This summer saw a free concert for 20,000 people staged in the busy heart of London. Mike Mann discovered that such a production has its logistical difficulties . . .
Before even thinking about the problems involved in bringing central London to a standstill, Star Hire’s Roger Barrett realised that the stage design for the Africa Day concert would have to be an unusual one: "We would normally have built a higher stage than this - but a major feature of the design was that the famous lions should be visible on stage." Two of the huge statues were incorporated into the stage, which was positioned just in front of Nelson’s Column, facing northwards towards the National Gallery. Flanked by the South African Embassy (who funded the entire event) and Canada House, the central area of Trafalgar Square itself also needed treatment. "One of the first things we realised was that the ornamental fountains obscure sightlines for a large part of the square," explained Barrett. "So we included 3,000sq.m of industrial flooring to raise the outer sections of the audience." This was the first rock‘n’roll outing for the Danco flooring system - a modular industrial system which has also seen service in Formula One pit areas.
The stage and audience flooring were delivered to Trafalgar Square by a total of 20 full-size trailers, each one bringing traffic to a complete standstill. In addition to this, a further three trucks for the security fencing, plus other deliveries for sound and lighting systems, meant that Londoners had to cope with
PLASA has completed the first phase of its major industry research project, which will provide PLASA members with an invaluable insight into their industry. As well as being able to estimate the global market size for professional lighting, sound, staging and AV products and services, the research also gives a very detailed picture of the market in the UK. For the first time, PLASA has information about the value of the product sectors, how fast they are growing and the size and growth of the various vertical sectors into which its members sell. The findings enable the Association to say some very precise things about its members collectively and the nature of the industry as a whole.
PLASA plans to repeat the exercise every 12 months, enabling it to build up ever-more accurate trend information. A quick flick through the 119-page report reveals that it estimates the respective size by revenue of PLASA’s four main product sectors: light, sound, AV and staging; gives growth figures for this year and next across the four product sectors; breaks the sectors down into sales and rental; includes information on revenue from the provision of services such as installation, design and servicing; sizes the target market sectors and indicates which are the healthiest and the fastest growing; includes information on average company size by staff, investment in training, R&D and marketing.
Members who took part in the survey will shortly receive a free 22-page copy of the overview, together with the opportunity to buy the detailed sections. Members who didn’t take part w
ESS Superstructure has secured a major contract to build a vast 2,500sq.m superstructure building for a high profile, blue chip corporate event. The contract is the first for ESS Superstructure following the recent formation of a joint venture between ESS Ltd and The Pure Group. An ESS Superstructure building will be used initially by HP:ICM, one of Europe's leading live communication companies, for a client event involving a global brand. Two thousand delegates are expected to attend a one-day management conference, which will be followed by an elaborate gala dinner to be hosted in the superstructure building. The huge aluminium transparent structure, which is 100m long by 25m wide and 11m high, is based in the grounds of Syon Park in west London. Managed by The Pure Group, the Superstructure will be available for hire as a conference and corporate hospitality venue, in conjunction with a second structure, also commissioned for the site. ESS Superstructure and The Pure Group are in discussion with other sites in London to provide fully-serviced building structures ranging from 900 to 3,000sq.m for conference and corporate hospitality events. Both businesses have been approached about numerous event activities during 2001, particularly between September and December. Tim Norman, director of ESS Superstructure Ltd, said: "This contract win underlines our capability to handle major events. London is suffering from a dearth of large-scale venues. ESS Superstructure is well placed to meet this current demand by providing high quality, fully serviced, custom built venues. T
Coe-tech Ltd has appointed FPD Savills to hold a two-day public auction/stock clearance sale to make way for the latest range of new Coe-tech products. The auction will take place at Coe-tech’s premises in Northampton on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 July 2001. It will feature over 3000 lots of all types of professional sound, lighting, AV and special effects equipment. Viewing day is Tuesday 24 July 2001 from between 9am to 4pm. The diverse array of equipment for sale will include intelligent lighting; moving head luminaires; discothèque lighting; architectural colour changers; theatre lighting including followspots, profiles and fresnels; trussing; video equipment - cameras, switchers and video walls; sound processing equipment; loudspeakers; power distribution and cables. For Further Information and catalogues, please contact: FPD Savills, 4 St. Peter’s Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2JG, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 115 934 8100 Fax: +44 (0) 115 934 8003.
Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd supplied its SS 15 12 mobile stage to the BBC for the Russell Watson at BBC Music Live concert, with highlights shown on BBC1 on Bank Holiday Monday to 3.7 million viewers. A sell-out audience of over 2,000 fans enjoyed the concert. The event took place in Leeds’ Millennium Square on Friday 25 May, and was the first seated concert to be hosted there. Leeds Council has invested in the region of £13million in the city centre event site, with facilities that include artists’ dressing rooms and hospitality area located beneath the stage area of the square.
The SS 15 12 stage supplied is the largest of Star Hire’s mobile fleet of stages, with over 175sq.m floor area, standing 12m high; it was flanked by its own PA wings, which supported a Wigwam PA system on this show. The time-frame for the event saw Star Hire’s staff, under newly appointed SS 15 12 crew boss Graham Drew, install the stage on the Thursday in just six hours, and more impressively, have it down and clear of the Millennium Square a mere 12 hours after the end of the show.
Performance Exhibitions Ltd has announced the launch of Performance 2001 - an exhibition including conferences, seminars and workshops aimed at the live performance industry. To be staged at the Newcastle Telewest Arena on 17-18 November 2001, the exhibition will bring together manufacturers, venues, producers and promoters, plus a complete range of associated services. Colin Rowell, director of ShowBlokes, whose vast portfolio includes production stage manager of The Tube, stage director for the MTV Awards and stage manager for the Brit Awards, recently returned to the North East, and is involved in live events in the area. He says: "I feel that this exhibition will offer companies a platform for exhibiting to a large audience. It will put the North East on the exhibition circuit where it belongs for this important segment of the industry." Over 1500sq.m of exhibition space will house exhibitors displaying the latest in lighting and sound equipment, staging, studio technology, special effects, transport, catering and support services.
The Production Services Association has made two announcements: the first is that John Jones of PCM has filled the remaining seat on the 2001 PSA Council. John is a long-time supporter of the PSA and through his company PCM has donated £10,000 to the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund since the Fund’s inception. PCM has also gained a reputation for being among the industry’s leaders in promoting training, with the PCM Motor Schools now well established. In a separate announcement, Keith Owen will now oversee the PSA’s new series of BTEC courses. The courses, which commence in June in Birmingham with the Production Technician Intermediate BTEC, will be expanded during the year to cover other disciplines. Owen spent 20 years at Light & Sound Design before spending 18 months at Loughborough College as the PSA’s representative for training. He is working for two days a week at BMS in Birmingham in order to kick-off the new range of PSA Entertainment and Events Industry BTEC qualifications.
PCM took its award-winning Motor School roadshow to one of Europe’s top staging companies. StageCo, in Belgium, recently. PCM’s Tony Dickson presented the Motor School which was attended by 15 StageCo crew, plus four technicians from VLPS Belgium. PCM were asked to do the school by StageCo’s safety advisor Louis Claes. StageCo’s stage and roof systems - rated as some of the best in the world - work exclusively with Lodestar motors. "So we called in the masters to show us all about the hoists," explains Claes enthusiastically. PCM’s Motor School is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the CM Lodestar hoist, and to familiarise owners, users and specifiers of Lodestar motors with the operational theory, design philosophy, safety aspects, internal workings and trouble-shooting methods of the product.
Claes commented: "The feedback we’ve had from everyone on the course was very positive. Those who were new to Lodestars found the tuition intelligible and easy to follow. The more experienced people found that it certainly added to their understanding of the machine." He adds that he was also impressed by PCM’s willingness to make the visit, to fit into StageCo’s hectic schedules and to bring all the necessary School equipment with them - making no demands on StageCo themselves apart from provision of the teaching space. StageCo are planning another PCM Motor School in the autumn for the benefit of their crew members who were unable to make this one due to working in the US on tours with N’Sync a
On the 25th April, Golden Princess left the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone and sailed to Southampton, the home of P&O, from where she later set sail on her maiden voyage to Barcelona. She will be based in Europe throughout the summer, before sailing the Eastern Caribbean in the autumn. The main lounge stage on board the Grand class vessel features a four deck high flytower, orchestra pit, large side stage areas and substage area with stage elevators. Many land-based theatres would be lucky to have the facilities provided. A major feature of the new ship is much improved personnel access in the flytower for maintenance of the rigging systems and the large amount of lighting equipment installed in the space. As part of the design process, Stage Technologies developed TanJent (patent pending), an innovative solution to guiding the flybars throughout the full travel of the bar. The flying system uses a variation of Stage Technologies’ proven BigTow winches with patented zero-fleet technology.
In addition to the flying system the main lounge on board Golden Princess includes two stage elevators, with infill covers, a series of cross stage tracks with rigid chain drive for moving stage wagons, a safety curtain, lighting trusses, curtain tracks, rain curtain and Austrian curtain. The automation system uses the latest version of Stage Technologies’ Acrobat console, together with Maxis processing power. The recently introduced Solo is also provided to provide portable handheld control of any axis. The aft lounge features a Juggler console controlling an assortment
Hosted by Jerry Springer, Channel Five’s ‘Greed’ hit UK television screens this month, as contestants battled to answer a series of eight questions heading for a total one million pounds prize money. Pearson Television, London, bought the worldwide rights for the winning formula of US-based Fox Television Network's 'Greed', first screened in the USA in 1999/2000. Since March 2000 it has been sold to 17 different countries, the most recent production being in the UK. It is already a hit in Portugal, Israel, Germany, Finland and Denmark, amongst others. Production company A1 Set was commissioned to design the UK set which features a bank vault, a safe door and deposit boxes alongside piles of gold bullion. A1’s Andy Walmsley, who also designed the set for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, commissioned Blackout Triple E to supply and rig three truss circles, 12m, 9m, and 5m in external diameter, from which 31 VL6Cs, 12 VL5s, five VL6s and four VL7s have been hung to provide the main lighting for the show. "The circular truss are silver and form the ceiling to the entire set - we wanted something that could be heavily featured as a central focus rather than concealed," commented Walmsley.
Mobil Tech UK has recently announced two exclusive distributorship agreements to promote and sell their products. Liverpool-based Adlite will be the main distributor in the north of England, whilst The Warehouse Ltd will be selling exclusively in Scotland from their Edinburgh headquarters and shortly from their brand new showroom in Glasgow. Both companies will be selling the complete range of Mobil Tech stands, trussing and accessories as well as the new range of lighting effects. As Mobil Tech UK sales manager Peter Stressing comments: "These agreements will allow us to concentrate our sales effort fully throughout the whole of the UK market. Adlite and The Warehouse will be able to promote our full range of products as well as providing a local focus point for customers in that both companies will be carrying a full range of products for demonstration."
This move has been prompted by the increasing popularity and growth in sales of Mobil Tech products, notably for stands such as the popular SP2TA and the 'Rolls Royce' of the stand fleet, the ALP5. Likewise sales of aluminium trussing are growing, notably for the 250 and 290 section trussing in triangular and box sections. Additionally, as a counter to the traditional lighting stand top section of 32mm, Mobil Tech UK are now able to offer a reducer from 35mm to 32mm that will enable customers to use Mobil Tech stands without necessarily replacing their stock of adapters in one go. Adlite can be contacted on 0151 486 2214, and The Warehouse Ltd on 0131 555 6900.
Theatres in London, Manchester and Brighton have become the latest in a growing number of performing arts venues to use a high-tensile wire grid system to deliver safe and easy access to high level lighting and sound equipment. In each case, the system specified has been Cablenet, a product designed and manufactured by Slingco Ltd, a family-owned company based in Rochdale and one that has virtually captured the market since becoming the first UK company to install a wire grid system just four years ago.
The last three months have seen contracts totalling over £150,000 completed with Cablenet systems being installed at the Brighton Dome Museum, Stratford Performing Arts Centre (SPAC) and the Zion Art Centre, joining a client list that already includes RADA, Bridgewater Hall and the Tron Theatre among its members. The Cablenet system consists of high-tensile steel cable woven and tensioned within a frame - like a tennis racket - to create a platform strong enough to carry the weight of lighting and sound engineers. The key feature is that these platforms are virtually invisible from ground level and cast no shadows from the stage lighting positioned above.
A typical Cablenet system is suspended from the roof using vertical hangers, Architectural features such as columns can be accommodated and the system can also incorporate sleeves to allow the movement of cable-suspended equipment as required. This versatility can be used to satisfy any space, shape or practical issues: the Brighton Dome installation, for instance, is doughnut-shaped with a large hole in the middle to
Following a reorganisation of its business, Playlight is hosting a massive auction next Tuesday, where literally hundreds of items will come under the hammer. On the lighting side these include a collection of lighting desks and dimmers, and just about every type of lantern and moving light under the sun. For special effects, there are smoke machines, mirror balls, projectors and ultra-violet systems, whilst on the audio side, a large stockholding of speakers, amplifiers, mixing desks and microphones will be auctioned. Rigging and trussing will also feature, as will a range of office furniture and general equipment.
The auction takes place on Tuesday 22 May in London at 860 Coronation Road, Park Royal, London and begins at 11am. All items in the auction can be viewed on Monday 21 May from 9.30am to 4.30pm and on the day of sale.
For a catalogue call +44 0117 930 4020.
Just days before previews commenced, Thelma Holt’s new production of Noel Coward’s Semi Monde had a weighty problem. The main scenic element, essentially a large hemisphere built of steel frame and plaster, remained resolutely on terra firma. Summit Steel effected a solution, but it was not just a question of the appropriate support. The set-builders had estimated a weight of 2000 lbs for the hemisphere, calculating that it would be flown by strapping eight counter weight fly bars together. However, when all eight cradles were fully loaded, the structure refused to defy gravity. "Fortunately, one of the production crew had worked at the Albery Theatre where we had solved a similar flying problem for that theatre’s production of Baby Doll," said Chris Walker of Summit Steel. "A frantic Monday morning phone call to tell us of their nightmare meant we were able to meet quickly with the Theatre owner’s consulting engineer and have a fully operational system up and running by Wednesday." Sighs of relief all round since the show’s first preview was that Thursday.
Once on site Summit quickly discovered the object in fact weighed 2.5 tons, more than twice the original estimate! They supported the set piece by static lines to a 10m by 4m box truss grid which in turn hangs by six electric chain hoists, rigged to spreader beams laid between the Theatre’s wooden beams. "The big problem is daily movement," explained Walker. "Due to the object being moved in and out for every show on a multiple point m
The Adam Hall group has announced its agreement with California-based RPM Optoelectronics to distribute RPM’s innovative new Racklight throughout Europe. Racklight represents a new dimension in glare-free directional focused lighting for rack cabinets. Technical advances incorporated in the ‘Racklight’ provide visually uniform, brilliant illumination unavailable in other products. The unique design of the UV-resistant acrylic light guide provides heat-free, concentrated light with no hot bulbs to handle or change, and is guaranteed for five years. Racklight illuminates one metre of rack space with cool, even light. Built with high quality materials around dependable solid state lighting, ‘Racklight’ is a safe and durable addition to any rack equipment, and is available in a variety of light source colours.
Frances Thompson has announced that she is leaving the US-based production industry web venture, Shoptick.com. Launched last year, Shoptick.com offers ‘e-business for show business’ with production resources including online inventory tracking and project management, product and manufacturer listings and crew resources. Thompson, who previously worked for US truss manufacturer Tomcat, was responsible for marketing at Shoptick.com. She told PLASA Media that Shoptick.com was in the process of downsizing in order to concentrate heavily on product development. The company’s Kansas City staff will now handle marketing as well as continuing to provide the level of service already established.
Touring, festival and corporate event lighting rental house Fineline have become the first UK stockists of Tomcat’s new Extra Heavy Duty trussing. Fineline’s initial purchase of nearly 300ft of the super-strength truss was prompted by the demands of a recent event at Westpoint Arena in Exeter for Warwick Corporate Events, for which Fineline constructed a complete 80m x 30m x 11m high pitched-roof tented structure within the Westpoint venue - using the new trussing to form the topmost span of the apex. The 80m run of Extra Heavy Duty served as the main truss run. Below that, further out from the centre each side were two runs of lighter GP trussing (also Tomcat), and below these - still further out from the centre - were two runs of Trilite lightweight trussing, at a height of approximately 4m. All three layers of trussing were bridled together with additional runs of Trilite for rigidity and stability. The complete superstructure was suspended by 24 Lodestar motors, and Warwick Corporate Events dressed the entire ‘box’ with drapes and starcloths and Fineline installed an impressive moving light rig of Martin MAC 500s and 600s over the dining area, plus Golden Scans over the dancefloor. Lighting design was by @lighting.
Fineline is now adding a Tomcat ground support system with a 4 tonne per leg loading capacity to go with the trussing and into their rental stock. The ground support will be in action in Geneva for a huge corporate event in the summer that requires 80 ft spans with a centre load in excess of 1 tonne. Fineline’s Darren Wring ex
Navigator Systems recently presented Pascale Lecomte of Britannia Row with a Harrods food hamper for taking part in a research and development project linked to the company’s Hire Track Eclipse rental management software. Britannia Row, which has been using Eclipse since 1999, was chosen at random from a number of companies who participated. Navigator will use the results from the findings to further develop the software.
AVW Controls has announced that Mark Brown, who joined the company as general manager in February 1999, has been appointed a director of the company. Born in Suffolk in 1964, Mark has worked in many engineering control disciplines including cranes and truck auto-electrics and in his new role will control the operations side of AVW, from the initial purchasing and manufacturing stage through to installation and commissioning, often to very tight schedules. Brown will also be responsible for the inspection and testing of equipment prior to delivery for a variety of projects, ranging from small pile wind hoists and revolves to much larger orchestra elevators, safety and house curtains and powered flying systems. "The projects we undertake at AVW are diverse, with recent projects I've worked on including the Thessalonika Concert Hall and Royal Theatre in Greece, as well as the Glyndebourne Opera House - I'm both excited and flattered at being invited to be an integral part of AVW, which is a relatively young, but growing, company," he commented.
Three European entertainment industry veterans have announced the formation of Ground Zero BV, which they claim to be ‘the first system integrator and show control specialist company in Holland’. The founders of Ground Zero are Sierk Janszen, Rutger van Dijk and Reind Brackman, all well known figures in the worldwide entertainment industry. The company’s main working area will be North-Western Europe and Spain.
Sierk Janszen has worked as applications manager at Avenger Systems in Belgium for the last six years after he had worked as a sound-engineer for several theatre-companies in Holland. Rutger van Dijk has been the manager of Vari-Lite Production Services Amsterdam since it establishment, before which he worked as technical production manager on many musical productions, Cirque du Soleil Europe and Focus Showequipment. Finally, Reind Brackman is the owner and founder of Beo (the Dutch Compulite dealer) and Trekwerk, a company specializing in automatic flying systems and their controls.
PLASA Media has been advised of a new service designed to draw attention to poor standards of work within the industry. If you see a 'dodgy’ structure being built, such as a truss or tower being put up incorrectly or fashioned from battered old bits of ancient origin, you can now report it via e-mail to the Institute of Structural Engineers. This service has been arranged for the Industry by Roger Barrett, MD of Star Hire and PSA Council member.
Following an assessment by an independent body, Total Fabrications Ltd (TFL) has been awarded the ISO 9001 Certificate. This award for quality is supported by Government, and recognized worldwide. "We’ve experienced an increasing demand for special project work across all our market sectors, both here and abroad," commented TFL’s managing director Chris Cronin. "Couple that requirement with the development of our unique safety product, the T2 trussing system, and the need for an internationally recognized standard became essential." The award recognizes the company’s commitment to high quality service. Readers will be interested to learn that only around 3% of UK businesses hold this certificate, thus TFL are now at the forefront of quality service and customer care. Peter Hind of TFL headed up the team that prepared the company for assessment, co-opting production manager Lou McDonald and operations manager Brendan Cusack onto the team.
Those masters of rock industry logistics, EST, are once more in the thick of the action over the summer season. Touring with a list of bands that reads like a roll-call of the top aristocracy of the rock music industry, the range of locations and number of vehicles involved is staggering. The tours are all major Arena and Stadium scale and are forecast to be the biggest gross-earning acts of the summer season. 16 of the familiar yellow and purple trucks will provide logistic support to Madonna’s European tour running from the 5 June until 12 July. A further eight trucks will provide transport for the Eagles, starting in Moscow on 29 May and finishing in Glasgow on 28 July. Another 16 EST trucks will accompany Bon Jovi’s European Tour which starts in Stockholm on 31 May with 16 more shows in locations as diverse as Huddersfield, Hamburg and Zurich before ending in Munich on 30 June.
On top of that, EST will also provide transport for Jethro Tull’s European Tour, centred mainly in Germany, plus trucking equipment to a major Conference of the World’s Ophthalmologists in Istanbul for Face to Face Productions. Last but not least, EST is providing transport for the Barcelona Motor Show in early May which will entail 35 trucking movements each way.http://www.ess-uk.com
Milos Structural Systems has announced that GES Exposition Services of Las Vegas debuted its new QuickTruss M290V inventory at the April 2001 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas. At NAB 2001, QuickTruss was used to build several structures including the pictured Banner structure that had 45ft tall towers and was 188ft in length. Another structure was used to carry a 3,400lb Barco LED wall. QuickTruss M290V is an 11 7/16" aluminum truss using 2" x 1/8" main tubing and 5/8" braces. It was selected by GES because of its quick connection system of solid spigots, pins and clips along with its versatility for indoor and outdoor use as well as being decorative or structural.