Canadian Musician - November/December 2017 - Page 60

LIVE SOUND Erik Paquette works with VER Toronto. Established 35 years ago, VER is a leading provider of audiovisual equipment and services for clients in TV, cinema, live music, sports, and the corporate world. VER oper- ates on six continents and executes more than 50 individual productions daily. Behind the Scenes at WayHome and Boots & Hearts With VER Toronto’s Erik Paquette F ollowing the summer 2017 edi- tions of the multi-genre WayHome Music and Arts Festival and coun- try-focused Boots & Hearts, we connected with Erik Paquette of VER Toronto, the company that supplies the production technologies for the two fests, to find out what goes on behind the scenes to deliver these special events to tens of thou- sands of fans in Oro-Medonte, ON. VER offers audiovisual equipment and ser- vices for various kinds of organizations and events internationally. VER’s team at WayHome and Boots & Hearts, led by Paquette, was re- sponsible for noise monitoring, equipment procurement, and AV services. CM: Give us an idea of your responsibili- ties at the two festivals, both leading up to the events and while on the ground. Erik Paquette: My job starts months before being onsite. We start with designing the best audio system for the festival. A lot is taken into consideration here, starting with ensuring the audience gets the best sound possible in the concert bowl. After we have designed the system, we then start working with the touring acts to be sure all of their touring systems are integrated with our system flawlessly. While onsite, it’s mostly about managing all the last-minute requests and curve balls that in- evitably come up during a large-scale outdoor festival. This is the fun part. 60 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N CM: Approximately how many people do you have on your team each year, and which tasks take the most time and technicians? EP: This year, we had 18 audio technicians onsite to operate and maintain the systems. CM: Tell us a bit about the gear you’ve got onsite, and anything in particular you use to ensure the best possible experience. EP: This year’s [sound] systems are all [from German high-end loudspeaker manufacturer] d&b audiotechnik. My favourite piece is the ArrayCalc program that is used with the d&b systems. This enables us to virtually [config- ure] the system to ensure all the angles and placements will deliver the best and most consistent sound throughout the venue. This “homework” also leads to less troubleshoot- ing onsite. CM: What is the most challenging part of working on the festivals for you and your team? EP: Weather! CM: You mentioned noise monitoring earlier – how does that work and what does it entail for an event of this scale? EP: We have been working very closely with the town [of Oro-Medonte, ON] as well as acoustical engineers to generate a sound monitoring plan. We have used information gained from last year’s event to design the best system for the audience while also miti- gating any unwanted frequencies offsite. We are doing offsite monitoring to lessen the disruption to the town, as well as self- regulating inside the concert bowl. CM: From start to finish, how much time do you invest to make these events happen? EP: The planning stages for the festival gen- erally start during the previous festival. We really start getting into the major logistics of everything starting in January. CM: Do you have any advice for people who are looking to get into the industry? EP: Work ethic is the most important thing to me. Hard work always pay ́) 5ͥáMѡٕ(5ɬ5ͽݕɔѡɽչ)ȁѡ܁ѥѡ]!)5ͥ́ѥمԁ)Ёɕ٥́ɕЁѽ)ѥ́QMɄѠ)ɽٔ) ѥȰ )ͅȰ䁵ɔ)ܹͥ