Germany - This year's Mayday, one of the most famous electronic music events in Germany, took place on 30 April in Dortmund, Germany. Twenty thousand party people visited this spectacular event headlined Making Friends.

Besides the unique lighting design with spectacular effects and scenes, the laser show played an important role for the event: The strong, precise beams that perfectly matched the beat of the music emotionalized the audience.

Laserfabrik, who did the laser show design and implementation on the main stage, relied on laser gear from the Laserworld Group for this large event. More than 200W of laser power were in use on the main floor - four RTI Nano RGB 20 systems created the main power beams, supported by eight RTI Femto RGB 7 and several supporting laser systems. The de-centralized, digital laser control signal processing was done with 5 DSP Mark2 workst

Germany - Laserecene 2015 is billed as the premium exhibition in Europe fully dedicated to laser display-technology in the fields of entertainment, art and education.

The exhibition is a marketplace for buying and selling, a community for networking, a forum for exchanging ideas and an opportunity for contributing to industry trends by bring together manufacturers, suppliers, buyers and technicians.

The main exhibition categories include: laser systems, control equipment, laser projectors, laser show software, laser show artwork, laser advertising systems, show tips & techniques, stage technology and event services.

(Jim Evans)

UK - Volkswagen Finance's new £25 million building in Milton Keynes opened with a bang in April. Hawthorns and Fantastic Fireworks were brought in to supply a stunning visual finale to an evening of music and celebrations, with Pixie Lott topping the bill.

The brief was to illuminate the building and produce a lightshow for the finale and fireworks display. Hawthorns lighting designers Matt Oscroft and Paul Bird selected Clay Paky Sharpies, both wash and spots, Alpha 1200 profiles and Glow Ups. Also selected were Robe BMFLs which really impressed the lighting designers.

The fixtures were used to provide a gobo breakup across the whole building, then during the finale they were used as high intensity beams projection high into the sky. The whole system was plotted prior to the event on Hawthorns' Wysiwyg suite, system controlled via a Grand MA 2 - Bird's desk of choice.

UK - Play Deep Studios - a brand new boutique recording studio in London's Kings Cross - opened its doors on April 17. The studio is the culmination of a two and half year project by owner and engineer, Canadian-British DJ Zachary Spider Brown-Smith (aka Spydabrown). Designed and built by Zach and his tech, he chose Van Damme cabling throughout, using a variety of types including Black Tourgrade, Blue Series, Green Digi Series and VD Video Coax. All supplied by VDC Trading along with assemblies and connectors. Uniquely, the studio features an Otari 54 Series 36 mixing desk, the only one of its kind in the UK.

Spydabrown commented on the cable choice: "I was recommended Van Damme cable, with everyone saying it is the best, and I must say I have not been disappointed. The team at VDC Trading did a great job of keeping me supplied."

Designed to be a cosy and chic record

USA / Belgium - Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG) has announced that it has agreed to acquire the XL Video Group, one of the largest providers of premier multi-market video services. PRG Chairman & CEO Jeremiah J. Harris and Lucas Covers, the Group CEO of XL Video jointly made the announcement.

XL Video, founded in 1995, has established itself as leading video services supplier around the world. The company is a multi-award winning provider of creative video solutions for concert touring, corporate events, exhibitions, automotive, television, sports, and theatre. Like PRG, XL Video supports creative designers and producers with full technical support in putting together cutting-edge video solutions for some of the most innovative and aesthetically daring shows in the world.

For PRG's worldwide clients, this acquisition expands their access to the wide range of creative v

UK -The Technical Theatre Awards' nominations close on Wednesday 13 May - so now's the time to ensure someone's outstanding achievements working behind the scenes are celebrated.

Anyone working in theatre industry can nominate their colleagues, crew members or favourite hire company. This is your opportunity to highlight why your chosen nominee stands out from the rest and deserves some recognition. It only takes a few minutes to nominate at www.technicaltheatreawards.com

Nominations will officially close during PLASA Focus in Leeds. Following this, organiser Ian Taylor will be inviting a panel of independent industry figures to shortlist the nominations. This is a new initiative for 2015, as suggested by TTA supporters as a way to improve the awards process.

Voting for the UK awards will open during the ABTT Trade Show on Wednesday 24 June 2015 at Alexandra Palace in London

USA - Lighting designer Tom Kenny produced another spectacular large-scale work to illuminate the 2015 mtvU Woodie Awards staged at the vast Austin American Statesman site on the south bank of the Colorado River during the SXSW Music Festival. The popular event, organized by MTV's 24-hour college network, capitalized on the buzz, excitement and sizzling array of cool, new, emerging and cutting-edge music that grips the city of Austin, Texas, for the week.

Tom works on many high-profile awards show designs and continues to create new and original lighting schemes. For this year's Woodies, he incorporated over 200 Robe moving lights - Pointes, LEDWash 1200s and LEDWash 600s - into the rig, for which his starting point was a stunning stage-set sculpture crafted from tens of thousands of wood planks, imagineered by Julio Himede.

The jagged wood structure clad the two stages which

Poland - This week's 138th Audio Engineering Society Convention (Thursday 7 May through Sunday 10 May), at the Sofitel Victoria Hotel in Warsaw, Poland will feature a comprehensive Technical Programme specifically assembled for the AES138 Convention - the AES's first dedicated event in Poland.

The papers and engineering briefs sessions showcase the work of over 100 researchers on topics ranging from 22.2 multichannel to accelerometer-based motional feedback. Workshops bring panels of experts together to discuss a range of provocative and practical topics, such as automotive sound, music production for film, and live sound. Tutorials provide an overview of important audio fundamentals for seasoned professionals and young people alike. Additionally, Special Events will offer both entertaining and thought-provoking, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to hear from industry icons.

Pa

USA - Univest Bank is a midsized, regional bank headquartered in Pennsylvania, and its success has led to both a measured expansion of the territory it covers and the density of customers within that territory.

Univest recently opened a branch office in Newtown, Pennsylvania and relied on A/V integration firm Communication Systems Incorporated, CSi, of nearby Allentown to design and commission a sound system for digital signage and traditional background music. In turn, CSi relied on an Ashly Audio Pema 8125 eight-channel amplifier with an integrated digital matrix processor, along with Ashly Audio's WR-5 wall-mounted remote control and its iPad remote control app.

"To the electrical contractor, Bergey's Electric, of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, the bank officials relayed their desire for a well-balanced sound system that would be easy for non-technical staff to control,"

USA - Country legend Vince Gill is touring the US with lighting provided by Bandit Lites. With 20 Grammy Awards, two Entertainer of the Year CMAs and more than 26m albums sold, Vince Gill's shows are an exercise of musical genius for the multi-instrumentalist singer-song writer.

As Vince Gill's lighting designer for the past four years, Dylan Mire felt the lighting needed a refreshing new look that would complement the show but not distract from Vince or the bluegrass band.

"The lighting needed to be simple and effective to highlight an established artist," Mire said. "We also needed the gear to fit into a limited amount of truck space."

Mire utilized VL 2500 Spots, Robe CycFX8 and Martin MAC Auras in the design, placing GRN Par 64 fixtures for light columns on the backdrop and Chauvet Color Dashes as truss toner. Mire also uses a GrandMA 1 full console.<

Benelux - ETC has changed its sales structure in Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg) from a distributor based model to a dealer market, in order to provide the highest quality support in the region. The new system went into effect on 2 April, with three companies named as dealers.

"In March, our Belgium distributor, FACE bvba, opened an office in the Netherlands," explains ETC regional manager Tim Stokholm, "and we approved them as an official dealer. To best serve our customers, we decided to make Benelux a dealer-based region." ETC's dealers in Benelux are now FACE, Lightco and Controllux.

"FACE has been expanding steadily in the Netherlands," says FACE CEO Karel de Piere. "We opened our support centre in Rotterdam, and a new consultant, Fons de Vreede, joined our team. If you can add a world class brand like ETC to your portfo

USA - Jody Elff is a multitalented audio professional with over 25 years of deep and diverse experiences in venues of almost every shape, size, and quality. He cut his teeth in the late 80s and early 90s in Boston, and then after moving back to the New York area, working front-of-house for leading-edge jazz acts like The New York Voices and Diana Krall.

In the late 1990s, he earned a privileged spot with New York's avant garde guru Laurie Anderson, serving as the lead engineer on her concert tours, the designer for her computer programsme, and the recording and mix engineer. From there, he developed another long-lasting engagement with Bang On a Can, the visionary contemporary classical music organization that has revolutionized the relationship between popular and classical music.

One thing leads to another, and Elff signed up to work front-of-house for Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk

USA - Cello concerts and head banging don't usually occur in the same building unless of course you're at a 2Cello's concert complete with a rock 'n roll lighting design and dynamic lighting effects by Elation Professional.

Out on a spring US tour, 2Cellos is a cello duo that combines training in classical music with youthful rock energy to present a special concert experience. Riding a wave of popularity - the band even played with Elton John recently at his residency in Las Vegas - 2Cellos are selling out shows at every stop.

Lighting designer for the 2Cellos US tour is Chris Maguire, who has over 25 years of touring experience under his belt (Ted Nugent, et al) yet admits that at first he wasn't quite sure how to light the more untraditional band. "It's just two cellos and a drum kit and there are big stages to fill," he says. "But they play everything from B

The Netherlands - The IAB (Institute of Audio and Lighting Technology) in Utrecht, Holland, recently overhauled its audio equipment, selecting Allen & Heath's GLD mixers and ME personal monitoring system as the new training tools for all its audio courses.

Founded 20 years ago, the IAB provides recognised training qualifications for live sound and lighting technicians in the stage and event industry. The Institute decided to upgrade the audio equipment used on their courses to provide students with an up-to-date audio system that can mix both FOH and monitors, and record a live performance, in one simple, integrated package.

The Institute purchased six GLD-80 mixers fitted with Dante network cards, AR2412 and AR84 remote IO racks, and a ME-U hub with four ME-1 personal monitor mixers. Connected via the Dante network, the system enables six students to mix and record simultaneo

UK - PEL Music & Media has opened Tech Suite, a new demonstration facility at its offices in Northolt, North West London, to showcase what customers can achieve using its specialist extensive audio visual capabilities.

Tech Suite features one of the widest selections of videowalls in action in the UK, as well as single and multi-screen ensembles from NEC, Samsung and Sharp set up in a variety of example configurations to showcase the options available to customers. Chris Wilcox, PEL's Music & Media manager said: "Tech Suite is a great place to get a real feel for the possibilities, experience this kit working in different ways and see the latest audio visual technology from leading industry manufacturers, including a wide array of screens, sound systems and the latest discussion systems.

"Tech Suite is already evolving with the pace of developments and has been desig

USA - Sensaphonics has announced a Facebook giveaway. In celebration of May as Better Hearing Month, the company will award one winner with a pair of classic 2X-S custom earphones and a dB Check in-ear sound level meter.

"Better Hearing Month is the perfect time to show how the right equipment and expertise can contribute to healthy hearing, yet still deliver high-impact audio," says Sensaphonics founder and president, Mike Santucci. "We're committed to giving our customers both.

To enter, visit and like the Sensaphonics Facebook page, go to the giveaway post titled 'RESPECT YOUR EARS' at the top of the timeline, and Share. On 1 June, Sensaphonics will hold a random drawing among all qualified entries and announce the winner online.

Sensaphonics has won numerous hearing conservation awards, including the prestigious Safe-In Sound Award for innovation in hearin

UK - The 2015 Knight of Illumination Awards (KOI) has announced that it has added a brand new award in the Concert Touring and Events category.

The KOI Awards, which celebrates the creative talents of international lighting and digital content designers working in the UK, has added a 'Club' category, which will allow the Awards to widen its reach to celebrate LDs working at all scales of touring.

Proposed to the committee by KOI chairman of Concert Touring and Events Sarah Rushton-Read, the category was introduced in response to feedback from lighting designers working with new bands just starting out on the touring circuit. It will mean that these LDs, often working with just a floor package and having to use each venue's house rig to realise their design, will also be recognised for their creativity.

"Often designers that are touring club style venues with just a floo

USA - The Hoover Dam, one of the top 10 engineering marvels of the world that sits high above the Colorado River on the border of Arizona and Nevada, was the chosen location for Freightliner to launch their new truck, the Freightliner Infinite Inspiration. Presented in front of a live audience perched high above on the Dam's observation deck, the event was also streamed to millions around the globe.

OSK Communications out of New York created "the big idea" and brought in NY production management specialists SIAM Productions to produce the overall event.. Creative Technology (CT) was consequently contracted to help deliver the spectacular reveal.

After the initial brief CT assembled a top-flight team to design the technical specs and lay out the execution strategy. The challenges were considerable - the 420,000sq.ft surface had a number of different angles of curves t

Australia - The Australian Defence Forces Academy (ADFA) in Canberra has recently opened a new-build, state-of-the-art, 1200-seat auditorium to host conferences and presentations. The flexible space is constructed as a 160º arc, with sliding panels that allow it to be used either in combined mode or separated into two independent 800-seat and 400-seat venues.

The auditorium forms part of the redevelopment of ADFA - a partnership between the Australian Defence Force and the University of New South Wales - which provides training and education for future leaders of the country's Navy, Army and Air Force.

Tim McCall, sales manager at L-Acoustics notes, "Consultant GUZ BOX design + audio was brought in to design the audio system for the new space. The requirement was primarily for a system to provide vocal reinforcement, presentation sound and background music on a limited a

Spain / UAE - After Prolight+Sound 2015 in Frankfurt, Guil confirmed their new distributor in the United Arab Emirates as Echo Beats Electronics - a company with a long history in distribution and installation of pro audio and lighting products.

Guil products will now form part of their high end portfolio, with emphasis on their lifting towers for line arrays and modular platforms for stages.

"Guil is delighted to start working with such a prestigious company and we are sure our products will be well received in their extremely conscientious market where high performance, safety and quality are the key to satisfying their customer's needs," says Eduardo Hinarejos, sales director of Guil.

Echo Beats Electronics will present Guil products at PALME Middle East Dubai from 11-13 May, at booth: ZC10.

(Jim Evans)

World - Maroon 5 has kicked off its World Tour 2015 with 100 Clay Paky Mythos and 20 Sharpy Wash fixtures occupying a prominent place in the rig.

Maroon 5 launched its World Tour 2015 in Dallas on 16 February and will finish in Auckland, New Zealand in October. The tour is in support of the band's fifth album, V, which was released last year.

Roy Bennett, the production designer for the tour, has branded the stage with strong V motifs, inspired by the album artwork, incorporated into the trussing and transparent set pieces. Lighting and video create a dynamic, constantly changing environment on an arrow-shaped stage.

Plexiglass panels, filled with special effects smoke, act as upstage display surfaces for video content while the downstage stage was constructed as a giant, hollow plexiglass "fishbowl" that could also be filled with smoke and lit with 2

USA - British rock band Queen have worked with several vocalists since the death of front man Freddie Mercury in 1991. On the most recent world tour, original band members Roger Taylor and Brian May recruited American Idol's Adam Lambert, whose flashy onstage presence was complemented by 97 Martin Professional MAC Viper AirFX lighting fixtures.

Lighting designer Rob Sinclair was approached in 2012 and asked to do lighting for the Queen Extravaganza, the official Queen tribute band. His work caught Queen + Adam Lambert's attention and they asked him to come and work for them on the upcoming tour. "It was a case of being at the right place at the right time," said Sinclair.

The lighting design process for the world tour started back in the fall of 2013, when Sinclair, the band and Set Designer Ric Lipson first met and came up with the idea of a Q-shaped stage. Lipson a

UK - The Easter week marked the 14th successful Sound Fundamentals for Theatre Training course at Orbital Sound, with more than 500 students now having passed through the comprehensive education programme. Sound Fundamentals for Theatre was fully booked again this year, with students coming from a cross-section of disciplines, including corporate sector technicians, freelance engineers, and drama schools.

With its content tightly focused on preparing technical theatre and theatre sound students for careers in live entertainment, the course combines essential theory with practical skills. The teaching team for this year comprised Orbital Sound's course leader, Richard Carter, concentrating on key concepts, MIDI, computer playback, and networking. Richard was accompanied by Joseph Masters on communications and CCTV, Alex Waddle teaching radio mic fitting, John Wildridge on rigging

UK - The largest annual fundraising event in the world, the 2015 London Marathon took place on Sunday 26 April with over 37,000 participants.

For the past five years, Hertfordshire-based Mr H Productions have supplied sound reinforcement at two points on the 26 mile route, one of which is right at the half way point.

"Every year seems to get better, we are placed at the half way mark, and entertain the cheering crowds as well as the participating runners." says Mr H Productions creative founder Andrew J Harvey. "This is very important, as the runners are given that extra encouragement. The main problem that we have faced in the past is throwing the sound way down this part of the route, without having undue noise to local residents.

"This year we tried out the HK Contour Array system, having 2 CT118 subs aside with 2 CTA208 mid/hi array cabinets, ground s

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