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This one simple thing could result in
you losing gigs...and money


A UK customer, new to singing, bought a whole load of backing tracks from us and asked a question about PAT testing. She’d heard other entertainers mention it but didn’t know much about it or if it was a legal requirement so was unsure whether she needed to have it done before she would be allowed to start doing gigs and sing in venues.

Here’s what Robert, one of our resident musician backing track producers who is also a qualified electrician, told her….

“…Pat testing is usually carried out yearly where a qualified electrician tests portable appliances (the sort of stuff we use) and he signs and places a sticker on the equipment to say that it has been tested and complies with health and safety guidelines.

However, if you do any corporate work for a large company or work in a large venue, they may well insist on PAT testing every time you perform, even if your next performance for them is only one week later!

While you have a responsibility to make sure your music equipment is safe to use (and, let’s face it, you should be doing this anyway - heaven forbid you ever hold a microphone in your hand that’s not properly earthed!), it’s really down to the people who employ you to say whether they want you to ensure your equipment complies with the legal requirements necessary for use in their business premises and has a valid PAT sticker.

However, the grey area is in the event of an accident - who would be responsible? You or the venue? That’s still not entirely clear…”


I would also add that most musicians are aware of the dangers of using electrical equipment and we’ve all heard of entertainers, usually guitarists (metal strings) and singers (metal microphone) who have been electrocuted and died on stage. I personally had a couple of “belts” off a microphone when I worked in Spain many years ago. The Spanish mains power supply used to be very erratic back in the eighties so I had to buy a regulator to control the flow and supply my equipment with a constant 240v (it worked by storing up electricity when the power supply went above 240v and releasing it when the power fell below, thereby giving me and my equipmant a constant and safe 240v).

In a nutshell, no-one in their right mind should ever take chances with electricity, so all sensible entertainers should already be taking great care of their equipment and keeping it well maintained.

Most entertainers I know are aware of the dangers so do keep their equipment in good condition - many don’t feel the need to PAT test unless they are required to by the venue.
But in my opinion it pays to have a current PAT test certificate. You can then carry it with you at all times so that you never have to worry about getting to a gig and finding that they won't let you perform (and if you don't perform, you probably won't get paid)! Don't take the chance.

If you DON'T have a PAT certificate and you arrive at a venue and they insist on PAT testing, then in my opinion, the venue should pay for it to be done - after all, they are demanding that the PAT testing be done, they didn't give you any advance notice, it's not your fault, so they should pick up the tab.

However, again this is a grey area. For example, if the venue say to you “…if it’s not PAT tested, we’re not letting you do the gig…” what are you gonna do? Lose the gig for the sake of a few pounds spent getting an electrician to give your equipment the once-over?

After all, it will surely do more good than harm to have your equipment double-checked anyway…

For more info on PAT testing see

Kenny Backing Track Signature

Article Written by Kenny Campbell
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