Blog post

Shadowing at
The Prodigy concert

Studying MSc Audio Engineering at the University is exciting. Here Adeyinka talks about his trip to Birmingham Utilita arena for The Prodigy concert, to experience how the sound, lights and stage are rigged and reinforced.

By Adeyinka Olaleye - 21 December 2023

Wealth of opportunities

The life of an MSc Engineering student at the University of Derby is filled with exciting surprises. We get opportunities such as attending conferences organised by the Institute of Acoustics, webinars from top audio industry professionals, and my personal favourite is attending concerts and events. Here we get practical experience to prepare us for the entertainment industry. As an international student, it is a great insight into what it means to be a touring engineer in the UK. 

The Prodigy experience

Every year, MSc Audio Engineering, second and third-year undergraduate Entertainment Engineering students are invited to The Prodigy’s concert to experience how the sound, lights and stage are rigged and reinforced, and this year the concert was held in the Birmingham Utilita arena. The trip was well organised, and the department had buses to take us to Birmingham for it. Jon Burton, our lecturer who is also the front-of-house engineer for The Prodigy, would lecture us through the entire setup and get us tickets to see the show afterwards. So, it was going to be a day of learning and fun. 

We got to the venue just in time to see the technical crew load equipment from the trucks, rigging and mounting the screens, lights, and speakers. While observing the necessary health and safety procedures, we watched how the whole setup was done in about three to four hours with a technical crew of about 30 people, with Jon explaining every bit of the entire process to us. When the setup was done, we proceeded to do a listening test with Jon and got to watch him do his soundcheck. It was quite interesting to see the application of our lectures on event venues, sound systems and lighting design on such a huge stage. We also met other amazing people such as the stage manager, tour manager, lighting designer and monitor engineer all explaining their roles and challenges in putting together such a huge concert. 

MSc Audio Engineering, second and third-year undergraduate Entertainment Engineering students at The Prodigy’s concert


The concert kicked off later that evening and we were all given guest tickets, but not before I had the opportunity to explore the city of Birmingham with my coursemates. The social interaction helped us to connect better and talk about our diverse cultures, food, living in the UK and experiences studying at the University. We arrived back at the Arena later that evening for the start of the concert.  

The gig was an amazing experience seeing the entire arena light up. The music was electrifying, and the crowd loved every part of it. I had never really been a fan of rock music but the experience at the concert opened my heart to the passion and the energy behind rock bands and concerts. At the show's end, we all caught the last train back to Derby. 

Although I have had some touring experiences of my own before coming for my MSc programme in Audio Engineering, The Prodigy concert inspired me to more possibilities and changed my perception of live sound reinforcement and this is just one of the many programmes and field trips the department has organised for its students. 

One of the reasons I decided to do my masters programme in Audio Engineering was to have more knowledge on the latest industry trends and network with audio professionals globally, so it was important to me to choose an institution that provides not just the knowledge, but the experience needed to grow into being an audio professional. I am glad the University of Derby has provided me with this.

About the author

Blog author Adeyinka Olaleye, stood outside

Adeyinka Olaleye
MSc in Audio Engineering

I am an audio engineer passionate about sound system design, live/studio audio production, mixing and sound design. I love meeting new people, travelling to exotic places and I love being creative. I'm currently doing my MSc in Audio Engineering here at the University of Derby.