USA - The Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative has announced its participation in the Mental Health Action Day, to be held on 20 May in partnership with more than 600 leading brands, non-profit organisations, government agencies, and cultural leaders.
Over the past two decades, suicide rates have risen and the COVID pandemic has accelerated the already crisis, giving way to what many mental health professionals have called the “second pandemic”.
Though more people than ever are comfortable discussing mental health, finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge. Mental Health Action Day is an open-source movement to drive culture from mental health awareness to mental health action.
Partners will encourage people to take mental health action - whether for themselves, for their loved ones, or to advo

On Trial - A pilot concert in Liverpool on Sunday saw 5,000 people legally crammed into a small space for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The mini-festival, headlined by Blossoms, in Liverpool's Sefton Park was one of the government's official trial events to research how large gatherings can safely take place again.
All ticket holders had to take a supervised lateral flow test at one of four testing centres in the city the day before and were only allowed in if the test was negative. They were also strongly encouraged to take more sensitive PCR tests on the day of the show and to do so again five days later, on Friday. That will be crucial to working out whether there was any spread of the virus. It's all with the aim of working out how summer music festivals can go ahead after 21 June, when stage four of the government reopening roadmap will, in theory, see

Silent Spaces - Venues and spaces that have remained largely unused due to the pandemic feature in a new series of films in which performers and musicians take over the spaces. The series of films, called Silent Spaces, is described as a “creative lockdown response driven by a pervading sense of Covid-induced personal and professional loneliness”. It has been created by musician and composer Soumik Datta and directed by his brother Souvid Datta.
Featuring a team of British Asian, black and ethnic minority musicians and dancers, the film-makers and performers create works in the British Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, Depot Mayfield in Manchester and Sage Gateshead, alongside Hawkwood College and London King’s Cross station. The six films explore “resonant themes in keeping with the choice of venue”, the producers said, and tackle issues around mental health,

The Netherlands - Highlite International has announced a new brand for all their accessory products. Showgear will be the brand for all accessories for event and installation solutions including flight cases, stands and stage essentials, and provide ‘every piece of supplemental gear you need for your show’.
“Showgear will offer basically every piece of accessory that is needed on or off stage, from flight cases to back drops to speaker stands to rigging equipment,” says Highlite. “Products from Showgear will be supporting your stage performances and events in every situation you can think of.”
Showgear carries clamps, LED bulbs, tapes, heavy duty power strips, gear bags, butterfly locks, 19-inch racks and accessories, stands, cable straps, fog fluids, confetti and other expendables, and every other indispensable event accessory you may need. “Take the Sho

UK - Penguin Media Hire, the Brighton based event production and rental company, has appointed Sonny Evans as its new managing director. This coincides with the announcement of their expansion with a London warehouse and further facilities to come in the near future.
Co-founder Dylan Thompson explains: “We have worked with Sonny on a number of projects over the years, and we’ve always had a great working relationship. With an exit in sight from the Covid nightmare we have all found ourselves in, now is the time to continue securing the best team for our current and future clients. Our sales and installation sector of the group, Penguin Media Solutions, is taking much more of my focus, and I can’t think of anyone better to push the rental and event production side onwards.”
Penguin Media Hire has also secured a new premises less than a mile from ExCeL London, pl

UK - The live events and music industry will work with the Government on COVID-status certification to support full reopening and sector recovery.
Industry organisations including PLASA, Music Venues Trust, Live and Association of Festival Organisers, alongside major venues including the 02 and NEC Group, have issued a statement that outlines this support.
“The live events and music industry which includes exhibitions; conferences; music arenas; festivals; theatres and indoor sporting events, welcomes the establishment of the Events Research Programme and the safe return of live events as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown,” says the statement.
“The industry is committed to working with the Government to ensure a swift delivery of the Event Research Programme’s pilot events and stands ready to establish protocols based upon the informatio

UK - Version 2, which specialises in lighting hire specifically for the television industry, has expanded its stock of MDG products with the addition of two ATMe haze generators. “Our clients trust us to specify the right products and we know that MDG produces the best haze for the television market,” says Nick Edwards, managing director of Version 2.
Edwards has 25 years of dedicated television lighting experience, having held technical, commercial and management positions at PRG, Panalux and Aurora, after his training at the flagship training facility in BBC Wood Norton, prior to founding Version 2 in 2016. This experience puts him in a strong position when it comes to choosing the best products for his clients, many of whom have worked with him for years and trust his technical know-how.
“All our equipment investments have been rigorously researched and teste


Blossom Time - Music fans in Liverpool are to get the chance to enjoy a near-normal gig as part of a government pilot event. A crowd of 5,000 will see headline act Blossoms without having to social-distance or wear face coverings. But they will only get into the 2 May event by having a negative Covid test.
The outdoor concert at Sefton Park will operate below its capacity of 7,500. Ticket-holders will be required to take a lateral flow test, which can produce a result within 30 minutes, at a local testing centre before entry, the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport said. Attendees will also be asked to take a test after the concert - and will have to provide contact details to NHS Test and Trace to ensure they can be reached if someone who attended tests positive.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "We're one step closer to a summer of live events

UK - Colleagues, clients and friends have been paying tribute to Ken Watts, the popular tour director who died last week. Acts he worked with include George Michael, Duran Duran, Natalie Imbruglia, Bond, Blues Brothers, Jamiroquai and Duran Duran.
Dennis Gardner, production manager for singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, wrote in a Facebook post: “It is with much sadness, this weekend I received news of the passing of my mentor, my friend, my brother and fearless leader Ken Watts. He was (and will remain) an industry legend and a personal hero of mine. I have learnt and continue to learn from Ken and the way he approached everything he did with heart, a heavy dose of common sense and, as ever, a wonderful sense of humour. Simply put, Ken taught me nearly everything.”
Neg Earth Lights wrote on Facebook: “The shock with which we learnt of the loss of Ken Watts, who pass


Back Home - An arts venue in Manchester is to open a new 400-seat socially distanced outdoor theatre space. Home said the temporary venue would provide shows, music, cabaret and comedy for people "looking for a safe and fun night out as lockdown eases". Named Homeground, it will open on 28 May on a future development site in the city's First Street.
The project will create 450 new jobs for freelance artists and creatives, the venue said. Over the summer the venue plans to stage musical versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Alice in Wonderland. It will also host work by partners including Frog & Bucket, Contact and Trans Creative.
Park Life - Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre will reopen in the summer with an extended season and has announced a new co-production with London’s Unicorn Theatre. The previously announced production of Romeo and Jul

South Africa - It’s a new season for the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria who rode the Covid-19 wave and have turned their Performing Arts Diploma curriculum upside down with a different approach. The students are currently working alongside technical supply company MGG, to host a virtual stage, which will also be recorded for external examiners.
“We are very excited to announce that all previous departments that worked within the Performing Arts have now merged into one Department of Performing Arts (DPA),” comments Janine Lewis, professor and HOD at TUT. “The six programmes we had before are being phased out while first-year students will now follow the new multi-disciplinary Diploma in Performing Arts and then go into a discipline stream of speciality where they can focus on Dance, TAD (Theatre, Art & Design which includes performance and te

USA - InCord has made its 2021 donation to the Behind the Scenes Pledge-of-Support Programme reflecting a percentage of profits from sales of their Theatrical Safety Netting Systems. The systems are hand-crafted in the USA, safety tested to exceed all applicable industry standards, and are custom designed by professional engineers.
Joe Menhart, InCord’s Theatre Division sales manager, comments: “We are forever grateful to BTS for all they do, especially when so many have been in need for so long due to the global pandemic. We are very proud of our support for BTS. Our hearts go out to all those who benefit from the grants and resources provided by BTS.”
Rick Rudolph, the chair of Behind the Scenes, adds: “InCord’s steadfast commitment to our Pledge-of-Support Programme is so heartening. It lets our industry know that no matter how tough times are it’s impor

Cultural Recovery - Music festivals, West End theatres, comedy clubs and Canterbury Cathedral will get a share of £400m emergency government culture funding. A total of 2,700 English culture and heritage venues will share the latest round of the Culture Recovery Fund.
Canterbury Cathedral has the biggest grant with £2m, while the Serpentine Galleries in London has been awarded £1.9m and Camden Roundhouse has £1.5m. West End chain Nimax Theatres and Glastonbury will receive £900,000 each.
Glastonbury Festival organisers Emily and Michael Eavis said the money would "make a huge difference in helping to secure our future". Emily told told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the event had "suffered huge losses" in the past year. This is the last major tranche of money to be awarded from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund that was announced last July. In his Budg

One Night Stand - Around 5,000 people spent Saturday night at a gig in Barcelona after receiving negative results in same-day Covid testing. Spanish authorities let the concert, featuring band Love of Lesbian, go ahead as part of a pilot. Fans took a test earlier in the day and did not have to keep physically apart but they still wore masks.
It is one of the largest gatherings in Europe in more than a year since the pandemic began. "This is for one night only, so enjoy it," one of the hosts said before the concert started at Saint Jordi Arena. The gig was held as part of a research project looking at the viability of holding Covid-secure mass events following rapid-testing of guests. It follows a similar experiment in the Netherlands last week, when fans attended a two-day music festival after showing proof of a negative Covid test.
In Barcelona, ticket-holders were on

Glastonbury - Proposals have been submitted for a concert at the Glastonbury festival site this autumn. The news comes after it was announced in January that the festival had been cancelled for a second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic. But festival organiser Emily Eavis said in a post on Instagram that an application has been made to stage a concert at Worthy Farm in September instead.
She wrote: "For those asking for an update on our plans later this year, we have put an application in for a licence for a concert at the farm in September (around the time we'd usually do Pilton Party). Of course, we've no idea yet whether we'll able to do that, but we wanted to get the application in to be in with a chance. Unlikely we'll have any news for a couple of months - but will let you know right here when we do."
On The Strip - Former West End strip cl

USA - The Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative has announced online Mental Health First Aid training will now be available to entertainment industry workers in the U.S at a variety of days and times on an ongoing basis. Mental Health First Aid is a training course that gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem, or experiencing a crisis, and help connect them to the appropriate care.
Mental Health First Aid is an international training programme that was created in Australia in 2000, brought to the U.S in 2008, and is now in 24 countries around the world. Upon completing the course you will become a certified Mental Health First Aider which is valid for three years.
Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of start

UK - This month, two industry collectives have mounted new initiatives to raise awareness of the live industry’s ongoing battle to stay afloat and to raise much needed funds to allow industry charity Backup to continue in its mission to help those in need.
For the whole of the month of March, #WeNeedCrew’s new initiative #moveforcrew is challenging people to walk or run 31 miles in their local area. This is the equivalent of 50 times around the perimeter of Wembley Stadium, which it has chosen as the focal point for the challenge to symbolise how much we are all missing live events and music.
#WeNeedCrew, which was started by Karen Ringland and Alice Martin, knows that treating mental health issues should be even more of a priority now. #moveforcrew’s aim is to raise vital funds to pay for therapy sessions for those in need and connect our community with certifie

UK - The British Standards Institute has published the five-year review of BS 7909, with comments from the public sought until 26 March.
The standard gives recommendations for the management, design, setting-up and operation of temporary electrical systems using low voltage AC electricity, for the entertainment and similar or related industries. It gives guidance on matters of common interest to producers, production companies, event organizers and managers, freelance people, facilities and services hire companies, equipment hire companies, equipment manufacturers, electrical consultants, electrical installation contractors, distributors, suppliers of electricity, venues, local authorities and those responsible for safety.
End-users are encouraged to submit their comments on the proposals during the review period. All comments will be examined by the standard development

UK - Sustainable events agency and consultancy, Legacy Events, is set to launch its new marketplace on 13 April.
Legacy Marketplace’s mission is to connect and empower anyone who wants to "create successful, sustainable events and facilitate a positive change in the world. It will include everything needed for a successful sustainable event, in one place".
According to Legacy, the UK events industry emits 1.2bn kg of CO2e every year. However, events are hugely important for evoking positive behaviour change, with 43.1% of audiences stating that they had changed their behaviour as a result of green initiatives or ideas they had discovered at festivals.
Abena Poku-Awuah, founder and managing director of Legacy comments: “We’re so excited to be launching Legacy Marketplace for the events industry. The platform is a modern way to deliver sustainability without

To Safely Go - Pilots to assess how small and large-scale events can reopen safely are being launched by the government, which is describing the work as “crucial” for getting venues such as theatres reopened in June under the roadmap. The government said it was working with event organisers and local authorities to get “fans safely around a dozen events this spring”, as part of the previously announced Events Research Programme.
The ERP will provide “key scientific data into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen”, the government said, in line with getting venues - including theatres - reopened without social distancing no earlier than 21 June. Major events already lined up for the pilot scheme include the World Snooker Championships, at the Sheffield Crucible, and the FA Cup final at Wembley.
The World Snooker Championships at

UK - Lance Show & Publications Limited, organiser of The Showman’s Show has confirmed that the event will be held at Newbury Showground from 20-21 October 2021. The government setting out a roadmap to steadily ease the current lockdown and a tentative date of 21st June for all restrictions to be lifted has provided a much-needed boost to the outdoor event sector and prompted a string of exhibitor bookings, say the organisers.
Johnny Lance, event director of The Showman’s Show said: “The unveiling of the roadmap was the positive news that we’d all been waiting for. As publishers of the Showman’s Directory, we’ve seen a surge in event organisers getting in touch to confirm dates for their 2021 events and we’ve been busy updating the website. It’s also been wonderful to see so many high-profile events receiving national media coverage as they announce that t

UK - Last year the Light It In Red campaign saw hundreds of venues, workplaces and landmarks light up in ‘emergency red’ to raise awareness for the plight of the live events industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, in a bid to spread a message of hope and support to individuals in the industry, the campaign is asking everyone to get involved with a week-long show of solidarity from 15-19 March.
Individuals and businesses are encouraged to support the campaign not only by illuminating buildings and structures as in previous #LightItInRed actions, but also by sharing the campaign’s heart logo on social media.
A statement from the campaign reads: “We know the past year has been bad, we don’t need reminding! So we’re not going to focus on that. We’re going to focus on you. We want to bring the live events

USA - BriteShot, a vendor of LED lighting solutions for television, film and events, has shifted its manufacturing strategy to help venues re-open safely amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Making the most of its resources during these challenging times, BriteShot is now specialising in coronavirus air filtering and decontamination products.
“At Briteshot, we aim to have our decontamination technology be a factor in helping entertainment venues, restaurants, and more, reopen their doors in a safe and effective way,” says Roy McDonald, co-founder at BriteShot. “It’s been a difficult year within the entertainment space as facilities have been forced to close their doors or reduce capacity, greatly impacting revenue and job security across the board.
“To help ease customers back into business, we dedicated countless hours in production and testing to provide a solutio

Ireland - MTN Shop, an E-commerce platform offering workwear, safety products, and rigging & lifting equipment is following in the steps of some of the world’s largest companies by accepting cryptocurrency as an online payment method. Through Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, customers will now be able to purchase products from MTN Shop with the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.
Speaking on the company’s decision to accept payment via cryptocurrency, Ron Rose, MD, stated, “Creating a crypto friendly shopping experience is just another step forward in catering to the unique needs of our global customer base. At MTN, we pride ourselves on being a first mover and are keen to support the continual progress of the industries we serve as we help bring them into the digital age.
“MTN understands that cryptocurrency is still a relatively unknown method

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