TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • MAY 2021 • ISSUE 261
Physically distanced, socially connected
THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL, AND SO ARE THE FANS...
SIX60 SATURDAYS • THE ROADIE KITCHEN • CAR PARK PARTY • THE RED NOSE DAY RAVE • LIGHT LOGIC ARLO PARKS • ESS COVID HYGIENE SOLUTIONS • DIVERSIFY THE STAGE • IN PROFILE: 4WALL • THE ALD
MAY 2021 #261
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THE ONLY TEST I’VE EVER BEEN EXCITED FOR... Last Saturday I received a message from Jacob that read: “Just got on site. Heading to the Production Office now.” The “site” in question was the CIRCUS’s warehouse at Liverpool’s Bramley-Moore Dock, which hosted 6,000 clubbers across two nights as part of a series of government trials on crowd safety during COVID-19. Such a text might seem insignificant, but having one of the TPi team at a show speaking to the crew gave a feeling of normality that made the light at the end of the tunnel seem brighter than it has for months. You’ll have to wait until the next issue for the full write-up, but fear not, as we have more than enough content to keep you occupied in the meantime. This issue, we once again travel around the world – metaphorically, obviously – to hear from various international production crews about how they have been fairing during the past few months. First stop, New Zealand, where we spoke to College Hill Productions’ Reeco Adriaansen, who oversaw the audio deployment for a run of shows for local band SIX60, who drew the largest audiences the country has seen since the pandemic began [p26]. Elsewhere in the magazine, Jacob spoke to Light Logic’s Dmitry Velikanov who reported on the changing landscape of the entertainment industry in Russia since the return of inperson events in March. [p22]. Although the UK might not be quite at the same stage as our friends out east, there is still a great deal of innovation taking place on home soil. Take this month’s cover story, where I spoke to the coalition of industry professionals that have banded together to create inKLICK – a platform that brings virtual audiences into livestreams and sits comfortably alongside traditional production workflows [p32]. Having already been used by Tom Grennan for his latest online album launch, the team at inKLICK foresee the platform outliving the current lockdown landscape even when traditional touring returns. In addition to print coverage, we’ve been busy working on several online events that are set to go live in the next few months. First up, we have the return of Production Futures Online. Taking place on 25 and 26 May, our virtual opportunity for people looking to enter the live events industry is back. This time round, we also have a range of online training options for attendees to pick up some skills and advice as the return of live events draws tantalisingly close. Check out some of the latest supporters on p6. We would also like to thank everyone who voted in our TPi Awards Reader’s Choice campaign. Over 1,400 people voted for their favourite individual winners from the past two decades. Stay tuned for more news both on the results and the online event taking place on 23 June. Before I leave you, I would also like to formally welcome a brand-new addition to TPi, Fran Begaj. Joining our marketing team, Fran’s name may ring a bell for some as she was previously with our fellow Mondiale Media publication, MONDO-DR. Her infectious energy and amazing sense of humour makes Fran a welcome addition to the fold. She’s already hit the ground running and we are even planning some of our first joint client visits next week. See what I mean about the light at the end of the tunnel… Stew Hume Editor EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: email@example.com
ASSISTANT EDITOR Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER James Robertson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: email@example.com ACCOUNT MANAGER Fran Begaj Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7852 336728 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: email@example.com
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ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: firstname.lastname@example.org MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh COVER Tom Grennan Credit: Treatment Studios PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk Issue 261 – May 2021 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: email@example.com www.tpimagazine.com • www.tpiawards.com
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2021 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 2021 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.
25 // 26 May 2021 www.productionfutures.co.uk
Remembering Richard Young.
EVENT FOCUS 10 LIVE Industry bodies campaign to save 2021’s festival season.
The Association of Lighting Designers Chair of the ALD, Johanna Town shares her views as the industry takes its first steps back to work.
Diversify The Stage Noelle Scaggs strives to build a culture of accountability and inclusive practices.
The Roadie Kitchen Lighting Crew Chief, Keith Parrott’s new venture to keep crew fed on site.
CAR PARK PARTY Coalition Agency CEO, Guy Robinson reviews the drive-in format.
Lockdown Q&A Light Logic’s Dmitry Velikanov shares his take on the Russian live events sector.
The Red Nose Day Rave NTRP’s Mattie Evans reflects on curating a modern-day COVID-19 secure event.
SIX60 Saturdays NZ’s College Hill Productions deploys L-Acoustics and DiGiCo for SIX60.
28 Affinage Russian band hit the road with Allen & Heath dLive, courtesy of Jamtech. 30
Dreaming Hearts Sound & Vision By DJ Nick deploys an all-ADJ rig for charitable livestream.
PRODUCTION PROFILE 32 inKLICK Industry insiders craft a platform to bring audiences closer to artists.
Arlo Parks Meet the technical crew behind one of UK’s busiest breakthrough acts.
ESS COVID Hygiene Solutions A firm primed to assist in the fight against COVID-19 in the workplace.
IP65 MOVING HEADS
IN THE FIELD 44
‘Supa Dave’ Rupsch discusses life on the road with DiGiCo.
IN PROFILE 46
4Wall Europe discuss life in lockdown, Smart AV and modern technology.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 52
PSA pauses to salute a host of supporting artists and industry colleagues.
The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 58
Former Just Eat CFO and new JLLighting Chairman, Mike Wroe takes the hot seat.
ELATION PROFESSIONAL EUROPE www.elationlighting.eu firstname.lastname@example.org +31 45 546 85 66
RICHARD YOUNG 1973 – 2021 Family, friends and colleagues pay tribute to Richard Young, setting up a Cancer Research UK fundraiser in his memory.
LOADCELL RENTAL, COLIN LUKE Richard’s death has come as a huge shock to everyone who knew him. The fact he was taken so quickly seems at odds with his endless optimism and energy and so unfair; yet again, cancer has taken one of the good guys. It is an understatement to say he will be missed. From his contagious enthusiasm and drive to his relentless attention to detail, he leaves a void that will be hard to fill.
STAGE MANAGER, BRIAN WARES Richard was a great boss and friend. As a production manager, he was vibrant and knew the whole production elements back to front. He always created a great vibe on a tour and really looked after his whole crew. He will leave a massive hole in the industry and be missed by many.
LOADCELL RENTAL, JIL ARAM To me he was a colleague, a mentor, and above all, a friend. Known by many as ‘The Grand Fromage!’
SILENT HOUSE PRODUCTIONS, BAZ HALPIN Richard was one of the best. He embodied the best qualities of a production manager and a person. He was creative, organised, supportive and kind. He had a passion for the work that we all do. He constantly innovated and found smart ways to solve logistical problems to ensure that the shows he worked on could be executed at the highest levels. He made sure that everyone under his watch was taken care of. I am still in shock at his passing. I think we all are. There will never be another like him, and I will miss him greatly. Take care Rich.
SON, ALEX YOUNG At 5pm on Friday 23 April, my dad passed away. Not many people knew he had been diagnosed with cancer a few days earlier, but the messages of support we’ve received have been amazing. Over his whole life, he worked with thousands of people around the world, and his impact on them and his industry will live on. He accomplished too much in his life to be summed up, so we’ve created a tribute page where anyone can add their thoughts, and any pictures they have, and there is a link to donate to Cancer Research UK if anyone would like to: www.richard-john-young.muchloved.com
TOUR ACCOUNTANT, ADE BULLOCK Richard and I worked very closely together for nearly a decade while he was Radiohead’s Production Manager. We had an amazing time, hot wars, cold wars, and every kind of war between. We bickered, we laughed, we cried, but we always ended up in a big bear hug as we laughed at the unlikely places and situations we found ourselves in. Richard was our leader, and when disaster struck our tour in Toronto in 2012, it was he who took the helm, who made the tough decisions, made the impossible phone calls, and put his band and crew first. No training could prepare anyone for an experience like this, but Richard rose to the task as if it was his superpower. He took care of everyone else with no thoughts for himself, completely selfless. Him and his bloody bell, and his big boots that seemed to get everywhere. But they are giant boots, and no-one will fill them quite like him.
CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY HEAD OF MUSIC/ ENTERTAINMENT, GRAHAM MILLER Richard was an incredible production manager. I have never met anyone with such a curious mind. He wanted to be across every part of the production to really understand it. I remember on Adele, he helped us build the LED screen at one point – just so he could understand better how it all worked. He was the master of the ‘awkward question’ – which kept us all on our toes and I frequently spoke with him to get his pragmatic perspective on things. Finally, we grew to be friends over the years, and we often used to meet for meals and just have a good old catch up about the industry. He has been such an influence on so many people coming into the industry and was incredibly loyal to his crew and his vendors – as long as they all did a good job! R.I.P Richard, you will be really missed.
LOADCELL RENTAL, ANDY LOVELL You always knew where you were with Richard. For me, more often than not, it was the naughty step after the many ‘debates’ we had, which I know we both thoroughly enjoyed. We had a wonderful, brotherly relationship, which I have always cherished – he’s among the cream of production managers that I’ve worked with and that’s how he will be remembered.
THE INDUSTRY’S FAVOURITE AWARDS CEREMONY RETURNS ON 23 JUNE 2021.
To celebrate two decades of technical production excellence, TPi invites readers to gather in a virtual capacity to reflect on the past 20 years of TPi Awards winners. Stay tuned for more information.
LIVE’S LATEST PROPOSAL TO SAVE SUMMER FESTIVALS LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) pens an open letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson; Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak and DCMS Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden, to use unspent Culture Recovery Fund money to create a contingency fund.
Despite the current roadmap put forward by the UK government suggesting that summer festivals could take place from 21 June, over the past few months, a number of high-profile festivals have opted to pull the plug on plans to go ahead. One of the latest casualties has been Boomtown – a 70,000-person festival held in Hampshire every August – which recently stated it would not go forward with plans for this summer, citing the “huge gamble” of carrying on without insurance cover. The festival organisers joined a list of dozens of festivals across the UK that have cancelled for the same reason, with hundreds more set to make decisions in the coming weeks. In a statement on its website, Boomtown said: “With less than four months to go until the event, and after almost half a year of collective campaigning to the government, sadly COVID-specific cancellation insurance for events simply does not exist at this point in time. This means anyone putting on an event this year will be doing so without the safety net of insurance to cover them should COVID-19 prevent them from going ahead in any capacity. For an independent event as large and complex as Boomtown, this means a huge gamble into an eight-figure sum to lose if we were to venture much further forward, and then not be able to go ahead due to COVID-19.” In light of the Boomtown news, LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) penned a letter to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson; Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak and DCMS Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden seeking to unlock the issue by proposing that some of the unspent Culture Recovery Fund money be used to create a contingency fund. This fund would offer partial protection to organisers should events have to cancel because of a public health decision. Insurance for all other issues would
be taken in the usual way. LIVE Chief Executive, Greg Parmley commented: “Without some form of contingency fund in place, the risk of undertaking activity this summer will simply be too great for the majority of events. We are already seeing an increasing rate of cancellations, including Glastonbury and now Boomtown, and that will become a flood in the coming weeks if a solution isn’t found. “The live music industry thinks that using unspent Culture Recovery Money to create a contingency pot to provide some form of protection for events is the best way to get money through the entire live music ecosystem – from artists and venues to technical staff and freelance crew – by enabling people to get back to work. The Prime Minister has said he wants this to be a great British summer. So do we. But that won’t happen if our world-leading live music events disappear for the second year in a row.” Concurrently, the government is in the midst of commissioning a number of test events including two in Liverpool over the May Bank holiday including a two-day club event and an outdoor music event in which the entire crowd are not having to wear masks or socially distance. Parmely also gave his thoughts on these latest test events and what they could mean for the live events industry as a whole. “The outdoor music event in Liverpool is a key moment in the Government’s Events Research Programme and a vital step on the road to live music returning this summer. Our entire industry is desperate to get back to work, provide the best possible music experiences for fans, and safeguard thousands of highly skilled jobs. We will continue to work with the Government to ensure a successful and safe reopening from 21 June.” TPi www.livemusic.biz 10
JOHANNA TOWN, CHAIR OF THE ASSOCIATION OF LIGHTING DESIGNERS (ALD) Chair of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD), Johanna Town hopes for a sense of community from every lighting professional, pulling together for better conditions as the live touring and theatre workforce takes its first tentative steps back to work.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease and the touring and theatre industries take tentative steps back to work, it is my greatest hope that lighting production personnel can resume their professional roles with dignity and security, bolstered by a sense of community. There’s no doubt the pandemic has exposed the precarious position of the live events and theatre-based workforce. Existing as a huge tribe of freelancers, we have a very poor structure within which people have to carry out their duties. Though we are all in a cooperative situation, who do we turn to when things go wrong? I don’t think my colleagues at the ALD or I realised just how desperate the industry had become. It’s a situation that has enraged, but also empowered us to pull more of the community together to create a hub for opportunities and support. At the beginning of the pandemic, for
example, manufacturers who were unsure of how to help, threw training at us from every direction – and wonderful though it was, it was hard to keep up. We recognise the continued importance of that training, formalising it for our members into a monthly online event. Corporate ALD members are an important link that helped to keep ALD members up to date with the latest technology, which enabled new expertise to be learned from even the most remote locations. We need manufacturers to continue in their role as providers of much needed career progression development. As ALD Corporate members, manufacturers are a strong focal point in our ecosystem and play a crucial role in the ALD creating the community upon which our members rely. We need communities – the pandemic has demonstrated that. The ALD is determined to put such structures in place. We need to support members 12
of our association and the wider profession, and work with the might of a collective to smooth the path for lighting production to be a sustainable profession. We are already hearing anecdotally that production company losses are filtering down to freelance lighting designers and lighting production staff, where the suggestion is that they take a reduced fee. The ALD suggests there needs to be an industry-wide conversation about expectations on both sides of the relationship. At the ALD, we have worked hard through the pandemic to create contract checklists for each role we represent, from lighting designers to lighting technicians, through assistant and associate lighting designers, programmers and production electricians. Designed as discussion documents to secure workplace rights, it’s now up to every individual to help make these checklists an accepted practice within the industry. Each of us must remember to check that all the needs, relevant to a specific work situation, are fully agreed. If, together, we all start to ask for contracts and better conditions, the practice will soon become the norm. The ALD’s Professional Working Group, headed up by Lucy Carter, has also produced a set of documents which scope out acceptable and dignified working conditions and practices. It’s essential that we familiarise ourselves with the guides, that include the ALD Producers’ Good Practice Guide to Working with ALD Members, to help challenge the status quo and educate those we work for about our basic working rights and needs. All our members need to be having these conversations, not only for themselves but for the wider lighting community. Currently, these documents are available for everyone to read on the ALD website, not just ALD members. We haven’t been working in isolation though. To ensure we were leveraging best practices for the documentation we produced, we talked with our peer associations and discovered they were doing similar work to us. It made sense to Join forces and from that AAPTLE was born. AAPTLE
is the Alliance of Associations and Professionals in Theatre & Live Events and it incorporates a total of 15 of the principal technical and creative organisations. By grouping together, we gain strength not only in numbers but in our breadth of representation. It’s that strength in the community. As one representative body, AAPTLE can campaign with greater impact to the unions, producers and the government. That works both ways and now a channel exists for those institutions to also talk directly to us, rather than having to take indirect routes which have not worked for us in the past. From our perspective, it gives freelancers a really strong voice with a chance to be heard. Pulling together with every discipline represented, we have the ability to iron out the common bad practices as a unified front. With the huge stress of the past year taking its toll, we must maintain the conversations of togetherness as we move forward. Positive mental health is an ongoing conversation within our community, and as lighting professionals, we know too well how lonely freelance work in lighting can be. Whilst no one has all the answers, it’s important for the ALD to advocate a healthy working environment and also to support others to live it. Our Wellbeing working group has set up a number of activities to foster a greater community, including an online cooking group and a book club. With more than one thing in common already, these groups are bringing together vital community links where previously there may have been few. It is more important than ever as we head back to work, that practitioners and companies work together to build on the community we have created and pulled upon over the past year, to build a more positive future for the whole of our profession. At the ALD, we are making that part of our goal. TPi Photo: The ALD www.ald.org.uk
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DIVERSIFY THE STAGE
DIVERSIFY THE STAGE: NOELLE SCAGGS Diversify The Stage Founder, Noelle Scaggs strives to build a culture of accountability to establish more inclusive hiring practices and greater access to equitable opportunities for the live events sector. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…
Diversify The Stage was founded by Noelle Scaggs, co-lead vocalist of alt-pop band Fitz And The Tantrums, in the spring of 2020, with a focus on transforming the concert, events, and touring industries to increase diverse representation. The organisation counts on the support of industry professionals and artists to build a culture of accountability that establishes inclusive hiring practices and greater access to equitable opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ); Femaleidentifying and Gender Non-conforming individuals. With over two decades of experience as a touring musician and a woman of colour in the alternative space, TPi sat down – screen to screen – with Scaggs to discover more about the initiative. “There weren’t many folks who looked like me on tour,” Scaggs said, speaking from her LA base. “I recognised over my years of touring that I have primarily been the only woman of colour in a space which is predominantly male in leadership positions. It wasn’t until I started having conversations about the lack of diversity that I began to realise that I hadn’t had any conversations with tour managers that were also people of colour.” Following a wave of momentum for widespread cultural and political change in 2020, Scaggs established Diversify The Stage. “I wanted to open up a conversation in the beginning with people taking to the streets and identify that the struggles of black communities around the world were troublesome,” she explained. “There was a lot of dialogue about the lack of representation in the music industry, however, there were no proactive solutions to the subject of diversity in the touring industry or challenging the narrow referral process of hiring touring crew.” To address this imbalance, Diversify The Stage joined forces with NeverFamous.com to create a technical solution to hiring qualified touring staff. “I was introduced to [Nine Inch Nails Tour Manager and Founder of NeverFamous.com] Jerome Crookes and came to find out that he had created an employment portal as an answer to this issue. His focus is connecting qualified staff with recruiters with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion,” Scaggs reported. “Given our experience, we recognised that the pool was shallow, and it was time to fill it with new faces and introduce people to careers in this often closed-off space.” Scaggs believes that setting a precedent and laying the groundwork for inclusion and diversity is key to getting the message to the forefront of people’s minds, making it a non-thought, when it comes to hiring a diverse workforce. “We want to establish more inclusive hiring practices and greater access to equitable opportunities with an emphasis on inclusion for individuals across all stages,” she said. “It should be a natural practice going forward in live music, events, and touring industries where there are barriers for women and people of colour.” Diversify The Stage has gained support from the biggest players in the industry, including Live Nation, Live Nation Urban, WME, UTA Music, Azoff Company, Elektra and Atlantic Records, The Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), The Event Safety Alliance, Roadies Of Color United, lighting collective EVEN Network, as well as stage suppliers and designers Clair Global and TAIT. Scaggs believes unified communication will help create an inclusive space and demand accountability. “I’m hoping that this movement ties in
with other causes around the world and that there is some semblance of standard practice across the board,” she said, unerringly. “It’s now a matter of coordinating and working together so the messaging doesn’t just stand on social media black boxes and talks about #BlackLivesMatter and all the inequities within BIPOC communities despite not showing in our business model.” In less than a year, Diversify The Stage has set forth long-term change by partnering with the Music Forward Foundation to create educational and mentorship programmes followed by paid internship/apprenticeship placements. “Our youth programme has been very gratifying for a lot of folks,” Scaggs enthused. “I’ve realised that there are a lot of experienced professionals who are passionate about helping young people get a foot in the door.” A mentorship scheme is a key part of Diversify The Stage’s youth programming. “Our programme features masterclass discussion with industry leaders, providing industry newcomers an opportunity to ask questions and plant the seed in their minds about a career in a sector which they may not know a huge deal about,” Scaggs said, explaining that these discussions with industry leaders often lead to mentorship – an important part of prospective employees’ career trajectory. “I wouldn’t have got to where I am now without that infrastructure behind me. As a part of DTS, all programme participants have access to mentors, network and gain connections in the industry,” Scaggs said. “Once the year-long programme is over, all graduates remain in the DTS database and have access to employment opportunities.” Diversify The Stage actively encourages employers to pay apprentices to develop their craft. “We want young people to know their value and learn how to negotiate their contracts; these are the basic tools you need to be a 1099 employee,” Scaggs underlined. “We want our partners to understand that they can help shape the next generation, especially at a time when everyone is unclear about when they’re able to get back to work. However, we can’t do this work without investment and we’re looking to supporters to develop a scholarship and grants fund for cohorts in the programme to assist with financial aid.” At the time of writing, Diversity The Stage is collaborating with grassroots partners and Events Vocational Education Network (EVEN) – a collective of lighting designers formed to create a more diverse and inclusive live events industry through outreach, training, mentorship, networking and paid internship placement. “We hope to develop a roadmap for these opportunities, educational institutions thinking of implementing this into their curriculum plan to build a pipeline into education that can turn into an equitable opportunity,” Scaggs commented. Taking it “one foot in front of the other”, Scaggs and the team are excited to be back on the road and celebrate being part of a diverse music community. “What I hope continues is this consistent dialogue that we’ve had over the past year regarding diversity and inclusivity in the sector, and that it simply does not disappear when everyone is back to business and there is a definite intention to make sure there’s action taken.” TPi Photo: Diversify The Stage www.diversifythestage.org 15
THE ROADIE KITCHEN Lighting Crew Chief, Keith Parrott discusses his new venture which creates a better working environment for on-site crew.
Like many of his peers, 2020’s forced hiatus from life on the road gave Lighting Crew Chief, Keith Parrott the time to develop an idea he’d held onto for a few years. Speaking to TPi, the lighting specialist outlined what he had been cooking up while in lockdown – pun very much intended. “I’ve worked in the industry for over 15 years and throughout my time, like many others, I have worked those shows, be it a corporate gig or a festival, where you simply don’t have the facilities to get a drink or a bite to eat – either due to catering not being available or being based in a venue that is away from any shops or restaurants,” he began. “The idea really solidified in my mind while working on a show in London,” reflected Parrott. “There isn’t really much around, so we made a trip to Tesco and bought a coffee machine and a toastie maker.” Once the makeshift kitchen was set up, Parrott couldn’t help but think that there should be a service that catered for this very need; a portable food and drinks station that could be used by crew as and when they needed.
Almost a year later and Parrott proudly unveiled The Roadie Kitchen. The company now offers two fully roadworthy portable setups – the Original and the Compact. Each unit has been designed to fit through any standard single doorway with a discrete footprint, making it ideal for any touring setup. The flagship original station comes complete with a total of 10 appliances you would usually find in most household kitchens offering a wide range of meals and dishes to be made onsite. Each station also includes a basic consumables starter pack, which contains disposable wooden cutlery, cups, plates, bowls and napkins. This ensures you are all set to go on your first day of hire. “As well as offering a neat addition to the touring crew’s setup, these packages really help to improve crew welfare when the industry opens back up,” stated Parrott. “I didn’t start The Roadie Kitchen to compete with or replace traditional catering, but the simple fact is that catering teams do not work around the clock – and nor should they. However, there is a need 16
THE ROADIE KITCHEN
for there to be something to help keep the crew going during those long opening up, several of The Roadie Kitchen units have already started to hours while loading a show.” clock up the road miles, being used by the production team from Cradle of The Lighting Crew Chief outlined his prime case study to explain the Filth, TesseracT and Nothing but Thieves. need for this type of service – namely, the annual EDM gathering that is Parrott is yet another crewmember that during this time has shown real Creamfields. “As there are no bands at the festival, entrepreneurial spirit in these times of hardship. He there is even more pressure on the production of cited fellow lighting crewmember, Tom Campbell’s that event to make the weekend a spectacular,” STNDBY clothing brand as inspiration for his own he said. “It’s a hard seven days, so having a space venture [see TPi December 2020]. where a crewmember can take five minutes to grab “Tom saw a gap in the market and already a drink or something to eat could really change that has seen success, and likewise, I feel The Roadie person’s day. An addition to the rider of one of our Kitchen has the ability to benefit everyone in a units could go a long way to improving the overall production.” He was also keen to thank all those crew’s health and wellbeing.” from the industry that had already shown their Parrott admitted that prior to working on The support thus far in his endeavour. Roadie Kitchen, he had little to no knowledge of Parrott is currently holding down another the hospitality and catering side of the market, temporary job with Rolls-Royce as he awaits but he brought the same technical precision from patiently for the industry to reopen. “Once his lighting background into the development of everything opens up, I’m looking forward to hitting both packages. “I didn’t want there to be multiple the road again while also keeping The Roadie versions of the units before we launched and Kitchen going.” “Having a space where a wanted to have full faith in our product from day He concluded by stating how he expected crewmember can take five one,” he stated. there to still be tough times ahead where stretched Collaborating with local supplier BCS budgets may create some challenges for both minutes to grab a drink or Manufacturing, Parrott was involved every step of production and crew, but he hopes The Roadie something to eat could really Kitchen might go some way to changing working the way to ensure each one of the flight cases was to the highest spec as well as getting advice from conditions for the better. change that person’s day.” fellow crew members as to what they would like to TPi Keith Parrott, see in such an offering. The hard work clearly paid Photos: James Bridle The Roadie Kitchen off and despite the live events industry not fully www.theroadiekitchen.co.uk 17
CAR PARK PARTY Coalition Agency Founder and CEO, Guy Robinson discusses the lessons learned from 12 months of curating drive-in experiences and what the future holds for the company.
With venues closing and tours grinding to a halt in March 2020, three solutions presented themselves as alternatives to tide over the live entertainment industry until normality could resume. There were livestream shows in all their various guises; the more high-tech solutions, with virtual productions borrowing techniques from the gaming industry to reimagine what a live show could be; and finally, drive-in shows – a novel idea and a neat solution to keep audiences safe in their vehicles while still being able to gather en masse. One company that jumped on the drive-in format early in 2020 was Coalition Agency. From a series of events last summer to its successful Car Park Panto at Christmas, the format has provided much-needed income during this unprecedented time. The company and team of suppliers hit
the road once again on 12 April – this time round hosting a total of 82 shows for crowds up and down the UK. These productions are made up of two tours with David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy and Horrible Histories, along with a number of shows for SKY VIP. Aiding the production throughout its Spring calendar will be a number of loyal suppliers, including ADI.tv, Encore and PSL Technology Group. “This is that last roll of the dice for us,” stated Coalition Agency Founder and CEO, Guy Robinson, who admitted it had been a year of mixed success with the format. He spoke candidly about the challenges that come with this style of performance and explained that with drive-in shows, all the regular rules of putting on live events are completely thrown out of the window. “It’s been a big experiment to see what works with this style of 18
CAR PARK PARTY
Coalition Agency Founder and CEO, Guy Robinson.
performance and, over 2020 and 2021, we’ve found it best suited to family entertainment, which is why we are taking Billionaire Boy and Horrible Histories out on the road with us.” Looking back, he explained how it had been a series of peaks and troughs throughout the year. “A huge high for us was when we added an extra date in Harrogate for Car Park Panto to make up for a lost date in Scotland due to tighter regulations in the country,” he recalled. “It sold out in less than a week.” The Coalition Founder outlined some of the logistical challenges he and the team had faced. “The audience metrics for drive-in shows are completely different from normal shows. For every 100 cars, you need 4,000
DIN POWERFUL OUTDOOR
sq m, which means for our bigger show, we needed a 12,000 sq m area. That is a big plot of land and it means cities like London are out of the question.” He also emphasised the importance of “the audience experience” from the moment they drive into the site to the moment they leave. “During our panto season, we made a real effort, using snow machines to make the exit a visually stimulating experience. Attendees would then post images on social media, which is how the word really spread with this style of show.” With varying levels of success throughout the year, Robinson highlighted the importance of “knowing the potential market in each region”. He elaborated: “For example, many people have asked why we are only doing one show at each stop rather than multiple days. In response, I use one
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CAR PARK PARTY
of our bigger shows in Bristol as an example. During three days of shows, fact that it has exposed us financially as a company, the relationships we we have an audience size of 7,200 people. That’s more than you would get have formed with the likes of the team from Knebworth House have been during a small theatre run for a week. Doing one invaluable and would not have happened if we show per city then travelling each day is tough, didn’t take a chance on Car Park Party.” but it would be more expensive to hire a space for He also stated proudly that Coalition’s work multiple days and not sell the tickets.” throughout the pandemic has injected over £1 As part of this exercise, Robinson and the million into the events market during a period Coalition Agency have made some predictions when the sector effectively has been closed. “We about the future of the outdoor market moving are incredibly proud that we kept pushing to make “Despite the stress and the forward post COVID-19. “When it comes to the events happen.” outdoor events market, there is not much of an With the latest run of shows set to be pivotal to fact that it has exposed us offering for the 40-to-50 age group,” he pinpointed. the company’s future, Robinson remains optimistic financially as a company, The interest that Car Park Party garnered with and excited for the return of live events. “Like many this group made Robinson suggest that this is a others, I think we’ll be smarter moving forward. the relationships we have potential market to explore in the future. The days of having loads of acts on your roaster is formed with the likes of the But will the drive-in format outlive COVID-19? over. Instead, we will look at having around 10, all of According to Robinson, the short answer is team from Knebworth House which we have a clear plan and strategy for.” “no”. He commented: “It’s a novel idea, but it’s a At the time of writing, Robinson was pleased have been invaluable and compromise for everyone involved. You lose the to report that 90% of tickets had been sold across community feel you get with a show.” both tours, not to mention picking up sponsorship would not have happened if While the long-term prognosis for drive-ins from Coca-Cola and Costa Coffee. “I’m happy to say, we didn’t take a chance on may not be great, the format has, at least, kept the assuming the next two weeks go well, the future of company working throughout the pandemic. So, Coalition is secured,” he concluded. Car Park Party.” has it been worth the stress? “It’s been so important TPi Guy Robinson, to keep events happening throughout this time,” Photos: Coalition Agency Robinson asserted. “Despite the stress and the www.coalitionagency.com CEO, Coalition Agency 20
LOCKDOWN Q&A: DMITRY ‘LIGHT LOGIC’ VELIKANOV Head of Light Logic and a talented lighting designer in his own right, Dmitry Velikanov reflects on the prognosis for the live events industry in Russia and shares his optimism for the future, following the country’s return to live events with audiences in March 2021. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports...
Light Logic has operated in the Russian live entertainment and touring market for over 15 years, specialising in modern lighting solutions, stage design, and technical support. The company has provided equipment and technical personnel leading TV productions and live concerts in Russia, as well as playing a key role in the development of new projects, such as concert halls, TV studio and theatre installations. Today, Light Logic employs a 100-strong workforce with more than 2,500 fixtures in its arsenal – 1,000 of them Robe.
volume of our work decreased but did not stop. Under new conditions, we have had to transfer all our office staff to remote work from home and warehouse personnel were called only in an emergency to keep people safe from the risk of infection. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business? In the first months of a complete lockdown, the number of projects decreased by 60 to 80%, which also led to the same drop of the company’s revenue. Realising the seriousness of the problem, all our team united. Reduction in salary was taken with understanding. Our industry got in the list of federal financial assistance and, as a big company, we had some kind of reserve funds for such a situation. All these points helped us to stay afloat. Our company was also included in a government aid programme,
What projects were you working when the lockdown began? Since our company is located in Moscow, we experienced the beginning of the pandemic in the city. Our main activity is related to production for TV and in that moment, we had been working on several TV projects. The 22
DMITRY ‘LIGHT LOGIC’ VELIKANOV
Light Logic’s Dmitry Velikanov.
Motor LPML250 lifting capacity 500 kg self weight 12 kg
we could get passes for our vehicles and employees to move around the city and funds to pay part of salaries. Thankfully, live events restarted from March 2021 as soon as the pandemic situation became better. For now, this is something rather exceptional. Health and safety is still the top priority. What health and safety protocols are implemented to ensure the safety of performing artists and technical production crew? Mandatory tests for everyone entering the site, masks and gloves always and everywhere, prohibition of handshakes and other forms of tactile greetings. Temperature check every two to three hours for all employees on the site. We equipped all our premises with all the recommended disinfectants and protection products. Recently, we strongly recommend all employees to get vaccinated. If an infected employee is identified, we immediately send them and everyone in contact home for isolation, inform them to call a doctor and take the relevant tests. There is a special protocol which has been developed for such situations. It makes all the related structures work as one system.
lifting capacity 1000 kg self weight 23 kg
RIG IT EASY
Why is it important to curate live entertainment experiences during this difficult time? In my opinion, people, especially during lockdown, need some kind of break to take a breath and distract from the endless streams of information. And after the break they need hope – the hope of returning to life as before with theatres, public events, etc… We are just trying to revive this.
WITH NEW GIS CHAIN MOTORS
What are your goals for in the short, medium and long term? In the short term, we want to return to the previous volume of work. Medium term is an increase in the number of projects our company is involved in. Long term is a constant development, updating and increasing our equipment, and expanding into new areas that have appeared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as virtual studios and online concerts and conferences. TPi Photos: Light Logic www.lightlogic.ru www.robe.cz
GIS AG I CH-6247 Schötz I Phone +41 41 984 11 33 email@example.com I www.gis-ag.ch
THE RED NOSE DAY RAVE Nocturnal Tour Management (NTRP)’s Mattie Evans reflects on successfully navigating a COVID-19 secure pathway through the ever-changing goalposts, legislation and legal hurdles involved in assembling a production in the COVID-19 era. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…
Production Manager, Mattie Evans of Nocturnal Tour Management (NTRP), oversaw the technical delivery of the production. His suppliers of choice included audio vendor, Patchwork London; Christie Lites UK; kabuki vendor, ER Productions; Videographers, Gurbs Dosanjh and Grant Walker; Photographer, Sam Neal; Set Designer, Johnathan Mann in addition to the Royal Albert Hall crew. As the disco ball stopped spinning on the unique fundraising event, the PM checked in with TPi to reflect on his experience wrangling with the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
each one bigger and better than before and they know we are always up for the challenge.” What was your role on the project? “NTRP’s role was to oversee all of the production. As Production Manager, I was tasked with appointing all of the technical suppliers and crew including designers, lighting, sound, set, equipment and backline and managing the production build. This, as well as our other specialty – logistics, including planning and implementing the day sheets and ensuring a smooth run across all areas of the production. That’s a day in the life of NTRP, but this time and going forward there was the added COVID-19 secure implementation entailing test resourcing, running the testing and increased health and safety protocols.”
How were you brought into the production picture? “Defected Records Director of Talent & Events, George Pritchard appointed us [Nocturnal Tour Management] to run all live-production streams, including We Dance as One. This naturally progressed to us running Glitterbox’s virtual shows and this particularly special one with DJ Gok Wan for Comic Relief combined with the release of Glitterbox’s documentary, Where Love Lives. The priority in the discussion has always been to make
How did it feel to be able to offer much-needed employment during this difficult time for the sector? “The whole industry has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and we feel 24
THE RED NOSE DAY RAVE
it’s so important to support each other to come out of this. It’s the only way to ensure the future success of the industry. We have been trying to find as many avenues to employ suppliers over the pandemic as possible and have been involved with socially distanced festivals, drive-in cinemas, virtual and production livestreams. We’ve done everything we can to try to adapt our skill set and use our existing knowledge to keep creating events in this very unusual time.” What COVID-19 health and safety protocols were implemented on site? “There was a 14-page COVID-19 risk-assessment form I needed to complete in order to go ahead with the production, so I can’t say we were anything but thorough. The artists, team and some of the crew obtained lateral flow or PCR tests within 72 hours upon arrival and had to complete a form ahead of arrival. On arrival, there were additional temperature checks, NHS track & trace check-in and Royal Albert Hall check-in. For those who had not been tested prior, for example some of the crew and the dancers, we had rapid lateral flow testing on site and no member was allowed out of this area until they received a negative result. Masks were mandatory and worn at all times, with the only exception when the artists and performers were on stage. “The artists and dancers had their own dressing rooms and the Royal Albert Hall provided all of the crew members an auditorium box, which acted as their ‘personal welfare room’ to safely remove their mask, eat and drink. There are social distancing and one-way systems throughout the venue which members of our team enforced throughout production. We had antiviral fogger and UV nano-spray guns to thoroughly clean the trucks and all of the equipment coming into the venue ahead of use and, as you’d expect, the Royal Albert Hall had sanitiser points throughout the venue.” Did you bring in external specialists to handle this undertaking? “Our team confidently enforced the COVID-19 secure measures, alongside the Royal Albert Hall team, but we brought in an external supplier for the COVID-19 testing. This company, aptly named 15minutecovidtest, provided the rapid lateral flow testing equipment and trained members of our team to run the testing effectively and safely. As with any extra challenge for us, going forward these extra requirements will become second nature, but we won’t miss it when the day comes that we don’t have to!” enough experience and expertise doing production to overcome most issues that can arise. The team were just so excited to be building the production and managing the logistics of a show, especially in such an iconic venue, that they eagerly and confidently took on all of these extra procedures and ensured it all ran as smoothly as possible.”
How did COVID-19 affect the production workflow and timeline? “We allowed extra time in the day sheets to account for the extensive protocols. Load-in required extra time to allow for the cleaning of equipment on arrival, fortunately the anti-viral fogging machines do the work very quickly and efficiently so no extra manual labour was needed for this. Otherwise, for load-in and load-out the main challenge is maintaining social distance when carrying heavy equipment, but that’s why the mask wearing is mandatory. “The area that was slowed down the most by the H&S procedures was the rapid testing. The 15-minute test time is fast, but when you’re required to test 30 people, maintain social distancing and with only a small number of COVID-19 testers, plus the need to be ready for set within an hour, then time is really not on your side. Fortunately, the team managed to pull through and everyone at the venue collaborated, as we both had the same common enemy to overcome and the same goal to achieve.”
How would you sum up your experience of this project? “It proved to be both a successful show and an invaluable experience for us. As a logistics and production company, we aren’t truly satisfied without a significant challenge and considering Defected (Glitterbox) and Red Nose Day’s vision for it combined with the extra COVID-19 security required, it definitely proved to be. We really had to use our existing knowledge and experience of shows to help us manage expectations on the ground. “There was one particular aspect of the production that really enhanced the experience. We were able to utilise the theatre to its maximum potential by having three performance or stage areas in the space. The main stage, where we built the amazing three-storey ‘house’ where the performers could individually dance in each window, and then having an A and B stage to build other awesome set design and visual experiences for the viewers. I suppose this goes back to the point that by not having a live audience, you can take full advantage and really work with the angles of the space. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the final set we helped build and bring to life.”
What was it like to be back on site, curating live entertainment? “It’s still a strange feeling, but we have done enough livestreams now to know what to expect. Having no audience really allows us to be creative with the production and the placing of fixtures and sets, where normally an audience would be present. Truthfully, nothing replaces that feeling of a live audience in a venue and I cannot wait for that first moment back with one. I cannot compliment the team at RAH enough. Their COVID-19 secure measures and advance management was second to none. The team and I couldn’t have felt safer and more at ease while at the venue. It’s a prestigious theatre to have the opportunity to play in normal circumstances, so during a pandemic makes it even more special as you can’t possibly take it for granted.”
How do you see the next few months panning out? “We are involved with some upcoming large-scale streams, which as you can imagine, have to be on the down low for now. We are also preparing for a busy fourth quarter with the hopeful return to festivals and clubs after 21 June 2021 – we can’t stress enough how much we hope for the success of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown and how ready we are!” TPi Photos: Sam Neill (@samneill.photo) www.comicrelief.com/donate www.nt-rp.com
What were the biggest challenges that you and the team faced and how did you overcome them? “COVID-19 was obviously a huge obstacle for the production build, during the show and the load-out. I’d say this was the main challenge as we have 25
SIX60 SATURDAYS SIX60’s long-time audio supplier, College Hill Productions deploys L-Acoustics and DiGiCo for the band’s biggest tour to date…
Signalling brighter days ahead, New Zealand’s musical summer took a turn for the better for six weekends in January and February, as local rock outfit SIX60 took to the road for their SIX60 Saturdays tour. The band played a series of venues with a stellar line-up of local guests to the largest audiences the country has seen since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, with SIX60’s long-time audio supplier, College Hill Productions along for the landmark journey. “The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster, everything happened pretty quickly,” said College Hill Productions Operations Manager, Reeco Adriaansen, on the topic of New Zealand’s first lockdown period late March 2020. “Prior to the lockdown, we watched all of our confirmed jobs wiped from the calendar and that was scary, we had around three months of our busiest period disappear over a few days.” Adriaansen and the College Hill Productions team began evaluating the future of the company at that point. “Thankfully, government wage subsidies rolled out pretty quickly and covered most of the lockdown period which meant we were able to retain our staff. From there we entered
survival mode, by diversifying to find some income and maintenance, lots of maintenance work because there was nothing else to do.” Given the months spent in exile, when the call came in for the first show post-lockdown, College Hill Productions staff were eager to get back on site and power shows. “I think we had a few volunteers on the very first one. In general everything went smoothly, there were a few habitual things that needed remembering but they were minor,” he recalled the physical aspect of the gig the hardest, given the team’s latency with months away from the job. “There were a few sore muscles after the first few gigs. It’s hard to replicate truck packs and being on your feet all day while being isolated at home.” Discussing some of the challenges that still face College Hill when it comes to putting on live events, Adriaansen cited two further snap lockdowns taking place over a few weeks at a time late last year. “These created some uncertainty, especially the first one, as you don’t know how long it’s going to be for and you fear the worst,” he added. “Luckily, most events were postponed as opposed to cancellation. This did, 26
Monitor Engineer, David O’Brien; FOH Engineer, Chris Tate.
however, cause all events to end up being on the same dates which ended up stretching us a little but we got there.” Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, College Hill Productions focussed on international acts visiting New Zealand, which made up a large number of bookings on the firm’s events calendar. “With borders closed this has taken any such shows away. We’re also now going to a Northern hemisphere Summer which means we would historically tour that part of the world. Australia and New Zealand have recently opened up a travel bubble, which will hopefully open up some opportunities for us.” Having been the audio vendor of choice for SIX60 for the past three years, the band’s latest run of shows in January and February, saw increased audience attendance. “The band has exploded in popularity in the time we have worked with them. This year’s run had extra dates in larger venues than the same tour they did last year with different sized venues depending on the size of town or city we arrived in,” Adriaansen explained. “The final show of the tour on 24 April 2021 will potentially be the biggest show for a New Zealand band on home soil. It is also set to be the first concert to be held at Eden Park, Auckland.” The College Hill Productions audio rider for the tour comprised L-Acoustics K1, K2, and V-DOSC which were deployed as needed for the different venues. The mixing consoles of choice featured a Soundcraft Vi7000 at FOH and a DiGiCo SD7 in the monitor world. The suppliers also produced Shure wireless package including UR4Ds and PSM1000s with an additional d&b audiotechnik M2 wedge package. SIX60 Audio Engineers, who also happen to be College Hill Engineers, composed of Chris Tate at FOH with David O’Brien holding down the mix in monitor world. Having used many different consoles from DiGiCo’s SD Range, O’Brien chose a DiGiCo SD7 to give the bands a flawless mix. He rates both their ease of use and, most importantly for him, their reliability. With the console set up simply and using nothing other than an SD-Rack,
it was used for both SIX60 and the support acts and, with the support acts changing for each, the tour ran much like a festival with mixes built on the fly behind the LED wall without any line of sight. “I chose the SD7 because it offered a few features I think make for a good workflow,” O’Brien said. “Having two master fader banks allows me to put the tech/shout mixes on the upper master bank while keeping the band outputs on the lower bank. I also like having three screens which provide a constant overview without needing anything external. This keeps my Snapshots and chosen channels in a prime position, making monitoring them easy. Having a dedicated gain encoder on the top row also helps to have everything at your fingertips.” O’Brien also notes that the SD7 gave him confidence programming scenes between set/stage changes, knowing that when he pressed ‘fire’, it would just work. Dual engines, meanwhile, offered him peace of mind when touring through regional parts of New Zealand where it would not have been possible to get a replacement console. “The console performed great!” concluded O’Brien. “It got a good work out and everyone couldn’t have been happier.” College Hill also provided a number of audio engineers to work the show including Kevin Bennett, Johnny Keirle, Tracey Dorn, Josh Early, Lisa Fahrenberger, Nathan Collins, Brooke Paterson and Daz Thorpe. “Although logistically it’s still tough,” said Adriaansen. “Thankfully, we’ve been lucky on this run and already played to over 100,000 fans. It has been a pleasure to work with the band and everyone else involved leading up to this landmark event. Hopefully by the end of the year we will see more borders open and things go back to how they were pre-COVID-19.” TPi Photos: Andy Tsang www.collegehill.nz www.l-acoustics.com www.digico.biz 27
AFFINAGE Russian acoustic-rock band Affinage hit the road with an Allen & Heath dLive, supplied by local hire company, Jamtech.
With social distancing measures beginning to relax and venues opening their doors again, Russian acoustic-rock band Affinage have embarked on a tour of their homeland to support the release of their latest album. For much of the tour, the band relied on their compact Allen & Heath dLive CDM32 MixRack with a laptop running dLive Director software, but when the tour rolled into the prestigious Izvestiнa Hall in Moscow in late February, local hire company Jamtech was called upon to supply the sound and lighting equipment for the flagship show. “The band have a busy touring schedule that takes them across the country, and they’re usually comfortable running their dLive CDM32 system for consistency from show to show,” explained Jamtech’s Andrey Balakhmatov. “However, for bigger shows, the band prefers to hire in a larger dLive system, which is simple for us as the show file is easily transferred between the systems.” A dLive S7000 Surface was partnered
with a DM64 MixRack to handle both FOH and monitors duties from one system, with engineer Alexey Krivolapov taking full advantage of the 128 processing channels and 64 mix busses provided by the MixRack. The 36-fader, dual-touchscreen S7000 Surface was chosen by Jamtech for its ease of use in combined FOH and monitor applications, with the DM64 offering 64 inputs and 32 outputs on the stage without the need for remote expanders and additional cabling. “We are always happy to deploy dLive consoles for events,” Balakhmatov added. “The system has enough tools to solve any problem; it’s quick to navigate, and it’s easy to configure for the operator. Our engineers love the sound of the mixer.” TPi Photo: Allen & Heath www.allen-heath.com 28
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DREAMING HEARTS Sound & Vision By DJ Nick deploys an ADJ lighting rig for a livestream juxtaposing the old and the new in support of Cyprus Autism Association.
Organised by local event and production company, Sound & Vision By DJ Nick in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April, Dreaming Hearts livestream was broadcast from the historic Kourion Ancient Theatre on the island of Cyprus. The hour-long broadcast featured short, high-impact sets from four local DJs performed in front of an epic backdrop with an all-ADJ lighting rig. More than 70 ADJ lighting and atmospheric fixtures were positioned around the theatre, which has stood on the site for more than 2,000 years, creating a unique juxtaposition between the old and the new. The idea for the event came from DJ Nick himself, who has a passion for increasing awareness about autism and wanted to help raise much-needed funds for the Cyprus Autism Association. To ensure that the livestream was as visually stunning as possible, Nick and his team approached the Cyprus Department of Antiquities for permission to film in the Kourion Ancient Theatre, which was granted free of charge due to the charitable nature of the project. “The venue is used for lots of live concerts by famous performers from around Cyprus and Greece,” explained Lighting Designer, Dimitris Nicolaou. “The audience usually sits on the ancient stone tiered seating, looking towards the stage, which has the sea as its backdrop. Since we wouldn’t have an audience, my first idea was to reverse this and allow people to see the historic venue in a way they have never seen it before. We positioned the DJ in the centre of the main floor, with the control position where the stage
would normally be, and then used the tiered seats both as a backdrop and as a canvas for the lighting.” Nicolaou’s design involved positioning four lines of Vizi Beam 5RX moving heads spread across the arc of the tiered seating. Each line comprised four fixtures, which were spaced equally, starting a few rows from the front and ending on the very back row. This allowed for the creation of impressive aerial effects involving piercing beams that shot up into the night sky and also down to the DJ booth – an ADJ Pro Event Table – positioned in the centre of the theatre’s ground floor. In the centre of the curve of tiered seating, directly behind the DJ position, Nicolaou added a line of seven UB 9H linear LED fixtures. These were then flanked, between the lines of moving heads, by two lines of seven 12PX HEX LED pars. These static fixtures not only provided rear colour washing but were also used for a variety of colour chase effects throughout the broadcast. When all illuminated at the same time, they gave the impression of airport landing lights, an effect that was very effectively captured using drone footage at the beginning of the livestream. On the theatre floor, a semi-circular arrangement of eight Vizi Beam RXONE moving heads was placed at the bottom of the tiered seating, fanned out behind the DJ position. These fixtures were used to generate additional mid-air beam effects, as well as to create aerial texture through extensive use of their rotating prism feature. “I love the RXONE,” stated Nicolaou. “First of all, because it is ultra-light, weighing just 20lbs. Secondly, 30
for a lighting fixture rated at just 100W, it has a great light output, even when throwing over long distances. Finally, I love the 16-facet prism, which creates really nice slices of light. That’s why I chose to position them on the floor, as we could capture the beam effects shooting up behind the DJs.” COB Cannon Wash fixtures equipped with an advanced 150W RGBA COB LED were placed between each adjacent pair of RXONEs. The units were positioned facing in toward the DJ booth in such a way that they were able, thanks to their wide beam angle, to illuminate the whole of the textured stone floor of the theatre while also providing backlight for the performers. “The COB Cannon Wash is a powerful and versatile wash fixture,” commented Nicolaou. “It offers very nice colour mixing with no colour shades thanks to its single COB LED source and has a very wide 80° beam angle. That made it perfect for this project, where I wanted to cover a large area of the stone floor and also backlight the DJs using just a few fixtures. I also like that they come supplied with 40° and 50° lens options, which is useful when I want to concentrate the output. It means that I can use them for almost any situation where I want to wash or up-light something.” Key light, to ensure that the DJs could be captured clearly by the cameras, was provided by a pair of Encore FR150Z LED-powered Fresnel fixtures, positioned on tripods offset to either side of the DJ booth. Meanwhile, a single Inno Spot Elite moving head was positioned directly behind the DJ position to serve as a rear spotlight. The final aspect of Nicolaou’s lighting design was to augment the beam moving heads spread throughout the theatre with wash and hybrid fixtures rigged on T-bar stands positioned on the concourse that runs around the top of the tiered seating. Raised up to a height of 2.4m, these stands were used to accommodate four Vizi Wash Z19 moving head wash fixtures. Zoomed out to their widest beam angle of 60°, these four units were capable of filling the entire theatre with vibrant washes of colour. In addition, the stands were also used to support six Vizi Hybrid 16RX moving
head fixtures, which were used primarily on this project for projecting GOBO patterns onto the tiered seating and main floor of the theatre. “The Vizi Beam 16RX is a pretty amazing fixture,” said Dimitris. “Using only six fixtures, we were able to cover the entire venue with no gaps. The results looked incredible in the drone footage shot from above – the clarity of the GOBOs was particularly impressive.” A pair of Entourage touring grade ‘faze’ machines, which use waterbased fog fluid dispersed by high-power fans to create a large amount of evenly distributed fog, were positioned at either side of the theatre floor. Despite the windy conditions on the day of the shoot, these were able to consistently fill the performance space with enhancing mist. In addition, a pair of Fog Fury Jett Pro LED-lit, high-power vertical fog machines loaded with F4LD QD quick-dissipating fog fluid were positioned at either side of the DJ booth to create high-impact effects. “We used the Fog Fury Jett Pros with quick-dissipating fluid to create CO²-style effects for music drops and intros. The wind was extremely strong on the day of filming, but the pumps in those machines are so powerful that they were still able to create a good effect. I also like the fact that I can use them horizontally, so they fit my needs for all kinds of occasions.” Since the team only had access to the venue on the day of the shoot, Nicolaou made extensive use of the Capture visualisation software. He not only used Capture to plot and program the lighting, but also shared his finished pre-visualisations with the videographers so that they knew in advance which shots would best capture key moments within the show. The livestream has already raised a substantial amount of money for the Cyprus Autism Association. TPi Photo: ADJ www.adj.com www.soundandvisionbydjnick.com/donate
E V I T A V O INN IONS T U L SO
TE O N N D A RY D A N C r e h 2x etARY/SECO PRIM
ABL LOCK SIS S CHA
ED RUGGING S U HO
PUT/ 2 x INUT OUTP
NA2-IO-DPRO Mic, Line, AES/EBU I/O Dante Interface ®
The NA2-IO-DPRO is a 2IN, 2OUT breakout box designed to connect legacy audio equipment with the Dante network. It features high-quality microphone preamps and 2 Dante ports for either redundant setup or daisy chaining. Audio parameters are adjusted by the DPRO Controller app. www.neutrik.com ®
INKLICK: THE MISSING LINK IN VIRTUAL PRODUCTIONS A new platform created by industry professionals that seeks to bring virtual audiences closer to artists. With the platform being used on Tom Grennan’s latest livestream performance, TPi’s Stew Hume chats to the inKLICK team.
As we crossed the 12-month COVID-19 milestone, out of curiosity I looked back at some of the coverage TPi was putting out a year ago and went down a rabbit hole of binge-watching some of the original ‘lockdown streams’, which you can still find on YouTube. The reason I bring this up is that I recognised a pattern in that almost every artist said the same statement: “It’s great to be connected to you all at home.” But as the weeks turned into months, the music industry seemed to collectively decide that this one-way form of streaming just didn’t create the artistaudience connection that both would prefer. Since then, there have been myriad companies attempting to address this situation, with many utilising existing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to bring the at-home audience into the performance. This is what separates inKLICK from its competitors. A bespoke virtual platform that has been built from the ground up by a number of familiar faces from the touring industry, inKLICK can integrate seamlessly into a technical crew’s current workflow and provide a solution to bring virtual attendees into any streaming scenario. With two-way audio and video interaction, performers are able to interact naturally with their audience. As for the global entertainment industry, it provides a solution to reach directly into the homes and devices of those who would otherwise be unable to attend a live show or event.
we agreed on was that none of us liked the term ‘social distancing’ and we wanted to create a solution to ensure audiences were ‘physically distanced, socially connected’.” With this broad concept in place, this coalition of industry professionals spent several months researching how this could be achieved. “A lot of people have tried ways of bringing the audience into streams by adapting existing video conferencing systems, but none so far have really provided a production solution.” With this in mind, inKLICK assembled a development team to provide what the company cites as “the most comprehensive live solution for the global entertainment industry”. Smith continued: “We collated our collective knowledge of what productions need and, with the development team, ensured that inKLICK would slot into any workflow.” Smith was also keen to highlight the work the team had put into the moderation side of the application to give as much control as possible to the show creators. The system makes it simple to mute or remove attendees if needed, as well as highlight certain members of the crowd with the unique Spotlight feature, which enables an audience member to be singled out to have a one-on-one conversation with the artist on stage. Drawing from this collective knowledge of fellow industry professionals was one of the main selling points for Treatment Studios’ Lizzie Pocock, who spoke about the joy of collaborating with like-minded individuals. “We were working with friends and colleagues on a project we were all passionate about but, above all, wanted to ensure that it was enjoyable,” she reflected. “The dynamic of the team was great from the get-go, so none of the challenges ever felt insurmountable. We’ve had the privilege of working with some of the best minds in our industry and the combined experience across design, production and technical infrastructure allowed
STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS Speaking of inKLICK’s origins was Co-Founder, Mike Smith. “From the start of this project, it has always been an industry collaboration,” he began. “Between the team and I from Treatment Studios and Solotech UK, the initial goal was to generate work for our industry. One common ground 34
for a truly unique understanding of what was required to get the technology a step above everything else on offer.” It was a statement that was echoed by Pocock’s colleague, Julia Goldberg. “As a team of professionals in the industry, it was a no-brainer for us to immediately pivot from live shows to an online solution. We feel strongly that inKLICK is not only a solution for current times, but post-COVID, opens up artists and audiences to an entirely new way of experiencing a live show or event.” Highlighting the transferable skills Treatment brought to the table, Pocock pointed to the team’s “years of experience developing shows that connect audiences to artists on stage”. She elaborated: “We worked in our team to make sure that alongside technical development of the platform, we remembered the audience and artist experience. We also worked on brand design and development, screen layout, production support and avenues to secure the funding required to build and develop the platform.” She explained what she thought separated inKLICK from other similar platforms. “The near real-life communication between artist and audience sets this apart from anything else we’ve seen on the market,” she stated. “We worked hard to ensure the user experience is hassle free so all the energy can be put into having a great time watching the show.” With most of the team coming from the music industry, live gigs were at the forefront of the inKLICK team’s mind. But what they have found is that the platform is very well suited as a promo tool for new albums as well as other applications such as virtual fitness classes. Although inKLICK has been designed to be used anywhere, the platform has partnered with 80six to set up a permanent home at the company’s Virtual Production Studios just outside the M25. With the high-end, LEDstage facility offering XR (extended reality) and Virtual Production stages, the inKLICK team is inviting clients along to showcase the platform and how it might integrate with their own setup. Having been involved in a number of other virtual streamed productions, 80six’s Dan Hamill gave his thoughts on inKLICK. “Frankly,
with inKLICK, we now don’t need to look at any other system,” he stated. He explained since the early tests, 80six saw a number of opportunities it could bring – specifically to corporate clients. “Since the initial test, the UI has come on leaps and bounds and it’s now a fully functional, sellable service. When it comes to using it for live events, it’s certainly a level up from using things like Zoom to bring in audiences.” He continued to state how although there is evidence of live events beginning to return, what is clear is that this will only be localised to certain regions, so if an artist is wishing to connect with fans across the world, they are still going to need a robust streaming option. “This platform is offering something new to the market,” he assured. “The past 12 months have changed virtual events forever and inKLICK adds another string to our bow.” TECHNICAL STUMBLING BLOCKS Key to these initial tests and providing a selection of equipment was Solotech UK. Leading the charge for the supplier was Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall. “I think that I have a reputation for being a ‘can do’ type of person,” laughed Woody, as he talked about how he entered the picture. “After the initial brainstorming conversation, it was very apparent that my position at Solotech and being the technical guru within the team would position Solotech as the technical partner and equipment supplier for inKLICK.” Woody went on to describe some of the technical difficulties faced by the team while developing the platform – a challenge that he was more than willing to take on. “I love a challenge, so I relished the thought of getting deep into doing something that hadn’t even been thought of before, never mind actually achieved,” he enthused. Among the issues faced during the development of inKLICK, Woody cited latency, user experience, different devices and operating systems as some of the steep learning curves they had to contend with. “However, the biggest challenge is getting everyone to understand why inKLICK is not Zoom and what it can provide over and above any similar platform. These other platforms are designed to let you hear a single person and keep
Treatment Studios’ Lizzie Pocock; Treatment Studios Mike Smith; MD for Metropolis, Raye Cosbert; Solotech UK’s Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall.
everyone else quiet, which is exactly the opposite of what is needed with an audience attending online. So, we took an approach to the audio rather similar to that of mixing a large orchestra. Equally, we took an approach with video that was sympathetic to the fact that the average audience member sitting at home is not going to have the best internet connection, latest laptop, or 4k camera with the best lighting.” Woody – along with the rest of the team – asserted that the fact that inKLICK is specially designed for the events market makes it an indispensable tool for the future of streamed events. “I see inKLICK as the SM58 of the online market in that it’s just what you use,” he stated. Having been a part of inKLICK’s story since last year, Woody reflected on the journey so far. “The fact that this has been built by fellow industry professionals has been the most interesting part of the project,” he said. “Pre-pandemic, we would all focus on trying to win as much work as possible and sometimes miss the value that being part of a collaborative team can bring. I’m under no illusion that the industry has suffered massively over this terrible time, but even during situations like this, there are some positives and genuinely working as one team with people that you may not have had that opportunity to be so transparent with previously has been a real breath of fresh air and something that I want to continue with.” While Woody is looking forward to the return of live shows, he foresees inKLICK having its place in the events space. “It’s not trying to replace live events. It’s going to make events accessible to more people who may not have had access to it before, maybe because they couldn’t physically attend or are in a territory that an artist may not be able to travel.”
PROOF OF CONCEPT With all the hard work put into the platform, the team were keen to bring in artists to test drive the system. The artist in question was Tom Grennan. “We did our first test with Tom last summer,” stated Smith. “During that test, we learned an awful lot about what works and what doesn’t work with this style of performance. For example, we found early on that the virtual crowd needs to be ‘warmed up’ at the start of a show to give the audience time to be educated about the platform. It’s a similar idea to why it’s important to have a support act before a headliner, to get the audience engaged with the medium.” During Grennan’s latest livestream in February, he welcomed fans from across the globe for an exclusive listen to some of his new material. The performance made headlines in the mainstream music press as the artist announced how he “broke the internet” due to the number of fans crashing the system. “The story behind that was we had only estimated and assigned 500 spaces within the platform,” stated Smith. However, when over 27,000 arrived online, this created a slight issue for the servers. “In a way, it was a good problem to have as it was great that he had attracted so many people and it was a good test for the system. As soon as we reconfigured the server to deal with a bigger audience, we were back up and running.” Raye Cosbert, MD for Metropolis, had been a key liaison between inKLICK and Grennan’s production team in the build-up to the show. “I started speaking to the inKLICK team last year, not long after we went into lockdown,” he stated. “Everyone was looking for a new gig solution and this 36
appealed to me. This is a new way of performing to an audience, knowing that you can talk to them directly.” Cosbert reported that Grennan had been very impressed with the solution. “Of all the new, innovative ways of performing live in these strange times, Tom’s team found the platform to be perfect.” Looking ahead, Cosbert predicted that inKLICK could open doors for more artists. “This is the future of artist promotion,” he stated bluntly. “We are at the tip of the iceberg with this tech and it will get better.” For Grennan’s latest performance, he and his production made use of 80six’s virtual production studios, which feature a high-resolution curved LED wall built with ROE Diamond 2.6mm acting as the backdrop for the performance, along with a disguise VX4 media server backend and a Blackmagic 4M/E PPI. To capture the action a Blackmagic URSA broadcast camera and a Junior 4 remote motorised Dolly on a camera track was used, which cut down on the number of crew needed to be onsite. Solotech provided a number of Panasonic UE150 PTZ cameras along with a full audio control package for Grennan and his band. The key to bringing the audio together was the separate audio control package that was provided by Solotech supporting the inKLICK platform, which enabled all the artists to hear a perfectly mixed audience in their monitors.
However, the inKLICK team is confident that the platform will have plenty of longevity. “Even when live events return, there is still a huge potential for inKLICK,” stated Smith. “Away from music and live events, fitness at home will continue to be a massive market and one we will continue to explore. Then in music, this style of platform gives artists the option to reach a massive global audience. From what we’ve seen so far, fans really love the fact they get a chance to talk and interact one-on-one with the artist in a way that simply was not possible before.” Smith also highlighted the obvious other advantage with inKLICK in that it prevents the environmental impact of travel. “Even when things return, you have to question whether delegates in the corporate market are going to travel for conferences in the same way when they could save costs and reduce their environmental impact.” Like many innovations, it will be a case of watching this space to see how the wider market reacts to this new solution and how it may be integrated in the future. TPi Photos: Treatment Studios www.tomgrennanmusic.com www.inklick.live www.treatmentstudio.com www.solotech.com www.80-six.com www.virtualproductionstudios.com
VISION OF THE FUTURE As with any innovation that sprung up during COVID-19, the question of how the platform fits in once we return to some sense of normality remains. 37
ARLO PARKS: PROGRESSION IN LOCKDOWN Despite her live schedule coming to an abrupt end in March 2020, singer-songwriter Arlo Parks has had a phenomenal year, garnering critical praise as well as seeing an increase in venue size for her 2021/2022 touring schedule. TPi speaks to some of the technical team that have been with the artist every step of the way.
While looking at a musician’s global approach to the pandemic halting live events, artists seem to exist in one of two camps. Either they hunkered down to write a new album or they threw themselves into livestreaming and other virtual platforms to keep their fans engaged. No matter which camp artists found themselves in, the commonality between the two is that 2020 and 2021 was all about preservation rather than a major increase in fanbase or overall popularity. However, there have been a few standout examples of musicians who have embraced the situation and, utilising both virtual, streamed and recorded live performances, have seen a significant increase in their popularity. One such artist is British singer-songwriter, Arlo Parks. The artist was on tour in the UK working her way round the circuit of 500-capacity venues when live events came to an end. However, since then, she and her wider management team have continued to work, throwing their collective attention on high-level TV spots such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as well as an exclusive Amazon Prime Performance. Due to her growing popularity, she’s now set to headline the 2,000-capacity Shepherd’s Bush Empire for two nights at the end of the year
– both of which have already sold out and, at the time of writing, is currently nominated for three BRIT Awards. Keen to chat to some of the team behind the artist, TPi Editor, Stew Hume jumped on a video call with Tour Manager, Adam Williams; Musical Director and Drummer, James Fernandez; and Audio Engineer, Chris Parker, to talk about this extraordinary success story. “My team and I at Riverjuke tour management have worked with Arlo throughout lockdown,” stated Williams, who was brought on at the beginning of 2020 to take on the TM role – which resulted in only working 10 live shows with Parks before the UK’s first lockdown came into effect. “Despite this, and the fact that her schedule in 2020 was originally very ‘live orientated’, her popularity has grown so much in the past year to the point she’s now able to sell out Shepherd’s Bush – all without doing a single inperson event.” Williams was quick to praise the work of the artist’s wider management team and their DIY approach and adaptability as the key to her success during this time. “Ali Raymond and Sarah Rodriguez from BEATNIK have been fantastic throughout the pandemic. They have been really involved 38
Opposite: Singer-Songwriter, Arlo Parks. Below: Tour Manager, Adam Williams; Audio Engineer, Chris Parker; Stage and Production Designer Sarah Asmail; Musical Director and Drummer, James Fernandez.
with the creative look of all the performances we have done and I love their hands-on approach. It’s a breath of fresh air to work with such creative individuals and despite not having a live show for over 12 months, it doesn’t feel like we have wasted any time.” Having been brought on for the artist’s Great Escape performance in 2019, Drummer, James Fernandez, as the oldest member of the hired hands, stepped up to fulfil the role of Musical Director. As the focus for the year switched to high-profile streamed and broadcast events, he discussed the differences working in these environments. “I feel you can get away with a bit more when you’re playing live, whereas on a livestream, you know you’ll have to stand by the performance for a long time. That said, I like working in a high-pressure environment and it means when we are finally able to tour, we are going to be a much tighter band. The MD explained that despite newfound success, Parks had stayed loyal with the band and they have grown as a unit as more opportunities have come their way. “We have added members as the level of shows have increased and are really happy with the line-up for our upcoming schedule.” On the other end of the audio chain through the past year has been Chris Parker of Patchwork London. “Bringing in the team from Patchwork was a natural fit,” stated Williams, who had collaborated with the audio supplier on a number of other projects over the years. “As I was the first Tour Manager they had worked with, it only made sense to bring in companies and people I trusted and knew I had a good working relationship with. As the pressure of these broadcast events increased, I needed a team we could trust.” Parker gave his two cents on what it was like working on broadcast and streamed events rather than his usual live gigs. “The streamed events have been great, although there is a part which feels like they are lacking without the buzz of the audience. It’s a different beast entirely. I almost look at it as the difference between being a studio and live engineer.” Despite the different setting, Parker explained how Patchwork’s equipment offering was very adaptable to different uses. “We haven’t even had to diversify our stock for these performances and even for these broadcast shows, we’ve kept the same plug-and-play philosophy wherever possible,” stated Parker. “The last thing we would want to do is waste time on site setting up and holding up other departments, so we prep as much
as possible in advance.” Parker complemented the work of Fernandez as an MD who came to Patchwork’s HQ to aid the setup of the audio package and their playback package that was required for a number of the shows. Embracing the unique format of these performances, Williams explained how the design team had approached show design for these shows. “Across the board, all performances last year were not particularly lighting heavy,” he explained. “Sarah Asmail, our Stage and Production Designer, has done some amazing work throughout these shows, creating amazing set elements that really enhance each of the performances.” He went on to give examples of some of his personal favourite moments including the opening to the Jimmy Fallon show, where they had utilised a flower curtain halfway through the set to reveal the rest of the band. “It’s an element I wonder if we could incorporate to a future live show,” he mused. Although clearly benefiting from embracing this alternative route of promoting an artist or album, the three members of the Arlo Parks team gave their thoughts on how, moving forward, the artist would maintain these virtual means of playing live. “It’s an interesting question. I think different artists are going to approach how they tour in very different ways,” stated Williams. “What’s interesting with Arlo is that she is a global artist in that she could play in most regions. So, that means that geo-specific streams might be something we look to in the future.” He also explained that conversations had already begun about how the management team would document the live journey once in-person events return and how videographers and content creators could be used to cater for the at-home audience as well as those returning to venues. “Where this project is so rare is there is such a clear, creative direction that comes straight from Arlo. She is far beyond her years in content and ability to handle conversations, so it will be exciting to see what she’s like when she is face-to-face in these press interviews as she’s very articulate and passionate. She most certainly can back-up the buzz.” TPi Photos: Lauren Harris & Riverjuke www.arloparksofficial.com www.riverjuke.co.uk www.patchworklondon.co.uk 39
ESS COVID HYGIENE SOLUTIONS
ESS COVID HYGIENE SOLUTIONS ESS COVID Hygiene Solutions Founder/Director, Phil McDaniel explains how the UK-based supplier and installer of air sterilisers and equipment is primed to assist in the fight against COVID-19 in the workplace. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…
Entertainment Sound Specialists (ESS) was formed in 1988 by Phil McDaniel and Richard John to provide high-quality audio solutions. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, providing professional yet personable service for concerts, tours, and events. However, following the grounding of live events in March 2020, the company quickly shifted its focus to create a dedicated workforce tasked with supplying and installing air sterilisers and equipment to help to eliminate COVID-19 in the workplace. With positive signs of a gradual return to ‘business as usual’ on the horizon and several mass gathering test events to be piloted in the UK in the coming weeks, murmurs of technical production crew, concertgoers and the wider music, live entertainment and touring sectors’ desire to re-enter their lives and places of work are understandably tempered by concerns of cleanliness and underlying fears of COVID-19 infection and transmission. Primed to discuss the fight against the virus in the workplace is ESS COVID Hygiene Solutions Founder/Director, Phil McDaniel who – having spent the majority of his career in the audio supply world or as a monitor engineer – now finds himself spearheading a campaign to supply and install air sterilisers and disinfection technology. “In order to assist any business in the UK achieve the best possible COVID-19 hygiene standards and prevent infection transmissions, ESS COVID Hygiene Solutions offers a toolkit of resources at competitive rental and purchase rates,” he said. “We’ve identified practical equipment which removes human error wherever possible. Kit that is reliable, ‘tourable’, rugged, and affordable.” From transportable personal air sterilisers to units with cutting-edge ‘VirusKiller’ technology for large indoor spaces, ESS
COVID Hygiene Solutions delivers cleaner air, safer environments and, most importantly, peace of mind. “In the events sector, our clients often require us to provide air sterilisation for backstage areas as a hire item, but we’re also interested in approaching venues and production companies to support them with preferential level discounts to support the sector,” McDaniel explained. “The primary risk we have identified in the touring sector is likely to be transmission, so we try to identify spaces as active and not passive in a practical sense; the way we combat this is with products to help eliminate the virus in a dynamic, fast-moving gig environment.” The company’s virus-fighting technology includes transportable and tour-ready contactless hand wash stations to provide access to the ‘gold standard’ 20-second thorough hand wash, a flexible battery mod, which allows for fully remote usage using internal 20L fresh and wastewater. “This can be plumbed in and run on standard hose sets, while 240V gives adjustable hot water – a must for temporary events and also for travelling production bubbles requiring predictable and dedicated hand wash facilities,” McDaniel highlighted. “Having options such as our contactless hand wash station and Viractiv antiviral face coverings for personal hygiene suitable for any working environment, or our Radic8 antiviral air sterilisation products for smaller commercial spaces and medium to large rooms, means we can attack this problem from all angles.” The company also carries Philips UVCC200 high-capacity equipment sterilisation chambers, which boast two trays worth of high-capacity UVC chamber – a human-safe bacteria and virus fighter providing 99.99% kill rate in a few minutes. “Specific UVC exposure testing means ESS COVID 41
ESS COVID HYGIENE SOLUTIONS
Hygiene Solutions can provide the touring industry specific exposure charts for sets of mics, belt packs, and walkie talkies, making it the ‘go-to’ solution for reliable human safe sterilisation of shared equipment and tools,” he said. Individual Radic8 air sterilisers provide solutions for spaces ranging from 20 sq m up to 165 sq m, with multiple unit deployment handling much larger spaces. “This product has a 99.9999% patented single pass kill rate, completely unrivalled efficiency, and 100% human safety in use,” McDaniel remarked. “It is the only predictable way to deal with the risk of aerosolbased transmission.” Viractiv antiviral masks, which McDaniel says are proven against COVID-19 with 200 hours of use and safe to touch, provide snood-style comfort as well as reassurance. “These are practical, comfortable and safe for use on live events – particularly onstage, where constant re-application and adjustment of the mask may be required,” he noted. UK adoption of ESS COVID-19 Hygiene Solutions over the past year include: Overbury Civil Engineering, where the team deployed a site entry hand wash solution; multiple chiropractor consulting rooms; GP reception and consulting rooms; jewellers shops; beauty spas; HC1 Care Home Chain; Pearce Hire offices and crew room; supplying air filtration and equipment tech to the production areas of Kidzbop broadcast event in March 2021; and a Komedia livestream in Brighton in May 2021. “We see our general diversification by operating with general business at a time when the industry can’t operate at full capacity,” McDaniel noted.
‘A MODEL OF HOW AN INDUSTRY CAN BOUNCE BACK’ Throughout 2020, most of ESS’ touring clients – which include Billy Davis, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, Romesh Ranganathan, Go West & Paul Jones, Go West Orchestral, Mahalia, 10CC, Robert Cray, The Classic Rock Show, Tony Hadley, Brit Floyd, Ali Campbell’s UB40 and Sarah Jay Hawley – were required to reschedule their shows, which they are now due to perform later this year and into early 2022. ESS’ summer festival clients – which include providing PA to six stages and areas at Latitude Festival, three stages at Leeds & Reading Festivals, three stages at Blackpool’s Rebellion Festival and the main stage of Nottingham’s Splendour Festival – were also forced to bounce their events. While ESS remains a live events company with upcoming tour bookings, McDaniel now heads the COVID-19 Hygiene Solutions side of the business. With the formation of this new division, ESS COVID Hygiene Solutions strives to support live events companies as a ‘security first’ option to bring back live events safely. “The last thing we can afford is a restart, temporary set downs or any kind of lack of confidence in the sector,” McDaniel pointed out. “For the past few weeks, we’ve been running interactive, virtual seminars, discussion panels and workshops with our pool of freelancers to reconnect with them, discuss codes of practice going forward and identify solutions to remove human error wherever possible.” As well as stocking PA and nowadays COVID-19 hygiene equipment, ESS’ Ultimate Ears IEM clients over the past 18 months include the likes of Arlo Parks, IDLES, Above & Beyond, Foals, Michael Ball, Go West, Yola, Magic 42
ESS COVID HYGIENE SOLUTIONS
Mike, Emeli Sandé, Mumford & Sons, Stereophonics, Nik Kershaw, Bryan Ferry, Anna Calvi, Robbie Williams, Roísín Murphy, Ali Campbell’s UB40, The Specials, Cradle of Filth and Doves. Despite a series of gig postponements and cancellations, ESS has been involved in smaller dry hire operations for occasional socially distanced or livestream events amid the crisis, such as supplying client console and production package to Rumours of Fleetwood Mac’s socially distanced show at Gosforth Park in August 2020; a control package for a livestream by Fontaines DC; and three socially distanced shows at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena in December. “The touring sector, if operated in a COVID-19 safe environment, can be a model of how an industry can bounce back,” McDaniel remarked. “As an industry, it’s time to get our game faces on and prepare to operate safely in a dynamic, live environment without allowing the sensible risk assessment approach to collapse when there may be a compromise. If the compromise is going to happen, we must reduce the risk further. Our job is to provide technologies to prevent this scenario and mitigate the risk.” ESS’ manufacturing and installing work during the COVID-19 era has included upgrading the line systems and maintenance to Fake Festivals and an installation at The Dorothy Pax Sheffield. Looking towards the future, McDaniel believes event organisers must mitigate the risks and plan for all eventualities, with a contingency plan if a member of the technical production team displays symptoms. “They should be relieved to go into isolation with no pressure because they’re
‘indispensable’. As a monitor engineer, I might be considered as an indispensable person, however, if the team is provided my session notes and file, I can fly them through that gig remotely,” McDaniel underlined. “We have to be robust and it’s a huge overhead of potential cost and logistics, but it’s a safer way of operating.” Having been successful in the first round of the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund, ESS has helped its pool of freelancers to apply for and be awarded creative practice grants. “We want to focus on being safer and maintaining a strong relationship with our pool of freelancers, many of which have been in dire straits over the past year-and-a-half.” Describing the firm’s PA hire division as in ‘hover mode’ over the past year-and-a-half, McDaniel explained the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund “kept things ticking over while we were busy firefighting”, with improvements to internal operational system upgrades when it comes to client quoting and inventory control, which now runs on Flex5. “We’ve upgraded our HGV Vehicle compliance to TDi Vehicle Check with HGV driver compliance running on TDi DiscCheck and freelancer booking and production documents now being handled by TeamTrack,” McDaniel said. “Although it’s expensive and we’re gambling on a full operational sector later this year, we didn’t want to sit still and slide backwards. We want to emerge from this pandemic match fit, even if we might be a little bit leaner.” TPi Photos: ESS COVID Hygiene Solutions www.covid-hygiene.uk 43
IN THE FIELD
IN THE FIELD: DIGICO Monitor Engineer, ‘Supa Dave’ Rupsch opens up about life on the road with Katy Perry and the Red Hot Chili Peppers with a trusted DiGiCo console by stage side.
Monitor Engineer, ‘Supa Dave’ Rupsch has worked with a host of highprofile touring acts, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Katy Perry, My Chemical Romance, Megadeth, Panic! at the Disco, Prince, Sum 41 and Nick Jonas, during his time on the road. Despite his genre spanning collaborations, one through line that connects them is his audio console brand of choice – DiGiCo. Having toured with the band for just over a year, Rupsch considers himself new to the Red Hot Chili Peppers camp. “This is such an iconic band and they’ve been doing it since the late ’80s,” he enthused. “This is a band that I went to see as a fan and as a ticket buyer. When you really see it up close, they’re greater than the sum of their parts.” Rupsch says that the challenge with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ in-ears is making sure the sound doesn’t get ‘cluttered’ – he chooses to play with panning, phasing and mic placement for the in-ears to create a wide and balanced sound for the band. “It’s very fluid and I’m not prone to using snapshots on this – where I would be with other gigs – because things can change. Especially a band like this that has a catalogue of hundreds of songs – everything is on the table every night, so they could pull out anything. You really want to keep
it fluid, be able to move around, get the band to sit well together and hopefully help them feel comfortable on stage.” Helping Rupsch navigate on-stage challenges are DiGiCo’s range of consoles, which he has been using for the past nine years – mostly alternating between the SD10, SD7 and the SD5. “DiGiCo is the centerpiece of everything that I do,” he said. “I like to try and keep everything as simple as possible and try to keep as many things inside the box as I can, using all internal reverbs and dynamics.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently began using JH Audio JH16v2 in-ears, which Rupsch is happy to report have been working really well for them. In terms of I/Os, Rupsch has a rack of 12 channels of in-ears, which includes spares for everyone on stage. “The Chili Peppers have a keyboard player that plays on about half of the songs, so we’ve got maybe 16 channels back there. There are eight stereo keyboards, and that’s another nice thing to really add some layers to a band like that. I have some wedges on the stage as well, but they’re really just there for spares or maybe if a guest happens to come out. Josh, the guitarist, would use wedges when I started, but he was curious about inears, so we started to move him towards in-ears as well. He ended up liking 44
Monitor Engineer, Dave Rupsch.
it and we were able to bring those wedges down and eventually mute them to clean up the stage sound,” he reported. “We go 96k at monitors,” he continued. “I like to separate some of the monitoring on stage, so the only thing that would be coming to the L-Acoustics ARCS side fills would be the keyboards because they’re all stereo pairs and you get a really nice, wide image. “The side fills are kicked way off to the side of the stage so you can hear all of the natural amp sounds as you’re walking around the stage, and then hear the keyboards coming away from the outside to help you harmonise and make the stage sound big and separated – especially if you’re singing or playing a solo. You don’t have stereo sources like keyboards coming through a mono wedge or anything like that, in addition to trying to clutter up what you’re actually trying to monitor. So, I try to do little clever things like that. If somebody wasn’t using in-ears, it sounds very natural and they can maintain a performance dynamic.” I PICKED A DIGICO AND I LIKED IT Rupsch has been working with Katy Perry since around 2008, following the success of her single, I Kissed a Girl. He was asked to fill in at one of the then rising star’s shows on monitors, a role he’s manned ever since. “I think the running joke now is I’m still ‘just filling in’,” he laughed. “Katy is a hard worker – she puts in all the time and she deserves every bit of success that she has. I’ve never seen anybody work as hard as she does; she has a great vision. That kind of work ethic is contagious.” For a touring pop artist like Katy Perry, Rupsch is able to convert his console files and switch between a DiGiCo SD5, SD7 or SD10, depending on what is available locally. In terms of the desks’ screens and the ability to easily lay everything out, he prefers the SD10, although the SD5 and SD7 also contain some of his favourite functionality. “I really like the extended high-resolution meter bridges on those,” he confirmed. “During rehearsals, we adjust key patches and track levels and all that stuff, massaging all of our sources. Those meters are great because I can tell our Pro Tools guy to bring it down a dB and a half. It’s really handy because you can give somebody a pretty accurate piece of information to go with.” Naturally, going from Katy Perry to the Red Hot Chili Peppers required a different approach at monitors. “With the band, it’s really a three-piece bandwidth; you have somebody singing, guitar, bass and drums, and somebody singing over the top of that. For monitoring, it was interesting going from something like Katy Perry where you’ve got sometimes eight or 10 people on stage with all kinds of keyboards, multiple guitars and tonnes of layers, to the Chili Peppers, which is the opposite of that.” To effectively replicate these songs in a live environment, Rupsch works closely with musical directors and a playback team, finding DiGiCo’s software updates to be invaluable: “A few years ago, DiGiCo made it so I could start rerouting groups back into input channels. That was hugely beneficial, because I like mixing a lot of subgroups,” he explained. Rupsch explained that because most music award shows use DiGiCo, it is easy for him to bring a preset file, even with just a channel. “I’m able to say, ‘here’s her vocal channel and here’s the reverb presets’. So even before I
get there, I can send these presets that are all loaded in, and the soundtrack is done in no time. We’re not messing around trying to dial in reverbs or dynamics, so the local guys love it because soundcheck is done 20 minutes early.” Rupsch believes that his big break in audio was like being “thrown into the fire” and admits that he started out on another brand of console before landing a gig where the band used a DiGiCo SD8. “It took me a second to figure out my workflow, and then I realised I can put anything where I want – like my fader banks – to make my workflow really, really effective in no time,” he reminisced. “That was when I really fell in love with DiGiCo consoles, and I haven’t looked back since.” Above all, DiGiCo provides Rupsch with total confidence during a live show. “When it gets to showtime, I don’t want to have to worry about anything getting weird,” he concluded. “I’ve auditioned and rehearsed everything via playback and I know everything is there. It’s just that calming of anxieties that can really help you produce a good show.” TPi Photos: DiGiCo www.digico.biz
IN PROFILE: 4WALL The 4Wall Europe team talks life in lockdown, the acquisition of Smart AV and creating new opportunities with a brand-new virtual studio. TPi’s Stew Hume reports…
‘How has the past year been for you?’ It’s a question that I’m sure most have asked and answered countless times since COVID-19 became such a dominant force in our lives. However, when speaking to a representative of a global company such as 4Wall that has a presence in a wide variety of sectors, the answer is far from straightforward. “It’s a tricky one, as all of our offices – from New York and LA in the US, to Blackburn and London in the UK – have different specialisms,” began 4Wall Europe Managing Director, Ryan Walker. “So, it’s hard to give a simple answer about 4Wall as a whole.” He went on to give the example of the company’s New York office, which is focused heavily on the film and TV industry and has been working at almost full capacity since the initial lockdown due to the demand of that sector. Although each office has experienced the pandemic in different ways, there is an overarching theme, which appears to have disseminated from CEO, Wes Bailey, that the company will roll with the punches and tackle each challenge as a collective. “There has been an element where the pandemic has presented an opportunity to diversify within the group,” stated Walker. “With that, we have the ability to redeploy resources across the globe to where they’re needed the most.” While looking back at the past year, as well as adapting, the group has grown with the acquisition of Smart AV – a deal that was brokered on 2 March 2020, two weeks prior to the UK’s lockdown. The addition of Smart AV expands 4Wall’s presence in the UK, with the company having taken ownership of HSL back in April 2019. “Some saw this as a distress sale,” said Founder and Former CEO of Smart AV, Darren Poultney, who now holds the position of Director of Global Client Strategy for 4Wall. “Alas, like most people realise, these kinds of deals take months of negotiations and it was the right time for us to sell. We were
at a crossroads at Smart AV where we had to either open a new satellite operation or join a larger group.” Choosing the latter option seemed ideal for Poultney, who saw a real affinity with 4Wall and its CEO, Bailey. “It’s all about the people when it comes to the events industry and I really liked the fact that 4Wall has purchased 10 companies in the past five years, and all the ex-owners are still involved in one form or another. That says a lot about 4Wall and it made it a much easier choice for us at Smart AV. Of course, having the backing of a large, US-based company certainly opens a number of doors to us.” VIRTUAL WORLD One such “door” that opened to the 4Wall UK team during 2020 was that of virtual events. “If we are being completely truthful, virtual events were not something we looked at seriously within 4Wall until COVID-19,” stated Walker bluntly. “We had offered some streaming options at conferences but, prior to 2020, we were never asked to provide anything where a speaker would be on an LED stage with a virtual environment around them.” As with any innovation such as extended reality (XR) stages, half the battle is trying to make customers understand the technology and how it can be used. Poultney explained that there was one pop culture phenomenon that certainly helped customers’ understanding. “The filming of The Mandalorian and what they were able to achieve with XR has been a huge advantage to us, because people now understand what can be done with the technology.” Although fully capable of reproducing a SmartStudioXR stage at any location, the 4Wall team has made a HQ for this new branch of the business at Royal Lancaster London. Having worked with the venue for several years, once COVID-19 hit, 4Wall’s European Technical Director, Scott Tompkins, 47
4Wall Europe Managing Director, Ryan Walker; European Technical Director, Scott Tompkins; Director of Global Client Strategy, Darren Poultney.
phoned the hotel’s General Manager, Sally Beck, to pitch the idea of using one of the venue’s spaces to set up a semi-permanent XR studio. The studio features a 10m wide stage, with LED backdrop comprising of an Absen 2.5mm LED rear wall with a ROE Visual Black Marble 4.76mm LED floor, along with a number of broadcast cameras and TV-ready lighting. The studio also has an extensive disguise media server backbone. “Although disguise’s xR technology has been around for a while, the workflow is still very much in development and our whole team at 4Wall had to repurpose the media servers in the way we usually work with them,” stated Tompkins. “It was certainly a steep learning curve but an incredibly exciting project to be involved with.” Along with the disguise xR technology, Tompkins also outlined his delight at the opportunity to learn about other technologies – specifically Unreal Engine. “That is one of the proudest points I have from this whole lockdown period,” stated Tompkins. “We’ve had people from our team who are now working in totally different roles than they were prior to COVID-19.” He explained that once 4Wall went down the road of a virtual offering, it put the call out to its internal technical team and then the extended freelance network to see who would be keen to be involved in learning about the new workflows. “It’s created new careers and really turned some people’s lives around,” he enthused. “We have focused a lot on training and
with disguise being so close to us, they’ve really aided in the development of this digital offering. As well as learning a new workflow, Tompkins also highlighted the importance of finding 4Wall’s niche among all the other companies offering virtual studio solutions. “We looked at the market and we saw there were enough companies offering artists a space to perform in a converted warehouse, but few that were offering an environment where a CEO of a corporate company would be happy to present from. The fact we are set up in a luxury hotel means our corporate clients are in a familiar setting.” So far, 4Wall has hosted over 50 customers, ranging from one-day events to conferences that span a whole week, and the team has had extremely positive feedback from the number of companies and individuals that have already used the studio. Having got into the groove of virtual events, 4Wall discussed what the future might hold for this offering and gave its unique take on the term ‘hybrid events’. “Between the two lockdowns in the UK, we experimented with a hybrid setup when we were allowed a few people into the studio,” reflected Tompkins. He explained by the time they accounted for crew, this meant they could bring 15 extra people into the studio space. “The only issue which I constantly tell our clients is that for those on site, it will be like visiting a TV studio.” 48
Walker added: “It’s one of the biggest challenges for a speaker to essentially ignore an audience member in the studio and to focus on the camera. The issue is, this might mean ignoring the top 15 people in your company. The main problem you have with hybrid events is if a presenter tries to perform to both the inperson crowd and the camera, it takes something away from both mediums.” According to the team, the idea of a hybrid event would be better thought of as a multiple stage setup. Using the company’s arrangement at Royal Lancaster London as an example, the team would have the XR stage for an online audience, which might be streamed to the main conference, then simultaneously have a more traditional stage setup in one of the hotel’s other event rooms, which could also be streamed. “Hybrid events using an XR stage are possible, but I think what we are more likely to see when we are able to have in-person events is something in the middle,” stated Walker. Along with the in person support being given to customers, throughout 2020, 4Wall’s development team were busy creating the company’s virtual event platform, Virtual Event Pro. Entirely cloud-based and with the latest virtual production suite, Virtual Event Pro enables virtual events to run like a physical live event, with robust live streaming, presenter tools, including a virtual prompter and PPT advancer, and the ability to customise the platform, add in sponsorship opportunities and extract live analytics, as well as an array of other features. A LOOK TO THE FUTURE Despite opening new avenues, the team at 4Wall were very forthcoming about the future and the uncertainty of the time ahead. “I think every person at 4Wall would have a different answer as to how the next few months will look for the entertainment market,” stated Poultney. “For example, in the UK, one of the main concerns is how this year’s festival season will look; full-service rental houses are gearing up for these events, although there is still somewhat of a question mark over them.” 4Wall in the past few months has shown its own signs of preparing for this potential demand by announcing a strategic partnership with Transition Video. “Our 4Wall Blackburn location has worked alongside Transition Video for many years and already work with their high-quality kit and understand their service offering,” stated Poultney when the official announcement was made. “We are excited to be able to work even more closely with the team at Transition to further extend our offering to our client base. This alliance will also enable us to increase our capability as a one-stop shop in the UK for the festival, concerts and touring sector.” Despite the uncertainty of the live events market, two sectors that Poultney and the rest of the team seemed fairly certain would remain steady are the corporate conference market along with the TV and film markets. When it came to the corporate work that 4Wall had been involved in, he predicted that the virtual element to these shows would continue despite the slow easing of restrictions, due to its ability to both save money as well as be more environmentally friendly. “As everyone is aware, there have been a lot of people that have left the industry during this time and gone into other sectors,” stated Poultney as he spoke of 4Wall’s intention to ensure that new talent would be brought in to take the places of those that may have moved on during this time. “At 4Wall, we are looking closely at recruitment and working out how to bring on new people and ensure they have the right training to hit the ground running when the events industry returns to full force.” This wish to bring on trained new people feeds into the ethos of 4Wall as a whole. “4Wall isn’t just looking at the next six months; we’re looking at the next five years,” concluded Poultney. “We want to expand which, no doubt, will involve acquiring other companies and expanding into other regions. It’s not about being the biggest; it’s about bringing in the right people.” TPi Photos: 4Wall www.4wall.com www.royallancaster.com
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SHORT COURSES FOR THE LIVE EVENTS & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES Backstage Academy provides world-class training for the live events and creative industries. Based at Production Park in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, we offer a range of short courses and bespoke training programmes with access to state-of-the-art production facilities for teaching and learning.
EVENT SAFETY PASSPORT ONLINE COURSE This nationally recognised qualification has been designed by the Production Services Association (PSA) and the Safety Pass Alliance (SPA) for people in events industries to demonstrate basic health and safety awareness. It is designed to help reduce risks in an event environment and ensure you can operate safely, no matter what your role is. On successful completion of the course the passport is valid for five years.
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RIGGING AWARENESS ONLINE COURSE This course gives an overview of the principles behind rigging for live events. It covers a range of topics from regulations & legislations to understanding bridles and has been designed for events industry professionals who would benefit from basic knowledge on rigging practices, through to riggers preparing for their NRC assessment and want the extra confidence.
£125+VAT Next course:
Wed 26th & Thu 27th May 10am to 12pm & 2pm to 4pm (2 sessions per day)
STAGE PYROTECHNICS This practical, one-day training course in Stage Pyrotechnics, taught by renowned industry veteran Lincoln Parkhouse, provides attendees with an overview of different pyrotechnic devices, their uses and relevant health and safety. This course is ideal for anyone with the intention of using professional stage pyrotechnics for live events. You need to be 18 or over to attend this course.
£150+VAT Next course:
BRAND NEW FOR 2021!
Weds 30th June 9am to 5:30pm
SUSTAINABLE EVENT MANAGEMENT ONLINE COURSE A half-day workshop which provides businesses and individuals with an overview of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and how they can be implemented across your organisation. The course is based on the requirements of ISO 20121 - the International Standard for Sustainable Event Management.
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Thu 27th May 10am to 1:30pm
WORKING WITH ELECTRICITY ONLINE COURSE This course helps to promote safety and reduce major injuries and accidents when working with electricity. It covers how to comply with current legislation and well established safety procedures as well as looking at the safe connection of equipment to the mains. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to work on an event that uses electricity and wants to understand how it works and how to work safely with it.
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
AS WE APPROACH THE 2,000 GRANTS PAID MARK, WE THOUGHT WE’D PAUSE TO SALUTE THOSE ARTISTS AND INDUSTRY COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE DONATED PRIZES, MONEY, PERFORMANCES, SPONSORSHIP, TIME, ENERGY, BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS TO RAISE MONEY FOR LIVE EVENT CREW AND TECHS THAT FELL INTO THE GAPS IN GOVERNMENT SUPPORT.
Top billing from a support cast of hundreds goes to the amazing Mr David Stopps, marshalling initial support and building the #ILoveLive project with the rock solid support of Ian McAndrew, Lucy Putman, Tom Schroeder, Andy Prevezer, Morad Khokar and the generosity of Crowdfunder.co.uk – give Max a pay rise! To Our #ILoveLive supporters: MUSE, FRANK TURNER, IRON MAIDEN, BILLY BRAGG, NOEL GALLAGHER, QUEEN AND ADAM LAMBERT, PASSENGER, THE O2, LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM, CHARLIE BURCHILL (SIMPLE MINDS), DAVE GROHL, REX ORANGE COUNTY, STEVE HACKETT, SPICE GIRLS, BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB, FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES, ALFIE BOE, KEANE, LEVELLERS (ESPECIALLY PRINT MAESTRO JEZ), MARK RICHARDSON (SKUNK ANANSIE), KT TUNSTALL, MUMFORD AND SONS, JACK GARRATT (AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINAIRE) , TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB, LONDON GRAMMAR, PEGGY SEEGER, ANASTACIA, THE HUMAN LEAGUE, IMELDA MAY, IDRIS ELBA, MARK KNOPFLER, GLASTONBUTY, ROBERT SMITH, RADIOHEAD, NICK CAVE, PETE TOWNSHEND, ELBOW, MARILLION, ERIC CLAPTON, LIAM GALLAGHER, FOALS, SNOW PATROL, SJM CONCERTS, NILE RODGERS, PLACEBO, FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE, THE STRANGLERS, THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, ELLIE GOULDING, LIAM PAYNE, IDLES, THE SCRIPT, TOM MISCH, PINK FLOYD, DEPECHE MODE, ALT-J, THE XX, PETER HOOK, RICK ASTLEY, THOMPSON TWINS’ TOM BAILEY, COURTEENERS, THE WATERBOYS, ROYAL BLOOD, GARY NUMAN, NIK KERSHAW, JOHN OTWAY, MELANIE C, ROBBIE WILLIAMS, TOM WALKER, SAM SMITH, YUNGBLUD, JOHNNY MARR, BLOSSOMS, JACK SAVORETTI, YEARS & YEARS, READING AND LEEDS FESTIVAL, RAG ‘N BONE MAN, THE WAREHOUSE PROJECT, TONY HADLEY, LATITUDE FESTIVAL, BILLY OCEAN, NEW ORDER, THE DUNG BEATLES, CLANNAD, PRIMAVERA SOUND, DISCLOSURE, CRAIG DAVID, TRNSMT FESTIVAL, KATIE MELUA, ABODE, AJIMAL, CAMELPHAT. Look out for #ILoveMetal too, in association with UK Metal Merger, inspired by Mark Mynett Ed Robinson Photography and The Prints For Music team
To our industry supporters: PPL PERFORMERS’ BOARD, BPI/ THE BRITS, WARNERS, UNIVERSAL, SONY UK, BEGGARS, CO-OP AND EVERYONE AT EVERYBODY BELONGS HERE, TEAM LOUIS TOMLINSON, ROISIN MURPHY, #WEMAKEEVENTS, EMMA BANKS, WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT, BRITANNIA ROW PRODUCTIONS, CREW GEAR, KIM WILDE, ANDREW HUNG (F BUTTONS), THE BIGGEST LOSERS (JULIE COTTON, NICK GOSLING, JAMAL CHALABI AND DAVID NG LAWRENCE), JAMES BASELEY, OUTBOARD TIMAX, SUBFRANTIC, TINA K PHOTOGRAPHY, RHINOS REVENGE, NEWTON FALKNER, MAKE IT BLUE, LE MARK, TIM MCCALL AT L-ACOUSTICS, NIALL HORAN, BRITANNIA ROW TRAINING, ILMC AND THE NIKOS FUND, FML INTERNATIONAL ARTIST MANAGEMENT, THIRD SIDE MUSIC, MARSHALL ARTS, INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK, MINIMUM EGO, EVERYBODY-S, DIGICO, NEG EARTH, PRODUCTION SERVICES ASSOCIATION, DNG PRODUCTION AND EVENT CREW, QUIETUS MANAGEMENT, ATC MANAGEMENT, ALACRAN GROUP, THE 1975, LIGHTS CONTROL RIGGING, J. VAN MARS FOUNDATION, ONE RED EYE, VIVE LE ROCKDOWN, And to the friends, families and colleagues of Tony Laurenson and Keith Woolfenden for thinking of us in times of grief We’ve tried to remember everyone and we’ve not mentioned those that wished to remain anonymous, nor can we fit in the countless fans around the world that have left donations and messages of support. From the volunteer trustees; Kel Murray, David NG Lawrence, Chris Coates, Andy Lenthall and Martin Clowes, under the calm and expert stewardship of our Chair, Mike Lowe, thank you.
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4Wall partners Transition Video; Absen European Brand Manager, Jessica Golding; Collaborative Creation’s Sam Vincent with the AED Audio product range; Optimal and Martin Audio Managing Director, Dom Harter with Focusrite CEO, Tim Carroll and Matt Rowe; ChamSys’ Aziz Adilkhodjaev; Ayrton’s Matt Hallard.
4Wall has announced a strategic alliance with Transition Video. The alliance will see both providers extend their capabilities to service the largest, most ambitious shows, giving both of their client bases access to a vast fleet of LED, lighting, projection and more, as well as a growing team of experienced technicians across the country. Transition Video Director, Rhodri Shaw commented: “We are really excited to announce our partnership with 4Wall Entertainment. We can now offer clients access to a huge inventory of video, lighting and rigging equipment, not only in the UK and Europe, but also in the US. We look forward to joining forces with the 4Wall team and can’t wait to get back on site this summer” 4Wall Entertainment CEO, Wes Bailey concluded: “Creating a partnership with Rhodri Shaw and the Transition team allows us to offer an even broader range of video services as the live entertainment world returns to normalcy. Rhodri shares our commitment to quality equipment and customer service, and I know our teams are well prepared to take on exciting projects this summer and in the future.” Absen has welcomed Jessica Golding as the company’s new European Brand Manager. Golding will be responsible for strengthening Absen’s reputation across Europe and Australia and fortifying Absen’s relationships with its European partners and distributors. “Absen has always had a reputation for providing high quality LED and being the experts in creating state-of-the-art solutions,” Golding said. “Their renowned global reputation is built from the support each department gives to one another, and it’s a pleasure to be part of it.” Audio-Technica has been confirmed as a distributor for Optimal Audio
– Focusrite’s new commercial audio brand – in no less than 17 territories across Europe and Africa. Focusrite CEO Tim Carroll explained: “Optimal Audio provides a streamlined product offering working seamlessly together to deliver high quality sound that is easy to install and can be operated by anyone, not just engineers.” Dom Harter, now Managing Director for both Martin Audio and Optimal Audio, describes the focus of the brand as “offering a one-stop solution of control, amplification and loudspeakers for small to medium-sized commercial installations, with a focus on supporting multi-zone venues. At the forefront of the eco-system are four and eight-zone, powered and nonpowered Zone controllers that have DSP at their heart. There is currently nothing else at this price point on the market which has the functionality and versatility to allow such a quick and simple setup.” Collaborative Creations (CC) has entered into a sales team partnership with AED Audio in the UK. CC Founder and Director, West End Associate Sound Designer, Sam Vincent, confirmed: “AED Audio has come up with a brilliant product offering in the FLEX and SOLID Series speakers. Incredibly versatile, they suit a wide range of applications and the 15″ Front Loaded SOLID15 sub has an impressive low range for a sub of its size. It’s the accessories for the range, however, that represent the biggest step forward I have seen in a long time. As a system it’s very user friendly at every level, whether for a single install or for multi-application use, for example, in a multipurpose or multi-format venue, or for a hire company.” Matt Hallard has become the latest member of Ayrton’s international 54
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Event Genius partners with Clubbing TV to develop online streaming platform Festicket Live; Driift Head of Production, Sasha Duncan; Immersive AV Account Directors, Neil Fleetwood and Russell Young; Interlite’s Tobias Johansson; CHAUVET Professional’s Jean Lariviere.
sales team. The new recruit assumes the position of Regional Sales Manager for the UK, Ireland, Benelux, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Greece, Slovenia and Turkey. “This was an exciting time in the development of moving lights and I worked with, and learned from, some incredibly talented, hard-working individuals,” said Hallard. “That diversity of experience has served me well, and now it’s time to apply all that learning to my new mission as regional sales manager for Ayrton.” ChamSys has named Chromasound as a distributor of its QuickQ range of consoles and software in Hungary. “We are focusing our distribution to better serve all levels of the market in Hungary,” said ChamSys International Sales and Business Development Manager, Aziz Adilkhodjaev. “Wannabe Studios is a strong partner, and now having Chromasound on board expands our capabilities even further.” Chromasound CEO, Imre Makkay commented: “We are very eager to be involved with a series of products that offers forward thinking solutions. The QuickQ family empowers customers to accomplish more with lighting. It represents a very contemporary approach to lighting control at events and installations. This is a great opportunity for us – and our entire customer base.” Event Genius has partnered with Clubbing TV to further develop online streaming platform Festicket Live. “We’re delighted to start this new collaboration with Event Genius and Festicket for ticketed livestreams,” commented Clubbing TV CEO and Founder, Stephane Schweitzer. “With Event Genius, Festicket, Clubbing TV and clubbing.live together, event organisers can fully focus on their artistic work and marketing campaigns knowing that they will be fully covered by professionals from the ticketing, TV broadcasting and livestreaming industries.” Interlite has been named as an exclusive distributor of ChamSys products throughout Sweden. “We are big believers in product training and demonstrations,” said Tobias Johansson, a 20-year industry veteran and brand manager of
ChamSys for Interlite. “The commitment ChamSys has to service fits perfectly with our own philosophy.” For its part, ChamSys enthusiastically welcomes Interlite to its distribution network. “Interest in our MagicQ and QuickQ consoles has been expanding rapidly in Sweden,” said ChamSys International Sales and Business Development Manager, Aziz Adilkhodjaev. “Having a company with the core values of Interlite AB represent us in that market will ensure that we are able to maintain the highest standards of service in Sweden as our business grows. Great possibilities lay ahead in Sweden and we’re all very excited.” CHAUVET Professional has named Jean Lariviere as the company’s Channel Relationship Manager for Concert & Touring/Broadcast. “We view communication as a two-way street,” said CHAUVET CEO, Albert Chauvet. “We not only want to talk to customers about what we do, we also want to provide an open door that makes it easy for them to tell us about issues they care about. This has always been important, but never more so than today, as we emerge from the pandemic. Jean’s extensive experience and communications skills make him ideally suited for this position,” said Chauvet. “We are happy to welcome him to our team.” For his part, Lariviere shares this enthusiasm. “I am beyond excited to join CHAUVET Professional,” he said. “Over the past six or seven years, the company’s presence has grown tremendously in the market, as it’s won over more and more customers and been in the forefront of new products and ideas. I am looking forward to building on this momentum and advancing the connection between CHAUVET Professional and the members of this industry.” Driift has appointed Sasha Duncan as Head of Production. Driift CEO, Ric Salmon, commented: “Sasha’s track record speaks for itself. She is one of the most respected figures in music TV, with vast experience of translating excitement from the biggest live shows and festivals into hugely successful broadcast events. Her knowhow and dynamism is already proving invaluable to Driift as we look to attract the world’s most brilliant artists and directors and create similar bridges 55
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LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) appoints Chris Carey as Chief Economist; Green Hippo partners Frequency OÜ and Amepa Oy.
between live performance and this new format, we’re building in the global livestream space.” Duncan added: “Being part of the Driift team has been an absolute joy. The level of creative detail that goes into planning and executing these shows is astonishing, as are the production values, and it’s genuinely humbling to witness the immediacy and passion of audience reactions. There’s been a real spark. Obviously, the opportunity to work with Glastonbury on the Worthy Farm livestream is incredibly exciting, but it still feels that we’ve only scratched the surface of this format. There’s so much more to come, not only with music but across all other artforms.” Green Hippo has further strengthened its international sales network with two new distribution appointments in Northern Europe, Frequency OÜ and Amepa Oy. “Hippotizer Media Servers provide a great range of products for all aspects of the market,” said Frequency OÜ’s Matt Villis. “With events and installations beginning to move again, clients are mindful of their spending. But with Green Hippo’s diverse range, we’re able to offer clients a specific product to match their exact needs, and with expandability when it’s required.” “The Green Hippo product range has followed me since the early days,” said Amepa Oy’s Johan West. “The big breakthrough for Hippotizer in Finland was in 2007, with Eurovision in Helsinki.” he recalled. “My company supplied the servers and I was the system tech with the pre-release V3 Hippos – nerve-wracking stuff!” HOF has welcomed Elektrovat as new distribution partner in Serbia and the Balkan region. Elektrovat will distribute the HOF brands HOF truss, including the MLT2, Excellent Line, XOOP Lighting and CJS Coupler. Elektrovat Manager of the Stage Mechanics and Lighting Department, Branko Jovanović, said: “Having the trussing and lighting products from HOF now in our portfolio is the natural addition to our portfolio of high quality products. Another reason why we wanted to work with HOF is their ability to produce special constructions – an expertise and service that many of our projects require. We look very much forward to a strong partnership.” HOF Export and Sales Manager, Edwin Duivelaar, added: “We are very excited to have Electrovat joining the HOF Family and to enlarge our distribution network in Central Europe. Elektrovat’s focus on demanding constructions and special constructions in the areas of theatre, television and film studios are a perfect fit to our portfolio and services.” Immersive AV has welcomed the arrival of Neil Fleetwood and Russell Young as Account Directors. Founder and CEO of Immersive AV, Sharon Reynolds commented:
“As the events industry evolves to the return of in-person events, the appointment of Russell and Neil underlines the commitment to strengthen our team, providing our valued clients with innovative technical solutions and unparalleled customer service they can rely on.” Fleetwood said: “I’m really excited to join the Immersive AV team. With our industry gathering momentum as we come out of the pandemic, it’s exciting times! Given the opportunities ahead of us, it’s brilliant to have the opportunity to offer a portfolio of live, hybrid and virtual solutions for our clients.” Young commented: “I am thrilled to be a part of the new look team. The diversity of services provided by Immersive AV is exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in. I come from a technical background, I’m passionate about helping clients achieve their objectives through creative technical solutions, which pull from all areas of my expertise. It’s been a bumpy ride for everyone in the industry, but the level of innovation at Immersive AV and across the industry excites me and I cannot wait to overcome the challenges ahead and deliver memorable experiences for Immersive AV and our clients.” IPS (Institute of Professional Sound) and Raycom have joined forces with the BEIRG Steering Group to reaffirm the firm’s commitment to meet the challenges faced by the PMSE Community as a result of ongoing spectrum changes, particularly in the UHF frequency bands. Commenting on the changes Simon Clark Chairman of IPS said: “As an organisation, we have had a long and fruitful relationship with BEIRG, and have been closely involved with their work. It makes sense at this point in time to put that work on a more direct footing, and we look forward to working with the team at BEIRG to ensure that all of our members spectrum needs are delivered and deliver sustainable access for our current and future requirements.” LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) has appointed Chris Carey to the role of Chief Economist. “I’m very proud to be joining the LIVE team at this critical time,” said Carey. “As the live music industry moves from crisis to reopening, I’ll be working closely with members to make sure there is a strong analytical foundation to help underpin a speedy, sustainable recovery.” In addition to Carey’s appointment, the organisation is expanding with the formation of several sub-committees. LIVE Touring, chaired by promoter Craig Stanley at Marshall Arts, is coordinating the live sector’s response to leaving the EU. As well as producing updatable resources for performers and crew, LIVE recently coordinated a call for a transitional support package from the UK government. 56
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PK Sound Global Senior Brand Support, Andrew King; Solid State Logic adds ALGAM to distribution network in French and Maghreb regions.
ALGAM Entreprises has expanded Solid State Logic’s (SSL) presence in French and MAGHREB regions, representing their audio creation product and studio console lines, live sound consoles, broadcast product portfolio, and after sales support functions. Director of International Sales, Philippe Guerine commented: “We were looking for a new structure capable of supporting further growth in ACP whilst continuing the success of SSL’s large-format consoles. We had to find a solution where new and existing customers would get the best support possible, for all our verticals. Partnering with ALGAM, who have both their AUDIA and ALGAM Entreprises arms of the business is a fantastic opportunity.” Didier Perez, Director Commercial, ALGAM Entreprises added: “We are delighted to take SSL on board. This fits ideally with our strategy to further establish ALGAM Entreprises into the sale and support of complex projects in Broadcast, Live and Installs, as much as providing high end solutions for Music studios. SSL’s network solutions based around DANTE, AES67 and ST2110 offer innovative solutions which address the new challenges in broadcast and live sound.” Vectorworks expands its service in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region by partnering Tathastu Techno Solution and Total Solution Marketing. The partnership is set to expand and grow the Vectorworks business to better serve customers in the APAC market. “We’re proud to add Tathastu Techno Solution and Total Solution Marketing to our growing roster of distributors in the APAC region to best serve our customers in the industry,” said Vectorworks Global Channel Operations Director, Victoria Morris. “By expanding our presence in the APAC market and bringing in proven experience within the design industry, both distributors will improve our ability to give our customers the best possible support.” “India is a diverse and innovative market and partnering with Vectorworks will give us the opportunity to better serve our customers with the best software solutions,” said Chetan Jain, CEO of Tathastu Techno Solution. “This partnership between Tathastu and Vectorworks will definitely scale new heights in business across India.” “We are privileged to be appointed a distributor for Vectorworks and look forward to our collaboration,” said Total Solution Marketing Executive Director Tevin Heng. “We believe Vectorworks is the one-stop solution for entertainment show documentation and design. With the Vectorworks team support, we will offer local training and improve the quality of technical support to Vectorworks users.” TPi www.tpimagazine.com/category/industry-jobs
LIVE Venues, chaired by Lucy Noble, Artistic and Commercial Director at the Royal Albert Hall is tasked with the reopening of the UK’s venues. LIVE Green, chaired by John Langford, COO at AEG Europe, is uniting the leading sustainability practitioners across the sector to produce a single environmental vision for live music. The fourth subcommittee, scheduled to launch next month, will focus on equality, diversity and inclusivity, convened by Manchester International Festival’s Head of Music, Jane Beese. Meyer Sound has announced a strategic realignment of all toplevel sales management responsibilities outside of the Americas. Meyer Sound Germany has been rebranded as Meyer Sound Europe and under the leadership of Managing Director, Wolfgang Leute will assume direct responsibility for sales and support activities throughout Europe as well as across the Middle East and Africa. Meyer Sound Director of International Sales, Scott Gledhill will focus exclusively on sales in the Asia Pacific region. “During the COVID-19 pandemic we have learned the importance of timely, direct and personal communication with our distributors, dealers and customers,” said Meyer Sound Senior Vice President, John McMahon. “Zoom and similar technologies changed the way we communicated, but time zone differences remained a hindrance. This regional realignment will make sales communications more immediate and direct, cutting response times, improving efficiency and building personal relationships.” For the first time in its 30 year history PMC now has a formal board structure, with owner and founder Peter Thomas acting as chairman and former Group Finance Director Jeff Willcocks confirmed as CEO. Also on the board – and reflecting the fact that PMC remains a family owned business – are Thomas’s son Oliver Thomas, who is now Commercial Director, and Tom Loader, son of PMC’s co-founder Adrian Loader, who is Operations Director. Heff Moraes has also been appointed to the position of Business Development Manager for PMC, with responsibility for the company’s UK pro audio division. “PMC is expanding fast and it is not feasible to expect one person to have intimate knowledge of every aspect of the business,” Thomas said. “Having a formal board of directors allows us to tap into the huge pool of expertise that already exists within the company, and across many different areas of our operation.” PK SOUND has appointed Andrew King to the role of Global Senior Brand Support. Reporting directly to PK’s recently appointed Chief Strategy Officer, James Oliver, King will captain ongoing marketing and communications initiatives while also supporting colleagues and outside partners as a key part of the company’s Brand Team. 57
MIKE WROE The former CFO at Just Eat, Mike Wroe joins the live events sector as Chairman of JLLighting. He speaks to TPi about the move and his thoughts on the future of the industry.
How did your work at Just Eat prepare you for a role within the live events sector? At Just Eat, I was part of the team that led the transformation of a start-up into a highly successful £4bn FTSE business operating in 15 countries. When I joined in 2008, there were just eight people based in the UK Edgware offices, and 25 in Denmark where the business was created. I was responsible for finance, legal, HR and anything else vaguely back office until 2013. Unusually for the CFO, I was also head of parties and events – a key element of our culture. Initially, I got involved to keep control of the bar bill, but as the business grew, we did some amazing team events, which was where I first encountered JLLighting in 2012. In 2014, I led the highly successful IPO of the business on the London Stock Exchange. We rapidly joined the FTSE250 and shortly after I stepped down, the FTSE100. It was an amazing ride over eight years and I was privileged to work with amazing people. I left in 2016 to return to working with young growth businesses as an advisor/ mentor and now NED.
How has JLLighting handled the effects of COVID-19? Television was not affected as harshly as the live entertainment industry so, after the initial shock, we have been very fortunate in being able to maintain revenue and investment, seeking to redeploy our events people where possible and look to the future. Being able to continue delivering top TV shows for the BBC and others, such as Top Gear and Comic Relief, and working with our partners on Strictly Come Dancing, has kept the team together and busy. We’ve even brought new people on board in the past year as we plan for the upswing in events that will present a whole new set of exciting challenges, as clients want interesting, hybrid events that are safe but genuinely exciting. What are the company’s plans for the next few months? Broadcast events are something we are very keen to develop. Client and audience expectations and the way in which they consume media and content have evolved massively since the pandemic. This change has radicalised the boundaries and expectations of what a ‘live experience’ delivers for audiences. I’m very excited about working with the team to deliver growth through exceptional broadcast, live and digital experiences for our clients.
Do you foresee others like yourself from outside the industry moving into the sector as the world returns to normality? I think the pandemic has created opportunities for many individuals and businesses and we are likely to see a cross fertilisation of skills from different sectors as the world opens up again. There is a real chance for us all to reimagine the way we interact and deliver events and I think fresh eyes coming into an industry can only be a good thing. I have been a large customer to the events industry for many years and hopefully can help bring a client view as we develop new products.
What sparked your move into the events industry, especially during this trying time for the sector? I realised through the events we ran at Just Eat what a huge impact they can have in building teams and culture, so I have always had a strong interest in the industry. I have known Jack [Linaker, JLLighting Founder and Managing Director] since 2012. After I left Just Eat, he kept in contact and last year reached out for a chat and some advice given the challenges emerging from COVID-19. What I loved about those early discussions is that JLL were seeing the longer-term opportunities from the changes the industry was going through and the ability to combine their skills in events and TV to create something unique. I love helping businesses grow and working with great people, so inevitably I joined the JLL team as Chairman.
What advice would you give to those following in your footsteps? Work hard and be prepared to give anything a go but always treat others as you would want to be treated. It’s a very small world and it’s amazing how often someone you helped along the way turns up to help you later on. 58
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