Unusual Backstage at The Jubilee
Tuesday, 28 May 2002
Unusual Services Ltd are main contractors for the massive Golden Jubilee weekend celebrations that are happening in The Mall, Green Park, St. James’s Park, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and at the Queen Victoria Memorial.

The company is supplying all technical infrastructure, co-ordination, site and production management for this mind-boggling task, working closely with show producer Major Sir Michael Parker and the Golden Jubilee Weekend Trust. Unusual has employed over 250 sub-contractors and mounted a major logistical exercise to ensure the event - being broadcast live worldwide - is a well-oiled operation. To this end, the company has been interfacing with various authorities including Westminster City Council Special Events, the Metropolitan Police, Royal Parks, the GLA, the WRVS, London Underground, London Ambulance, St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.

The event involves the largest ever road closure programme in the Capital, and the police are expecting over a million people to come and enjoy the spectacle. Activities start on Saturday 1st June with a classical concert at Buckingham Palace, and conclude on Tuesday evening with a fly past over Buckingham Palace and The Mall by Concorde and The Red Arrows. The highlight of the event will be a world first at 10.40pm on the Monday night - a son et lumière and fireworks finale, with Buckingham Palace as the dramatic stage set. Never before has the Palace been used in this way. This imaginative inferno is designed by show explosives impresario Wilf Scott, and will be triggered by The Queen lighting the ‘National Beacon’ - and enjoyed by a global television audience.

Unusual’s executive producer Alan Jacobi leads a team of David Mayo as production administrator, Malcolm Birkett as production designer and Lindsay Barrowclough as production co-ordinator of the processions. The processions section is a major undertaking in its own right, with over 20,000 performers involved on the Tuesday afternoon up the Mall. A specially commissioned ‘Fifty Years’ parade - in addition to the main procession - has been designed by Jonathan Park - it celebrates 50 years of Britain from Hells Angels to Sausage and Chips! Unusual have gathered the cream of the UK production industry, including Chuck Crampton, Tony Wheeler and Claire Sampson to work on this seminal event.

Lighting designer Durham Marenghi has designed an architectural lighting scheme for the Palace, the Park and the general areas and monuments, whilst sound is designed by John Del Nero, video is directed by Martin Jangaard and fireworks/pyro by the aforementioned Wilf Scott. Unusual has also recruited the UK’s top equipment rental companies to aid in the task. Sound is being supplied by Dobson Sound, Orbital, RG Jones and Wigwam, and lighting by LSD Fourth Phase, Stage Electrics and Vari-Lite. The 22 large screens dotted about London for the relay are supplied by Screenco. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of a myriad of services supplied by Unusual - from establishing the accreditation system for everyone involved to arranging a 5-day no fly zone over London with the CAA.

The site statistics speak for themselves: the largest temporary outside broadcast and media facility ever mounted for a single event, including all UK networks, major USA and European networks; 22 big screens to relay the Queen’s Concerts and the Jubilee Celebrations to the crowds including 11 of the latest LED screens. The largest ever use of screens on a single event site; 772 phone lines installed; five stages featuring over 2,000 performers; over 1500 traffic cones; 20,000 procession participants; 50 stage managers; 20,000 sandwiches - 40,000 slices of bread - which is only a light lunch for the procession participants; 10 miles of temporary mains cable; enough generated power to run the whole of Windsor; over 100 generators; 450 production staff; over 20,000 meals for the production staff and more than 2,000 broadcasti


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