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Home arrow Reviews arrow Books arrow New book: "The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems Volume 2" - Chris Hewitt
New book: "The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems Volume 2" - Chris Hewitt Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Povey   
Wednesday, 05 January 2022

The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems Volume 2For those who enjoyed reading Volume 1 of the fascinating insight, The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems, then Volume 2 is a must. This impressive softback landscape volume stretches to 180 pages with a mountain of rare and previously unpublished photos and ephemera of festival events and equipment.

In many respects its pornography for PA geeks and techies, but there is interest here for those with a casual interest in the UK festival scene of the 70s as well. Fans of Pink Floyd will obviously find this a fascinating read but there's also a good chunk devoted to Led Zeppelin and their relationship with WEM. As with Pink Floyd's PA equipment, Chris has amassed a great deal of their vintage original equipment as well, photographed here in their original configuration alongside vintage photos of the band on stage.

Volume 2 also expands to another level Pink Floyd's PA set up for Live At Pompeii that was covered in Volume 1. Reproducing an interview with Adrian Maben by correspondent Paul Powell Jr. and website founder Matt Johns that appeared in Brain Damage back in 2003, a raft of photos from 'backstage' accompanies the article. Taking this a stage further, Chris persuaded, during lockdown, members of the Australian Pink Floyd to recreate, using all of Chris's vintage WEM gear, the actual Pompeii PA set up albeit in the less illustrious setting of an open field in Cheshire over an ancient amphitheatre in Italy! Nevertheless, what was achieved was quite incredible, made all the more remarkable by the fact that not only does Chris have all the correct gear, but some band members also use vintage equipment as well.

There's also a wonderful chapter on the modes of transport bands used in the 60s and 70s – delightful photos of Commers, Bedfords and Transits, the trusty workhorses that got the band and their gear between gigs.

A good chunk of the second half of the book focusses on the more technical aspects of PA systems, with an excellent look at Pete Watts – Pink Floyd's PA guru in the early 70s as well as photos from Chris's personal archive when his PA company Tractor was making its mark, as well as large festival PA systems and manufacturers and suppliers including RSD, RSE, Mitrex and ASS among others.

As with Volume 1, it is a thoroughly engaging read and the archival photos are a real treat. Overall, whilst it does have content that is lost on the casual reader it is an equally fascinating account of how PA systems developed through the 60s and 70s.

You can order The Development of Large Rock Sound Systems Volume 2 by Chris Hewitt from the publisher at

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