Entertainment event electrical power

Live music and related events needs lots of electrical power to run the audio, video and light systems. Energy is a big costs for a festival. Besides the cost of the electricity itself, there are typically considerable cost of getting enough electricity for a large event and distributing that electricity where it is needed using temporary electrical distribution systems.

Stages use audio, video and lighting These are the most energy-intensive systems, particularly at larger events. Traditionally over half of stage power is used by lighting, traditionally incandescent lamps and later also LEDs that use less power. Bars use electricity for refrigeration, drinks dispensing, audio and lighting. Also both food and nonfood traders at the events need power. Generally electrical power is one of the five single largest production costs for almost any type of music festival.

Electricity use at outdoor events is often provided by diesel-powered generators because in many locations there is no powerful enough electrical feed available for the location. For example music festivals are often situated in fields and countryside, and most of them lack adequate access to a power grid. To use the analogy of a human body for such event, the generators are the heart, the electricity is the lifeblood of a festival, and our power distribution systems are the veins that get it all where it needs to go.

A key issue at outdoor and indoor events is energy security. Power supplies should not fail, and if they do, they need to be corrected quickly. It takes careful planning to make the electrical power reliable. Electricity consumption for specific activities needs to be calculated for the entire duration of the event. It is necessary to choose an appropriate solution based on all factors such as budget, time, space, available resources, the nature of the event and the importance of each aspect of the event. Equipment that is used outdoors (i.e, subject to the elements or ingress from the elements) should have an appropriate IP rating. Also the power system needs to be able to set up and set down quickly, because you typically pay rent for the location and rented equipment.

The electrical power distribution at large uses many different connectors starting from normal mains power outlets to very high current three phase power connections and multi-pin connectors that carry many circuits with one connector.  In many European countries event power is provided on connectors which are known as ‘cee-form’ defined by their current rating. These connectors come in ratings of 16amp, 32amp, 63amp and 125 amp. Single phase (230V) connectors are blue and three phase (230/400V) connectors are red. For power supplies above 125 amps systems such as Powerlock are used and typically provide up to 400 amp three phase. 19Pin Socapex or 16Pin Harting connector is often used to connect many lamps to dimmer with one connector.

Here are some videos on electricity at large events:

Entertainment industry connectors.

Show power distribution. Edinburgh Tattoo.

InfoComm 2014: Applied Electronics Shows Their Power Distro System

InfoComm 2016: Leprecon Showcases Its New LPD Portable Power Distribution Racks

GMS Distribution Power Box Demo

Whirlwind PowerLink UL Listed Tactical Power Distribution Overview

Introduction To Temporary Power

CEP Training Video 1

PCE Merz Portable Power Distribution Box 63Amp 3P+N+E IP67

“The way of earth leakage” by INDU-ELECTRIC Power Distribution

K-LOK 400A Single Pole Connector

Power Connectors – Overview

Stage Left Audio – Power Cords

50 Amp Power Distro – Spider Box for Audio Visual Productions

PCE Mobile Solid-Rubber power distribution boxes – Series STEYR


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Open Delta Connections of Transformers

    Open delta system is also called V-V system.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Top 5 Advantages of Parallel Operation of Generators or Alternators

    Top 5 Advantages of Parallel Operation of Generators or Alternators

    Precautions During Parallel Connection:
    Voltage (RMS line-to-line terminal voltage) of all generators must be equal
    Voltage phase angle of all generators must be equal
    Phase sequence of all generators must be equal
    Frequency (no load frequency) of the incoming must be slightly greater than the frequency (no load frequency) of the generator already connected to the system

    Economically, a well-designed system provides backup power and variable output. Parallel generators become a cost-effective solution when the output power capacity of standard generator units, available in the market, greatly exceeds the minimum requirement or falls short of the maximum requirement. The synchronization of generators in parallel brings great advantages as we discussed in this blog. Parallel generators provide the maximum output when the power demand peaks and minimum output when the load necessities are low. Hence, parallel generators increase the reliability of power systems and make them more efficient.


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