Your guide to booking with Brown Bear Sound
Remember: The sooner you get me involved with the planning of your event, the sooner I can help guide you with budget and logistical details.
Step 1. Determine Date, Artists.
The more notice I have, the better the chance I will be available for your event, and that I can guarantee the best pricing and make sure you stay on budget.
Determining how many acts will be performing, and what their technical needs are at the onset to our planning together is key in ensuring I can find that perfect balance of equipment to deliver the artists vision without breaking the budget.
Please provide artist technical riders and stage plots when requesting quotes so I can ensure that I have included any essential tools the artist will need to perform their best. A duo singing and playing acoustic instruments has very different technical needs and challenges than a 12-piece R&B band, which is also very different in needs from a 30-piece choir. The more information you can provide, the less changes there will be to the plan.
Step 2. Estimate Attendance/Listening Area, Event Duration & Available Power
The proposed listening area and anticipated attendance for the event is a key part in determining an appropriate sound system to meet your needs. Describing the number of tickets available doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to designing a sound system that will deliver volume and tonal consistency throughout the listening area, while minimizing unwanted sounds outside the event space.
Is your event going to be for 200 people shoulder-to-shoulder in a hall, or spread out across a lawn the size of a football field? I have multiple scalable sound reinforcement systems that can handle a variety of event types and sizes, but each component takes time to set up and transport, so the size of the system needed will affect the labor and rental costs I estimate.
Wheels are our friends. My largest system can fit through standard doorways and roll into place on wheels. If the venue is wheelchair accessible (whether with ramps, a loading bay or a freight elevator), I can easily load in any of my systems with one person. If the only way access to the performance area is to navigate stairs more than 3-high, I'll either need to downsize the rig or hire extra hands to help move the equipment, both of which affect the budget.
If the venue dimensions and load-in/load-out conditions are unknown when you request the estimate, I may require a site visit to review the layout, parking and electrical infrastructure. Estimates and site visits are free of charge at this time.
Don't forget to allow physical space for the sound system in the venue design. It's easy to overlook, but after the dance floor and stage are in place, remember that there will still be stands, speakers, cabling, equipment racks, and a mixing position that take up space in the venue, and interconnect cables from the mixing position to the stage that require vehicle-free paths as directly as possible. Storage for equipment cases may be needed near the performance area for indoor events where the loading dock cannot be easily accessed.
My smallest rig runs on a single 20A 120v power circuit, but my largest rig requires a NEMA14-50 230v plug (like you would use to plug in a dryer or stove). If you are planning to rent a generator to provide power for the sound system, make sure to let me know what connectors it will have, and have a qualified electrician properly ground the chassis and monitor fuel levels throughout the event.
My largest rig at full output would require a generator with a minimum of 6,000 running watts and 30,000 starting watts. The digital age is here, and basically every piece of modern audio equipment has some form of computer in it. Standard “construction grade” generators are fine for power tools but don’t belong in this sort of environment. Inverter generators are greatly preferred over AVR type generators for this type of task due to their stable voltage regulation and frequency. Generators should always be electrically bonded to the stage frame and connected to earth with a dedicated ground rod.
For the event duration, there are a few factors to consider:
First, it takes me anywhere from 2-6 hours to prepare a sound system for sound check, depending on the load-in proximity and scale of the event.
Second, the more acts that need to sound check, the longer that process will take, especially if the artists are travelling from out of town and may or may not be exactly on schedule.
Sound checks can be 15 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the size of the group, complexity of the instrumentation, number of monitor mixes involved, and number of acts sound-checking before the event. A typical sound-check would be 30-60 minutes. A seasoned touring band can complete a sound check in half the time it takes a band that is just starting out, but acts with more complex production needs may require a little extra time.
If the audience area is a multi-purpose area (like a dinner or awards ceremony) I need to know the latest we can be performing our sound-check before silence is required.
Finally, estimate the performance duration so I can determine the sound engineer labour costs.
Step 3. Pay Deposit
I only ask for a 10% deposit to book a show and make sure the equipment is prepped and ready for your event. The next payment is a 50% deposit due 30 days in advance of your show date.
If the event is cancelled, the 10% deposit is non-refundable for any reason, as the equipment and date was reserved for your event and therefore was not available for other bookings.
The 50% deposit is non-refundable but is transferrable to alternate dates (pending availability), with the remaining 40% due within 7 business days of the performance date.
Payments are available by cash, cheque, or credit card for your convenience. Corporate Purchase Orders are accepted in lieu of deposits if that works better for your business. Contact me for details, I’m flexible in this regard.
Step 4. Stay In Touch!
This is one that's often overlooked - as we get closer to show date, make sure you keep me apprised of any changes to the event, the schedule or the attendance. If you're expecting a sellout crowd, I will want to make sure the ordered sound system remains adequate for your needs.