tube uk prepares for busy Manchester Festival
Thursday, 15 June 2017
tubeukAdam Taylor (left) and John Redfern - project managers from tube uk engaged in the MIF prep
UK - Manchester based audio specialist tube uk will be supplying a wide variety of audio systems to around 45 different projects and installations at the 2017 Manchester International Festival (MIF), which takes place in, around and all over the city from 29 June to 16 July.
The company - known for their fresh and inventive sonic solutions - has been involved since the first official MIF event back in 2007, and also two years before in a teaser event for the now biennial accessible-to-all arts festival which celebrates new works.
tube’s role in MIF has steadily increased over the years together with the sizes and scope of the Festival, and this year's projects will vary in length from five weeks (the longest including setup) to numerous one day pop-ups.
tube's Melvyn Coote will be overseeing all projects and collaborating closely with festival technical director Jack Thompson alongside a project management team of three - Adam Taylor, John Redfern and Dan Steele, plus a crew of 20 - 25 hand-picked regular freelance engineers and technicians.
All will be working 18 hour days, seven days a week for the duration of the Festival!
"It's extremely demanding," says Melvyn elucidating that his crew have been chosen for their calm personalities, ability to perform under pressure, sense of humour and being good communicators - as well as for their sonic skills!
All the kit that tube owns will be out - from the large line array systems to the small quirky install speakers - every, desk, cable and mic will be whizzing around Manchester, together with a small percentage (around 10-15 of the total) of cross hires - in a tightly coordinated operation featuring some mid-boggling logistics, including approximately 20 trips per day between the newly expanded warehouse in Openshaw and the city centre.
The efficiency of all this will rely on serious organisation in the warehouse, with kit often coming back in one day or evening and being turned around overnight to go straight out on the next job.
Amidst all this craziness, tube will continue to be servicing its regular clients and installations.
"In addition to meticulous pre-planning and detailing, we have to think fast, on-our-feet and be highly reactive, as things can and do come up at the last minute - such is the nature and excitement of raw new works and some of the unusual site-specific venues that become performance spaces for the Festival. Sometimes artists don't realise exactly what they need until they are onsite, so we build some contingency into all the calculations," explained Melvyn.
One of the most interesting venues according to Melvyn will be on the top floor in the Museum of Science & Technology where - amid the roof beams - is a hidden warehouse. This is the space chosen by Theatre-Rites to present the world premiere of their The Welcoming Party.
What if Women Ruled The World by Yael Bartana is another world premiere, staged at the charismatic Mayfield Depot, part of the former Mayfield railway station and will also be another one to watch.
This year, as Manchester stands united and strong in the face of the terror attack at Manchester Arena, events like MIF take on additional resonance, with the diverse, colourful and friendly city looking forward to welcoming a massive international audience with even greater warmth and enthusiasm.
(Jim Evans)

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