General News

ESTA Public Review of Draft Speaker Rigging Standard
Thursday, 21 September 2000

BSR E1.8 Entertainment Technology - Loudspeaker Enclosures Intended for Overhead Suspension - Classification, Manufacture and Structural Testing, is now available for public review until December 5, 2000. The document describes the structural requirements for construction, component part security, enclosure suspension hardware, manufacturing control systems, structural testing, and product representation. The standard is intended to enhance the safety of speaker rigging at music concerts and other performances. The draft standard can be obtained from the ESTA website or by writing to Karl Ruling, Technical Standards Manager, ESTA, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2302, New York, NY10001, USA.

Thursday, 21 September 2000

Over 30 members attended the AGM of the Institute of Sound & Communications Engineers (ISCE), held during the PLASA Show. Outgoing president Doug Edworthy welcomed PLASA's Matthew Griffiths and Ruth Rossington as guests before handing over the role of president to Michael Leaver of Adastra Electronics. Doug Edworthy was presented with a Certificate of Merit, to express the gratitude of all members for the devoted way he had guided the Institute for the past six years. It was agreed that the Institute would work more closely with PLASA to set up training and seminar programmes, and from 2001members will receive complimentary PLASA Show tickets. During the meeting, several members were elected to council including Alan Bond, Phil Brown and Nigel Williams, with Tony Clayden, David Tyas and Jon Rapier being co-opted.

Police Launch Fraud Inquiry at Dome
Tuesday, 19 September 2000

The fuel crisis must have come as a blessed relief to the Dome, but it hasn't taken the attraction long to be back in the media spotlight. Just a week after Nomura withdrew from its bid, the police are currently carrying out an investigation into fraud allegations. Apparently these centre around "irregularities" in connection with the procurement of contracts, and media reports are suggesting that the firm under investigation was one of the contractors working for the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). Nomura of course pulled out on the basis that they had been misled over the Dome's finances.

Crowd Safety Meeting at Lowlands Festival
Monday, 18 September 2000

Key players within the European festival community met at this year's Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands to discuss the issue of crowd management and risk assessments in the wake of the tragic death of nine people at the Roskilde Festival earlier this summer. Attending the meeting were Gunnar Lagerman - promoter of Hultsfred and chairman of Yourope, The European Festival Organisers Association, Anders Hagstrom - production manager Motor SE, Leon Ramakers - promoter at Lowlands, Bert van Horck - chairman, The International Crowd Management & Security Group, Mick Upton - IMCS European Risk Consultant and invited members of the trade press. Discussions centred on internal policing of event management procedures and appropriate risk management policies. All agreed that this would make festival environments safer for crowds, and give festival organisers benchmarks from which to work.

PLASA 2000 Stand Award Winners!
Friday, 15 September 2000

Winner of the Best Shell Scheme award was UV Light Technology on stand P20. Judges were impressed by the effect of such a wide array of UV products in a very small space - even including the stand's signage - maximising the impact of the stand.In the Best Space Only Stand (up to 50sq.m) category, the winner was Mad Lighting for stand F48, built by LiteStructures. The judges were impressed by the creative combination of small space and product on display. Judges also made a commendation to Tomcat for its spectacular rotating stand feature.Winner of the Best Space Only Stand (over 50sq.m) category was Martin Professional on stand E54/E56. Judges were impressed by the impact of the 'wall' of products, and by the simple but stylish separation of the different parts of the organisation. Commendations were also made in this category to ETC for its cool, calm haven of a stand with sumptuous and kind-on-the-feet carpet and to Pioneer for its innovative and stylish Surgery area with comfortable bean bag seating.In the Best Overall Use of Product on the Stand category, the winner was Pulsar & Clay Paky on stand G46 for its excellent light show with Ministry of Sound bar, formidable structure and interactive demonstration area for visitors. Commendations were made to Unusual Rigging Ltd for its creative use of a circus magician act in a trade show environment and to Tomcat for its gyroscopic truss feature feature.

Winner of Pulsar LD Competition
Friday, 15 September 2000

During the PLASA Awards for Product Excellence on Wednesday 13 September, a presentation was made to Matthew Randle, a BTEC student of Technical Theatre from Melton Mowbray College, who was the winner of the Pulsar Student Lighting Designer Competition. The competition seeks to find the next generation of professional performance lighting designers, putting their lighting design skills to the test. Following a tough series of heats, judges were looking for a lighting design and show with creative flare, originality and atmosphere. Matthew was presented with a cheque for £2,000 towards the purchase of any Pulsar equipment by Paul Duval, Technical Director at Melton Mowbray College in Leicestershire where this year's competition was held.PLASA Managing Director Matthew Griffiths took the opportunity to announce that in recognition of the important role the Student Lighting Designer Competition plays in seeking the lighting design talent of the future, PLASA will be taking over the reigns of the competition for 2001, widening its scope to lighting students from educational establishments throughout the UK and providing full editorial support in Lighting & Sound International.

John Lethbridge Launches On-Line Auction Service
Thursday, 14 September 2000

John Lethbridge, founder and ex-managing director of Cerebrum Lighting and a former vice-chairman of PLASA, has launched a brand new on-line Internet auction site through his new company, Cereco International Ltd. will specialise in offering new and ex-demonstration audio, lighting, AV and effects equipment - all of which carries a 12-month guarantee.The auctions are free to enter for buyers and sellers and unusually, for an e-commerce operation, buyers do not have to give any credit card details. All sellers will be carefully vetted as Cereco will provide a money back guarantee to any dissatisfied buyers. Instructions on how to take part are available on-line in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Chinese and Japanese and products are offered in six different currencies. New auctions will start every Thursday evening and run for 10 days, finishing on a Sunday evening (UK time).

Open Days and Doors at The M Corporation
Thursday, 14 September 2000

Pro audio retailer The M Corporation has kicked off an autumn season of seminars and workshops on 8 September with a day dedicated to the launch of Steinberg's new version 5 Cubase software. The well-attended event gave everyone the opportunity to see what the new software was capable of, and was quickly followed by a day dedicated to the Lexicon range of processing, including the 960L and Core 2 system at the M Corp's Nottingham office.Open days still to come will offer visitors the chance to see and use the new Roland VM7100 and 7200 digital mixing desks (27 Sept, Nottingham); a couple of evenings looking at the principles of good monitoring led by Dynaudio's UK suppliers Unity Audio (2 Oct, Ringwood & 4 Oct, Nottingham), and a series of workshops which will look at the finer details of Digidesign's Pro Tools (19 Sept & 6 Nov Ringwood, 12 Oct & 14 Dec Nottingham). Attendance at any of these events must be booked in advance. Tel: +44 (0)1425 470007.

PLASA 2000 Award Winners!
Thursday, 14 September 2000

The PLASA 2000 Awards for Product Excellence were presented at the Show yesterday. Seven exhibitors were presented with awards specially designed by DHA Lighting, for Design Excellence and Technical Innovation in four categories: Lighting, Stage Engineering, Audio-Visual and Sound. And the winners were . . .LIGHTINGMartin Professional for the MAC 2000 (Design Excellence)Pani for the BP4CT Large Format Projector (Technical Innovation)SOUNDAcoustic Solutions for the Homemix entry-level DJM+D Design for the SID Event System Monitor STAGE ENGINEERINGTotal Fabrications for the T2 trussing system (Design Excellence)Stage Technologies for the Pathway 3D Flying System (Technical Innovation)AUDIO-VISUALM+D Design for The Podules (for both Design Excellence and Technical Innovation)

In recognition of the product that claimed the greatest Environmental Impact, a short demonstration captured the judges' attention immediately - the Airoamer from Nu-Light Systems which delivers scents and smells into the atmosphere without the use of heat or even liquids. One again, all Awards entry fees were donated to a number of nominated entertainment technology industry charities. This year these include the newly-launched Light Relief fund (a new created to support freelance lighting professionals who find themselves in difficult circumstances); the Production Services Association Welfare and Benevolent Fund; the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy UK Trust, and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.

Leisure Online
Friday, 8 September 2000

The International Leisure Industry Week exhibition and online trading community have launched a new online virtual trade show. The site will give leisure industry suppliers high profile stands on a virtual show floor, available to visitors to the site all year round. The new service will start life with links to two of the leisure industry's key sites - the LIW show site and LeisureHub - the leisure industry's online B2B trading community. A major year-round programme will include e-mail newsletters, special online conferences and events, a banner ad campaign and leveraging the LIW exhibition and its databases.

HSE Sends Message to Explosives Firms on Manufacturing Safety
Thursday, 7 September 2000

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has sent a message to the fireworks and explosives industry to ensure proper precautions during manufacturing operations. The reminder follows HSE's prosecution of a fireworks manufacturer, following an incident in which two workers were injured. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,240. Andrew Train, Principal Explosives Inspector with HSE's Hazardous Installations Directorate, told PLASA Publishing: "The case highlights serious issues, employers must ensure they keep to a minimum the quantity of explosives present in any workroom and, wherever possible, keep explosives in sealed containers; provide adequate training to all employees and others (such as agency staff) working with explosives; and ensure proper maintenance of equipment."

New Waves of Controversy Wash Dome
Wednesday, 6 September 2000

In a story that's becoming all too familiar, The Dome was battening down its hatches yesterday following the news that the Government has agreed to a further grant of £47million in order to see it through to the end of the year. Despite a major publicity campaign, the attraction is still failing to meet visitor targets and its financial problems have generated more headlines than its exhibits. The latest hand-out is just one of many. The Millennium Commission agreed a £60 million grant at the start of the year, which was followed by £29 million in May and then £43 million last month. Nomura, the company which only recently won the bid to buy the Dome at the end of the year, has announced that it will now review its position.

ESTA Publishes its Second Standard
Tuesday, 5 September 2000

The American National Standards Institute has accepted the ESTA Technical Standards Program's standard for aluminium trusses and towers as an American standard. ANSI E1.2-2000, describes the design, manufacture and use of aluminium trusses, towers and associated aluminium structural components such as head blocks, sleeve blocks, bases and corner blocks. It does not cover individual, separate rigging hardware such as ½ couplers and shackles. E1.2 was one of the many projects of the Rigging Working Group which is also working on standards for manually powered and motorised rigging systems, stage house and structural requirements, flying performers, speaker enclosures.

Hotcakes Appoints New Board Directors
Friday, 1 September 2000

Live event company Hotcakes has today announced the formal appointment of five senior figures to its new Board of Directors. The Board will consist of Chris Spencer (executive producer and managing director), Helene Spencer (visual director), Sean Canning (creative director), Dick Tee (production director) and Alison Esse (communications director). The Board has been formalised as the company enters a new phase of development and expansion. Hotcakes already designs, produces and manages creative shows and live events for a number of different brands and organisations in the UK, including Marks & Spencer, Cosmopolitan Show and Prima, as well as the creative production for International Festival of the Sea, and will be announcing new projects in the near future.

Sadlers Wells Refutes Mirror's Claims
Friday, 1 September 2000

Sadler's Wells has issued a press statement following the Daily Mirror's claims this week that the theatre is in trouble. The newspaper claimed to have seen leaked documents which suggested that the theatre was close to going bust and that lawyers were in discussion about declaring the venue insolvent. Sadlers Wells' statement says that the article published in the Mirror was apparently referring to correspondence between the Arts Council's capital services department and its professional advisors. The correspondence concerned was taken out of context and arises from prospective litigation concerning some contractors and others. No public monies are being used in this prospective litigation, but the Arts Council and Sadler's Wells consider that the public interest requires that monies are recovered from those responsible for the overspending. Ian Albery, Chief Executive told PLASA Publishing: "Sadler's Wells was one of the first major lottery projects to open on schedule and has rightfully taken its place as London's dance theatre. It has brought international dance companies to London that have been absent for lack of a suitable theatre for many years and has created new and record audiences for dance at affordable prices in the last two years."

BBC Science Programme Needs Your Help!
Friday, 1 September 2000

Dream Lives, a BBC Science documentary series, is looking for companies to come forward with information on the latest in DJ and music equipment. The programme is trying to help the residents of an estate in Hackney, London. There are about 600 kids on the estate and nothing for them to do, but they are particularly interested in music and are desperate for a chance to channel and build on their talents. Dream Lives is hoping to re-open their disused youth club and give young people on the estate a chance to learn skills, build confidence and have fun with the latest technology. Dream Lives will replace Tomorrow's World on BBC1 for six weeks in January 2001. If you are a company that specialises in the latest, high-tech music equipment and are interested in finding out more about this community project, please call Clare Beavis on 0208 752 6433 as soon as possible.

Martin Reaches Settlement with Vari-Lite
Thursday, 31 August 2000

Martin Professional A/S has reached a settlement with Vari-Lite Inc which sees the lifting of the injunction against the Martin MAC 500s, MAC 600s and MAC 300s in the US market. The two companies had been locked in a long-running legal battle over the issue of the manufacture and sale of the MAC units which also extended to the company's Case series controller when sold in conjunction with these. Only two months ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had reaffirmed the injunction, rejecting Martin's claim that the patent expired in July 2000, ruling instead that it did not expire until March 2001. For Martin Professional, the settlement means a return to full trading freedom in the United States, which is expected to contribute positively towards the company's future development in terms of both turnover and profitability. With the recent release of a half-year financial report showing significant growth and profitability over 1999, the return of the full MAC range to the American market is expected to have a further positive impact.

BBC Studios Shut
Thursday, 24 August 2000

The BBC is to close its studios at Pebble Mill, Birmingham, with the loss of 90 staff. According to reports, modern technology is now allowing programme makers to operate outside of a studio setting, so some facilities are no longer needed. Pebble Mill will continue with 600 people and will make location-based lifestyle programmes.

Cardiff's Visual Arts Centre Closes
Thursday, 24 August 2000

The Centre for Visual Arts in Cardiff is to close in November with the loss of 40 jobs, due to low visitor numbers. The Centre is the largest gallery in Wales showing new and historical art from Wales and around the world. It is also home to Fantasmic, one of the UK's only hands-on interactive galleries. In an announcement on the venue's website, the trustees state that the decision has been forced upon them by the refusal of the officers of the Arts Council of Wales to work with them to explore the ways forward recommended in the independent review of the Centre. During the period before final closure, the Trustees hope that the Chairman and Council of ACW will convince the National Assembly of the value of implementing the preferred option recommended by the independent report.

Briggs Joins Hotcakes
Monday, 21 August 2000

Former deputy show director of the Cosmopolitan Show, Matt Briggs, has joined brand experience consultancy Hotcakes as a full-time producer. The appointment of Briggs, who has worked closely with Hotcakes for the past two years in producing Cosmopolitan Show's award-winning catwalk show, underlines Hotcakes' push to recruit skilled individuals from a variety of sectors. His responsibilities will include the initiation and management of projects, close client liaison, co-ordinating the teams allocated to each event, controlling and managing budgets and production schedules and identifying and acting on opportunities as and when they arise.

The Future of Music
Tuesday, 15 August 2000

The New Technology Group of the Music Industry Forum has released a new report (backed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport), which examines the impact of new technologies on the music industry. Entitled 'Consumers Call the Tune', the report makes a number of key recommendations namely that the Government creates an open competitive environment for on-line delivery by creating a common regulatory framework as well as a secure legislative framework for trading copyright on-line in the UK, Europe and beyond. It also highlights the need for ongoing research into consumer behaviour on-line and market statistics about e-commerce.

ESTA Standards Announcements
Monday, 14 August 2000

ESTA, the US-based Entertainment Services and Technology Association, has announced the formation of a new Floors Working Group, which has been set up in order to address about the slipperiness and rigidity of stage floors and platforms - attributes which affect the safety of performing on these surfaces. The first meeting will take place prior to LDI 2000 on Wednesday 18 October at Harrah's, Las Vegas. Tim Hansen of Oasis Stage Werks is the working group chairman, and all interested parties are urged to attend.ESTA has also announced the start of work by its Electrical Power Working Group on a new American National Standard - BSR E1.16, Configuration Standard for Metal-Halide Ballast Power Cables, to help ensure compatibility between the detachable power cords used on various brands of discharge ballasts for studio luminaires. Interested parties are invited to join the Electrical Power Working Group or to comment on the draft document when it is offered for public review.

Seelite Technical Courses
Friday, 11 August 2000

Seelite has organised a series of workshops. The first covers the fundamentals of the software programme WYSIWYG. Lars Nissen and Leif Hellberg will introduce participants to WYSIWYG demonstrating how it was used on earlier projects such as the Danish Eurovision Song Contest 2000 and the Danish Grammys 2000. The briefings will take place in Aarhus on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 October and in Copenhagen on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 October. The company is also organising a rigging course, led by Martin Svane and Martin Corneliussen. Participants will become acquainted with subjects such as suspension of equipment, personal safety, choice and use of gear, and, finally, use of truss systems. The course is mainly theoretical, but includes a few practical features. This takes place on Copenhagen on Wenesday 1 November and Aarhus on Monday 2 November.

Frank Matcham Conference: Isle of Man
Wednesday, 9 August 2000

A one-day conference will take place on Saturday 2nd September to celebrate the life and work of theatre architect Frank Matcham and the centenary of his beautifully-restored Gaiety Theatre and Opera House on the Isle of Man. The conference, to be held at the Manx Museum in Douglas, will focus upon the restoration of the Gaiety Theatre and the wider work of Matcham, who, during his amazing career, designed and rebuilt over 160 theatres in the British Isles -London's Palladium, Coliseum and Victoria Palace theatres, the Theatre Royal, Newcastle and the Olympia Liverpool amongst them. Speakers from the world of theatre history and architectural conservation will come together to discuss Matcham's influence. Delegates will also have an opportunity to see a performance of The Corsican Brothers on the Saturday evening, followed by a tour of the Gaiety Theatre on Sunday 3 September.


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