Award-Winning Folk Ensemble Bellowhead Relies on QSC K Series for U.K. Tour

Nine K10s were supplied by Shure Distribution UK for band members, with a tenth at the house desk

Bellowhead, a U.K.-based folk ensemble and darlings of the European festival circuit, relied on QSC K Series active loudspeakers — ten K10s and two K12s —  as on-stage monitors throughout their recently completed tour of England, in support of last year's 'Hedonism' album. The much-fêted band, four times named Best Live Act at BBC Radio 2's annual Folk Awards, are expert live performers and needed powerful and reliable on-stage monitoring system for their recent tour.

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The band’s FOH engineer for the tour was Alastair McGibbon, known to many through his experience working with bands ranging from folksters Nizlopi to Budgie and some members of Black Sabbath. McGibbon was Bellowhead's FOH engineer on 24 festival dates earlier in the year, but this was the first time he had been on tour with them, playing nightly over three consecutive weeks. While the band was reliant on each venue’s FOH system, McGibbon was keen that they have a consistent stage monitoring system throughout the tour.

Familiar with a variety of other QSC products, McGibbon had not seen the company's K Series active loudspeakers until earlier in the year. "I was doing the audio at a conference, which finished with a live band. They brought in a set of K8s and I just thought, 'How are we going to get a decent sound with these tiny things?' And then I was amazed at what came out of them, given their size. I liked the design, as well as, the built-in handles and the low weight. So when I needed something for Bellowhead, K Series seemed the obvious choice!"

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"There was a huge variety of venues on this tour, acoustically speaking, from small clubs to big, old, former music halls like the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London,” says McGibbon. “And with eleven members in the band, sound-checking with Bellowhead is a fairly complicated and time-consuming business.  I knew that it would be impossible to get them a decent on-stage sound each night in the time available unless we had some elements on stage that stayed the same throughout the tour. I needed something light, portable and powerful, and on a reasonable budget. The K Series fit the bill.”

Nine K10s were supplied by Shure Distribution UK for band members, with a tenth at the house desk. Bellowhead's brass bassist, Ed Neuhauser, who plays the mighty Sousaphone and the tuba-like Helicon, was provided a K12, as was drummer/percussionist Pete Flood.

Post-tour, McGibbon believes that he has found the compact portable system the band have been looking for to handle their future tours. "Coupled with a compact digital mixer, I think the K Series is the most portable monitoring system I've ever seen," he explains. "Every night, we just took them down and put them straight in the van, ready to go to the next date — simple. And they really pack a punch.”

"The tour has gone really well, with five-star reviews,’ adds McGibbon, “so I hope we'll be using the K Series loudspeakers again on next year's European tour!"

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