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Hants’ Faces Friday – Michael Jamieson

When all eyes are on the performer, Michael Jamieson is busy making sure the show goes off without a hitch.
When all eyes are on the performer, Michael Jamieson is busy making sure the show goes off without a hitch.

WINDSOR, N.S. — Faces Friday is our online feature highlighting members of our community: their strength, challenges and humanity.

Meet Windsor resident and go-to sound guy Michael Jamieson, who has been setting up sound equipment for events and shows for decades. A grizzled veteran of the industry, Jamieson gives some incite on what it’s like to be the person behind the performance.

Meet Windsor resident and go-to sound guy Michael Jamieson, who has been setting up sound equipment for events and shows for decades. A grizzled veteran of the industry, Jamieson gives some incite on what it’s like to be the person behind the performance.

Michael Jamieson has been working and volunteering his expertise in the music industry for several decades.

“I got into doing sound work on the weekends, sort of like a hobby at the start. Did charity jobs for people and that kind of stuff. Not all was charity, you got paid for some of it and some of it was pretty low-paying jobs. I’ve been doing that for around 30 years off and on. It’s kind of a love of the job. You see a lot of happy people, people enjoying the music, enjoying the time. Even when you’re doing stuff for charities, it’s a great feeling afterwards. You’ve accomplished something that’s better than sometimes getting paid for stuff. I’ve done Christmas Angels for a number of years. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve been doing that. I don’t do as much sound as I used to; I do other work and other jobs, but I employ some people to do sound for me now and I do most of the setups. I still do sound, go to most of the events to make sure everything is up-and-up and running well.”

Windsor’s Michael Jamieson is the man behind the lighting and sound for many of Hants County’s concerts and special events.

“Everything is going through your head, from what the performers are going to be like — some are great, some are divas, some think they’re bigger than life — but most are great people. They’re just ordinary people — 90 per cent, 99 per cent that I’ve come across are just ordinary people who want to do a job and go out and perform and they want to make people happy. That gives me a great feeling when you’re working with those types of people. Sometimes you’d have somebody who would constantly say ‘this isn’t right’ or the sound isn’t quite what they wanted, but you do the best you can with what you have to work with. The musicians have off nights too, same as the sound guys who may have off days. Somebody may have pissed in their cornflakes or maybe they get to a gig and their rider isn’t exactly what they expected it to be, but you try to work out most of those details before the show.”

Standing at centre stage in Mermaid Theatre, Michael Jamieson checks on the lighting.

“Things have definitely changed over the years. About five years ago or maybe a bit before that, it was pretty expensive to get into this. The music business is an expensive business; the equipment is expensive and transporting it around and whatever. And if you want to do top-name acts, you have to keep your gear updated and they expect you to. Everything in the last five years has switched to focus on big light shows, moving lights, LED lights. I’ve gone to shows and you set up a whole light show, 70,000 watts of lighting and at a show in Halifax, I hired a light guy, paying them good money. And when we were doing the show, the (artist) said ‘stop the show.’ He said ‘light guy, I only want two lights on me.’ And we had set up a huge light show for this show and it was kind of a bummer, doing all of this work and the performer decides I don’t want that.”  

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