can accomplish amazing things!
Tired, bruised, battered and dirty... I loved every minute of it!
[: 300-Cheers To Everyone Involved :]

A special thanks to:

Relentless Lewis!
For his hard work and staying up all night, soaking wet, looking after the equipment AND for his superb pig-sheep-bottom thing!?!

Magician Mike!
For learning so quickly and putting in a LOAD of hard work; plus supplying the crew with nuts and Jack Daniels :]

And a shout out to the other 'sound' crew:

Mr Waghorn and his resourcefulness

Wonderful engineer Bee and her wellies :0)

Joe and his boundless high spirits

And last, but very much not least, Sheriff - Keeping the site powered all weekend.
He's also the only person I've ever met who shares the same last name as me!!!

* FIN *

Today, I'm Most Angry About: Completely messing up cooking an omelette! Grrr, don't ask!
Grrr-O-Meter Rating: 3/10

Today's Top Tip:
House Owners: If you live below a flight path, fool airline passengers into thinking you have a swimming pool by painting a big blue square in your back garden.


Anonymous said...

I love these reports... keep it up :)

Phil said...

Thanksying you muchly matey :]

Lord Hutton said...

Good grief. At least we didnt get rain at Crustyfest

The Brat Pack said...

Wow - this is so cool to see and read about. Looks insanely fun. :)

(The Brat Packs Mom)

Dakota said...

OMG!! And I thought Glastonbury had turned into a Mud-fest. Boy was I wrong. This is sooooooo much worse! Did the equipment live to tell the tale?
Great festival report and amazing mud shots! Thanks for sharing :-)

Phil said...

Lucky devil - You can see why I've had enough of festivals for this year?!? :[]

It was a 'unique' weekend shall we say :]
Lovin' Thrawn btw!!!

Yes, Glastonbury was bad, but I didn't have 10 tonne of PA gear to worry about too there, just myself, so it was MUCH worse yes, although more fun. I prefer the smaller festivals personally!
The equipement still needs cleaning off - just waiting for some dry weather to do it outside (Clean the equipment that is :0)
We cleaned those two subs and it took ages to get the encrusted mud off :]
Glad you liked the post Dakkers...

Jeangenie said...

I'd assumed your father had the same last name as you ... or haven't you met him yet? ;) :D
*runs and hides*

b o o said...

#1 sheep music is like totallty up stu's alley.

#2 rocky is A-dorable

#3 i don't want to know where those plugs have been

#4 gawd you're a cutie :-X

Purple Donkeys said...

Boy did i miss out there - look at all that cheese and wine! See i knew you wouldn't miss me this year! I hate you all! Why did you need 2 people to do what i did on my own????? More importantly who decided to give big Rich a promo and let him near something as technical as a wheelbarrow?!?!?! And how the hell do you mess up cooking an omelette??? pffffffff!

PS always look on the brightside of life!!!

Catch up soon! Love you all really x x x

Jenny! said...

Dude...that mud would just not be okay with me! Everything is so so dirty! It looks like fun though...and I don't believe the wooden fork for a minute!

Jeangenie said...

PS. If those are the sort of conditions that follow you to festivals, please never, never, never come to Cropredy! :D :D

Anonymous said...

Nizlopi are pretty cool. Looked like yet another all round weekend of fun in the life off Dogga.

I think we used the same desk at one of the gigs in Southampton about a year ago. By the way, I think the terminals on that XLR might be dirty...

I've been away from blogs for too long. sorry I missed your 30. Many felicitations anyway dude!

Phil said...

LOOOL - Oh, there's always one clever f***er isn't there :]
OK, the first none-family member with the same last name as me!
Better now? :0)
I was invited to Cropredy a couple of times and would of loved to of gone, but I was so fed up with festivals after Sheep, as you can probably appreciate! :]

#1 Yeah, bet Stu and most of the others would love it, you too! :]
#2 Rocky was just well cuddley.
#3 Eww, those plugs did look they had come from somewhere nasty - trust you to come up with that! ;]
#4 *blush* thank you, but your much cuter; trust me :X

I missed my patch bitch this year :[ Lew and Mike did do a good job though and yes it took two to replace you!!!
Rich was only allowed short stints with the wheelbaroow, accompanied by an adult too of course ;)
There was no really stinky cheese this year and you've started a festival trend now - we dedicated it to you!
No stolen goods or CDs this year either pffft.
OI, shove it chef boy, an omlette aint as easy as it sounds hehe.
Love you more - see ya soon x

You wouldn't belive how horrible the mud was AND it stank!!! :[]
Haha, it may have been a plastic fork then?!? :0)

Phil said...

Nizlopi are cool and they are very nice too! Shame there wasn't enough time to give them a good line check before they came on! :`[

The Yamaha M7CL rocks!!! Aux Sends on faders is just great when doing monitors :]
They do a smaller one too called an LS9.

That XLR cable went in the bin! 10 out of 10 for recognising it though - a gold star if you can tell me what it was for (Clue: The two leads are tied together and one is female, the other male)

You're abandoning your bloggging duties... Shame on you :0)
Cheers Rob!!!

Me Myself and I said...

whoa, that's a lot of mud!!

rocky's a cutie!!

Andre Veloux said...

Brilliant! And one of your best photo reports Dogga. It looks crazy but you make it look like fun. Pigs like mud, maybe they should rename it the pig music festival.

Phil said...

It was an obscene amount of mud and Rocky didn't like the mud on his paws :]

Thank you Andre!
Yes, it was a mix and madness and mayhem.
Pig Music - Good call LOL :#]

kat said...

Good job you had your wellies!

Looks like fun. :-)

Anonymous said...

I love it - you have an amazing ability to 'make the best' of what could have been a seriously miserable occasion. Good for you!

Phil said...

Indeed! I bought my wellies before Glastonbury and thought I'd bring them along 'just in case' :]

Good team work and high spirited friends (and beer) helped a lot; I felt like walking off many times! Cheers matey :]

mellowlee said...

Holy hell, that's a lotta mud!

Tag! You're it (read my blog post) :O)

Phil said...

:`[ I've had enough of mud!!!

Ooh, thanks for the tag, but I already did it a week ago :0)

Anonymous said...

Umm, a monitor? 1 for signal one for link? or possibly send and return for a cans system?

Anonymous said...

Dude, you have the coolest life ever... I swear.

Phil said...

Ooh close - You get a silver star! It's an insert lead (send and return yes) for a gate! :]

The muddiest life ever don't you mean LOL!
Cheers matey :0)

Me Myself and I said...

Hey, where've ya been? I miss your top tips!!

mellowlee said...

Hey Dogga! How the hell did I miss the sheep photo the first time 'round! Haha! That's crazy funny :O) Have a great weekend!

Me-ow said...

Great shots. It looks like Woodstock with all of the rain. That blow up sheep is too funny.
You live a great life DoGGa

Phil said...

I've been V busy and some family issues have arisen, so top-tip powers have been directed elsewhere temporarily... :]
Back soon hopefully!

Hey up chuck!
There were about 50 blow up sheep that the organisers threw into the crowd - V cool! :]
Good weekend was had thanking you - I trust you did too!

Phil said...

Thanks Phillis - Looking back on that festival now - what a mad and muddy time it was. Seems like ages ago now already :[

Sheep ROCK! :0)

Kayla said...

That is one muddy concert!
Good Grief at all you had to go though to put on the show.
Cheers to ya!

Where have you been lately? Don't see as many posts from you as usual.
I have been in a funk (depression) since I broke my relationship with Tom.
My blog is suffering! haha
Hope you are well...would love to hear from you soon!

Phil said...

Hi Ya Matey!
It was bloomin' 'ard work that festival was, but as they say, 'the show must go on' :[]

I've been a bit busy and some family issues arose and I too have been feeling low.
Sorry about you and Tom - splitting up always hurts eh; I can sympathise completely.
Hope you cheer up soon. :)))

Anonymous said...

Cool, glad I was close.

Given the sort of guy you are, are you going to PLASA this weekend?

There's a small chance I'm going on Sunday, so should you happen to be there it would be cool to finally see the 'real dogga'

I'd request that you keep your bum to yourself though...

If you want to let me know, my email is my first name at mydomain.


Phil said...

Haha, yeah, I'm going down on Sunday and coming back on Tuesday. I do it every year, as the company I work for exhibits there every year! We are on stand no. J11 (XTA) if you want find us :]

I'll have to be professional / mostly, so I'll keep my bum indoors - Althouh the one year, 4 of us all mooned for a self timer photo and then stuck it up on the plasma screen and played guess the arse with the female staff :0) That was fun.

Last years PLASA post is here:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post Mr D and great phtos.. What a lark - I never read a word about this in the mainstream media - you are Blogging at its best..

I spent half an hour or more here. Keep it up if you can!!

Toccata said...

That was such a great pictorial review. Have lived through some rainy, muddy music festivals in my time but NOTHING like that there mud! That mud looked insane. Especially enjoyed the "Mud on Road" sign. Hope you had a good summer.

Phil said...

Ah, kind words Mr M! :)
It's a fairly small festival and only this year did they go public with it, as normally it sells out and is full of locals mainly so no need to invite the riff raff! :0)
Glad you liked the post and pics!!!

Cool, glad you liked the post - Yeah, that was serious festival mud, although I have been mentally scarred by many wet Glastonburys too :[]
I've had enough of mud!!!

Anonymous said...

Aha - good to see you're still around Mr Dogga.

Enquiring minds are awaiting your next post with anticipation.....

Phil said...

I'm still alive, just, thanks! :]

Good to see Tilly around, she looks one cool hound.

Take care mate...

Anonymous said...

Oy! Where are you?

Phil said...

Still alive!
Thanks for asking though :)))
Hope you're keeping well.

Jeangenie said...

Six weeks+! Pull your finger out, boy! ;)

Phil said...

*Searches for a torch to start finger extraction procedure* :0)

Lord Hutton said...

43 comments? Outrageous!

Phil said...

44 now thanks... Hang on, make that 45 :] It's a personal record!!!