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This Time Last Year: ALT Takes Texas

It's that time again when our students and Production Park studios team venture to SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, to run the British Music Embassy stages. Before we head state-side to kick thing's off, we're taking a look back at one of our BA (Hons) Live Events Production student's experience and now Alumni, Harvey Young, at last year's festival!

Tell us about your time at SXSW in 2023? 

I was a Stage Technician which involved carrying out changeovers between sets as well as patching instruments/microphones into the sound system prior to sound checks. This was my main role throughout SXSW on the BME stage but I was also tasked with running the sound systems independently during some of the afternoon conference sessions.

Another side quest during the festival was being able to get plenty of time behind the monitors desk for multiple bands throughout the festival. My highlight was mixing monitors for the Crawlers – one of the UK’s up and coming bands. Other favourite moments included embracing American culture including eating LOTS of BBQ food. 

Tell us more about yourself. What did you do before coming to ALT? 

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a rockstar. I was studying Music Performance and Production in college but I realised that I no longer wanted to be the man in the spotlight. Instead, I was growing more fascinated with being behind the scenes in the studio and became obsessed with recording and mixing all kinds of music.

In fact, I became so obsessed with this new passion, I worked all hours at McDonald’s to save up for a MacBook that had recording software and equipment. This was the start of a ‘bedroom studio’ that is still expanding to this day. It’s got to a point where my equipment no longer fits in my bedroom! 

What made you want to come and study at ALT? 

How I came to study here was a bit of an unorthodox route. After pretty much giving up on pursuing a career in music, I actually had no intentions of going to university. I knew that I wanted to continue more with the production side of things but never found a course that looked inspiring and worth a whole three years of my life.

That all changed when I saw ALT pop up on Facebook. An academic institution I had genuinely never heard of offering courses so unique that I never would have thought they existed.

I immediately had a gut feeling and made a last minute decision to apply to study Live Events Production just before the UCAS deadline. I was offered an interview which also included a campus tour and demonstrations. This was very beneficial for me as I was too late to attend any open days before getting my application sorted. The day I attended did everything to confirm that I was making the right choice. 

What's been the best thing about your course? 

My favourite thing about going to the Academy here was how many opportunities we get to get hands on with equipment. If it wasn’t for several hours of messing around with mixing desks on campus, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as capable or confident in my ability to work as a sound technician. It means I’ve been able to move through the beginning phase of my career of watching over an engineer’s shoulder and having teething problems trying to find efficient workflows while mixing much faster. 

Is there one thing that inspired you to do what you do now? 

Watching audiences being immersed in the magic of a live performance is what reminds me the most of why I love my job. Being a big fan of live music gigs and festivals, I know that electric atmosphere when you’re seeing one of your favourite bands or artists delivering a set that leaves you absolutely buzzing. There’s nothing more rewarding to me than knowing that I played a part in making the magic happen. 

What piece of advice would you give someone who wants to study at the Academy of Live Technology? 

The Academy of Live Technology is constantly throwing exciting work opportunities in our direction so always keep an eye on your inbox! Don’t be shy, if an offer comes through that interests you then don’t hold back, just throw yourself at it because you never know where it’s going to take you.  

Want to start your degree in September 2024? It's not too late to apply! Join us at one of our next Open Days or get in touch with the team on to arrange an individual campus tour around Production Park.

Ready to start your Academy of Live Technology journey?