The opening night sound team: Dan Mac, Andy Green, Ollie Dudman, Gareth Owen, Florence Hand and Joe Green

UK - Point Source Audio’s Series9 lavalier microphones were centre stage for Just for One Day - The Live Aid Musical, as the show completed its debut run from January to March at The Old Vic in London. Nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Contribution, the musical has earned acclaim for the performances from its show band and cast, all relying on Point Source Audio’s latest microphone technology.

Gareth Owen spearheaded the sound design for the production. "My approach was to imagine what the songs from the concert would sound like with today's technology," he explains. "The goal was to maintain the essence of the original performances while infusing modern production values. 

"The Point Source Audio mics performed exceptionally well. We had ample opportunity over the run to compare them to various other microphones and each and every time we came back to Series9."

Held at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia on 13 July, 1985, Live Aid raised approximately $127m to help alleviate the Ethiopian famine. “Live Aid showcased the power of music to unite people across continents for a humanitarian cause," says Owen.

“I started by collating all the music from the show into a playlist and listening to it on repeat,” he continues. “There are so many iconic songs there which I thought I knew but realised I really didn’t when I started really drilling down into them. Details of effects and orchestrations were meticulously researched - I think I read every online thread about 80s reverb ever written.”

The show featured a live band on stage which performed with minimal acoustic screening. When this was combined with the lavalier microphones hidden in the cast’s hair, it made for a challenging design.

“My old friend Jonathon Deans (Cirque du Soleil Vegas sound designer) had been extolling the virtues of Point Source Audio microphones to me for years,” he explains. “I’d always wanted to use them and finally the opportunity presented itself to me for Just for One Day in London.

“Audio quality comes first and foremost when selecting a microphone. It also needs to be small enough to hide in plain sight on a performer. Finally, it needs to be robust - it doesn’t matter how small it is or how good it sounds if it breaks halfway through the opening number.” 

Reflecting on the success of the musical’s debut run, Owen is very pleased with the result. “Just For One Day is one of the most challenging shows I have done for a while. Through the sheer perseverance and bloody mindedness of myself and my associate sound designer Andy Green, as well as the brilliant work of head of sound Joe Green and the rest of the team, we beat the sound in to a shape that I wasn’t just happy with, I was truly ecstatic with. It was a hell of a journey, but I couldn’t be prouder of the end result."

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