Britannia Row has an incredibly rich history of welcoming staff and freelance crew from all over the world.
The 5th Women in Live Music Awards (WILMAs), which champions women in the European industry, were held last week at the Shure Rose Centre in London. As an event sponsor, Britannia Row provided personnel and equipment. Senior Apprentices Olesya Lesyk and Rebecca Nicol set up the evening’s DJ equipment, including a small L-Acoustics PA system.
“When Britannia Row Training alumni Hannah Brodrick and Malle Kaas set up Women in Live Music five years ago, of course, we wanted to support them,” comments Britannia Row Productions and Britannia Row Training Director, Mike Lowe.
“It’s of paramount importance to us that we find and retain talent from around the globe. We proudly encourage and welcome a diverse team through our doors. We have, over the years, trained and employed exceptional talent, and it remains a key driver in our future endeavours to create a safe and equitable space for all to learn from, work and thrive in.”
Founded in December 2017 by CEO Malle Kaas and Co-Director Hannah Brodrick, WILM is the only organisation of its kind. It provides a platform for European-based gender minorities working in backstage roles covering live production, logistics and technical duties.
“We saw a need for this kind of community,” says Malle. “It was a way for us to reach out to other women in the European industry. Currently, the percentage of non-white-male workers in our sector is below 10% when we look at directly at professional European tour and live events crews. WILM’s aim is to increase that number by introducing backstage careers to young women and non-male-identifying people. We also seek to offer solutions that will help to retain gender minorities in the industry, be it networking, workers’ rights or career possibilities.”
With more than 5,000 professional and student members in its private Facebook group and over 250 crew profiles listed on the website, WILM’s focus has been to help crews diversify by presenting those in hiring roles with more options.
Although the organisation has a European database, outside of the continent, WILM’s work also has impact further afield.
“I was recently in Tanzania, Africa, representing WILM for the second time to train 14 young women in the professional skills needed for festival production and technique,” continues Malle.
“It was a great success! This type of learning environment can be very beneficial as many women feel stigmatised because of their gender. In our experience, they don't always naturally feel that they belong. With more visible diversity, it will become easier to find peers they can relate to. Multiple international studies have shown that a more diverse team actually increases positivity and increases creativity.”
Since the awards were formed, notable audio recipients include Jo Gustavsson who was the first women to open the Orange stage at Roskilde Festival; Sapna Patel, Britannia Row freelancer who has worked on complex events such as The BRIT Awards and took home the RF Technician award in 2021; Naomi Nash, Monitor Engineer with The Rock Orchestra; and Samantha White, 2020’s Monitor Engineer of choice, who has recently been on the road with pop legend Rick Astley.
The 2022 winners include Britannia Row freelancers Megan Clement and Beth O’Leary, who, between them, have worked on tours including Royal Blood, Simply Red, Jorja Smith and Roxy Music; undertaken festival duties at Creamfields and WOMAD; and been part of the crews on Concert for Ukraine and the MTV European Music Awards.
The latest pro audio recipients are as follows:
RF Technician – Beth O’Leary (UK)
Sound Mon – Jac Nott (UK)
Sound FOH – Anna Dahlin (UK)
System Engineer / Technician – Megan Clement (UK)
Outstanding Award - Sound Engineer, Ira Lobanok of Ukraine, for her charitable efforts with Musicians Defend Ukraine.