Niall Horan’s Royal Albert Hall livestream relies on DiGiCo SD5s

Niall Horan’s live-streamed performance from the Royal Albert Hall earlier this month saw DiGiCo SD5s deployed for broadcast and monitor mixing duties.

The one-off show, which saw 150,000 tickets sold for the livestream, was announced after Horan was forced to cancel his ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ world tour earlier in the year. Audio equipment for the show was supplied by Wigwam Acoustics, with Ant Carr, Horan’s long-term head of touring and production, at the helm and regular crew members Matthew Kettle and Joe Campbell handling broadcast and monitor positions respectively.All profits from the show were split between Horan’s crew and the #WeNeedCrew relief fund.

“With his tour cancelled and unable to promote his No.1 album Heartbreak Weather, Niall wanted to produce something different from some of the lockdown content we’ve seen,” explained Carr. “He wanted it to be a special experience for his fans and streamed from an iconic venue that was recognised worldwide. He also made the decision to donate the profit from the show to help his band and crew.

“Rather organically, while we were discussing this, I was working with some of my touring team from another act to start up a hardship fund called #WeNeedCrew. Niall is endorsing it and helping drive funds to it. He’s worked really hard to try to educate the public that the live industry is on its knees and any financial support for touring crew, if they were even eligible, has been minimal. His understanding of what a touring crew does for his show is beyond most artists I’ve worked for.”

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The console set up features multiple inputs from various SD-Racks in different parts of the stage and performance areas going to the broadcast SD5, all connected via an Optocore loop, and shared with Campbell’s SD5 at monitors. 

“It was a lot of fun,” said Kettle. “Most importantly though, I’m extremely pleased to help Niall bring attention and support to the many people behind the scenes in live music, whose working lives have come to a complete stop, and who may not be able to go back for a very long time. I hope it inspires more artists to do the same!”

“It’s good to be involved in this project and it’s the first time I’ve ever done a gig in the Albert Hall with no audience,” Campbell added. “I feel that artistic performance is an essential part of civilised society. What are we without music? Without the shared experience of live musical performance? Musicians and their support staff (crew) are being left behind in this pandemic, most with little or no support from government. Dedicated professional artistic people, expected to re-train? Re-train as what? Who will express the feelings of society if we are all driving vans or laying bricks?”