Choosing a Venue

The venue is often one of the largest costs of an event with London venues costing between £600 and £1000 per 100 people for a standard venue and grade I listed or prestigious venues often costing £2000 or more per 100 people.

Why is it important for sound?

The first thing that will affect the sound at your event is the venue you choose. Sound bounces off walls, floors and ceilings, and can be stopped by architectural features.  

Your sound hire company will need to know the dimensions of the audience area in order to calculate the size of speaker system required. 

Look out for or avoid:

  • Rooms with glass or very flat surfaces such as tiled/ plain plaster surfaces – these result in less clarity and often significantly louder overall volumes
  • Absence of soft furnishings – soft furnishings help with clarity but may reduce volume
  • Rooms with pillars, arches or varying ceiling heights – may require extra speakers or limit options for where to place them
  • Very high ceilings – may also affect clarity, especially in the bass frequencies
  • Inclined slopes. This can aid visibility and improve distribution of sound in some cases.
  • Very long and narrow rooms – affects audience visibility and requires more speakers
  • Venues with challenging load-in, for example stairs – this will affect the cost of the delivery for your PA system (and other vendors)
  • Rooms with sound limiters (these are usually wall mounted boxes with traffic lights that cut the electrical supply when music gets ‘too loud’)

Ask about:

  • Curfew on music.  If you want your event to go on late make sure the venue allow this – we will never go beyond the venue’s given timings as it is unprofessional
  • When is the venue licensed until?
  • Enough space for size of band (ask the band what they need)
  • If there is parking at the venue for the duration of the event (vehicles are 2.7m high)
  • How they expect the band PA to be loaded in (e.g. If they are only allowed to use certain entrances)
  • How much experience they have working with live music events
  • Whether they permit a loud band or if there are restrictions on volume
  • Will they manage the arrival of musicians and provide a green room/catering for them and the crew?
  • Is there is a stage provided?
  • Do they have a wireless microphone for speeches (if relevant)
  • Can they provide a 4-6ft trestle table?
  • Is power accessible to the stage area and on several standard 13amp sockets?
  • How much power (in amps or watts) is available for sound and light?
  • Will other events or parts of the programme affect the ability for a sound check to take place immediately before the doors open?  For example, if a wedding service is taking place next door when the band arrives the timings need to be adjusted to allow them to sound check
  • What time will the room be accessible and ready for the PA equipment to be set up

Remember

  • Simple shaped rooms such as rectangles are usually easier to distribute sound from a simple pair of speakers.
  • Flat floors are needed so our speakers are stable
  • You will be responsible for the safe use of the equipment if you dry hire, whereas if you get a fully engineered package we are covered by Public Liability Insurance

We fully accept that this is not an ideal world and are better equipped than most companies to deal with the issues above.  However, we can plan more effectively if we know in advance all the information above.

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