UK - Midas’ generators beat the Beast from the East to power London Marathon Events’ Vitality Big Festival in Greenwich Park on 4 March (Sunday), across the finish line from the inaugural Big Half, which Mo Farah won in 61’ 40’’.
11,000 amateur runners, many from host boroughs Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich, followed the elite athletes’ race along the 13.1-mile route from Tower Bridge, the majority joining friends, family and supporters at the festival afterwards.
Event management specialist Relevent commissioned six Midas sets for the contract, providing for stage production, the sponsors’ area, including a New Balance shop and a fitness centre, a run of street stalls and the production village.
James Hodgson, director at Relevent, comments: “We have worked with Midas for a good many years. It’s an independent company that I’m absolutely confident about. The machines are very good, and reliable, and the Midas team is friendly and ready to dig in and help as required.”
The Big Festival build had to deal with about three inches of snow, sweeping the site to find the Royal Parks’ pre-requisite trackway for plant and vehicles.
Hugh Brasher, the event director, who completed the run himself, said: “When we launched the Vitality Big Half, we set ourselves a target of making it the first mass participation event that truly reflects London’s unique diversity while also bringing together the best athletes in the world. We said we wanted an event that was truly global and uniquely local and we ach
UK - Broadcast and event lighting specialists Version 2 has continued its investment into its power distribution equipment offerings. The company offers state-of-the-art monitoring utilising its propriety SMARTdistro technology.
The company once again turned to its manufacturing partners SES Entertainment Services who have built the companies entire distribution inventory since its inception. The design process was led by Sam Crook, Version 2’s technical director who collaborated with SES managing director Mark Cooper on the specification of the latest units.
SES’s Mark Cooper comments: “SES love working with companies like Version 2; they come to us with a clear outline of what they want both technically and physically, but still allow us to build their units to meet our exacting standards.”
Sam Crook of Version 2 concludes: ‘’This significant investment was driven by high customer demand and positive feedback. The new distribution units sit well alongside our exciting stock and now offer a complete end to end solution, helping customers provide safe electrical systems in line with BS7909.”
The company has simultaneously added rentable Earthing Kits to their inventory. The kits enable the rapid deployment of protective bonding for studio and location systems.
Elf on Tour - An arena version of the West End musical Elf will tour the UK this Christmas, it has been announced. The musical, which is based on the Will Ferrell film of the same name, will feature Martine McCutcheon and David Essex, and Tam Ryan in the lead role of Buddy. The company also includes Louise English and a cast of more than 70 performers.
The show previously ran in the West End in 2015 as well as on tour in 2017. It was also filmed and shown on Channel 5 over Christmas. The tour will visit Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena from 14-16 December, before visiting the Genting Arena in Birmingham from 20-24 December and Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena from 28-30 December.
The original staging will be upscaled to include giant screens showing computer graphic backdrops and live action close-ups. It will be presented on a 70ft stage with scenes taking place around and above the audience.
Olivier Awards - Catherine Tate has been announced as the host of this year’s Olivier Awards. The actor and comedian will present the awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 8 April.
Tate said she was delighted to be hosting the Oliviers, which are in their 42nd year, adding: “Theatre has always been a big love of mine both as a performer and as an audience member. For me it’s the shared experience that can’t be beaten. There is so much to celebrate within the UK theatre scene and it’s my pleasure to be involved in this exciting and inspiring event.”
This year will also see the premiere of a new four-part series a
UK - Theatre design associations and trade unions have formed a working group to address workplace issues affecting professional lighting designers.
The Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) and the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) have for the first time joined forces with Equity and BECTU to “evaluate and unpack the complex nature of current working terms and conditions for designers” and address fair pay, career paths, workplace abuse, harassment and bullying.
The aim is to “work towards fair, clear and robust models of engagement”, increase diversity and ensure transparent career paths and address concerns about fees and contracts “within the wider context of fear, bullying and harassment that we are now beginning to evidence has been endemic across the whole of our industry”.
In a joint statement, the organisations say: “If a profession is perceived as one in which its members are afraid to speak out for fear of not being engaged to work again, then acting together now to do something about that is vital, both for those struggling to sustain a career as a designer now at every level of the profession, and for the diverse and resilient workforce of the future that we aspire to enable.”
Ian Saunders, executive director of the ALD, comments: “For a number of years, the ALD and its members have been concerned that the Equity minimum fees for lighting designers do not reflect the modern-day role of the lighting designer in the UK theatre production process.
“The current agreements are still predicated on
Northern Lights - The Kaiser Chiefs, Postman Pat and Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid are all on the line-up for the Great Exhibition of the North, which will take place this summer. The 11-week festival will celebrate "great art, culture, design and innovation from the north of England". Staged in Newcastle and Gateshead, it will be paid for with £5m from the government's Northern Powerhouse fund. After the opening ceremony on 22 June, the event will run until 9 September.
It will begin with performances by the Kaiser Chiefs and poet Lemn Sissay and will feature what's said to be the UK's largest water sculpture - an 80m-long fountain - on the River Tyne. On the opening weekend, members of the public will be invited to join in with wandering groups of dancers, while three choirs will make their way through the cities. John Lennon's last piano and the original Postman Pat models will be part of an exhibition of northern cultural creations at the Great North Museum.
Rolled Gold - The Rolling Stones have scheduled their first UK tour since 2006. The band will play five stadium dates as part of their No Filter tour this May and June. "It's such a joy to play with this band," said Keith Richards. "We're only just getting started really." The band last played the UK five years ago, with headline performances at Glastonbury and the BST Festival, but they haven't toured here for 12 years.
The group kick off the European leg of their tour at Dublin's Croke Park on 17 May, before playing the London Stadium on 22 May. Other dates inclu
South Africa - The Ultra South Africa music festival took place in February over two legs, visiting the Cape Town Stadium on 9 February and the Expo Centre in Nasrec, Johannesburg on 10 February.
Supplying the full technical for the Ultra events, Gearhouse Group was going into the production raincoats. For the Johannesburg leg of the tour, Gearhouse invested in 128 Selbyguard Rainroof covers and bases, along with 12 Selbyguard Air Domes from DWR Distribution. To transport these items, a further 11 Dolly Rainroofs and 2 Dolly Airdomes were bought.
The Gearhouse team was spot on in its predictions about the rain and utilised 128 bases with Rainroof covers (64 medium and 64 extra-large) and the preplanning really paid off - in JHB not a single fixture went down this year.
Setting up the Selbyguard covers is simple and is really like rigging a standard moving light. First to be rigged is a base plate, followed by the lighting fixture, and then the actual cover is attached to the base with velcro. A real bonus is that doesn’t affect the look, especially on evening events.
Plastic Ban - Plastic bottles could be banned from next year's Glastonbury Festival, organiser Emily Eavis has said. Ms Eavis, the daughter of founder Michael Eavis, told Radio 6 Music the ban was "the big project" for 2019. A Glastonbury spokesman confirmed the plans were in the pipeline but said it was "a bit early to put any flesh on the bones" regarding details. He said: "It's a massive thing which everyone at the festival is working on."
The festival, held in Pilton, Somerset, since 1970, is having a fallow year in 2018 to allow the ground to recover. It is due to return in 2019. At the NME music awards in London on Tuesday, Ms Eavis told BBC 6 Music: "There's lots going on at the moment. We're working on banning plastic bottles... which is an enormous project and it's taking a lot of time to tackle it with all the different people we work with.”
When asked how the line-up was shaping up for the next festival, she said: "Everyone wants to play the 50th anniversary in two years’ time."
Live Music Census - Research from a UK live music census has found that small venues are under threat from business rates and property development. One third of nearly 200 venues surveyed claimed that business rate rises were having a negative impact. The census also found that one in three small live music venues are experiencing problems with property development and noise complaints.
The research, by the Universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Turku in Finland, was carried out in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle-Gateshead, Oxfor
South Africa - The South African entertainment industry bid farewell to Peter Anthony Crowther, a popular Durban-based electrician, who has passed away. Messages on Facebook poured in as tributes were made to a ‘very special and caring gentleman’.
“The news came as a shock to the entertainment industry, losing a friend, a colleague and good drinking buddy,” says Nicholas Barnes from DWR Distribution. “Peter was always there to help when help was needed and will be missed by friends, colleagues and family. So, here's to Pete, may you rest peacefully bud!”
DWR Distribution’s SOS Charity fund joined hands with the industry to contribute to Peter’s funeral cost. A celebration of his life was held on Friday, 16 February at the Slip Inn, which was Pete’s local for the past 17 years.
UK - Hearing loop system providers Ampetronic has recently announced a new partnership with Trinity fire and security systems.
An independent fire and security services company, Trinity has 10 regional offices around the UK and has been trading since 1997.
Founded in 1987, Ampetronic offers a full range of induction loop and hearing loop systems and technologies. By working together, Ampetronic and Trinity can install and fulfil multiple customer requirements with minimal disruption and downtime.
Cast Adrift - Cultural leaders have advocated for a special visa for performers and other creatives after Brexit, warning that Britain will be “cast adrift” if a solution that protects the arts is not found. Speaking at a House of Lords committee session, Andrew Hurst, chief executive of dance body One Dance UK, and the Musicians’ Union’s general secretary Horace Trubridge both argued that special immigration measures needed to be considered for cultural workers in the Brexit process due to the industry’s unique working patterns
These include touring to multiple countries, short-term contracts and the need to access talent at short notice. Trubridge said: “We feel that cultural and creative workers should be seen as a very distinct, atypical workforce who need special treatment post-Brexit. We would like to see a Europe-wide visa they could use to enable them to tour as efficiently as they do now.” He added that UK-based musicians had already started moving to Europe because they were worried about future work prospects.
Just 2% of musicians polled by the MU said they thought Brexit would be good for the music industry, Trubridge said, adding that he found it “very difficult to see any kind of up-side for the music industry”.
Adapting Dahl - The company that manages the licensing rights of Roald Dahl’s works is moving into theatre production and is appointing an executive producer to facilitate its plans. The Roald Dahl Story Company currently licenses Dahl’s work to organisations wishing to adapt his stories into telev
South Africa - UK based Phase 3 Connectors has officially appointed DWR Distribution as its South African agent.
Said Robert Izzett, head of sales at DWR, “While we’ve been selling Phase 3 items for a number of years, we were recently appointed the authorized distributors in SA. Phase 3 Connectors need little introduction. The products are outstanding, designed, manufactured and assembled in the UK. These products are the unsung heroes at events.”
Phase 3’s Power Connectors product range includes standard and special application, harsh environment connectors for power, signal, optical and data transmission. In addition, Phase 3 offers complete interconnect system solutions, including cabling and distribution equipment.
UK - TSG and sister brand Definitive Security have won Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) accreditation, the set of standards overseen by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
Independently monitored, the ACS endorsement process examines how well an organisation is managed, how effectively it services its customers and how well it treats its employees.
Companies are judged across nine categories including strategy, commercial relationship management, resources, people and leadership.
A spokesperson for the SIA comments: “Approved contractors are committed to customer service and the compulsory licensing of their staff. This means their customers can rest assured that every private security operative deployed on their premises will be working within the law.”
TSG managing director, David Boswell, says: “It is a great feeling to achieve Approved Contractor status. It allows us to engage prospects which might otherwise have been unable to consider deploying our resources. Now, any organisation that wants to can bring our solutions into their security and safety plans.”
Celtic Connections - The festival drew to a close on Sunday night with record audience figures during its 18-day programme. The traditional music festival celebrated 25 years with 130,000 people attending more than 350 events. Venues across Glasgow welcomed more than 2,300 artists from over 30 countries on 28 stages.
Entertainment included a mixture of concerts, talks, workshops, film screenings, ceilidhs, art exhibitions, free events and late-night sessions. Councillor David McDonald, chairman of event organisers Glasgow Life, said, "There is nothing that compares to Celtic Connections and it is a huge part of our year-round cultural calendar, providing much needed entertainment and economic cheer to the city during the darkest winter months. Our first 25 years have seen the festival grow into a world-beater and I can't wait to see what is to come as we move forward with the city's musical ambitions."
Half-time Show - Justin Timberlake paid tribute to Prince and took selfies with fans during his Super Bowl half-time show. The singer performed I Would Die 4 U during a hit-packed, 12-minute set in Minneapolis - Prince's home town.
Timberlake also ran into the crowd to dance and pose for photos, in an unfailingly energetic appearance. And he tacitly acknowledged his last Super Bowl performance in 2004, which ended with Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction". On that occasion, he ripped a panel off Jackson's bodice, revealing her right breast as he sang the lyric "gonna have you naked by the end of this song". When he reached tha
UK - Cardiff-based events services provider, 11th Hour continues to expand its team. Rising demand for its wide-ranging services has seen the company appoint a number of experienced professionals to key positions, to keep pace with continuing growth.
Simon Baker brings 30 years of sales and hire experience in the technical services sector to his role as 11th Hour’s warehouse manager and new administration assistant, Rachel Burbidge, adds the skills developed during 15 years in the areas of construction, insurance and health.
11th Hour director John Davies comments, “Last year saw us significantly increase the size of our team and our investment in equipment. Events such as the visit of The UEFA Champions League to Cardiff, demonstrated our capacity to provide services on a large scale and for very diverse requirements. It’s essential that we have the expertise, commitment and energy to deal with every demand that come our way.”
USA - The celebrated home of the champion Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks now features a 190,000 sq.ft addition with power distribution and trussing installed by Upstaging. Opened to the public last fall, the new atrium features the stadium’s box office as well as an expansive team store, dining options, business offices, and the eternally popular Michael Jordan statue, now indoors and artfully lit. Six-circuit power for the addition’s creative lighting includes nearly 3,000ft of white ProMolded 12/14 multicable assemblies.
“For this job, the ProMolded overmold assemblies were perfect for several reasons,” says Upstaging’s Steve Wojda. “First, everything had to be white and ProMolded 12/14 cable assemblies are available in a variety of custom colours. Second, in order to pass municipal codes, the 19-pin connectors must be tamper-proof and the entire assemblies must be Listed.
“Finally, our confidence in TMB Pro Cables assemblies, connectors, and cables is borne out by experience. We’ve used ProCable multicables since their introduction almost 30 years ago. We maintain a large inventory and use them time and again, year after year.”
Located in Sycamore, Illinois, Upstaging is a recognised innovator in event production, signage and graphics, and custom displays. From concept to production, Upstaging’s experienced staff tailors and fabricates all their designs to the customer’s unique requirements. Steve Wojda was the project manager for the United Centre installation.
Farewell Yellow Brick Road - Sir Elton John has declared he wants to "go out with a bang" as he revealed plans for a final world tour. The 70-year-old British musician - who has been touring for nearly 50 years - said he will no longer perform live following his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which is due to start in September. Announcing his retirement plans, the singer said his "priorities have changed" as he and husband David Furnish care for their two sons
Sir Elton said the mammoth 300-date tour was a chance "to say thank you to all my fans around the world and then to say goodbye." He added, "I have had a good run and I want to go out with a bang."
Grammy Awards - Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar stole the show, and most of the awards, at the 2018 Grammys. Mars provided the night's big upset, taking the album of the year trophy that most critics assumed would go to Lamar's Damn. Alessia Cara won best new artist - making her the only female artist to win a major prize. Stars like Lady Gaga, Kesha, Lorde and SZA were overlooked, with only 17 awards (out of a total of 86) going to women or female-fronted bands.
Eurovision Hopefuls - The six acts and songs that will battle for the honour of representing the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Portugal have been unveiled. They include two former contestants on The Voice UK, a 16-year-old Britain's Got Talentfinalist and a two-time Eurovision backing singer. All will perform live on 7 February in Eurovision: You Decide, where one will be chos
UK - Formed only in 2015, The Hunna, a four-piece English rock band, kicked off 2018 by performing six back-to-back gigs in UK O2 Academy venues in early January.
Travelling with them was lighting designer, Tom Campbell, who chose MDG’s ICE FOG Compack low fog generator and an ATMe haze generator to provide the band with the right mix of atmospheric effects to guarantee they, and his lighting, would be seen to best advantage.
“Showcasing the lighting was especially important for this tour as the structure of the design forms the majority of the set,” says Campbell. “The backbone of the show design is centred around 108 lasers which are located on side towers. I use these to create various worlds, shapes and looks for the band to perform in, so I needed a hazer I could really rely on that would deliver a fine even haze day after day. MDG’s ATMe is ideal as it produces a haze that is very controllable, and so fine it never obscures what the lighting is doing.”
Campbell has worked as freelance lighting designer for ten years, starting out in theatre before moving to live music and lighting the likes of Zeds Dead and Bullet for My Valentine amongst many others. In 2015 he received a Knight of Illumination Award in the Club Category for his design for Anna Calvi and The London Heritage Orchestra. He joined Mirrad, a collective of like-minded designers, in September 2017.
Both MDG’s ICE FOG Compack and ATMe haze generator were supplied by London-based Colour Sound Experiment, under the project management of Alex Ryan, as part of the fu
UK - Ron Bonner, who has worked for PLASA for over 17 years, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of February.
Bonner has been an integral part of PLASA’s technical standards and resources department since early 2001, and has made a huge contribution to standards writing for the entertainment industry, both in the UK and internationally.
Under Bonner’s leadership, PLASA has instigated a wide range of standards which have contributed hugely to the safety of the industry.
Notable projects include the development of the European voluntary agreement for stage engineering that will shortly be converted to the first ever European stage engineering standard. He also led the way in guiding PLASA members on administrative compliance requirements for newly introduced European environmental legislation.
Bonner was instrumental in the creation of the electrical safety chapter of the Event Safety Guide and in creating new laser safety guidance for the industry when HSG95 was withdrawn by the Health and Safety Executive. He was also the sole driving force for a European engineering standard which ultimately led to the creation of a new Technical Standards Committee for the EU entertainment industry at CEN in Brussels.
Bonner has represented PLASA on a number of committees and was a founding member of the British Entertainment Industry Radio Group (BEIRG). Additionally, he worked closely with PLASA’s Skills department and assisted in the development of the National Rigging Certificate.
PLASA will continue to invest in
Poland - A new automatic rental platform for the video, audio, lighting and rigging sectors has just been launched.
This fully integrated system has just been established by ARAM, a member of PRG Alliance. Using the platform, companies who provide event production services can select the equipment they want to rent with a single click and send a request that will be automatically decoded by the A-RENTAL warehouse system. Then, after checking if the items are available and awarding the discount, the ARAM employee responsible for the rental process can quickly and easily send the relevant quote.
Apart from making the quoting process faster, this solution is designed to show the event industry the tremendous amount of equipment ARAM has at its disposal.
“Many of our customers are unaware of the number of items we have in stock, and they frequently happen to need another converter, remote control for a presentation or a non-standard mixer. We wanted to create a solution that would be fully integrated with our warehouse rather than a separate portal,” says Rafał Mrzygłocki.
The platform is designed only for registered partners; technical companies can now send requests at www.a-rental.pl and, after verification, they will be given access to all functions and prices at the website.
Keeping Music Live - The music industry is hailing a major victory after ministers vowed to change planning rules in England to protect venues from complaints about noise. Stars including Sir Paul McCartney warned venues forced to pay for soundproofing neighbouring properties could be driven out of business.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the rule, which applies to new housing schemes, was an "unfair burden". And he said the government would "right this wrong". Developers will now have to address noise issues if they opt to build homes near a long-established venue.
Industry bodies have said that under current laws, venues are facing "an avalanche of cases" in which residents of new developments were complaining about noise pollution after moving in. The Music Venue Trust said some venues, as well as other community and cultural organisations, were at risk of closure as a result of what it said was a legal anomaly allowing people to move next door to a premises and demand that noise generated by it be stopped. The problem, it has warned, was not confined to music, with complaints being made about the ringing of church bells as well as about noise emanating from speedway stadiums and even farms.
In response to a long campaign by the industry - backed by a cross-party group of MPs - ministers have agreed to reflect what is known as the Agent of Change of Principle in the National Planning Policy Framework - with which developers in England must comply. In future, if developers are given permission to build near an existing premises, the
Europe - Cross 3 is a new high-performance cable protection product launched by Penn Elcom. Described as tough, durable and fire-retardant, the product is suitable for festivals, concerts, shows, events or exhibitions.
Cross 3, the first product in this new series, was revealed to the public earlier this week at the CUE 2018 expo in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It’s a three channel ‘crossover’ product manufactured from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), chosen for its strength, high resistance to abrasion, flexibility and recyclability.
All elements of the Cross 3 product - top and base - are fire retardant and compliant to DIN EN 13501-1.
Penn Elcom has been developing Cross 3 over the last year based on extensive research and communication related to event industry demands for portable cable protection.
Actor-Musicianship - Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance is to launch a master’s in actor-musicianship. It will be rolled out in October this year and will add to the school’s existing BA (hons) in actor-musicianship. The drama school claims the course is the first of its kind in the world. It is being designed by Jeremy Harrison, author of the book Actor-Musicianship.
Following an initial year, the students will have the opportunity to progress to a master of fine arts qualification. This will be followed by an optional second year of study. “With actor-musicianship very much part of the established theatre scene, in the UK and America, it’s a natural step for professional theatre makers. They will see an intensive and in-depth exploration of how musical and acting processes can interrelate and feed each other,” Harrison said. Rose Bruford is holding information days about the course on 20 February and 6 March.
Fame on the Road - Fame – The Musical has announced a 30th anniversary UK tour. After opening at the Manchester Palace Theatre on 26 July, Fame will visit locations including Glasgow, Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield and Birmingham. The tour runs until February 2019, with the final date at the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury. Fame the Musical has seen seven West End runs since opening in Miami 1988.
Brit Award Nominees - Dua Lipa, the breakthrough pop star who scored a huge summer hit with New Rules, has earned the most nominations at the 2018 Brit awards – even beating Ed Sheera
Europe - In response to the news that the EU is once again contemplating banning the use of tungsten halogen light bulbs in entertainment lighting, the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) is co-ordinating a high-speed effort to gather reasons as to why this ban should not move forward, particularly from those who would be materially affected by such a ban, in time to create a formal response before the end of the proposal’s consultation period on 26th January 2018.
“The ban is not strictly new,” notes acclaimed, award-winning lighting designer Michael Hulls, who is leading the effort as a continuation of his earlier ‘Save Tungsten’ campaign. “The EU has been moving towards banning the use of all tungsten light sources for some years. However, theatre lighting has, until now, had an exemption from this ban. This exemption is what the EU is now proposing to end. Were that to happen, it would mean that by 2020 we would no longer be able to obtain bulbs to keep our stocks of familiar, reliable tungsten theatre lighting fixtures, from the Source Four all the way back to the Patt 23, working.”
“What the EU are proposing is a ban on ‘placing in the market,” notes architectural lighting design Kevan Shaw, who has been involved with these regulations for some years, keeping an eye out on behalf of the theatrical as well as the architectural lighting community. “The intent is that product in the supply chain can be sold, but that no new product can be manufactured or imported, and new product cannot legitimately be CE Marked, which can pre
South Africa - Staging and set company Dream Sets has purchased the Vectorworks 2018 design software from DWR Distribution.
Mauritz Jacobs, lighting designer at Dream Sets, reports: “As a lighting designer, I have been using Vectorworks since 2014. Vectorworks has all the needed built-in features that I need to create and manipulate plans from start to finish (set and technical wise).”
Jacobs continues: “As you know, our industry is very fast-paced and time is not always on our side. With the new Vectorworks 2018 they have really gone out of their way to make it as easy and quick as possible to get designs out in limited time. Once you know your way around it, it’s easy to do large designs in a limited time period. Also, the set side of the programme has many new features like the event design which speeds designing up on another level.”