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.”
USA - Dreamforce, Salesforce's tech conference that recently drew more than 170,000 people to San Francisco, took place on 6-9 November at the Moscone North, South and West.
The scope of the event – of which many parts were recorded, live-streamed, and broadcast – necessitated the use of a tremendous amount of wireless equipment including microphones, IEMs, IFBs, and wireless intercom.
The conference planners called on Orlando-based Professional Wireless Systems (PWS) to provide wireless frequency coordination for the multi-day event. This year there were six film crews covering the convention centre halls and other buildings in addition to all the wireless RF devices that were in use for each show segment in the Moscone Centre and hotels.
“We decided to coordinate the film crews first, since they would be roaming throughout every room and building, and then coordinate everything else around them,” explains Gary Trenda, PWS lead frequency coordinator for the event. “Anyone who wanted to use wireless devices had to clear their frequencies through us. We had nine coordinators on site for 10 days. This was a large-scale coordination effort – exactly what Professional Wireless excels at.”
San Francisco has 23 TV stations broadcasting in the downtown area, making available RF bandwidth very limited, especially given the large number of wireless frequencies required for an event of this type. Some of the halls had three different floors, with multiple systems set up on each floor. Trenda’s team coordinated over 200 frequencies for
USA - Lighting designer Herrick Goldman, principal of HG Lighting Design, announced last summer that he would be donating a portion of his design fees throughout the year to Behind the Scenes and he recently presented his first cheque to the charity.
HG Lighting Design is the first firm to make an ongoing pledge of a portion of design fees to the charity and Behind the Scenes applauds Herrick for his leadership. HG Lighting Design provides lighting services for a wide variety of markets including theatre, dance, and corporate events, as well as for permanent installations and museums.
Herrick Goldman stated, “HG Lighting Design is thrilled to be a Behind the Scenes Pledge-a-Service Partner and we are proud to be the first design team to do so. We hope that many other designers will choose to join us in this worthy cause. As HGLD grows and adds team members and collaborators we expect our contributions to grow as well. BTS is more important than ever in these times of uncertainty in the ‘gig industry’, supporting our brothers and sisters in all disciplines is a mandate we must embrace.”
Dawn Chiang, a BTS Foundation Board member, commented, “Herrick sets an exemplary precedent by creating an ongoing donation to the Behind the Scenes charity through his design work. He demonstrates that each individual has the capacity to make a difference in supporting their fellow professionals in need.”
For more information about Behind the Scenes, to donate, or to apply for a grant, visit www.behindthescenescharity.org
China - Legally Blonde - The Musical opened in December to glowing reviews in Shanghai’s Culture Square Theatre at the start of its China National tour. From China it will move to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre in May, before returning to the USA in October 2018. Produced by Big League and directed by Jeff Moss, with choreography by Grinch veteran, Bob Richard, Legally Blonde the Musical is a celebration of pop culture.
Responsible for the smooth running of the technology on tour is the team from Intelligent Lighting Services (ILS), led by lighting engineer and company founder, Paul Gould. As part of the tour’s lighting inventory Gould’s team supplied two MDG ATMe haze generators to provide the haze with which to show off Kirk Bookman’s fun and vibrant lighting design.
The two ATMe units were purchased specifically for the tour, but Gould admits, “they have been on our wish list for some time, so when this tour came about we knew it was time to make the investment.”
ILS’s choice was based on sound reasoning: “We have always been impressed with MDG’s haze quality particularly when we have lit shows at Niagara Falls View Casino, as well as at various arena shows,” says Gould. “The evenness of the haze is second to none in my opinion.
“With our tours taking place across many of the largest theatres across China, and with the strong air handling systems that exist in many of these venues, we need a haze generator that can fight the often too-powerful AC systems and be able to give us that fine,
UK - The Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) announced the winners of its Michael Northen Award at the Annual Lighting Lunch on 18 December 2017 in London.
The Michael Northen Award is supported by a further two awards: the Francis Reid Award and the ETC Lighting Award; and is awarded annually to students studying in the UK, who have demonstrated strong, imaginative and creative lighting design.
Underlining its commitment to the nurturing of new talent in lighting design, the ALD placed the organisation and management of this year’s award into the hands of those closest to its effect; the ALD Student Committee. Head of the committee, Rory Beaton explains, “We have taken some time this year to implement improvements to the structure and processes of the award. As an example, to ensure greater consistency in the marking of the award we created more judges this year, all marking separately, to a standardised set of criteria.”
The broader judging panel is comprised of ALD-member lighting designers, as well as programmers and technicians, video designers and Industry professionals from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds.
Incoming chair of the ALD, Johanna Town, presented The Michael Northen Bursary to Jack Coleman (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) who demonstrated a collaborative approach to design using WYSIWYG to communicate his ideas well. His ‘arresting and atmospheric’ lighting design was the result of detailed research.
The Francis Reid Award went to finalist Jess Bernberg (Guildhall School of Mus
PLASA has announced changes to its elected board including the appointment of Adam Blaxill as the new chair.
Blaxill joined the PLASA Board as the Professional Services Representative in 2012 and was elected as vice-chair in 2014. He has been voted as the new chair of PLASA through a simple majority vote.
Blaxill takes over from Ed Pagett who has served as chair for an extended seven years. During this time Pagett oversaw the de-merger with ESTA with the support of an executive committee which included Blaxill as vice-chair and Martin Hawthorn as treasurer. This valuable work enabled the survival and growth of PLASA.
Pagett will continue to serve as a non-executive director, contributing his extensive knowledge and expertise to advise and support the association as it continues its work in the industry.
As a director of Stage Electrics - one of the UK’s leading integrators and suppliers for entertainment technology - Blaxill’s far-reaching expertise includes hire, sales, events, and installation, as well as testing and servicing operations at regional and national levels.
Peter Heath, managing director of PLASA, says: “We are very much looking forward to having Adam as our Chair and have faith in his knowledge and guidance. I would like to extend my thanks to Ed, who has been an extremely valuable Chair since 2011 - we are delighted he will continue to work with us in his new role as non-executive director.
“PLASA has gone from strength to strength in recent years. We have made internal changes to ensure teams are all working fr