Entec Sound & Light, one of the UK’s longest established rental houses, has renewed its association with the three-day GuilFest music festival in Surrey, supplying sound design and equipment to the Main Stage in Stoke Park, central Guildford.
GuilFest ran for 21 years until it was declared insolvent with debts of £300,000 in 2012. Founder Tony Scott was granted permission to resurrect the event for 2014, with this year's festival headlined by Kool and the Gang and the Boomtown Rats (pictured, above and below, respectively).
The rebirth of the festival marks a parallel rejuvenation for Entec, as Mark ‘Magic’ Ellis-Cope completes his three-month move into the role of head of sound following the retirement of industry veteran Dick Hayes.
Magic, who has worked with Entec on a freelance basis for over a dozen years, is evidently pleased with his new position. “It’s great!” he says. “[We’re] busy – very busy. Which is a good thing. And getting busier. It’s nice to breathe new life into the company and move it forward.”
Magic says through the contacts he’s established he aims to bring new people (“clients and freelancers”) into the Entec fold – “and a slightly different outlook”. “We’ve always stayed at the forefront as regards systems, processing and digital desks,” he explains. “Now it’s making sure we stay at the front: we need to futureproof ourselves and keep up with the times. Everything’s ever changing in this industry, but I’m hoping my tech-savviness can be used to our advantage.”
Ellis-Cope served as crew chief and RF tech at GuilFest, working alongside production manager Paul Warner, which saw Entec deploy a d&b system design based on a concept developed by sound engineer Liam Halpin: nine d&b J-Series large-format line array speakers plus the distributed bass array across the front of the stage.
Two Avid Profile consoles, in a flip-flop arrangement, were the default for bands who didn’t bring their own desk, with a Midas PRO1 for mixing the compere and switching between the two Avid Profile FOH consoles.
At the stage end, Entec provided two Yamaha PM5Ds on monitor duty.
The biggest challenge of the weekend was managing the radio frequencies, the rental house reports. With the Guildford Transmitter in close proximity and the site and also falling into the coverage catchment area of Crystal Palace, the RF spectrum is very busy.
“It can be a little fun at times but we didn’t experience any issues, and with careful planning the show again went off very smoothly,” says Magic.
Although rental jobs such as GuilFest are very much Entec’s forte, this is not where Magic wants to grow the business. “We’d like to do more in the touring market,” he says. “We do a lot of one-off events, and through that we’ve lost our way a little. We’re set up to do it – so yes, more touring!”
Photos: Stephen Burkwood