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 of Robe as a brand already and had hired some LEDWash 600s for a Kapa Haka festival from Grouse Ligh

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.

Intera

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,

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

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

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

UK - Prolight Concepts (UK) has announced a distribution partnership with Konligo in the UK. Konligo creates temporary structures and coverings which ‘unfold exceptional designs for event organizers and their visitors whilst fascinating the world with beauty, strength, and the convenience of deployable structures’. “This collaboration once again further bolsters our product offering and expands our portfolio of brands,” says Prolights.

Scissor structures are pre-constructed and instantly deployable, thereby significantly reducing transport, assembly time and installation costs. Their products are multi-functional and have aesthetic appeal meaning they can be used as tents, stage coverings, entrance arches, screens, brand activation and so much more.

Opening Time - The new Co-op Live arena is set to open this evening after three weeks of delays, false starts, and chaos behind the scenes. Elbow will open the £365m Manchester venue later, after an inspection gave the venue the all-clear.

Comedian Peter Kay had been due to open the 23,500-seater venue on 23 April,

The eleventh-hour postponement of A Boogie With Da Hoodie's gig on 1 May saw other shows moved to the nearby AO Arena. Kay's shows were twice postponed over issues including power supply and emergency communications, while a Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's show was pulled over a problem with the ventilation system.

Bosses said they were "thrilled" to be opening the venue after being "disappointed to have delayed our introduction and frustrated so many in the process". "We now look forward to welcoming fans to Elbow's opening performance on

UK – Technical production specialist Blue Elephant has become the first UK AV supplier to invest in the latest generation of xVision Nomad 2.6 LED screen from Theatrixx Technologies.

Offering high-end production services and custom solutions for events of all types, Blue Elephant has purchased over 100sq.m (320 panels – with another 100 to follow) of the new high-resolution Nomad screen package from Theatrixx, including processing from Brompton Technology.

xVision Nomad 2.6 indoor screen offers many major advantages to AV production suppliers. Not only is its visual performance of the very highest standard, but it includes a robust and extremely durable die-cast aluminium panel design, with no-GOB (glue on board) module construction. For further durability, Theatrixx’s proprietary TPEP (Titanium/Polymer Edge Protection) technology significantly

USA - Bandit Lites has added adds Claypaky Sharpy X Frames to its touring arsenal and is the first company in the world to send the Sharpy X Frames on the road.

“I am very excited to have these in our inventory to offer our clients,” said Jake Tickle, Bandit Lites vice president of business and innovation. “Claypaky somehow found a way to create what may be the most complete Hybrid Beam fixture in its category. From smooth, even output to intense beams, the Sharpy X Frame really does it all.”

Bandit wasted no time in getting the Sharpy X Frames out on tour with American blues guitarist and singer Gary Clark, Jr. (lighting design by John Adamo and Robert Fuller), The Used (lighting design by Dillon Pajunas and Joe Nicoletti) and Hardy’s set at Patriot Fest (lighting design by Trevor Drawdy). Other tours are in the planning phase now.

USA - JLGroup has announced a strategic investment by JLL USA LLC into Vital Show Solutions (VSS), a pivotal move set to bolster both companies' growth trajectories. JLL USA LLC is investing over $1m into VSS, affirming its commitment to ensuring expansive equipment upgrades and continued team development. JLL USA Team will operate out of VSS’s shop located in Carrollton, Dallas, Texas.

This investment strengthens the collaboration between VSS's 19-member team and JLL USA, enabling JLL USA to tap into the expertise of VSS's entire team, including the head of video, head of sound, project managers, and enhanced transport capabilities. This positions both companies to efficiently manage and execute a substantial combined $12m order book for the year.

"JLL USA's investment in VSS represents not only a strategic alignment of our businesses but also our

UK - Penn Elcom, the manufacturer of flightcase hardware, racking, speaker component, cabling, LED lighting and other related elements, is celebrating 50 years in business. Founded in 1974 by Roger Willems, initially focusing on metals and anodising, the company has expanded and diversified over the five decades and is now producing and supplying an array of vital entertainment industry related infrastructural elements, which are fabricated from bases in the UK, US, Germany and China in a tightly co-ordinated operation involving over 600 full-time employees.

“So many fantastic people have contributed to making Penn Elcom what it is today,” says Roger. “Their collective personalities, foresight and diligence have helped shape the strong brand identity that sees us achieve this landmark anniversary. I want to say a huge and sincere thankyou to each and e

UK - Pro-audio service provider 22Live has completed its d&b SL-Series offering by adding GSL to its hire inventory.

Having now completed its first full year of operation 22live continues to assert itself in the pro-audio rental market as a major force for the future. 22live was appointed as a d&b audiotechnik rental partner in early 2023 after making initial investments into XSL and KSL line array packages.

The company achieved successes in 2023 with these d&b systems being deployed to tours - Tori Amos Ocean to Ocean, Madness C’est La Vie, and events such as Lionel Richie & George Ezra at Chepstow Racecourse. In 2024 the drive for large scale touring utilising d&b has continued with the Pendulum arena tour, and now with d&b GSL in stock, 22live is well positioned to continue its growth, offering services

Australia - Seamless AV has chosen Prolights' Astra Wash19PixIP to update its inventory in response to the increased demand for outdoor installations. Alex Moffat, director of Seamless AV, consulted Show Technology, the Prolights distributor in Australia, for the selection of new IP projectors to be included in the inventory.

The choice fell on Prolights' Astra Wash19PixIP. The Astra Wash19PixIP was designed to be a workhorse for any large, outdoor stage or installation, offering a robust and sealed mechanical assembly but keeping the same features and performance as its indoor version.

"We have found the units to be robust for outdoor work and they have not missed a beat,” commented Moffat. "They are amazing as a wash unit and having the LED outer ring makes them look stunning as eye candy for back-of-stage looks. The four to 54-degree zoom makes

UK - PLASA Focus Leeds returns to the city’s Royal Armouries from 14-15 May with two sold-out show floors and a bigger-than-ever programme. A record number of people have registered to attend the popular trade show, which promises to deliver an abundance of brands from across the pro audio, AV, lighting and staging sectors alongside a packed programme of seminar sessions, panel discussions, training events and more.

On the show floor, over 200 brands will span two halls, with Ambersphere proudly returning as headline sponsor. Many of the exhibitors will showcase their latest products, with several UK debuts to look out for.

Lighting brands include Avolites, Beamz, Chauvet Professional, Elation Professional, ETC, GLP, Highlite International, Martin Professional, Prolight, Robe, Roxx, TMB, and Vari-Lite.

Pro audio brands include Allen & H

UK – The Profile Awards, dedicated to TV and theatre lighting design, will take place on 6 June at Alexandra Palace. In the run up to the inaugural ceremony, the judging teams are hard at work whittling down the many shows and productions they have seen to select their winners.

Theatre Awards chair, David Benedict explains the process: “The theatre section of The Profile Awards is judged by eight of the UK’s leading theatre, dance and opera critics. Every single new production we see is automatically eligible for consideration.”

He continues: “At our lengthy judging session, we drew up a long list of 30 pieces of outstanding lighting design from the literally hundreds of productions we saw in person across the year. That list was then whittled down to a shortlist of 18. From there, we chose to salute the work of eight of the most exciting t

Bolivia - Adam Hall Group continues to expand its international sales network. With STD Pro Audio, the event technology vendor headquartered in Neu-Anspach, Hesse, has gained a new distribution partner in Bolivia. STD Pro Audio has already successfully implemented projects with Cameo in the past and is now the exclusive distributor for Adam Hall Group’s lighting technology brand in the Bolivian market.

Based in Cochabamba, STD Pro Audio was founded in 2011 by Wilson Reynaga López and has quickly developed into a leading vendor of event technology in Bolivia. In addition to distributing lighting and audio technology, the company also acts a service provider in the live event and installation markets. Milestones include upgrading the lighting technology at Teatro Internacional de Oruro, including the installation of Cameo moving lights.

“With Came

Greece – Audio & Vision has been appointed as distributor for 1 Sound throughout Greece. With headquarters in Athens and experience working on projects in renowned music halls, theatres, and more, Audio & Vision has cemented its status as a leading destination for high-end audiovisual solutions and expertise in the Greek market.

With a rich history of providing top-tier services and representing other AVL brands, Audio & Vision has strategically expanded its offerings featuring the 1 Sound brand for the installation and live sound markets.

“Audio & Vision, true to the principles of innovation, excellence, and high expertise that it has set since its inception, has chosen to partner with one of the world’s leading loudspeaker manufacturers. We are thrilled because we found in 1 Sound exactly what we were looking for and more,”

France - HOF has confirmed the appointment of Sonoss as a sales partner for France. The Lille-based company markets and produces products for the stage, architecture, commercial and event sectors.

Philippe Coudyser, CEO at Sonoss, says: “Founded in 1984, our company has a large of experience in live event technology. We are looking forward to working with HOF as we know HOF as a reliable company that develops and manufactures high quality products tailored to the needs of our markets. Thanks to our location in Lille, at the crossroads between Paris, Brussels and London, we can assist our customers with any national or European project.”

Edwin Duivelaar, export & sales manager at HOF, adds: “We are delighted to have found in Sonoss an established and recognised partner who shares our ambitious growth objectives.”

Sonoss will offer

UK - South London-based production house Subfrantic has acquired two new DiGiCo consoles - a Quantum 225 and Quantum Pulse 338 with 32 Bit SD Racks.

Founded in 1993, Subfrantic supplies high end solutions to many different situations. Its long client list includes houses of worship, live events, festivals, touring, conferences, and even carnival floats for the Notting Hill Carnival.

Subfrantic Studios, developed post-pandemic in 2021, is the company’s rehearsal and recording facility which shares a warehouse and rental inventory with the production side of the business. The studios are a set of spaces for touring musicians and technicians, but also support upcoming artists and engineers. The building has been designed around the needs of the whole team, providing facilities for work and wellbeing which are a real bonus for touring engineers and art

UK - Cornwall-based audio design firm, Union Audio, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, and to mark the occasion, a limited edition of 10 gold versions of its flagship rotary mixer, the orbit.6, will be available.

Union founder Andy Rigby-Jones began his audio career on the assembly line of pro audio manufacturer, Allen & Heath. With a passion for DJing, and a keen practical knowledge of engineering, it was not long before Andy had devised the beginnings of Allen & Heath’s first DJ mixer, and the Xone, was born.

Launching his own business dedicated to bespoke analogue audio design, Andy formed Union Audio in 2014, collaborating with leading names in the DJ and sound reproduction field, including Richie Hawtin’s Play differently, MasterSounds Audio and TPI.

In 2022, the company reached a major milestone with the release

UK - The Power of Events is releasing results to date of its Schools Engagement Programme pilot in the East of England. Launched in January 2024, the pilot aims to refine the process of inspiring the next generation of event professionals, by introducing pupils aged 13-18 to the dynamic range of opportunities within the events industry.

In the Spring term, the programme has so far engaged over 3,000 pupils from 17 schools, significantly enhancing their understanding of the events industry as a viable career path. The engagement numbers rose to a promising 65% average in pupils' awareness of the sector and career consideration post-presentation, up from an initial 2% pre-presentation.

Following this initial success, The Power of Events is set to expand the programme across additional regions in the UK, starting in the Autumn term in September 2024. Th

Poland - Robe supported the 2024 Scena Jutra (Stage of Tomorrow) two-day symposium in Warsaw, which this year changed up to a new venue inside the city’s Palace of Culture & Science in downtown, one of Europe’s tallest buildings.

The sixth edition of this growing two-day event featured over 120 speakers, both international and from across Poland, who gave a series of presentations or joined lively panel discussions. These embraced an eclectic variety of topics all related to production design, visual and sonic art also embracing architecture and built spaces, plus several more esoteric but related subjects.

While the designated exhibition area provided a backdrop for Robe to showcase some of its latest tech, the vibe was more about stimulating ideas and exploring the adventure of possibilities that might be achieved now and in the future thro

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