Keeping Music Live - Small music venues are "operating under significant pressures, both financial and regulatory", a new report has found. The report, called Understanding Small Music Venues, also highlights concerns over the negative public perception of small venues. It has been created by the Music Venue Trust, which was established in 2014 to protect and support independent music venues in the UK.

Chief executive of the MVT Mark Davyd said that the research would contribute to the MVT's understanding of "what we can do to ensure we act together to protect, secure and improve the UK's grassroots music venues". In total, 109 venues across the UK responded to a survey as part of the research, of which almost 80% were dedicated music venues. The report said that small music venues were suffering from a negative image as well as from financial pressure

UK - When the Aldwych Theatre in London's West End opened in December 1905, Las Vegas was only six months old, the Wright Brothers had just made the first aeroplane flight lasting more than half an hour and Albert Einstein had just proposed that E =MC2.

Staging a theatrical production weighing in excess of 12 tonnes, with a set of automated sliders that weigh two tonnes alone, was not envisaged by William Sprague when he designed the moderately sized Georgian style theatre, which is now a Grade II listed building.

Turn the clock forward by 109 years and this was exactly the challenge that faced Unusual Rigging when they were brought on board by Matt Towell, production manager behind the latest West End hit Beautiful - The Carol King Musical, to figure out how to hang 12,813kg over stage from the original timber roof structure designed to take half that load.


UK - Aurora Lighting Hire has been working once again with award winning lighting director Chris Rigby on the latest series of Alan Carr's Chatty Man.

Now in its 14th season, the show has gained a host of industry accolades including wins at the National Television Awards and BAFTA. Continuing these winning ways, LD Chris was also recently honoured by the Royal Television Society with a Craft and Design Award for his work on the show.

For this latest season, recorded in front of a live audience at the ITV London Studios, Aurora provided an extensive LED package for ambience across the interview area. A selection of floor mounted Pulsar Chromabatten 300 and Chromastrip X3s light up the set pieces with additional wash added to the set flats using Martin Aura Wash units hung above.

Aurora also armed Chris with a more 'rock and roll' selection of fixtures including Martin

USA - Barry Manilow is in the midst of a memorable and extensive 'Farewell' US tour for which creative director Seth Jackson specified 12 x Robe BMFL Spots as part of an elegant and stylish design to help ensure the legendary artist exits an incredible performance career on a high note.

Manilow, one of the most prolific and successful singer/songwriters and producers is also celebrating 40 years at the top in show business.

Seth has enjoyed a long-standing working relationship with the artist dating back to 1998 when he started as a 'fill-in guy'. Over that remarkable 27 years, he's also taken on the lighting, set and production designer roles, and has enjoyed the various challenges of creating fresh and invigorating performance environments each time.

Knowing the tour was approaching, Seth 'auditioned' 10 x BMFL Spots during the Austin City Limits Music Festival towards the

UK - Central Hall Westminster has appointed White Light as its new production service partner following a competitive tender. The new contract will commence on 1 July 2015, following a three month transition period.

Central Hall Westminster (CHW) is central London's largest purpose built conference centre, combining historical elegance with cutting-edge technical capabilities. The Edwardian landmark building situated adjacent to Westminster Abbey has engaged high profile conferences, special events and local business meetings since 1912. The architectural features of the building include the iconic dome, spacious entrance foyers and hallways, marble flooring and a sweeping grand staircase, the design of which is based on the Paris Opera House.

Central Hall Westminster offers 22 event spaces, including The Great Hall which seats up to 2,200 delegates and features Europe's large

USA - The American Society of Theatre Consultants (ASTC) Annual Meeting for 2015 was held 21 March, 2015 at the Duke Energy Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio in conjunction with the USITT meeting. At this meeting a new Board of Directors and officers were elected as well as the acceptance of a new ASTC full member.

The Board of Directors is the governing body of ASTC and is elected by members. The board members elect ASTC officers from the current board. Peter Rosenbaum will now serve as ASTC President with Chip Ulich serving as Vice President. Returning as Secretary/CFO is R. Duane Wilson. These officers also serve as board members with the addition of directors Scott Crossfield, Ed Kaye, Mike McMackin, and Peter Scheu.

ASTC has also announced that D. Andrew Gibbs has been admitted into membership after having demonstrated a broad range of capabilities and experience necessary to fu

Portugal - Elation Professional's Portuguese partner, Apogeu, was chosen to provide a lighting and sound solution for Evolution Hotel in Lisbon and turned to Elation LED lighting products to dress the hotel's spacious lobby area in atmospheric colour and visual excitement.

Evolution Lisboa, part of the SANA Hotel group, is located in the central part of the city (Saldanha) and markets itself as a new generation of hotel. Relaxed and tech-savvy yet still upscale, the hotel clearly caters to young, active and independent urban professionals. Apogeu's client sought a dynamic lighting solution for the lobby that mirrored that spirited energy while depicting the hotel as cutting edge and modern.

Far from being a traditional hotel lobby, the spacious two-story space at Evolution includes a reception, lounge, restaurant, bar, relaxation and meeting spaces, and even a DJ booth. It's n

UK - Audiologic has announced the launch of sister brand Audiologic Connect. The essence of the new brand and website is to supply high quality cables and connectors to both the retail and trade sectors of the AV industry, although its remit is perhaps somewhat wider than that basic premise.

Included in its framework are racks, stage boxes, DI boxes and other ancillary products that are all essential to the success of any AV installation, large or small. Consistent with Audiologic's desire to communicate closely with its customers to ensure their requirements are precisely met, Audiologic Connect will offer a similarly 'engaged' approach to customer service, inviting clients to discuss their needs in detail and where necessary, offer bespoke solutions.

Andy Lewis, sales and marketing manager at Audiologic, extolled the virtues of the new venture and delivered an enthusiastic s

UK - London-based technical service company Lightwave Productions this month joined the growing number of rental houses worldwide who are finding SGM's P-5 LED wash light an indispensible part of their production inventories.

A lighting technician since his days at Bristol University, the company's founder, Henry Clarke, hopes that the P-5s - which were supplied by SGM UK along with standard 43° lens - will help build profile for his company as the summer season beckons.

"I realised we needed IP65 rated products for the outdoor events and it seemed pointless looking at old style 400W floods when the industry is moving towards LED," he said.

As a freelance lighting tech, whose new company is now into its second year, Henry recognised that the P-5 had all the attributes required after seeing them at the PLASA Show. "I had also used them previously with anoth

UK - Following on from the unprecedented success of their first tour in 2014, McBusted are back with a new 21 date arena tour. Captivating fans with a set theme inspired by iconic moments of the late 80's and early 90's including a giant arcade game, the tour is already a huge success.

It was Le Mark's large scale print team who produced the 360sq.m of custom printed floor which became the centre piece of the arcade-themed set. Working together with Production North, Le Mark's design team created a reusable jig-saw style layout. This essentially allowed the floor to be easily installed, then rolled up, transported and reused at every venue on the tour.

Le Mark's Kirsty Fisher commented, "Our print team did an amazing job on this project. Every section was meticulously printed and inspected to ensure each floor piece lined up along the staging and numerous ramped areas. It

Germany - Berlin-based technical service provider Complete Audio has been touring with five piece Chemnitz band Kraftklub since February. At the centre of the PA system is the rental company's Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) from Martin Audio.

The In Schwarz Tour 2015 was launched initially in Austria and Switzerland, building up to 5,000-12,000 capacity venues in Germany by the end of March. Comments from the band and the audience, coupled with posts on social networking sites, indicate that the tour has already been a great success and acoustically has left no wish unfulfilled.

Kraftklub has followed the platinum-selling album Mit K and successful club tour with the In Schwarz second album - which sets a new milestone in the young band's career. The blend of indie beats, punk rock and rap with the thoughtful German lyrics has attracted fans across all ge

UK - Unity Works is aptly named. A grass roots initiative started by a community that came together with a shared goal in mind has given this historic building a new lease on live. This rebirth is reflected in the structure's cutting edge fittings, including its lighting system, which features the new Rogue R2 Spot moving LED spot and an extensive collection of other technologically advanced fixtures from Chauvet Professional.

Well known in an earlier time as Unity Hall, the stately building is a Grade II listed Victorian landmark with all the installation challenges to match. The community based Unity House (Wakefield) Ltd. venture managed to find £200,000 in private capital to begin getting the old pile back on its rocking feet - a benchmark that then enabled the successful application for over £4m million in national renovation awards, which set the building on it

UK - Panalux, a leading provider of lighting rental equipment for film, television and media production, recently announced that the company's Broadcast & Event division, Engineering and Product Development departments will be consolidated in a customised facility in Perivale. Allowing for greater operational flexibility, the 48,000sq.ft warehouse and offices located in the Perivale Park can accommodate a greater number of projects and allow future business expansion.

"Panalux Broadcast & Event have experienced consistent growth over the past years; as a result, we've outgrown our current location," explains Ed Pagett, Panalux Broadcast & Event managing director. "We're looking forward to settling into our new building, which will provide our different teams with the space they need to continue to expand on our services."

In the move, Panalux Engineering an

UK - After a competitive tender process The Broadsword Production Group is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a three-year contract to The Science Museum as a production supplier. With a diverse range of interactive galleries, located in the heart of South Kensington, the award-winning Science Museum offers a wow-factor backdrop for corporate events.

Matt Green, Broadsword's Sales Director, led the tender process and is excited about the opportunities at The Science Museum. He explains: "It is a bespoke venue, visually stunning, with a unique mix of the modern and traditional. Here at Broadsword, we offer the perfect mix of flexibility and innovation; the ability to design and adapt production solutions so that they work within unique environments. The Science Museum is definitely a space where we will be able to find new and interesting ways to stand out from t

South Africa - Rental company MGG supplied over 200 Robe moving lights for a recent indaba at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg for a high profile financial industry client.

LD Kevin Rieck made the bold move of using front and back rigged Robe LEDWash 600s for all his key lighting, following a great success with this methodology during a press conference by US President Barak Obama in Soweto last year, which he also lit. He also seized the occasion to use four of Robe's new BMFL Spots for the first time.

The stage and set design for the main plenary session of the major two day conference was originated by MGGs Denzil Smith - who also project managed and co-ordinated all things technical. The overall room aesthetic was based around an 80m widescreen projection that brought a dramatic filmic ambience to the setting, staged 'side-on' across the room.

Kevin Rieck has li

UK - Behind the Scenes UK, the new industry charity, has just issued its first grant to a technician who suffered severe injuries from a fall while at work. Dealing with multiple surgeries and a long recovery process was hard enough, but trying to take care of his young family with no income during this critical time proved overwhelming. Then someone suggested he apply to Behind the Scenes UK.

Behind the Scenes UK is modelled after Behind the Scenes in North America which has issued over half a million dollars in grants since its inception. Each application is carefully reviewed by a committee and each grant is tailored to assist with the recipient's most pressing needs. Funds may be used for basic living expenses such as rent or mortgage and utilities, transportation such as car insurance or repairs, medical related expenses, retraining, or funeral expenses.

In this particula

USA - Following Widespread Panic's larger-than-life New Year's Eve performance, the rock band has returned to the road for a 25 date spring tour. On the road with them is long time lighting designer Paul Hoffman, who again trusted Bandit Lites to provide the gear for his exceedingly mind-blowing psychedelic looks.

Due to the wide ranges of venues that Widespread Panic plays, Hoffman is always conscientious of designing a flexible rig that can be utilized in both tiny theatres and expansive arenas.

"We want to use as much of the production every night as we can - so that is a significant design goal," explained Hoffman. "It has to expand and contract without looking sparse or scrunched."

For design inspiration, Hoffman says he tends to look at his surroundings, from architecture, to sculpture and art. The result is an evolution from tour to tour, rather th

UK - The 25th anniversary tour of Return to the Forbidden Planet is currently making its way around the UK, complete with a Flare Audio loudspeaker system, representing the first major touring musical production to deploy the recently launched X2A Compact Vertical Point Source Array system. Along with the X2, the show's system also carries Flare Audio's Q18 subs and the micro X0s for delay and front fill duties.

Flare Audio's polished aluminium speakers are an aesthetic match to the cult musical's 1950s sci-fi theme, and with Ben Harrison's new sound design, the combined effect is meteoric. He has been impressed with the X2's overall performance, explaining:

"Their size and profile mean they slot easily into traditional proscenium rigging positions where other traditional line array systems would struggle to fit. They perform very well, and so far have proved to be

Mauritius - UK singer songwriter James Blunt recently played his first show on Mauritius at the 3500 capacity Swami Vivekananda Centre (SVICC) just outside capital city Port Louis in a show promoted by Music Machine & Immedia. Lighting was co-ordinated by his long term lighting & visuals director, Glen Johnson, and delivered by the country's leading rental and sales company, Impact Production.

Eight Robe BMFLs featured prominently on the rig together with eight MMX Spots, six ColorWash 1200E ATs and 14 LEDWash 600s, plus some beam lights, Molefeys and LED PARs, all making up a festival / B-rig variation of the touring show.

The 15 month Moon Landing world tour is now drawing to a close. Having started in China in December 2013, it's been another major selling album for Blunt and has been supported by his longest and most successful tour to date.

Glen enjoys opportunities lik

UK - One of the UK's premier arts and entertainment venues, the Grade II* listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (LPH) is in the midst of a £13.8m refurbishment. A significant element has been the UK's first Coda Audio ViRAY installation, which delivers exceptional sound while ensuring the venue's aesthetics are not compromised.

Also the home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, LPH hosts more than 250 concerts and events of all kinds each year - from classical, opera, folk, rock, pop and roots music to comedy, film, speeches, conferences and private events. So the new audio system had to be exceptionally flexible, but visually not detract from the venue's unique art deco architecture.

Liverpool-based Adlib was invited to tender for the design and supply of the system and the company's installation director Roger Kirby explains why Coda ViRAY was the natural choice

South Africa - With an estimated 20 visits to the country, international lighting designer Liz Berry is no stranger to South Africa. In fact, she says that when she stepped off the plane recently, it felt like coming home. While her adventures have included trips to Namibia, Botswana, and forming a good friendship with the team at Gearhouse SA and many other South Africans over the years, this stopover was different as Liz presented a lighting workshop at DWR Distribution, aimed at upcoming lighting designers and operators in Johannesburg from 25 to 27 March.

Having a mother who taught French and a father who was a lecturer, it would seem this Berry did not fall far from the bush. She has presented lighting design courses at Rose Bruford College, London's esteemed International Drama School of Theatre and Performance as a result of being a world-renowned LD.

"I met Liz ye

UK - On Monday 23 March, Sennheiser's newly-formed Strategic Collaborations team, in partnership with Bucks New University and MC9 Music, staged a special event showcasing exciting and emerging new talent Nellie Bell at the Hospital Club in Central London.

The event was organised by Sennheiser's Strategic Collaborations manager - EMEA Phil Cummings and brought together a host of guests from the music and entertainment industries to hear a range of material from Nellie's new album, which is due for release later this year.

Sennheiser e945 microphones were deployed for Nellie's vocal, with her band utilising ew 300G3 in ear monitors. The loudspeaker system comprised a K-array 402 system.

A number of students from the university's Music and Live Event Management course were on hand to help run the event, along with successful alumni from previous years Rob Faull, who is now wor

USA - Elation is once again be lighting American blues rock musician George Thorogood and his Delaware Destroyers band, who continue to surprise after four decades. George Thorogood found chart success in the '80s and continues to tour extensively after 40 years.

Out on a Badder Than Ever spring tour through April, lighting designer William Bennyhoff needed a rig that could complement Thorogood's high-energy boogie-blues style and found it in Elation Platinum Beam 5R Pro, Rayzor Q7 and Cuepix Blinder WW2 fixtures.

"Five years ago we were looking to have an ACL look for our show without having to carry ACL bars," explains Bennyhoff, who works for Toucan Productions of Oklahoma City, provider of lighting, truss and control for the tour. "We looked at all the options out there, which wasn't many, and decided to use the original Platinum Beam 5R."

Last year w

UK - This month, the Teenage Cancer Trust marked the 15th anniversary of their annual concert series at London's Royal Albert Hall, where leading names in music and comedy come together to raise money to help young people facing cancer. Closing out this year's event, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls headlined at the venue, with LD Shaun Moore trusting the Avolites Sapphire Touch for the occasion.

Moore, of North-East based rental company Nitelites, has been working with Turner for five years. He designed a lively and dynamic show reminiscent of the band's recent UK tour. He used the full house rig, plus additional PRG provided floor cans for drums and keys, which provided some stunning low level key light, matching the front line.

Having operated their consoles since he started lighting, Moore has used Avolites for his entire career to date. "I followed in my family's

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