New Zealand - Audio Progress is an audio, lighting and staging company based in Palmerston North, about 150km from capital city Wellington.

The enterprise is run by Malcolm McKinnon, who founded it back in the 1980s, originally as an audio specialist, and since then, he and the team have built a solid reputation for delivering quality productions for all types of shows and events, concerts, and festivals.

A recent investment in 16 x Robe LEDBeam 350s sees the first Robe moving lights to join the Audio Progress inventory.

The new fixtures – delivered by distributor Jands New Zealand – are being used effectively and efficiently to light an increasing array of televised and streamed events serviced by Audio Progress.

Malcolm was aware

The Netherlands - Villa Ananas hosted a tropical disco party on King’s Night and King’s Day in Beek en Donk. Featuring an impressive array of lighting equipment including Infinity and Showtec fixtures supplied by Dito Rental B.V., the event lit up the night with retro beats and vibrant hues.

As the Netherlands geared up for its vibrant King’s Day celebrations, Villa Ananas welcomed party-goers to immerse themselves in two days of retro beats and disco vibes on King’s Night and King’s Day. Held in the historic village of Beek en Donk near Eindhoven, Villa Ananas offered a tropical disco paradise.

Dito rental B.V. supplied an impressive array of lighting equipment, including 36 Infinity Furion B401 Beam moving heads, 28 Infinity iW-741 RDM RGBW wash moving heads and 10 Infinity iW-1941 RDM RGBW wash moving heads, creating an electrifying atmo

South Africa - Sound engineer Simphiwe ‘Smooth’ Mhlanga has become the first choice for some of South Africa’s most promising talents, including the likes of Jabulani ‘Sjava’ Hadebe, a singer, rapper and actor, as well as Kiernan Forbes, the late rapper and producer known as AKA. As Sub-Saharan African music has recently seen an impressive surge in sales and an increase in streams on all popular music platforms, Smooth’s experience is increasingly in demand.

When Smooth gets tasked with miking live shows, the engineer knows he needs a high-quality solution that highlights both his and the performers’ skills. Whether performing for 2,000 people or 10,000, the artists require a mic that offers pristine sound replication and the versatility to problem-solve on the spot. Working with DPA Specialist Keith Karimi from ApexPro in South Africa, Smooth

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ETC Ministar

ETC introduces the High End Systems Ministar, a game-changer in our automated lighting product line. Ministar brings exceptional versatility and performance at an affordable price point; with a compact footprint, punchy output, and a professional feature set, Ministar fits the spec and budget for small to medium-sized venues.

Spain - As part of its Presidency of the European Commission, Spain has recently played host to several high-level European events. The 134th Europol Meeting of the Management Board in Zaragoza was a standout amongst these, due to the scale of the conferencing solution required.

The Europol Management event is a gathering of all the European police force representatives to talk about international coordination and actions to ensure security within Europe.  

Having provided the AV solution for the 2022 NATO summit in Madrid, Ditec Comunicaciones was well placed to support El Cuerpo Nacional de Policía (Spain’s national police corps) in delivering this similar event. With the large number of delegates and variety of languages required, the Ditec team chose the comprehensive Dicentis conference system from Bosch Building Technologies.  


USA - Obsidian Control Systems is offering offer the Netron CLU, an easy-to-navigate central utility interface useful in discovering and managing Netron data distribution devices across a lighting network. Especially helpful when deploying networks that use multiple nodes, or when working with nodes that lack integrated screens, the Netron CLU makes Netron data signal devices even easier to configure, eliminating the need to physically access the devices themselves, says Obsidian.

Netron devices can be discovered regardless of their current IP address, and all Netron features can be centrally configured, or reconfigured, without the need to access individual web pages or the device displays. Whether you're setting up a handful of nodes for a live event or 50 nodes for an install, remote access to all device functions straight from a computer makes device set

UK - LED display brand Absen has announced the opening of its first UK showroom, in Theale, Berkshire, serving as a hub for Absen’s European operations.

The new showroom boasts Absen’s comprehensive range of solutions which cater to an array of markets, including rental & staging, virtual production, commercial, conference, DOOH, and data visualisation as well as providing essential office space for its team. The European hub also presents a display experience through its collaborations with ecosystem partners, including:

Designer and manufacturer of AV solutions, Peerless-AV providing essential bracket solutions specifically designed for the Clear Cobalt (CL) Series, which redefines LED capabilities for data visualisation. The showroom features groundbreaking collaborative displays like the CL0.9 v2 and NX 1.8 proAV solutions.


Italy – This year, Claypaky once again played host to the students enrolled in the Master in Lighting Design and LED Technology, organised by the Polytechnic University of Milan. This course has long been devoted to nurturing the talents of aspiring young lighting professionals.

The course aims to equip them with the skills they need for diverse applications such as entertainment venues, interior architecture, urban landscapes, museum exhibitions and temporary installations and residential spaces. The curriculum focuses on the analysis and synthesis of lighting design methods, covering conception, organisation, and rigging.

Among the esteemed instructors who teach on the course is Giovanni Pinna, a renowned lighting designer in Italy, known for his work with artists like Vasco Rossi. Pinna runs the Lighting Design for Entertainment module,

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Strictly FX Highlights

Strictly FX was founded in 1996 by industry veterans Mark Grega and Ted Maccabee. Our expertise and knowledge of the world’s leading pyrotechnic, laser, and flame manufacturers allows us to curate astonishing live events. With over 500+ shows performed a year, there’s good chance you’ve seen some of our work!

Europe - Within Temptation has sold close to 200,000 tickets for their European co-headlining Worlds Collide Tour, on which they played alongside US rock band, Evanescence. It also saw their monitor engineer of 17 years, Bennie Veenstra, deploying a KLANG immersive in-ear monitor system to add control and spatial quality.

Formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt, Within Temptation is a popular Dutch symphonic metal band. Over the years, they have garnered a massive following thanks to their fusion of symphonic elements, heavy guitars, and haunting vocals, resulting in more than four million record sales and numerous international awards, including a World Music Award, MTV Europe Music Awards, and a Metal Hammer Award. They have also headlined major European festivals such as Download, Hellfest, Wacken Open Air and Grasp

UK - Johnny Marr had some very definite ideas about the kinds of looks he wanted on stage for his Greatest Hits tour, which kicked off at Newcastle’s O2 City Hall on 2 April, with lighting design by Ed Warren.

“Johnny and I have a really good relationship,” said Warren. “We spent a fair bit of time hanging out and chatting before coming up with any kind of plan for this tour.  Once we had this decided, I programmed the entire show at home on my MQ70 using Capture over the course of a couple of weeks.

“Since Johnny’s studio is so close to me, I would pop round to see him every few weeks and talk about life, love, football and of course music. He would explain to me the moments he felt things should happen and would even give me background behind meanings of songs. This really helped me interpret them into light. Of course, this was pretty

Germany - HOF is known for offering and supplying everything from design to production from a single source and now has its own powder coating facility. This gives HOF greater speed and flexibility in the coating of trusses.

The powder coating system consists of fully and semi-automated coating lines, which are used depending on the component in order to achieve the best possible result.

At the heart of the new powder coating system are the 2.7m wide, 3m high and 10m long ovens, which are one of the most advanced and largest in the region. In total, components weighing over two tons can be moved and coated.

A special highlight is the new heavy-duty coating specially developed by HOF, which provides the trusses with a robust and resistant HD coating. HOF offers the HD coating in black, but also in all other RAL colours.

HOF can now coa

Germany - LD Systems has introduced the ANNY series – a battery-powered PA system for musicians, singer-songwriters, street art performers, and ‘users who appreciate the lifestyle convenience of a Bluetooth speaker and still value high-quality sound and professional equipment’. Whether for mobile live gigs, speech reinforcement in clubs and schools, or simply for quality sound on the go, far away from any power socket – ANNY is a fully fledged PA system that transforms any location into a stage, says the company.

The ANNY 10 is available as the first in the series. The active two-way full-range loudspeaker with 10" woofer and 1" tweeter combines an integrated six-channel mixer, three-band EQ and effects (reverb, delay), Bluetooth 5.0 streaming, and a footswitch input for hands-free effects control with a compact and robust housing that can be moved e

Poland - AV Light the exclusive distributor of German Lights Products (GLP) in Poland, has confirmed the successful delivery of the first GLP JDC2 fixtures to Transcolor, one of Poland's largest and best-known lighting companies. This milestone marks a significant moment in the partnership between AV Light and GLP, showcasing their commitment to innovation and excellence in the lighting industry.

Jan Bakiewicz, chief sales officer at AV Light, played a pivotal role in introducing the GLP JDC2 fixtures to the Polish market. Working closely with Stefan Wagner from GLP, Bakiewicz spearheaded efforts to showcase the capabilities of the JDC2 to clients in Poland, highlighting its innovative features and superior performance.

"We are thrilled to partner with Transcolor to bring the GLP JDC2 fixtures to Poland," said Jan Bakiewicz. "These fixtures represent

Denmark - Performing arts centre Musikhuset Esbjerg has upgraded with advanced dimming and power management solutions from Australian lighting controls manufacturer LSC Control Systems. The new system has delivered faster workflows, increased flexibility, space-saving, and greater peace of mind to this busy, multi-faceted venue.

Musikhuset Esbjerg serves a broad programme of performing arts to the Danish city – including plays, musicals, opera, comedy, and conferences. (Interestingly, this is not its only link with Australia: architect Jørn Utzon, who oversaw the building’s design along with his son, Jan, back in the late 90s, also designed the Sydney Opera House). Today, the building attracts over 150,000 visitors each year, including 80,000 for cultural events and 30,000 for conference and meetings, the remainder being tourists and visitors to non-pay

Italy – Last month, From the Heart to Hands: Dolce&Gabbana opened its doors at Palazzo Reale Milano. Supermodel Naomi Campbell opened the proceedings, inaugurating an evening of celebrations, from a tour of the rooms hosting the display to a fine dining experience.

Every detail of this exhibition has been ‘meticulously orchestrated from ambient and theatrical lighting to scented rooms’.

Produced by IMG, From the Heart to the Hands: Dolce & Gabbana, curated by Florence Müller is an exhibition that pays tribute to the values of Fatto A Mano (hand-made), and delves into the creative imagery and cultural references that underpin the essence of the iconic fashion house that have been essential since its founding.

ERCO helped bring this vision to life, working closely with IMG to provide innovative lighting solution

Australia - Tim Goodacre is a busy and in-demand freelance gaffer and lighting specialist based in Sydney and working all over Australia, primarily on TV dramas.

He has invested steadily in Astera to help drive his business over the last two years, most recently purchasing one of the new LeoFresnel products from Astera’s Australian and New Zealand distributor – ULA Group, which is added to his existing stock of AX3 Lightdrop and NYX Bulb kits and workhorse Astera Titan and Helios Tubes.

He immediately utilised the LeoFresnel on season two of the award-winning Netflix Heartbreak High reboot, specifically for a forest night scene shot on location with the students camping out under the moonlight.

In a different scenario, a moving light might conventionally be used, however the practicalities of the location essentially demanded a w

UK - The ABTT has announced that Liz Sillett will be its new chief executive officer, starting in the role later this month.

Liz joins the ABTT having been at The Old Vic where she was director of operations and external relationships since 2017, having worked in the arts in the UK for over 25 years. This has included senior leadership roles at Orion Management working in and supporting multiple venues across the UK, several senior roles at The Old Vic and various consultancy projects.

Liz’s experience spans traditional theatres, unconventional venues including immersive experiences, temporary spaces and pop-ups as well as events and hospitality.

Liz brings to the role a thorough understanding of venue operations (both front of house and backstage) as well as extensive experience of capital projects. Liz has been a member of the ABTT for ma

UK - Point Source Audio’s Series9 lavalier microphones were centre stage for Just for One Day - The Live Aid Musical, as the show completed its debut run from January to March at The Old Vic in London. Nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Contribution, the musical has earned acclaim for the performances from its show band and cast, all relying on Point Source Audio’s latest microphone technology.

Gareth Owen spearheaded the sound design for the production. "My approach was to imagine what the songs from the concert would sound like with today's technology," he explains. "The goal was to maintain the essence of the original performances while infusing modern production values. 

"The Point Source Audio mics performed exceptionally well. We had ample opportunity over the run to compare them to various other microphones an

UK - Britannia Row’s specialist comms department Surfhire oversaw a large Cisco network backbone, Riedel comms and Motorola radios to the globally watched live sporting event.

Since Britannia Row Productions acquired Surfhire in 2019, Comms and IT capabilities have become an integral part of the company’s services. In alignment with the wider Clair Global rental offering in North America and the Middle East - where recent projects include the Superbowl and Qatar Web Summit - the UK’s powerful equipment inventory is being deployed by trusted teams across major live and broadcast events.

Held in Glasgow over three days in early March, the 19th edition of the World Athletics Indoor Championships saw 586 athletes from 128 countries compete for 26 titles as 22,000 spectators watched.

To ensure uninterrupted coverage of these high-octane perf

UK - GLS Lighting, the Southampton based lighting hire company, has been awarded the ESG Mark, an industry benchmark for companies committed to a sustainable future.

GLS Lighting was founded in 1995, to provide lighting equipment to the concert and theatre industry, working on concert tours and events in the UK and worldwide. Over the past 20 years they have progressively introduced initiatives synonymous with the ESG Mark principles. Through the rigorous assessment process, GLS Lighting demonstrated a high level of performance against environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and an ongoing commitment to positive change.

Additionally, GLS Lighting has joined over 14,000 businesses in the UK by becoming an accredited Real Living Wage employer. The company aims to guarantee that staff are paid a wage rate that meets the cost of living. The

The Netherlands - The first time Stairway Productions’ Menno Smit heard a full-bore Martin Audio concert system was at Grace Jones’ Lowlands Festival appearance in Holland, back in 2009. “I was just blown away by this wall of sound. In fact, I was so impressed by the throw of the Wavefront [W8L] Longbow speakers that I decided to pursue a career in live audio,” he said.

This was after a background first as a singer before switching to technical production, attending including Codarts University for the Arts in Rotterdam and learning about music production and creative producing. He then set out in the studio world, working with bands like the now popular Chef'Special, before transitioning to live sound.

Parallel to his academic work he had also set up Stairway Productions as far back as 2007 to service small gigs from his base in Delft, locat

Slovenia - Singer-songwriter Nina Pušlar played a major sold-out show in Ljubljana’s 14,400-capacity Stožice Arena which was recorded for broadcast on national TV and celebrated the release of new music from Nina, for which her team including creative director Anže Škrube wanted a spectacular production.

Lighting designer Amadej Šuperger from design studio Blackout specified large quantities of Robe moving lights which made up 75% of the lighting. The positions were facilitated by an angled triangular truss in the centre with four bracing trusses flanked by raked grids of crisscrossing trusses in the roof above the stage, which brought a structural look and industrial tone to the performance area. It also amplified the depth of the performance space.

Amadej has been working with the artist for some time. He already had a show designed for smal

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