PLASA has worked in co-operation with some of London’s leading entertainment venues to offer an exclusive insight into the workings of some of the city’s most famous venues; this exclusive backstage tour immediately follows the close of the PLASA Show in London this September. Theatrical London delegates will visit the world-renowned Royal Albert Hall for a night at the Proms; the Apollo Victoria Theatre to see the upgraded Starlight Express; Tussaud’s Group Studios for an exclusive technical tour, and the Donmar Warehouse for a ‘Divas at the Donmar’ performance. To top it off, you can step back in time at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre . . .
Wednesday 12th September: The experience begins with A night at The Proms, The Royal Albert Hall, featuring Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring. Pre-show drinks will be served in the foyer. Performance starts at 7.30pm.
Thursday 13th September: This busy day starts with a coach-ride from Earls Court to The Royal Albert Hall for a guided technical tour of this famous venue, before moving on to the Apollo Victoria Theatre for a guided backstage tour of the recently-upgraded Starlight Express. Following lunch, travel by coach to the Tussauds Group Studios for an exclusive to PLASA tour of the facilities behind the Group’s famous visitor attractions, before visiting Madame Tussaud’s in Baker Street, with an option to go on to the London Planetarium. After a short break, delegates meet up at the Donmar Warehouse, with a tour and performance of Divas at The Donmar featuring Sian Philips. Drinks wil
The UK’s first ever grouping of crowd management companies, the UK Crowd Management Association (UKCMA), has marked its first four months with the announcement of official recognition from two major bodies. The UKCMA was launched in March at the International Live Music Conference in London. Its principle aims are to raise standards within the entertainment event industry and promote awareness of crowd safety issues among legislative bodies in the UK, as well as to foster co-ordination of training and operational standards. The UKCMA, representing the major players in crowd management, aims to achieve this through a continuing educational and networking programme and open forums, targeting all decision makers involved within the crowd management sphere. In the short space of four months, the association has gained recognition from such organisations as the British Standards Institute (BSi) and the Security Industry Training Organisation (SITO), and established links with two other like-minded European organisations.
Almost exactly 12 months since the tragedy at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, the need for recognised industry standards and a common approach to training is one that can no longer be ignored. The UKCMA aims to set the wheels in motion to raise awareness of the importance of recognised training and operational standards, and in doing so, to help prevent such occurences happening again. "Co-ordinating training standards and a pan-industry approach is now more important than ever," said UKCMA Chairman, Mark Grant. "That is our primary aim
A panel of crowd safety experts, appointed on March 11 2001 by the ILMC (The International Live Music Conference), has now agreed its agenda. The panel (CSP) has been created in order to increase the focus on health and safety in connection with music festivals and similar larger outdoor concerts. Its main purpose is to assist the government, licensing authorities and legislators with ensuring crowd safety at ongoing or future events.
The panel’s work is highly topical through recent developments in the music and festival culture, and its creation was spurred by a number of accidents and deaths at high profile events including Roskilde Festival 2000 in Denmark and other recent crowd tragedies in Australia and South America. An awareness campaign aimed at educating festival audiences across Europe about the seemingly innocent (but proven dangerous) practice of ‘crowd surfing’ is likely to top the CSP’s public agenda for 2002. Responsibility for the health and safety of audiences at major live music events has traditionally been divided between event promoters, local licensing authorities, health and safety authorities, and crowd management (security) companies appointed by event promoters.
Currently there is no pan-European agreement on crowd safety standards and practices at music events. Although individual countries have their own guidelines, in the view of the CSP, differences between individual national practices should be eliminated as far as possible, to ensure that concert and festival audiences are treated to the highest possible standard
The Leicester-based National Space Centre has opened. The £52million project, part-funded by the Millennium Commission, has a host of visitor attractions, in addition to a research facility for scientists and various space exploration artifacts. Central to the new attraction is the Space Theatre, the latest technology is being used to project virtual reality images onto its dome-shaped roof screen.
You can read a full report on the Centre in the August issue of Lighting&Sound International.
Manchester’s most comprehensive cultural festival, Keyfest, is being held this summer. Keyfest offers 103 hours of varied events in a range of Manchester venues spanning 17 days. Event Associates created the programme and co-ordinated the production of the whole festival for radio station Key 103.
The co-ordination of the artists, venues and production of Keyfest was managed by the Event Associates team, with director Colin Sinclair overseeing the project. Manchester’s ‘street cred’ as one of the UK’s main cultural cities was once again underlined with the launch of Keyfest on Thursday 21st June at Loaf. Tom Hunter, managing director of Manchester’s radio station Key 103 welcomed a gathering of media and celebrities to the opening party. The festival programme includes a celebrity fashion show, performances from Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller and David Gray, culminating in Keyfest Live, a one-day open air free concert headlined by top 20 artists the Allstars in the afternoon and Space in the evening. There is also outdoor screening of a Tarantino double-bill and comedy performances from Peter Kay and Johnny Vegas.
Amsterdam’s Museum Square provided the ideal setting for an audition of Meyer Sound’s new M3D system. Mike Mann reports.
The audition in question was a classical concert by the Royal Concert Orchestra of a range of classical music - the first performance of its kind to be streamed live on the Internet in The Netherlands.
The Meyer System came courtesy of Hof Audio - The Netherlands’ biggest Meyer Sound user, and owner Bart Hof regards himself as being part of a team - which means that he’s not afraid to voice criticisms. "I’m a true Meyer fan," he explained, "which means that while I can be extremely critical, I can also understand where the product concepts are coming from." The decision to purchase an M3D line array system was, he added, based on a need for a system that would cope with outdoor events: "I knew that we needed a bigger system than the MSL-4. We provided the audio for last year’s Museum Square concert using a system based on MSL-6, DS-2 and MSL-5 (Meyer’s long-throw systems) but we ended up using cranes to fly nearly four tonnes of equipment per side!" The new M3D rig (eight self-powered cabinets per side, complete with their own flying/stacking gear) weighed in at less than half this figure, allowing simpler (and much more elegant) truss towers to be built.
The concert venue is one of the largest formal parks in Amsterdam; and with a distance of 250 metres between the stage and the Rijksmuseum at the far end of the square, Hof had to be certain the system would have sufficient th
PLASA held its most successful AGM to date on Thursday 14 June in the stunning setting of Coombe Abbey, near Coventry. Just under 70 Members attended, including for the first time, a number of Associate Members. One Member even made the trip from Europe.
During the AGM, both PLASA Chairman Mick Hannaford and Treasurer Sammy de Havilland reported a successful year for the Association, covering the wide range of initiatives that had been introduced in the past 12 months.
In his keynote speech, Chairman Mick Hannaford reflected on the changes taking place within the industry and the need for companies to equip themselves to cope with a rapidly changing world. He emphasized the role that PLASA had to play in this, and also stressed the need for more training, an ambition that the Association has given a further boost to with the recent establishment of its training and education steering group. In a reference to the increasing concern about copyright infringement, he also told Members of the Association’s plans to introduce a low cost design registration scheme next year.
Treasurer Sammy de Havilland informed Members that 2000 had been PLASA’s most financially successful year to date. Turnover was up 3% and this despite the fact that neither the rates relating to the Show or the Publishing Division, nor membership fees, had been raised last year. He advised those present that the Association was now in a strong financial position, and as a result, now able to invest in a number of long-term projects.
Following the AGM, members were given a presentation on th
Showlight 2001 shall never be forgot - Tony Gottelier walks us through the highlights.
After having spent the weekend in Helensborough with friends, and undertaking several outdoor excursions immersed in Scottish mist, as opposed to Scotch mist which is something else entirely (and of which more later), it was quite a shock to wake up to unexpected and blazing heat for the first day of Showlight 2001. However, this weather was certainly appropriate as, in a very literal sense, the sun seemingly bathed this fourth quadrennial colloquium on entertainment lighting, in a golden glow throughout.
Huge credit has to go to the committee for the success that Showlight was once again. Some of the members of this panel will be mentioned in this article, some will not, if only because their roles were more behind the scenes, as it were, but all deserve fulsome praise for their contribution to a thoroughly rewarding and convivial event. None more so than long-suffering chairperson, and fellow L&SI columnist, John Watt. For, Watty’s affable charm and wit was a thread that ran throughout. By the end, he was no doubt wishing that he had been born with a different surname, so that an alternative career might have presented itself. But then, I suppose the obvious option of heating engineer isn’t quite as glamorous either, despite the fact that John’s skills in the hot air department are second to none.
The first surprise, on entering the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, was to discover that the exhibition had been set out on the stage (if only someone had told me that
As part of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Edwin Shirley Staging, the international staging and structure specialist, has built a bespoke 30m high needle-shaped tower, from which a £1 million Mercedes Benz Gullwing car will be balanced to help celebrate the luxury car company’s Centenary. The car will be placed on its nose and will be on display to visitors during the three-day motor show.
The ESS structure has been specially designed by Gerry Judah, the renowned designer behind such projects as the model of Auschwitz in the Holocaust Galleries at the Imperial War Museum and Linkbridge 2000 in the Woolwich Dockyard Estate, as well as last year’s central display at Goodwood. Patrick Woodroffe, known worldwide as a leader in lighting design and whose recent projects include Lord of the Dance II and the Rolling Stones tours, is lighting the structure. The festival, which opens on July 6, is motor racing’s equivalent of Ascot or Wimbledon and is Europe's premier Historic Motorsports event, featuring classic roadsters from the 19th century as well as today’s ultra-modern racing cars.
After the success of the multimedia waterscreen shows during the world expos in both Osaka (1990) and Tottori (1996), Yves Pépin and his team at ECA2 have been asked to produce the multi-media watershow for the Yamaguchi Expo in Japan, which runs from the 14th of July through to the 30th of September 2001. For the last two years, ECA2 and its technicians have been working alongside the Japanese Expo team to ensure the success of this night-time spectacular. The show will feature images projected onto four monumental spheres, as well as onto a giant water screen; pyrotechnic and fire effects will complete the impressive show.
Brand experience consultancy Hotcakes has won the international award for Best Consumer Products Event at the European IBTM Awards in Geneva (30 May), for its production of Marks & Spencer’s unique ‘Time To Celebrate’ touring show.
‘Time To Celebrate’ has been acknowledged as Europe’s biggest ever touring show undertaken by a retailer and was devised to showcase the retailer’s Christmas/Millennium collections. Taking place in a specially-designed state-of-the-art structure, the show was staged adjacent to M&S’s flagship stores in Bristol, Gateshead, Edinburgh and Camberley. It incorporated a celebrity cooking demonstration, a fashion show and an exhibition of merchandise from the Home & Gifts department, and was seen by 26,000 customers and staff across the UK. The event was managed by a crew of 550, and transported around the country by 25 articulated trucks. Hotcakes collected the award during a ceremony at Geneva’s Inter-Continental Hotel. The Event, which has been incorporated for the first time into the huge European IBTM Exhibition at Palexpo, has been created to recognise the excellence, creativity and planning which helps big brands and multi-nationals reach out to their staff, suppliers and customers. From a shortlist of four, Hotcakes fought off strong competition to win the Award, and received additional acclaim for its production of the Mazda MX-5 Catwalk at Cosmopolitan Show which was Highly Commended.
Exhibited widely in Europe, Japan and the US, Panamarenko, whose works are immediately recognizable and highly distinctive, has become one of the most famous contemporary artists in the world. Obsessed with flight, Panamarenko calls himself an artist-technologist, producing work that is a cross between art and science.
Belgium’s Museum of Contemporary Art (SMAK) in Ghent recently hosted a three-month retrospective exhibition of his most impressive works, an event that opened with a one-off show entitled Panamarenko by Night which took place on March 23. Martin’s Belgian distributor EVDV proposed giving Panamarenko’s work an additional touch of dynamism for the show so its architectural lighting specialist Duncan Verstraeten took the opportunity to incorporate Martin effects lighting into this rather unusual environment. He contacted lighting specialist Lode van Pee of City-Lights who designed a scheme to ‘guide’ visitors through each piece of art.
20 of Martin Professional’s new Atomic 3000 strobes debuted at the show. Other Martin lighting effects included nine Exterior 600s, two MAC 300s and 13 CX-4 colour changers (some with custom-made wash lenses) along with a MAC 2000 profile spot. The light show was programmed on a Martin LightJockey and replayed by a DMX recorder. A Jem 6500 heavy fog machine created an even more surrealistic atmosphere. City-Lights installed all lighting.
Popular Scottish band, Mogwai, played a pre-launch gig for their second album ‘Rock Action’ at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London. Mogwai, known as the 'no words' band because of their cinematic and instrumental music, played the pre-launch gig prior to embarking on a tour of Japan. The lighting rig for the event featured a host of Martin moving heads supplied by Bandit Lites and specified by LD Nick Jevons. He used six MAC 2000s, 10 MAC 500s and 10 MAC 600s, all controlled via an Avolites Pearl 2000, to create a cinematic and dramatic lightshow which perfectly complemented the various moods of Mogwai’s music. Jevons has been a lighting designer for over 10 years, and in his time has designed spectacular lightshows for bands such as the Super Furry Animals, Reef, Elastica and Skunk Anansie. In addition, he has also designed the lighting for a large number of extreme sports events.
Mad Manufacturing will be providing the full lighting rig in the HK Audio demo theatre at the JHS Event 2001, held at the company's Garforth head office. In addition, Mad Manufacturing will be a guest exhibitor at Event 2001, able to both demo their impressive state-of-the-art lighting and effects systems, and to access the large number of trade visitors throughout the busy three-day duration of the show. With a well-deserved reputation for innovation in what is a highly competitive market, one of Mad's recent successes was the launch of the IMP, or Image Marketing Projector. This is a simple-to-use projector system which features an array of onboard programming options designed to give retailers a high-tech but convenient method of in-store product promotion.
Alongside the IMP, Mad's new installation range also includes the popular 250W AXIS moving head, and the IMP Pro series of effects, all of which will be featured in Mad's lighting and effects setup at the JHS Event 2001.
The JHS Event 2001 runs from June 17 - 19.
Oxford-based company Airstar Space Lighting helped illuminate the recent Playtex Moonwalk in Battersea Park in London where more than 7,000 women stripped to their bras to raise funds for cancer research. The world-wide leader and pioneers of the lighting balloon industry used one of their large helium-filled lit Solarc's and several air-filled Crystal's to guide the way for the half-dressed walkers during their midnight charity stroll. On the same weekend, Airstar provided light for 50,000 night-time revellers in Oxford's Cuttleslowe Park during an annual hot-air balloon festival. Airstar's products have been used around the world for a variety of projects including Film and TV productions, festivals and cultural and sporting events. The balloons have also been hired to light the set of the Oscar-winning blockbuster Titanic, for the 1999 Miss World contest in the Seychelles and numerous international music festivals.
The balloons, which are tethered between 5m and 50m, can be used to illuminate from 1,000sq.m right up to 40,000sq.m and are suitable for small-scale garden parties to major outdoor events. The balloons are constructed of a translucent fabric that is custom made to Airstar specifications and are easy to store, transport and set up. They are available to be rented or sold.
The ABTT has confirmed that its ABTT Theatre Show 2002 will be held at the Royal Horticultural Halls on 19 and 20 June 2002. Further details of booking arrangements will be announced shortly. Any enquiries should be directed to the ABTT Office on 020 7403 3778.
This summer saw a free concert for 20,000 people staged in the busy heart of London. Mike Mann discovered that such a production has its logistical difficulties . . .
Before even thinking about the problems involved in bringing central London to a standstill, Star Hire’s Roger Barrett realised that the stage design for the Africa Day concert would have to be an unusual one: "We would normally have built a higher stage than this - but a major feature of the design was that the famous lions should be visible on stage." Two of the huge statues were incorporated into the stage, which was positioned just in front of Nelson’s Column, facing northwards towards the National Gallery. Flanked by the South African Embassy (who funded the entire event) and Canada House, the central area of Trafalgar Square itself also needed treatment. "One of the first things we realised was that the ornamental fountains obscure sightlines for a large part of the square," explained Barrett. "So we included 3,000sq.m of industrial flooring to raise the outer sections of the audience." This was the first rock‘n’roll outing for the Danco flooring system - a modular industrial system which has also seen service in Formula One pit areas.
The stage and audience flooring were delivered to Trafalgar Square by a total of 20 full-size trailers, each one bringing traffic to a complete standstill. In addition to this, a further three trucks for the security fencing, plus other deliveries for sound and lighting systems, meant that Londoners had to cope with
Luciano Pavarotti recently returned to his home town of Modena, to host the annual open-air Pavarotti & Friends charity concert, with funds this year going to alleviate the plight of Afghan children.
The event was held, as always, in front of a packed crowd and transmitted live by Italian state broadcaster RAI’s channel 1. Daniele Tramontani is in charge of sound for the star-studded show. "Initially, it seemed a live recording wasn’t going to be done, but the organizers decided to put together a well appointed studio in a container backstage, so as well as supervising the FOH system, I was also responsible for the realization of the recording and broadcast mixing set-up - in short, everything apart from monitors!"
Sound engineer Stefano De Maio mixed FOH, with a 72-channel Cadac M-type master desk, a Midas XL3 for the orchestra, and a Heritage 1000 for guest musicians. The audio contractor for the event was Agorà of L’Aquila, and FOH comprised 16 + 16 V-Dosc plus 16 + 16 Meyer Sound 650 subs, plus three delay towers and UPA/MSL4 systems on front-fill - Tramontani once again swore by his trusty SIM II,, which is "indispensable for setting the rig’s components." Monitor engineer Stefano Martinovic helmed two DDA QII, two Innovason Sentury and an A&H 5000 to mix the orchestra’s bug mikes.
Backstage, Mackie’s Sandro Chinellato watched over nine of the firm’s HDR 24/96 hard disk recording units, brought in to immortalize this unique event, at which ‘friends’ duetting with Pavarotti included Deep Pu
I hadn’t been to Showtech before, but I understand from those that have, that the Show started out life like ABTT - lots of standard shell-scheme type stands, set out like so many rows of beach huts in a Victorian seaside resort on the South coast of England - as befits an environment apparently conducive to our brethren from the theatre set.
Now, however, the Berlin show is more like an ABTT on growth hormones! Five big halls, segregated more or less by type of product, and large, designed stands that better reflect the egos of the firms concerned than the little market stalls of old. Yet the traffic, in terms of numbers at least, seemed to be dwarfed by the scale of the venture. That’s not to say that the visitors were not of a very high calibre, as was certainly the case. This was more like shopping at Harrods, wide aisles, no crush and exclusive clientele. So the parallels with ABTT are justified, except that Showtech would have filled Earls Court all on its own.But that’s where the parallels end, for it was evident that there was none of the marshalling that so dogs exhibitors at Earls Court and, despite the growth, the get-in seemed remarkably relaxed with none of the usual hassle. Mind you, the Messe Berlin is an enormous complex and could swallow this show and several others, plus all their trucks without pausing for breath. When looking for an e-mail source, I had to walk about two kilometres to a service office (only to be told to go back to where I started)!
As a lighting person, I’m not one for taking much interest in stage machinery,
Performance Exhibitions Ltd has announced the launch of Performance 2001 - an exhibition including conferences, seminars and workshops aimed at the live performance industry. To be staged at the Newcastle Telewest Arena on 17-18 November 2001, the exhibition will bring together manufacturers, venues, producers and promoters, plus a complete range of associated services. Colin Rowell, director of ShowBlokes, whose vast portfolio includes production stage manager of The Tube, stage director for the MTV Awards and stage manager for the Brit Awards, recently returned to the North East, and is involved in live events in the area. He says: "I feel that this exhibition will offer companies a platform for exhibiting to a large audience. It will put the North East on the exhibition circuit where it belongs for this important segment of the industry." Over 1500sq.m of exhibition space will house exhibitors displaying the latest in lighting and sound equipment, staging, studio technology, special effects, transport, catering and support services.
At this year’s PALA Show in Singapore, Wharfedale Professional products will be exhibited on the stand of their distributor in Singapore, City Music. City Music will be showing a combination of already established loudspeakers and electronics, as well as several new products that have been developed since the Pro Light and Sound in Frankfurt earlier this year. Wharfedale Professional has been working for some time on a range of plastic enclosures to complement the already successful wooden enclosure ranges available. The results of this project can be seen at PALA in the form of the new LA Series. The LA Series offers four models at present; a 15" two-way full-range cabinet and a 15" sub as well as a powered version of both. The cabinet itself has flying points as well as an integral pole mount. As well as moving in different directions with the loudspeakers, Wharfedale Professional has also been concentrating on extending the range of electronics offered. New to the product portfolio is a range of effects in the shape of the Procomp, Ezverb and Proverb as well as a new range of amplifiers - the MAX Series. City Music can be found on stand number G23.
The Production Services Association has made two announcements: the first is that John Jones of PCM has filled the remaining seat on the 2001 PSA Council. John is a long-time supporter of the PSA and through his company PCM has donated £10,000 to the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund since the Fund’s inception. PCM has also gained a reputation for being among the industry’s leaders in promoting training, with the PCM Motor Schools now well established. In a separate announcement, Keith Owen will now oversee the PSA’s new series of BTEC courses. The courses, which commence in June in Birmingham with the Production Technician Intermediate BTEC, will be expanded during the year to cover other disciplines. Owen spent 20 years at Light & Sound Design before spending 18 months at Loughborough College as the PSA’s representative for training. He is working for two days a week at BMS in Birmingham in order to kick-off the new range of PSA Entertainment and Events Industry BTEC qualifications.
Photographic giant, Canon, unveiled its world vision at the recent Focus Show (NEC) with a stunning new stand featuring a huge globe constructed from leading aluminium trussing system, OPTI Trilite. The exhibition brings together photographers and suppliers from all over the UK, and is one of the key showcases for new products and services in Europe. As one of the biggest players in the market, Canon was determined to make a big splash and didn't disappoint. Canon's stand was the brainchild of exhibition specialists, Creative Concepts. "We always try to do something bigger and better every year for Canon's Focus stand," says managing director, Paul Harber. "This year we decided the central feature would be an enormous globe built from the polished version of OPTI Trilite. Being close business neighbours helps too, as both Creative Concepts and OPTI are based in Luton. Glen Brown at OPTI reckons the Canon globe was one of the most impressive structures the company has built. "We pre-assembled at our OPTI Trilite manufacturing facility in Huntingdon and it looked awesome. It's great to see a vision come to life like that."
The PLASA AGM is one of the key events of our year - it’s a chance for us to review what’s gone and plan for what will be a very different future. The most effective way we can do that is by involving as many Members as possible so we’ve strived to create an event that we feel is worth attending. Your role is very important so please don’t file your ideas, comments or complaints away for another time, take this opportunity to influence the way PLASA is heading by joining us for the 2001 AGM.
Even if you’ve got nothing to say (unlikely we think), it’s an ideal opportunity for some relaxed networking in beautiful surroundings. As a backdrop to this year’s event, we have chosen the historic setting of Coombe Abbey, near Coventry. Set in 500 acres of parkland and dating back to 1150, this former Cistercian Abbey is an ideal place to meet up with familiar and new industry faces alike.
The day will start with lunch and registration at 12.45, followed by the AGM itself at 2.00pm. After the AGM, members will have the opportunity to meet with members of the PLASA team and its various representatives in a number of informal hour-long ‘break-out sessions’. We have highlighted three key areas:
Membership Services: Do you get the most out of your membership? Can you name six services you benefit from? If not, and you’d like to know more, let us show you where you could gain a business advantage.
PLASA Show: If you have a view on the PLASA Show, this is your chance to discuss it face to face with members of the Clarion