USA - Widespread Panic have been on the road for their fall tour, but they continued their tradition of closing out the year in an epic fashion and ringing in the next to insane fanfare as they performed at the Times Warner Cable Arena. Bandit Lites worked with lighting designer Paul Hoffman to light the event.

The legendary band included three sets of performances that were peppered with their classic hits and covers. When the countdown clock struck midnight, Auld Lang Syne gave way to Burning Down the House to a Rolling Stones cover and ultimately, Pharrell's Happy.

Hoffman augmented the band's touring lighting system from the fall with tweaks to take advantage of all the available space in the arena, and to pack in a few surprises for the big countdown to midnight.

"My preferred list of equipment changes and evolves over the years as new technolo

UK - It seems an unlikely collision, the UK's Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD), the American multi-instrumental phenomenon Hunter Hayes, and a totally re-invented soundtrack for the 2011 cult movie Drive, but then CSSD has always had something of the unexpected about it.

"It began innocently enough," said Pepin Clout of John Henry's audio division (JH Audio). "We attended a demo of the new d&b audiotechnik Y-Series at CSSD in late October. The point source versions tickled our fancy, the Y10P in particular."

The Y-Series features both point source and line array cabinets; the feature of the Y10P that caught Clout's ear was the constant directivity of 110° x 40° (h x v) down to 500Hz. "The demand for a wide dispersion is not unique for cabinets that are designed to be deployed pole mounted on a sub, but the outstanding sonic perf

Brit Award Nominations - Sam Smith leads the charge at this year's Brit Awards, with five nominations, it has been announced. The 22-year-old is up for best British male, breakthrough artist and best album, for In The Lonely Hour. He is closely followed by singer-songwriters Ed Sheeran and George Ezra, who each receive four nominations, and rock duo Royal Blood, who have three. This year's ceremony takes place in London's O2 arena on 25 February.

Rock Revival - The four surviving members of the Grateful Dead are coming back to life for a series of farewell concerts. Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir will reunite at Chicago's Soldier Field, nearly 20 years to the day of the last Grateful Dead concert, which took place at the same venue. The band is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the shows from 3 to 5 July will mark their final performance.

USA - ETC is now accepting registrations for its CUE (Create. Understand. Experience.) professional development conference, which will take place 26-28 June 2015, in Madison, Wisconsin. Early registrants can take advantage of a special discount, which will expire on 28 February.

Lighting professionals and enthusiasts from around the world are invited to take part in the CUE conference. Attendees of all skill levels will be able to increase their knowledge and apply what they learn to their daily work - all ETC asks is that attendees can speak English, as translators cannot be provided. ETC is also able to offer assistance with US entry requirements for those who need it.

ETC is ramping up the schedule for CUE 2015 to include two learning tracks that will help attendees get the most out of the conference. The Technical Theatre and Continuing Education track is aimed at students

USA - President Steve Brill of The Lighting Design Group (LDG) worked with CNN to light the CNN Heroes gala and award ceremony this past November at The American Museum of Natural History in New York City. On hand to assist was Sheryl Warren-Wisniewski, the lighting project manager for LDG, who handles many special projects for the company.

"The museum and specifically the Whale Room are very active, so the biggest challenge was having time in the space. We needed to be flexible with our schedule and footprint," Warren-Wisniewski said. "It is also a very old building, so many of the conveniences in new buildings just aren't there - for instance, there is no real loading dock where a large truck will fit." Acting as on-site manager, Warren-Wisniewski dealt with a myriad of issues so Brill could concentrate on the design.

Also instrumental were staff lighting

USA - The Elation Professional Design PAR 575 opti par moving head is a fixture of choice at major auto shows across North America. Known in the trade show industry as a high quality alternative to the standard 575W daylight PAR, thanks to its remote focus capability the Design PAR 575 is especially useful for exhibits that operate on a tight focus window.

Held 21-30 November at the LA Convention Centre, the Los Angeles Auto Show is one of the most influential auto shows in the world and production companies Christie Lites and TLS Productions, Inc. played a major role in the event, delivering nearly 2000 Elation Design PARs to light cars and scenic elements for some of the world's top car brands.

TLS Productions, Inc. has provided for the automotive industry for nearly 60 years and relied heavily on the Design PAR 575 for the Toyota, Lexus and Scion booths at the LA Auto Show.

South Africa - Inspired Stages ended off 2014 with a high, as students attended the last three-day school holiday workshop of the year, designed to give insight into the entertainment industry. This successful event was hosted at the GrandWest in Cape Town and was once again presented by Karen Burt (Planet Productions Code Teen) and Gavin Taylor (GrandWest Entertainment).

"It was a phenomenal three days and I personally feel like the richest person alive with the knowledge that together we have made such an unforgettable impact on the teenagers and the next generation," said Karen Burt.

Messages on facebook started rolling in from the participants shortly after the workshop ended, a testimony to what Inspired Stages meant to everyone.

"I personally find it interesting to note how many times Inspired Stages is referred to as family, specifically as many of thes

Germany - When a famous venue in Düsseldorf decided to upgrade its 15-year-old sound system, it turned to local audio experts Thöne & Partner. Nachtresidenz's main room is now home to a new five-point speaker system from Funktion-One.

Nachtresidenz has built its reputation around its music policy, service and atmosphere. The building itself has been known for entertaining people ever since it started life as the Residenz-Theatre in the 1920s. While the style of entertainment has changed, many of the period characteristics have been kept and blended with modern features, resulting in a collection of captivating spaces.

There are five different areas, spread over 1,800sq.m, but it is the main room that really defines the venue. A dome with a height of more than 13m combines with glitzy interior design and lighting to create a glamorous event space. The owners, keen to support

The Netherlands - A new three room live music venue has been created in a converted industrial building in Leiden.

Previously owned by the Nobel brothers (after whom it is named), the new 'de Nobel' local government-owned music centre will be operated by LVC (Leiden Leisure Centre).

The sound system installation was carried out by TM Audio, who participated successfully in a European public tender in early 2013. The company responded to an outline specification issued by PB Theateradviseurs and were awarded the contract based on their ability to provide premium brands - including Martin Audio, whom they represent in The Netherlands.

According to TM Audio sales & marketing manager, Rudolf Nagtzaam, "We were up against three or four competitors, and were able to meet or exceed the specifications quoted." Nagtzaam himself co-project managed the contract in conjunction

Finland - UK theatre, event and installed audio specialists Out Board has appointed Electro Waves Oy as its new Finnish distributor for the TiMax SoundHub audio showcontrol matrix and TiMax Tracker performer tracking system. The company will also sell and support the Outboard LV & DV Chain-Hoist Controller products in Finland.

The team at Electrowaves, who have a long standing association with the TiMax suite of products, are headed by Kurt Nyback who brings two decades of experience with the brand.

Says Nyback, "TiMax is a totally unique sound automation system and it cannot be compared to anything else. At Electrowaves we understand TiMax SoundHub and TiMax Tracker, and how it will bring the best sound arrangements for our customers. Electrowaves will also support the Outboard Chain-Hoist Control products."

Nyback continues, "TiMax has proved popular in Finl

Sweden - On 10 December 2014, Clay Paky joined the elite crowd of guests at one of the highest profile events in the world - The Nobel Prize Banquet. Held annually in the Blue Hall of Stockholm City Hall since 1934, the banquet immediately follows the prestigious Nobel Prize Awards.

The event is attended by the King and Queen of Sweden and the other members of the Royal Family, plus approximately 1300 guests, including Nobel Laureates, politicians, dignitaries and other VIPs, as well as seen by the viewing audience of a High Definition television broadcast by Swedish Television (SVT). No tickets can be bought; all guests are invited by the Nobel foundation.

Lighting designer Per Sundin integrated 18 Clay Paky Alpha Profile 800 ST fixtures for the event, supplied by Woodlite. He knows the layout of Stockholm City Hall well, having designed for the event many times in the past.

UK - With less than five weeks to go until the Event Production Show opens its doors, organiser, Mash Media has unveiled a packed programme of panel debates and seminars to educate and entertain exhibitors and visitors.

The Main Stage will see the return of the popular Access Sessions. Taking the form of a 45 minute panel debate, each session will bring together experts from across the industry to share their experiences, discuss new ideas and outline prospects for the year ahead.

First to take to the stage is Piers Shepperd of Wonder Works, who will chair a panel on The Importance of Opening and Closing Ceremonies to the Cultural Heritage and Legacy of Large Sporting Events, which will also feature David Zolkwer, artistic director and head of ceremonies at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Other sessions planned for Wednesday include a Question Time style

UK - Leisuretec Distribution Ltd has announced its new trade partnership with the American manufacturer Samson Technologies, an industry leader in both consumer and professional audio equipment.

Leighton Buzzard-based Leisuretec are distributors of professional and commercial audio, lighting, video and special effects to the trade. Cliff Dounting, managing director, commented on the new partnership: "We are very proud to be partnering with Samson, a company with a great pedigree along with an exciting product range, all of which make for a very strong fit with Leisuretec's portfolio enabling us to further grow our service and capabilities to the industry trade and in particular the MI retail sector."

Samson developed the first professional USB microphones to be used by musicians, broadcasters and podcast enthusiasts and their USB microphone is now the industry standa

Canada - On 6 December the night sky over Montreal was pierced by 14 beams of light in a solemn commemoration of the 14 victims of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre 25 years ago. Montreal-based Moment Factory chose Clay Paky Mythos lights for the touching ceremony atop Mount Royal.

Residents of Montreal, Mayor Denis Coderre, Quebec and federal political leaders, gun control advocates, journalists, victims' family members and survivors of the shooting gathered at the lookout of the Mount Royal chalet for a two-hour ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the day a gunman stalked the engineering school targeting women, professing to hate feminists and the new roles of women in society.

As part of the commemoration, 14 columns of light, each one symbolizing a young woman who perished in the massacre, rose into the sky. The powerful beams were created by Clay Paky Mythos fixtures.

UK - A combination of geometrically and historically inspired projections make for a striking backdrop for Rodrigo y Gabriela's latest tour, in support of new album 9 Dead Alive. The duo's multimedia designer, Krisjanis Berzins operates the show using Ai Version 8 - Bondi, running from a Software Licence Key.

The Mexican acoustic guitar duo returned to tour the UK this winter, having taken to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in the summer. Using two screen fixtures, their show employs Ai to run 4-6 layers per fixture, made up of one-two footage layers plus four live camera layers which can be source switched to use up to eight cameras at a time.

Berzins' design took inspiration from the new album, for which each song is dedicated to someone with significant legacy in human history. "We had built animations for these as well as some extra geometry based content for

USA - Robe made six of its new BMFL Spots available to lighting designer Preston Hoffman for the 2014 Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. The annual event, this year staged at the U.S. Cellular Centre in Asheville, North Carolina, featured Billy and the Kids, The Revivalists, Jason Isbell, Vince Gill, The Hard Working Americans and Haynes' own band, Gov't Mule.

Now in its 26th year, the high-profile music event, which began in a small club in 1988, has become a major charity fundraiser. Since 2008, the proceeds have gone to Habitat for Humanity, an international non government, not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering communities and building affordable housing for those in need.

Preston has been lighting the Christmas Jam for the last four years. This year's goal with the lighting design was to move forward from last year's spectacle which was expanded to two nights with

UK - With a choir of 1,300 school children, a 30 piece Big Band and vocalist, plus various other ensembles including a body percussion choir, the Brighton & Hove Schools Christmas Concert taking place at the Brighton Centre this December presented some complex audio logistics for Mustt Audio and its Flare loud speaker system.

The concert, organised by Brighton & Hove Music & Arts at the 5,000 capacity Brighton Centre, is a well established seasonal singing extravaganza, eagerly anticipated by local families. So it was vital that the performers were supported by a multi-skilled professional technical production team.

"It was as if we had five concerts running simultaneously," says Mustt Audio owner, Waq. "Choreographing and coordinating the show was a challenge. The music alternates between different choirs and orchestras, so one group might be playing or singing

UK - The final music show to be staged at London's Earls Court concert and exhibition venue - which is being demolished - saw indie rockers Bombay Bicycle Club deliver an enthusiastic and enigmatic set, complete with some very special guests including Dave Gilmour - in the final show of their So Long See You Tomorrow album campaign and world tour.

The set, lighting and video elements were designed by Squib, and XL Video supplied video production and crew for both Earls Court and the preceding tour which had originally started in April 2014.

The tour featured eye catching video content created by Adam Young and Anna Ginsburg - mostly charismatic hand drawn animations - which were programmed onto one of XL's Catalyst media servers and projected on to seven stretched fabric circles or discs of varying sizes between 4 and 8 feet, fed by a pair of Barco projectors.

For the

UK - Cadac finished off 2014 with a flurry of trade shows and demonstration events for its flagship CDC eight digital console throughout November and December, in partnership with its European distributors.

For 2015 the company has already hit the demonstration trail running, at Teknikmesse i Operaen (Technology Exhibition at the Opera), at the Det Kongelige Teater Copenhagen, with Danish distributor Starbaek Audiovisual Truss and Stage on 7 - 8 January, at Tour Link Conference in Palm Springs with Paul Morini from Cadac's US office on 8 - 10 January, and at Queens University, Belfast, with PHG - Production House and Cadac's UK sales manager Rob Hughes, in Northern Ireland on 13 - 15 January.

The trade show tour at the end of 2014 kicked off with Tonmeistertagung 2014 on 20 - 23 November in Cologne, where the CDC eight-32 and CDC eight-16 were centre stage on Audio Specialists

UK - The MADI-MON from 4HM, part of the Bel Digital Group, gives broadcast, live sound and production audio engineers a simple but reliable way of auditioning embedded MADI channels, without the need to connect to external routers or audio consoles. BBC Northern Ireland (BBCNI) has recently invested in a unit, supplied by Aspen Media, in order to facilitate monitoring of its new MADI audio router and communications systems.

As the first device to provide studio engineers with the tools necessary to interrogate the MADI stream in order to view the status of embedded channels, MADI-MON is a suitable monitor for the commissioning and maintenance of MADI-based audio systems. It is the only MADI monitor that makes all of the audio signals visible and accessible as a breakout simultaneously, with the status bits of the MADI stream also available for diagnostic use.

BBCNI chose the M

UK - Since Soccer AM first aired in 1995 it has developed a cult following with features such as Crossbar Challenge, Away Days, Taxi and Third Eyes plus the Soccerettes.

Despite the longevity of the show, it has always remained relaxed, spontaneous and funny which is a credit to the team and the presenters Helen Chamberlain and Max Rushden.

Behind the scenes you just sense that there is a group of colleagues that can call themselves friends and know how to have a laugh together. This is made all the more obvious with their annual Dance Off.

Long standing LD Malcolm Reed designs the lighting show which is supported by Richard Martin Lighting (RML). Although the lighting is relatively minimal for the feature, Malcolm always makes and point of changing the fixtures every year so that there is a different look. This year he went for the

Russia - Russian rock band DDT have embarked on their world tour, Pellucid, with lighting designer Andrejs Dubkovs choosing the ever-popular Clay Paky Sharpy and Sharpy Wash 330 as a winning combination of "power, reliability and budget-saving" for his emotive design.

Dubkovs, of show design house Lumen Art Divison, specified the fixtures from Novosibirsk-based Elkraft for the Russian leg of the tour, with leading production company Orion supplying the units for the international dates.

"The Clay Paky Sharpy and Sharpy Wash 330 are ideal for this tour," says Dubkovs. "They are super powerful meaning I need to use less fixtures to achieve the looks I want and yet compact and lightweight, saving space in the trucks. Both of these factors are very important when touring around the world.

"In addition, Clay Paky fixtures are extremely reliable durin

Russia - SGM's P-5 wash lights demonstrated their applicability as waterproof luminaires at the recent International Festival of Light in Moscow. Fountain specialist Aqua-Show was tasked with installing two lines of fountains and creating a 3D world of water for laser projection. They needed to illuminate the fountains with water reaching heights up to 30m, and for that they selected the powerful RGBW P-5.

Water show lighting designer and design engineer of the fountain system, Korzakov Anton, explains, "This is our first experience in using LED light for creating a wash effect on the water. Previously, we have not found such a fixture in our rental market with this huge light output. All our previous attempts have been unsuccessful and for many years we have only used conventional lights."

The multishow took place at the Ostankino Tower, Russia's national TV buildin

UK - Award winning UK comedian Russell Howard extended his massively successful Wonderbox stand-up tour in December, playing an additional nine dates following the warm reception it had received in April.

Once again, Adlib was asked to supply a crisp and clear PA system, lighting and all necessary trussing and rigging for the shows.

As with any comedian, working a big arena is a challenging environment. One of the tasks of the production is to reduce the void and bring the audience closer - a bidirectional 'personal proximity' relationship - which has to be achieved virtually. While the physical space remains the same, the perception - of both artist and audience - changes.

Adlib applied its considerable experience in the discipline of live comedy to the task in hand. The sonic detail is crucial as most comic delivery entails hearing every inflection of the voice with comple

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