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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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
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.
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
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 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.
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
Following an 18-month market research and development project, Sarner International Ltd, a leading audio-visual design and installation specialist, has re-launched itself with a new management line-up which includes the promotion of experienced divisional managers to its board and the introduction of a new corporate identity. The company’s Ross Magri, Michael Bennett, Ian Revens and David Dempsey have joined the Sarner Board. David Dempsey, Sarner's sales and marketing director told PLASA Media: "We reached the conclusion that we needed to re-evaluate the direction of our work and our expectations for the future." As a result, the company has decided to concentrate its efforts on three main markets: the integrated presentation systems market, the corporate production and events market and the design and build of themed visitor attractions and experiences market.
Corporate and industrial event lighting specialists Rainmaker injected drama into the launch of the new BMW engine plant at Hams Hall in Birmingham. Rainmaker’s Paul O’Brien produced a dazzling lighting design for a stage set based on the new BMW engine block. The pistons formed four platforms at different levels, the stage right of which was also a revolve which revealed the new engine. The whole on the interior of the high-tech plant’s parts storage area was also lit by Rainmaker, with electric blue MBI and HQI architectural luminaires. Natural building features like ducting, electricity supplies, pipework, air vents and columns were spectacularly highlighted with ETC Source Four profiles. For stage lighting, O’Brien utilised Studio Spot 250s and a variety of MAC automated lights, Source Four PARs, Source Four 26 degree profiles and cyc floods. The show was programmed and operated by John Harris using an Avolites Pearl 2000 console.
Vertigo Rigging provided 12 motors and a Thomas 30.5 cm box truss to accommodate the lighting equipment and Delta Sound’s audio equipment, as well as building scaffolding platforms for Creative Technology’s projection apparatus. A cross spur from the truss provided rigging points for the house lighting. Vertigo also supplied two cherry pickers used as access for rigging and focussing, and the project was managed and crew-chiefed for them by Paddy Burnside. The production company was ACT Live and the show was production managed by Gary Wilson.http://www.rainmaker.co.ukhttp://www.vertigo-rigging.co.uk
The International Live Music Conference takes place from 9 - 11 March 2001 at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington High Street, London. It pulls together key figures involved in the presentation of live entertainment around the globe. Attendance is ‘by invitation only’ and the ILMC includes among its members some 35 different professions from nearly 40 countries. The Main Room debates will kick off as usual on Friday afternoon at the Talking Shop, where a variety of the subjects will be covered, and the rest of the weekend's talks previewed. Taking centre stage in Saturday afternoon's main forum will an investigation of the urgent issues surrounding crowd safety, made more relevant in the last few days by the terrible events at Australia's Big Day Out and Brazil's Planet Atlantido. In a major session set to span the entire afternoon under the banner 'Safety in Numbers', chaired by Roger Barrett and Roberto de Luca, the views of leading figures from the worlds of production, security, and event promotion will be put forward in a discussion that has to be seen as relevant to everyone in the live industry. On Sunday, the conference will examine how the dance market works and the new global medium of webcasting. The conference is organised in association with Blink TV, SMG and Le Maitre Fireworks.
Major car manufacturers used 19 large Lighthouse LED video screens for their stands during January's Detroit Motor Show - the first major motor show of the 2001 international calendar and the most important one in North America. The Detroit Show also highlighted the first major commercial use of the new Lighthouse 5mm ultra high resolution LED screen on auto manufacturer Mini's booth. AV rental companies used a total of almost 307sq.m of the Lighthouse 10mm product - LVP102 and 15sq.m of the new LVP202 5mm screen. The Lighthouse video screens featured on the stands of Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Porsche, Toyota, and Volvo.
Following ever increasing attendances over its four year history, the dates for John Hornby Skewes’ Event 2001 have been confirmed as June 17-19. One major new feature of Event 2001, which takes place at JHS’s premises in Garforth, Leeds, will be the provision of a dedicated pro audio demo theatre on-site. This will feature the HK Audio range of pro audio, including the HX active systems, LUCAS, ELIAS and ACTOR, and the most recent addition to the range, the powerful 3.6kW PROJECTOR. Other pro audio products on show include The Scanner radio system, the Get Yourself Connected series of cabling, JHS pro audio components and Kustom PA systems and cabinets.
Hollywood recently celebrated its biggest party - the Golden Globes - held in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton. Production Resource Group companies Fourth Phase, ProMix and LSD/Fourth Phase were on hand to help. ProMix Burbank provided all of the audio equipment for the event, which included the press audio and video feeds to the worldwide press audience. All presenters and award recipients were heard through the propriety ProMix ‘pop-up mic’, a robotic system. Front-of-house console was a Yamaha PM4000, driving Apogee speakers and Crest amplifiers. Sound designer for the event was Gary Hardesty with his team consisting of audio supervisor Bruce Burns, system engineer Andrew Fletcher, press liaison engineer Steve Cohen, with Mark King on broadcast audio mix and Randy Faustino on house audio mix.
The interior lighting was designed by Lee Rose of Design Partners, and LSD/Fourth Phase provided the rigging and conventional lighting package for the 11th consecutive year. LSD crew chief Ken Delvo and LSD technician Jeremy Schilling oversaw the installation and operation of the kit, which included ETC Source Fours and Par 64s, controlled by an Expression 2X and Sensor Rack. The exterior lighting, also designed by Lee Rose, was handled by Fourth Phase Burbank. The equipment included a selection of 300 and 650W ARRI fresnels, 125W HMI ARRI pocket pars, 1.2kW HMI Sunrays, 2.5/4K HMI ARRI pars, MR16 Xray strips and 1K Mickey Moles.
On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at www.plasa.org. The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.
The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.
PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."
In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A
The venue for the Professional Lighting and Sound Association’s 2001 AGM and Industry Dinner has been confirmed as Coombe Abbey, near Birmingham. This beautiful 12th century Cistercian Abbey, set in 500 acres of parkland, is now a stunning hotel and conference venue which promises to provide ‘no ordinary experience’.
The AGM and Industry Dinner will both take place on Thursday 14th June - allowing members to attend both events without taking two days out of the office - and offer the ideal opportunity to discover more about the Association and to meet with other members. Details of the guest speaker for the dinner will be revealed nearer the time.
This will be the fifth annual Industry Dinner, and the evening has always proved highly popular in the past, with guest speakers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Richard Noble and Frances Edmonds. We would like to urge all PLASA members to take an active role in the affairs of the Association by attending the AGM and the Industry Dinner.
A 15-year old girl has died in Sydney’s Concorde Hospital, following a crush at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia, last Friday. The girl is reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest at the time of the crush, and died peacefully in hospital on Wednesday. Friday’s crush occurred when the crowd surged forward during a performance by Limp Bizkit. The band’s lead singer Fred Durst pleaded for calm, and wanted to stop the show altogether, but was later persuaded to continue with the set in the light of police fears of a riot if the show were stopped. Limp Bizkit later pulled out of the touring festival, saying they had no confidence in its organisers. Other acts on the bill included Coldplay, PJ Harvey, At The Drive In and Queens of The Stone Age.
Over 20,000 people celebrated the New Year in Nottingham’s market square. The centre of attention was the Nottingham Council House, an imposing town hall, which provided the canvas for a stunning lightshow by NJD. Images of Robin Hood (Nottingham’s millennium symbol) were projected onto the building using NJD’s Predator HX scanners, whilst eight Datamoons were positioned on columns down the centre of the town square, providing sound activated light beams whose movement and colour was synchronised to the music played through NJD’s 20,000W sound system.