Manchester-based pro audio rental service Wigwam has appointed touring engineers James Gebhard and Francoise Le Moignan as hire managers in its hire project team.
James Gebhard has engineered some of the biggest touring artists of the last 20 years, starting with mixing monitors for The Mamas and the Papas in 1998. Gebhard was then introduced to The Strokes before they signed to a record company, leading to seven years as their engineer covering their first three albums. Next, he had a ten year stint as FOH engineer with The Killers before he stepped away from touring when he married in 2013. He found his way back onto the road in 2015 to mix Circa Waves, followed by Whitesnake, who he mixed for over three years.
Gebhard has now decided to retire from touring permanently and has joined Wigwam full time as a hire manager.
“I’ve known Spencer for years, so when I decided it was time for new opportunities I contacted him. We had a few discussions, the upshot of which was he offered me this role. I’ve developed a great respect for Wigwam over the years and now I hope to use my experience to further grow the hire business.”
“20-plus years on the road has taught me exactly what people are looking for from a hire company and this should help us deliver what each client requires. Wigwam has access to all the leading systems from d&b, Meyer and, through SSE Audio and Capital, L-Acoustics and Martin Audio. We can offer clients not just their system of choice but the system that’s best suited to their needs and their music.”
Francoise Le Moignan
Franc, as she is universally known, has 22 years experience in the pro audio industry during which time she has developed an impressive portfolio of clients with her work as an FOH and monitor engineer.
She started out working at various venues across Manchester, before she picked up her first tour with Idlewild as the support band for Placebo. From there, she has worked with Lily Allen, James Blake, The Streets and Richard Hawley, along with Hacienda Classical and Disco Classical.
Explaining her latest career move, Franc commented: “I’m really keen to transfer all my touring experience to help Wigwam supply the best systems to our customers. I’ve had a great relationship with the company over the years so I know how they look after their clients. As a part of Solotech we have access to a massive hire inventory so we can put together the right system at the right price.”
“I’ve built up a great number of contacts over the years so hopefully I can direct some of their business to Wigwam or the wider group. The positive experience I’ve had as a customer with Wigwam makes that all the easier.”
Franc’s not completely withdrawing from the touring world as the new role is on a part-time basis, enabling her to take on FOH and monitor duties. “It’s flexible – some of the time I’ll be full-time at Wigwam, so that I can go off on tour when required. I’ve already got a few projects coming up including mixing monitors for Paul Weller when he tours the UK and EU in May and June.
Spencer Beard, Solotech UK Group live productions managing director commented: “In Franc and James we’ve added two highly respected people in our industry to the Wigwam hire operation. They bring further experience to our brand and the wider group. They add to what is already a great team at Wigwam and across the UK hire operation. I’m looking forward to working with them on the projects they bring to our organisation.”