A lot of people I know have different reasons why they like, or don't like, doing shows. But one of the things I like about it is getting to work outdoors once in a while.
I was born in California in August, which is why I think I'll always love the summer. And even though many people would prefer to be in a beautiful air-conditioned theater, I kind of like being out in the sun (or rain- not quite as fun) and mixing outdoor concerts.
That's definitely fortunate for me, because many of the bands I work for depend on festival contracts for a large part of their operating expenses. There are so many festivals these days, and the big ones can offer good rates to well known artists. In fact, many tours will use a few festival dates to anchor the tour route, and then do headlining shows in between to fill in the gaps.
Festivals can be a little bit of a pain if you're a sound engineer and don't have a solid file to work from, or if there's a digital console there that you're not familiar with. There usually isn't time to do a sound check and you have to share consoles with a bunch of other people, unless you bring your own.
One of the tricks I've learned is to get in touch with the festival audio team ahead of time. They'll let you know which console will be on site, and if you don't have a file already you can use an offline editor to build one. Usually, the audio company will load your file on the console ahead of time and make sure it all looks good. This can save a little time the day of show, and that means saving a little stress as well!
So, I'm headed to the UK for the Reading and Leeds festivals this weekend with Haim. We're headlining one of the stages, which means that we'll get extra time for setup, and I'll have the same console (the AVID S6L) I use for every one of their shows. They're a really solid live band, so I'm sure it's going to be great! I'll report back when I'm home...