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Running Live internet Radio from Festivals

August 8th, 2012 by Graham Attwell



Photo: Sal Borg

Last year we organised a workshop on web radio at the annual San Marino International Festival (SMIAF). This year we followed it up by launching SMIAF radio broadcasting directly from the main stage at the festival.

Although tiring – I think we put out about 15 hours of live radio – it was great fun. We had a team of four – I directed the broadcasts and co-hosted along with the wonderful Annalisa Schembri from Malta. And Michele Ghiotti! from San Marino, who participated in last years workshop did an amazing job dashing around the different festival sites gathering interviews with performers, vendors, festival volunteers and just about anyone who would stay still long enough to be interviewed. As always Dirk Stieglitz manfully manned the computers and somehow kept the broadcast going out, even when the tangle of feeds seemed mind boggling.

Although we have done many live shows from conferences and events we had never broadcast from a  festival before. It was a fairly steep learning curve but hard to see how we could have learned so much from another way than just doing it. We learned how important coordination and collaboration with the sound technicians and stage manager is. We failed in advance to realise how long sound checks can take and had to plan our way through that on the go. Live festival broadcasts require a great deal of flexibility and very quick decision making. Artists do not always turn up for sound checks at the time they are supposed to, acts do not always stick to the  timetable and nor do artists turn up for interviews at the exact time they say they would!

One issue which worried us prior to the festival was copyright for music. We could not even find out what the copyright laws were in San Marino. In the event we approached the artists and asked them for agreement that we could use their material. and they all readily agreed. This is not a big festival with super groups. The bands at the festival, just like the majority of performers all over the world, are desperate for any publicity they can get for their music. If people listen to a podcasts of their live performance they may buy their records or just as important may go and see them at a live gig. Indeed a number fo the bands asked if they could have copies of the interviews we made with them.

We also recorded a one hour informal discussion between the SMIAF staff and volunteers with Nobel prize winning writer and painter, Dario Fo. Unfortunately my Italian is fairly non existent but the bits a did get sounded extremely interesting.

We will be post processing the Dario Fo session, like all the other festival interviews and performances and releasing them on both the SMIAF website and the Pontydysgu site over the next month or so. And we will be very happy to provide copies to anyone who wants them.

Finally many thanks to the  core organisers from SMIAF, Meri, Matteo and the Tommies for all their help and support. And not forgetting Elio Balestrieri for keeping us supplied with beer!



Photo: Mariorosa di Nublia




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