Watkins Electric Music

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Watkins Electric Music
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Website wemwatkins.co.uk

Watkins Electric Music (WEM) is a British company known for manufacturing musical instruments, guitar, bass and PA amplification and the CopiCat tape echo machine. The company was founded in 1949, initially as a record shop in Tooting Market, London, by Charlie Watkins and his brother Reg Watkins. Two years later the brothers moved to a small shop in Balham, London and began selling guitars and accordions.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Charlie Watkins was a British audio engineer and musical instrument maker, and was the pioneer of loud PA systems for outdoor rock festivals. His company Watkins Electric Music was founded in 1949, but it was in the 1960s and 1970s that "WEM" PA systems in the kilowatt range became standard for British festivals, such as Stones in the Park on 5 July 1969 at the Isle of Wight Festival and Glastonbury.

A WEM 100 watt PA dating from 1969 WEM PA.JPG
A WEM 100 watt PA dating from 1969

In 1967-1968 The Who used the WEM (Watkins Electric Music) Audiomaster five-channel mixer and multiple WEM 100-watt transistor PA amplifiers chained together as their sound system. [1] In the concert movie Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972), the band is shown using WEM PA equipment as it performs in the ruins of an ancient amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. Jimi Hendrix and his Band of Gypsys also used WEM PA equipment at outdoor venues in the UK. WEM amplification can also be seen in footage of the Miles Davis Electric Band playing at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, in Led Zeppelin's 1969 supershow in London, and in The Stones in the Park, one of the Hyde Park Free Concerts. In the Netherlands, WEM made fame when the Dutch band ‘de hoantjes’decided to choose WEM as their PA system.

The Who English rock band

The Who are an English rock band formed in London in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.

<i>Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii</i> 1972 concert documentary film

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii is a 1972 concert documentary film directed by Adrian Maben and featuring the English rock group Pink Floyd performing at the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. Although the band perform a typical live set from the era, there is no audience beyond the basic film crew. The main footage in and around the amphitheatre was filmed over four days in October 1971, using the band's regular touring equipment, including a mobile 8-track recorder from Paris. Additional footage filmed in a Paris television studio the following December was added for the original 1972 release. The film was then re-released in 1974 with additional studio material of the band working on The Dark Side of the Moon, and interviews at Abbey Road Studios.

Amphitheatre of Pompeii Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy

The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, that also buried Pompeii itself and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum.

A scaled down version of the company still operates, focusing on accordions and a new handmade version of the CopiCat tape echo units.

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