Events News

72% Visitor Increase for ABTT
Thursday, 12 April 2001

Point Promotions have announced a 72% increase in attendance at last week’s ABTT Theatre Show. The show this year expanded into both of the Royal Horticultural Halls, and had widened its remit to attract 30 new exhibitors. The initial un-audited visitor attendance figures show an increase of 72% over last year’s registered numbers. Point Promotions was appointed by the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) to administer the change from the ABTT Trade Show to the bigger and improved ABTT Theatre Show. The expanded show featured on-stage technology such as lighting, rigging, drapes and sound and also many exhibitors with front-of-house technology including seating and staging.

Festival Team for Jubilee Event
Tuesday, 10 April 2001

Festival Management Ltd (FML), the parent company of the Portsmouth’s ‘International Festival of the Sea’ has been awarded the event management consultancy contract for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee visit to the armed forces in Portsmouth in June 2002. This highlight of the Golden Jubilee year will demonstrate to the Queen the role of the armed forces in the 21st Century. Using an innovative format, it will feature the younger generation of Servicemen and women of all three services and their families. FML is currently involved in putting together the third International Festival of the Sea, a four-day event which will be held in Portsmouth Naval Base and Historic Dockyard over the August Bank Holiday this year. The largest maritime festival in the UK, the event now involves around 700 vessels from all over the world, thousands of exhibitors, traditional craftsmen, musicians, performers and a 12-hour entertainment programme.

The BRIT Awards, 2001
Sunday, 8 April 2001

The UK’s annual pop music back-slapping gala event, The Brits, was recorded live, in spectacular style, on February 26th at Earls Court 2, London. The live production was managed by Brit regular MJK Productions.

Another regular, Vari-Lite Europe provided the complete lighting system - featuring more than 500 luminaires - as well as providing the rig for the After Show Party. Lighting designer for the event was Al Gurdon. With the ceremony designed to look spectacular both for the live audience and a massive worldwide broadcast audience, the lighting design encompassed the entire space within Earl’s Court 2, both on and around the huge stage and the specially-constructed auditorium.

The large-scale lighting rig included 40 VL2416s, 54 VL5 Arcs, 81 VL5Bs, 76 VL5s, 24 VL6 wash luminaires, 38 VL6Cs, six VL7s and 130 VL2C spot luminaires, with control from two Virtuoso consoles. VL also supplied a substantial conventional rig, with 16 4k Xenon Sky Art Searchlights, two 70k Lightning Strikes, four 40k Lightning Strikes, 160 Par 36s, 400 Par 64s and 44 Diversitronics Strobes. The rig also included 420 metres of truss, two 12 metre-diameter semi-circles of truss and 14 one-tonne hoist motors complete with cable, control and rigging accessories.

The After Show Party’s lighting was designed by Theo Cox who lit the four exclusive rooms - Air Lounge, Water Bar, Earth Garden and the Fire Club - using a rig that featured 56 VL5 wash luminaires, 16 VL6B spot luminaires, VL Moving Mirror Ball units and conventionals, all run from a pair of Wholehog 2s and an Avolit

Gearing Up for PLASA 2001Gearing Up for PLASA 2001
Friday, 6 April 2001

The countdown to the PLASA Show 2001 has begun! The entertainment technology industry’s leading event will run from 9 - 12 September at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London. With over 89% of the available stand space already sold and all the leading manufacturers booked into the show, PLASA 2001 promises to live up to its reputation as the showcase event that launches the entertainment technology year. Venue improvements have continued, with over £500,000 invested in the last 12 months to improve comfort cooling at the Show. Furthermore, an overall investment of £6million will ensure that Earls Court is a fully air-conditioned exhibition centre by 2002. Over 400 exhibitors and 14,000 UK and international visitors are expected to attend and experience the sound and lighting extravaganza that has become synonymous with PLASA. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of professional lighting, sound and AV equipment will descend upon Earls Court to unveil their latest products and technical developments for the vibrant and hugely diverse entertainment and leisure industry.

Almost 13,000 visitors, including a record 25% from overseas, attended the PLASA Show last year. Specifiers, consultants, attraction managers, recording technicians, disc and light jockeys, corporate presentation planners, technicians, architects, installers and other professionals from the world of entertainment technology traveled from all corners of the globe to see the very latest products, innovations and designs showcased.

The PLASA Show 2001 will feature many of the attractions that cont

New CT Operations
Friday, 6 April 2001

With the setting up of new Creative Technology companies in London and Birmingham NEC, the Avesco subsidiary brand is set for a substantial increase in its work portfolio. In charge of Creative Technology London is Steve Rowan, former head of Gearhouse Multimedia. From its 8,200sq.ft base in Chessington, Surrey, the company is ideally placed to service exhibition sites such as Earls Court, Olympia, Business Design Centre and the new ExCeL in Docklands. Meanwhile, the former Gearhouse NEC - based inside the Birmingham exhibition complex - has now been re-branded Creative Technology NEC, and will operate under the senior management of Chris Bramwell. This division was part of the northern group bought out of receivership by Avesco plc last month, along with Gearhouse’s Manchester and Scottish operations.

Although the established end of Creative Technology, based in Wandsworth, has for many years been working in the exhibition environment, CT London will be setting up a dedicated operation in which IT will form the core element of their service to exhibition organizers and direct-to-venue clients. Steve Rowan’s experienced operational team, which joins him from Gearhouse Multimedia, will specialise in providing a total solutions service for exhibition clients. General manager is Jon Dasent and technical manager, Paul Holden. Creative Technology London is investing around £700,000 in PC technology and web access hardware, including thin computer terminals especially for show control rooms. A highly-experienced, commercially-focused team and dedicated project crew

Association News - Gearing Up for PLASA 2001
Sunday, 1 April 2001

The countdown to the PLASA Show 2001 has begun! The entertainment technology industry’s leading event will run from 9-12 September at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London.

With over 89% of the available stand space already sold and all the leading manufacturers booked into the show, PLASA 2001 promises to live up to its reputation as the showcase event that launches the entertainment technology year. Venue improvements have continued, with over £500,000 invested in the last 12 months to improve comfort cooling at the Show. Furthermore, an overall investment of £6million will ensure that Earls Court is a fully air-conditioned exhibition centre by 2002.

Over 400 exhibitors and 14,000 UK and international visitors are expected to attend. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of professional lighting, sound and AV equipment will descend upon Earls Court to unveil their latest products and technical developments for the vibrant and hugely diverse entertainment and leisure industry.

Almost 13,000 visitors, including a record 25% from overseas, attended the PLASA Show last year. Specifiers, consultants, attraction managers, recording technicians, disc and light jockeys, technicians, architects, installers and other professionals from the world of entertainment technology travelled from all corners of the globe to see the very latest products, innovations and designs showcased.

The PLASA Show 2001 will feature many of the attractions that contributed to last year’s success including the PLASA Technology Gallery, a display of the product developments enter

ABTT 2001
Sunday, 1 April 2001

The ABTT Show is proving to be one of the best networking events for the theatre industry. L&SI was at London’s Horticultural Halls . . .

The show consolidated its core theatre roots, firstly by changing its name to the ABTT Theatre Show 2001, and secondly by widening its appeal to complementary sectors and actively targeting architects, consultants and specifiers of front-of-house services. This inevitably led to a broader range of products on the show floor and alongside the lighting, audio, AV and staging equipment, came front of house goods and services - principally seating, but also training, recruitment and licensing. This, in turn, led to more visitors and first indications are that the visitor figure was up a massive 72% over last year’s registered numbers . . .

The talk on the AC stand was of the company’s new HQ, the finishing touches to which, are being applied as we write and since we’re heading to High Wycombe in the next few weeks, you can read all the statistics in the next issue of L&SI.

Flightcases remain ADDA’s mainstay, but it has found a growing market in the range of all-weather protection systems that it distributes on behalf of OXO. The latest - Upside’Dome - has been modified since we saw it at PLASA and 34 were employed to protect the Vari-Lites at the Christmas illuminations of the London Eye.

Garwood’s range of in-ear systems were on the Amber Promotions stand. Garwood has recently introduced a new wireless microphone system to its range, as well as the new Airstream custom earpiece/microphone.

Craig David
Sunday, 1 April 2001

I’m not going to write much about Craig David; not that there isn’t much to write about, but because I expect to be writing much more in the future.

While Westlife are a well-voiced, but ultimately plastic facsimile of pop stardom (see feature this issue), Craig David has it all. Last time I made such an assertion was for Baby Bird, who promptly migrated South, so I’ll temper my predictions for David. He is a skilled songwriter - consecutive hits have established that - and he has a rich, round voice, but it was seeing him live that convinced me. He prowls the stage with the leonine grace of a caged animal. He’s compelling, urging the crowd like a Gladiator holding his sword to the neck of his vanquished foe: Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Who cares, this man is dangerous. He may not be playing as many arena shows as Westlife, but they’re sell-outs, and get this - the audience he attracts is, at a rough guess, two years older than theirs, and they scream at 116dB A weighted, according to sound engineer Carl ‘Snake’ Newton - 6dB over Westlife . . . that’s 200% more powerful.

Newton uses a V-dosc system supplied by Wigwam, which is 15 cabinets per side, with three of the near-fill dV-dosc below. As with Westlife, this is the biggest hang of this type I’ve heard. In light of the supersonic screaming of both bands’ audiences, it would be wrong to draw comparisons: there again, the comparison is perfectly made. Walking the room, there’s nothing to choose between them, though I still prefer the low end of the d&b to t

SJM Consultants for Fashion
Wednesday, 28 March 2001

SJM Consultants has for the last four years been awarded the contract to provide technical and production management of Kensington & Chelsea Colleges' (London) fashion shows, which have been held at the college and at Chelsea Old Town Hall. For 2001, the show is to be held at Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street London W8, on 22 May. Steve McNeil of SJM Consultants will be providing production management along with Svend Johanson of DSA Production Services, who are supplying the technical backup, set, catwalk and crew.

CT Take Watch at Summit
Sunday, 25 March 2001

A two-day, technically-groundbreaking CIO Summit was recently staged by a major internet networks and applications multinational at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.

Situated within the Prince Pierre Theatre, the event provided the opportunity to introduce enabling technologies and methodology in a unique fashion. The organisation briefed production company Project Worldwide to design an adventurous set on a grand scale. They conceived a massive, rear-projected 17-metre screen as the entire backdrop, with the aim of turning the theatre into a giant internet site.

To help them, they asked Creative Technology to devise a projection system based on the new Dataton Watchout soft-edge system. The keynote room and stage thus became the website page, with the proscenium arch as the web page header, enabling them to present streaming video alongside flash animation and basic Powerpoint and video feeds on a conference scale.

The 17m display was created by three screens, joined by a soft-edge blend created by Watchout. The three projectors were each fed from a G4 Mac, into which were loaded the pre-designed graphics. These were connected to three Christie 10k Roadie projectors on an Ethernet network, and attached to the end was a production PC, with a standard interface, controlling the three-MAC system. All the elements created externally were imported into Watchout, and once time-lines and sequences had been worked out, this was updated into the G4s. A further pair of Christie 7k units were responsible for the Powerpoint data inserts and live camera i-mag. Avesco plc stablemates,

PSL Stages Management Buyout
Monday, 12 March 2001

The management team at Presentation Services Ltd (PSL), has purchased the assets and business of Gearhouse Group PLC’s Southern UK operation, together with the company’s North American operations. These include PSL and PSL Central, Lighting Unlimited, Set & Stage, Proquip, Presentation Graphics, Gearhouse Multimedia, ConferenceCast and Quorom Travel. In the US, both the Los Angeles and Nashville companies have been purchased. The transaction was concluded on Saturday 3 March and equity funding has been secured for the new company through 3i, with Barclays providing debt funding. The new Group is to be called Presentation Services Group Ltd; all of the companies will be relaunched under the PSL name and will continue to focus on the rental, staging, exhibition and concert touring markets. The new management team comprises Gary Davis, Chris Scadding, Darren Glossop, Irene McLean, Janet Smith, Stephen Rhodes and Nasser Abbas.

SSE Audio Group Launched
Monday, 12 March 2001

Audio rental companies SSE Hire of Birmingham, UK, and Melpomen of Nantes, France, have announced a move to merge, with the formation of the SSE Audio Group. The move comes at a significant time for both companies: SSE are celebrating 25 years in the industry, whilst Melpomen has been operating in the French market for almost 20 years, recently adding office and warehouse facilities in Paris and La Rochelle to the main Nantes-based organisation. John Penn, MD of SSE, told PLASA Media: "We have been actively looking for ways to develop the business. The trend for sound companies is to expand purely by buying more and more stock. However, we have seen a steady decline in the amount of work undertaken by UK rental companies in Europe, through a combination of the strength of sterling and the number of strong European rental companies who provide a good service. As a consequence, we have seen an increasing number of tours using mainland European suppliers. With the merger of the two companies into one group, we will extend our service to our clients in the heart of Europe." Future plans for the Group include the development of a new range of products and services aimed specifically at the European market.

Battle for Dome Hots Up
Tuesday, 6 March 2001

Since the Government made the decision to remove preferred bidder status from Legacy plc, the battle for who gets to do what with the Dome has intensified. The Experience consortium, which includes promoter Harvey Goldsmith, has joined forces with the four-company consortium of Quintain, Lend Lease, Stanhope and Grosvenor. The latter has already been in talks with the BBC and the Tussauds Group, which may spur the revival of a 10-year-old plan for a giant theme park at Greenwich, first put forward by Tussauds long before the notion of a Millennium Dome was conceived. Any BBC involvement in the bid could involve turning the Dome into a theme park inspired by classic programmes such as EastEnders and Walking with Dinosaurs. This now places the consortium in a strong position to challenge the rival bid from the Dome’s former chief exec Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, whose bid is centred around retaining the Dome as a visitor attraction.

Avesco Buys Gearhouse Divisions
Monday, 5 March 2001

Following the news last week that the Gearhouse Group and a large number of its subsidiary operations have been placed in administrative receivership, Avesco PLC has acquired the Midlands and North divisions of Gearhouse Group PLC for £4 million. We understand that the business and assets acquired include the operations in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow and at the NEC.

Showlight Pulls in Top Names
Sunday, 4 March 2001

Paula J. Dinkel, Peggy Eisenhauer and John Rayment will be the keynote speakers heading a formidable array of 21 top-class speakers at Showlight 2001.

Paula J. Dinkel, principal lighting designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, is currently leading the lighting design teams at Walt Disney Studios in Paris. Her paper ‘Theatre to Theme Parks’ owes much to her 20 years’ experience with Disney theme parks and retail projects, amongst them DisneyQuest in both Orlando and Chicago, the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore and Club Disney.

John Rayment, the man responsible for the exciting lighting design of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, will discuss this experience in his paper ‘Olympics’. Beginning his career in seventies London, Rayment went on to become associated with the Sydney Dance Company, and was also one of Australia’s first lighting designers to go freelance and get an agent, allowing him the freedom to work on projects which have included drama, opera, musicals and events such as World Expo 88.

Peggy Eisenhauer, the only lighting designer to receive two double-nominations for lighting design, is talking about ‘Design Philosophy’. With partner Jules Fisher, she runs the successful Third Eye studio, a provider of innovative lighting design for some of America’s top shows, the most recent being the musical production of Jane Eyre which opened on Broadway in December. Her partnership with Fisher began some 15 years ago and they have gone on to collect many desig

‘Scouser’ Going Live
Saturday, 3 March 2001

Soundcraft has announced a new event in its successful series of Going Live seminars.

The ‘Scouser’ Going Live, which will run in Liverpool at the end of April, will feature a panel of engineers who all started their careers in the city.

The formula of Going Live is a simple and proven one. Soundcraft provides comprehensive and professional PA equipment for the students to work on, including a wide variety of mixing consoles for front-of-house and monitoring. All the course tutors are working engineers who tour with the biggest acts in music today. All the usual topics from how to operate front-of-house and monitor consoles, to microphone placement and outboard electronics, will be covered in the three-day agenda. There will also be a special class on digital mixing in a live situation. PA systems and tech support for the seminar will be provided by Liverpool’s Adlib Audio.
Dates: 27-29 April 2001
Venue: Liverpool

Bidding War at Dome Auction
Friday, 2 March 2001

News reaches us that the recent Dome auction turned into something of a bidding war and in so doing laid to rest fears that there would be a flood of cheap second-hand product hitting the market. Word has it that whilst there were some bargains to be had - top end lighting desks normally worth £15,000 upwards going for £7,000 - there were also numerous instances of bidders paying way over the list price for items. A 24-channel lighting control desk, for instance, which you can get for £525, was actually sold for £700, and this before the 10% premium buyers have to pay on all items. We also understand from our mole at the auction that numerous other items were attracting slightly higher or close to list price and one can only wonder at who out there has pockets so deep that price is not an issue. But not everything promised in the auction actually made it to the sale as the NMEC withdrew several items yesterday on the basis that it didn’t wish to prejudice the future use of the Dome - these included the Broadcast and Dome TV Suites and all associated equipment, together with plasma screens.By the time the auction ends at close of play today, more than 15,000 items from the Dome will have been sold and an anticipated £5 million will have been raised for an attraction that cost £800 million.

International Seminars at Pro Light & Sound
Friday, 2 March 2001

PLASA, the VPLT (PLASA’s sister association in Germany) and Trade Partners UK (British Government) have been working together to present three seminars at the Pro Light & Sound Show at the Frankfurt Musikmesse next week with simultaneous German/English translation. The first, on Wednesday 7th March at 12.30pm, covers ‘Cruise Ships and Events Technology‘ with Peter Ed of ETC Europe, Martin Lilly (Airtours/Sun Cruises), and Davey Smalley of BSS Audio. The seminar looks at event technology on cruise ships, revealing what requirements there are and which products and solutions are needed for these less than straightforward environments. The second seminar, on Thursday 8th March at 12.30pm, is entitled ‘German - English Trade’. Paul Robinson from the British Embassy in Berlin and Michael Schneider of Lightronic discuss the difference between the British and the German way of thinking and its marketing. It considers the differences in supply and demand and reviews the development of trade relations between both countries with regards to event technology? ‘Working on DMX, fog, rigging and others - the international standards situation.’Is the final seminar on Friday 9th March, again at 12.30pm.The standards officers of PLASA and the VPLT, Tim Cox and Eckart Steffens, discuss the importance of technical standards and review the various projects underway worldwide.For further details visit the VPLT/PLASA stand - A01 - at the show.

Siel 2001
Thursday, 1 March 2001

Siel kicked off the trade show season in style when it returned to its established home at the Porte de Versailles in Paris in early February. Some measure of its growing stature on the trade show circuit can be gauged by the fact that it now attracts nearly 300 exhibitors from all sectors of the industry.

Its widening appeal as an industry showcase is underlined by the fact that just about every major manufacturer from the audio, AV, lighting and staging worlds, had a presence at the Show, despite its proximity to both Namm and Live. Since most have appointed local distributors, the profile of the show remains distinctly French, and the visitor figures underline the fact that it still plays predominantly to its home market (of the 23,497 who attended, less than 6% were from overseas).

That said, even 6% constitutes a fairly considerable amount of international visitors, and Paris is a city which will always manage to attract. So what news did we find on the show floor?Behind the scenes, ADB has been making some key changes. The Siemens-owned company has spent the last few months restructuring, revising the reporting structure so that the French and German operations now report directly to the central ADB operation in Belgium. Alfons Fahrtmann, a Siemens man for the past four years, has been brought in as the new general manager and will work alongside the established team of Mike Musso and Raph Janssens on a range of new initiatives, including a number of new products which will be rolled out in the coming months.

It’s now a year since Blackout and Triple E an

Association News - New Faces Join PLASA Show Team
Thursday, 1 March 2001

Following recent internal re-organisation at Clarion Events, the PLASA Show organising team has undergone several changes of role, as well as several new additions.

James Brooks-Ward is now Group Exhibition Director at Clarion, responsible for eight trade shows and 30 staff. Part of his new responsibility will be the development of new business areas for Clarion.Sue Silsby now takes on the role of PLASA Show Director. She has worked at Clarion Events for the past eight years. most recently as Show Director for The Royal Smithfield Show. Stephen Ingram comes in as the new senior sales manager for the Show. He too has a great deal of experience, having worked on events including The Royal Smithfield Show and The Sunday Times Environment Show.

Julie Haddow joins the team as marketing manager, and will take responsibility for marketing all of Clarion’s trade shows, including PLASA. Over the past year, she has been working as venue marketing manager for Earls Court & Olympia. Another new face to the team is Rebecca Perry, who has been at Clarion Events since 1996, and has worked on The Royal Smithfield Show and The London Motor Show. She now joins the PLASA team as marketing executive.

Sophie Matthews joined Clarion in June 1998, as a show administrator for both PLASA UK and PLASA Presents Light & Sound Shanghai. She is currently the operations manager for both shows. Goli Vossough joined the PLASA team in December 1998 as a sales executive. After a year she made sales executive for the PLASA Shanghai show, and is now actively involved in selling for both.

Lisa El

Live! Show 2001
Thursday, 1 March 2001

L&SI reports from the Live! 2001 exhibition at Alexandra Palace.

Midas introduced the new Venice console, bringing the high-quality Midas brand to smaller applications such as conferences or live band applications, for effects returns or additional inputs in large multi-console applications, in installation/contracting work, or as part of a small mobile system. It also provides an ideal feature set for live acts who need to mix their own FOH and monitor sound from on-stage. Three versions are available, and will be available in the UK from Shuttlesound. Midas also made it two wins in a row by again picking up the Live! Best Audio Console award for the Heritage 3000. Allen & Heath, meanwhile, were delighted to pick up the Silver award for the ML5000 mixing desk.

Fuzion has recently taken on distribution of Camco amplifiers, and the impressive new Camco Vortex units were shown for the first time by the company. The Camco Vortex is a very high-power (6000W into 4 ohms), yet lightweight 2U amplifier product which offers complementary advantages to the Crown range of amplifiers which Fuzion also distributes in the UK. The microprocessor-controlled amplifiers control and monitor all functions and internal ‘housekeeping’ tasks. Each has a three-stage switched-mode universal power supply, with reliable over-voltage protection up to 400 volts.

Soundcraft had the first UK showing of its Spirit M Series of consoles, seen for the very first time recently at NAMM in Los Angeles. The Spirit M4, M8 and M12 are a range of compact mixers available with 4, 8 or 12 mono inpu

Support for Birmingham Fringe
Sunday, 25 February 2001

Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking for companies within our industry to collaborate on a range of projects during the 2001 festival.

The idea is to demonstrate the contribution made by our industry to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told L&SI: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts."

The initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August, and Derrick Knight is exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues near the performance spaces. If you are interested in participating call +44 (0)121 622 1771.

TiLE is Official European Show of the TEA
Thursday, 22 February 2001

TiLE will be the official European Show of The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). TiLE is aimed at those who have an interest in the future of location-based leisure attractions, whilst TEA is an international alliance of the world's most talented and experienced professionals in the themed attractions industry. The decision coincides perfectly with the 10th anniversaries of both TiLE and TEA and recognises the close relationship that has built up between the two; the European Chapter of TEA (now TEA Europe) was launched at TiLE 1998 in Strasbourg, France, and has become one of the fastest growing chapters of TEA.

EST Shows Motoring Logistics
Wednesday, 21 February 2001

Once again, those masters of logistics, Edwin Shirley Trucking (EST) have co-ordinated 30 truck movements to ensure that the Ford Motor exhibit at the Amsterdam Motor Show went together seamlessly. Design house Imagination contracted EST to ensure that the right parts for the Ford stage set - stands, turntables and all the other myriad pieces of the display - arrived at the show on time and in sequence. As if that wasn't enough, EST will be repeated the entire exercise in mid-February on a larger scale when they shipped the Ford stand for the Geneva Motor Show.21 Feb 2001


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