General News

Stage Electrics Auction
Tuesday, 7 March 2000

Stage Electrics are holding another sale on 1st April 2000. The Auction is being held near the company's Birmingham branch in Smethwick (one minute from Junction 1 off the M5). Lots will include Strand spotlights, including Brio, Prelude, Optique and Cantata. Follow spots, Martin Roboscans, smoke machines, radio mics, LCD video projector, Spirit Soundmixer, flight cases, trussing and corners and much more. Auction catalogues can be obtained by faxing 0121 525 2413 or emailing Catalogues will be mailed out after the 20 th March.

Avolites New Building
Monday, 6 March 2000

Avolites is expanding into a new 500sq.m building in the same street. The move has become necessary because of the success of the ART dimming range, and the new premises are custom-designed to accommodate ART dimmer production. Recent sales include those to Skyscape at The Dome, The Royal Festival Hall, Hawthorn Theatrical, White Light, Stage Electrics and The Northern Ballet in Leeds - in addition to all the usual rock and roll suspects!

Stagetec Appoint Hire Manager
Monday, 6 March 2000

Stagetec has recently appointed Gary Herwing to the post of hire manager. Herwing has been in the business for some years, most recently as production manager for Paul Daniels, but has experience of both working in theatres and hire companies. He will take complete control of all aspects of the hire business of the company with an emphasis on developing both existing and new markets.

Clear Channel and SFX Announce Merger
Friday, 3 March 2000

Clear Channel Communications, Inc and SFX Entertainment, Inc have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The move will vastly expand Clear Channel's sphere of influence, for SFX is the world's largest promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events. Clear Channel operates 867 radio and 19 television stations in the United States reaching over 120 million people weekly. It also has a wholly owned subsidiary - Premiere Radio Networks - which broadcasts to 40 million people weekly. Additionally, it has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally. SFX, meanwhile, currently owns or operates 120 live entertainment venues across the US markets and as we reported last year, is establishing a foot-hold in the UK market. In August, SFX Entertainment bought the UK's Apollo Leisure Group, which owns 23 theatres across the UK, for around US$254 million. The deal was SFX's first major investment in UK venues and included famous theatres such as the Lyceum, in London, The Playhouse, in Edinburgh, and the Palace, in Manchester. The current transaction values SFX Entertainment at approximately $4.4 billion. This includes the assumption of approximately $1.1 billion of SFX's debt net of cash. The deal is expected to be completed later this year subject to the vote of SFX's stockholders, and customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Mezz Room Closes for Refurbishment
Thursday, 2 March 2000

The Mezzanine Group has announced the closure and re-branding of its Fulham-based venue The Kings Club. The eponymous private members club closed its doors in late February for a full refurbishment and will re-open shortly to launch the private members club and bar - The Mezz Room. The plan to change identity has been well received by members, who felt that the current image of the club was in need of a makeover to bring it in line with today's trends and fashion. One of the unique attractions of the Mezz room is the Mezzanine@, an internet-based entertainment concept devised by the Group. This effectively means that the venue can receive live audio visual broadcasts of music-based events from DJs and artists around the UK from other Mezzanine venues.

Elton Walks Like an Egyptian
Thursday, 2 March 2000

The arrival of Aida in London's West End, originally scheduled for transfer from Broadway next year, seems likely to be delayed until 2002 following the off-stage performance of Sir Elton John, who walked out of the New York opening after only 15 minutes. The singer is not happy with the way his score for the reworking of Verdi's opera has been interpreted, particularly the techno-pop backing to two of his songs - Another Pyramid and My Strongest Suit. Disney has already dug deep into its coffers for the production, spending £10million on the show, including revamping it two years ago after Sir Elton saw the production in Atlanta and complained that the set was 'shoddy'.

China in Britain Day
Thursday, 2 March 2000

An authentic Chinese tea room of the 19th century, a spectacular laser show from the 21st and a live transmission from China Central Television were part of China in Britain Day held on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Companies, community groups and artists from across the UK participated in the event which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. The Display ran in tandem with the annual Chinese New Year Lunch of London Export Ltd, supported by the 48 Group Club, whose long-standing ties to China date from 1952. The Display, organised by Chinese Marketing and Communications in conjunction with the Cultural Office of the Chinese Embassy, was taken from concept to reality in little more than a month thanks to key input from Clarion Events (organisers of the PLASA Show and PLASA Shanghai), LCI (Laser Creations International), LSI Projects - ADB (creative lighting) and China Gateway North West. Pulsar Lighting and DHA also lent their support to the project.

ETC Get Together
Thursday, 2 March 2000

On the weekend of February 11-13, nearly 80 people from the international world of lighting descended on the Selsdon Park Hotel, Croydon, for 48 hours of hard work - and some hard play as well! ETC Europe was hosting a sales and marketing training weekend, attended by over 50 dealers from 19 countries. ETC staff from both the UK and the United States had arranged an intense schedule of seminars, covering not just product, but also system integration and the fundamentals of networking for theatrical and entertainment control systems.

Millennium Square Preview
Wednesday, 1 March 2000

The plans for Millennium Square, Leeds, destined to become Europe's most innovative city centre events space was recently unveiled. The £12m project, funded by the Millennium Commission and Leeds City Council, is due to open in October 2000 and has been designed and built with the event promoter and manager in mind, with services and infrastructure incorporated into the design. Set to become one of Europe's most impressive civic spaces, the Square has a capacity of 2,000 seated, 5,000 standing and up to 20,000 for free events. Millennium Square will play host to a year- round programme of events and festivals commencing with the UK premiere performance of a major piece of outdoor theatre in October 2000. Other events likely to feature include an outdoor ice rink, Christmas markets and a summer concert season.

Electrovision + Altai + NJD
Wednesday, 1 March 2000

Electrovision, the Merseyside distribution company, has bought another well known name in the industry - Altai Group Ltd. This take-over further strengthens the group's position within the market giving it such famous house brands as Sound Lab, Eagle, Vision, ELV and of course NJD, as well as distribution for many other industry names. The take-over also includes branches in France, Holland, Germany and Belgium, as well as representation in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Mark Benyon now of Altai told PLASA News: "This move will provide greater penetration of the European market and will provide a better and more comprehensive service to all our customers. It gives us even stronger buying power to offer the best possible value to our customers." Richard Fox of Electrovision added: "I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project and look forward to hearing from our customers old and new who should all benefit substantially, with even better service, from this new arrangement."

PRG Announces Used Equipment Auction
Tuesday, 29 February 2000

Production Resources Group is to hold an auction for the Lighting Group and the Audio Group which will see a range of automated lights, dimmers, scrollers, speakers, processing equipment audio and lighting consoles go under the hammer. The auction will be held at 3026 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica, CA on Wednesday 15 March beginning at 11.00am. A preview of the equipment to be auctioned will take place on Tuesday 14 March at the same location, from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Auction catalogues (available 7 March onwards) can be downloaded from the PRG website whilst LA-411 will also be accepting pre-auction bids on equipment via their web site at The proceedings will be transmitted live via the LA411 web site the day of the event.

IMAX Goes Behind the Scenes of Rock & Roll
Tuesday, 29 February 2000

Ideal Entertainment, Imax Corporation and CERTS are working on the production of a concert film for IMAX Theatres featuring live performances by Carlos Santana, BB King, Sting, Sheryl Crow and others. All Access is set to premiere in February 2001 and in addition to a front row seat and spectacular larger-than-life performances, will provide exactly what its title suggests - a rare All Access pass to the rehearsals, sound checks, casual conversations and general backstage madness that lies behind the scenes of every concert. Initial sequences for the film were shot at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles in February and additional sequences will be filmed with other live performances in the coming months.

Grade Buys Pinewood Studios
Wednesday, 23 February 2000

Michael Grade has purchased the famous Pinewood Studios for £62m. The former head of Channel 4 and BBC1 led a consortium of investors backed by investment trust 3i, which is buying the film studio from Rank, the leisure and entertainment group. The consortium is paying £55.5m in cash and £6.5m in a loan note. Rank had been seeking a buyer for Pinewood for some years, and on Monday it also sold its cinema chain, Odeon, for £280m. Rank is using some of the money to buy a DVD processing plant in Los Angeles for £11m.

Free Advice for E-Business
Tuesday, 22 February 2000

A free on-line legal check-up for companies in the music trade using the web to sell their services or products has been launched by e-commerce experts, Laytons solicitors. To use the service, businesses simply e-mail their website address to Laytons. who will then carry out an on-line legal diagnostic and advise on what steps that business could be taking to ensure the website is legally watertight. Jonathan Oddy, head of Laytons' e-commerce unit, says: "Businesses must be careful not to infringe the copyright and trademarks belonging to other organisations, as well as the law relating to data protection and privacy, both in the UK and other jurisdictions."In addition, the government is planning to make it unlawful for the website of any UK business not to quote prices inclusive of VAT and any other custom duties before customers agree to buy. This, and many other issues, should be addressed as soon as possible.

Ambassador Group buys Theatres from Associated Capital in an £18m Deal
Monday, 21 February 2000

The Ambassador Theatre Group Limited (ATG) has recently added a further seven high profile London venues to the ATG portfolio, bringing its total holdings to 16 buildings and consolidating its position as a major industry player. The seven theatres, previously managed by Associated Capital Theatres, include the Donmar, Albery, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Wyndhams, Comedy and Whitehall and are renowned for playing host to a variety of first class productions. The Group currently owns and operates the Duke of York's and the New Ambassadors in London's West End, the Ambassadors Centre in Woking and also the historic Theatre Royal, Brighton.

South Bank Unveils Masterplan
Monday, 21 February 2000

World-class arts facilities are proposed in Rick Mather's Masterplan for the South Bank. The draft plan for the 30-acre South Bank site, from County Hall to Waterloo Bridge, includes a brand new British Film Institute showcase, the bfi Film Centre, a new concert hall to be built beneath the park and a new performance and conference complex. Phase 1 will see a major refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall which will include a new lecture and recital hall and improved education facilities, as well as work on the auditorium to upgrade the technical facilities and improve the acoustics. The total cost of this first phase will be between £40 million and £50 million. Already the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed an in-principle award of £12.5 million for the public spaces. In respect of the auditorium and acoustics SBC is to apply to the Arts Council of England Lottery Fund for a portion of the £25 million allocated to the arts aspects of the development. Phase 2 will address The Jubilee Gardens and Hungerford site and includes extending Jubilee Gardens. Beneath the Hungerford end of the park, a new flexible middle-sized concert hall will be built. This is where the new bfi Film Centre will also be situated. Phase 3 covers The Waterloo Site. The Hayward Gallery is to be retained as a stand-alone building, refurbished and extended within its existing site. Full story March L&SI.

ISO 9001 Certification for Stagetec
Monday, 21 February 2000

Following an audit by Quay Audit Limited, Stagetec successfully obtained certification to ISO 9001 Standard. According to Andy Stone, adopting the procedure within these standards will make the company more efficient and enable it to continually improve the levels of customer satisfaction.

Willow Vale Acquired by Connect Distribution
Wednesday, 16 February 2000

Specialist commercial sound supply and installation company Willow Vale has been acquired by Connect Distribution Services Ltd, a £20M turnover company based in Birmingham. All operations will be conducted from Birmingham, and the company will continue to use the name Willow Vale.

PCM Presents Third PSA Welfare Cheque
Monday, 14 February 2000

At the recent Live! Awards, PCM's John Jones presented the PSA (Production Services Association) with a third cheque in support of its Welfare and Benevolent Fund. The cheque, for £2,190, was presented by PCM's John Jones to Fund trustee, Mike Lethby. This third instalment refers to PCM's 'sponsorship' of the PSA's Welfare and Benevolent Fund launched in February 1999. The total donated by PCM now tops £7,000. The deal is linked directly to PCM's sale of Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists: for every Lodestar purchased in the UK through PCM, £10 is donated to the Welfare Fund. PSA chairman Keith Ferguson commented: "We thank PCM for their hugely motivating gesture, and hope that it will encourage others to support the Fund and ensure its future."

Success of 2000 Live! Awards
Monday, 14 February 2000

The 2000 Live! Awards saw companies including Avolites, Klark Teknik, Pulsar & Clay Paky, PCM, PSL, RG Jones and Sennheiser joining forces to produce a highly successful night. The entertainment for the evening featured the customary reception and three-course dinner, followed by a short set from singer Sam Brown and Deep Purple keyboard maestro Jon Lord. The Awards were presented by legendary artist Ian Dury in fine form, who displayed his well-known flair and humour to full effect and was rewarded with a standing ovation at the end of the ceremony.

Millennium Lighting Conference
Saturday, 12 February 2000

The Lighting Division of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Institution of Lighting Engineers has launched the programme for a millennium lighting conference to be held in York from 9-11 July 2000. The conference will include sessions and case studies on remote source lighting, quality in lighting and light pollution.

TFE Recruits Sugars
Saturday, 12 February 2000

TFE Concerts, aligned to The Full Effect, has appointed a new events and marketing manager responsible for concerts, roadshows and other outdoor music events. Clare Sugars, formerly of the Royal Festival Hall, has been brought in to manage all Year 2000 Music Events staged by TFE.

Harkness Hall Acquires Demospec
Friday, 11 February 2000

Demospec, the specialist French manufacturer of cinema screens and other projection surfaces, has been acquired by the Harkness Hall Group. The acquisition creates a company with operations in the UK, USA and continental Europe, giving the Group an increased ability to meet the needs of customers worldwide. The two companies will share products, manufacturing and technology. Andrew Robinson, managing director of Harkness Hall Group, said: "The enlarged group has the capability of serving the cinema, theatre, exhibition, conference and special venue markets with the specialised products needed. The Harkness Hall Group is even better placed to serve a market which has become increasingly international in recent years."

FX Revamps Equipment Servicing
Thursday, 10 February 2000

Following its recent acquisition of equipment servicing company Cimple Solutions, FX has established a new division to provide a pro audio equipment servicing facility to its customers. The move has been made in order, say the company, to address many of the complaints that are currently levelled at service companies - including reporting job progress, time taken over repairs and the cost and speed of collection and deliveries. FX Cimple Solutions is headed by Cliff Whitehead.


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