SAE Oxford Audio students set to get fantastic industry experience at Oxfordshire’s popular music events

22 May 2018

Throughout their studies, SAE students are given plenty of opportunities to practice the industry-focused skills they’ve learnt in real-life situations. This summer, SAE Oxford’s Audio Production students are going to be getting their hands dirty by volunteering at two fantastic local events: Cowley Road Carnival and Tandem Festival.

“The goal really is to make them realise they can do this on their own and should be building connections and entering the industry now,” Tom Gill, Audio Lecturer at SAE Oxford said.

Cowley Road Carnival, which takes place on Sunday 1 July, is an “award-winning cultural extravaganza” and a true highlight of the event calendar in Oxford. Students at SAE Oxford will get the privilege to work alongside the event organisers, with the opportunity to work on three different stages. 

Anya Fox, Artistic Producer at Cowley Road Works commented:

"With over 30 performance areas including 13 stages, carnival relies heavily on the skills of the students from SAE. In exchange, Cowley Road Carnival aims to give the students a range of experiences and opportunities in live music engineering, content programming and stage management.”

The Global Dance Stage will be entirely engineered by SAE students, who will use equipment supplied by the Asian Cultural Centre. The students will also assist a professional engineer at the New Community Stage, allowing the students to experience working with a high-end system as well as learn the personal skills needed when dealing with performers of differing abilities and needs. The final stage that students will be helping out on is The City Arms Stage, overseen by venues producer Simon Topper.

“Last year for the first time we turned the whole stage over to SAE students, including programming, engineering and the supply and set up of the PA. It makes sense to us to give some of the students the chance to really own a project and learn about the pitfalls and triumphs that can be found when seeing something through from start to finish,” Anya explains.

“Although carnival venues and stages are never guaranteed each year, as venues change hands, move and sometimes sadly close down, we will always endeavor to find places where the SAE students can gain some really good hands on experience."

On top of this, Audio students will also get valuable experience by helping out at Tandem Festival, taking place 22-24 June at Lower Farm in Oxford. Cycle powered, volunteer-run and community led, Tandem brings together different worlds of music, art, talks, workshops, film, dance and food. The students will be running the stage in terms of sound, set up and mixing, and one student will take on the important role of artist liaison.

Founder of Tandem Collective, Nicholas O’Brien commented:

“It's great that the SAE students are getting involved with Tandem Festival 2018. It's a fantastic opportunity for them to get some real world experience of working in fast paced environments. They will be running one of our stages and supporting the acts in having a great show.”

With the Audio industry heavily based around networking and getting involved in professional projects, the students will greatly benefit from not only the practical skills they’ll learn, but from the experienced people they will meet.

Tom Gill, Audio Lecturer at SAE Oxford commented:

“I feel that the best approach to learning is to be thrown in the deep end and pushed outside your comfort zone. Going and physically doing these live sound events really gets the students feeling comfortable quickly and makes them realise how much they actually already know. Often the scariest part of doing anything for the first time is the fear of failure, so getting them into supervised 'real world' situations is designed to take away that first time fear so they can then feel comfortable going on and putting themselves out there for future events.”