Britannia Row designs live audio for 2024 BRIT Awards

The biggest night in the UK’s televised music awards calendar was supplied by Britannia Row for the 29th year.

The multi-artist live music event - which sits within a televised awards show - requires the audio team to ensure the overall production comes together cohesively, a task Britannia Row is well versed in.

Head of Engineering – Event Support, Josh Lloyd, who also acts as the BRITs audio designer, comments: “People like to remain involved in this show as it has always been an annual milestone in the UK music calendar and has generated some iconic moments including Adele’s performance of ‘Someone Like You’ which I was lucky enough to mix, Geri Halliwell's iconic Union Jack dress and Santan Dave’s incredible rendition of ‘Black’. The production team is made up of an amazing group of people, so it’s a real pleasure coming back.”

This year, the PA system was an L-Acoustics mixture: K1, K2, K3 and KS28,with the principal design priority being to minimise spill into microphones for both musical performances and presentation and awards segments.

Lloyd, who mixes the event at FOH, continues: “The key to this during the design phase is understanding how and where performances and presentations will happen, working out where coverage is and is not possible. Having very granular control and routing within the system allows us to ensure we have good gain before feedback and a clean mix into broadcast.”

For control during musical performances, DiGiCo Quantum 7 consoles handled the mixes, 2 x monitor consoles formed an A/B flip flop system, the FOH surface mixed all live musical elements, and a fourth ‘hot spare’ was on hand for quick patching if needed.

Lloyd continues: “The presentations are handled by a redundant pair of Yamaha PM5s. The whole backbone of the system is based around a redundant set of Direct Out Prodigy MPs which deal with playback and radio mic routing as well as system drive with all signal distribution from microphone to amplifier, staying in the digital domain. We then have 96 channels of analogue inputs to handle live instruments on stage. This design is an evolution over many years of doing this show.”

Account Executive Tom Brown adds: “Britannia Row has supplied live audio solutions to the BRITs for 29 years, and it’s an honour to be asked back again. Our involvement in the show begins on day 1; Josh and his team look at PA design and placement to ensure everything from lighting to set and Spidercams are not obstructed. As it’s a televised live music show, all the elements need to be balanced with no single department having priority over the other.

“The relationship between the BRIT Awards and Britannia Row is a long-standing one, so the channels of communication for interdepartmental collaboration are well established. Josh’s team also look after generic input and output lists for seamless connectivity between the live and broadcast elements to ensure we’re singing from the same hymn sheet, and that our live audio mix doesn’t overly colour the broadcast audio. This is a fine balancing act by a team who have worked together for years and have the process homed in very well. Having the level of in-house design capability that we do benefits our client for this type of show, where we are very much a solutions provider rather than an equipment rental house.”

Lloyd agrees: “The success of what we do is down to the skills in each department of our organisation. Communication between the account handler, the engineering team, the operations team, and the team prepping the equipment in the warehouse is so important.

“We pride ourselves - both at Britannia Row and as part of the wider Clair Global Group - on having Engineering and Tour Support teams who work together globally to support our clients. We have constant communication internally to ensure smooth delivery and very high standards. A common ethos that runs through the show support team is a group of people who are deeply passionate about audio and achieving the best possible result - that's what drives us all.”

In addition to having a wealth of audio expertise behind it, this event is also an opportunity for new talent to shine, with Britannia Row welcoming two trainees into the crew each year.

Lloyd elaborates: “A big part of Britannia Row’s DNA is training new talent. Our two-year training programme nurtures new audio techs and engineers and gives wide-ranging on-the-job experience. When we joined Clair Global, we could see they shared our passion for training with their incredibly successful RSIT (Road Staff In Training) programme. It’s the key to the ongoing development of our industry and supporting the next generation. The BRIT Awards is an important platform for this in the UK.”

Clair Global Group client winners this year include SZA for ‘International Artist’, Miley Cyrus for ‘International Song’, Bring Me The Horizon for ‘Alternative/Rock Act’, Calvin Harris for ‘British Dance Act’ and Dua Lipa, who took home the trophy for best ‘Pop Act’.

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