TPi #280 - Mar/Apr 2024

Page 88


A touring spectacle which lives up to the singer’s illustrious career on stage

F1 LAS VEGAS The creative and technical team striving to redefine pre-race entertainment THE PRODIGY The iconic outfit brings one of its most ambitious productions to UK arenas MADNESS
A multi-layered production highlighting the band’s vast back catalogue

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As the dust settles on yet another TPi Awards and the social media notifications begin to simmer down, it’s great to reflect on the event. In this edition of TPi, not are we going behind the scenes to spotlight the hard-working crew who made this evening possible (p12), but we have also recalled some of the key takeaways from this year’s awards.

First and foremost were the results of the individual categories, which saw a record-breaking number of female winners, as voted for by the industry. This clear message from the community inspired Alicia to take some time to interview several of the winners to get their thoughts on this noteworthy result (p120). Not only that, but this year’s awards saw the addition of the first ever sober table, hosted by Roadies in Recovery. Jacob joined them in solidarity on page 124.

We’ve received masses of positive feedback from the awards already. However, as Fran mentioned in our official write-up of the event: “We are completely open to making changes, and the event in its current state, is by no means the final format. As much as the industry changes over the years, the awards will change to reflect that to make sure the event is what you, as an industry, want.”

Congratulations once again to all winners and shortlisted companies and individuals. We’re so excited to welcome this year’s individual winners into the TPi Academy of 2025 as we begin another 12-month cycle.

Elsewhere in the magazine, Madonna makes a welcome return to our front cover. I was lucky enough to witness the queen of pop’s outstanding Celebration Tour for her last night at London’s O2 arena amid her UK run (p50). Meanwhile, Jacob took on coverage of both the F1 opening ceremony in Las Vegas (p62), along with Madness’ latest arena tour (p82). Alicia on the other hand got to enjoy rave icons The Prodigy’s spectacular production, which featured all the chaos and anarchy that you’d expect while paying a touching tribute to late frontman, Keith Flint (p72).

We also celebrated Eat To The Beat’s 40th anniversary (p100), as well as getting the inside story on staging specialist HOF (p108), in addition to spending time with SGPS/ShowRig’s Benjamin Lampman to discover more about the company’s brand-new European base (p104).

With the TPi Awards behind us, this marks the real ‘start’ of the year for us at TPi Magazine, with arena touring already in full swing. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of you out there on the road in the coming months and starting to get an idea of some of the people who might feature on the TPi Awards shortlist for 2025.

Also, not ones to shy away from a new venture, organisation is now kicking into high gear for the inaugural GTL Sessions, taking place in Mykonos on 14 to 17 May. If you are tour manager, do not hesitate to get in touch if you are keen on being involved with this event, which looks to unite those working in the live touring sector with service providers.

Until next time,

476 8360

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Digital Content Manager

James Robertson

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Marketing and Events Manager

Alice Clarke

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007 EDITOR’S LETTER Editor Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: Assistant Editor Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: Editorial Assistant Alicia Pollitt Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7508 441986 e-mail: Commercial Director Fran Begaj Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7852 336728 e-mail: Account Manager Matilda Matthews Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7413 555978 e-mail: Account Manager Phil Tucker Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7522 130473 e-mail: Account Manager Sheelan Shah Tel: +44 (0)161
Editorial Director Peter Iantorno Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637 e-mail: Chief Executive Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: Accounts Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: Mondiale Group Chairman Damian Walsh Graphic Design & Production Dan Seaton: Jez Reid: Cover Photo Madonna Photo: Kevin Mazur Printed By Buxton Press • Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Media Limited, Strawberry Studios, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580 Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456 e-mail: TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2023 Mondiale Media Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Media Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited United Kingdom. The 2023 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Media Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
Issue #280 March/APRIL 2024


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MADONNA An ambitious production, transforming arenas into the queen of pop’s personal playground 50 TPi AWARDS 2024 10 The full list of winners at the TPi Awards 2024. 12 Spotlighting the production and creati ve team behind the event. 26 Discover the companies taking steps to becoming sustainable. 34 Rock-it Cargo delivers with the US’ first eATA Carnet. EVENT FOCUS 38 TPi Magazine returns to ISE with the Live Events Summit. 40 Video Design deploys Brompton for Bring Me the Horizon. 44 Urban Audio hits the road with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. 48 Entec celebrates 30 years with The Bootleg Beatles. PRODUCTION PROFILE 62 F1 LAS VEG AS The creative and technical team endevour to redefine pre-race entertainment. 72 THE PRODIGY The iconic outfit and their crew return to the touring circuit with their biggest production to date.
production spotlighting
band’s era defining back catalogue.
94 TPi Magazine joins Women In Live Music’s latest backstage tour. 98 Luminex and Riedel outline the virtues of networking at events. IN
100 Eat to the Beat commemorates 40 years of business. 104 SGPS/ShowRig opens new European base.
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108 Dennis Klostermann underlines HOF’s commitment to innovation. PRODUCTION FUTURES 112 NRG (Next Robe Generation) shines at the TPi Awards 2024. GEAR HEADS 116 Midas introduces HD96 AIR. FEEDBACK 118 The industry selects nine female winners at the TPi Awards 2024. 120 Tour Manager Ollie Horner talks life on the road with Busted. 122 Roadies in Recovery create TPi Awards’ first sober table 126 Syncronorm unveil its latest Depence R3 offering. BACK CHAT 130 SGM Light’s Jason Osterman. 12 40 72 62 82 124 ROXX GmbH | Cologne/Germany Hall 12.1 | Stand D58 Come by and see the new S1 at THE CLUSTER SERIES






























With the industry gathering to celebrate another successful 12 months of the live touring industry, TPi spotlights those responsible for making this memorable event possible.

Words: TPi Photos: Joe Okpako

A show doesn’t just happen – it requires building blocks that fit together to create something amazing. It was this thought that was bounced around the heads of TPi Commercial Director, Fran Begaj and Marketing and Events Manager, Alice Clarke when speaking to the longstanding production duo – Ryan Esson and Jess Webb of Go-To Live. Fast-forward to February 2024 and the result was one of the most complex stage designs ever seen at the TPi Awards with projection mapping, integrated scenic elements, and striking content on LED screens all wrapped up with a striking lighting design. With brand new host Emmanuel Sonubi holding down MC duties for the evening, some of the biggest names within the live events sector descended on Battersea London –formulating the crucial building blocks that make this industry what it is.

Along with pushing the production values, the TPi Awards 2024 will go down in history for several other reasons. With more female winners than ever before [see p120] through to the event being the selected destination for the pilot run of the first-ever transatlantic electronic ATA Carnet [p34] and, Roadies in Recovery hosted the event’s first-ever sober table [p124].

“There was so much happening under the surface and in the background to improve overall experience of the TPi Awards,” reflected Begaj. “From changing the voting process to strengthen the validity of the awards and open

the categories up to shine a light on individuals and companies that might not normally get a look in through to working with Roadies in Recovery to make the event more accessible for all the attendees – the feedback of which has been amazing.”


However, before a single guest crossed over the threshold of the venue, a team of hard-working technical and creative suppliers worked for two days to put together the production. This year some returning faces included video suppliers 80six with the support of Epson, INFiLED, PSCo and Disguise. Providing content was Observatory. Meanwhile, lighting was once again overseen by Robe with the support of the in-house Encore team who helped install the lighting systems while also providing venue support services for all those on-site. Meanwhile, scenic was provided by ATOMIC Design. Holding down audio was Sound Of Music with the support of NEXO.

Also on site was Blackout providing draping with Spartan Crew and not forgetting TRUCKINGBY Brian Yeardley for event transport. Lastly, adding some sparkle and fire to proceedings was BPM SFX.

“The production was fantastic,” reflected Begaj. “Coming up with new themes and ways of engaging the audience is a difficult task. We are lucky to have such strong production partners who work seamlessly together to realise our

The TPi Awards 2024 host for the evening, Emmanuel Sonubi.

vision. When coming up with these ideas and suggestions for the set and stage design, we try to include all the key stakeholders. It is their products and solutions which we showcase so it must be a collaborative effort.”

Begaj praised the support of the suppliers and wider production team. “It is such a difficult job to put on THE Awards event for the live events industry and our suppliers truly give it their all. Headed up by our Production Manager, Ryan Esson and Event Coordinator, Jess Webb – the mutual respect all of our technical and creative suppliers have for each other and their commitment to the awards is nothing short of incredible.”


The underlying theme this year of the ‘building blocks’ and the icons representing each of the categories and areas of the industry led to some truly eye-catching content, referencing classic videogames like Tetris.

The Observatory team, led by Simon Harris and Ben Sheppee, once again toiled away crafting these looks to be used on the show. “The goal was to develop the branding and stage in a way that contrasted previous ceremonies,” commented Sheppee.


“We identified core elements that make the show feel like an industry event and selected iconic objects to highlight the heart of the Award show. From there we looked at several concepts around ‘puzzle’ systems to illustrate how different parts of the industry fit together to deliver on large shows,” he noted.

“What set this year apart was our involvement from the early stages of the process, participating in the initial creative discussions,” commented Harris. “Working closely with Fran and Alice to establish a distinct narrative, imperative for the most effective result, allowed Observatory to contribute both our creative insights and technical expertise to the project. Fran initially introduced her concept of industry building blocks, which we then collaboratively developed into a visual style applicable not only to the awards show’s visual content but also to the entire campaign, including the website, social media elements, email footers, and more.”

Harr is was also keen to share his thoughts on the importance of the Awards in the company’s calendar: “The TPi Awards holds a significant place in our calendar, and this year, more than ever, it resonated with my personal sentiments about the industry. Witnessing an abundance of amazing technology seamlessly orchestrated by talented and hardworking people reaffirmed the enduring ethos of ‘the show must go on’.”

Prov iding the video hardware to display these looks was 80six. Dan Hamill, Co-founder of 80six, commented on the company’s

involvement: “The TPi Awards was a triple celebration for us – marking our fourth year of involvement in the production, our first double awards nomination and our ninth business anniversary. A winning night for us and for the international touring industry!”

80si x handled all the video elements of the production, from the LED set-up to cameras, video control and projection mapping. The technology employed included INFiLED ER 3.9 LED panels for all the screens across the venue, Brompton Tessera SX40 LED processing, Disguise VX4+ media servers, and four Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K G2 systems. “We also integrated ten Epson projectors mapped to the set to transform it into a dynamic display,” added Hamill.

“Wit h projection mapping taking centre stage at this year’s TPi Awards, PSCo was pleased to support the show by supplying eight Epson PU2220B 20,000lm 3LCD laser and two PU2010B 3LCD 10,000lm projectors and lenses for the main stage which were double stacked to map on to the extruded surfaces,” added Tom Allott, PSCo Rental Manager. “It was a spectacular use of projection creating a unique canvas for an unforgettable experience.”

The team from Observatory also commented on the introduction of projection mapping to the event: “Bringing mapping to the main stage was an exciting endeavour that naturally unfolded,” mused Harris. “Initially, we didn’t set out with the specific intention of implementing projection mapping; however, it organically emerged as

the most suitable solution for enriching the visual narrative of the stage. Sheppee furthered: “Projection mapping sections of the stage allowed us the opportunity to break the superwide stage down into several parts and bring it to life in a dynamic way. The projection mapping gave the illusion that the stage had more depth, which has previously been filled with giant flat banks of LED.”

Daniel Tomlinson, Project Manager at 80six, added: “Having recently joined the team at 80six and jumping straight into the deep end with the TPi Awards was an interesting and rewarding challenge. The production was complex given the narrow timeframe. We had to synchronise the set build and LED wall installation as much as we could. It was a collective effort with all the 45 suppliers going the extra mile to make it into a success. Our team really pulled out all the stops, a special shoutout goes to Rich Porter who stayed on site until the early hours before the show to align the projectors with the set surfaces.” In addition, AED provided the all-important video screens that displayed the table plan for the event.


ATOMIC Design provided all the scenic elements surrounding the main stage, notably the white cubes, which were utilised by Observatory and 80six for projection mapping. Additionally, ATOMIC contributed to the scenic decor in the auxiliary areas of Evolution London, including illuminated columns at the entrance



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and suspended decorations over the main bar area with content playback provided by Hive.

Feli x Nuyten, Director of Modular Solutions Europe at ATOMIC, expressed satisfaction with the design outcome. “This was a home run from a design point of view for us,” Nuyten commented. “Whatever we built on stage served as the backdrop of our product, utilising different shapes, connectors, and panels in various configurations.”

Set design and custom fabrication are ATOMIC’s specialties, with a focus on modular systems that require no tools for assembly, allowing for efficient packaging and a striking visual impact. ‘Pack small, play big’ is the mantra for their flagship line, SuperLever, which features connectors with rubber levers for easy assembly of square panels into walls.

Additionally, they introduced the lectern, showcased at the TPi Awards – and scheduled for mass release in May – as a rentable solution that folds for convenient transportation.

Reflecting on the TPi Awards experience, Nuyten remarked: “It’s been a super positive outcome; we’ve had a lot of good encounters at TPi Awards. It was a wonderful team with partners, suppliers, and professionals at the top of their game.”

He noted the international presence at the event, highlighting encounters with clients from Germany, Dubai, and France. The ATOMIC team

present at the event included Rob Barber, Chief Creative Officer (US); Ben Huder, European Account Manager; and Oliver Schulz, Installer. Beyond the US and Germany, ATOMIC is poised for further growth and the UK market is one of its main priorities. The TPi Awards show was an ideal platform to showcase their versatile collection of modular systems scenery. Nuyten says ATOMIC’s creativity is like its branding, “out-of-this world.”


Robe supplied an array of over 200 fixtures for the event, with Nathan Wan – Robe Lead Creative Designer – taking on the role of Lighting Director. Collaborating alongside Associate LD, Andy Webb; Programmer, Jordan Tinniswood, and Robe Exhibitions and Production Manager, Tomas Kohout, the team also included seven NRG (Next Robe Generation) students [p114] from various UK colleges.

At the entrance of Evolution London, nine of Robe’s new iBOLT fixtures showcased versatility as a modern alternative to traditional outdoor searchlights, forming a geometric pattern with eight iBOLTS surrounding a central fixture to infuse colour and texture into the venue’s façade. Control over these fixtures was executed by NRG’s Ben Oakey, utilising an Avolites Tiger Touch II console. Upon entry, attendees were greeted by the

renowned TPi Awards bar, illuminated by LEDBeam 350s and PAINTES. Operated by NRG’s Clara Sousa-Shaheed using an Avolites D9-215 console – the lighting design aimed to set the mood with an edgy yet unobtrusive ambiance, ensuring a conducive environment for socialising. “The key is for lighting to be mood setting and a bit edgy, but not distracting,” Wan remarked.

Webb curated the music in collaboration with TPi Magazine, using stings and sound effects reminiscent of 1980s and ‘90s video games. The visual aesthetic featured video projection onto ATOMIC panels, offering a refreshing departure from LED walls and aligning seamlessly with the retro theme. Precise lighting control was paramount to contain light spillage and enhance the projection experience.

Employing an all-Robe rig, Wan skilfully recreated iconic PAR can and ACL moments alongside contemporary production looks.

Four ‘light trees’ adorned the stage area, each constructed from raked four-metre trusses and rigged with a combination of LEDBeam 350s, TetraXs, and Tetra2s to provide dynamic lighting effects.

Strategically positioned across the set panels were 20 PAINTEs, contributing to aerial effects without cluttering the floor space. Additionally, 30 iFORTE LTXs illuminated the room and added ambiance to the black-


tie dinner, with an additional eight fixtures deployed for specials and front coverage. Audience trusses, adorned with Spiiders and iFORTE LTX FS fixtures, provided depth and visual interest, complemented by MDG theONE units for atmospheric enhancement.

Wan previsualised the lighting using Capture software and programmed on an Avolites D9 console, alongside Webb, facilitating seamless execution on the night, with Assistant LD, Harley Roebuck of NRG, overseeing the main show lighting operations.

Incorporating cutting-edge technology and

expert craftsmanship, the lighting design transformed the event space into a captivating and immersive environment, enhancing the overall live experience.


BPM SFX set the event ablaze with eight G Flames set up at the entrance of Evolution London, energising proceedings for those in attendance. SFX Technicians, Phillip Mathew, and James Manning, ensured flawless execution and safety protocols throughout the setup and operation. A further 10 team

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Some behind the scenes shots from the work areas of Robe, Sound of Music, 80six and Observatory at Evolution London.

members from BPM SFX were in attendance as the company scooped the Favourite SFX Company mantle for the fourth time consecutively, and fifth time in total. “We were proud to be onsite at the TPi Awards not only as attendees but as supplier sponsors,” Liam Haswell commented. “To be recognised by our industry peers is a phenomenal achievement, one which we are all very proud of. We look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of special effects and pyrotechnics for live events in 2024!”

The G Flames were set up alongside the parked TRUCKINGBY vehicles alongside the Phoenix Tour bus and Vans for Bands sprinter that transported the TPi team to and from Strawberry Studios in the north of England to Evolution London.


This year, there was a greater focus on the audio offering – mainly thanks the two standout Sennheiser microphones customised by Costume Designer, Perry Meeks, who has worked for the likes of Lady Gaga. These two microphones were part of a trial run on a new Electronic Carnet process overseen by headlining sponsors Rock-It Cargo [p34].

Look ing after this precious cargo along with the NEXO PA was Sound of Music. The entire Sound of Music team were return visitors to the TPi Awards having worked on the event in different iterations.

FOH audio was mixed by Toby Chevis. System

“Something I take away from the TPi Awards each year is just how much people love the event. They love getting together and seeing people they may not have seen all year. It’s just such a beautiful representation of what a community the industry is.”
TPi Commercial Director, Fran Begaj

Technicians on the show were Mike Burwood, Ben Williamson, Joe Turton and Bailey Ward, while RF duties were overseen by Dan Speed. The main audio room audio system was delivered using NEXO GEO-M12 line array, deployed in five strategically positioned hangs. The main left and right comprised of five M1210 and on M1220 with a centre left and right hangs of two M1210 and a M1220.

Delay left and right hangs came in the form of three M1210. Low frequency was reinforced using 12 GEO-MSUB18 in a sub-array formation under the stage. The front-row tables were covered by NEXO eight P8 and four P12 from the P+ Series solutions. All loudspeakers were

driven by NEXO NXAMP MK2 digital controllers. Audio was mixed on an Allen & Heath dLive S5000 console at FOH with the DM48 MixRack at the stage end of the multi fed into NXAMPs via a Dante network. “RF was entirely Sennheiser for the show,” commented Sound of Music Owner and Director, Sash Pochibko. “The new EW-DX systems worked extremely well while the rock-solid G4 IEMs handled presenter comms. Presenter audio from the lectern was captured using Audio Technica ES925ML18 microphones.”

The TPi bar area and Robe’s VIP areas had their own discrete audio which were also mixed and processed from the dLive console.

TPi AWARDS 2024 022

“The bar audio reproduction was delivered effortlessly by four P+ Series P12 and four ID24 compact point-source loudspeakers flown above the bar, four GEO-MSUB15 added low frequency reinforcement for the after-party,” stated Pochibko.

P12 point source with L15 subwoofers relayed main room audio and after-show disco onto the mezzanine, while ID24 point source over IDS110 subs covered the VIP areas. Again, all were powered from NEXO proprietary amplification and processing.

Sound of Music also supplied a complete GreenGo digital communications system for the full production team across all departments. “The flexibility of having so many discrete communications channels while also providing access to sub-grouped user channels where necessary, makes fast-paced and high-profile events like the TPi Awards a breeze,” commented Pochibko.

“It was great to work with Ryan in the role of the Production Manager,” reflected Pochibko. “It’s great that he’s too proactive and invested in the Awards and always wanting to make it better each year.” Pochibko was pleased to make several new introductions to those there on the night. He elaborated: “I had a great

evening, an opportunity to meet some new people and made some new contacts including some from more obscure bits of the industry from insurance brokers and those working on apprenticeship schemes.”


With all the awards announced, the nearly 1,800-strong attendees made their way through the main room to the bar to continue the celebrations well into the early morning. “Something I take away from the TPi Awards each year is just how much people love the event. They love getting together and seeing people they may not have seen all year. It’s just such a beautiful representation of what a community the industry is. There is still so much space for growth within the awards and we hope that the changes we make are all for the better but of course, some things work and some need adapting,” closed Begaj.

“My message to the industry is that if you have any feedback on what you would like to see change with the awards, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are completely open to making changes and the event as it is now by no means the final format. As much as the industry changes over the years, the

awards will change to reflect that, so we need the feedback – the good and the bad – to make sure the event is what you, as an industry want.”

The industry now has a solid year to recover from this year’s event but rest assured that the TPi Awards will be back again in 2025. Until then, we’ll be gathering this year’s new Academy and inviting the 2024 winners to put forward their picks for the industry’s most loved awards evening.

024 TPi AWARDS 2024


With WICREATIONS bestowed with this year’s Green Award, TPi delves into how the company is steadfast in achieving UN green targets and spotlights the hardwork of those on the 2024 shortlist.


WICREATIONS is dedicated to achieving UNapproved green targets by 2025, recognising sustainability as an ongoing commitment.

Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, WICREATIONS embarked on a journey towards sustainability, revamping its communication approach and undergoing digital transformation.

Since 2020, WICREATIONS’ engineers, creatives, and programmers have been hard at work developing the WIMOTION ECOSYSTEM, a 360° open-source software solution for automation, enabling 3D pre-visualisation and cloud control from anywhere. In September 2021, the company joined the three-year UN Sustainability Program, supported, and audited by VOKA, the Belgian Chamber for Entrepreneurs, aiming to implement actions across various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the first year of the programme, WICREATIONS successfully executed 12 actions spanning 10 SDGs by February 2023. Now, in its second year, the company is focussed on enhancing product safety, reducing its CO2 footprint – expanding its rental offerings through recycling and refur bishing materials, and supporting non-profit charitable organisations.

Internally, WICREATIONS has established a dedicated sustainability team and is committed to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels through initiatives such as installing LED lighting and

solar panels and transitioning to e-invoicing. The company has also launched awareness campaigns and initiatives to encourage sustainable practices among its employees –including promoting alternative transportation options and implementing additional water buffering systems.

Acknow ledging the challenges within the energy-intensive live entertainment industry, WICREATIONS understands the importance

of gradual progress towards sustainability. Despite the complexities and time constraints inherent in its field, the company is committed to transitioning towards a circular model with increased recycling and reusing of materials.

For more information on WICREATIONS’ sustainability efforts, interested parties can contact Sustainability Coordinator, Maarten Smits or visit the company’s website below:



Claire O’Neill, the co-founder of A Greener Future, has been involved in multiple green initiatives including the Green Artist Rider with Paradigm Agency, which has now been introduced to artists and tours worldwide. Her efforts have encouraged the industry to delve into sustainability processes that include calculating emissions and finding more sustainable ways of operating. Through AGF, O’Neill and the team have set up training courses to help industry professionals begin their journey into becoming more environmentally friendly.


BeWunder is committed to both sustainability and ethical production practices and has serviced its clients across the Middle East and Europe with its environment consciousness standards, which has seen the introduction of a green policy across the company’s global offices. The teams have seen sustainable training sessions, environmentally conscious merchandise decisions, maintaining its policy of remaining 70% paper-free, reducing single-use plastics and reducing food waste within its offices. Importantly, BeWunder also participates in multiple charity and donation drives focussed on sustainability.


DiGiCo has been invested in lowering the carbon footprint of live touring through its overarching environmental policy that was implemented in 2018. The policy covers the design of upcoming products and the newest to partake is its Quantum 852 console. The creation of the Quantum 852 console reaps the benefits of being developed with reduced weight to minimise transport and emission costs, reduced power by minimal heating in the console, and a longer lifespan with continual firmware updates while also supporting the EU WEEE for recycling.

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KB Event embraced 2023 as its year for commitment to sustainability. Partnering with Showcase, with the objective of raising awareness to the urgency for the industry to utilise HVO Biofuel [see TPi #275].

Managing Director, Richard Burnett also joined the panel of A Greener Tour Round IV, in which he engaged in discussions about the sustainable solutions available.

2023 also saw the company launching its new sustainability policy, collaborating with Bolsover District Council, which led to the EIC report, and partaking in a round table on Green Skills to further share experiences in implementing sustainable practices into its business model. KB Event saw uptake on HVO Biofuel in tours and events by Yungblud, The King’s Coronation and Imagine Theatre’s full pantomime schedule.


In the development of its latest line array, L-Acoustics wanted to further its capabilities by reducing its environmental impact. A part of the L-Series creation included material savings which resulted in an impressive 56% less paint, 30% less wood and 60% less steel. L-Series clocks in at 30% less volume and 25% less weight than its predecessor; being smaller in truck size significantly reduces fuel usage and diminishes L-Acoustics’ carbon footprint. With sustainability high on its radar, L-Acoustics also recently partnered with Soundsupply to create a recycling solution for older models and has reduced power through its LA7.16.


Pearce Hire aims to revolutionise the way power data is measured and collected so that productions can determine load profiles from venue to venue. Having identified 29 variables that provide insights into energy consumption, the company is now aiming to enable a power system that reduces emissions and is adopting new technology to make its work more sustainable. In 2023, Pearce Hire’s data was used on the festival All Points East which reduced engine size and introduced battery units where viable.



Having been involved in Coldplay’s groundbreaking environmentally friendly tour [see TPi #276], PixMob has become enthusiastic about sustainability. Since being involved in the 2022 stadium tour, PixMob has continued to provide LED wearables but committed in 2021 to never use new plastic again and has introduced free recycling at all shows its products are involved in. In 2023, PixMob distributed a total of 2,884,450 wristbands to fans, of which it successfully recollected 2,450,000 after the show. This achievement contributed to a 47% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to Coldplay’s previous stadium tour.



Powersoft has remained committed to conserving energy, an initiative set up by its founders, and at the forefront of its energy efficiency is Powersoft’s Power Factor Correction and Class-D PWM technologies, which have reduced the environmental impact in the AV industry, including low power consumption, lighter amplifiers, low heat dissipation and operating temperature and overall lower carbon emission. Recently Powersoft has been involved in Las Vegas’ Sphere and Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.


After the birth of Reclaim Audio Founder Andrew Bishop’s granddaughter in the summer of 2023, he knew he wanted to make a change environmentally to provide a safer world for her to grow up in. Bishop’s change came to fruition when he built a new brand intending to have a positive environmental impact and a community impact and thats where Reclaim Audio was born. The company pledge has seen every component of its loudspeakers be sourced within 200 miles of where it is assembled, while also saving raw materials from going to landfill.


Rock-It Cargo is proud to have achieved California Green Business status recognising the company for its compliance with environmental regulations. Rock-it Cargo is a founding member of the Music Sustainability Association and has also partnered with the Jack Johnson programme, and the SmartWay Program as well as founding its own GCL Green committee where representatives across its brands identify key sustainability issues. GCL Green Committee also has a partnership with the non-profit organisation TreePeople, based in LA, which powers local communities to grow a greener, more water-secure city. As a global firm, travel was an essential focus for Rock-It Cargo’s sustainability initiatives. The company has partnered with Sustainable Travel International to offset a portion of transportation shipments and employee travel.



The logistics specialist spearheads the US’ first eATA Carnet to deliver two unique packages for the live entertainment industry’s favourite night out….

Rock-it Cargo issued and processed the first US digital ATA Carnet (eATA Carnet) for a time-critical hand-carry shipment for the TPi Awards – ferrying two very special packages from John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, US to London Heathrow Airport in the UK where TPi Editor, Stew Hume was on hand to collect.

This eATA Carnet was used to ship two special Sennheiser microphones, designed by Emmy Award-winning Costume Designer, Perry Meek, that where then used at the TPi Awards at Evolution London. The microphones were hand-carried to the UK by Rock-it and will be returned to the US after the awards.

“We’re thrilled to launch the official test phase for eATA Carnet processing in the United States,” said Declan Daly, Chief Operating Officer for the United States Council for International Business (USCIB).

“With the help of our partners, including US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the

International Chamber of Commerce World Chamber Federation (ICC WCF), our service providers, and Rock-it Cargo, we’ve taken a crucial and excit ing first step to finall y bring the ATA Carnet into the 21st Century.”

USCIB chose Rock-it Cargo to pilot the eATA Carnet because it is one of the largest ATA Carnet users in the US, with global experience in moving time-critical freight for the live entertainment and TV and film production indust ries, which are highly dependent on ATA Carnets to ensure the show goes on.

The ATA Carnet, often referred to as a “passport for goods,” is an international Customs document that permits the temporary, duty-free, and tax-free import of commercial goods. ATA Carnets are essential to the success of live event tours, as they provide the ability to clear Customs in over 100 territories expeditiously and efficiently, to make sure production equipment and gear arrive on time and ready for the show.

TPi AWARDS 2024 Rock-it Cargo’s VP of Risk Management & Business Affairs, Amanda Barlow with TPi Editor, Stew Hume and Rock-it Cargo Managing Director, Chris Palmer. The microphones being processed at John F Kennedy International Airport.
Photos: Joe Okpako / Rock-it Cargo

“Like other legacy paper processes, if the ATA Car net does not modernise and become a digital solution, then touring artists and other traditional ATA Carnet users will no longer experience the positive benefits from using ATA Carnets” said Amanda Barlow, Vice President of Risk Management and Business Affairs, Rock-it Cargo. “We are grateful for the forward-thinking efforts of the ICC WCF, USCIB, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and other ATA Carnet guarantee associations who have created the digital ATA Carnet solution, and for their tireless efforts to achieve the implementation of the eATA Carnet across all accepting Customs administrations.”

Rock-it Cargo joins fellow GCL company, Dynamic International, in spearheading the digital transformation of the ATA Carnet. Dynamic International processed the UK’s first eATA Carnet at London’s Heathrow Airport in 2022.

The two bespoke microphones, after they were used during the TPi Awards made their way back to the US to complete the eATA Carnet but one microphone will then be delivered back to Strawberry Studios in Stockport where it will be proudly displayed in the TPi office.

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For the third consecutive year, TPi Editor, Stew Hume brings together experts from the live events sector at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) to discuss some of the latest technological developments within industry.

Since 2022, the Live Events Summit has provided a space for meaningful discussion about the dynamic, fast-paced, and everevolving world of live touring and events at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). This year, TPi Magazine welcomed several esteemed guests to provide an insight into the corner of the events industry.

Sponsored by zactrack, the Live Events Summit kicked off with a special presentation by STUFISH Entertainment Architects’ Ray Winkler. During his talk, he explained how the STUFISH team go about creating the designs for some of the world’s biggest shows – taking an artist’s original idea and turning it into something magical.

From there, the conversation headed skywards – figuratively – as Celestial’s John ‘JP’ Partridge discussed this burgeoning world of large-scale drone shows and how he and

his team had brought this new technology to events including The Secret Garden Party and the Eurovision Song Contest [see TPi #276].

After a short break, the Summit delved into the world of audio as it welcomed famed FOH Engineer, Phil Wright, Martin Audio’s Dom Harter, and Karno’s Adam Pierce. Wright highlighted the ever-changing workflows and approaches of a modern-day sound engineers; Harter noted Martin Audio’s latest developments in the field, while Pierce shared the guiding principles behind Karno’s latest release, Sepia, which provides engineers with an alternative solution to live effects [see TPi #279].

From audio to video, the Summit welcomed Nigel Sadler to the stage. Following his recent announcement as the newest members of Hive. During his session, he spoke candidly about the changes within the wider video landscape

and some of the solutions Hive are now offering to the industry. What followed was a special presentation by zactrack. As well as a realtime demonstration of how its tracking system works, zactracks’ Aria Hailey shared some case studies of how the product has been used, most notably, on Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show.

In closing, Lighting Designer, Cate Carter; Vari-Lites’ Luke Edwards, and MA Lighting’s Daniel Kannenberg shared their thoughts on some of the latest lighting developments within the sector, and what the future might hold.

Enthused by the Summit’s reception, TPi Magazine is already contemplating how to expand the event for 2025. Stay tuned for updates, as exciting discussions are underway to make the Live Event Summit even more substantial than ever before.

Photos: ISE


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Video Design and Bring Me The Horizon rely on Brompton Technology processing to showcase futuristic content to sold-out venues across the UK and Ireland.

On the brink of releasing their first album in five years and celebrating their 20th anniversary, Bring Me The Horizon kicked off the first set of gigs for the NX_GN WRLD TOUR with a sold-out run in the UK and Ireland. The tour integrated an ambitious, futuristic video and lighting design that comprised an arenaapt 500-panel LED display with processing from Brompton Technology

Video Design was tasked with the supply and implementation of the tour’s visual design and after working with the band and its production team for many years the company has won its kudos in the industry with an extensive client list that includes Take That, Stormzy and Coldplay.

“Not onl y is this tour promoting the band’s new album, it’s also an anniversary year for them, so we were asked to create their most awe-inspiring display yet, something to suit the scale of an arena and festival stage,” Alex Leinster, Founder of Video Design explained. “Video Design was responsible for supplying and managing the screens, processing, and camera package. With a fast-paced, highly

technical, large-scale production such as this, it was crucial for us to use the top brands to ensure the best quality and reliability. That’s why we specified ROE LED screens coupled with Brompton Tessera processing.”

Nominated for a number of BRIT, NME and Grammy awards, and selling over five million albums globally to date, the multi-platinum quintet has played sold-out arena shows in over 50 countries, as well as recent headline slots at Reading & Leeds and Download Festival. Aiming to reach their fan base across the globe, the new tour is in support of BMTH’s anticipated new album POST HUMAN: NEX GEN, which is due for release later this year.

Video Design selected a ROE CB5 Visual Carbon LED screen, split into two large screens central to the stage and configured in a V shape to envelop the audience. Managing the main video content, they are flanked by two smaller portrait IMAG screens as outer panels. The creative content is displayed on the main central screen with the IMAG fed from live camera footage, all managed by the LDs at FOH. Powering the screens are four

Brompton Technology 4K Tessera SX40 LED processors, along with six Tessera XD 10G data distribution units , with two feeds running on a closed loop to provide full redundancy.

“In my opinion, this screen and processor combination is now industry standard, as it offers excellent quality, power, and guaranteed reliability due to Brompton’s redundancy capability,” noted Leinster.

“These d ays, we always run our systems in that configuration for a live show. Obviously, additional units require increased investment, but it also means peace of mind for us and the client. In our view, it is about doing the job properly, not necessarily simply.”

Video Design plans to use Brompton’s Hydra system to perform dynamic calibration on its existing stock of ROE CB5 screens to enable HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability for the next leg of the tour. The upgrade will offer greater image depth, maintain image uniformity, and deliver greater levels of brightness and colour saturation. The company also plans to invest in further CB5 panels, which will be HDR ready. “We’re really excited

Photos: Video Design

about the screen upgrades and are keen to see the results that HDR and dynamic calibration promise. Brompton continually raises the bar,” added Leinster.

BMTH are setting their sights on seven headline arena shows across Australia in April, followed by an appearance at the second edition of Las Vegas’ Sick New World metalcore festival later that month, before hitting the European festival circuit, including headline slots at Austria’s Nova Rock Festival, Czech Republic’s Rock The People, Belgium’s Graspop Metal Meeting and Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival.

“With such a large-scale, technical show and a demanding schedule, Brompton’s built-in redundancy and other safety factors, alongside its incredible image delivery, make it the natural choice,” Leinster concluded. “The software interface is really simple to use, and the support that comes with the products is second to none. Brompton is leading the way in processing; it is a great system and always our go-to on live productions.”

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Following a run of sold-out arena shows, TPi speaks to Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ audio crew and technical supplier, Urban Audio, to reflect on their experience.

Ending 2023 with a sold-out UK arena run, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds production team called upon Urban Audio to provide both PA and control for the tour. As the dust settled on the campaign, TPi caught up with some of the key members of the audio team to get their take on their latest outing with the band.

Our first stop was Dan Lewis , Technical Director of Urban Audio as well as FOH Engineer for the show. Lewis has a long history with Noel Gallagher, having been a system tech for Oasis in the early 2000s as well as mixing them for the band’s final six months. He eventu ally found himself back within the fold of the High Flying Birds , mixing the band for the past 10 years or so. Having provided control for several years for this latest run, his company Urban Audio also supplied the complete PA –an L-Acoustics K1/K2 system to be precise.

“Urban Audio is not as well known within the touring market,” admit ted Lewis “We do work with a few touring artists such as the likes of Paul Heaton, Jacqui Abbot t and Ian Brown, but most of our work is in the corporate and dry hire markets.” The nature of the company’s corporate working is very ‘white label’, meaning

Lewis and the team don’t always get to shout about some of the work they do despite their sizeable stock of PA and control. “It can be a bit frustrating as we often want to showc ase the work we have done,” added Managing Director of Urban Audio, Warren Fisher.

“In recent times we have done some incredible projects that invol ved some intricate audio design with our L-Acoustics system. That said, the ability to cross from corporate to rock ’n’ roll very easil y is one of our unique selling points. Due to our work in the corporate setting, we always keep our equipment in great condition, which our clients working in touring reall y appreciate. It’s somet hing we’ve really noticed over the past 10 years with the increasing demand from the touring side to expect better-maintained equipment.”

Both Lewis and Fisher also mused about some of the changes they had noticed in the live events market and with the proliferation of smaller, independent audio suppliers in the industry. “There are several of us who are working at a certain tier in the market that are not necessarily fighting for that top five to 10% of big arena tours , but we can still offer

that same attention to detail,” stated Fisher commenting on the more bespoke service that Urban Audio supplies, down to the company’s fabric ation depar tment where it manufactures it’s own flight cases

Fisher was also keen to praise the relationship the company has with Core Pro Audio – the seller from which it has purchased several of its L-Acoustics and DiGiCo products from. “We’ve had a long personal relat ionship with Tim and Joe from Core, and it’s great to suppor t independent ventures like theirs. We really value the fact that when you pick up the phone, one of those two will answer.”

While Lewis looked after FOH duties, choosing to continue mixing on his trust y Midas ProX, holding down monitor world was Steve Weall His desk of choice was a DiGiCo Quantum 338, passing on mixes to 16

channels of Shure PSM10 00 IEM’s and a small complement of d&b audiotechnik wedges on the stage

Systems Engineer, Jake Rober ts spoke of some of the demands that came for this tour.

“The PA brief was evident from the beginning,” he began “Ensure excellent coverage


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throughout some of the UK’s more challenging venues while also mitigating the low-mid and sub feel onstage. Considering we’d come up against the likes of Leeds’ First Direct Arena and Glasgow OVO Hydro, we felt like we would benefit from carrying a more K2 for the main hangs, allowing for greater flexibility but still leaving plenty of clarity and headroom in the system to deliver an impactful show.”

The production opted for eight K1 over eight K2 for the main system, resulting in “excellent coverage and achieving sufficient line length without worrying about issues with sight lines,” according to Roberts.

To mitig ate low mid onstage Roberts opted to fly eight K1SB at the sides of the mains, thus gaining extra side rejection, control and further enhancing the onstage experience without compromising the mix out front.

Continuing the theme of keeping low end away from the stage, ground subwoofers took the form of two stacks of three high KS28s in a cardioid configuration per side. On top of the subs there were A15 wide and focus to fill in the gaps, along with six Kara II looking after lip fill duty in the pit. For sidehangs 12 K2 were arranged in multiple configurations all carefully designed to not cause sightline issues to the IMAG screens. The close working relationship

between Urban Audio and Show Designer Rod Clay meant that all those 3D interfaces between audio and video and lighting had been worked out in advance using a combination of CAD and L-Acoustics Soundvision. This meant that on show day the minimal number of changes needed to be made.

The tour also opted to carry a delay speaker system to supplement the main and side arrays in larger venues. “In some shows, we ran up to four hangs of eight K3 to guarantee that even the furthest seats in the venue got the same experience as down on the floor,” stated the System Engineer. “To keep sight lines as clear as possible and minimise cable length to each delay hang, we deployed a flown three-Way LARack per side hung from the cable bridges.”

Roberts waxed lyrical about Soundvision which played a “key role in optimising the system each day.” He continued: “It gives me confidence that it’ll deliver what was predicted further enhanced by using auto filters. The ability to explore the venue and check for any issues with sight lines is also something I use regularly and now with the camera functions available I can recall quickly if I need to discuss somthing with any of the other departments.”

Amplification took the form of 48 LA 12X fed with AVB, using multiple LS10s along

with analogue feeds for redundancy. At FOH there were two P1s in matrix mode handling all system inputs and outputs. “Having the P1s available also allowed me to utilise M1 during the tuning process, keeping the noise in the room to a minimum and maximising efficiency when taking multiple simultaneous measurements,” explained Roberts. “Having this data available within M1 and being able to manipulate it offline without exciting the room and taking further measurements again is so beneficial. It saves a lot of time and enables me to make much more informed decisions and once aligned it’s just fine tweaks and personal taste from there.”

The rest of the audio team on the road was made up of Monitor and Stage Technician, Dan Speed; PA Technicians, Sam Cook and Matt Wickens, and Delay Technicians, Matt Benton and Jack Davis. “We were really happy with the tour, and it was a great project to work on in the run up to Christmas,” concluded Dan Lewis, who alluded that there may be more touring and live projects in the future for the Urban Audio team. “We’ve expanded rapidly over the past few years and we’re looking to cover more areas in the future.”



Entec celebrates 30 years on a long and winding road with the famed tribute act.


this was the end

the year that witnessed the tragic summer passing of co-founder and partner, and original ‘George Harrison’, Andre Barreau. “It’s hit us all hard and I miss Andre so much, as we all do,” said Neil Harrison who, as ‘John Lennon’, founded the band with Andre in 1980. “He knew The Beatles’ history with forensic detail and was able to direct the authenticity of the costumes, the video content and the music with absolute precision.”

At a time when the tribute band market was non-ex istent, the Bootlegs’ ascent began in pubs and small clubs, and rose as headliners at the London Palladium where roller blind-type drapes indicated set changes. “It was all very Heath Robinson,” recalled Harrison. “That was the point at which Entec came in, and they’ve been helping us to realise our production dreams ever since.”

Entec’s arrival in 1993 roughly coincided with that of Raj Patel, the Bootlegs’ affable

company manager. “I don’t see Entec as an entity outside of the Bootleg Beatles’ umbrella because they’ve outlasted every other supplier we’ve hired, and that record will never be broken,” Patel said.

“One of the biggest changes over the years has been to specify moving LED lights for things like key lighting, that were previously handled by conventional fixtures,” Lighting Designer, Fraser Elisha said. “They inevitably require much less truck space and set-up time.”

For 2023’s September-October run, the band travelled with Entec Lighting Technician, Leo Tierney and a back truss of Ayrton Eurus, Elation Dartz 360 and Martin Professional MAC Aura XBs in addition to each venue’s house rig. The production expanded for the preChristmas tour as the Bootlegs played a range of larger UK venues with Rich Hoxley joining Leo as his ‘number two’.

“We are now carrying a front truss with Martin MAC Viper Profiles and Martin Aura XBs, plus additional washes,” Elisha explained. “The

Auras give us a nice wash and we’ll look for other options to add an extra something.”

Other fix tures among Entec’s kit for the December tour included a return for the Eurus, along with full-colour ROXX Cluster B4s, Showtec Vintage Blaze 55s, StageBar2s and a range of spares. Fraser piloted an MA Lighting grandMA2 lite on the road with a back-up at hand. “It’s probably the most frequently specified desk in the world means that you can find one anywhere, and that’s sometimes a huge advantage when we play abroad.”

According to Harrison, the team works with a finite array of songs and costumes but gives each tour its own subtle flavours. “We shuffle the pack and often theme the show around an album anniversary,” he explained. “We’re keen to inject appropriate video content when those events arise, and that’s another way of keeping it fresh.”

Andre Barreau’s quick mind and encyclopaedical knowledge of The Beatles informed many decisions, according to Elisha. “Andre had a back story for every song, and it was very interesting to learn the reasons behind some of the lighting moods that he wanted. When we get into the last section, with Abbey Road and Let It Be, beams play a big part in the stage look.”

Fraser’s responsibilities have recently extended to managing the video content. “I used to spend a day or two in Entec’s Northolt warehouse with Andre to programme the Catalyst files and making notes on cues. With his passing, I’ve taken this onboard myself,” he commented, praising Entec. “I’ve always had a healthy relationship with Entec. Noreen [O’Riordan, Entec Managing Director and Head of Lighting] couldn’t be more helpful if she tried. If I ever want to look at a new piece of kit, she goes the extra mile to accommodate me, and it’s always a friendly, open house.”

O’Riordan concluded: “We are proud to support The Bootleg Beatles. Their attention to detail is contagious, and everyone who works on the show develops the same enthusiasm and sense of privilege. We look forward with pride to the next 30 years!”

Bootleg Beatles wrapped up 2023 by touring the UK, painfully aware that of


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With the remit of celebrating the queen of pop’s entire career, Madonna’s large team brings together a very ambitious production – turning arenas around the world into her own personal playground and bringing a modern edge to her legendary back catalogue.

Words: Stew Hume Photos: Kevin Mazur

Working at TPi, we’ve become accustomed to the privilege of getting early access to venues on show days before the doors are open to the public, walking around some of the biggest stages while interviewing the hardworking working crews that put them together. However, as I dropped by The O2 at the end of 2023 and was greeted by Madonna’s Production Manager, Chris Coffie, who swiftly took me up onto The Celebration Tour’s stage, I can honestly say I’ve never stood on anything quite like it. Returning for their fourth Madonna tour design, with a massive stage set designed by STUFISH Entertainment Architects and a mega lighting rig designed by Rob Sinclair that sprawled out onto a good proportion of the venue floor, this was certainly a production that lived up to the expectations of celebrating the career of one of pop music’s biggest stars.

After a tour, TPi stopped by the office of Production Director, Mike Morobitto. Having worked with Madonna for almost 20 years, he is well versed in how her productions go from the initial planning stage to a tangible performance. With conversations about the show starting back in June 2022, the wider team spent the rest of that year pulling together an initial plan for the set and lighting and ensuring some key personnel were in place.

Although there were several familiar faces brought back from Madonna’s past touring campaigns, there were a few new names to the crew roster including Production Manager, Chris Coffie. “Chris and I have worked together

a lot over the years,” stated Morobitto, outlining how he and Coffie divided their workload. “As this show continued to grow in the planning stage, it became clear we were going to need a few people to cover different areas. Chris can deal with a lot of the day-to-day duties while I can oversee a lot of bigger picture elements as well as keep a dialogue with the venders who I have the relationship with.”

Despite having the bird’s-eye view of the tour, Morobitto has a very hands-on approach to the show. “I deal with Madonna a lot as there is a familiarity, having worked on several tours over the years. I have a version of her mix on my own IEMs and I’m out on the floor during the sound checks and the show, so if she needs anything either I or one of her close team can aid her,” he revealed. “The role varies from tour to tour, but Mike and I constantly check in to ensure that all jobs are taken care of,” reflected Coffie. “It’s working well.”

In terms of suppliers, the production put its faith in TAIT for staging, PRG for scenic props, along with Czinkota Studios for additional props. Solotech supplied lighting and video, while Eighth Day Sound supplied audio with Light Initiative supplying additional LED elements and Strictly FX providing lasers and flames. Beat the Street, Phoenix Bussing, Fly By Nite, Rock-It Global, Delico Catering, and Fourth Generation were also on board.


“The show is a living, breathing archive of Madonna’s life,” began Lewis James, Creative

Director, describing the original concepts of the production. “We spent almost a year developing and creating a narrative through multiple iterations slowly carving out a plateau for the music and four decades to speak.”

With Madonna’s career spanning many cultural eras, James spoke of how they struck the balance of paying tribute and giving all the classic songs a fresh look. “It was important that the show was accessible to the fans while also exploring a clean way of presenting four decades of music in a way that was expressive and engaging. The stage developed with Ric Lipson of STUFISH, lends itself very well to this, the architecture is clean and stripped of any noise. Greys, metals, large avenues, blocks, and surfaces allowed us to play much more with space, dance, and light to recreate scenes from Madonna’s history. Fans could find themselves inside of Danceteria or perhaps Paradise Garage depending on where they were in the arena, using the stage as somewhat of a moving timeline.”

When it came to the wider creative team, James stated that the build-up had been slightly different from previous Madonna tours.

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Artistic Directors of Movement, creating elaborate pieces for songs like The Beast Within and Ray of Light.” James was also keen to complement the work of the other “incredible choreographers” including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet.


“All told, we have around 200 people out on the road with us,” stated Coffie, while going into some of the finer details of the giant production. “In Europe, we have 40 trucks and there are around 14 hours from when we mark out to being show ready.”

With so many intricate parts of the stage set, there was only one version of the show that was to then be sent all over the world. “We have an A and B rigging rig,” explained the PM, who spoke of how the two rigs leapfrogged one another, allowing the rigging team to get into the venue ahead of the rest of the production.

Sitting alongside Coffie in the Production Office, surrounded by schematics of some of the upcoming US venues was Head Rigger, Art McConnell. As well as being responsible for everything hung from the roof, McConnell explained how his position was far more allencompassing due to the size of the stage. “As well as the rigging, I’m also helping the team

come up with floor seat layout,” he explained. “Every space is used and it’s very intricate how we get everyone in.”

McConnell went on to highlight the advantage of starting the campaign in Europe. “You get slightly more width in each venue. Now we’ve got into a good flow, we’ll be all set to move into the venues in the States and the hockey arenas that are slightly thinner not to mention the additional hassle of working around scoreboards.”

The Head Rigger stated how the flown rig was 165,000lb on 162 points. Solotech provided all the motors for the show with McConnell’s own company, AMG Rigging, providing a load cell system on the road.

“It’s such a solid product and I trussed my own equipment, so I knew from the beginning, I’d be bringing it out with me on the road,” he stated. As for his local rigger calls, he explained that he generally calls with 24 up and 12 down, and he expressed his happiness with the bettering situation in multiple territories when it came to getting locals compared to the years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total, there were another five riggers aiding McConnell. “We all handle different elements to ensure everything runs smoothly,” he noted. “Vlad Kim is my second rigger and he’s the

Production Director, Mike Morobitto; Production Manager, Chris Coffie; Head Rigger, Art McConnell; Lighting Director, Ben Marks; Media Server Programmer; Andréanne Fine Lafrance; FOH Engineer, Burton Ishmael.


person out on the floor so I can be planning for the next show. He’ll also stay behind with the production if I need to travel to the next venue for the pre-rig.”


The stage was created by TAIT in collaboration with STUFISH Entertainment Architects. The structure had several integrated stage lifts including a rounded multi-level stage with integrated lighting. During the show this element rose to reveal two tiers that revolved individually to create what many of the crew referred to as ‘the cake’. On the automation side, TAIT provided the system to create the automated lighting structures as well as the performer flying gantry.

The gant ry in question took the form of a rectangular frame, which the singer would step inside and take her to another quadrant of the show. Also involved in this specific element of the show was PRG Projects, which also helped in the creation of the ‘doorway frames’ within the circular tiered stage elements with pixelcontrolled LED lights and illuminated crosses. LED elements on the outer edges of the stage by Light Initiative added the finishing touches to the staging.

James added: “Staging the different scenes and automation to work together in a synchronous way was perhaps one of the key challenges, when you are staging sometimes 16 people on a rotating tiered stage, preparing for the next scene with the under-stage moves they will have to do to get to the next place in time. It seems straightforward on the surface but there are a lot of small moves by the crew and team to

be able to coordinate and prepare for these on a production of this scale.”


Speaking to many of the crew about the lead-up to the tour hitting the road, it seemed to have more in common with a theatre production than your standard rock ’n’ roll show as Madonna and her close team developed ideas and concepts over a long period, which Morobitto referred to as “workshop”.

He elaborated: “This all took place in Brooklyn, with the goal of getting together a bunch of creatives and some of the key dancers. The whole process is very theatrical, and she always wants there to be a lot of movement and cues in her shows as well as utilising a lot of high-tech equipment. There have been a few times over the years where we were one of the first productions to bring a new piece of kit out on the road only for it to then be adopted by other productions in the preceding years.”

The Celebration Tour was no exception, with the production team harnessing motion capture and AI technology for one noteworthy moment during the show. To learn more, TPi headed out to FOH to meet Andréanne Fine Lafrance, Media Server Programmer.

During t he song Bedtime Story, the singer set out to the far C-stage on the set, which then rose up, presenting a four-sided cube. Madonna then lay on the top of the cube with her image being captured live and then superimposed into content, which was then mapped onto the side of the cube.

“To achieve this look, we are using an AI background replacement with the Notch effects

that were built for this show,” commented LaFrance. “It is probably the most challenging four minutes of the show and there are always different factors you have to consider each day, but we made it work.”

One thing that was immediately noticeable was the heavy use of projection. Solotech supplied numerous Barco UDX4K32 projectors to map various video surfaces – notably, TAIT Roleos roll drop screens spanning the left and right catwalks.

“One of the main reasons I took on this job was because I love projection,” enthused LaFrance. “I enjoy something that is challenging and tricky and it creates another dimension to the show as opposed to just working with an LED back wall.” According to the Server Programmer, given the sheer amount of data –from the content to all the tracking information through to the TAIT Roleos – Disguise was the clear media server brand of choice. “It was the best system to integrate all the video, mapping data and Notch effects.”

Solotech Video Crew Chief, Maxime Dube Morais, was a fellow projection enthusiast: “The Barco projectors have been holding up really well on the road,” Dube Morais said. “I used to be a projectionist and I’m used to working with Barco products. I really appreciate the modularity of them.”

Dube Morais gestured to the racks of Disguise gx 3 media servers powering the show: “We’re receiving a lot of information for the automation department, but the Disguise servers can handle all the information and it’s been working really well.”

In total, there were seven gx 3s with a single


gx 2, which was only for redundant use.

At the rear of the stage, the video team also handled a large rear LED wall, comprising ROE Visual Vanish V8T LED panels. “We have one or two moments where we are using the transparent effect of the Vanish, which is why it was the panel of choice,” stated Dube Morais.

Having worked on the singer’s previous Rebel Heart tour, Video Director, Bertrand ‘Bert’ Pare compared his experience this time round. “She’s never really done this 360° style show before, so we had all these new angles to work with. From the outset, she explained she was looking for something quite ‘cinematic’,” stated Bert. This very much informed the video department’s choice of cameras and equipment, which included the Ross Furio track-based camera system, enabling the team to create movement with the sweeping shots as the dolly moved down the catwalk. Other cameras utilised during the tour were the Panasonic AK-UC4000s, AW-UE150s and the LUMIX BS1Hs. “There are several times where I’m producing either double or triple cuts making me feel like an octopus across my

desk,” he chuckled. “There are a few moments where we’ve even automated the cuts to make it slightly easier but for the most part it’s all done manually as you want to react to how the dancers are moving that day.”

In total t here were 10 camera operators on the production. Bert explained how he kept in contact with the team on communications throughout the show. “I find it’s a good way to stay in the zone as a director and means you can continually know what is going on.”

Before leaving Bert, he outlined his favourite moment of the show. “We are using one of my personal cameras on this production – a Digital Bolex D16. There are not a lot of them out there and Madonna loved it as it very much looked like an antique set piece, and it can produce a real cinematic 16mm feel. I also really enjoy some of the creative looks that have been achieved with just a wireless GoPro.”


Lighting Designer, Rob Sinclair collaborated with STUFISH Entertainment Architects; Stage Directors, Jamie King and Tiffany Olson and

Creative Director, Lewis James. Overseeing the show’s lighting design from day to day was Lighting Director, Ben Marks.

“This was my first time working on a Madonna production although I’d worked with Rob previously on Vampire Weekend,” explained Marks. “It’s a really interesting lighting rig as the set has so many unique elements, such as the flying box,” stated the LD, commenting on the set piece that carries the star from one area of the set to another.

He also ex plained the fact that the show was an almost in-the-round performance that required a lighting rig that could cover her from multiple angles.

“The main workhorse fixture of the show is the Ayrton Khamsin,” explained Marks. “They make up most of the rig from the FOH truss as well as down to two main catwalks and in the square pod above the centre of the stage. There are also several Khamsin on a curved truss upstage.”

Also on the rig were GLP JDC1s, FR10s and impression X4 Bar 20s for some “eye candy” looks, according to Marks. Upstage there were


four ladders that held five Robe MegaPointe fixtures with additional units used on the upstage floor. Around the front of the stage and the egress there were several Robe Spikies.

One of the notable moments of the show was the reveal of the upstage ‘cake’ that emerged from the mainstage and was used during Like a Prayer. “Within the cake we have a layer of Martin Professional VDO Sceptron 10s,” stated Marks. “Then for the Halo truss the main fixture used is the GLP X4, along with the Robe Spiider.”

Other effects during the show made use of the transparent nature of the rear screen, with SGM P10s that strobed behind the surface.

To keep the singer in the spotlight, the production opted for a Follow-Me tracking system. “As it’s essentially a 360° show, we needed to cover her from all angles, so we have spots littering the house with five out front, two on the sides, on the spine of the truss with another three upstage,” stated Marks.

“No matter which way she is facing, we can hit her with light.” There were two operators working on the Follow-Me system with one on her constantly and the other fluctuating between special guests such as Bob The Drag Queen or her daughters that made appearances during the show.

Marks also spoke of the relationship he and the projection team had to have to ensure both the elements of the show looked their best. “It’s quite a delicate balancing act,” he explained. “We’ve had to work very closely with the video department so that we are not walking on

each other. We’ve even shared some physical space with the projectors up on the side of the arenas with our followspots.”

Marks closed by giving his thoughts on the team provided by lighting supplier Solotech: “What is great about this crew – both with the lighting and the video side – is that they all know each other, which makes it a much more friendly environment and the workflow is much easier. The same team is also staying together for America along with the entire set. We’re not leaving anything to chance.”


Looking after the SFX deployment for the tour was Strictly FX, having been brought onboard in early 2023. For the tour the company provided a full laser rig of 57 units and a custom flame rig of three flame bars. Alongside the equipment were a team of four including Laser Technician, Zach Whistler; Flame Technician, Brad Saunders, and Operator Tim Secrest. Overseeing the team was Crew Chief, Scott Eales. “The SFX has a lighter load on this tour compared with other departments, so load-ins and -outs are fairly problem-free,” he commented. “However, during the show, we deploy our three custom flame bars, and run all our safety checks in two minutes, which is an impressive moment for us.”

The Crew Chief went on to give his personal highlight from the show. “It’s got to be our lasers thanks to an amazing design by Macy Rupp. She knocked this show out of the park. My biggest take away from this project will

Above: The video team comprising Loïc Caron Adam Notman, Olivier Tremblay, Kenny Kightlinger Jennifer Cruz, Maxime Dubé Morais, Carmen Cayce, Bertrand Paré, Kester Thornley and Andréanne Fine Lafrance. Opposite: Audio Crew Chief, Frank Peoples, Monitor Technician, Rogerio Bammann and Monitor Engineer, Matt Napier.

be the tour family. It’s rare for a tour of this size to have such a strong bond across all departments, but we have become one unit.”


“Madonna discovered me after she came along to one of our Post Malone shows,” said FOH Engineer, Burton Ishmael, explaining how he found himself mixing for The Celebration Tour. “One thing I have learned about working with her is that she is never confused by what she wants – she’s always 100% sure. When she saw our show with Post, she decided that was exactly what she wanted for her mix for this tour and that’s what I’ve delivered.”

After being brought on, Ishmael began conversation with Musical Producer, Stuart Price who “kept him on the right track sonically” before creating his control setup for the show. “I’ve got a similar concept that I had on the Post show, but I’ve got a few more textures on this setup. For example, I’ve made use of the Empirical Labs FATSO, which enables me to emulate the tape from her earlier era of recording.”

Ishmael mixed on an Avid S6L. “I use the console to blend all the inputs but then all the bus processing is done in an analogue world,” stated the Engineer. “Digital can sound a bit sterile for my taste and I like to create the ‘mess’ with outboard electronics. Any plug-ins on the digital side are very minimal.”

For PA, the team went for L-Acoustics, again mirroring the brand used on Post Malone’s past tour. Talking through the system

was Frank Peoples, Audio Crew Chief. “We’ve got an L-Acoustics K2 system with KARA II down fills then for the 270 hang we have Kara II as well,” began the Crew Chief. “It’s very similar to what the team had on Post Malone with the idea being to keep the energy off the stage.”

This design meant that the audio team were able to keep Madonna’s microphone off the PA. One change from the Post camp was the omission of down fills for the central pit area due to weight loading with the production, instead having KARA II hung under the stage. “For a show of this size, K2 was the right choice,” mused Peoples. “K1 was going to be too heavy and was not going to work with everything else going on in the rig.”

The audio crew comprised 10 individuals including the two engineers. Once again handling the PA requirements was Eighth Day Sound, which has served Madonna’s production since 2006. “Eighth Day Sound have always done a great job and they know this tour’s specific needs,” commented Monitor Engineer, Matt Napier.

Having mixed monitors for her for 19 years, Napier regaled TPi with his experience on this latest landmark production. “For this show, my desk is at the back of the stage on stage left along with the playback team,” he explained.

“We have a c amera feed so we’re able to keep an eye on what is going on. Madonna every tour approaches slightly differently but she’s always very methodical and wants everything dialled in from the first show, so everything becomes second nature.” Jerry


Harvey Audio Sharonas were Madonna’s IEMs of choice, with wireless transmission coming from Wisycom. “We went onto Wisycom back in 2019 on the Madame X Tour,” stated Napier. “Back then we had 100 channels of wireless and the switch made a difference as they are very good units.”

Having to deal with the wireless on the tour fell into the remit of Monitor Technician, Rogerio Bammann. The production deployed d&b audiotechnik M4 wedges to give good coverage for all the performers. “We’ve also used several of the small S4s to help in the stair areas and down the walkways, with the goal of creating as much even coverage as possible,” stated Peoples.

As for the microphone of choice, the singer again utilised Sennheiser – this time a 6000 model with a 435 capsule. “She has always used Sennheiser,” stated Napier simply.

Lastly, the Engineer gave a quick overview of his monitor setup. “I’m on a DiGiCo Quantum 338. There is not a huge amount of channel inputs as it’s a playback-heavy show, but when you include all the talkbacks it’s around 80 channels.”


Keeping the show on the road throughout the run were Fly By Nite, Phoenix Bussing and Beat the Street. Fly By Nite supplied 40 trucks for the production. “We’ve worked with Chris Coffie and Mike Morobitto several times over the years,” stated Fly By Nite’s Matt Jackson. “With a tour of this size, successful delivery comes down to the expertise of the lead driver and as such we had Phil Linfield who has worked on numerous large scale shows including Beyoncé in Summer 2023.”

Phoeni x Bussing’s Andy Gray also spoke to TPi about the collaboration with the tour. “Phoenix handled all the logistics for the tour and then we split this between the Phoenix and the Beat the Street fleet, with Phoenix providing seven crew buses in 16-berth configuration and Beat the Street taking care of A party and B party with four buses.” Gray added that with

the multiple show dates, it made it easy for the drivers to get the required legal rest breaks for the two long journeys – Stockholm to Barcelona and Lisbon to Paris. “The crew flew, and the buses travelled empty and met them when they arrived,” he revealed.

“As a Live Nation tour, it was great to be working with Tres Thomas again – having worked with him previously for Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. It was the first time for me working with Mike Morobitto and Chris Coffie and it was a great experience as they are seasoned veterans. Doing all the pre-planning with Mike was so easy that the tour just flowed. All of our drivers really enjoyed the tour and said that it was a great crew and atmosphere.”

Follow ing TPi’s visit to The O2, the entire stage and crew had their eyes set on America, where they would be continuing the run until the end of the year. “All the moves have gone really smoothly with Rock-It,” enthused Coffie. “But that’s down to the extensive planning months ahead of time. After COVID-19, it’s amazing how much more complicated things have become, from the availability of planes to the time it now takes to ship.”

Speaking about some of the challenging moves for this project was Shelley Barcello and Vince Goode of Rock-It Global. “The move from London to Brooklyn in December was very tight with little room for error,” Barcello stated. “It required 40 truckloads in the UK, four 747-charter freighter planes and 36 truckloads in the US not to mention countless labour and logistic planning hours.”

Goode continued: “A great team was built in Liege with Jackson Hill of Rock-it London and Lennart Thys of Rock-it Belgium working together to build the majority of the complex lower deck positions with efficiency. With the oversight and guidance of Kevin Roach, Tony Chirino, and Tommy Crick, there was an opportunity to educate the next generation of logisticians to charter work.

Rock-it compiled a team of wisdom, good work ethic and youthful ‘can do attitude’ to build four 747’s in less than 12-hours.” Another

key challenge Rock-It had to overcome was finding the most cost-effective way to move the gear in and out of the European Union. In some instances, its team only had 24-hours door-to-door to get a shipment from New York to the EU. “It is testament to our established network of local experts that we never missed a deadline,” enthused Barcello.

“The Madonna production team was a joy to interact with the whole way through,” they concluded. “They were very punctual and answered questions to the best of their abilities. As logistical issues arose, such as finding the correct H.S. codes and arranging deliveries to venues, Madonna’s crew responded promptly to make the process run even smoother. Rock-it and Madonna’s production crew worked together as a team through the entire project.”


Incredibly theatrical with more intricate choreography than even the best the West End has to offer – not to mention a true showcase of some of the latest innovations within the live touring sector – the Madonna The Celebration Tour certainly reaffirmed the star’s ability to set the bar when it came to a live performance. The Celebration Tour continues with dates in the US and concluding in Mexico in April 2024.




Set against the backdrop of the iconic Las Vegas Strip, the FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX enlists the expertise of creative and technical experts to create a benchmark opening ceremony.

Words: Jacob Waite Photos: Getty Images, Las Vegas Grand Prix Inc. and PyrotecnicoFX

The FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX Opening Ceremony presented by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) marked the first pre-race spectacle of its kind, with a level of creative technical sophistication never seen before in the rapidly developing world of motorsports. TPi tracked down the creative and technical production team responsible for the undertaking to discuss how they made it happen and reflect on the trials and tribulations associated with staging an event of this calibre in the ‘entertainment capital of the world’.

In the grand tradition of Las Vegas spectacles, the opening ceremony kicked off the Grand Prix weekend with performances by Andra Day, Bishop Briggs, J Balvin, Journey, John Legend, Keith Urban, Kylie Minogue, Steve Aoki, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Tiësto,, among others, and garnered an in-person crowd of nearly 30,000 attendees –who enjoyed the performances from the Wynn Grid Club, Paddock Club, Skybox, or Heineken Silver Main Grandstands.

The vendors roster featured Brian Burke Creative (show creation, direction, and executive production), DTI Productions (technical production), DX7 Design (lighting design), Drone Stories (drones), ER Productions (lasers), PRG Las Vegas (scenic, lighting, sound, and video), PixMob (crowd visuals), MPLUSPLUS (LED flags), PyrotecnicoFX (fireworks), STUFISH Entertainment Architects (production design), Silent Partners Studio (video content), eighteentwentysix (event production services) and Mediatech (broadcast production). The starting grid was transformed

into a visual marvel with dancers and charttopping artists performing atop seven high-tech mobile LED stages. To create the show, the creative team drew inspiration from Las Vegas’ rich entertainment history and the clever use of stagecraft, technology, and scale the city provides, raising the bar to help redefine the landscape of F1 entertainment.

“We wanted to demonstrate the best that Las Vegas has to offer,” Brian Burke explained. “It was an honour to lead the team for the city and the thousands of entertainers who come here and provide spectacles for the community – however, trying to encompass that in a 30-minute window and create a show that extended into the most important moment of the week, the podium and closing ceremonies, was a challenge.”

To this end, the team involved as many local vendors, businesses, companies, performers, technicians, designers, and artists as possible. “The F1 Las Vegas venue of mandate was a construction site until a week before the ceremony, so the challenge of doing something we had never done, on a construction site, with only two nights of rehearsals was a difficult but equally exciting opportunity,” Burke noted.

The design involved the entire community. Harry Reid International Airport was temporarily closed for laser, lights, and drone testing, while local fire and police departments examined pyrotechnics and drone displays.

“After fl ying over Caesar’s Palace in 2022 for the Formula 1 Launch party, we were counting down the days to return to Vegas for the Grand Prix Opening Ceremony. It was fantastic to be included in such a star-studded line-up for the world’s most notorious racing championship,”

said Lucas van Oostrum, Drone Stories Founder and CEO. “Drone light shows are the future of entertainment, and it’s amazing to see partners like F1 LVGP embracing them to add another dimension to spectacular events such as the opening.”

Drone Stories flew the first on-track drone performance for AMG and IWC in the Nevada desert, with 1,000 drones flying alongside Mercedes AMG team drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. “Perfected after running several tests, syncing it to 42 seconds per lap, and flying from only 2m off-ground, our drones formed stunning visuals along the track interacting with the drivers,” van Oostrum commented. “We are proud of producing performances that set industry standards for blending artistry with technology.”


ER Productions installed lasers along the paddock side of the track spanning two levels. At 1,000ft long, the special effects and laser specialist utilised its new 18-way power and data racks with built-in fibre to link four locations with 300m links to create a network across the site. Pre-production ensured ER could deliver the laser package in sync with the rest of the teams onsite, along with the use of ER’s Las Vegas programming suite.

Further atmospherics were provided by a total of 20 Viper Deluxe units spread across each side of the 1000ft paddock and grandstands. “We were thrilled to be working with the creative and technical teams to bring their vision to reality with 32 AT30 lasers and 24 Beam-ER fixtures,” said ER Productions’ Lawrence Wright. “Thanks to Brian Burke, Tom


Sutherland, eighteentwentysix and all other teams onsite for being part of a huge event for Las Vegas and the F1.”

Global agency, eighteentwentysix, was equally thrilled to be the production producers of the event. In collaboration with an extraordinary ensemble of creative, broadcast, fabrication, and Formula 1 Las Vegas teams, the firm proudly orchestrated a cultural moment of unprecedented scale and excitement. “The event was a feat of logistics and encountered unique technical challenges specific to the race. The opening and closing ceremonies taking place on the track, in front of the grandstands and pit building, was an important part of showcasing the tremendous infrastructure that Formula 1 invested in Las Vegas,” said eighteentwentysix COO, Brian Alexander.

In cooperation with Michael Anderson and Mediatech, eighteentwentysix supported Brian Burke’s vision to execute a variety of elements on live television across Las Vegas including mobile scenic units, lighting, pyrotechnics, cryogenic, lasers, video content, 20,000 crowd wristbands, 1,000 drones, 100 LED flags, The Sphere visuals, hundreds of artists, seven strip hotels, Paddock rooftop, Harry Reid International Airport, a 12-camera system, helicopter and drone integrated with F1TV, and the F1 driver showcase all within a 30-minute runtime. “This ceremony not only set a new benchmark in blending entertainment with sport but also reimagined the essence of F1 pre-race and post-race events,” Alexander said. PyrotecnicoFX launched fireworks from seven casino rooftops. For the opening ceremonies, the firm executed CO2 jets on the paddock roof for Tiësto and provided special

effects support for the Major Lazer and J Balvin concerts throughout race week.

“Managing multiple locations, casino teams, Clark County, F1, and the FAA added complexity, but our united team navigated challenges, demonstrating dedication to careful planning and seamless execution. Handling each casino’s unique specifications and security protocols, our dedicated crew of 60 worked full-time on this production,” said Rocco Vitale, Executive Vice President of SFX at PyrotecnicoFX.

“We believe in the artistry of fireworks, participating in the F1 event is a proud achievement. The Grand Prix’s awe-inspiring spectacle created a next-level fan experience that upcoming races will try to top each year.”


With the racetrack not equipped to deal with a live production, the team had to go back to the drawing board to design and create infrastructure which would transform the paddock building into a fully functioning entertainment space for one night.

“The level of coordination and communication required to pull this off, from 11 major headliners, drivers, moving custom staging on and off the track in time, while they were loading in this global event, with two nights of rehearsal was mind-blowing,” Burke recalled.

To pull off t he state-of-the-art production, Burke enlisted the expertise of STUFISH Entertainment Architects to create and design the staging for the Opening Ceremony at the brand-new Las Vegas Grand Prix Pit Building. No strangers to the Las Vegas Strip, STUFISH has been responsible for creating some of the

biggest residencies in the city, like Weekends with Adele [see TPi #276] and U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere [TPi #279].

“The Opening Ceremony was a spectacular show that blended the incredible entertainment value that Las Vegas has to offer with the speed and thrill of F1. Drawing from Las Vegas’ rich history of entertainment, the creative team under the leadership of Brian Burke set the bar very high for this type of show,” stated Ray Winkler, STUFISH Entertainment Architects CEO. “The Las Vegas strip gave us so much inspiration to create something unique for this event and there has never been a show like the Las Vegas Grand Prix Opening Ceremony that has this level of creative and technical sophistication. With a field play equivalent to three American football fields long, the opening ceremony was the biggest of its kind and has redefined the landscape of F1 entertainment and the podium ceremony.”

Over 1,200 lighting fixtures and 100 lasers were used throughout the show, making this opening ceremony one of the most technical track shows ever produced. “Lighting a 1,000ft long stretch of racetrack was a challenging but equally exciting prospect,” Sutherland said.

The DX7 Design team used Vectorworks to draft plots and drawings, and Syncronorm Depence to pre-visualise the project, collaborating with the choreographers, directors, and technical vendors in the lead-up to show time.

The automated elements of the rig included Claypaky Mythos 2; Vari-Lite VL2600 Profile and VL3600 Profile IP; GLP impression X4 Bar and ACME Lighting Geist Beam lighting solutions. Effects came in the shape of GLP JDC1 Strobe



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and TMB Solaris Flare Q+ units. The LED portion of the rig comprised Astera Titan Tubes and ETC Source Four LED 36° spotlights with PRG GroundControl Best Boy HPs as followspots. MDG theONE and Look Solutions Viper Deluxe hazers, along with a Martin Professional AF1 Fan, ensured adequate atmospherics for lighting and video was in abundance.

Associate Lighting Designers and Lighting Directors, Jasmine Lesane, James Coldicott, and Hunter Selby; Lighting Directors, Harry Forster, and Nate Files; Lighting Programmers and Lighting Directors, Brian Jenkins, Bobby Grey, and Ryan Tanker; Gaffers, Alen Sisul and Chris Roseli made up the lighting team.

According to Sutherland, PRG provided “fantastic” on-site technical support, with the LD praising Randy Hudson; Sound Designer, John Saltonstall and Travis Snyder from the firm’s Las Vegas office, who led the charge and tapped into their vast pool of resources to knit the show together.

“It was such a collaborative effort with power runs; James Coldicott and Alan Sisul from my side worked for 10 months along with the building architects and engineers to figure out

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how we would cable and power everything, which was a challenge within itself.”

With the d azzling skyline of Las Vegas as the predefined backdrop to the ceremony, Sutherland required a rig that could, with the lights emitting from the Las Vegas strip, stand out from a helicopter and be its own icon within the city. “I knew we’d have bright strobe fixtures in super high quantities, which is where the GLP JDC1s came into play as one of our ‘workhorse’ fixtures. They lined two floors of the building and our main key light/gobo effects fixture was the Vari Lite VL3600, which we used as key light and add gobos onto the track, while our beam fixture was the Claypaky Mythos 2 which PRG had in vast quantities,” he said, referencing the balancing act of “IP-rated fixtures versus budget”. The production design team had the idea of lighting up zones of fans in the stands.

To achieve this, PixMob pre-programmed each section into zones and triggered them one by one to create racing stripes, chase effects, and other multi-layered visuals for the show. “It was amazing to work for and with both technical and creative integration teams on this landmark project,” commented Hila Aviran, PixMob Director of Tours and Entertainment.

“We tried to tell a story throughout the show. We started out with some big, towering beam looks for 30 Seconds to Mars’ set, which towered out from the top of the MSUs and video trucks. As we moved into the DJ and dance-pop section for Kylie Minogue, Steve Aoki and Tiësto, the entire lighting rig came to life, which was a real standout moment. Towards the end of the show, moving up to the roof, we created a lux tower all over the city, which could be seen all around, which was a great transition.” Lighting fixtures were

integrated into the video surfaces, which we used as storytelling elements, synchronising lighting, and video. “It was tricky to balance for camera because you need to make sure everything looks good and is exposed for the audience by eye, and everything is exposed and in line with the city backdrop, so we began with a wide shot, making sure the city was looking great, our video elements and MSUs were bright enough and then pull the lighting in from there and balance cameras from that point of view.”

Programming was done by the team in the grandstands, however, when it came to show time, given the popularity of the event and seat allocation – audio, lighting and video playback was achieved underneath the grandstands via monitors and multi viewers without a clear line of sight for the show. “When we first tracked down to the site, we had nowhere to hang lights. It was just a building in which we wanted to create a show comparable to the Super Bowl, so we had to work with the building architects and construction experts to reengineer the building to add lighting rails.

“From a key light point of view, the only angle we could come in from was the racetrack truss, which we had the racetrack floods on, at a specified height from the FAA, the governing body of racing. We couldn’t shoot around that at all, so we had to figure out how to light this ceremony the length of the track without infringing the parameters set by officials.”

The wider team featured: Executive Producers, Emily Prazer, Christoph Jamann and Kelley Parker; eighteentwentysix Executive Producers, Joe Sanchez, and Brian Alexander; Broadcast Director, Mark Stepp; Screens Producer, Loren Barton; Screens Programmer,

Joe Bay; PixMob Programmer, Stefan Zubovic; Laser Programmer, Lawrence Wright; Technical Producer, Michael Anderson of DTI Productions; Supervising Producer, Kathleen Smyth; Producer, Louanne Madorma; Music Director, Kris Pooley; Production Director, Marley Engebretsen; Broadcast Producer, Tim Kubit; Costume Designer, Laury Smith and Sound Designer, Randy Huston. Associate Producer, Katy Tate; Drone Camera Operator, Jake Butters; Broadcast Audio Engineers, Eric Shilling and Joel Singer; Talent Producer/ Booker, Suzanne Bender; Executive Producer, Kelley Parker; co-Executive Producers, Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo; DTI Technical Director, Michael Curry; F1 Director of Broadcast, Dean Locke; and Broadcast Production Manager, Andy Fox.

“I’m proud of the entire spectacle, and the collective determination and expertise of the wider production team; the city of Las Vegas; F1Group CEO, Stefano Domenicali; Liberty Media/F1LVGP Chief Executive, Renee Wilm and especially F1LVGP Chief Commercial Officer, Emily Prazer who all believed in this vision,” Burke concluded. “We have set a new global standard for F1 Opening and Closing podium ceremonies for years to come.”



The Prodigy and their loyal crew return to arena touring with their biggest production to date.

Words: Alicia Pollitt Photos: Joe Okpako and 4Wall Entertainment

It felt fitting to cover The Prodigy for one of my first features at TPi, as they often echoed through the walls of my childhood home thanks to my parents. Now, 33 years after the band’s formation, it feels like a full circle moment for their staunch crew too, many of whom have spent decades bringing the bands vision to life. The Prodigy isn’t just bringing nostalgia but is introducing themselves to a new world of video content and a new generation of fans, paying homage to the rave-scene with lasers, colour, and lighting. While the loss of the legendary Keith Flint looms large among band, crew and fans alike, they work hard to create a befitting tribute for the ’90s icon.


Greeting TPi at Manchester’s AO Arena for the second date of The Prodigy’s first arena tour since 2018 were Production Manager, Tyrone Brunton and Production Coordinator, Jennifer Quinn.

“The ethos of The Prodigy is electronic punk rock,” Brunton began. Starting with the band in 2012, Brunton has remained a loyal member of the crew for this latest run, he brought on suppliers 4Wall Entertainment for lighting and video, DART Rigging; Solotech for audio and TAIT for set. BPM SFX, Hangman, Sarah’s Kitchen, Fly By Nite, Phoenix Bussing, TAG, Mission Control, Radiotek, Observatory, John Fairs of JCF Management, and Steve Whiting of Incognito Security were also on board alongside Solomon Parker, the band’s Agent.

Loyalt y is prominent when talking to Brunton. He tells of the years the majority of crew on

this campaign have spent with the band and how many came back to this production at the drop of a hat. Another common theme in conversations with Brunton and the crew was returning to live shows after the loss of Keith Flint. With his loss felt heavily among the crew, this is not a tour that is about just continuing The Prodigy without Flint but rather one that honours him posthumously, among both band and crew.

“The core crew we have on this all stopped everything they were doing to get back together,” Brunton commented. Other crew members show TPi their crew laminate passes which memorialise core crew members who passed away in 2023, Ray Whelan and James Brennan who are missed fondly.


Unlike many contemporary LED-dominated stage designs, The Prodigy opted to rely on several physical set pieces to bring the audience into their world – from the flags and police lights to the ominous 6.5m figure that loomed over FOH. The 23-tonne rig was overseen by Head Rigger, Martin Gehring (DART), the rig certainly had a few tricks up its sleeve with a central Kinesys automation system in a mother grid to form multiple light configurations, which created a club-like atmosphere on a large arena stage.

Away from the stage, TPi caught up with TAIT’s Adam ‘Bullet’ Bettley who stood at the feet of RAYMAN – a huge statue that had become one of the icons of the tour.

“It’s an incredibly cool piece,” stated Bullet, as TPi awed at the sculpture. Created by TAIT

Art Director, Jacqui Pyle, RAYMAN has a hard coat of polystyrene and an interior of aluminium steel metal. The adaptable structure can reach an impressive height of 6.5m and shrink to a still notable 5m for smaller arena and theatre shows.

Despite being early in the touring campaign, the crew could already assemble RAYMAN in under an hour. Brunton told of how he watched punters walk in and gawk at the figure on the first night of the tour. It wasn’t until a way into the set that the potential of RAYMAN was unveiled, as when the track, Firestarter, began an RTI Piko33 laser projector mounted inside his head, sending eyes darting towards FOH.

The laser created a poignant moment for crew, fans, and band, as it mapped an outline of Keith Flint, memorialising him in the art he created. “It’s quite a moment,” Brunton noted.

The lasers were then further utilised in the second half of the show, ramping up the ‘90s rave atmosphere. This production harnesses an LED screen as a projection surface which we are told eradicates the flicker seen when recording on a smartphone.

BPM SFX supplied 19 laser projectors in all – twelve AC-MFLs and seven RTI PIKO33s – as well as four Look Solutions Viper deLuxe hazers.

While the duo of Will Brown and Daniel Briggs operated all laser effects live using an MA Lighting grandMA3 lighting console via Pangolin BEYOND. Only two days into the tour when we met in November, Briggs was excited about how the RAYMAN laser moment would be received: “It’s an honour to be trusted with the technical delivery of such a focal moment in the show; myself and Will can’t wait to tour it.” he remarked.

2023 SHOWS
Photo Credits: Anthony Mooney & Mr B Pix


The Prodigy are no strangers to scenic elements in their live shows, with the 2018 tour featuring two full-scale double-decker buses. However, something that came into the camp after their five-year break was the use of video content, with Observatory entrusted with the task of creating something befitting the band’s first major exploration into the medium. Famed for being an integral part of the design, band member, Liam Howlett was heavily involved in the creation process of the content.

“His clear vision of his preferences led to the creation of content that feels distinctly unique compared to what we’ve produced for other artists,” Simon Harris of Observatory noted.

Observatory’s content was displayed on a central backdrop made up of strips of ROE Visual Vanish V8 LED panels with Astera Helios Tubes between each strip to provide a ‘90s maximalist strobe look. “It’s an incredible show,” Harris commented. “The dynamics shift throughout the evening, ensuring it never becomes boring. The intensity is palpable. However, capturing it on camera is a challenge due to its constant frenetic energy.”

The company had created content for nine tracks for the band’s festival run in 2023 before adding three more for the winter headline shows that focused on the name of the tour, Army of The Ants, and its scenic element. “It’s iconic,” Harris stated. “RAYMAN will live forever in peoples memories.”

started with the band in 2012. “The lack of timecode makes the show feel live and gives it charm,” he began.

The rig featured 36 Elation Artiste Mondrians, 12 Robe MegaPointes, 78 CHAUVET Professional Rogue R2X Washes, 49 GLP JDC1s and 25 JDC Line 1000s, seven Astera Titan Tubes and 23 Helios Tubes, as well as 13 Claypaky ReflectXions.

“My work horse fixture on this production is the Elation Mondrian,” Fawkes noted. “I hadn’t tried them before, but I’ve been really impressed with them.”

Fawkes told of how storytelling in this setting is minimal for him. “The genre allows them to be in attack mode all the time,” he commented. “You don’t go to The Prodigy shows to watch a story; you go to rave.”

Fawkes also worked closely with the band in the creation of his design for the tour. “I take the creative direction from the band,” Fawkes continued. “It is very much in their vision in keeping the edge of a Prodigy show.”

The LD reflected on how he tackled the challenge of turning the attention from the main stage and lighting RAYMAN.

“We plummet it into darkness then illuminate RAYMAN with the fixtures above the B-stage,” Fawkes revealed. “Fans are walking into the venue with this huge monolithic character, so they know he’s coming.”

4Wall provided the automation in the form of a Kinesys rig, as well as lighting, video, and rigging: “It’s great that we get to do everything in our remit all in one tour, it is a lot to manage but it is working,” noted Jordan Hanson, Head of Live

Keyboard Technician, Mat Davie; FOH Engineer, Jon Burton; BPM SFX’s Will Brown with Daniel Briggs; Production Manager, Tyrone Brunton alongside Lighting Designer, Tim Fawkes and Monitor Engineer, Tom Maddocks

Lighting Designer and Operator, Tim Fawkes,

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Events at 4Wall Europe. Thanks to the Kinesys automation, operated by Andy Hilton and Noah Jones, the rig is malleable, and Fawkes is excited to see where the design might grow as he experiments with its possibilities: “I want to use the Kinesys in more stylistic ways to create bold looks, and do some unusual stuff. The Prodigy started as club band and they loved the intimate academy shows so getting a low roof gives it real intensity.”


Heading up the backline team was Guitar Technician Richard ‘Churd’ Pratt, who PM Brunton introduced as a ‘guitar wizard’ and is seen repairing a broken guitar from the night before. Pratt was responsible for the famed guitar pyrotechnics for Dave’s BRITs performance in 2022 and looked after 12 guitars on this tour. “Looking after Rob’s world is a challenge but fun” Pratt commented.

Working alongside Pratt was Drum Technician, Tom Wood, who introduced us to the famed tin can, a scrap plate and an old flywheel from a BMW – all of which are central to Leo Crabtree’s kit.

“It’s from a scrap yard,” Wood chuckled. “It’s 17 years old, and it is so integral to The Prodigy show – all the metalwork is.”

Amplif ying the scrap metal and other drum kit components are three Sennheiser e901 and six Sennheiser e604 microphones, four DPA 4099 microphones and some C-ducer contact mics, carefully fitted by Audio Tech Will Lucas. The energy of a Prodigy show means that Wood

has had to deal with his fair share of breakages. “There are many moving parts and Leo is so powerful behind the kit, so I have to keep an eye out for sticks snapping or cymbals breaking, but it’s all a part of it,” Wood continued. “We get blood regularly… sawdust – it’s great.”

Moving onto Liam Howlett’s spaceship of keyboards and synths, eyes are automatically drawn to the console defender of the 1984 arcade Space Invaders game, which is looked after by Keyboard Technician, Matt Davie. “It makes horrible, crunchy noises when it’s put into delay,” Davie noted. “I made this when I joined the camp 17 years ago and it’s still standing.”

He noted how the change of the production hasn’t affected the space on stage, telling us that Howlett has a stack of 10 subwoofers behind him. “There are around 10,000W of speakers just for him and it reaches around 128db, which is deafening, but he has fantastic hearing,” Davie laughed.


Over on stage left was Monitor Engineer, Tom Maddocks who has been with the band for 15 years. “I always feel like I’m getting special treatment getting to see everyone going bananas,” began Maddocks.

Despite having a rich history with the band, Maddocks had left the industry over the COVID-19 pandemic, and it took something special to convince him to return.

“I had gone into other employment and already turned other gigs down but the crew

on this tour are loyal,” he smiled. Maddocks mixed on a DiGiCo Quantum 338 with a similar setup to what the band have had for years, with only Rob Holliday and Crabtree on ACS customs IEMs for their ear-mixes. “I think they like the silicone feel,” Maddocks added. For IEM transmission and RF, the camp utilised the Sennheiser 2000 Series MMD 935 Capsule and for radio microphones, Sennheiser’s 935 Capsule. Behind Howlett and frontman, Maxim are four d&b audiotechnik C4-TOP loudspeakers, four C4,two B2 and B22 subwoofers each side.

“ We still love C4s, despite their age, they sound great and it is what Liam wants behind him,” Maddocks added. Contributing to the band’s aesthetics is a collection of black and white dot hand-painted microphones by Maddocks to Maxim’s design.


When we met in Manchester, FOH Engineer Jon Burton had seven shows left with the camp before stepping away from his faders to educate the next generation. “I’ve been touring almost since I left school,” he commented.

“So, it’s weird to be leaving, but I think it’s important for people like me to go into teaching to complement and support the academia.”

Burton stuck to his roots by mixing on a Midas XL3 desk with 32 channels loaded with 28 mono and four stereo channels.

Adding to the mix was a Yamaha REV-7 Digital Reverberator, which Burton insists added to the ‘slamming gates of hell’ that he and Crabtree


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With the tight-knit crew having a significant past wit h the band, Burton shared anecdotes of Maxim. “We’ll often get shout-outs, ‘Mr Burton, turn up the sound,” Burton laughed.

Despite this, he iterated that The Prodigy show is not about high sound pressure levels, but more about power, utilising subwoofers below 50Hz. “Hopefully, this show is one of the most powerful bands you will ever hear, but for me, there is nothing clever about running a high volume show – that is easy” Burton enthused, “It is about dynamics and perceived loudness, however, when the bass drops, everyone should feel it.”

Even wit h half the subwoofers utilised for special effects, Burton’s start ing point is reinforcing the sound coming from the stage. On this campaign, there is a d&b audiotechnik GSL line array with 16 d&b SL-SUBs and 16 J-INFRA subwoofers.

Burton added: “Liam’s rear fill is the centre point, and we delay everything after that. That’s our starting point and everything else expands from there.”

Having worked in the industry for decades, the engineer has his battle scars to show for his time served and yet, his passion for live sound is second to none. Working on The Prodigy for his final hurrah before retirement is a ‘full circle’ moment for Burton who has been with the band for two decades. “This is not a gig of finesse, this is not about nuance, it is about weight, dynamics, power and headroom,” Burton

explained. “The most important thing is that everyone gets the same Prodigy experience which is as much about the sound as it is about the lights, video and the swearing.”


Unsung heroes of the tour, who did not have the time to speak with TPi onsite, include Wardrobe and Backstage Hospitality, Kat Hopkins who has worked with the band for 15 years and helps bring “meticulous organisation” among the chaos of touring; long-time Stage Manager, Sean Brady, who Brunton remarked: “He’s our first man on and the last off site. I don’t leave home wit hout him on a tour.”

The PM also praised Lighting Crew Chief, Matt Brown, who has been in the camp for the best part of a decade. “He’s the only man I know who can pack two trucks worth of kit into one trailer on-site at a muddy and slippery loading dock in Europe and still smile,” he remarked

Fly by Nite Lead Driver, Harry Sugden oversaw a fleet of seven trucks. “It’s good to be back with the band because we didn’t think it would happen again but it’s great to see them back on the road and the production is amazing, they are such a great live band, so it means a lot to us to be involved,” Fly By Nite’s Matt Jackson commented.

For crew t ravel, Phoenix Bussing supplied two 16-person sleeper buses for the tour. “I have worked with Tyrone and The Prodigy camp for many years now and it’s always a pleasure to work with them,” Phoenix Bussing’s Andy Gray noted. “We had one challenge which

was the late load out at an arena in Stuttgart which meant we were going to have a late load in for the Paris club show, but we managed to send out a double driver at short notice and the production bus got there on time.”

Keeping crew morale high and stomachs full was Sarah’s Kitchen. “Despite only joining them in 2018, we felt part of the touring family immediately,” Sarah’s Kitchen founder, Sarah Nicholas commented. “They are a wonderful group of people, both band and crew and they definitely love their food too.”

Backed by their devoted crew, The Prodigy’s Army of the Ants firmly pushed the boundaries of live production, sonically and visually. Although the absence of Keith Flint casts a bittersweet glow, the band’s legacy well and truly lives on. The Prodigy will take this campaign into the summer, descending onto festival sites in front of eager fans, but the question remains... will RAYMAN be joining them?



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One of Britain’s most iconic live acts returns to the touring circuit with a theatrical and multi-layered production juxtaposing the band’s latest number-one album and era-defining back catalogue.

Words: Jacob Waite Photos: Ash Youd, Dan Reid, Chris Scott, and Matt Arthur

Hot on the heels of their latest number-one studio album, Theatre of the Absurd Presents C’est la Vie, the iconic British ska/pop band and their close-knit touring team descended onto venues in the UK with a campaign living up to the name of their latest record and subverting the conventions of past shows. Signature gimmicks made way for vaudevillian storytelling using kabuki drops, curved and automated video screens, a three-piece brass section, dynamic lighting design with a small footprint, and the odd T-shirt gun for good measure (more on that later). Despite the ramp up in production values, those behind the scenes have been aboard the Madness tour bus for multiple campaigns, none however, quite elaborate at this, as TPi discovers.

“I’m lucky that the crew, particularly Tour Manager, Steve Martin – a powerhouse of tour management – have toured with the band for over two decades, so it was easy for me to step into the fold with their backing,” began Production Manager, Adam King, who oversaw the technical side of the production, while Martin handled all things artistry.

Their vendors of choice comprised 22live (audio), Christie Lites (lighting), Creative Technology (video), Popcorn Catering, Tyser & Allen (drapes), KB Event (trucking), CSUK (bussing), and CSE Crosscom (radios).

“Steve and I were on the same page with suppliers – they all provide great support and service,” King said, pinpointing the addition of a new audio vendor.

“22live, particularly, was a no-brainer for us. [Account Handler] Paul Timmins was paramount to the early years of my career, so when 22live was formed, we wanted to collaborate with them – they are undeniably one of the best audio companies operating in the UK.”

Timmins picked up the story: “It was a pleasure to be involved. I remember seeing Madness live in the ’80s, so any artist you work with where you can relate to your teenage days is brilliant. They’re still doing what they do best with a diverse back catalogue, which seemingly appeals to multiple generations. This meant balancing the sound levels to appease all audience members, which the sound engineers have done fantastically well to overcome. Although we set up the business in ’22, we officially launched in 2023, so to be putting out a mainstream arena tour, with a band with a number-one album in the charts 12 months on is an immensely proud moment.”

The team pushed the boundaries of the budget early on with five video screens, four of which were automated. There was a departure in the visual content department also, with some older material scrapped and reworked. “This run was a departure from prior tours in terms of show design, stemming from the popularity of the new album, which is one of the band’s most mature albums to date, so it made sense that the show reflected that,” King explained. “The producion design is focussed solely on the stage, with no left and right IMAGs, which draw the audience’s attention elsewhere – a pet peeve of mine. Concentrating the visuals on one focus point means it’s a busy but beautiful stage.”

A signature of Madness live shows in recent memory, the track, One Step Beyond usually opens proceedings. However, on this run, the opening half of the set was dedicated to promoting the band’s new album and deep cuts, before returning to the iconic hits synonymous with the band. The set, to borrow a term from Production and Lighting Designer Matt Arthur, was like “peeling an onion”. As the

show progressed, more layers of the set design were revealed. It starts with drapes and simple lighting, with a 16m wide curved banner screen in front of the stage. A mid stage kabuki drop then reveals four additional screens which lowered on Kinesys, creating multiple looks in the opening portion of the show. A further curtain revealed another layer of the set, transforming the stage from a muted design to a raucous, all bells and whistles, encore with era-defining classics like Our House and Baggy Trousers. “It’s a really clever design by Matt,” King remarked.

Far from your standard band setup, the band tours with a three-piece brass section, percussion, and playback. “They are a powerhouse of British music – if anyone told me they didn’t like Madness, I don’t think I could be their friend!” King exclaimed, introducing TPi to Head of Wardrobe, Kerry McRobb and Production Coordinator, Alice Martin.

“I started out with Madness in 2010... It’s not just about putting them in an outfit because they’re such strong characters. They are very sharply dressed and smartly turned out, with each outfit matching their personalities and style,” McRobb said, detailing the ‘people first’ approach to the tour’s backstage area.

“Alice and I bring a caring touch to the camp to make it a home away from home on the road. We are like a very dysfunctional family. Morale boosting is so important on the road. We laugh a lot, and a lot of the crew have been around for years, so we must be doing something right! I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved on this run.”

Alice, d aughter of Tour Manager, Steve Martin, cut her teeth by organising the infamous Madness guest list. “Now, I’m the Production Coordinator, so Kerry and I work as a team to oversee backstage, although we have our

Learn more at: 2024 Hall 12.0 | Booth E61 Frankfurt am Main | Germany 19-22 March 2024

individual responsibilities, we often meet in the middle – looking after the crew welfare, tour advancing, allocating rooms backstage, signage and whatever other requests we can manage,” Martin explained, noting that behind the technology, there is an entire workforce making sure the show goes on.

“We take pride in the minutiae that often gets overlooked but is fundamental to the success of a production.”

Martin chose the deep cut, Grey Day, as her favourite track of the set. “It’s a moody number I hadn’t heard for a long time, and after the more up-tempo tracks, it demonstrates the versatility and musicianship of the band,” she said, going on to praise the approachability of the band. “Every department communicates, and it filters from the top down. Adam [PM] naively mentioned that we can get T-shirt guns for [saxophonist] Lee ‘Thomo’ Thompson, so during the encore, Adam and Alice prepare at either side of the stage with loaded T-shirt guns for Thomo and [guitarist] Chris ‘Chrissy Boy’ Foreman to fire into the expectant crowd. They loved this; it was possibly the highlight of their show!”


“The band saw my work with Roxy Music, and subsequently, I got a call from Steve Martin inviting me to submit some designs,” recalled Lighting and Production Designer, Matt Arthur, retracing the roots of the design. “The initial concepts were art deco; we wanted the show to have multiple layers and break away from past designs.”

The result was a lighting design that juxtaposed straight LED lines and old-school circular lights. “I drew inspiration from the

Miami Art-Deco era from the ’50s onwards,” he noted. The inclusion of a silver drape erected behind the support band, The Lightning Seeds, helped to maintain this aesthetic even before Madness’ opening Prologue: “Mr Beckett Sir…your audience awaits” . The designer elaborated: “Given this as a starting point, we knew we wanted a theatrical opening to the show; so the two mid drapes are picked up on strings to create an ‘Italian opening’ to reveal the band at the start of the show. It was an idea that came about on one of the many Zoom calls I had with the band to discuss ideas. I didn’t really know how it was going to work until rehearsals. But, in practice it worked well and after a few minor tweaks, it was a completely different start to the show from previous tours.”

Frontman, Suggs then took to the centre of the stage and was hit with light ahead of Theatre of the Absurd. Following the opening number, a kabuki drop opened the rest of the set which was revealed in stages– initially, two angled lighting trusses on Kinesys and slowly the four rectangular screens were revealed in various combinations. A further drape on a tab track, situated behind the screens opened later in the set to reveal three imposing fully loaded vertical trusses and a full width “festoon” drape upstage, adding a huge amount of depth.

Lighting Crew Chief, Harvey Fitzpatrick worked with Arthur in the run up to the tour, visiting Christie Lites’ shop to iron out the practical elements of the design before they hit the road. The lighting package consisted of seven overhead trusses, three upstage towers and a floor package. Fixtures included Martin Professional MAC Viper Profiles, Aura PXLs, Sceptrons, GLP impression X4 Bar 20s, Portman P1s, and Robe BMFL followspots.

“The smaller venues are always trickier as there is less space to share between departments, so you must adapt your plan slightly. The main challenge for us was the rigging of 230 Sceptrons, with most of them on the front two chords of the overhead tower trusses. We didn’t have time to rig them every day, so came up with a plan where they travelled on premade pipe. That way we could clamp them onto the front of the truss, which saved heaps of time,” Fitzpatrick recollected. He added: “After the planning, it was good to see the final design all come together.”

The lighting crew featured Dimmer Technician, Dennis ‘Bear’ Brown; Lighting Technicians, Dana Read and Kieran Hancox; and Automation Engineer, Liam Beech and Tour Rigger, Andy Roberts. Arthur further praised Account Handlers, Roy Hunt, and Steven Reid. “Christie Lites always provides excellent service and support. Overall, it is a great crew, who are a pleasure to work with.”

A Martin Professional P3-050 System Controller was used to run Sceptrons and Aura PXLs, which enabled Arthur to have control of the light while running video content through the fixture at the same time and switching between the two. This meant running the Aura PXLs on Ethercon rather than DMX and using unmanaged switches to distribute the data for the Sceptron power ports and the Auras.

“I liked w hen the Sceptron was on, and it framed the stage, particularly during the track, NW5, where the video content ran through the LED screens and the Auras and Sceptrons,” Fitzpatrick highlighted.

“Although it looks like a simple show, there is a lot of technology on the back end, which allowed us to run video through the PXLs and


Sceptrons, adding another level of intricacy,” Arthur noted.

Vertic al 2-Lite Blinders provided an additional ‘architectural’ look. “I wanted a simple fixture list with uniformity,” said Arthur. “We also toured with floor LED units to light the band’s chins, because a lot of them wear hats, and four Robe follow spots.”

Arthur operated the light show on an MA Lighting grandMA3 console, operating in MA2 mode and the show was skilfully programmed by Chris Scott. Timecode was deployed for five songs of the set just to synchronise video lyrics. The designer praised Anna Boberg of, who created new content for House Of Fun Our House It Must Be Love In My Street and Round We Go. “I worked with her on Roxy Music, so when asked about a content creator, I had no hesitation in suggesting her,” he said.

Everyt hing was cue stacked and all songs were triggered manually, by instinct, which is a workflow Arthur says he much prefers. “I like interacting with the band in real time,” he remarked. The designer’s drawings were done in Vectorworks and exported into WYSIWYG to create initial renders. Previsualisation was achieved via Syncronorm Depence to add animation and greater visual representation. “It was nice to turn those renders and the thoughts in my head into reality,” he said. “A lot of my ideas came from listening to lyrics and what felt right for the song’s message. I strongly believe that just because they’re moving heads, they don’t always have to move.”

Case in point, for the track , Baggy Trousers, Arthur created four-finger fans of light, which jumped along to the beat. “A lot of their songs are beat driven, so it is easy to trigger the lights

in time with the track. For Shut Up [a song about getting chased by the police after being caught stealing] I used straight lines of light to replicate prison bars,” he explained, pinpointing the big and colourful looks of House of Fun and red and white cartoon-inspired visuals of In My Street as among his favourite moments of the set.

“While t here isn’t often much period for reflection in this industry, working on this project has made me appreciate how many good and era-defining songs Madness has. The fact they’re able to get a number one album after so many years is a testament to their contemporary approach to music. I’m from Melbourne and I remember hearing Baggy Trousers and Our House on a transistor radio as a teenager, so it was a privilege to design a tour for one of Britain’s premiere bands.”


“There wasn’t a defined brief; it was a case of seeing what would work when we arrived for rehearsals at Production Park,” stated Video Director, Sacha Moore, who selected the cuts from a mixture of predefined camera locations including a long lens at FOH, two in the pit with x14 and a x22 lenses sharing a track, and two Panasonic LUMIX cameras – one on the drums and another on keys – in addition to robotic cameras on the brass section, which remained static for the most part.“As the tour progressed, we incorporated more audience shots. The benefit of having a track in the pit meant we could swing the cameras around and get these great tracking shots of the audience,” he explained. “Once we developed a rhythm, and for some of the classics, we would track the entire length of the pit and the barrier to

film the audience who were singing their hearts out – especially when Suggs was throwing it to them for the choruses.”

King noted Moore’s penchant for dancing along to t he music while cutting the cameras. “He does a fantastic job at conveying the relationship of the crowd with the band, and capturing how much their music means and connects with the audience. It’s a privilege to see him in action,” the PM added.

There were two types of screens on stage – the front curved banner was made up of ROE Visual CB5 and the four, smaller automated screens made up of Glux LED panels. The latter were semi-transparent at the back and solid at the front, making them tricky to colour match, especially when coloured borders were added. “We got there eventually but it was a challenge at times,” explained Moore, who praised the support of the video vendor. “CT are great; I’ve done lots of festivals and projects with them in the past, and they always provide excellent on-site support.”

According to Moore, the band were deeply involved in the creation and inclusion of the video content, which he referred to as a ‘refreshing’ prospect. “The camera feed is either monochromatic, clean, or a filmic ’70s look to emulate the archive material and the camera techniques and footage associated with their back catalogue and music videos,” the VD pointed out. “It’s a big deal to tour with an act whose album goes to number one while you’re out on the road with them. It’s fantastic. It was a show of two halves, from the newer material to the classics.”

Media Server Operator, Jack Dickinson oversaw the Resolume media server rig,


which was programmed by Toby Vogel during rehearsals at Wakefield’s Production Park and then tweaked and refined as the tour progressed. “We had three outputs – a banner screen at the top, four Glux screens underneath, and another for the G3 system,” Dickinson explained. “We changed the screen format a few times for some of the smaller venues, sometimes we had two screens on Kinesys instead of four due to trim height restrictions, so we had to adjust in preproduction in anticipation.”

With the newer video content set to timecode, others are manual cues, the team used a MIDI pad in Resolume to fire visuals live. “There are a lot of moments where we’re running cues in time, which keeps you on your toes. CT kindly provided us with two gaming PCs to run the Resolume off.”

The feed was run through Image Pro and straight to the screen using fibre. “We try to keep the delay down as much as possible because quite a lot of the cameras feed through the system as well,” Dickinson noted. “We use built-in Resolume effects to manipulate the feed, to correspond with the timecoded video content and clips, partly generated by Toby Vogel, the band, and their archival material.”

The wider video team featured Crew Chief, Lewis Quain; LED Technicians and Camera Operators, Samuel Chitty, Tom Rose, Phill Hesketh and Chris Kinrade. Dickinson chose Grey Day as among his favourite looks with images appearing through the clouds on screen. “The video content for House of Fun and Must Be Love which overlaid the camera images is also impressive. The hometown show

at London’s O2 arena, however, was the biggest highlight of mine, with a lot of friends and family of the band commenting on how much they enjoyed the show.”


Andy Coules started working with Madness in 2017, taking over mixing duties following the retirement of long-time FOH Engineer, Ian Horne, who worked with the band since 1979. “Ever since then we’ve done a wide variety of gigs including regular summer festival runs and tours with a UK arena tour every two years,” Coules explained. DiGiCo is his console manufacturer of choice due to the “superior sound, ease of use and creative possibilities” afforded by the desk. He elaborated: “I’ve been using a Quantum 338 because it lets me mix from the middle of the console. The power of the Mustard and Spice processing make it much easier to mix ‘in the box’ and not rely on outboard processing to get the high-quality sound I need.”

The only supplemented outboard processing in Coules’ rig was a Rupert Neve Designs 5045 Primary Source Enhancer, which provided a ‘clear and loud signal’ on the main vocal as well as helping to reduce the hand percussion leakage on the percussion vocal.

“We carry our own microphones so 22live provided everything else we need for arena sound – PA, consoles, line system, power, wedges, and in-ear monitors. This tour is the first time we’ve worked with them, and I’ve been impressed with the high standard of not just the equipment but also the crew. I really appreciate their attention to detail and personal touch; they’re very approachable and keen to

hear what I have to say,” Coules added. With 10 musicians on stage, the upper mid-range can get cluttered very quickly, so the engineer did a fair bit of riding to make sure the key mix components are prominent when they need to be and out of the way at other times.

“Caref ul use of panning and reverb helps me create the kind of 3D mix I need to accommodate all the elements without anything getting lost,” he explained. “The sound system also plays a key role, particularly in the larger rooms. This time round we went out with d&b audiotechnik KSL, which helped me maintain the clarity and warmth in that allimportant upper mid-range area and across the whole frequency spectrum.”

System Technician, Ali Hellard, oversaw the technical drawing of each venue, designing a PA system based around the space and boxes available on the tour, working with the PA technicians to deploy the system, and then align and tune to the engineer’s preference. For most of the large venues, the team used 20 KSL on the main hangs and 14 on the outs. Both were flown with compression kits to aid load-out timing. Three venues required 270° hangs, which consisted of 10 XSL aside.

“The XSL hangs complemented the rest of the system nicely and ensured the audience sitting in the 270° seats had the same experience as those sitting more centrally,” Hellard explained.

“Low-end reinforcement was handled by 18 SL subs on the floor, while XSL, YP and VP covered front fill and in/out fill duties as required. At the O2, the in-house delays were utilised to extend the main systems coverage throughout the upper bowl.”


ArrayCalc and R1 were an integral part of Hellard’s workflow. “While I have drawings of a lot of the venues from previous shows, the new venue database within ArrayCalc has really sped up the process of detailed drawings of rooms. Save for a few exceptions, only relatively small tweaks were required, reflecting exact stage position, production limitations on point locations, and any additional seating (VIP boxes) that weren’t present when the original drawings were done,” he said. “We did unfortunately have a D40 amplifier fail between soundcheck and doors, but the d&b ecosystem, coupled with the 22live modular package, meant we could swap a spare amp into the rack and have it online quickly.”

The audio team included Monitor Engineer, John ‘LJ’ Evans; Stage/Monitor Technician and Monitor Engineer for The Lightning Seeds, Christopher Wilcock; Crew Chief, Glen Little; Delay/PA Technician, Nick Jackson. Hellard praised the wider team: “It’s a testament to this industry that I get to work alongside such dedicated and passionate professionals, from production to the 22live team, who want to put on the best show they can for the public. I grew up with Madness – often coming home from school to my dad playing Madness on the hi-fi at full blast, so their music was always a part of my childhood. I am very fortunate to love what I do – and being able to bring my parents along to a show for them to see what I do, and experience one of their favourite bands was a great thrill for myself and them.”

Over the years, Coules has discovered that the track, Bed and Breakfast Man, is a barometer for helping him establish the mix. “Once I get the core elements of drums, bass, keys, and guitar dialled in, it’s relatively easy to add the horns, percussion, and vocals to create a mix that translates well to the wide range of songs in the set,” he reported.

Reflect ing on the tour, Coules concluded: “It’s funny how routine it becomes to mix such an iconic band with such an impressive back catalogue of hit singles. They trust me to produce the high-quality sound demanded by modern audiences and I do everything in my power to deliver that night after night. I will always remember them doing their wonderfully crazy performances on Top of the Pops when I was young and discovering pop music, so I never forget that they’re a fundamental part of the DNA of modern English music. However, when I’m in the moment, I don’t allow the gravity of history to unduly influence me – all I ‘see’ is the mix and I’m striving constantly to improve it and ensure the songs are being suitably conveyed from moment to moment. Every now and then I step back from the desk and take it all in, some moments are quite special, like when you’ve got 20,000 people of all ages singing along to It Must Be Love.”

The wider C’est la Vie Tour 2023 camp comprised Band/TM PA, Jim O’Gara; Stage Manager, John Adams; Wardrobe, Kerry McRobb and Gemma Adams; Drums/ Percussion Technician, Pete Mills; Keys/

Production Manager, Adam King with Production Coordinator, Alice Martin; Head of Wardrobe, Kerry McRobb; Production and Lighting Designer, Matt Arthur; Christie Lites’ Liam Beech, Dennis ‘Bear’ Brown, Dana Reed with Harvey Fitzpatrick.



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Playback Technician, Daren Mahomed; Saxophone Technician/Set Carpenter, Kye Thompson; Guitar/Bass Technician, Geoff Cattini; Catering Crew Chief, Liz Boyle; Chefs, Jai Ash and Grant Lloyd; FOH Caterer, Victoria Forbes; Lead Bus Driver, Scott McGraw and Driver, Terry Foggin; Lead Truck Driver, Peter Gregory; Drivers, Jamie Baker, Andy ShawSpanner, Steve Maddern, Chris Green, Paul Morris, and Craig Jackman.

“We’ve been working with Madness for close to a decade, the quoting stage for this started a year ahead of the tour, with Steve Martin. We have a 26-tonne rigid truck which goes out with the Madness camp on a regular basis, driven by Nik Burton, for festival appearances and one offs. He has developed a great relationship with the band and management,” Managing Director, Richard Burnett noted. “For this tour, we deployed seven Arctic trucks and drivers, who are well versed in going the extra mile to make the lives of production crew easier.”

Stage Manager, John Adams, believes KB Event’s drivers are ‘the best’ he has encountered in over two decades in the business. “They are all great ambassadors for KB Event, their attitude towards the touring and local crew was exemplary. Special thanks to Lead Driver, Peter Gregory for his knowledge, advice, calmness and help throughout the tour. His part in the smooth running of the load-in and -outs was of great help to me. As a team, they are some of the best drivers I’ve worked with in my 24 years in this industry,” he said.

KB Event Operations Coordinator, Louise King, liaised with drivers and the production team to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of the equipment. “I had a really nice time working with the Madness camp, they’re friendly and easy to talk to,” she commented. “They’re a great bunch to work with and long may our collaboration with the camp continue!”

As the name suggests, the whole experience King noted in closing was total ‘Madness’. “The funny thing is, the days would run smooth with the best crew and suppliers on board, it all went to plan, and then the band would turn up and madness would ensue,” he laughed. “Their presence is like a hurricane, and it’s fantastic to see them carry that energy through to the stage and illuminate rooms each night. It’s inspiring how long they’ve been at it, and every decision they make is diplomatic, which I think is key to their longevity and success. This was possibly one of the nicest tours, regarding personnel that I have ever worked on, with every department working as one. Pure joy!”

22live’s Ali Hellard, Chris Wilcock and Crew Chief, Glen Little with Nick Jackson; Media Server Operator, Jack Dickinson; Video Director, Sacha Moore; FOH Engineer, Andy Coules.



After a history of giving aspiring roadies an insight into touring productions, this time WILM goes behind the scenes of The 1975’s Still… At Their Very Best tour.

Founded in 2018 by Sound Engineers, Malle Kaas and Hannah Brodrick, Women In Live Music is fundamental in creating a community for women and minority individuals in the live music industry. Dedicated to giving guidance and mentorship for those entering the industry, a crucial part of their work goes into hosting Walk & Talk events throughout the European continent, recently TPi joined them, among other WILM and 3T members [see TPi #270] to get a behind the scenes look at The 1975’s O2 Arena production.

Headed by Brodrick and hosted by Production Manager, Josh Barnes and Production Coordinator, Alice Fraser, the event

saw 22 attendees and gave aspiring industry professionals a taste of what goes into staging a large-scale arena production.

As we met on t he concourse, Barnes noted how the WILM events with this camp are going so far, having hosted a previous one a few nights before at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro: “It’s been really good and there has been lots of interest in it. We’re also pairing up with 3T to try and get everyone together and as many people involved as we can.”

Attendees got an extensive insight into all the moving parts of the Still.. At Their Very Best Tour, from discover the show design by Tobias Rylander through to an insightful look

into rigging by Hilary Taylor Kench, WILM Award 2023 Rigger of the Year. Addressing the group, Barnes spoke passionately about diversity and inclusivity within his camp and how newcomers can ensure better work environments: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we got together with the Tour Production Group (TPG) to look at what we were getting wrong and we had no idea in terms of sustainability, diversity and no one was looking after themselves. It’s a shame it is taken so long but we’re making the steps and if there is one thing we can leave you today with is the importance of looking after yourselves, if you do you’re in a better place to run big shows like this.”

Barnes specifically is passionate about this, as documented in TPi #274, he enlisted the help of SafeTour which included detailed pronoun training and mental health support for crews, this became prominent for the WILM members on site, and many mentioned this as an attractive attribute of this particular camp and something they would like to see become commonplace in the future.

Eden Clarke, Live Sound Engineer and member of 3T, commented: “I think these Walk & Talk events are amazing. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening, and I am so glad it is. Today has been really important and valuable to me and it has taught me that there is always time to learn.”

Fellow 3T member, Jess Price – who has a background in lighting and event logistics –added: “It was an amazing experience, getting the chance to see the backstage crew and the audio and visual crew was really eye-opening. I think it’s a good introduction to the industry.”

After having experience organising bands and DJs, attendee Klara Åhman wants to delve more into lighting, making this the ideal event for her: “It’s an entrance into the industry,


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getting the chance to see the audio and visual side of live music was eye-opening and it was an allround amazing experience,” Åhman enthused.

Women in Live Music was also created on the foundation of retaining women and minorities in the industry and for Helen Casey this is an important attribute. “I’ve always done shows over the summer whilst working as a personal assistant,” Casey noted. “However, last year after doing a couple big shows, I really missed doing events so now I’ve been able to marry them both together by being a parttime virtual assistant and a freelance Artist Liaison.”

Brodrick summed up her overall experience of this particular Walk & Talk: “One of my favourite things is showing off the women in their departments and hearing them talk passionately about their jobs, I don’t think there is anything more inspiring than that.”

With the industry still having leaps to go, Women in Live Music are setting a precedent in welcoming newcomers to the industry whilst retaining those who already reside within it.





With the ever-growing prevalence of networking within the DNA of tours, TPi speaks to some of those creating network solutions to get their take on its greater importance on the road.

At TPi, when visiting crews out on the road, we spend most of our time darting from department to department to get the full 360 story of each production. As we jump between teams, we often pitch questions to crew members about some of the trends they are seeing within the industry. Naturally, the trends they often talk about tend to focus on the issues facing their specialisation. However, there is one overarching theme that seems to crop up again and again, no matter where on the crew list you sit: networking.

With more and more data being sent all around the technical skeleton of a tour, we are increasingly hearing from crew members that there is quickly becoming a need for a dedicated networking engineer to come out on the road with them, such is the importance of this element of the show.

With so much focus on this shared resource, we spoke to some specialists who focus on delivering these solutions to tours to get their thoughts on how productions might best deal with this new future.

Speaking of the changing nature of the live show was Greg Kopchinski, Product Marketing Manager for Audio at Audinate, the maker of Dante and one of the networking systems of choice for the AV and live events market. “We’re

now seeing audio engineers having to learn more about IT networks,” he stated.

During our conversation to get to grips with the development in the demands of networking, Kopchinski drew parallels with several live venues that have upgraded their in-house system in recent years. “The pressure on venues to offer more things as technology improves further is where the whole AV over IP space is going. With Dante for example, we see it as being the complete platform.”

Moving to a networking platform also allows for a more simplistic plug-and-play scenario for artists. “It’s interesting to see that the trend is moving so that tours need to spend less time getting things set up – they want to make sure they have time to do their soundchecks and everything is right. What Dante brings is one ethernet cable and you can have 256 audio channels ready to go with all your patching set. It’s a very simple system.”

Kopchinski went on to express how he’d seen a change in the expectations of crew members coming into the industry to have some working knowledge of networking. “Almost every major console manufacturer supports Dante and new guys coming in almost expect it. It’s true that those that came from an analogue background sometimes feel

something is missing, but in this modern age it would be very hard to have a true end-to-end analogue rig.”

That said, with the movement to digital, Kopchinski explained one of the key goals for Audinate is to make to process as simple as possible. “Simplifying those tools is making it easy so that anybody can step up to it if you have general computer knowledge,” he stated. “We’re not asking our engineers to do the 1s and 0s on the network; we’re just asking them to patch it.”

With the ever-growing reliance on networking and a digital backbone, the question remains, who should provide such a system that could be a shared resource between departments? “I think capability – the experience and knowledge of how to do it properly – is going to get better within tours,” stated Kopchinski.

“All the rental houses are going to be able to say they have it nailed; they are going to set up their infrastructure in a way that works for their tours and just like the tour gear, networks are going to be customised.” He furthered: “I think there’s an open space and someone coming out of AV, that understands the market but has a knack for networking, the sky is then the limit as I think the clients will want to go to a person

Photos: Luminex and Audinate Luminex CEO, Bart Swinnen; Audinate Product Marketing Manager for Audio, Greg Kopchinski.

who understands the system technology and usage properly.”

Entering the conversation and giving his personal experience with the adoption of networking within the live touring setting was Luminex’s CEO, Bart Swinnen. In his mind, one of the key advantages with this move toward networking is the ability for touring departments to work from one system.

“Look at communications for example,” he began. “Everyone needs comms, and they are running one network, and everyone is linked to each other. We are strong believers in working towards convergence. With Luminex technology today you can already run multiple disciplines on one network infrastructure. We know the mindset that people don’t want convergence as there is that question of who is responsible for it. Also, we understand that an audio engineer might not want to sit on a lighting network, but the fact is that a network can be the glue that holds everything together.”

He believes that due to the strides Luminex has made with its product portfolio, network engineers do not need to be well versed in IP management. “There have been several tours where we have seen convergence,” stated

Swinnen. “Take Coldplay and their audio team – all of them will tell you the importance of networking. However, there are a lot of people in live touring who are very creative but as they don’t know the principles of networking, they are not confident in applying it in the live space.”

Swinnen also expressed how the focus from manufacturers on networking options has made it easier for crew members to get to grips with the principle. “MA Lighting, for example, creates network-based products and as such lighting designers and operators seem more knowledgeable about networks,” he stated.

While many major PA manufacturers are taking a significant interest in Milan/AVB in recent years, Swinnen believes that there is still work to be done with its management system. That process is clearly underway, with d&b audiotechnik and L-Acoustics’ announcement that they were jointly developing a software platform designed to change the configuration and management of Milan AVB networks surprising many in the industry.

Born from the companies’ shared commitment within the Avnu Alliance, the co-designed software platform will address some of the challenges that currently

discourage widespread adoption of Milan AVB technology. “This ground-breaking collaboration underscores our shared commitment to advancing technology that improves workflow and delivers a memorable experience that connects artist and audience, and a safe and comfortable experience for crew and neighbours,” stated Hervé Guillaume, CEO at L-Acoustics Group at the time of the announcement. Amnon Harman, CEO at d&b audiotechnik, added: “We are excited to be cooperating on technical standards that will provide value to our industry. This new form of competing on one side and cooperating on the other side results in higher quality products, faster development times, and better functionality for all our customers.”

This dramatic news for the industry demonstrates how more and more, manufacturers are providing solutions for an industry that is moving into a ‘networked’ landscape, bringing the live events and AV markets closer together than ever. TPi is excited to see what this next chapter brings for the industry.



To celebrate four decades of providing touring crews around the world with nourishment, Eat to the Beat’s Bonnie May and Mary Shelley-Smith reflect on the company’s history and look back at how far the wider Global Infusion Group has come.

“For crew, touring often means long days of constant work, so to have those same people see you in catering every day and be that ‘home away from home’, can make a real difference to health and well-being out on the road,” began Mary Shelley-Smith – longtime employee of the TPi Award-winning rock ’n’ roll catering company Eat to the Beat. She was speaking to TPi days after Eat to the Beat hosted a party to celebrate its 40th anniversary, which saw both clients and crew from over the years descend on the company’s HQ to reflect on the Eat to the Beat’s storied history while also paying homage to the late founder Tony Laurenson – one of those responsible for making touring catering such an important part of the live touring landscape.

Follow ing a career in the Merchant Navy, Laurenson in the early ’80s had a chance conversation with a friend in the music industry where he found out that touring musicians and crew were spending a lot of money eating out each night due to the lack of catering at venues. This sparked an idea, which eventually saw the founding of Eat to the Beat, with the company heading out on the road with the likes of Joe Jackson and Iron Maiden.

The following years saw the company grow exponentially as new opportunities opened

up leading to the formation of the Global Infusion Group – the umbrella organisation that oversees Eat to the Beat along with GIG, which works in the corporate and sporting market; e2b, which provides tailored event logistics and fulfilment solutions; and finally Bonnie May Food + Events, which focuses on creating world-class weddings, parties and corporate events. All four of the companies are situated in the same 95,000 sq ft warehouse in Aston Clinton, UK.

Bonnie May, Laurenson’s wife and now CEO of Global Infusion Group, spoke of how, like colleague Shelley-Smith, her journey into the world of Eat to the Beat started with a letter of interest after getting Laurenson’s contact details from a friend. “My first gig was a Comic Relief show, then I got a panicked call asking to go on tour with The Temptations,” she chuckled as she regaled how from these humble beginnings, she then found herself in some unimaginable situations such as knocking on the door of Number 10 Downing Street to set up for their summer event. “I think my proudest moment from over the years was when Tony and I visited Buckingham Palace when he was presented with the Queen’s Award. I’d never seen him looking so proud.”

From the w ide range of stories, it’s clear how much the company has diversified from its

Eat to the Beat’s Bonnie May and Mary Shelley-Smith.

Words: Stew Hume Photos: Eat To The Beat

touring origins of serving food to musicians and roadies. “Tony was always very entrepreneurial and getting us into all sorts of scrapes,” chuckled Shelley-Smith as she recalled the common occurrence of him bursting into the office and announcing, “I’ve got an idea”. This pursuit of new areas of business has reaped its rewards and this year alone the company is once again heading out with Team GB for the Paris Olympics, further cementing the company’s long-standing relationship with the world of sport. “Our move into sport was interesting as we brought our ‘home-awayfrom-home’ mentality from touring and gave the athletes an experience I don’t think they’d had before,” reflected May.

Despite exploring new sectors, the heart of Eat to the Beat is still very much in live music and entertainment. In just the past few months, the company has been out with the likes of Bring Me The Horizon and is currently on two tours with the Cirque du Soleil team. This led nicely into the conversation about what the team at Eat to the Beat saw as their role within the touring family. “I think it’s so important for crew to have a ‘home’ out on the road and small little things like having the same coffee machine that you know how to work with your mug can make a big difference to people’s day. Moreover, having someone to talk to who isn’t part of the main production can make a real difference.” It’s why despite catering becoming more complex in recent years with more dietary requirements as well as a greater leaning on sustainable measures, the main

things that ETTB look for in new recruits is their personality. “You can be the best chef in the world but if you don’t fit into the team, it’s not going to work. You must have team players.” On the note of sustainability, Shelly-Smith explained that although the topic was getting more attention recently, it’s something Eat to the Beat has had in their DNA for a long time. “We’ve always been very passionate about sustainability. With catering, it’s very easy to quantify the steps you’re taking. We really started looking at our sustainability practices when we did the Olympics back in 2012 and since then we’ve put it at the heart of everything we do.” This has led to Eat to the Beat taking steps such as using less red meat and even some more out-of-the-box methods such as putting vegan options at the top of the menu, resulting in more people opting for the more sustainable option. “Little tricks like that go a long way,” stated Shelly-Smith.

With such an illustrious career, it’s interesting to think where Eat to the Beat and the wider GIG family may go next. “Onwards and upwards,” stated Shelly-Smith confidently. “We’ll keep doing what we do well. The shape of things changes constantly, and you really don’t know what will happen next until that phone rings. We’re always known as the company that can turn things around very quickly. Just last week we were in rehearsals for a large act that we only got the call for two days prior. That lastminute call can change your whole week.”

Members of the Eat To The Beat Team accepting the 2024 Favourite Catering Company accolade at the TPi Awards 2024.


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After half a century providing groundbreaking solutions for multiple markets, SGPS/ShowRig is expanding internationally with the formation of a new European office, offering innovative staging, automation, and rigging for global events.

Photos: SGPS/ShowRig

After 50 successful years of business, SGPS/ ShowRig (SGPS) recently announced the company’s international expansion with the opening of its first European office. Located in Utrecht, Netherlands, the new office will enable SGPS to vastly increase its international service offerings – including enabling clients to utilise SGPS’s equipment more economically and quickly across mainland Europe and the UK. “The arrival of this brand-new European facility, in addition to SGPS’s seven offices across the United States, will allow us to continue to provide custom staging, automation and rigging solutions to the entertainment industry,”

Benjamin Lampman, General Manager of SGPS/ShowRig Las Vegas and Lead Project Manager for Touring stated, proudly.

Established in 1974 as Showlites, Founder, Eric Pearce immediately began revolutionising theatre lighting. He set many of the industry standards such as the ‘Par-Bar’ and the use of multi-core cables with Socapex connectors and as concert touring expanded and became increasingly complex, Showlites became the go-to company for dependable touring gear. By the 1980s, a new office in Los Angeles began providing staging (ShowStaging) and custom fabrication (ShowFabrications) which allowed the firm to expand its presence in the field.

Further innovations from Pearce included the use of modular aluminium truss and dedicated

equipment packaging. The film industry also benefitted from Showlites’ custom products to improve efficiency in filming.

In 2004, a L as Vegas branch – ShowRig – was opened to supply truss and motors to the growing convention and tradeshow markets. In late 2023, SGPS announced the appointment of Ned Collett to the position of President. In this newly created position, Collett, based at the company’s Las Vegas headquarters, oversees, and directs all activities for the company’s worldwide operations. “We anticipate industry trends and adapt our offerings, accordingly, providing reliable and forward-thinking solutions,” Lampman informed TPi, citing one of the many ingredients to SGPS’s astronomic growth in recent years.

Today, SGPS prioritises speedy delivery and setup, understanding the often-tight timelines, which helps clients avoid delays and ensures smooth execution. “In addition to boasting a vast range of stock equipment, catering to diverse event needs, SGPS’ commitment to innovation is reflected in every product, meticulously designed for ease of use, safety, and durability, which are all crucial aspects in the demanding entertainment industry,” Lampman noted.

“SGPS products are designed for optimal usability and efficiency, including quick loading, setup, and performance, streamlining

workflows, and maximising efficiency across different event setups,” Lampman explained. “Recognising the demanding nature of the industry, SGPS ensures all equipment is built with durability in mind. It can withstand the wear and tear of transportation and frequent use, minimising downtime, and replacement costs. We set ourselves apart by offering a combination of speed, diversity of inventory, innovation, usability, durability, and a rich history of experience in the live events/ entertainment rental market.”

Over the past five decades, the company has built a reputation in the concert touring circuit for making the unimaginable a reality. Namely, creating a drum rollercoaster for Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee; providing staging and automation for Michael Jackson, KISS, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour, Roger Waters’ The Wall Tour and Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked Tour. The company has also facilitated several iconic blink-182 drum gags; curated a video gyroscope for ZEDD’s Orbit Tour ; a custom lighting ring and automation for Tame Impala; rigging and LED support structures for Tom Petty; lifts and staging elements for Justin Bieber and staging, automation, and a custombuilt throne for Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, among many other career highlights.

However, as is also being felt across many areas of the live entertainment sector, SGPS’s






challenges of today include the shortage of experienced personnel. “Recognising the crucial role a skilled team plays in the success of our operations, we’ve taken a proactive approach by initiating our own training programs and partnering with applicable organisations, including those for underserved communities,” Lampman said, explaining that by investing in these programmes, SGPS hopes not only to address its immediate staffing needs but also ensure the development of a pool of “qualified individuals capable of efficiently staffing and running shows.”

Lampman believes the biggest potential for business growth lies in scenic automation and movement. “With a scarcity of companies excelling in this specialised field, we aim to lead the industry by seamlessly blending cuttingedge technology and artistic vision,” he added. “This st rategic focus positions us to meet the rising demand for dynamic and captivating stage productions, ensuring we remain pioneers in shaping the future of live events.”

The addition of a European office will help SGPS cut down on shipping costs for tours that extend overseas, offering a more cost-effective and streamlined approach to supporting clients’ global endeavours.

“This move not only enhances our overall client service but also positions us as a more accessible and reliable partner for international events and productions,” Lampman remarked.

Moving forward, SGPS has several new offerings product-wise, including Cybermotion – an intuitive and advanced computercontrolled hoist system that ensures safe, seamless, and spectacular effects. “In addition to a new European office opening, we have a new facility in Nashville, which is approximately two times the size of the previous building,” Lampman revealed.

“For the long term, we will strive to continue to develop new products and relationships, as well as working on staffing solutions. Here’s to the next 50 years!”

Previous: Dave Grohl’s bespoke throne created by SGPS. Above: Benjamin Lampman, General Manager of SGPS/ShowRig Las Vegas and Lead Project Manager for Touring; KISS’ End of the Road World Tour; Mötley Crüe’s drum rollercoaster for Tommy Lee.


HOF co-CEO, Dennis Klostermann underlines the company’s commitment to innovation and international expansion, following almost three decades of business.

Starting out as a modest team of four welders and a technician in Northwest Germany back in 1997, HOF, founded by Hans-Wilhelm Flegel, has upheld the mantra that ‘there is no idea that cannot be implemented’.

A pivotal moment for HOF in its early years was when it was entrusted with the staging of German singer-songwriter Marius Müller-Westernhagen’s Live Tour 99, which necessitated an exceptionally sophisticated stage set.

“We have remained true to this vision in the intervening 25 years, and we continue to live by the mantra of ‘not doing things by halves’ – an attitude and working ethos that has contributed and still contributes to us being entrusted with technically challenging and demanding projects,” Dennis Klostermann, coCEO proudly informed TPi.

Since then, HOF has evolved into a comprehensive provider of special constructions, boasting a workforce of over

70 individuals. “We have consciously tweaked some key parameters to make sure the company would grow the way we wanted it to grow,” Klostermann explained. “In addition to being a full-service provider for special constructions, we have intentionally developed into a truss manufacturer.”

In 2019, HOF introduced the MLT TWO pre-rig truss system, a fixture in numerous live events to date, and subsequently launched the MLT THREE last year – an advancement within the pre-rig truss range tailored to accommodate moving lights and LED screens.

“It’s important for us to unite all key functions like for example designers, engineers, welders, and sales under one roof, as this ensures that we can deliver the best possible service and solutions to demanding and complex ideas, as well as best possible product innovations to our customers,” Klostermann added.

In recent years, HOF has made substantial investments in its production facilities to meet the growing demand, becoming the sole German truss manufacturer equipped with a welding robot.

Klostermann expressed the company’s commitment to further expansion into new markets and continuing its robust international growth trajectory in 2024. “We’re focused on developing our business further into new markets and will also pursue our strong


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international expansion throughout 2024,” the CEO asserted.

According to Klostermann, HOF’s customers often require a blend of standard and customised products. “Being able to manufacture in-house means that our customers can get everything from a single source, including structural engineering and assembly if required,” Klostermann noted.

“We expect 2024 to be another year of strong international growth for HOF. The MLT TWO and MLT THREE pre-rig truss solutions received tremendous feedback and acceptance in the market, and we expect to achieve further market penetration as well as geographical expansion.”

In addit ion to the MLT pre-rig truss family, HOF unveiled the PG3 NEO at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2024. The company is

also expanding its production capacities in Germany and is in the process of establishing its powder coating facility – a move aimed at enhancing its supply chain efficiency. “Our ‘can do’ attitude is one of the founding principles of HOF and we have learned over the years that when there is humour and a positive attitude to new and sometimes – at first glance – crazy ideas, we can deliver better work and better results,” Klostermann concluded, reflecting on the growth of the company. “Even in the most stressful situations, we find that humour is essential to keeping the team motivated and to keep a great team morale and atmosphere. We are all ‘in the same boat’ at HOF, and if things get stressful in one department, the colleagues of other departments are always happy to offer a helping hand.”

HOF co-CEO, Dennis Klostermann; a member of the company’s flourishing metal fabrication team; representatives of HOF on site; HOF headquarters in Mettingen, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany.



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NRG (Next Robe Generation) students help illuminate the industry’s favourite night.

With over 200 lights on the main rig and a gathering of industry peers and decisionmakers, the TPi Awards provided an extraordinary opportunity for NRG students to showcase their skills.

In December, NRG put out a call for students interested in joining Robe’s Creative team. The response was overwhelming, leading to a rigorous selection process.

Seven students were chosen and invited to Robe UK for training in RoboSpot and Avolites, along with a preview of the event rig. One student was assigned to assist Robe Lead Creative Designer Nathan Wan in the main

room, while another was tasked with lighting the TPi Awards’ after-show bar with another illuminating outside of Evolution London using iBOLT fixtures.

City College Norwich Production Arts student, Harley Roebuck – Assistant LD to Wan in the main room – commented: “This was an unbelievable experience. I gained invaluable knowledge, skills, and met a plethora of new contacts that I will have throughout my career.”

Confet ti Institute of Creative Technologies

Event Production student, Clara SousaShaheed – LD for the main bar area – added: “This was a lot of fun, and a realistic insight

into the high-pressure environment. As the bar designer, I felt I had the ideal level of responsibility, working alongside Nathan Wan.”

Falmouth University Technical Theatre Arts student, Ben Oakey – LD outside with the iBOLTS – stated: “I had an amazing experience working with the team at Robe. I also learnt several things from little useful shortcuts for programming on Avolites consoles and gaining useful insights into the industry. The best part was also being one of the first to use iBOLTS on a live event.”

Confet ti Institute of Creative Technologies

Event Production student, Becky Winrow said: “I had an incredible experience and gained a lot of valuable skills. I was involved with the rigging and cabling fixtures and had the opportunity of being a RoboSpot Operator for this event.”

Academy of Live Technology Live Event Production student, Louis Geard – RoboSpot Operator – remarked: “I had a great time. Trying to find the winners table on the RoboSpot was a challenge – but a lot of fun!”

University of South Wales Lighting Design Technology student, Josh Eksteen commented: “This was an amazing opportunity for students like me to participate in a large-scale production, providing ample opportunities to learn and grow as

Photos: Paula Duck and Joe Okpako

professionals within the industry.” Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Stage Management & Technical Theatre student, James Harvey – RoboSpot Operator – enthused: “Not only did I learn some new skills but met some great people and had networking opportunities that are unmatched.”

As a token of appreciation, the crew will be treated to a three-day trip to the Czech Republic to visit Robe HQ and witness the product design and manufacturing process.

Additionally, they have been invited back as guests of TPi Magazine at next year’s Awards.

Summing up his experience working with NRG, Wan concluded: “It’s always a great pleasure to work with some of the next young talent which is coming into our industry.”

For more i nformation about NRG, contact:

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Robe Lead Creative, Nathan Wan; Associate LD, Andy Webb of Robe; NRG’s Ben Oakey, Becky Winrow, and James Harvey with Clara SousaShaheed, Louis Geard and Harley Roebuck alongside Josh Eksteen, Robe’s Jordan Tinniswood and Tomas Kohout.


Midas Brand Leader, Pete Sadler outlines the features of the company’s latest portable, lightweight mixer.

What was the idea behind the creation of Midas HD96 AIR console?

“When the Midas HD96 was designed we already had the HD96-AIR in mind. We wanted a console that could be navigated and operated without a hardware surface. This meant removing as much navigation from the surface and placing it on to the screen, which would also allow for a scalable console that could essentially be configured as small, or as large, as we wished. We added assignable buttons but they are all supported by screens so the entire surface is completely configurable and can be re-assigned.”

“The AIR was always meant to be a portable console with no drop in features. It’s capable of mixing some very large shows in a very small format. We always pay particular attention to audio quality and never compromise.”

Which gap in the market does it service, specifically for the touring sector?

“If you need an amazing sounding, portable and lightweight mixer that not only allows you to mix a huge number of channels, but also has everything you could need on-board, then the HD96-AIR is for you.

“We can see many of our end-users incorporating it as part of a larger set-up or where space is limited. Plus, with our comprehensive Heritage D ecosystem, there are many use cases for this console.”

What features will end users benefit from?

“The best thing about the HD96-AIR is that it comes with the exact same features as

its ‘bigger brother’ – the HD96-24. That list includes: 144 Inputs, 96 Busses, 24 Matrix, Dual format conversion, Dual Snake, Dual Power Supply, 24 FX slots with a huge range of FX and processors, from Tier 1 reverbs and Boutique Compressors to Binaural processors.”

“The AIR has everything inside to make the best sounding mix, and we don’t say that lightly. There really is nothing that sounds like a Midas. The completely assignable surface enables a very fast workflow for the mix engineer too. The capabilities of this product means it can handle almost anything that’s thrown at it, and thanks to its compact size, it’s the perfect companion to those users that are on the go.”

How can engineers tailor the surface to benefit their workflow?

“One of the benefits of AIR is that it has the same customisable workflow as HD96-24. Plus, you can also add several fader bays (HD96FB16) and we have native compatibility with Elgato Streamdeck, which means you can have a particular set-up available at the push of a button. Everything should be where you need it when you need it.”

Where can we expect to see the Midas HD96 AIR in the coming months?

“We’re aiming for a Q2 release. There’s lots to do, but the team is dedicated to getting it across the finish line. As soon as it’s out in the world, we hope to see this out with a lot of fantastic engineers who can really put it to the test on their upcoming tours and more.”

Photo: Midas


The industry chooses a record-breaking nine women to receive accolades at this year’s awards ceremony.

Steering away from the long-standing voting process, this year’s TPi Awards saw a restructure which aimed to diversify the shortlist with the introduction of the TPi Academy – largely made of the 2023 winners. This shortlist was then put out to the industry which resulted in more female winners than ever before. With such a marked change in this year’s results, we were keen to speak to a number of this year’s winners to get their thoughts on this significant shift.

Since the Awards inception in 2002, there are six categories that have never seen a female winner. This changed in 2024 with four of these categories seeing a women receiving the accolade.

Rigger of the Year was collected by Katie Flanders; FOH Engineer of the Year was awarded to Anna Dahlin, with Sarah Parker honoured as Lighting Operator of the Year and Colleen Wittenberg winning Video Specialist of the Year – previously, the Des Fallon Video Visionary Award.

Women also dominated in five further categories with Tour Manager of the Year awarded to Rebecca Travis; Production Manager of the Year collected by Alice James; Becky Pell received Monitor Engineer of the Year; Set Designer of the Year was scooped by Misty Buckley, while Tamsin Embleton won the much-coveted TPi Industry Recognition Award.

“I’m still stunned and humbled to have been nominated, let alone win,” Flanders enthused. “There’s always so much more to still learn with rigging and its applications, so much so that I never thought to be in the awards listings!”

Colleen W ittenberg, who won Video Specialist of the Year added: “It honestly feels pretty unreal. I appreciate that this award is peer-decided so to not only be nominated by the industry but to win feels like a big hug from the community; it’s very humbling in the best way. I’m very grateful for the support and people I get to work with.”

FOH Engineer of the Year winner, Anna Dahlin, was the first woman to win this category. “It is nice to get the recognition as we don’t get that often, sometimes we will get audiences turning and thanking us for the show but that’s very rare so winning a TPi award means so much,” Dahlin noted.

Lighting Operator of the Year, Sarah Parker, commented of her win: “I am truly thrilled and pleasantly surprised to have won in my category. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and so thankful for the recognition. It is an honor to be among so many other amazing winners and nominees. I hope to encourage the next generation in our industry, those of all identities, to aim big!”

Alice James, winner of Production Manager of the Year, said: “It’s great to win this year as the only female in the category and be recognised for Production Management across festivals and venues as well as touring. Having visited the awards for the last 10 years it’s a huge honour just to be nominated, and I’m very glad to be a part of the shift towards a more diverse live production industry.”

Rebecc a Travis scooped Tour Manager of the Year for her work with Chvrches, James Blake and Paolo Nutini: “I’ve been nominated a few times , but this is my first time winning which is absolutely brilliant, definitely a surpr ise but such a lovely thing to happen.”

Unfortunately, Misty Buckley – who was crowned Set Designer of the Year, – couldn’t make the event due to being diagnosed with colon cancer in January.

“This is a phenomenal year for women in the industry. We are seeing incredible breakthroughs in all parts of the industry, both backstage and in stage,” Buckley noted.

“The awards are so important to me because it celebrates this wonderful industry, that continues to thrive despite all the challenges we have all faced in recent years. To be at the table with such incredible, hard

working and talented women is a huge honour!” Becky Pell, Monitor Engineer of the Year, rounded off a successful night for women in the live events industry: “I feel very honoured to have been voted Monitor Engineer of the Year for the second time! It means a lot to receive recognition for the years of hard work and dedication that it’s taken to get here. I couldn’t have done it without the people who believed in my abilities enough to give me the benefit of their experience and support, and those who offered me some impor tant breaks along the way. Of course, none of us do this alone, and I must thank the fantastic bands and production and audio crews I work with, and especially the brilliant monitor techs who help me to do my job to the best of my ability. Rock stars the lot of them!”

Tour Manager and Co-Founder of The ABEP, Nicole Wallace-White told of how she and colleagues felt welcome to book a table after seeing an increase in female shortlisters: “It’s all about visibility,” Wallace-White began.

“It shows that the wider industry is being more appreciative and acknowledging that we are working just as hard.” From more inclusive shortlists to more women winning than ever before, Wallace-White and the team were delighted by the results on the night: “It was amazing, for the women to win it highlights a lot this isn’t just ticking a box, it is showing a change in the wider industry and women are standing out and shining.”

While this initial shift was welcomed by the industry on 26 February 2024, as a magazine and Awards body, we are committed to fostering inclusivity and levelling the playing field as the industry evolves to reflect the diversity of its workforce. Hopefully, this small step serves as inspiration for next year’s awards with further categories following suit in recognising the talent and achievements of all individuals, regardless of gender.

FOH Engineer of the Year, Anna Dahlin; Lighting Operator of the Year, Sarah Parker; Production Manager of the Year, Alice James; Tour Manager of the Year, Rebecca Travis.


Tour Manager, Ollie Horner reflects on the band’s successful reunion tour that accumulated over 200,000 in ticket sales and was crowned the highest-grossing UK arena tour of 2023.

It seemed that 2023 was very much the year of onstage reunions, with many in the UK jumping on the nostalgia train. Another band that is along for the ride is Busted, with the pop-punk trio recently celebrating their 20th anniversary with a record-breaking tour that ballooned from the original 15 planned dates to a whopping 27 performances across the UK and Ireland.

Having worked with the band four years prior to this latest campaign, Tour Manager Ollie Horner was eager to get back on the road. “This tour has been in the works for a long time,” he said. “When we kicked off, we were looking at 15 shows, which quickly grew to 27 by the end of it. We found out as everyone else did!”

Horner was pleased to report that each member of the core crew stayed along for the extra shows. “We were really lucky, and it was nice to see that everyone could stick it out to the end,” he stated. “A few of the team had to juggle other commitments to get over the line, but it all worked out great.”

While the industry is back in full swing following the enforced break for COVID-19, Horner remains conscious of the potential pitfalls that can befall any large-scale tour.

He told of t he delays that have come postCOVID, mentioning that advance information from venues is coming a lot later than before

the pandemic. There’s also a lot more caution when planning meet and greet packages with the band. “It just wasn’t possible this time around,” Horner reflected.

“If any of t he crew or band got sick, it would pose a threat to the show. Putting in that little bit of extra distance turned out to be the best policy for everyone.”

Horner has a wealth of experience working as a Promoter Representative for AEG, TEG, and Live Nation, and as Tour Management for McFly, Chase Atlantic and many others as well as being the Festival Director for Outbreak

festival. Busted’s 20th Anniversary & Greatest Hits Tour hit the milestone of the highestgrossing UK arena tour of the year, which was a first for Horner and the band, who also achieved their first number-one album.

Ruminating on the tour, Horner looked back with pride. “None of us were really expecting the level when we first signed up – I don’t even think the band expected it,” he reflected. “The whole show did really well; everyone is very happy about it, and there are no complaints from me.”

Words: Alicia Pollitt Photos: Chazz Adnitt (@chazzadnit)
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Roadies in Recovery band together to fundraise £3,000 to host the first ever sober table at the 22nd annual TPi Awards.

Having typically endured post-TPi Awards hangovers, I found myself notably proud, albeit contentedly sober, during the return journey on the Phoenix tour bus from Evolution London to Stockport’s Strawberry Studios. I had spent the entire evening in solidarity with the remarkable collective responsible for orchestrating the event’s firstever sober table in more than two decades – Roadies in Recovery. Joanne Croxford and the team successfully raised over £3,000 to secure their attendance, with any surplus proceeds earmarked for industry charities.

They arrived at table 126 equipped with an array of tea bags and supportive allies, making a bold statement, challenging societal norms, and reshaping perceptions regarding networking at events that may trigger individuals in recovery.

Croxford elaborated on the significance of this milestone: “There’s never been a sober table at the TPi Awards, and it’s quite serendipitous that on the stroke of midnight on the 27th, I celebrated my 14th year of sobriety. Having attained a certain level of recovery, I now feel confident navig ating spaces where alcohol and subst ance use are prevalent. However, being able to resist the urge to partake, especially for someone in recovery, is monumental – and much of this strength stems from groups like Roadies in Recovery.”

Jon Ostr in, FOH Engineer for John Legend, who is 39 years in recovery, was essential to Roadies in Recovery coming to life. “Three months into the 2020 pandemic, I was attending a 12-step meeting every day. Touring for 35 years as a recovering alcoholic, the maintenance of my recovery has been limited by life on the road. As I feared retur ning to life post-pandemic, it occur red to me that we’ve

been offered a new gift, and I imagined myself Zooming into my home group from stage left at my sound console. That vision immediately morphed into the possibility of other roadies living with similar fears that I was exper iencing. I called my dear friend Alana Downey, asked her what she t hought of starting a Zoom meeting called ‘Roadies in Recovery’?”

They put toget her a format, invited four friends and held their first meeting in October 2020. “Today, we have three meetings a week and two further meetings once a month We average 15 members in a meeting, over 100 have passed through our doors, and I’ve lost count of how many have achieved sobriety during this period,” Ostrin stated, proudly.

“I started Roadies in Recovery to help others , but they all have helped me in ways they may never know. I love these people dearl y and have had the honour of meeting many of

them face to face. I will be forever grateful to my Higher Power for the inspiration, Alana for the activ ism, and to all my new friends for their courage and love. We built it, and they came! ”

Croxford’s introduction to the collective occurred through a Facebook group called Touring Friends of Bill W (the founder of Alcoholics Anony mous). “After attending their meetings at 1am UK time on Saturdays, I realised the necessity for a similar support system tailored to the intersection of recovery and touring in the UK,” recounted Croxford. Just three weeks later the first European branch of Roadies in Recovery emerged. The collective convenes three times a week via Zoom. Croxford emphasised the profound sense of camaraderie fostered by this community: “Regardless of where you are in the world, people can tune in and connect with their tribe The essence of 12-step recovery,

Words: Jacob Waite
Photos: Joe Okpako, Roadies in Recovery and TPi

Buffalo would like to thank all our clients, crew and friends for their continued support


which underpins Roadies in Recovery, lies in fellowship. This support network has proven invaluable for those on the road.”

Croxford lamented the prevalent bias against individuals in recovery within the industry: “We often feel marginalised due to the prevailing ‘load out beers’ culture. At Roadies in Recovery, we empathise with these struggles encountered on the road,” she said, highlighting the lag in cultural acceptance of sobriety and mental health discussions in Europe compared to the US, where some production and tour managers actively seek out individuals in recovery for their reliability and accountability.

In anticipation of the TPi Awards, Roadies in Recovery hosted its inaugural live meeting, extending invitations to viewers worldwide. Of the 10 attendees at the sober table, seven actively participate in the meetings and belong to the fellowship, while the remainder either abstain from alcohol or offer staunch support as allies and advocates, including early supporters like The Roadie Clinic.

“We aim to serve as ambassadors for recovery within the industry,” Croxford affirmed. “Contrary to misconceptions, sobriety does not preclude enjoyment. Representation matters, which is why I am transparent about my journey,” she said, attributing her commitment to altruistic service to the late

David Enthoven, who played a pivotal role in her recovery journey and inspired her involvement in industry charities like Music Support.

Of the £3K raised, the bulk came from anonymous donors, though notable industry figures such as Tour Managers, Andy Franks of Music Support, Cath Roberts (Duran Duran), founder of The Back Lounge, Suzi Green (Grace Jones, PJ Harvey and Clean Bandit), Jaeki Hildisch (Robbie Williams, Gorillaz and The Gossip), Amanda Thompson (Ed Sheeran); Production Managers, Greg Dean (Duran Duran, Green Day, and Evanescence), Wob Roberts (Sam Smith, Robbie Williams and One Direction) and Nick Gosling (Nile Rodgers + Chic) and Addiction and Recovery Specialist/Sober Coach as well as drummer for Skunk Anansie, Mark Richardson, among others who openly supported the cause.

Croxford expressed optimism about shifting perceptions within the industry, citing the attendance of Zoe Maras from Australia at the TPi Awards’ inaugural sober table as emblematic of the growing importance of both recovery and sobriety advocacy.

This cultural shift reflects a generational transition, with reports indicating a decline in alcohol consumption among young people. “Many artists now request sober crew members for their productions,” noted

Croxford. “Since announcing this fundraiser, I’ve received enquiries from individuals who, while not part of the sober community, have chosen to abstain from alcohol but previously felt excluded from events like the TPi Awards.”

Croxford underlined the potency of compassion over antiquated notions of mandatory drinking for networking and enjoyment. “There’s strength in solidarity. I’ve experienced the isolation of being the sole sober individual on tour, but with the support of our network at the TPi Awards, we thrived. Our collective vision is to normalise sober participation at such events, obviating the need for fundraising,” she concluded.

“By attending, networking, and challenging societal norms, Roadies in Recovery aims to effect meaningful change. We stand on the shoulders of trailblazers like David and Jon, paving the way for a more inclusive industry.”

Roadies in Recovery meeting schedule; Representatives and allies involved with creating the TPi Awards’ first sober table.



The previsualisation specialist previews Depence R3.2’s Ambient Occlusion technique and exciting updates which streamline the design process for end users, TPi speaks to Andre Portmann to find out more...

What can end users and production designers expect from Depence R3.2?

“With this latest software update, R3.2, end users can look forward to many more new features and improvements. The update will be free of charge for all Depence R3 users and can be downloaded directly within the software upon release. We have once again given Depence a significant performance boost and added some new features, which were developed in close communication with our global community.”

Which new features will particularly excite production and lighting designers?

“In version 3.1, we introduced our exclusive Ambient Light feature, which provides realistic indirect lighting in real-time. We have further improved this feature by implementing a new Ambient Occlusion technique within the Depence graphics engine. This ensures realistic edge shading and object occlusion. Especially in conjunction with Ambient Light, scenes now appear much more realistic. Additionally, in R3.2, it is possible to direct MassCrowds towards a target. Thus, all animated characters of our unique MassCrowd object can look in a specific direction, which for example. makes it much easier to create a realistic scene in front of a stage, where the

crowd is focused on the artist performing. New fireworks effects in heart and circle shapes are now also available and can be used with the Special FX module. These and more features and improvements are included in R3.2.”

Why are updates important for Depence?

“We consistently develop our Depence software with a close eye on the requirements of the entertainment industry and our customers. The close exchange and feedback is essential in order to become better and better at what we do and to be able to offer our customers software that meets all their different requirements. In return, this is then


reflected in the software that is used in the most diverse areas of the entertainment industry, regardless of the size of the respective project. Larger major updates are also added, in which we incorporate major feature enhancements, add modules, or carry out engine updates. These updates are released at certain intervals and existing customers can easily upgrade their software to the next version in exchange for a small fee. Major updates expand the spectrum and the possibilities to design, visualise and control shows with Depence. Our development team always works in line with the state of the art in order to incorporate the latest technological developments into the software.”

How will R3.2 handle complex projects?

“Depence is developed on the fly in individual cases directly on the basis of upcoming customer projects and to make certain designs

and specifications of shows, even superlative ones, possible. This mostly applied and still applies to the pre-production process in the lighting sector but was also a decisive element in the development of water shows in numerous cases when fountain systems were put into operation. For many large events last year, we also have some special features in development, so we have made it possible to use 1,024 DMX universes in Depence to provide a software solution for even the largest and most elaborate shows worldwide.”

Why is Prolight+Sound the ideal location to debut Depence R3.2?

“The Prolight+Sound trade fair in Frankfurt is one of the most important trade fairs for the event industry, especially for the lighting and stage design sector. We regularly exhibit at the trade fair, not only to discuss the latest developments with existing customers, but

also to make new contacts and, to be honest, to simply meet everyone in person. Once again, this year, we can’t wait to meet old and new faces and chat with you at our new stand E61 in Hall 12.0. Visitors will be able to see the quality of the Depence software for themselves and take a close look at version R3.2.”

What are the next steps for Syncronorm?

“We are looking to the future with excitement, which is of course also due to the constantly evolving live entertainment and touring industry, and above all, we are looking forward to the many exciting events where we were able to make a decisive contribution to their creation by supplying our Depence software system. Of course, the Depence 3.2 version will not be the only coming update. we are already planning the next steps for a major release, which will be a game changer.”



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SGM Light Product Manager, Jason Osterman, shares the guiding principles of the firm’s new Special Projects division.

What was the idea behind the creation and formation of SGM Special Projects?

“SGM has always taken on projects where we would modify products or work with a client to create new options for specialist applications. However, this effort has been spread across various personnel over the years. With Special Projects, we are formalising the process – creating a streamlined, core group and spreading the word that we can offer these services.”

What are the advantages of this department?

“Each person in the group has a defined set of responsibilities and experience. The personnel in Special Projects already works well together in various areas of SGM. However, now we’ve organised project work and created a process to engage and work with clients with much more clarity. This helps to convey what is possible and usually results in a solution that is better than originally anticipated.”

How will the Special Projects team meet the growing demand for custom solutions?

“The best part about Special Projects is that it brings together R&D, Product Management, Production, Supply Chain and Customer Service departments in a new way. This results in products that few can produce. It’s made possible because we are able to engineer and source our own products, as opposed to OEM manufacturing.”

“We love listening to clients and actively work to develop the concept with them so all parties come away with an expectation that we will get a great result.”
Jason Osterman, Product Manager at SGM Light

What criteria does SGM Light consider when determining whether a project is suitable for its Special Projects group?

“It’s about what is possible across many factors including component availability, expected performance, specific project environment and commercial aspects. We love listening to clients and actively work to develop the concept with them so all parties come away with an expectation that we will get a great result.”

How does SGM Light continue to stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies in the lighting industry to continue delivering cutting-edge custom solutions?

“It’s a global team effort! Lighting, pixel, and video technology is moving faster than ever. We discuss new concepts almost everyday. SGM does what we do very well, but adaptation is always the secret to success.”


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