Women in Pro Audio: Laura Moakes Women in Pro Audio: Laura Moakes...

The L-Acoustics Women in Pro Audio Series spotlights the remarkable women making waves in the professional audio industry. This initiative highlights their achievements and addresses their unique challenges, offering a platform for inspiration and dialogue. In this feature, we introduce Laura Moakes, a dynamic freelance live sound engineer whose passion and expertise in live sound set her apart.

Meet Laura

Laura Moakes hails from Chesterfield, UK, and continues to base her operations within the country. With a rich background in sound engineering, Laura’s career is characterized by her dedication and skill in navigating a traditionally male-dominated field.

Laura’s passion for sound engineering was ignited at a young age, influenced by her family background in music and audio technology. “My grandad was a jazz musician and worked for Bowers & Wilkins. I grew up around speakers and his Hi-Fi setup,” she recalls. Laura’s initial disinterest in audio engineering changed dramatically after participating in after-school audio engineering courses at a local community recording studio and venue. “That’s when I decided I wanted to be a sound engineer.”

How it Started

Her entry into the audio industry began during her University days. “At Uni, we were given some fantastic opportunities crucial for my development,” Laura recalls. However, she also faced considerable challenges early on. “I was quite shy back then and initially found the industry somewhat unwelcoming as a young woman. When I first started out, I found the industry to be quite patronizing, especially towards women. Nobody wanted to listen to me, and nobody wanted to hire me. I was often spoken down to, and it was extremely frustrating to be constantly turned down when all I wanted was to learn and work.”

Despite these early struggles, Laura’s dedication to her craft deepened in her mid-twenties, marking a significant turning point in her career. “I did two further courses in audio and production after finishing school. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I decided to pursue working in audio professionally,” she recounts.

Determined to carve out her space, Laura became the head engineer at a local venue. This role was pivotal for her. “Working as the head engineer really helped me develop my craft in a supportive environment. It provided me with the tools and knowledge I needed to understand the industry deeply,” she explains. This experience was not just about technical growth but also building the confidence necessary to thrive in a competitive environment.

Laura continues to advocate for greater inclusivity and respect within the industry, demonstrating her commitment through both her work and her role as a mentor to upcoming engineers. As she reflects on the gender imbalance, Laura believes more opportunities could bring more women into the fold. “There’s a whole community of women in audio these days; we tend to all stick together and help each other out. However, I think there are a lot of women out there who want to be in the industry but just haven’t been given a chance yet. They’re stuck in a loop of frustration and not being heard,” she says.


When facing challenges, Laura adopts a positive perspective, viewing obstacles as opportunities to learn and adapt. “I see challenges more like opportunities. What skills can I learn to help me overcome them? As frustrating as life can sometimes be, I would never give up; I always try to adapt and grow,” she explains.

Advice in Sound Engineering

She also shares some practical advice for personal and professional development. “YouTube is free and endless, a rabbit hole of information. Also, Adlib in Liverpool puts on some great learning days, and I always try to jump on those when I can,” Laura suggests. Moreover, Laura emphasizes the importance of physical readiness and openness to experiences. “One thing I’ve recently started doing is weight lifting, as strength is definitely a good thing to have. Secondly, say yes to everything—experience is king and the best way to grow. Also, try to find a local venue and offer to help out,” she advises.

If Laura could change one aspect of the industry, it would likely be to create more accessible entry points and supportive networks to nurture the talents of women eager to enter the field.

Why She Does It

Laura’s passion for her work shines through when discussing her favorite experiences. “Can I say all of them? I love working festivals, especially those I attended as a kid. But the best thing in the world is touring with an artist from the start, building a family, being in it together, and seeing the show grow every night. It’s a special feeling,” she enthuses.

For Laura, the most fulfilling part of her role involves the dynamic nature of her work. “I love touring andI love meeting new people & traveling. I don’t think it gets any better than that,” she explains.

Looking ahead, Laura is optimistic about the future of professional audio, especially regarding the presence of women in the industry and technological advancements. When asked what she hopes to see more of, she answers half serious and half joking: “More women in the touring world and lighter speaker boxes! Hahaha!”

Through her ongoing contributions and advocacy, Laura continues influencing and fostering changes that enhance the professional audio landscape.

Read last month’s Women in Pro Audio interview here.