Student Success

The University of Derby is proud of its students and their achievements.

In this article, find out about Mason Carter, a third year Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering student at the University, who managed to secure an opportunity to put his knowledge into practice by working with the popular rock band Biffy Clyro this summer.

Mason Carter

Since he was young, Mason had always wanted to get into the event lighting industry and seized the opportunity after attending an event organised as part of his degree.

“Lighting is something I’ve been interested in for a long time. Ever since I was a kid, I was just obsessed with it all - staring at the lights whenever we went to the West End or some sort of concert,” he explains.

“My lecturer Jonathon Burton is Biffy Clyro’s front of house engineer for audio, and he invited our course out to one of their events in Sheffield while he was on tour with them.

“I knew that I was keen on working with a band, so saw this as the perfect opportunity to speak with their lighting designer, Richard Larkum.

“I was very nervous at first, but before we departed, I built up the courage to ask him if there was an opportunity for me to come along to their next event and get involved with their lighting team, and he said he would be in touch.”

Looking over Masons shoulder at a colourfully lit stage as he works on the lighting deck
Mason working on the lighting deck while at the University

Richard eventually contacted Mason and invited him to shadow him for an event he was working on with The Levellers, best known for their hit song What a Beautiful Day, which he was eager to do.

“I used my initiative and helped out as much as I could, so I grabbed a screwdriver and started taking lights apart and began wrapping up cables. By the end of the event the lighting designer said he would try and get me along to Download, where Biffy Clyro and many other big names were headlining.”

Download is a five-day rock festival based in Donington Park near Derby. It usually attracts over 100,000 fans every year, and their 2022 event was the first full festival since the pandemic.

“I was away from home for about 11 days and didn’t realise how much prep went into these events,” explains Mason.

“You have to prep the cables, pack the trucks, get the lights ready and then we spent about three days in Wakefield with a big studio and you have the bands rehearsing.

“But it was all worth it and I loved every second of it. Being able to stand backstage after all that work and watch around 60,000 people just enjoying it, it’s very rewarding.”

Individual stood in front of lighting equipment with another person in the background sitting down

I would have had so many regrets if I didn’t speak to the lighting designer that day; I wouldn’t have been offered the experience I have had and I know it will help me in the future.

Mason Carter
University of Derby BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering student

Jon Burton, Senior Lecturer in Audio/Lighting Engineering at the University and Audio Engineer for Biffy Clyro, was impressed with the work Mason had done.

“Having Mason join the Biffy Clyro crew during the summer was a real pleasure. He settled in and was confident but not too confident! He picked things up quickly and managed to get the work done with no major errors and he has been asked back, which is a reflection of the positive impression he made.”

Mason was able to secure this fantastic opportunity by being proactive and putting himself out there. He has some good advice to any students that may be nervous to do so.

“If anyone gets into a similar situation as I did, just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there as the worst they can do is say no.

“It can be scary, but I would have had so many regrets if I didn’t speak to the lighting designer that day; I wouldn’t have been offered the experience I have had and I know it will help me in the future.”

Mason hopes to get the opportunity to go on a full tour with Biffy Clyro but is ready to use his new-found skills and confidence to grasp any other opportunity that comes his way.

Written by Kyle Lynch

Shows an individual with headphones around their neck using sound equipment

Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering at the University of Derby

Take on a degree that prepares you for a career in the live event industry, specialising in sound and lighting.

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