Insurance Scheme - UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden indicated last week that the government will step in to support the theatre sector with a government-backed insurance scheme after 19 July.
Dowden told the House of Commons earlier this week that the government was likely to provide an insurance scheme should commercial providers be unable to offer any to the theatre sector. He was quizzed on the issue by shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens, who asked Dowden why no insurance scheme had been presented despite an announcement to MPs in March that a decision on such an initiative was with the Treasury at the time.
“I very much understand the industry’s desire for insurance and I have engaged with them. I have said all along, as with film and TV insurance, the first step is to get all the other restrictions removed and we are making very good progress towards doing

UK - The Neutrik Group has announced the launch of Rean, a global brand ‘marrying over 45 years precision engineering know-how with the group’s own dedicated state-of-the-art production facilities’.
Rean offers designers of audio, video and lighting products a comprehensive range of connectors featuring’ robust, high-reliability designs, that promise unrivalled cost-performance ratios, backed by a truly global supply-chain and experienced regional sales network’.
An extensive worldwide portfolio of connectors incorporates a full range of ’standard’ professional XLR, ¼” Jack, XLR/Jack combo, ethernet, power connector, 3.5mm, phono, DIN, and dual banana plug solutions, and the new Z Series of IP65 rated XLR and RJ45 ethernet connectors. These are specified for outdoor applications, resistant to water and dirt, and optimised for use in lighting and digita

Survival Course - The Womad music festival has been cancelled "to guarantee its survival", co-founder Peter Gabriel has announced. Earlier this month, the former Genesis singer warned that the three-day event might not go ahead without government-backed insurance or test event status. Confirming the cancellation, he said waiting for either would "put Womad's long-term future at risk".
In a statement, Gabriel said the decision to cancel his world music festival, which was launched almost 40 years ago and attracts about 40,000 people each year, was made "with great regret". "We feel that our audience, artists, staff, and contractors, who have been amazingly supportive throughout all this, will understand the need for us to act to guarantee our survival," he wrote.
Gabriel said the decision to grant test event status to some festivals due to be held on the same 22-25 July

Europe - German-based audio network specialist DirectOut and the Italian IT system provider Vivivaldy will use SRT for ViViD, a customized service that permits audio professionals to easily setup remote productions using standard internet connections.
The two companies have joined the SRT Alliance following the strategy of providing easy and reliable remote production solutions.
Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) is a free, open-source AV transport protocol and technology stack originally developed and pioneered by Haivision that enables the delivery of high-quality and secure, low-latency audio/video across the public internet.
Luca Di Chio, CEO of Vivivaldy, comments: “As Vivivaldy we’re proud to join the SRT Alliance to implement the open-source AV transport protocol into our VPN-routers. We think it’s a way to bring additional value to our clients. As the

Germany - Van Damme cables has announced that it has agreed a new MI-only distribution partnership with German audio industry specialist, Audiosteps.
The deal is designed to expand Van Damme’s reach in the German market through Audiosteps’ local expertise. The partnership will offer German customers support and availability of the latest products, including Van Damme Silver Series guitar cables, Starquad and Classic mic cables as well as the Blue and Black Series speaker cables.
Audiosteps.de was founded in 2018 as a website offering free tutorials to anyone wanting to learn more about the music industry. Professionals in the sector would live stream sessions on various topics including recording, mixing, mastering music production and distribution. It was initially very much a ‘hobby project’ but it quickly became a well-known platform used by German producer

No Guidance - Organisers of the Kendal Calling festival have blamed the government's "complete absence of any guidance" for their decision to cancel again. It had been due to take place at Lowther Deer Park in Cumbria from 29 July to 1 August after cancelling in 2020 due to the pandemic. Promoter Andy Smith said a delay in publishing research from national pilot events had made planning impossible.
Stereophonics, Supergrass, The Streets and Dizzee Rascal were set to headline. About 25,000 people were expected to attend the four-day music and arts festival. The promoter said there had been a "complete absence of any guidance" from the government, adding: "The fear for us is we build a festival and we find out on, say, 21 July we have to double the size of our campsites or something. We don't know what that could be, it could be anything. It's a complete unknown."
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UK - The mental health of jobless events industry professionals will be supported by Indie rock band Memphis Stone and the Elevators, which has pledged to donate all proceeds of its new song, Summer to help the industry.
Written in the first UK lockdown, Summer is an ode to better times and the return of music festivals.
Tom Weaver, the band’s bass player and co-writer said: “It’s a celebration of being in a field with thousands of other people and sharing the amazing experience of live music. So many of us have so many great memories from festivals and that’s what we wanted to capture in this song.
“At the same time, we know that thousands of technicians, engineers and production crews have been without work for over a year. Summer is dedicated to them and its proceeds will go to support their mental health. This is an industry t

UK - Registration is now open for PLASA Show 2021. The London-based trade event for entertainment technology is returning to Olympia London on 5-7 September - and for one year only, the ABTT Theatre Show will be co-locating with PLASA Show, bringing two popular industry event under one roof.
This year, PLASA Show is moving to Olympia’s largest space, the Grand Hall, which will allow for a more awe-inspiring show experience, wider aisles and larger social areas to ensure the safety of visitors and exhibitors.
Visitors will be able to connect with leading brands from the pro audio, AV, lighting, rigging and staging sectors, whilst the free seminar programme - details of which will be revealed in the coming weeks - will offer business advice, unpack technical topics, and present the latest creative achievements. There will also be various interactive offerings includi

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Sir Elton John has warned MPs that the UK music industry could lose "a generation of talent" because of post-Brexit restrictions on touring the EU. The musician accused ministers of being unwilling to fix a "gaping hole" in the current Brexit deal which means artists need costly visas to play in the bloc.
The government says the EU rejected its attempts to negotiate visa-free travel, while the EU claims the opposite. Sir Elton called the situation a "looming catastrophe" for the UK. "I want to be clear that the issues of visa-free and permit-free touring aren't about the impact on me, and artists who tour arenas and stadiums," he said. "This gravest of situations is about the damage to the next generation of musicians and emerging artists, whose careers will stall before they've even started due to this infuriating blame game.
"If I had face

UK - CEO and founder of ExecSpace, Edinburgh-based Emma Little, has announced the launch of her second business venture, ExecMove. The full-service search, selection and talent acquisition practice specialising in the venue, events, hospitality and tourism sector will support industry recovery through directly addressing the talent and skills gap across these sectors, in the aftermath of the pandemic. 
The new operation will support the charity Springboard, with donations for every candidate successfully placed.
Commenting on the launch, Emma Little says, “Clearly our industry has suffered enormously as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions and if we as a sector are to emerge stronger and recover quickly, now more than ever, our clients must have access to the very best talent and strongest performers.
“Whilst furlough was a great initiative, as the month

USA - A new book about the techniques and issues of lighting design for live events and productions being shot for broadcast, webcast or IMAG, has been published by Routledge and their media technology division, Focal Press.
Lighting for Televised Live Events: Making Your Live Production Look Great for the Eye and the Camera unlocks the science, art, philosophies, and language of creating lighting for live entertainment and presentations that work for the television camera as well as for the live audience. The authors, Jeff Ravitz and James L. Moody, each have extensive lighting design credits in both live and televised production and have brought their experience and insights to the book in an attempt to explain the common denominators between live and televised presentation lighting.
Ravitz explains, “The television camera has become an ever-present part o

South Africa - Although the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic brought the live events industry to a virtual standstill, the past 15 months have been busier than ever for SACIA’s Events Safety Council. The Council is an association of event safety specialists and event safety companies providing event safety solutions for the South African event sector. It is part of a global network of event safety professionals dealing with health and safety in the events industry.
The advent of the pandemic saw council members, unable to earn a living under lockdown restrictions, volunteering their time to drive the recovery of the event sector in South Africa instead. "It has been a rollercoaster ride, keeping one's wits about you, staying motivated and positive, and pressurising the government to recognise that our professional recovery plan will successfully keep people COVID-safe at t

UK - Tour manager and The Back Lounge founder Suzi Green has commissioned a series of resilience workshops for the live music industry as the touring sector begins its transition back into the demands of event production.
The three free sessions will cover: Mindfulness for Touring with Craig Ali (Monday 21 June 6pm), Healthy Boundaries with Laura Ferguson (Wednesday 14July), and Sleep & Jet Lag with Matt Kansy (Wednesday 4 August).
The workshops will explore a range of topics from coping strategies for dealing with 'heated' moments in high pressure situations, how to naturally wind down at the end of an intense day, rate negotiation, managing workload and effective communication, maximising the quality of your sleep and techniques to combat jet lag and shift work.
The workshops were made possible through the Culture Recovery Fund and, although open to anyon

Prohibitive Pricing - Theatre companies are warning that prohibitively high prices and uncertainty over COVID-19 are hindering their efforts to stage outdoor work this summer, with reports that some venues are hesitant to hire their spaces to theatre producers while others have withdrawn entirely. Mid-scale companies are being especially hard hit, producers are warning, with a lack of available digs also making producing shows particularly difficult to stage.
Companies including Oxford-based Creation Theatre and touring theatre group Handlebards, as well as the Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain, have said the knock-on effects of the pandemic are generating new challenges to booking outdoor venues. Creation Theatre is planning to stage a production of The Wind in the Willows this summer, but told The Stage it was struggling to find a suitable sp

UK - In partnership with the National Film and Theatre School (NFTS), this year’s coveted Christie prize for Most Promising NFTS Student was awarded to Charlie Jenkins, NFTS graduate in cinematography. Charlie received a monetary prize, a certificate, and a crystal trophy to celebrate the win at the socially distanced graduate ceremony. It is the 16th year of Christie’s partnership with NFTS, having supported the School with a variety of initiatives designed to nurture students and develop facilities, including its upgrade from film to digital projection equipment.
Oliver Stapleton and Stuart Harris, co-heads of the NFTS Cinematography MA, comments: “Charlie Jenkins is an exemplary student whose helpfulness to others knows no bounds. As soon as the School re-opened after lockdown, he immediately went to work and assisted the Animation, Model Making and Cinematography d

Another Lost Summer - UK music festivals face "another lost summer" due to the government's refusal to back insurance for events at risk, a committee of MPs has found. A report into the sector's future said the government should provide a safety net for live events set to take place after 21 June.
Several major festivals have been axed for the second year running, but the government claims it is "continuing to work flat-out to support festivals and live events". Glastonbury and BST Hyde Park will not take place this year, but others, like Latitude and Download, are currently scheduled to go ahead. The latter was called off in March but has since been resurrected as a government test event, albeit with a significantly reduced capacity.
On 21 June, the government hopes to move to the final stage of its roadmap for lifting lockdown. Restrictions on large events such as mu

UK - Founders of the global #WeMakeEvents movement feature in the fourth episode of The Meister Series, Jägermeister’s project celebrating “the mavericks and innovators in the music and events industry.”
In April 2020, #WeMakeEvents was launched by PLASA in response to the impact of the pandemic on the live events ecosystem. What started as a single UK campaign soon grew into a global movement now spanning 40 countries. Since then, through fundraising, mental health support and campaigning, the organisation has worked tirelessly to keep the music industry alive and support those impacted by the crisis.
In this fourth episode, founders and board members of #WeMakeEvents - Nicky Greet and Peter Heath from PLASA, Koy Neminathan from Avolites and James Gordon from Audiotonix - join Jägermeister in a passiona

Long-term Recovery - Arts Council England has announced details of a £42m fund to support the long-term recovery of the arts, heritage and creative sectors. The Cultural Investment Fund, which is a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport programme administered by ACE, is made up of three strands. These are the Cultural Development Fund, Museum Estate and Development Fund and Libraries Improvement Fund.
The Cultural Investment Fund was originally announced in 2019, but was put on hold during the pandemic to prioritise the delivery of the Culture Recovery Fund. With a budget of £18.5m in this financial year, the Cultural Development Fund will support places outside of London to invest in "creative, cultural and heritage initiatives that are designed to make places more attractive to live and work in and to visit". This is the second round of the Cultural Development

USA - Behind the Scenes has announced that Cable Munkey has become a Pledge-a-Product partner by pledging a percentage of sales from its Cable Munkey cable management product.
Cable Munkey is a small business founded to bring innovative products and solutions to the theatre and live event market, like Cable Munkey. Founder Jonathan Allender-Zivic says he decided to support Behind the Scenes with his product because “I am a lifelong theatre artist and practitioner who wants to give back to those in need within our industry”.
BTS Foundation chair Rick Rudolph commented, “We’re delighted to welcome Jonathan and his unique product as Pledge-a-Product partners. He’s a wonderful example that you don’t have to be a large company to want to give back and support your industry. Every commitment makes a difference in what we are able to do to help our colleagues in

Europe - Neutrik UK has announced the appointment of Karl Cowing as its new sales manager. Cowing comes to the position with an extensive 22-year career in engineering, and engineering sales, support and key account management roles within the electronics, automotive, transport, aerospace and defence sectors, including with Formula BMW, Varta, Aerco, Molex and Smiths Interconnect.
His experience includes responsibility for electronic interconnect solutions into strategic aerospace and defence customers, helping them adapt to rapidly changing technology requirements within the radar and electronic warfare sector, and positioning high reliability RF electronic connectivity solutions, including fibre optic technology, to help customers address future bandwidth issues.
Commenting on his appointment, Cowing says, “Over the years I have known of Neutrik connectors as best

Olympic Proportions - Plans have been announced for the construction of the biggest theatre in London for 45 years. The 1,575-seat Olympia will form part of a redevelopment of the same name in Kensington. It follows a £100m deal between theatre operator Trafalgar Entertainment and the site owners of Kensington Olympia in west London. The last theatre to open in the capital with over 1,000 seats was the National Theatre on South Bank in 1976.
If plans are approved, the Olympia theatre is scheduled to open in 2025 and Trafalgar Entertainment would have a lease for 35 years. Trafalgar co-founder Sir Howard Panter said it would be "something of international stature as the UK emerges into the new era". He added: "We hope that a bit like our neighbour just down the road, the Royal Albert Hall, it will become an iconic, marvellous cultural building in its own right. The announcem

UK - Donated by international metal-music industry heavyweights such as Black Sabbath, Nuclear Blast, My Dying Bride, Laney, Epiphone, Earache, Kerrang, Century Media, Sony/BMG, Razamataz, Krusher Joule, Live Nation/Download, 5BAM, Bravado, Blaze Bailey, Very Metal Art, Good As Gold, and UK Metal Merger, #ILoveMetal is the world’s biggest ever metal-music charity prize draw.
In partnership with Julie Weir/Music For Nations – the #ILoveMetal collection was collated by the UK Metal Merger In Solitude single supergroup collaboration, with the motivation of raising funds for the Stagehand Charity which is dedicated to providing severe-hardship funding and mental health support for live events industry workers.
The #ILoveMetal campaign supports the UK’s live event workers who right now, are in financial crisis. Whilst providing the opportunity to win money-can

USA - On 5 May, ANSI's Board of Standards Review approved two ESTA documents as American National Standards. The following day, ANSI's BSR approved four more. All six are now published and available on the ESTA TSP website for download at no cost at http://tsp.esta.org/freestandards. You also may buy them from ANSI and IHS Markit for $40 each.
ANSI E1.2 – 2021, Entertainment Technology - Design, Manufacture and Use of Aluminum Trusses and Towers describes what the title says, and also the associated aluminium structural components, such as head blocks, sleeve blocks, bases, and corner blocks, used in the entertainment industry in portable structures. It's a revision of and supersedes the previous version.
ANSI E1.28 – 2011 (R2021), Guidance on planning followspot positions in places of public assembly, offers guidance on the planning of permanent foll

Green Light - Theatres across England have been given the green light to reopen from next week under the next stage of the government’s roadmap. Venues will be able to open with social distancing, with capacities capped at 50% or 1,000 people for indoor shows, and 50% or 4,000 people outdoors.
For many theatres it will mark the first time they have been able to open their doors in more than a year, with theatre bosses now looking forward to the possibility of social distancing being removed completely by June 21, the next date in the roadmap.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said theatres would be able to reopen on 17 May and added that the country was “on track" to move to Step 4 of the roadmap on 21 June, under which social distancing would be removed. "Today we are announcing the single biggest step in our roadmap and it will allow us to do many of the things we hav

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