UK - LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment), which represents 16 live music industry organisations has launched a comprehensive survey of freelance professionals working in the UK live music sector.

Produced in partnership with Handle Freelance Solutions, The Back Lounge and UK LIVE Event Freelancers Forum, Powered by Freelancers - The Live Music Edition 2024 was commissioned to help understand and identify the changes required to improve the experience of the freelancers who are crucial to the success of the live music industry.

Over 1,280 live music freelancers contributed to this survey with 87% of respondents stating that “freelance work provides my primary income”.

The UK’s live music industry generated £5.2bn in 2022 and the summer of 2023 showcased a post-pandemic resurgence for much of the sector, despit

UK - It is 10 years since Backup headed to Daytona Sandown Park for the first ever KartFest, and every year it got bigger and better. Last year the event was re-named and re-imagined as the Backup Village Fete. Fun and games for everyone abounded and a record amount of money was raised for Backup to continue its good work.

This year’s village Fete takes place on 11 July at Daytona and is proving very popular with more and more companies getting involved and joining the biggest industry day out there is. With the focus on the fete, there are many options for companies and individuals attending. You can buy single day passes through to fete stall pitches or, for the ultimate in turn up and go, a VIP ‘Manor house’ package with everything already built including a VIP bar, DJ and located right in the middle of the action. 

The Backup Parish Counci

UK - PLASA Focus Leeds returned to its home at the Royal Armouries on 14 and 15 May, with two packed show halls, a bigger-than-ever seminar programme, and record-breaking attendance figures.

This year’s PLASA Focus Leeds saw a 19% increase in attendance, with a strong visitor profile on par with previous shows. 1/5 were company directors, owners or chairs, equally representing audio, AV, lighting and staging tech. This year saw 1/5 students too, over double last year’s figures, signalling a strong future for the industry.

Matt Wiseman from MDG Fog UK says: “As a company, we’re now 10 years into the journey with PLASA Focus Leeds being a key date in our UK diary. Each year we have experienced more footfall to our stand and especially this year. The quality of visitor was again noticeably higher and we expect to see another re

UK - Duncan Bell (formerly of Autograph) has just completed a fundraising trip for industry charity Backup, cycling off road from Appleby, Cumbria to Middleton, Derbyshire and covering 185 miles of the Pennines, Yorkshire Dales and Peak District.

Friday brought the last 37 miles from Hayfield to Middleton Top, nr Matlock. “This final stage marks not only the end of this week’s endeavours, but also the end of the Great North Trail, an 800-mile route that started in Cape Wrath, NW Scotland that we started in 2021 and completed in three stages,” says Duncan.

“I’d like to raise anything we can for Backup Tech to helps those in the entertainment world who need help at any difficulty stage in their lives, career or family. We have a modest goal of £2k that I’m sure we can exceed. Please give what you can.”

Donations can be made

Damage Limitation - The UK risks "self-inflicted economic and diplomatic damage" if it does not take action to strengthen its creative industries, a new report has warned. To combat this, the report has made a series of recommendations, including the creation of a ‘soft-power council’ representing "the diversity of British talent" in government and "making requisite changes across the visa system to ensure it is fit for purpose for the creative industries".

The report has been produced by University of the Arts London and Erskine Analysis and is designed to "examine the critical role of the creative industries as a source of economic growth".

Entitled Keeping the UK’s Creative Industries Globally Competitive: a Playbook to Protect Our Future Prosperity and Security, the report calls the creative industries "both a huge strength and in

UK - A celebration of the remarkable life of Richard Pilbrow - lighting designer, theatre consultant, producer, author, educator, mentor, friend, and so much more – is being held today (17 May) at the Dorfman - formerly Cottesloe - at the National Theatre.

The Pilbrow family, along with the ALPD and the ABTT invite those who knew Richard to join them at the venue from 1.30pm. “All are welcome,” a statement says. Like the great producer Richard sometimes was, we want a sold-out event, maybe even bursting a little at the seams - but not to end up with people unable to get in.”

Anyone who can’t make it but would still like to commemorate Richard is asked to do so by supporting the entertainment charities Backup Tech (in the UK) or Behind The Scenes (in the US).

UK - Vision: 2025 has launched a crowdfunder to create the third edition of the Show Must Go On report and ‘shape a new climate strategy and practices towards 2030’. Research and authoring by an inclusive industry-wide collaboration is underway to collate a comprehensive free-to-access resource.

The initiative supported by Festival Republic, The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), Arts Council England, Earth Percent, aims to raise £50,000 from organisations working in the festival and outdoor events space to be matched with grant funds.

This collaborative project is being hosted by Julie’s Bicycle, chaired by Jon Collins, (LIVE) and convenes a working group of organisations and specialists from across the sector.

The Show Must Go On state of the industry reports (edition #1 & #2) provided early benchmarks and a 10-

UK - The ABTT has announced that Liz Sillett will be its new chief executive officer, starting in the role later this month.

Liz joins the ABTT having been at The Old Vic where she was director of operations and external relationships since 2017, having worked in the arts in the UK for over 25 years. This has included senior leadership roles at Orion Management working in and supporting multiple venues across the UK, several senior roles at The Old Vic and various consultancy projects.

Liz’s experience spans traditional theatres, unconventional venues including immersive experiences, temporary spaces and pop-ups as well as events and hospitality.

Liz brings to the role a thorough understanding of venue operations (both front of house and backstage) as well as extensive experience of capital projects. Liz has been a member of the ABTT for ma

Opening Time - The new Co-op Live arena is set to open this evening after three weeks of delays, false starts, and chaos behind the scenes. Elbow will open the £365m Manchester venue later, after an inspection gave the venue the all-clear.

Comedian Peter Kay had been due to open the 23,500-seater venue on 23 April,

The eleventh-hour postponement of A Boogie With Da Hoodie's gig on 1 May saw other shows moved to the nearby AO Arena. Kay's shows were twice postponed over issues including power supply and emergency communications, while a Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's show was pulled over a problem with the ventilation system.

Bosses said they were "thrilled" to be opening the venue after being "disappointed to have delayed our introduction and frustrated so many in the process". "We now look forward to welcoming fans to Elbow's opening performance on

UK - PLASA Focus Leeds returns to the city’s Royal Armouries from 14-15 May with two sold-out show floors and a bigger-than-ever programme. A record number of people have registered to attend the popular trade show, which promises to deliver an abundance of brands from across the pro audio, AV, lighting and staging sectors alongside a packed programme of seminar sessions, panel discussions, training events and more.

On the show floor, over 200 brands will span two halls, with Ambersphere proudly returning as headline sponsor. Many of the exhibitors will showcase their latest products, with several UK debuts to look out for.

Lighting brands include Avolites, Beamz, Chauvet Professional, Elation Professional, ETC, GLP, Highlite International, Martin Professional, Prolight, Robe, Roxx, TMB, and Vari-Lite.

Pro audio brands include Allen & H

UK – The Profile Awards, dedicated to TV and theatre lighting design, will take place on 6 June at Alexandra Palace. In the run up to the inaugural ceremony, the judging teams are hard at work whittling down the many shows and productions they have seen to select their winners.

Theatre Awards chair, David Benedict explains the process: “The theatre section of The Profile Awards is judged by eight of the UK’s leading theatre, dance and opera critics. Every single new production we see is automatically eligible for consideration.”

He continues: “At our lengthy judging session, we drew up a long list of 30 pieces of outstanding lighting design from the literally hundreds of productions we saw in person across the year. That list was then whittled down to a shortlist of 18. From there, we chose to salute the work of eight of the most exciting t

UK - The Power of Events is releasing results to date of its Schools Engagement Programme pilot in the East of England. Launched in January 2024, the pilot aims to refine the process of inspiring the next generation of event professionals, by introducing pupils aged 13-18 to the dynamic range of opportunities within the events industry.

In the Spring term, the programme has so far engaged over 3,000 pupils from 17 schools, significantly enhancing their understanding of the events industry as a viable career path. The engagement numbers rose to a promising 65% average in pupils' awareness of the sector and career consideration post-presentation, up from an initial 2% pre-presentation.

Following this initial success, The Power of Events is set to expand the programme across additional regions in the UK, starting in the Autumn term in September 2024. Th

Rio Beach Party - Madonna put on a free concert in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night with throngs of fans flocking to see the pop idol on Brazil's Copacabana beach. "Rio, here we are in the most beautiful place in the world," she declared, as the performance got under way. The show was the final stop on the 65-year-old's Celebration Tour, celebrating her 40 years in music.

More than 1.6m fans were estimated to have attended the show. Crowds of fans were seen dancing along to Madonna's songs played from speakers on the stage, hours before the American superstar arrived. In what many have called a "historic" show, Madonna impressed the audience with multiple set and costume changes and light displays. The signer performed some of her greatest hits, including Nothing Really Matters, Like a Prayer and Vogue, and was joined on stage at o

Late Opening - Comedian Peter Kay and indie rock duo the Black Keys have rescheduled dates at the Manchester Co-op Arena due to the venue still not being “ready”. The £365m venue, which is meant to be the biggest indoor arena in the UK, was meant to open on Tuesday 23 April, with Kay set to perform an opening show. But the date has been pushed back several times amid safety problems and technical setbacks.

Writing to his fans on X on Friday, Kay said: “To everybody with tickets, my apologies once again but unfortunately the Co-op Live still isn’t ready and so, as yet, remains untested for a large-scale audience. Consequently, they are having to reschedule my two shows yet again (I know I can’t believe it either).”

On Monday the arena said that Kay's performances would take place on 29 and 30 April, but that has now been moved to 23 and 2

USA - ESTA’s Technical Standard Programme has announced seven documents now in public review. These documents, along with their respective public review forms and instructions, are available from the TSP’s Public Review Documents download page, found at https://tsp.esta.org/publicreview. Return the public review form, and any comments you may have, before the deadline shown.

BSR E1.31, Lightweight streaming protocol for transport of DMX using ACN

This draft is a revision of ANSI E1.31 – 2018, which describes a mechanism to transfer DMX512A packets over a TCP/IP network using a subset of the ACN protocol suite. It covers data format, data protocol, data addressing, and network management, including support for both IPv4 and IPv6. It also outlines a synchronization method to help ensure that multiple sinks can process this data concurren

Investment Opportunity - Industry body Creative UK has launched a general election manifesto urging the next government to treat the arts as an "investment opportunity, not a cost".

The Royal Shakespeare Company, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and London’s National Theatre are among the organisations quoted in the manifesto, which is entitled Our Creative Future. New funding models, advocacy for freelancers, intellectual property protection and protections for UK creatives in international trade deals are among the hallmarks of the manifesto’s "vision for the future" ahead of a general election later this year.

The manifesto calls for "radical new action" towards these aims, including greater access to creative education and the upholding of the UK’s "gold standard" IP protections for the cultural and creative industries "in the age of arti

UK - The recently announced Profile Awards have created much interest within the industry, with sponsorship take up for all the 16 Awards. The Headline Sponsor is Ayrton with the TV Awards being sponsored by ChamSys, ELP, LCR, Light Initiative, Roxxlight and Version 2 Lights. The Theatre Awards are sponsored by Chauvet, Elation, ETC, Fix8, GLP, TSL, SLX and Vari-Lite; the pre-show bar is sponsored by Ambersphere Solutions and the Goody Bags at the end of the evening are sponsored by JLL.

The Profile Awards have been created and are coordinated by Durham and Jennie Marenghi in association with the ABTT, the ALPD and the STLD; the Awards recognise lighting design excellence in theatre and television in the UK and the inaugural event will take place at the Alexandra Palace theatre on 6 June 2024.

Alongside eight specific Theatre awards and six TV awards

Europe - Two years ago, Shure announced aggressive goals to increase recyclable and/or renewable packaging for new products. The company has now revealed that it has achieved its goal to convert to 75% by 2023 and is on track to grow to 90% by 2025 and 100% by 2030 for new packaging. The goal for existing product packaging in 2025 is 75% recyclable and/or renewable.

As part of its continuous environmental improvement efforts, Shure is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. With more than 1,500 different packaging pieces for a variety of different products, converting to sustainable packaging is a significant undertaking, especially for high-performance electronic equipment which is shipped to various locations globally to reach customers all over the world.

Key sustainable packaging initiatives include: Replacing thermoform trays with more

Seven Up - Sunset Boulevard was the big winner at this year’s Olivier Awards, equalling the record for the most prizes for a musical at the ceremony. Its seven wins included best musical revival and acting awards for its stars Nicole Scherzinger and Tom Francis, plus best lighting design for Jack Knowles and best sound design for Adam Fisher.

The musical’s seven wins means it ties with Cabaret, Matilda and Hamilton for the most trophies ever for a musical in a single night. The revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was staged with a monochrome colour scheme and a minimalist set design. LSi’s current cover star, Sarah Snook, was also celebrated as Best Actress for her role in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Gender Pay Gap - The gender pay gap in the cultural sector has increased for the second year running and is now wider than the overall UK gender pay gap, latest figures reveal. Data published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport last month shows an estimated gender pay gap of 15.2% in the cultural sector as of April 2023, up from 14.2% the previous year. This means that for every £1 men were paid, women were paid just under 85 pence.
This disparity is greater than the average gender pay gap for all employees in the UK, which stood at 14.2% as of April 2023. The culture sector includes performing arts, literature, visual arts, public broadcasting, museums and galleries, libraries and the visual arts. The data marks the second successive year of increase in the gender pay gap in these industries. Between April 2021 and April 2022, the gap increased by 3.1 percentage

Funding Cuts - West End stars and creatives including actors Beverley Knight and Sheridan Smith and playwright Jack Thorne have called for local arts funding to be protected, warning that "terrifying" cuts will be irreversible and damage services such as youth theatre. They join Andrew Scott and Imelda Staunton, in speaking out about the importance of the arts – particularly at local level – in the face of swingeing cuts that have seen venues warn that they will have to scale back their operations.
In recent weeks, Nottingham City Council and Birmingham City Council have both announced 100% cuts to arts funding, following a previous cut to Suffolk County Council’s funding for the arts. The Nottingham Playhouse said: "The cut is approximately the same cost of running our Shine youth theatre groups or providing very low-cost and free tickets through our 50:50, HotHouse a

UK - This year, ALPD will again be awarding in three categories - Lighting Design, Production Electrics and Programming, with each of the prize bundles being tailored to the specific needs of that speciality.
The Lighting Design Award is by application. The candidates for the Fred Foster Production Electrician Award and the Anne Valentino Award for Excellence in Programming are by nomination. The ALPD encourages lighting professionals who work alongside a production electrician or programmer whom they consider to be exceptional and worthy of recognition, to nominate them. There are full details on the ALPD website (thealpd.org.uk).
The Michael Northen Award is sponsored by the Go Live Theatre Projects (previously the Mousetrap Foundation) Vectorworks and ETC. The winner of this award will receive a £500 voucher prize, a 512 ETC nomad package, a Vectorworks licence f

Australia - Andy Ciddor’s passionate and committed career in technology, production and live performance of over five decades came to an end on 30 March after taking advantage of Tasmania’s Voluntary Assisted Dying programme to end his struggle with stage-four bile duct cancer.
Starting in high school, out of frustration at the state of a school production his career spanned theatre, broadcast, production, teaching, consulting writing and editing – sharing his passion and mentoring the next generation of designers and technicians. He was followed into the industry by his brothers Jonathan and Braham and most recently, his daughter Rivka.
From working at GTV9 on productions like Hey Hey It’s Saturday and various tonight shows, he moved to Perth to join STW9 where he earned the title ‘Captain Kilowatt’. Andy’s teaching career began at the WA Academy

On The Campaign Trail - Leading arts organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company and Bristol Old Vic are joining together for a UK-wide campaign aimed at creating a “powerful sector voice” that will advocate for the industry and lobby for additional public funding to help struggling venues and companies.
Culture Makes...will run from May this year and throughout 2024, creating what its organisers have called "a bold new vision for the value and impact of culture and heritage in society and as a human right which urgently needs investment" in the run up to the next general election.
It has been developed by the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation, with others that have already committed to being part of the campaign including 20 Stories High, An Tobar and Mull Theatre, Cardboard Citizens, Edinburgh International Festival, Javaad Alipoor Company, Lyric Theatre

Latest Issue. . .