The MOBO Awards, which recognise and celebrate black music and culture, returned for its 25th year in October last year. With Craig David, Little Simz, Central Cee and Knucks among the artists recognised, the annual ceremony took place at the OVO Arena Wembley, where a star-studded line-up of artists including Nile Rodgers, Kojey Radical, Tion Wayne, Fireboy DML, Cat Burns, FLO and Eliza Rose all performing on the night. DiGiCo’s SD10, SD12 and S21 digital mixing consoles offering ultimate flexibility, sound quality and reliability to the technically challenging event.
Simon Purse, Head of Audio at South West Group Events (SWG Events), who also acted as Audio Crew Chief at MOBO Awards, explains that, for the first year, SWG Events was sole audio supplier for the event.
“The MOBOs is a technically challenging event to pull off,” said Purse. “It was also an extremely quick turnaround from when SWG Events won the project to when the event happened, so prep time was limited.”
The company’s own DiGiCo digital mixing consoles, including an SD10 and an SD21 were used at the event, with a guest SD12 deployed at Nile Rodgers monitor position and an additional SD12 at FOH.
“DiGiCo is always extremely rider friendly,” continued Purse. “If you put an SD10 on monitors and an SD12 at FOH, you just know that whoever turns up they are going to be happy. With the MOBOs being such premium production, and knowing there could be last minute additions to the lineup, we wanted to ensure we had the best audio equipment to work with.”
Without too many specifics until just before the event, Purse noted that having Simon Honeywell at FOH and Mark Sunderland at monitors was a big comfort as he could rely on their skill sets to build the channel list as they went through it. “The nature of the gig meant we couldn’t be more prepared, so having experienced engineers like Simon and Mark was key to ensuring a successful outcome,” he adds.
With the DiGiCo consoles readily available and his crew representing SWG Events on site, the team was able to effectively manage all the technical and engineering aspects of the event.
“What was really useful was knowing we had the Madi split options in the SD Racks. This gave us lots of different ways of splitting the signals to the OB truck, and we knew we would have plenty of I/O channels,” said Purse. “Thanks to the Madi splits, we didn’t need to have tie lines to the OB truck, which gave us additional flexibility.”
With the MOBO Awards being heavily televised, reliability was key.
“Whilst the outside broadcast was independent, they relied on our split being consistent,” explains Purse. “We had two Mac books with two audio interfaces simultaneously running playback and time code. Both interfaces were then fed into the S21 which was setup to receive one unit as primary, the other unit as the secondary. This meant if any interruption to the signal of the primary unit should occur, an automatic switch to the redundant unit would kick in with no interruption to audio.”
With guest engineers including Tion Wayne’s engineer, Dion as well as Craig David’s engineer both working on the SD12, Purse recalls how smooth and seamless everything ran at the event.
“It was a new gig for us, so we wanted to ensure everything was perfect, and it really was!” concluded Purse. “We walked into it and smashed it. Everyone was pleased with the result and how things were running on the night. Having DiGiCo as house consoles made our job much easier, as we know they’re rider-friendly, reliable, flexible and delivered great audio, which was exactly what was expected of such premium event. We are currently awaiting delivery of an SD12, so our arsenal of DiGiCo solutions will be even bigger and better, making us prepared for any exciting challenges lying ahead!”