RG Jones looks back on ‘a summer like no other’

Simon Honywill, Senior Project Manager at RG Jones, reflects on a busy summer season.

Simon Honywill mixing FOH sound for Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. Photo: Colin Hart

If you talk to anybody in the production industry about their experience of the summer of ’22, you can be pretty sure that you’ll be met with a pained expression and a stream of expletives followed by words like mad, nuts, mental, ridiculous, crazy, and bonkers. It was for sure one of the busiest anyone can recall, as the UK events scene put the hammer down trying to make up for lost revenue from the previous two years of upheaval. Thankfully, the weather was pretty fabulous throughout – the concept of a summer this busy with mud and rain doesn’t bear thinking about.

People, equipment, transport and all manner of resources were at a premium for everyone, everywhere, and RG’s was no exception. What to do in a situation like this? Knuckle down and graft, and that’s exactly what we did.

RG Jones has always had a wide variety of clients whose demands for sound provision are very different. This summer the company serviced festivals, tours and some major sporting events, each with its own set of challenges.

The regular festivals at Glastonbury – where the company supplies Pyramid Stage, West Holts and two stages in Block9 – Henley and Leeds Castle were joined for the first time by the Main Stage at Radio 1 Big Weekend in Coventry, thanks to Production Manager, Dick Tee’s enduring faith in the company’s ability to come up with the goods. 

Radio One Big Weekend saw a line-up of acts ranging from Yungblud to Ed Sheeran via Calvin Harris and George Ezra, an eclectic mix handled with ease by a sizeable Martin Audio MLA system.

RG’s systems and crew featured on tours with regulars Katherine Jenkins, Goldfrapp and Ministry of Sound Classical, and kicking off the summer was another epic outing with Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds, always a challenge, always a great result.

Another regular event of considerable size came back with a vengeance in Alton, Hampshire, where the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association’s annual gathering Jalsa Salana again required some highly subtle sound engineering from a crack team headed up by Simon Honywill, Ian Threlfall and Jack Bowcher. Never an easy one this, but with fantastic curry readily available on a daily basis, the extensively networked system performed as well as it ever has. The discovery of a new craft beer bar in Alton certainly helped too…

Sporting events have played an important part in the RG’s canon for many years, and the top of the pile has to be The Championships at Wimbledon. By any standards this is a huge event, and installed RG Jones systems cover the entire site, delivering commentary, relays, announcements and broadcast feeds. The Championships demand that a large amount of additional technical infrastructure is brought in for the two-week duration of the greatest tennis tournament in the world, driven by a top team of the industry’s finest.

Elsewhere in a sport that needs bigger balls, RG’s installed a Martin Audio system into Twickenham Stadium for a series of high-profile rugby fixtures, including the Six Nations and games featuring Barbarians and the All Blacks.

It’s over now, but sure as the world orbits the sun, summer 2023 is gathering itself beyond the horizon and will almost certainly be just as mad, nuts, mental, ridiculous, crazy, bonkers as 2022. Brace yourselves everyone…