A new era for Symphotech

Symphotech's newly appointed leadership team sits down with TPi’s Alicia Pollitt to discuss the need to alter the perception of health and safety when it comes to live events as well as the importance of greater female representation in this sector of the industry.

Photo: Graham Brown

Founded in 2011, Symphotech is a familiar name within the industry and has been a go-to within the live events sector for all health and safety and noise management needs. But with increasing focus on safety and as the demand for noise level compliance rises as the industry bounces back from the pandemic, with independent venues seeing an uplift in Noise Abatement notices, the Symphotech Group has had a reshuffle, with three women being appointed to key roles within the company.  

With this round of new hires, the company is looking to address the perception of event safety and noise management. Leading the company in this new initiative is the company’s Chief Executive, Caroline Harding, leveraging the skills of a new executive team which consists of Director of Safety Operations, Kirsty Care and Acoustech Director of Noise Operations, Sophia Livett.

Symphotech has three divisions: Symphotech Safety, Symphotech Production and Acoustech Noise Management. While Livett oversees Acoustech, Care helms the Symphotech Safety department, bringing safety consultancy to live music, events and venues. With the emphasis on creating safer spaces whatever the client’s environment or business. Both women are led by Harding who explained to TPi that the company will be seeking to recruit for Symphotech Production in 2024.

As safety becomes ever more important in live events, Care has stepped up from a freelance background to Director of Safety Operations with the goal of transforming attitudes towards safety. “When I go to an event, people often say: ‘We began with a lot of negative preconceptions about safety, but we’ve really loved working with you’,” she enthused. “Creating that pocket of people power, a blend of knowledge and the confidence and experience from the safety side really makes things happen. We aren’t about stopping things, we’re about finding how to make it happen safely: it’s all about teamwork and solutions – as it always is in events.”

With off-site noise affecting residents and councils tenfold in a post-Covid world, events and venues are struggling with licensing. This is where Livett comes in. As an independent monitoring specialist, she acts to ensure events are compliant with Noise Council Guidelines. “The beauty with Acoustech is we’re part of a group that understands safety and production: that’s unusual and a real strength. In one recent event that almost got an abatement notice, which would have shut them down, we were able to have that conversation with the council, and as soon as he knew Acoustech were on the case he retracted it because they know and like our paperwork and our approach. We’re open and honest with them: that builds trust and confidence,” Livett commented.

With safety and sound management being specialisms of Symphotech, Harding outlines to TPi how the company also wants to expand once more into production: “We have a history in production services that we want to build on. We are moving forward and building on that legacy. There’s a lot of interest but with the synergy we already have within this new team it must be the right person,” Harding explained.

Being a woman in a male-dominated sector is something that Care, Livett and Harding were happy to discuss, as the conversation turned to the fact that they’re a ‘rare’ team of women leaders in events: “We’re a strong team with a shared vision and identity and leveraging that to create the consistency and quality to deliver world-class service is what’s important,” Kirsty emphasised. “Of course, it’s great for us all to see women being appointed into senior roles in the sector, and we’re happy to embrace that and support each other, but this is about working together and using our skills and experience, as well as our shared passion and commitment, to forge the strongest team however it might grow in future.

Livett concurred: “The changes to the team and company are really inspiring and empowering. I love having new peers and mentors at this stage in my career. I’m embracing all the benefits of being part of this new team. Together we’re building on Symphotech’s legacy, I’m the youngest and I can honestly say I’m already seeing the benefits – the future looks exciting.”