Roadies conference to boost industry skills in South Africa

Without skilled technicians working behind the scenes, no musician would ever be able to stage a decent live performance.

The Live Event Technical and Production Conference (LETPC) will be held from 12 to 14 May. Photo: LETPC/Facebook
The Live Event Technical and Production Conference (LETPC) will be held from 12 to 14 May. Photo: LETPC/Facebook

Recognizing the importance of the sector in ensuring a healthy music industry, the Live Event Technical and Production Conference (LETPC) will be held from 12 to 14 May at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Unique in Africa, the first LETPC took place in May 2015 at the same venue. It is hosted by the country’s leading live event technical and production training organization, the South African Roadies Association (SARA), with the support of the Department of Arts and Culture.

The main purpose of the conference is to gather relevant stakeholders, professionals and practitioners in the events, technical, production and education sectors, along with international market leaders, to discuss the need for a critical upgrade of skills and training to keep up with international standards. Currently, the sector’s skill qualification is only at matriculation level and urgently needs to increase to a tertiary level, in South Africa listed at level 5 according to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

SARA President Freddie Nyathela explained the objectives of this year’s conference: "The main aim is for us to move forward on the outlined LETPC 2015 outcomes, to follow through with implementation on the first SA Backstage Academy, focus on increasing the skills qualification level to NQF5, to set up the skills-need analysis and to bring transformation to this sector."

Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa added: "The doors of learning and culture are being opened in Africa from Cape to Cairo. Live events have until now been overlooked and not taken seriously, so this conference marks a new beginning where the sector becomes the architect of its own vision and future."

Key industry topics will be addressed by international and local market leaders. International speakers at last’s year’s inaugural event included John Botham OBE from Semperior LTD (UK), Adrian Brooks from Backstage Academy (UK), Pauline Tambling CBE from Creative & Cultural Skills (UK), Randell Greenlee from VPLT, the German Event Technology Association (Germany),  Frank Andrewartha from Quest Engineering (Australia) and Andy Lenthall from Production Services Association (UK).

Botham, who will be returning this year, shared his thoughts: "I attended and was a speaker at the 2015 conference, meeting lots of different people and getting their views on live events in South Africa. It was an enormously rewarding experience. It gave me an insight into the skills needed to improve the life chances of young South Africans. Many of the people I met are still in contact and I count them as friends. I am really looking forward to the 2016 conference."

One of the leading technical suppliers to the live events industry in South Africa, the Gearhouse Group is on board as an official partner to supply all the audio-visual equipment for the conference.

LETPC is open to practitioners, professionals and stakeholders serving in the events, technical, production and education sectors. To register for the conference or for more details, visit the LETPC website

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