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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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 www.la411.com. The proceedings will be transmitted live via the LA411 web site the day of the event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.
Attempting to live up to its name slightly too literally, The Moving Light Company - and its entire stock of moving lights - has moved. But not far - the company can now be found at Unit 8 Parsons Green Depot, just a few metres further along and on the opposite side of the depot from its old base. Formed in 1994 to handle the increasing demand for automated lighting technology, The Moving Light Company has since provided equipment to a huge range of theatrical productions, concerts, trade shows, films and even a performance at Buckingham Palace! The company's growing stock levels necessitated its move to larger premises.
Mackie Designs Inc and Eastern Acoustic Works Inc have announced that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent by which Mackie will purchase all shares of EAW. Mackie is well known as a manufacturer of pro audio systems for a wide range of applications, whilst EAW is recognised as one of the world's leading high-end professional loudspeaker design and manufacturing companies - in 1999 it recorded sales in excess of $40 million. Both sides point out that the majority of each company's day-to-day operations will remain separate, including product distribution channels. EAW will remain based in Whitinsville, its current corporate headquarters and manufacturing site.
After years of alternating between being supplier and client to each other, Triple E and Blackout, best known as suppliers of track and drapes respectively, have announced a merger of the two companies. The announcement, by the two managing directors David Edelstein and Steve Tuck, was made from a joint stand at the SIEL exhibition in Paris. Trading as Blackout Triple E with immediate effect, the new company offers a complete in-house design and manufacturing service for custom drapes and hardware, as well as a hire service for track, drapes and rigging. Current investment plans include dramatically expanding the rigging division with the addition of 80 CM Lodestar chain hoists.
A further day in High Court has been scheduled for March 2000 for the case between Paul Madden (Intimate Studios) and GLW (the manufacturer of Harrison recording consoles). The hearing will address the claim for £400,000 against GLW in regard to the alleged failure of the Series Twelve Music console, which was installed at Intimate Studios in London, to perform acceptably and the termination of an associated marketing contract. It will also consider if it would be best heard in the USA. GLW's contention is that Intimate Studios' Paul Madden obtained the console in the full knowledge that the Series Twelve as configured for music was in development, therefore any terms in regard to 'fit for purpose' did not apply to this sale. Further action is being undertaken by the finance company who purchased the console from GLW in 1995.
Publisher Highbury House has made moves to purchase rival Nexus, publishers of Live!, DJ magazine and Disco International. The Nexus titles will add to an already substantial Highbury portfolio of around 40 magazines ranging from technical publications such as Camcorder User through to home interest titles such as Women's Health. The Group also publishes a further 50 under contract. The acquisition of Nexus will be the latest in a string of investments for Highbury: in March 99 it formed a joint venture with Internet Advertising to publish magazines on the internet, three months later it bought Wyvern Crest, a database marketing company, for £3.7m and in September 99 it acquired WV, publisher of consumer magazines, for £7m.