IndiEarth – XChange 2014

The IndiEarth Xchange this year kicked off on 5th December 2014 in Chennai. It was lined up with great sessions, industry veterans, films and music acts.

I was invited as a panelist for a discussion on the evolving role of technical directors at music festivals. It is an interesting topic to touch upon, especially with an audience filled with festival makers and active independent art promoters. The session was curated by Guru Somayaji (Program Director, Counter Culture) and the panelists were Yotam Agam (CTO EarthSync – IN), Fali Damania (NH7/SulaFest – IN), Nikhil Pai (Freelance Sound Engineer – IN), Rahul Samuel (FreeLance Sound Engineer – IN) and Marion Joly (Sakifo, Les Rockomotives – FR).

The discussion was about how the role of sound engineers in India has changed into that of technical directors in the recent years. We, as sound engineers, are now making technical decisions that traditionally, festival management or a equipment rental company made. The discussion dove into lack/availability of skilled crew for setups and stage management. We also discussed some issues faced at music festivals and shared some technical advice.

Key take-aways:
1. Sound engineers are not the decision makers for all things sound/technical that need to be procured for a music festival.
2. There is no lack of quality equipments available in India now.

3. Skilled crew is available provided they are compensated rightly.
4. A festival/concert usually doesn’t sound right due to management decisions made at earlier stages and of course poor crew.
5. With proper technical planning, work during the festivals can be smooth and reduced to a great extent.