British Rock Roadies

Doing Sound in the Late 1960s


  • Sergio Pisfil Member of IASPM-UK and Ireland



roadies, rock history, live sound practices, live music


Important changes in British live sound occurred in the early 1970s: Companies such as Feldon Audio began importing US components like JBL and transformed the industry, venues started to install costume-built systems that were capable of successfully amplifying rock acts, sound companies made millionaire investments to improve sound technology, England became a leader in mixing consoles manufacturing, US speaker cabinet designs influenced a new era in sound. Despite these key economic and material changes, in this article I argue that an equally important shift in live sound occurred in the late 1960s. Instead of drastic technological improvement, concert sound developed thanks to a new actor in the music industry: roadies. Drawing from archival research and semi structured interviews to British roadies active in the late 1960s, this article focuses on their practices and puts them at the center of live sound development.

Author Biography

Sergio Pisfil, Member of IASPM-UK and Ireland

Recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh, and looking for an academic position.