General News

2000 EDDY Awards Announced
Thursday, 16 November 2000

The annual Entertainment Design magazine awards (EDDYs) will be awarded in a ceremony in New York on 8 December. The Awards are given for outstanding contributions in the field of entertainment design and technology, and will this year be awarded to: the design team for Blue Man Group Live at Luxor (Las Vegas); costume designer Ann Roth, whose credits include films such as The Talented Mr Ripley and The English Patient; the design team for Anne Bogart’s SITI company, including lighting designer Mimi Jordan Sherin and sound designer Darron L West; and Tait Towers, builders of sets for concert tours, whose clients include The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner and U2.In the product categories, Sound Products of the Year are the Digidesign ProTools 5.1 software; JBL’s EVO loudspeaker system; Level Control Systems’ CueConsole; Metric Halo Labs Mobile I/O Firewire; the Neutrik MiniLyzer ML1; and the Soundfield Mark 5 microphone system.The EDDY Awards’ Lighting Products of the Year are the Common Sense interface from Artistic Licence; the Hot Shot Distro Panel from George & Goldberg; the Figment DMX from Interactive Technologies; the IPS Capio dimmer series from Rosco/ET; the Strand SLD dimmer series; and the Vari*Lite VL2402 wash luminaire.

Gatecrasher NYE
Monday, 13 November 2000

Thousands of clubbers are preparing for the New Year’s Eve party of a life-time at Gatecrasher NYE in Ireland’s new £93 million, state-of the art millennium arena The Odyssey in Belfast. The NYE event, which will be broadcast live on Radio 1, is the first in a series of Gatecrasher events planned for Northern and Southern Ireland in 2001. As with all Gatecrasher events, clubbers attending can expect light and laser shows, video imagery and state of the art sound. Kicking off proceedings is Radio 1's Judge Jules who will be joined by Kiss FM's Tall Paul.

Stolen Truss Update
Monday, 13 November 2000

Just a quick update to our news item last week (Weds Nov 8) concerning a large quantity of truss stolen from Essex-based lighting and production company Knight International. The 7.5 tonne Iveco Truck, which contained an entire ground support system and two covered PA wings, has now been found, minus all the truss! Phil Knight believes that the truss may have been stolen to order or may be sold back into the industry.Anybody with any information should contact Knight International on +44 1245 362133.

Multiform Stays Afloat
Sunday, 12 November 2000

No sooner had Sussex-based Multiform Technology Group announced success at the PLASA Show and set out the showroom to include the newest lighting effects from Meteor and Sagitter, than it began to rain!

Multiform’s factory, in close proximity to the swollen River Uck - one of the worst flooded in the South East - was also built two feet below the eventual high water mark of Uckfield town, and therefore suffered a great deal of water damage on and after October 12th 2000.

Help came from all quarters. Once the water had receded enough for the factory doors to be opened, the Multiform team with the help of visitor John Lethbridge, rolled up their sleeves and took up hose pipes, brooms and buckets to clear the invading mud and water. Managing director, Iain Price-Smith told us: "Multiform would like to assure customers that business will return to normal as soon as possible. A large amount of stock has been destroyed, and production will be disrupted for several weeks, but thanks to the dedication of the staff, our office is now fully operational again and open to business."

Industry Research
Saturday, 11 November 2000

Business Diagnostics, the market research company, had now completed its initial fact-finding first stage of PLASA’s industry research programme. As a result, research questionnaires are being mailed out to all PLASA’s full, corporate and international members in mid November. The intention is to have some baseline results by the end of the year.

PLASA Announces SESA Trade Support Programme for 2001/02
Saturday, 11 November 2000

PLASA has announced its programme of supported trade show missions for the 2001/02 financial year, under the SESA (Support for Seminars and Exhibitions Abroad) funding programme.

PLASA is able to sponsor four events in 2001. These will be PLASA Presents Light & Sound Shanghai, 4-6 April 2001 (support available for both exhibition and seminars); Showtech Berlin, 10-13 May 2001; AES 111th New York, 12-15 September and SIB International, Rimini, March 2002. In addition to these, PALA Singapore (July 2001) Expomusic Brazil (August 2001) and LDI Orlando (November 2001) are on the reserve list, pending funding reappraisals by British Trade International (BTI).

This programme breaks new ground for PLASA, as it marks the first ever SESA sponsorship of Showtech, as well as PLASA’s first direct sponsorship of an AES exhibition (AES 110th in Amsterdam, 2001, will be sponsored via APRS). In addition, 2001 marks the transition of PLASA Shanghai from its three-years under the Sector Challenge programme to fully-fledged SESA funding, underlining the maturity of the event.

SESA is the British Government’s system for assisting UK exporters to participate in overseas trade events. It is a Trade Partners UK service run by the British Trade International team of the DTI. BTI brings together into one unit the import/export teams from UK Business Links, the Foreign and Commonwealth offices in British Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions throughout the world, and the country information desks based at the DTI in London.

The SESA funding programme provides a grant of 60%

Another Order for Artistic
Friday, 10 November 2000

At LDI in Las Vegas last month, for the second year running, Artistic Licence received a Cease and Desist order from Color Kinetics Inc (CKI), relating to Artistic’s LED lighting systems.

CKI holds a patent in the USA for the control of colour-changing LED lighting systems, and claims that Artistic’s LED-based Digital Lighting Product range infringes their intellectual property rights. CKI’s Kathy Pattison told L&SI: "We very much respect what Artistic has done in the DMX community, but where LED systems are concerned, we will defend our intellectual property rights."

Artistic’s Wayne Howell told L&SI: "They turned up with their solicitor at the busiest time of the show, when the booth was full of customers. It really amounts to little more than a childish attempt at harassment." Howell continued: "We have made a number of approaches to this company to try to find out what it is they are upset about. To date we have not received any coherent repsonse. With regard to their claims, there is simply no substance . . . I find it rather insulting to be accused of copying another company’s design. We’re proud of our reputation for innovation."

Pattison, however, told us that CKI has held "multiple discussions, both internally and through counsel" with Artistic Licence.

Illuminating Video
Wednesday, 8 November 2000

Visitors from the lighting and creative media worlds were given a unique preview of the kinetic future when Screenco fronted a two-day Illuminated Video Workshop at Three Mills Island Studios recently.

In association with a prime team of concert service providers, including Vari-Lite Production Services, Avolites, Stage One Creative Services, Creative Technology, Aerial Camera Systems, SSE Hire, ShowSec and Vertigo Rigging, the experimental two-day interactive workshop graphically highlighted how the boundaries between the rapidly-converging disciplines of automated lighting and video displays are being pushed back. The workshop was the brainchild of Screenco’s Mike Walker, whose vision for the event was born out of a desire to bring the creative skills of video and lighting together. Production manager for the event was Adam Wildi at Hothouse, assisted by Mary Jefferson from Tiger Productions.

Two leading show lighting designers - Vince Foster and Nick Jevons - were asked by Screenco to blend their visual techniques, with each pursuing a completely different path in two large studios, back to back. For Foster, and VL Virtuoso board operator Theo Cox, it was a conventional live concert stage with a widescreen video display, and for Jevons it was a fast-changing club/dance environment, working in conjunction with DJ Callum Wordsworth to deliver spectacular colour-changing set elements, interacting with live video graphics.

In Studio 8 Vince Foster had produced the 3D visualisation for the band show and presented Theo Cox with the CAD drawings to carry out his o

Turbosound United Play at Chelsea FC
Monday, 6 November 2000

As a prelude to the recent PLASA 2000 show, Turbosound held its annual convention at Chelsea Village - home of Chelsea FC.

The day-long event was attended by a number of Turbosound’s international and UK distributors, as well as main installers. Following initial addresses by chairman Mike O’Flynn and managing director Alan Wick, sales appraisal and strategy reports were given by Gary Smith and Bill Woods respectively.

Distributors were honoured with awards for outstanding sales activity within given categories, and the day’s formal activities concluded with a briefing about new Turbosound products in the marketplace.

(Reports that Chelsea only allowed in one UK distributor are untrue.)

Correction: Stageline
Sunday, 5 November 2000

In May 2000, we reported that Stageline had launched legal proceedings aginst Five Corners seeking a number of injunctions to prevent Five Corners from trading.

We also reported that as a result of Stageline’s claim being rejected by the Quebec courts, Stageline was ordered to pay $22,500 to Five Corners.

However our further investigation into these matters has demonstrated that legal action was not taken against Five Corners but against its owner Carl Richard, who counter-claimed in the same proceedings. We apologise to Stageline for any innaccuracies in our news item. As we now understand it, relief was granted to each party in relation to their claims and counter-claims.

All Aboard
Saturday, 4 November 2000

PLASA Members Baldwin Boxall took advantage of the one storm-free day in October to invite a host of clients, colleagues and friends to join them on Sussex’s equivalent to the Orient Express.

The Bluebell Line was the UK’s first preserved standard gauge passenger railway, re-opening part of the Lewes to East Grinstead line of the old London Brighton & South Coast Railway in 1960. Since then it has developed into one of the largest tourist attractions in Sussex, yet it still remains true to its objectives of the preservation of a country branch line and its steam locomotives.

Over 50 people joined Baldwin Boxall on the day thanks in no small part to its growing reputation as a generous host. Terry Baldwin and David Boxall welcomed guests to the picturesque Sheffield Park station before inviting them to take lunch on board one of the Railway’s steam locomotives as it journeyed part-way up the beautiful Bluebell Line. Lobster Bisque, Roasted Quail, Beef Wellington and Chocolate and Almond Torte were washed down with some particularly fine wines - with stops en route to try out the special beers at Horsted Keynes station and allow some members of the party to ride on the footplate of the train before reboarding for yet further refreshments (was it our imagination or did the countryside become more blurred the longer we stayed on the train?).

Those in attendance came from across the industry and included guests from ADT, Next Two, BBC Fire, DNH Loudspeakers, Romers Electronics (from Blackburn), Sound Productions, Dublin (in fact, Gerry McGlinn flew in fr

A Century of Theatre
Friday, 3 November 2000

Richard Eyre is to present a six-part weekly television series looking at the history of 20th century theatre. The programme Changing Stages: 100 Years Of Theatre will explore the influences and creative people that have shaped the course of the theatre throughout the last century. The programme will show archive footage of some of the key productions from the last century and talk with the writers, directors and actors which made them possible. The first programme runs on BBC 2 at 7.30pm, Sunday 5 November 2000.

Is Time Running out for 28% of the Sound Systems Industry?
Friday, 3 November 2000

Over a quarter of all UK sound systems companies will not see out 2001 in their present shape, according to Plimsoll Publishing. Identified in their new First Edition 2001, Plimsoll Portfolio Analysis they are predicting in 2001 these companies will disappear, be taken over or be forced to change to stay in the market.

The analysis, which included 1019 companies in total, predicts that the Winners and the Chancers, who are capturing market and profits with a combined sales growth average of over 15.2% are pushing the Losers out of the market. As they try to maintain sales and profit targets, acquisition activity could intensify in 2001.

The First Edition 2001 describes four types of company strategy. The Winners have low borrowings (debt) as a % of sales and have high sales growth. The Chancers have high borrowings and high sales growth. The Sleepers have low borrowings and low sales growth, whilst The Losers have high borrowings and are growing below average.

For these 131 Losers, time is running out. Their level of debt is high at 38% of sales on average. These companies have lost market share and sales growth average for the latest period is showing an average decline of 11.5%. Their margins are showing a loss of 2.0% on average and almost 60% of them are loss-making. They have borrowed to stay in the market, but how long can this strategy be maintained?

The publication contains an up-to-date analysis of 1019 UK sound systems companies covering their last four years of trading. To order a copy call Jennifer Ovington on +44 1642 257800, or for a full version of th

Dry Ice Not to Blame
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

An inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of student Joanna Smith, 19, who died following an asthma attack, thought to have been triggered by a dry ice machine at a nightclub, has concluded that there was no link between the two. The incident happened at First Leisure’s Volts (now renamed The Works) nightclub in Kingston Upon Thames on September 7 last year. Christopher Russell, the barrister representing club owners First Leisure, told the inquest: "This type of machine has never been associated with harmful effects." Coroner Alison Thompson concluded that Joanna had died from natural causes.

PCM’s Donation to PSA Welfare Fund Tops £10,000
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

The latest cheque from PCM, European importers and distributors of the CM Lodestar hoist, to the PSA (Production Services Association) for their Welfare and Benevolent Fund, puts PCM’s contribution to this excellent cause to over £10,000. The fourth cheque, for £3,700, was presented by PCM’s John Jones to Simon Whittaker, Chair of the PSA, at PLASA 2000. The next PCM cheque will be presented during The Live Show 2001 in February.

Con Men Try Again
Tuesday, 31 October 2000

Those Nigerian businessmen are at it again - another round of letters has gone out inviting UK companies to provide them with bank account facilities into which they can deposit large sums of money earned illegally. The latest letter comes from Dr. Sule Ahmed, a civil servant, who advises that he has been a key player in the deliberate over-invoicing of a government contract to the tune of $21.5million US dollars. Overlooking his own shortcomings on the integrity front, he also refers to a previous transaction with one Patrice Miller in New York, who did the dirty on Ahmed and his mates and made off with the money. As so often in the past, PLASA members are being targeted heavily and we have already fielded a large number of e-mails and phonecalls on the subject.

Broadway's The Lion King Roars into BLMC2000
Tuesday, 31 October 2000

The Broadway Lighting Master Class has lined up an eclectic programme for this year's event which takes place in New York from December 6-10, 2000. Tony Award-winning lighting designer Don Holder will present an in-depth look at his acclaimed lighting for Disney's The Lion King. BLMC has obtained a block of hard-to-get tickets for this sold-out Broadway musical as one of two major performance elements in this year's programme. BLMC attendees will also get to see Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular at the magnificently renovated home of the world-famous Rockettes. The visit will also feature a one-hour guided tour of Radio City and a technical discussion of the lighting after the performance with LDs Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz. The BLMC programme will feature some of the leading names form theatre. Joining creative consultant Jules Fisher (the upcoming Jane Eyre) will be Peggy Eisenhauer (Cabaret), Beverly Emmons (Jekyll & Hyde), Wendall K. Harrington (The Who's Tommy), David Hays (founding artistic director, National Theatre for the Deaf), Don Holder (The Lion King), Vivien Leone (associate designer, Sunset Boulevard), Chris Parry (Not About Nightingales), Clifton Taylor (LD for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and others), and Richard Pilbrow (Showboat). Additionally, BLMC will feature two special panel discussions: the Lifetime Achievement Panel led by moderator Steve Terry, president of Systems Group/Fourth Phase (see below); and an exclusive discussion with members of The Lion King's creative team, moderated by Jules Fisher. The event will also feat

B2B Music Online 2000
Monday, 30 October 2000

Ready or not, the music industry as we know it is rapidly changing. As MP3 and digital distribution technologies gain momentum, every facet of the industry, from the artist to the label to the retailer, is feeling the impact. At Access' B2B Music Online 2000, which takes place from 30 November to 1 December 2000 at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, the conference will examine how these changes are affecting the traditional business-to-business music models and what the new opportunities are for both traditional players and new players in the industry. This forum includes a selection of expert speakers from the global music industry. Several US speakers will analyse the current and future state of online music in their country where the impact of the Internet is more advanced. Players in the British and European music industry can therefore see what opportunities and developments are just around the corner.

ILMC Unveils Conference Dates and New Team
Monday, 30 October 2000

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC The 13th) has announced that it will return to the venue for the 2000 event - the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London - on the weekend of March 9th-11, 2001. A new team has been assembled by ILMC organiser Martin Hopewell to produce the Conference and create both its discussion agenda and the series of social events that surround the conference sessions themselves. Conference producers for ILMC 13 are Alia Dann and Lynn Curtis, with Mike Lethby and Sarah James at Gasoline Media responsible for media and sponsorship. Registration and sponsorship details are available from the ILMC office on 0207 833 8998.

Osram Sylvania Online
Monday, 30 October 2000

Osram Sylvania has launched a new interactive website, intended to be an on-line lighting workplace for its commercial partners and end users. The company has created a virtual lighting community where visitors can get all the news they need, from information on products and industry trends, to specifically tailored promotions.

Presentation Services Launch E-Commerce Site
Friday, 27 October 2000

Presentation Services Ltd (PSL), the corporate and exhibition event specialist, has launched a new e-commerce internet site called PSL Direct. Visitors to the site will find everything from the latest video/data projector to plasma flat screen technology.

Hacienda Nightclub to be Demolished
Friday, 27 October 2000

The contents of the world famous Hacienda nightclub in Manchester - scene of early shows by Madonna, Oasis, U2, Take That, Boy George and the 'Madchester' bands - are going under the hammer at a unique auction for charity. The lots include the revered DJ booth and interior designer Ben Kelly's hazard-striped steel columns. The venue for the auction, which will take place on Saturday November 25 at midday, is the nearby Richard Conrad building. Viewing will run from 10am to 4pm on Friday 24 and from 10am to midday on the day itself. In addition to the auctioned lots, pieces of the dance floor, coloured tiles and even bricks from the building, will be sold off at nominal sums. All proceeds from the event will go to the Greater Manchester Community Foundation which works with disadvantaged young people in the city. New owners Crosby Homes are redeveloping the Haçienda site and two neighbouring buildings into apartments.

£15 Million Hampstead Rebuild
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

London is to have its first new producing theatre since the National Theatre opened in 1976. Hampstead Theatre has won a major £9.85 million capital grant from the Arts Council of England for a new landmark development, the total cost of which will reach £15million. The Theatre's currrent building, a portakabin erected in 1962 to last 10 years, is nearing collapse and work on the new venue, which will be sited close to the existing theatre, is about to commence. Designed by Bennetts Associates, the new theatre, which will open in late 2002, will be translucent, with an adaptable elliptical aditorium.

Dome Becomes Party Zone
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

The Ministry of Sound is to stage a 12-hour New Year's Eve Party at the Millennium Dome. The event will take place in the buildings around the Dome including the adjacent Skyscape structure dubbed by many the Baby Dome. Just under 40 DJs will be there on the night alongside chart act Artful Dodger. In preparation for the event, the Dome itself will close at 6pm on December 31 with a final performance of the Central Show.


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