UK - Marking the company's ongoing growth, Symphotech has welcomed four event safety and fire safety professionals as the company looks forward to a busy year.
Chartered safety and health practitioner, Eddy Grant, joins the North West office as a legal and safety consultant. With over 30 years of industry experience, Eddy has worked with the Event Industry Forum and HSE to produce the new Purple Guide and has overseen health and safety on a variety of events including The London 2012 Summer Olympics, the Tour de France 2014, and was employed by Liverpool City Council to deliver the city's 2008 Capital of Culture programme.
Also joining the North West office is Graham Picken as safety consultant. A former member of Merseyside Police, Graham was part of the major events planning team and became lead logistics officer for Aintree Grand National Planning Teams and the lead planner on over 50 events per year.
Joining the team, and heading up the South West office, is Duncan White as lead consultant for event fire and crowd safety. Duncan brings over 30 years of experience as a former fire officer with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service where he was responsible for the event safety management team.
Peter Golding also joins the South West office as fire and event safety consultant. Peter's background is also from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service where his responsibilities included licensing, technical fire safety and building regulation consultations.
Julian Spear, Director of logistics at Symphotech comments, "The entire Symphotech team are gr
UAE - When the touring version of the musical Les Misérables arrived at the newly opened Dubai Opera in November 2016, members of Showforce's experienced team of stage crew and event staff were on-hand to assist. Running from 17 November until 2 December, there were 18 performances in total and as the first show of its kind to be held in the UAE, it was hailed a huge success.
Working directly with the team at Dubai Opera, as part of its on-going contract with the venue, and long-standing client, Sports & Entertainment Solutions, the Showforce team supported the touring production throughout the load in, the three-week run of sell-out performances and subsequent load out.
Initially, a team of 10 crew members was tasked with the unloading of no less than 17 40-foot shipping containers, that had arrived in Dubai from Singapore, the previous stop on the tour. During the second day of the build, the crew were tasked with helping to assemble the large pieces of stage set that were required for all the multiple set changes the show is famous for. In addition, four specialist lighting technicians provided support to the production's touring crew.
Once the run of performances began Showforce provided a team of two follow spot operators, three stage technicians who assisted with all set changes and a hostess who helped to seat Dubai Opera's and Sports & Entertainment Solutions VIP guests. In addition, eight of Showforce's accomplished wardrobe assistants helped the cast with costume changes, which included 392 costumes in total and 1,782 items of clot
Final Curtain - The curtain is coming down on the most celebrated circus in the US, the Greatest Show on Earth, run by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey. After 146 years in the business, the owners said declining tickets sales and high operating costs were to blame. Activists who campaigned for decades against the travelling circus's animal acts welcomed the news.
"After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey will hold its final performances in May," said a statement from Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, the family business which has run the circus since the late 1960s.
Sep Outside Love - A life-size bronze statue of Cilla Black has been unveiled outside Liverpool's Cavern Club as the venue celebrates its 60th anniversary. The club, credited with launching the career of The Beatles, opened its doors on 16 January 1957 as a jazz cellar. Crowds gathered in Mathew Street to see the sculpture which shows a young Cilla performing one of her early songs. The TV celebrity and 1960s singing star, who died in 2015, started work as a cloakroom attendant at the club.
Country File - Kris Kristofferson is to play the Pyramid Stage in Glastonbury this year, according to the singer's official website. A spokesman for Glastonbury said the next official line-up announcement will be in the spring and would not confirm Kristofferson is in fact performing. Kristofferson, one of the most influential country singers of all time, has released 17 albums in
UK - Software provider Stardraw.com has announced 2016 to have been the company's best year ever since its incorporation in 2000. The news follows the announcement last year that 2015 had already been a record year for sales and usage stats of Stardraw.com's award-winning design and documentation software, Stardraw Design 7.2, and 2016 has been better still.
"Obviously, we're delighted," said Stardraw.com CEO, Rob Robinson. "We had already recorded close to 25% growth during 2015, and we were up nearly another 20% again over the course of 2016. Our usage stats bear out the same story with an average of 10,000 sessions per month opened during 2016 which increased to a staggering 15,000 per month in 2016. That we should be enjoying this kind of growth in what has been a precarious year in so many other ways is particularly gratifying.
"There are doubtless a number of factors that explain this positive shift," he continued. "We think that it is due to in part to the increased accessibility of Stardraw Design 7, as well, of course, as the constant improvements, refinements and new features we have been adding over the years. As a result, we have a product that can be fully tailored to our customers' requirements and budget thanks to its modular nature.
"We have also improved accessibility by moving to a new, subscription-based business model which allows customers to pay a small amount monthly rather than a single annual fee. This is a much better solution for cash-flow management and ensures that customers are always enjoying the most up-to-date version of t
USA - Point Source Audio (PSA) an audio equipment manufacturer specializing in the development of miniature microphones and headsets has completed its move into a new corporate headquarters in Petaluma, California. The new office will be just a mile away from the previous location, but is 50 percent larger and offers a more efficient layout to support the company's administrative and operational functions as well as product development, sales and marketing, and assembly staff.
The move comes as a result of the company's "phenomenal growth" attributed to the adoption of its miniature performance microphones and audio headsets. In 2016, the company celebrated its 10th year in business and also received a granted patent for design of the world's first modular in-ear audio headset known as the CM-i3.
It currently has another innovation, the customizable fitted Embrace Microphone, under patent filing. Expanding operations to the new facility with larger warehousing and assembly facilities is in alignment with the company's plans for market growth and new product development.
President of Point Source Audio James Lamb comments, "The expansion of our headquarters is the culmination of an exciting year of breakout products. We are honored to be selected by a long list of distinguished microphone users that include the San Francisco Opera and the Berklee School of Music - it is humbling to be such an integral part of their productions." Lamb further added, "This investment in our infrastructure underscores our commitment to both our customers and our employees."
UK - Award-winning technical event production company Hawthorn has recorded a 25% increase in turnover to £18m in its last financial year (July 2015-June 2016).
Since the acquisition of technical production house Anagram in 2013, the company has embarked upon an ambitious five-year growth plan to increase its turnover from £11.3m to £20m by July 2018. Hawthorn is on track to achieve this in 2017 - its 30th anniversary year - one year ahead of target.
To support this growth, the company has seen a significant investment in its people and training, with a 16% increase in employees, rising from 129 in June 2013 to 162 in June 2016; by 7 December 2016, the employee count had already risen to 187.
Key factors contributing to the company's continued expansion since 2013, says the company, include:
Investment in the in-house sales and marketing team and the launch of a new Hawthorn brand in 2015, which amalgamated the Core Creative, Rex Howard Drapes and Anagram brands under one name: Hawthorn.
Successful development of existing client accounts and new business acquisition across the company's hire, installation & sales and technical event production services.
A £9m investment over three years in new equipment and major warehouse improvements at the company's Leicestershire headquarters.
Significant expansion in equipment supply to the theatre and concert touring markets, with an impressive 433% increase in business.
Emphasis upon nurturing the next generation of technical talent and recruiting the best to the business
Going La La - Hollywood musical La La Land has broken the record for the most Golden Globe Awards, winning seven prizes. It won every award it was nominated for - including best musical or comedy film, best director, screenplay, score and song.
The ceremony featured several references to Mr Trump - not least when Meryl Streep launched an attack on the US President-elect while accepting the Cecil B Demille award for outstanding contribution to entertainment. Streep referred to Trump's mocking of a disabled reporter and said, "Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose." The Golden Globe Awards, which are run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, honour the best in TV and film from the past year.
With or Without You - U2 will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their seminal Joshua Tree album this summer by playing the album in full around the world. The 25 shows include dates in London and at Dublin's Croke Park, where the band played a triumphant homecoming show on the original Joshua Tree tour. Released in 1987, the album included hits such as Where the Streets Have No Name and With or Without You.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, U2 guitarist The Edge said the band had not yet decided how to structure the concerts. "The show might not necessarily start with track one, side one - Where the Streets Have No Name - because we feel like maybe we need to build up to that moment," he said. "So we're still in the middle of
Europe - Intellitix, global RFID cashless payment and access control specialist, has acquired a controlling stake in Netherlands based LOC Pay Systems.
LOC Pay Systems supplied 200 festivals and venues across Europe in 2016 with its token-based payment system and will continue to operate from its head office in Lochem, Netherlands, retaining its 13 full time employees under the management of CEO Roland Wassink.
Intellitix has grown organically to date, aiming to provide cashless RFID environment to 500 events in 2017. The acquisition of LOC Pay Systems, which until 2015 was a division of LOC 7000, marks the first time Intellitix has expanded by acquisition.
Serge Grimaux, Intellitix CEO states, "There is a great synergy between our companies in our approach to delivering the best possible, practicable Access Control and Payment Systems to events. The acquisition of LOC Pay Systems aligns with our core belief that clients' confidence to use new technology is centred around trust and proven track records.
"There is a fantastic team at LOC Pay Systems with a strong reputation based on multiple successes for their clients across the years. They will introduce our RFID technologies to an event or venue when appropriate. Where it can bring benefits to a client we know LOC Pay Systems advice will pave the path for the use of our technologies.
"Bringing the two companies together means that LOC Pay Systems clients will now have access to RFID Cashless technology, while Intellitix's global network of events can draw on the considerable expertise and experi
USA - When ESTA learned it would be losing a long-term source of revenue, the association faced the loss of almost a third of its income in 2017. The immediate impact of this is to endanger the survival of ESTA's ANSI-accredited Technical Standards Program (TSP). The ramifications of this would be enormous to the entertainment technology industry. Upon hearing of the situation, Ford Sellers, senior product manager at Chauvet Lighting, commented, "The work that is done by the TSP is indispensable. It is central to our industry...In fact, it is what makes us an industry, instead of just a bunch of individual projects."
The rallying cry went out from the volunteer leadership of ESTA and members of the Technical Standards Program, "Everyone in the industry benefits from the TSP and everyone needs to step forward and fund this critical program to keep it alive." The standards created under the TSP are used directly or indirectly every day by almost every manufacturer, dealer, installer, production company and end user. These standards prevent accidents, protect lives and property, save time and money, solve problems, and enhance creativity.
The industry is being asked to step up with five-year pledges to ensure the important work of the TSP can continue uninterrupted while ESTA strives to put other sources of funding in place. To date, 51 companies and individuals have stepped forward with pledges totaling roughly $200,000 per year, putting ESTA over halfway towards its goal. The list of companies making the pledge can be seen at tsp.esta.org/pledged_donors. To jo
UK - John Young, former head of technical services at Ambassador Theatre Group, has partnered with Gallowglass Training to produce a 'Top 20' suite of training courses for on-site operational staff.
Taking up the role of head of training at Gallowglass Training, Young has compiled a suite of both statutory and technical skills training courses covering all levels of responsibility - from basic Manual Handling to the flagship IOSH Managing Safely four-day course for managers and supervisors.
A specialist trainer in venue and production management, Young has been leading the advisory group working towards the Creative Venue Technician Trailblazer apprenticeship framework, designed for budding technicians in the live performance and screen industries.
"There's been a surge in demand for training from companies wanting to upskill their people and ensure a safe working environment, which we attribute to tightening legislation and the growing focus on professionalising the industry," said Young.
"Companies can't afford the risk of a big pay-out or a hike in their insurance premium following a major accident," he added, "so maintaining a state of unconscious incompetence is no longer an option."
Gallowglass Training's 'Top 20' course content is largely based on health and safety, designed for the live events, exhibition, theatre and entertainment sectors. Categories include safe use of tools and equipment, first aid and fire safety.
Steve Kearney, managing partner of Gallowglass Training, said, "Aside from the externally-accredited courses, we've ide
Happy New Year - Our normal daily news service will now resume after the Christmas break and we'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all good things for 2017!
Northern Culture - A musical, Humber Bridge, a 14th-Century masterpiece, a circus in a cemetery and the Spiders From Mars will be part of Hull's year as UK City of Culture. The £32m programme will take over streets and venues throughout 2017. Hull will celebrate famous local figures including poet Philip Larkin and director Anthony Minghella. And it will put the spotlight on unsung heroines like 1940s and '50s boxing champion "Battling" Barbara Buttrick and pioneering musician Ethel Leginska.
Hull 2017 director Martin Green said, "Women's stories come through. It has traditionally been a male-dominated city, quite patriarchal. But we have found at every turn new stories about women." Hull City Council leader Councillor Stephen Brady said, "The explosion of culture and regeneration in this city has not been seen since the 1950s."
Vinyl Countdown - Vinyl sales topped three million last year, the highest UK total in 25 years. More than 3.2m records were sold in 2016, a rise of 53% on the previous year, according to the BPI. David Bowie's Blackstar was the most popular album on vinyl, selling more than double the number of copies of 2015's biggest-seller, Adele's 25.
The last time vinyl fared so well in the UK, in 1991, Simply Red's Stars was the year's biggest-selling record. However, vinyl still only accounts for 2.6% of the overall music mark
World - As the LSi office closes for the Christmas break, we would like to wish all our readers a very special holiday and a happy and prosperous 2017. We'll be back with more daily news here at LSIOnline in the New Year, kicking off on 3 January. Until then, have a great time - and thanks for reading . . .
The LSi team.
UK - Current RMS reports having had a "huge year" in 2016, with major feature releases on display at multiple shows in the UK and US, as well as significant team growth, enabling its team to provide more support to customers worldwide.
To end 2016, the company has revealed a brand new feature, ready for users to have a play with over the Christmas holidays . . .Users can now Clone or Copy & Paste Opportunity Groups across different jobs, which is useful when providing kit for a job with multiple rooms or venues. Rather than having to use the Product Picker to select the same item across multiple jobs, users can now select 'copy' next to the item and paste it onto a different job.
Current RMS will be seeing in 2017 with over 2,100 rental experts onboard, across 1,300 cities worldwide. Major feature releases such as; Simultaneous Scan, Organisation Discounts and a new Costing Module and Open API are just a few of the features that have gone live into the system this year, making managing rental processes more streamlined and flexible for all users, the company says.
2017 will see new, highly requested features go live within the system - the result of feedback from its Customer Wishlist - a place where customers can pitch or vote for features they'd most like to see in the system. Keep your eye on the company's What's New page on the website to stay in the loop and if you are intending a visit to PLASA Focus Glasgow in January, be sure to stop by their stand (D18) for an overview.
USA - Bandit Lites once again participated in the Angel Tree Christmas assistance programme. Started in 1975 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Angel Tree began with the simple idea that under privileged children also deserve a visit from Santa Claus. Making their wishes on paper angels that adorn trees in local malls, food stores and businesses, patrons are encouraged to choose a child's wish list and make their Christmas dreams come true.
Bandit's director of philanthropy Allison Burchett, controller Shay Simpson and HR coordinator Cori Link combined their efforts to orchestrate the day of giving across multiple Bandit Lites locations. Bandit provided each team member the opportunity to choose an Angel, where gifts ranged from the practical, such as jackets and shoes, to the ever wished for toys and games. Shop Foreman Erich Hudgens graciously spent the day shuttling groups of Bandits to local stores, allowing everyone to personally pick up the presents for the children.
"To me, the experience is the real treat," said Bandit's chair Michael T. Strickland. "That moment, when you pick an angel, and you see a five-year-old child ask for pyjamas, or pants, or socks, is an eye opener. It brings it all into perspective this time of year.
"These kids should be asking for a nice toy, but they simply need the basic necessities of life that others take as a given. It really touches your heart, and hopefully makes you appreciate what you have while growing your concern for those less fortunate."
Second-hand Probe - Websites that sell second-hand tickets are to be investigated by the competition regulator in the UK. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) probe follows an initial review of the four main secondary ticketing websites - Get Me In, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo - that aimed to ensure they improved the information they provided about tickets on their site.
There are concerns that if information is not clear, people are at risk of being turned away at the doors because of restrictions placed on some resold tickets. The CMA said one website was not fully complying with their undertaking and it was "actively pursuing" it to ensure its obligations are met "in full".
The watchdog said its wider investigation would result in enforcement action if providers fall foul of consumer protection laws in areas such as clear seller information. It was also checking for potential connections between sellers and event organisers. Its decision to investigate followed a report for the Government which called for a crackdown on touts using secondary ticket platforms to bulk buy tickets which were then sold on at inflated prices.
Capital of Culture - A nationwide competition has been launched to find the UK city that will be named European Capital of Culture in 2023. The winning city will benefit from increased investment, the government said, adding that it would lead to new jobs and a boost for the local economy. The UK has hosted the European Capital of Culture twice before - in Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008.
Culture secretary Kar
UK - The contents of the internationally-renowned Fountain Studios in Wembley, north London, will come under the hammer after the recent final of the 2016 X Factor brought the curtain down on 90 years of film and broadcasting history.
The studio has been sold to property developers, and sound and vision equipment, lighting, scenery and memorabilia are all being offered in an online sale between 30 January and 7 February. The sale is being organised by auctioneers Charterfields (www.charterfields.com) and a viewing day is being held on 1 February.
Among the broadcast equipment for sale are Sony HDC cameras, pedestals along with various control units and pan and tilt heads; vision mixers; sound desks and microphones; lighting desks and a large quantity of hoists and pantographs.
In addition, there is also a selection of scenery and drapes, dressing room furniture, a wind machine, a smoke machine and other items associated with a broadcast studio.
Often described as 'the birthplace of TV talent shows' Fountain Studios has produced some of the UK's most popular programmes since the launch of ITV in 1955. This includes TV classics such as On The Buses, Upstairs Downstairs and Opportunity Knocks to modern family favourites Britain's Got Talent, Pop Idol, The Cube, The Voice, All Star Mr & Mrs and The Last Leg. It also hosted the London episode of Friends - 'The One With Ross's Wedding'.
Ian Maycock, director of Charterfields, says: "Fountain Studios is linked with so many iconi
No Surprise - Reports from the US suggest Donald Trump is struggling to find A-list stars to perform at his inauguration. When President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, he was serenaded by Beyonce and Aretha Franklin. During his stay in the White House, he's had audiences with the likes of Rihanna, James Taylor and Kendrick Lamar.
According to US news website The Wrap, Trump's inaugural committee is scrambling to find stars who are willing to play at his swearing in ceremony on 20 January 2017.
"They're calling managers, agents, everyone in town to see who they can get and it's been problematic," an unnamed source told the site. Grammy-winner John Legend, who has been a guest of the Obamas several times, says he is "not surprised at all". "Creative people tend to reject bigotry and hate," he told the BBC. "We tend to be more liberal-minded. When we see somebody that's preaching division and hate and bigotry, it's unlikely he'll get a lot of creative people that want to be associated with him."
That's Life - Contemporary theatre festival Mayfest has been forced to cancel next year's event due to funding issues, and will move to becoming a biennial offering from 2018. Organisers of the annual festival, which takes place in Bristol, said they had not been able to raise the required funding to put on the festival in 2017.
Mayfest is a city-wide festival, with performances in theatres and non-theatre spaces such as the Tobacco Factory Theatres and modern art gallery Arnolfini. The programme runs for 11 days and features international co
UK / Australia - Power distribution specialist, ide Systems, is branching out to Australia with its range of British-made power distribution equipment. The equipment includes distribution units, transfer switches and power cables for sectors that need temporary power such as events and exhibitions, construction, healthcare, industrial and offshore.
The company started the expansion with its recent delivery of an Australian order for a range of bespoke 400A power distribution boards. Ide Systems responded with the prompt delivery of the customised product. The client chose ide Systems specifically because of its high-quality products made in Britain and its reputation across the UK.
The company has adapted many of its electrical products destined for the Australian market, such as using the red, white, dark blue and black colours for power cable insulation. With 22 years of experience, customising and delivering power distribution products, the company is ideally placed for the individual challenges of the worldwide market.
"We knew from our research that the quality and cost of power equipment is a big issue in the Australian market and this is one of the reasons we targeted the country," explained Matt Collins, business development manager at ide Systems. "A lot of the power distribution equipment in Australia comes from one of its nearest manufacturing nations, China, where quality isn't always up to standard.
"Because Australia's electrical standards and principles are very similar to ours here in the UK and because we can match interna
South Africa - DWR is setting up a charity organization aimed at freelancers. When freelancers fall ill, injure themselves or sometimes even pass away, it puts their family under immense pressure.
This charity will hopefully help a few people, on a merit basis, with basic assistance. This can either be in the form of helping to pay for school fees for a few months, maybe cover the rent, or providing grocery hampers. Each case will be submitted to the charity where a board will decide who we can assist and how.
Says DWR, "At the end of each year, DWR Distribution usually take pleasure in giving our clients gifts. This year, instead, we will use the money we would have used to buy presents to kick start the charity. It's something we believe will make a difference to someone who may find themselves in trouble when times are low. DWR will initiate the charity by donating R150 000 to the fund."
"When DiGiCo's Ian Staddon recently visited South Africa, he made us aware of a similar charity that runs in England and which DiGiCo supports," said Duncan Riley of DWR. "The people of South Africa are very generous and I believe we can do something as successful here. For technicians working for a company, there is often medical aid or some form of support. It's so sad to hear when something tragic or unexpected happens to a freelancer and there's no one else to help.
"Exciting events are in the pipeline in the New Year to raise funds for the project. We hope the industry will join in the fun as the charity hosts comedy evenings, go-karting races or golf days."
Diplomatic Spat - South Korean pop stars appear to have become pawns in an escalating diplomatic spat between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an American missile defence system.
Entertainers from the colourful Korean music scene, K-pop, have been mysteriously barred from entering China to perform, Korean TV shows and films have been blocked, and actors replaced by Chinese stars in advertising campaigns, say local press reports.
Wembley Bound - Adele has added two further dates at Wembley Stadium next year, after the initial concerts sold out. Dubbed The Finale, the four shows will see her play to more than 300,000 fans as she wraps up her world tour. The new shows will be on 28 June and 2 July, 2017, with tickets on sale from 7 December to members of her fan club.
Take That hold the record for playing the most dates at Wembley, having staged eight nights of their Progress tour there in 2011. The previous record holder was Michael Jackson, who brought his Bad tour to the stadium five times in 1988.
Artists' Rights - Duran Duran have said they are "outraged and saddened" at losing a High Court fight to reclaim US rights to some of their most famous songs. "We are shocked that English contract law is being used to overturn artists' rights in another territory," said founder member Nick Rhodes. The group had argued that US copyright laws gave them the right to call for a reversion of copyright after 35 years. Girls on Film, Rio and A View to a Kill were among the disputed tracks.
Late News - David Bow
South Africa - DWR Distribution has announced the appointment of Annalise Hodgson who will lend a helping hand to Duncan Riley as a much-needed assistant.
Annalise previously worked at sound company Tadco before joining Christie Digital Systems as office manager. Her joined DWR Distribution at the start of December. "It's a great team and I will find my feet, once I've done the filing," she says. "I am so excited to be here."
Duncan Riley adds, "It's an honour and a privilege to have Annalise as part of our team. I wish her many happy years. I'm hoping that her input will mean I can spend more time with my family."
UK - EnTEEtainment's Dick Tee received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Festivals at the UK Festival Awards, London, 28 November 2016.
Over 600 festival professionals headed to The Roundhouse to celebrate the hard work, vision and creativity of the UK festival industry in an award ceremony hosted by DJ and music journalist, Mary Anne Hobbs. Dick Tee was honoured with
The Outstanding Contribution Award which was presented to him by Greenpeace's Bob Wilson, Dick's first client, who said, "This award recognises Dick's consistent high levels of production management across a career spanning three and a half decades in the live events industry. Anyone who has worked with him will recognise he has never been one to rest on his laurels. By always striving for new and better ways to do things, Dick has been bold in introducing a variety of production innovations which have changed the industry for the better."
In his 35-year career, Dick has worked at over 200 festivals, most notably Glastonbury and Reading. On receiving the award he "thanked the members of his family, staff, and numerous suppliers who had contributed to building and managing the sites, stage builds and ensuring 1,000s of band's production deliver performances on the day to entertain over seven million people."
UAE - Event technical production specialist Maestra Dubai has added two new key management personnel - Richard Kleinsmit, who will be looking after operations and Patrick Maxwell who is in charge of the new warehouse, with both an integral part of the team led by managing partner Tom Clements.
The appointments happen simultaneously to the company's move to new premises which more than doubles Maestra Dubai's warehouse facility.
"I'm very excited to welcome two people of Richard and Patrick's calibre on-board at the same time," comments Tom Clements. "They both bring a huge amount of experience and some great personality attributes to our team. They share and appreciate our core values and I look forward to a very positive and productive working relationship going forward."
Richard comes from Cape Town in South Africa where he gained extensive knowledge in the event and brand activation world through freelancing and then owning and running his own successful company LymeLyte Events. He came to Dubai seeking new horizons three years ago.
Immediately before joining Maestra, Patrick worked as a Service Manager for PRG-Gearhouse, so he is well acquainted with a busy and fast-moving technically advanced workspace - and is calm under pressure.
"The new warehouse and these two appointments will help us continue delivering the optimum end-product to clients," concludes Tom.
Trumped - Sir Elton John will not perform at Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, a spokeswoman for the singer has said. Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump's transition team, had told BBC HARDtalk that Sir Elton would perform in Washington DC in January. "Elton John is going to be doing our concert on the mall for the inauguration," Mr Scaramucci said. But this was "categorically denied" by Sir Elton's representative in London. "There is no truth in this at all," she told BBC News.
During the election campaign, Sir Elton had expressed support for Mr Trump's opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Performing at a fundraising event for Mrs Clinton in Los Angeles in October, he was reported to have told the crowd, "We need a humanitarian in the White House, not a barbarian."
Mr Trump had used Sir Elton's songs Rocket Man and Tiny Dancer - without the singer's endorsement - at his campaign rallies.
The Road to Wembley - Adele has announced two dates at Wembley Stadium next summer to round off her multi-million pound world tour. The singer announced the concerts in an Instagram video, where she sang football anthem Three Lions as well as the Match of the Day theme song.
Dubbed The Finale, the performances will see her play to more than 150,000 fans on 29 June and 1 July 2017. Wembley Stadium has not announced any other events planned for that week, raising the prospect that Adele may add further concerts if demand is high enough. Launching in Belfast on Leap Day, Adele's first world tour has