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Sound Equipment Hire & Audio Solutions

To organise an event, you’ll first need to secure a venue, staff and equipment ranging from furniture to decor, audio-visual equipment, caterers and door staff. 


You’ll have to decide between dry hiring, which entails setting up and running the event yourself, or wet hiring, which involves hiring equipment with service and operation included. 


In short: 


A dry hire involving hiring the venue is a blank canvas, equipment without anyone to operate it, etc. You’ll have the responsibility of setting up the event and running it. 

A wet hire involves hiring the venue, equipment, decor and staff. This involves minimal organisation – the setup and running of the venue and equipment are handled by others. 


Here, we’ll investigate dry hiring, the pros, cons, and things to consider. 


Dry Hire Meaning

Dry hiring means hiring equipment without anyone to operate it. For example, if you hire power tools to use yourself for a DIY project, you’re dry hiring. By dry hiring, you’re hiring only the tools – not the expertise. 


Picture of a venue
Some venues provide decor, furniture, staff and other services as part of a package.


It’s the same principle in the event industry. You can dry hire a venue as a blank canvas, audio and visual equipment, and practically anything else you need for your event. In all cases, dry hiring means you’ll need to set everything up and run it yourself. 


This might include: 


Hiring a venue as a ‘blank canvas’, e.g. a hall or club, without any decor, equipment or event assistance. However, the venue may still provide optional extras, like furniture. 

Hiring audio-visual equipment without staff to set up and operate it. For example, you might hire a sound system to set up yourself. 

Hiring other event staff and equipment separately, like caterers and security. 


By dry hiring everything separately, you can customise your event – but you’ll retain responsibility for setting everything up and running it. You may also be liable for any damage or issues.


It might be possible to hire equipment and set it up without paying someone to operate it. For example, you could hire a sound company to set up the system before staffing it with your own sound engineers. 


Dry hiring example

Mr and Miss Jones want to organise a wedding. 


They’ve contacted wedding venues and organisers but have generally found the cost of all-in-one packages prohibitive. Also, they have unique requirements that aren’t offered by typical wedding event packages. 


Rather than wet hiring a venue and events package that includes the venue, staff, food, equipment, etc, they decide to dry hire without any other services or equipment. 


If you dry hire a venue as a blank canvas, you’ll need to hire your own equipment, staff, decor, etc


This means that they’ll need to organise the following:


The venue itself

All staff required to run the event

Audio-visual equipment like speakers, lights, DJ or music equipment, etc





The flexibility of dry hiring is great for those who want to customise their event, and it may come with cost advantages. But, of course, the downside is that you’ll need to do a lot more work to ensure the event runs smoothly! 


The pros and cons of dry hiring

Dry hiring involves hiring a venue, equipment, etc, without any assistance in setup and operation. This provides greater freedom and control over an event. 


In the end, dry hiring has both benefits and drawbacks. 


Pros of dry hiring

Dry hiring is great for creating custom events outside the scope of what a venue or events company can offer. 


For music events, you might want to hire a venue but use another provider’s pro audio equipment, for example. For weddings, you might want to add unconventional elements that the venue doesn’t offer, etc. 


By dry hiring, you can customise an event and aren’t confined by what the event or production company includes. For example, you might want to hire a venue but add your own sound system and furniture. 

Dry hiring may work out cheaper, as you can source your own equipment from multiple suppliers. 

If you have expertise already, you might not need anyone to help you run the event. 

You may also be able to outsource tasks to friends and family. 

If you have unique requirements, you could be better off organising these yourself rather than through a company. 

You may want to mix and match equipment as you see fit rather than choosing from a preset specification. 


Cons of dry hiring

Dry hiring is customisable and flexible, but it places virtually all responsibilities on the organisers. While running an event may seem simple, the reality is often quite different!


Dry hiring makes the organiser(s) responsible for everything. 

While dry hiring might be cheaper, it requires greater planning to ensure organisers get the best quotes. 

If suppliers drop out or things go wrong, it’s down to the organiser(s) to pick up the pieces and sort things out. 

Some equipment might require specialist skills to use. 

If something goes wrong, the organiser(s) are responsible. 

Organisers might underestimate the staff and services they need. 


Why should you dry hire?

Dry hiring is appropriate in several situations. For example, if you’re looking to build a custom event using a blank venue, equipment, and staff from other providers, then dry hiring might be a good shout. 


However, dry hiring means accepting responsibility for staffing the venue and equipment.


Professional audio equipment needs to be set up and operated by those with specialist experience, so unless the event organiser hires someone with pro audio experience, they’ll need someone to operate it. 


Chaps PA offers a range of audio equipment that can be dry hired by those with the requisite experience, like an event or production company. We also provide professional sound engineering services and can staff equipment. 


We offer a wide range of equipment and are happy to mix and match whatever equipment you need for your event. 



Dry hiring audio equipment 

Audio and visual equipment is required for most events. Many venues have their own audio equipment, but this may or may not be to specification. 


For example, if you’re organising a music event, then it’s far from guaranteed that the venue will provide adequate front-of-house speakers, monitors, mixing desks, mics, etc. And one of the worst things an organiser can do is underestimate the venue’s in-house sound. 


You don’t want to hire expensive bands and DJs if you’re not backing the event up with a heavy system! 


Male DJ at event
Not all venues have sound systems suitable for music events.


If you want to hire audio equipment and speakers, you’ll also need to consider who’s going to operate them. Small systems might be easy to set up and use, but advanced pro audio systems require specialist skills to operate. 


By dry hiring audio equipment, you’re accepting the responsibility of operating the equipment without assistance. By wet hiring, you’re hiring equipment and someone to operate it. 


Dry hiring is usually only an option for audio equipment if someone on hand already has professional audio experience, e.g., a sound tech on-site at the venue. Otherwise, it’s better to hire equipment together with sound techs. 


Summary: Guide to dry hiring

Dry hiring involves hiring a venue or equipment without additional services. 


This provides flexibility – you’re free to choose your own providers and aren’t limited by the venue and their partners. However, dry hiring involves accepting responsibility for setting up and running the event. 


If you’re interested in dry hiring sound equipment, contact Chaps PA. We’ll help you decide on what’s best for your event. Also, if you need assistance with the setup or operation of our equipment, this is certainly something we can provide. 

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