Everyone in Calgary knows about Sled Island, one of the city’s largest and most anticipated events of any kind throughout the year. We took part again this year by providing sound for Memorial Park’s outdoor venue and Tubby Dog.
As long as the weather is great, outdoor venues are pretty simple, but where we run into challenges is setting up at Tubby Dog. It’s a small, narrow space ripe for feedback loops from either the in-house speakers or musician’s monitors. In a space like that, we make sure to push our soundcheck to find as many trouble frequencies as possible.
Band transitions are also cramped in a place like that, so we stay out of the way or help out as needed. We work with musicians to balance out the mix going to the house with their own amps to ensure the guitar isn’t washing out the vocals, for example.
It’s important to remain flexible and adapt to the venue, especially for music. A venue can fundamentally change how you build a mix, and recognizing even the most minute changes required makes all the difference.
The technical challenges aside, the small-capacity and eclectic shows offer Tubby Dog a great energy during Sled Island. It was fun to mix for local bands like Heavydive this year, as well as the Okinawa-based punk duo, HARAHELLS. We only hope next year’s lineup is just as fun.