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Issue 31 August 2009 £4.75

Campaign over rising police costs By Christina Eccles AN angry festival organiser has launched a campaign to defend community events – claiming that rising police costs are putting their future in jeopardy. Andrew Osborne – who works on several community events including Strawberry Fair in Cambridge – has had enough of being charged for a police presence at his events and is fighting for this policy to be scrapped. He told The Main Event he is worried that these costs are too high for festival organisers to cope with and that if something isn’t done, organisers of community events and festivals up and down the country will have no choice but to cancel. Andrew has launched an online petition, which has already attracted almost 1,000 signatures, and has approached industry bodies such as the Association of Independent Festivals to build up more support. He said: “Community events are a good expression of society coming together but they are seriously under threat. “I am very concerned. The police

are driving community events to the wall with their policy of charging for policing them. We are calling for police charges to be scrapped – community events should be supported.” Andrew also said that the campaign is targeted at everyone – from organisers of community events to festivalgoers themselves – and that other police forces should follow those in Kent and Cheshire – which have both scrapped the charges. He added: “It seems like this is a postcode lottery. I would like to see the whole country follow the example set by Kent Police and Cheshire Police. I already pay my taxes and that should pay for policing. It should be part of the police’s public service commitment. The police need to get out of the entertainment sector and do what we pay them for, which is policing. “As event organisers, we do not ask the police to come and any sensible organisers will already have security companies in place. As a matter of principle, I do not think these charges are fair. This campaign is growing in strength and I think it is only a matter of time before the police have to do something.”

Tidworth Festival cancelled

Two people have died and more were injured after an accident occurred during the construction of a stage in France. The accident occurred during the setting up for a Madonna concert at the Velodrome in Marseille. Directors from staging supplier ES Group are working with the French authorities to establish more details of what happened. In a statement, the company said: “Our thoughts at this current time go out to the families and loved ones of the two men who died and to those who have been injured. At present, it would not be appropriate to speculate on potential causes of the accident, but we are working closely with the French authorities to investigate what caused this incident.”

THIS year’s Tidworth Festival has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales – despite organisers securing Status Quo as the headline act. The festival took a year off last year and was hoping to come back bigger and better, with plans for three days of entertainment instead of the previous one day event. Festival organiser Baz Reilly told The Main Event that although a lot of people had bought advance tickets, sales were not strong enough to cover the event’s outlays. He said: “The aim of the festival was to generate funds for local schools and community projects. I would like to express my thanks to all the sponsors and people throughout the community who have strived to make the festival a success. As a direct result of this we are aware that people including sponsors, suppliers and ticket purchasers will be out of pocket. Words cannot express our sincere regret.” The Main Event is the official magazine of the National Outdoor Events Association


20 Pages of Festival Round-up featuring events including Glastonbury, T in the Park, Royal Ascot, Great Yorkshire Show, Cornbury and Hyde Park Venue proves it has got the X Factor ... Page 4

Local authority spotlight Staging Festival round-up NOEA BOMfest went off successfully after a legal bid to halt it was rejected

Pictures: Kyle Wilkinson

Festival sees off legal threat By Adam Civico THE organisers of a South Yorkshire music festival breathed a sigh of relief after a last-minute legal bid to halt the event was rejected. BOMfest was successfully staged at Silverwood Scout camp in Silkstone, near Barnsley – but just days before the festival went ahead, organisers ended up in court after local farmer Philip Charlesworth challenged the event’s licence. A park and ride service had been organised where ticket holders were dropped off near to the festival site and accessed it using a public footpath crossing Mr Charlesworth’s field. But he said the path was inadequate for the number of festivalgoers using it and was concerned they would inadvertently cause damage and worry his livestock. He was also worried what harm the loud music could cause. BOMfest’s organisers were given a licence by Barnsley Council even though Mr Charlesworth and Silkstone Parish Council had raised objections. Mr Charlesworth argued

Bestival sells out – two months in advance

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CONTACTS EDITORIAL Group Editor Andrew Harrod Tel: 01226 734639 Reporters: Christina Eccles ( Mary Ferguson ( Louise Cordell (

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the event would constitute an ‘extraordinary’ use of the footpath. He told magistrates the abnormal number of people, noise and floodlighting could cause his animals to panic and feared if they stampede someone would get injured or the animals could get on to the nearby Silkstone bypass. Even so, magistrates declined his appeal allowing the event to go ahead – much to the relief of its organisers. The event’s health and safety officer Iain West said: “It has been a BESTIVAL’S organisers are celebrating after the festival sold out two months in advance. Acts performing include Massive Attack, Kraftwerk, Klaxons and Lily Allen – with the theme this year being outer space. Organiser Rob da Bank said: “I’m

nightmare. I was not able to sleep all weekend preparing a case. We had full backing from police, fire service and Barnsley Council and they had all assessed the footpath as adequate. It is not ideal but it is adequate.” Mr Charlesworth said he was disappointed but added he hoped people would come and enjoy the festival. Up to 2,000 people attended who enjoyed performances from local unsigned talent and more established musicians. quite speechless selling out eight weeks before Bestival actually fires off into space. “It’s testament to our amazing and very loyal crowd that we've achieved this in a tricky old year for festies, so roll on September.”

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Manchester Central was one of five locations chosen for the new live auditions for this year’s X Factor competition. Dominic Musgrave found out more from head of marketing Sharon Leeson.

Venue proves it’s got the X-Factor FOLLOWING the success of the live audience for the Britain’s Got Talent auditions, Simon Cowell decided to replicate the format for this year’s X Factor, which meant a few long days for people working at the venues. At just a month’s notice, Manchester Central hosted three days of auditions, with two sessions each day, attracting an audience of more than 1,300 at each. Sharon told Main Event that the events passed without any major hiccups. She added: “There was an opportunity for people to obtain tickets in advance, but the majority of the crowd just turned up on the day to get in.

“Over the weekend the British summer weather was typically dreadful at times, so we tried to make sure people were not waiting outside for too long. Unfortunately the hall that we held the auditions in wasn’t the biggest that we have here and we did have to turn a number of people away. “But overall there was a fabulous atmosphere created at the event, and even those singers who were not successful were friendly and were really nice.” Sharon said it took three days for the hall to be transformed into a television studio, and that there were only a few minor issues during the event. She added: “They brought in six lorries worth of kit,

and when everything was up it looked amazing, just like it does on the television. “We had to make sure that the structure of the building would be strong enough to take all the weight of the equipment and that our power supply was strong enough to cope with the amount of lights and cameras they required. “The safety and security of the people coming to the venue was of paramount importance to us, especially as we had the friends and family of those auditioning as well as the audience. We also had to create a secure area around the judges when they arrived in their cars over the weekend because the crowds did get a little excited on the first

day and wanted to take photographs of them.” Sharon says the weekend was a great success overall, and she hopes that the organisers will return to the venue next year. She added: “The Talkback Thames staff gave us some really positive feedback, and said that it was one of the best sets of auditions they had ever had. “Fingers crossed they will consider choosing us next year, and if so we hope we would get a little bit more time in the planning stages to iron out a few technical issues. “We had people working around the clock, but at the end of the day we are here to respond and we are only doing our job.”



Venues offer the festival experience

Scotland’s largest eco festival has unveiled its ambitious plans for catering at the event. The Big Tent festival will include the One Planet Food Village – which aims to promote local, seasonal and organic produce. The food village is organised by Scottish chef Christopher Trotter who said he wants the festival to showcase the best of what the area has to offer in terms of food – including buffalo steaks, seafood and

cheeses. He said: “I have no doubt that our visitors will delight in the choice and quality of the food available for them to eat over the weekend. My biggest hope however is that visitors get the time and opportunity to meet and chat with the owners they are buying from and take away with them just a wee bit of that enthusiasm for the truly world class produce that is available on our doorsteps here in Fife.”

ARUNDEL Castle and Clumber Park will host two concerts later this month – designed to give people who don’t want to spend a full weekend a taste of the festival experience. IML Concerts and Indieco have teamed up to offer the gigs as a cheaper alternative for those who want to go to a music event but may not want or be able to afford to spend the weekend. IML Concerts already have a history of hosting successful music events but for this new venture have brought on board Indieco’s Andrea Proffitt to help them attract a new audience. Headliners at the gigs include Super Furry Animals, Lightning Seeds and Supergrass and Andrea said they hope the concerts will add a more contemporary feel to IML’s portfolio. She said: “There are so many festivals all over the country and there are some fans who don’t want to go for the whole weekend. “We wanted to create a unique

experience targeting a specific age group. Our headliners are all bands who were big in the 1990s and are popular with the 30 plus age group. “We want to allow people to dip their toe in without having to immerse themselves completely in the festival experience.” The concerts take place on the same weekends as IML’s existing gigs – meaning that the same infrastructure can be used over both days which saves organisers time and money. And Andrea added that the concerts will provide a value for money alternative for people who are having to tighten their budgets. She added: “People are being a lot more careful about their choices and are being more selective about what they want from a festival. “The fact everyone can ditch the tents and just dip into the festival feeling for an evening seems to appeal as at £26, tickets are selling really well.”


A major outdoor exhibition showcasing the latest defence technology and support for the British armed forces took place for the seventh year running at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford. Mary Ferguson spoke to head of events Neale Martin about the challenges involved.

Security paramount for major defence exhibition WITH visitors to the DVD2009 including the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support and Chief of Defence Material, security was of paramount importance for Neale and his team. The show was originally run by the Ministry Of Defence (MOD) on their own site in Aldershot, but the organisation of the event was handed over to Millbrook in 2002. Neale said: “The evolution over the last three years in particular has been massive. Originally it just showcased vehicles but the MOD have now added clothing teams, the people responsible for battlefield infrastructure and many others so it’s diversified massively.” Millbrook is a 750-acre site but because of the growth of the event Neale has had to bring in more temporary structures and

infrastructure. Exhibitor space has increased five-fold since the beginning and visitor numbers grow year on year. “This year a key challenge for us was working with the Highways Agency as they are in the process of upgrading Junction 13 of the M1. The problem was the amount of kit that we were bringing in from the motorway and we also wanted to minimise disruption to the people living in Millbrook village, so we worked closely with the police too. One problem was that unlike some events where visitors drift in and out all day, all the military chaps get up at the crack of dawn and arrive at the same time, which can cause a parking problem.” Neale said Millbrook in itself is in a secure location because army vehicles are regularly tested there, but as well the core inhouse security team they con-

tracted Events Management and paid for the presence of Bedfordshire Police. This year, the MOD stipulated that everyone entering the site was photo ID’d and barcode readers for visitor badging were introduced, meaning tickets could be printed for visitors upon entry, instead of being posted out beforehand. Millbrook has five permanent venues within the facility and Neale is also responsible for organising fashion shows, parties and conferences. But the DVD show, he said, is by far the biggest event on the venue’s calendar. He added: “We don’t get a guarantee from the MOD that they will hold it with us every year because it depends on what’s happening in the world in terms of war, but we expect to get the go-ahead for next year by October.”


8 Iconic London venue Somerset House provided the backdrop for an LED lighting display which lit up the whole of the venue. LED lighting was chosen to ensure the lighting scheme was environmentally sustainable and low maintenance. The display was designed by Patrick Woodroffe and completed by by A.C. Special Projects Ltd – with lighting supplied by Anolis.

2012 Olympic opportunities for small firms By Christina Eccles

Builder’s sponsorship puts Eastbourne air show on firm foundations THIS year’s Eastbourne Airshow has been given a boost after securing sponsorship from builder Barratt Southern Counties. The company has pledged £8,000 towards Airbourne 2009, the largest donation so far and organisers, Eastbourne Borough Council, hope this support will encourage other local businesses to take up sponsorship.

looking forward to building a strong relationship with the company. Their H20 development is situated just a few minutes’ walk from the airshow site, so this year’s show presents a fantastic opportunity for Barratt Homes to benefit from the significant footfall at Airbourne and promote their new apartments.”

To achieve this, it has launched smaller packages starting at £250 to entice companies of all sizes.

This year’s airshow includes the Red Arrows on all four days, plus displays from the Blades Aerobatic Formation Team, Tigers Parachute Team, Guinot Wingwalkers and more.

Cabinet member for tourism, Coun Susan Morris said: “We are very pleased to have Barratt Homes on board as a sponsor in 2009 and are

Other sponsors include which has become a key partner for the Red Arrows flying display.

THE 2012 Olympics will provide opportunities for smaller companies to get involved, not just big industry players, it has been claimed. Managing director of Definitive Events, Lisa Pennington, headed up a team of just four people when she worked on an event during the Beijing Olympics last year – providing corporate hospitality for clients brought over to China as guests of New Balance. The team sourced a venue which they transformed into a dedicated hospitality centre and arranged flights, accommodation, trips to watch some of the Olympic events and a cultural excursion programme as part of its brief to create a high end customer experience. And now Lisa is urging other smaller companies to offer their services and get involved in 2012. She said: “We had a core team of four who were the main part of the planning team and we used freelance and local staff. Even though there are large players in corporate hospitality there are opportunities for smaller programmes that can be managed by a smaller team.” Lisa also revealed some of the issues and challenges which Definitive Events overcame in Beijing to ensure the event was a success.

Challenges included:  The invite process – there were restrictions upon people accepting invites to corporate hospitality and competition from other brands.  Travel – flight availability and prices, accommodation, Visa requirements, pricing – in Beijing and Athens the company experienced an ‘Olympic tax’ where everyone increased their prices.  Construction – the company had a two month time scale but the government brought forward timelines so it had to be finished in May instead of July.  Culture in China and language barriers.  Transportation and traffic issues – roads could be closed at minimal notice. She added: “The guests had various travelling times so we split the programme into cycles – most were six nights and seven days. “Guests had the choice of which events they went to and had a chance to meet some of the athletes as New Balance sponsors the modern pentathlon. They also went on excursions to experience the culture. “The event was over two and a half years in planning. We were working across three continents’ time zones so had to plan early morning or late night conference calls.”



Keeping the Wimbledon crowds safe G4S Events’ security staff were on hand to make sure visitors to the Wimbledon Championships enjoyed a safe event. The team’s responsibilities included enforcing regulations on the consumption of alcohol on the Wimbledon site, removing unattended packages and belongings and searching for sharp and dangerous items such as knives. Managing director Mark Hamilton said: “We are finding that the majority of visitors who have alcohol confiscated at Wimbledon are those who have unwittingly attempted to enter the site with too much wine or beer, or high-strength spirits, which can be a health and safety issue. “We understand this is frustrating for some people, but in order to ensure the health and safety of everyone on site G4S is obliged to ask visi-

tors to check additional alcohol into the left luggage area. “Ensuring the health and safety of visitors to The Championships is a top priority, so it is vital bags are checked before ticket holders are granted access.” The company also revealed it attracted three times more applications for jobs at Wimbledon in 2009 than in 2008. Mark added: “We have seen great interest in events security jobs so far this summer. There is a big attraction in helping to secure the biggest events in the calendar, from Royal Ascot and Wimbledon to Proms in the Park.” As an official supplier to the event, G4S also runs a bespoke training programme designed specifically for security and stewarding staff working at The Championships.

Cafe culture proves a talking point at the Championships ONE of Wimbledon’s most unique hospitality areas was the result of a collaboration between Grace & Tailor and JAM. The Evian café comprised an open sided marquee structure surrounded with a white picket fence around the outside and was split into three different areas:  A white zone – styled with a frosted acrylic glacial bar.  The Picnic Area – dressed with timber effect flooring to represent a decked area and white picnic tables

complete with Wimbledon fact quotes varnished onto the wood.  The Outdoor Garden Area – using lush artificial grass, a working water fountain and croquet mallets and tennis rackets on the walls. Designer at JAM Kevin Paintin said: “The Evian Café has been a real talking point at the Championships this year, a credit to everyone that worked on the project. “The end environment was beautifully finished and looked amazing.”

Stylish addition proves a smash with tennis fans A THEMED art deco structure was a popular addition to this year’s event – providing hospitality for tennis fans who still wanted to be close to the action. The Gatsby Club – a structure supplied by De Boer and designed by Detail Management Services for its client Keith Prowse – consisted of about 1,500 square metres of temporary accommodation with an A-frame Alu Hall forming the main hospitality facility complete with kitchen, office and staff areas. It was located on the cricket ground immediately adjacent to the famous All England Club tennis complex and close to the

players’ practice courts. De Boer also provided 80 square metres of elevated terrace alongside the main structure, allowing guests superb views of the star players warming up before their matches. De Boer sales director, events, John Cochrane said: “Wimbledon fortnight is one of the great sporting occasions of the year and we are delighted, through our long-standing relationship with Detail, to be associated with such a fantastic event. “The Gatsby Club is a stylish and much-sought after hospitality facility which has become an integral part of the Wimbledon scene.”




Edinburgh’s ethos is to create an inspiring, culturally diverse environment for both residents and visitors – something which also extends to its events. Christina Eccles found out how Scotland’s capital city keeps the crowds coming back ...

City’s beauty keeps visitors returning AS Edinburgh is a designated world heritage site, looking after its buildings and landscapes is a vital part of planning any event in the city. But according to events and special projects manager Norman Ireland, although this can be a challenge, it also has rewards as the beauty of the city provides the perfect backdrop to any event. He told The Main Event that having attractions such as Edinburgh Castle right on the doorstep creates the perfect platform for events and is a successful way to attract both local residents and tourists out on the streets. Norman said: “One of Edinburgh’s strengths is that we have an extremely attractive setting. The city is the stage – not everybody has a castle in the middle of their city. Having that facility can present difficulties but also opportunities.” Major established events include the Edinburgh International Festival and the winter events programme – including the Christmas celebrations and the world famous Hogmanay street party – but the council is also open to bringing in more unusual, sometimes one off events. And Norman revealed that the key to creating a successful events pro-

gramme is this mix of old and new. He added: “We are working year round – there isn’t a down time. We hold important events at every time as part of our strategy to make the city lively throughout the year. Through festivals and events we spread the interest across the calendar rather than focus just on the summer. We have established, year on year events and a variety of new events. Big events are important to the city as they get visitors’ and international attention and media profile but we need to achieve a balanced portfolio which covers all different kinds of events so there is something for everybody.” As well as organising its own events and bidding with partner organisations to bring major events to Edinburgh, the council also gets approached by people who have an event or an idea which they would like to see happen in the city. “We also have to have the capacity to be able to quite quickly pick up an opportunity we haven’t planned for – for example the British Fireworks Championship and the Cow Parade. We need to be proactive but also need to react to the opportunities as they come up.”

Above, left: the British Touring Car Championships will return to Edinburgh this year. Top: the Hogmanay celebrations are one of Edinburgh’s most popular events. Above, right: Sport Relief 2008.


One of the latest additions to the city is a big screen in Festival Square which will be used for broadcasting events such as the 2012 Olympics and other major sporting events – as well as providing an additional audience space for major events which come to Edinburgh. Norman added: “We have been chosen to have one of the live sites in Festival Square. We will be able to use this facility to promote other events happening to the public and visitors and it also gives us extra audience space.”


Edinburgh also hosted the 2003 MTV Music Awards – with the council working in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish government to bring the event to the city. As it was going to be held in Edinburgh, the council wanted to ensure that local residents had the opportunity to take part. Norman added: “We wanted to ensure that the people who live and work in the city can get involved. We agreed with MTV that a number of young people would get the opportunity to work at the awards in the venue and to be part of it.” The council also put on a parallel event in Princes Street Gardens where the awards were shown on a big screen.

‘Model’ events group SOMETHING which the council is particularly pleased with is its events planning group which has been used as a model to help other organisations put on their events. Norman added: “We set up an events planning and operations group which brings together the interests of the city council, policing interests, those of the promoter and any other services such as fire or ambulance. This enables us to have a single forum and group of people who know in advance what they need to do. “For many of the bigger events we go beyond the rule book. We look at the minimum national requirements and go beyond them. We have good structures and procedures in place and people with experience.”

Jane Bremner, David Waddell, Norman Ireland, Frances Docherty, Susan Lanham, Paul Philip.




Event organiser James Kemp moved out to Africa with the intention of spending a few weeks learning about the country’s events industry. Eight months later he is still there and in the first of a new series, he shares his experiences with The Main Event.

Great Run expansion sees James out in Africa ... IT has been just over eight months since I made the move out to Ethiopia, not a great deal of time but considering when I was first pitched the idea it was only supposed to be a matter of weeks. Originally more of a vacation than a life change. I’m out here working as an operations manager for Nova Africa, the African subsidiary of Nova International and organisers of the Great Run series, you might have heard, worked on, perhaps seen on TV or even run in one of our events back in the UK. As part of their first venture into international expansion, the Great Run team created what is now the largest running event in Africa. The Great Ethiopian Run, established in 2001 by Marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie and Nova's very own Brendan Foster, now has 30,000 running annually. In fact if we accounted for the unofficial runners and black market selling of registration tshirts, it’s thought that participant numbers are closer to 40,000 each year. The team did

James Kemp such a sterling job with the race that it is now firmly implanted as a national icon over here and is synonymous with Addis Ababa. It is as close to a Great North Run or London Marathon as you can get. The original plan was to use the GER framework and roll it out across Africa. This hasn't been possible, but with a new operation and shift in strategy, the Great African Run series looks to be rolling, First into Zambia at the back end of the year, and then Tanzania in early 2010, with plans already in place for Cameroon and Kenya. Who knows what 2011 will bring?

The whole thing is a brilliant challenge. No African country is the same, even within a country the cultural variation is huge. There is no way we could presume to understand enough to mount a complex event, instead we choose to partner up with local organisations and Athletics Associations, relying on their local knowledge to help us in our planning and operations. Even with this support and our own local team plus Nova's wealth of experience there’s just some things you can’t control. Communication for instance – I spend each morning hunting down an internet connection because the government has decided our office block has had its quota. Then when they do switch us back on line they cut the power, sometimes for days. Then the phone lines cut off at lunch times and again after five. If you want to send an attachment, no chance, connection too slow. Want to check BBC news, nope … barred!  Next month: James talks suppliers

The Great Ethiopian Run

Festivals praised for going green THE first recipients of the 2009 Greener Festival Awards have been named – with seven UK festivals among the winners. Events including Glastonbury, Wireless and the Isle of Wight Festival were all praised by A Greener Festival for their green policies and on-site activities. Scottish festival T in the Park was also congratulated for its innovative approach to water use and engaging with the audience to reduce the festival’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Greener Award is based on a 56 point checklist which covers

areas including:  Green office policies  Energy use and carbon reduction  Travel and transport  Support for green initiatives  Waste management  Recycling  Water use  Environmental protection  Noise pollution The awards organisers have a team of environmental auditors who visit festivals to assess environmental good practice and effective green policies and the scheme is supported by insurance company

Robertson Taylor. A Greener Festival co-founder Ben Challis said: “This is the third year of our awards scheme and it is clear that our participating event organisers are doing more and more to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste and move towards a carbon neutral infrastructure. “The key issue now is working with the audience to reduce travel emissions – which can sometimes make up almost three quarters of a festivals’ carbon footprints. Our auditors have noticed that

more and more festivals are starting to work with the audience to promote sustainable lifestyles – the team that came back from the Isle of Wight raved about the really clever initiatives there. “We are also delighted with the new award trophy designed and made by students at Keswick School in Cumbria which combines an attractive design with recycled plastics, CDs and Wellington boots, thousands of pairs of which are sadly left behind at festivals.”



Jane Tomlinson’s Run for All Leeds 10k has quickly established itself as one of the city’s most popular events and is continuing to grow each year. Christina Eccles caught up with its organisers to find out more.

Still running for Jane THE first run took place in 2007 and proved to be such a success that it was named best First Year Event by Runner’s World. Since then it has grown in both size and reputation – with this year more than 11,000 runners taking part, watched by crowds of over 50,000. The event is popular with spectators as well as those taking part and also includes non racing elements to transform it from just a sporting event into a free family day out. Other features include bands performing along the route and a platform at the start where this year, Nell McAndrew led the warm up. According to Leeds City Council’s events manager Sylvia McCann, extra features such as this make the event popular and something which can be enjoyed by the whole community. She said: “The event has always been seen as something with mass appeal and is an excellent addition to the city’s events calendar. It is very inclusive and people are encouraged to take part and raise money. It is an interesting mix as it is a sporting event but also so much more than that. It also has the charity aspect and the entertainment element – just the sheer size of the event is an entertaining aspect in itself.”

The event was set up after Jane and her family approached the council in 2005 with the concept of a 10k run and it agreed to support it. Sylvia and the events team already had a connection with the Tomlinson family after Jane took part in a Commonwealth Games baton relay event in Leeds in 2002. And Sylvia added that knowing Jane personally makes the event even more special to work on. She added: “We are very pleased to be able to play a part in establishing such a great, fun day out. “A lot of the runners also have a lot of respect for Jane and what she achieved.”

Contractors’ list Staging – Leeds City Council Power – Frisby Technical Services Stewarding and Security – Controlled Space Medical – Venture Event Medical Management Barriers – Event Plus PA Systems – Leeds City Council Traffic

Management – Green Light Branding, Signage & Gantries – Logistik Guest Catering – Boutique Toilets – Nixons Cabins – A Plant & Search Marquees – Nationwide Timing Equipment – Raceahead

Nell McAndrew

Thousands prepare to start the run

City centre challenge SYLVIA also revealed how the team deals with hosting such a large event in the middle of a city centre. She added: “The athletics element such as the registration of participants is dealt with by the Run for All team but we deal with the arrangements for the start and finish. “The logistics are quite challenging as we are working in a complex urban location. We manage all the traffic management measures and everything is relocated to the edge of the city centre to avoid any crossing points. We have a big warm-up platform in Millennium Square. The runners make their way down to the start on the Headrow. The start gantry is built across the central reservation of the road and the finish gantry is on the other carriageway of the same

road.” The team is also discussing how to make the event even better – with plans underway to review the number of runners who can take part and to add on extra entertainment. “The number of spectators was hugely up this year. This places more pressure on the event as we have to scale up to cope, but year on year we learn and constantly strive to improve all aspects. We want to add more bands on the run and are constantly reviewing the number of runners we can accommodate. “We are also going to examine if it is possible to modify the arrangements to accommodate a larger field of runners – a lot of people come back year on year and it’s become quite a fixture in the runners’ calendar.”


Hugh scouting for younger fans THE decision to introduce a different style of headline act to this year’s Cornbury Festival has led to an increase in the number of families who enjoyed the event, according to its promoter. In previous years, visitors to the festival have enjoyed performances from acts such as last year’s headliner Paul Simon – but this time organisers decided to do things differently. Headline performances came from Scouting for Girls and Sugababes and Hugh Phillimore told The Main Event that this was a popular decision with the crowd, particularly with younger members of the audience.

He said: “It worked well in the end. We have always catered for the family audience but have had ‘legendary’ acts such as Paul Simon. This year we have turned it around and had acts such as Scouting for Girls who were great for the younger age group and Sugababes. We had something for everyone – more so than in previous years and this year we saw a lot of newcomers to the festival.” Although numbers were down about 20 per cent on last year, the festival still managed to draw in a crowd of about 10,000 people each day and Hugh added that after some initial worries, he was delighted with how everything went this

year. He added: “I am really thrilled. We also had half decent weather so I was really pleased. “Last year we were hit incredibly hard with the weather but this year we had a whole day of sun on the Sunday. “Also, we finally got the site right as we have been tinkering with it for six years. The site layout was great and the individual areas worked well. “It is interesting as we have cut back quite a lot on production and infrastructure but everyone thought the festival was nicer than ever before. We did a better job for less money.”

Contractors’ list Staging – Serious Staging Lighting – Negearth Sound – Britannia Row Traffic management – Cash and Traffic Management Waste management – Network Recycling Bars – Creativevents Security – ESP Security Fencing – Securifence



Bill Cowling has been involved in the Great Yorkshire Show for over 30 years – and honorary show director for the past three. He revealed to The Main Event what makes the show so special and why it is going from strength to strength.

How Bill keeps show fresh ... The hound parade drew in the crowds

Bill Cowling

Contractors’ list MTS – traffic Signs LH Woodhouse & Pavilions of Harrogate – marquee Impact – staging platform CGC Events – catering Wernick – cabins Golf Buggy Hire - buggies Yorwaste – waste ARB Piccadilly – PA

NRB – radios SEP – car parks and traffic management Showmed – medical Touchline Event Management – security Express Cafes & SFC Group – mobile catering Oasis – health and safety Coopers Marquees – marquees

IN his current role, Bill is responsible for coordinating all the departments involved in running the show. Every section has its own committee which meets a couple of times a year to discuss what things are proving successful and recommendations for changes. He also has the job of liaising with sponsors and supporters and on show days says one of his highlights is walking round and speaking to exhibitors and visitors to find out how they are enjoying being there. Over 130,000 visitors attended the 151st show – making it one of the highest attended shows ever and according to Bill, over the years it has evolved to keep things fresh and keep visitors coming back for more. He said: “We have meetings straight after the show to look at different things but sometimes the changes don’t need to be big to keep it fresh – you can usually do something better with just a bit of a change. “I hope we have an enjoyable, happy show and both visitors and exhibitors feel we are looking after them. We try and keep it reasonably priced. The show has to cover its costs but we try to give value for money. “Sponsorship has been good this year and a lot of our sponsors are very supportive which shows we must be delivering something for them. This year has been more challenging but we have come through it well.” The show takes place at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate and Bill says although the venue provides the perfect backdrop for the event, they have made some improvements over the past few years to make it even better.

He added: “For a big event like the show, we need to be near a town that has facilities such as hotel rooms because a lot of visitors stop in the local area. “At the ground itself, we have spent a fortune over the last few years – improving everything from the exhibition halls to the toilets and the infrastructure. It is expensive but we try to do things every year. “We have also improved the traffic management side and employ a dedicated company which has quite sophisticated traffic management plans. We also meet with the Highways Agency, police and Harrogate Borough Council. “But there is always going to be a little bit of congestion, there is no doubt about it.” The show also encourages visitors to travel by public transport and combined event and train tickets can be bought in advance. There is also a shuttle bus service from local train stations and coach trips are encouraged. Plans for next year are already underway and the event is in the enviable position of almost becoming too popular. Bill explained: “For next year, the biggest thing is going to be how we can increase the capacity of some of the livestock accommodation to cope with the increase in entries. We don’t want to turn people away but at the moment we haven’t got the capacity. But this is a wonderful position to be in.” Popular attractions this year included thousands of cattle, sheep, pigs and horses, the 68-foot Hull and Humber Clipper yacht brought by Welcome to Yorkshire and cookery demonstrations by top chefs including Rosemary Shrager.

The Great Yorkshire Show also proved to be a great place to do business – with Welcome to Yorkshire hosting a business tourism event on its stand. The networking event was held to highlight ambitious plans to develop and promote the region as a business destination and was attended by a wide range of venues, event buyers, corporate clients and Yorkshire personalities including the author Gervase Phinn. Just under 8,000 guests visited the Welcome to Yorkshire stand during the three days and a further 600 invited guests attended breakfast, lunch and evening meetings.

ISLE OF WIGHT This year’s Isle of Wight festival was the best yet, according to its organiser. Christina Eccles found out what makes it so special.

The festival where you won’t get stuck in a jam JOHN Giddings works as a concert promoter for major acts such as Madonna and U2 and admits the work he does on the Isle of Wight Festival is more of a hobby – something he does for the enjoyment rather than financial gain. Because of this, John is always striving to improve the experience for festivalgoers and this year there was a strong focus on providing an eclectic line up. The main stage included sets from The Prodigy and Neil Young while the popular Big Top saw performances from among others, McFly, Will Young and Alesha Dixon. The Big Top was a new addition last year and John revealed it has been a huge success – allowing the fes-

tival to bring in acts which it may otherwise have not been able to accommodate on the main stage. But John says that there are no plans to increase the number of stages as it means crowds have to choose between acts. He explained: “We are not having more stages because you end up splitting the audience. You have to have more mainstream bands on the main stage but things such as Girls Night Out in the Big Top worked really well.” Another popular element was the acoustic stage – which featured acts including Paulo Nutini and Sharon Corr. And John said as people didn’t know who would be performing and when, it took them by surprise when an act walked

on stage. This year’s festival was a sellout, attracting 55,000 people and although the Isle of Wight can only be accessed from the mainland by boat – this does not cause a headache for organisers. In fact, John claims it is actually a bonus as not getting stuck in queues of traffic on their journey down to the event puts visitors in holiday mode before they even arrive. He added: “You can only get there by crossing the Solent. Putting people on the water puts them in that holiday frame of mind.” Seaclose Park in Newport provides the backdrop to the festival but visitors are also encouraged to explore the island – and hopefully make return visits.

Contractors’ list Sound – Wigwam Acoustics Ltd Lighting – PRG Europe Big Top Lighting – Prism Power – Vital Spark Head Electrician – Brian Beatty Site Catering – Mark Hatch at CCS Market Concessions – Dick Vernon Artist/Crew Catering – Snakatak Staging – Stageco Fencing/Barriers – Wight Fencing

Merchandising – Firebrand Live Site Crew – Rock City Arena Security – Show And Event Campsite Security – AP Security Production Crew – Stage Miracles The Acoustic Stage – Platform One Video – Blink TV TV Production – CC-Lab Artist touring screens – XL Video Waste management – Biffa

New system manages sustainability A NEW online management system was used to manage sustainability at the festival this year. Eco Action Partnership –which gives guidance on the issue at events – worked with Seventeen Events to manage BS8901 at the festival using the eventberry system. Managing director of Seventeen Events Andrew Williams said: “It has been fantastic to work with Eco

Action Partnership on this project. I feel it’s a great example of how modern technology can help make events more sustainable. “Even though we’re all based in different parts of the country – London, Brighton and the Isle of Wight – we can communicate using the system and record all of the sustainable details necessary to comply with BS8901.”

John Giddings “It is great for visitors to see some of the island and some of them now come Monday or Tuesday when the site doesn’t open until Thursday and extend their stay.”

Police in robust approach to illegal drugs POLICE officers in plain clothes and uniform and passive drugs dogs were involved in an operation to deter and detect supplies and sales of illegal drugs on the festival site. 26 people were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and 74 bailed for possession of class A substances. Drugs with an estimated street value of more than £68,000 were seized by police. A team of drugs counsellors from the charity Cranstoun was also on hand to help those at risk from substance misuse – with 50 people referred to Cranstoun over the weekend. Hampshire Constabulary’s Isle of Wight operations inspector Terry Clawson said: “Our drugs operation, planned with the organisers, achieved its aims. “Intelligence suggested illegal substances became increasingly difficult to buy at the festival because of our effective activities to restrict supplies. “We intend to continue our robust approach to these offences at future island festivals and remain committed to supporting services offering advice and treatment to address the consequences of drugs misuse.”



T4 on the Beach has firmly established itself as one of the highlights of the summer events calendar. However, its beachside location can cause challenges – particularly with staging – when the weather doesn’t go according to plan. Christina Eccles reports.

Life’s a beach when it comes to staging STAGING company Atlantic Enterprise arrived on site just over a week before the event was due to take place – and brought over 50 crew with them to help set up. The event has been held in Westonsuper-Mare for the past five years and there have been three stage designs over that time, all incorporating a big arch that was part of the original design. One of the company’s biggest responsibilities was setting up the event’s three stages but according to the team, the weather did not help during the build. A spokesman said: “The weather was against us all week with 40mph winds blowing as we were trying to pull in roof covers while the six ton scenic arch was constructed simultaneously. The guys had a rough time as it rained all week too, but they really pulled together and completed the build on scheduled time. “The screens and lights were in

Thursday and it was the smoothest load in we’ve ever done. The sound arrived Friday when we had one of the most terrible days of weather.” Project manager David Fletcher added: “When you are working outside in the rain, it can be hard to keep morale up. The wind was up which made it difficult to put the roof on and turned a two hour job into a 26 hour job.” A core team of 16 staff was used – which on various days increased to up to 55 people. David also said that although they had a day less than usual this year to get everything in place, with careful forward planning, they managed to get everything done on time. Fortunately, although the morning of the event was also wet, by about 2pm the weather changed – meaning that the 45,000 strong crowd could enjoy performances from acts including Dizzee Rascal, Alesha Dixon and The Saturdays in the sun.

Above: The stages during construction. Left: the main stage and below: the T4 Music stage


Mathew Street Music Festival

Bank holiday festival boasts eleven themes A new stage has been introduced at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival which will showcase local literary talent. The Read Bed – organised by Highlands and Islands arts development agency HI~Arts – will focus on writing and words and music collaborations from the Scottish Islands. HI~Arts writing

development coordinator Peter Urpeth, said: “In this new stage, we aim to present a daytime alternative for those who want to encounter some of the finest new literary talent in Scotland and in way far-removed from the traditional book festival model. We hope this stage becomes a firm fixture in Belladrum's programme.”

Firm can deal with most complex stage layouts ALISTAGE are one of the best known manufacturers and staging suppliers and are probably the biggest single stockist of modular stage equipment in the country. They regularly provide staging for the well known events such as Glastonbury, Latitude, The BRIT Awards and the BAFTAs, through to supplying equipment for television like the BBC’s “Comic Relief” show. However they are also perfectly at home when dealing with less prestigious but equally important festivals and events run by local authorities and associations etc. Their modular bar system is also extensively used at such events as the CAMRA beer festival held annually at

Olympia. With over 70 different shapes and sizes of decks in their hire stock of over 2500 units; designers can be sure that most complex stage layouts can be catered for without resorting to expensive custom made in-fills. For outdoor events, their modular, four width size “Alidome” series of roof canopies fits most requirements and budgets. They have also recently started to manufacture their own new all aluminium crowd control pit-barriers marketed under the names of the “Ali Total Barrier” and the “Ali Ultimate Barrier”. All equipment is available for hire, sale or lease.

THE stages at this year’s Mathew Street Music Festival will have a record number of 11 different themes – with the action taking place over six outdoor stages. The festival – which takes place on the Sunday and Monday of August Bank Holiday weekend – has been running for the past 17 years and for the first time there will be stages hosting country and Irish music. Other highlights of the event – Europe’s biggest free annual music

festival – include shows by legendary Liverpool bands China Crisis and The Christians plus a special guest appearance by rock drummer Alan White. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend and over 80 hours of live outdoor music has been programmed for the city council funded festival – with the outdoor stages operating from 11am to 6pm on both days and the indoor venues offering live music until the early hours.



A partnership between Glastonbury and Orange brought some additional features to the event – designed to help festivalgoers communicate with each other and find their way around the site. The Orange Chill 'n' Charge tent featured 600 mobile phone charging points and 32 internet connections for uploading pictures and tweeting. The company also unveiled an improved version of its GlastoNav application – a free mobile download providing Glastonbury revellers with an interactive festival planner.

Serious number of stages ONCE again this year, Serious Stages provided the staging, PA masts, goalposts and other structures for the Glastonbury Festival – with over 20 structures in all areas of the festival including Pyramid, Other, Jazz World, Park, Dance, John Peel and Trash City. The choice of roofed stage this year was the company’s ever evolving ‘Supernova’ system with the 16m (Park), 19m (Jazz World) and 22m (Other) all on view. The evolving nature of the ‘Supernova’ was demonstrated as the stages were customised to each of their requirements with the Park stage being the first to benefit from an increased roof depth and

improved covering using the same scaffold deck. The Other stage featured a split third bay to accommodate an additional arch, to give extra support for the sound and lighting rigs required for a festival of this size. Both the Jazz and Other stages had aluminium D-ends to provide production with a change over area which suited their needs. The ‘Supernova’ system is also being used at a number of other festivals this summer including Latitude, Lovebox, The Big Chill and Womad, as well as on the Forestry Commission and IML Concerts tours.

GLASTONBURY The BBC Introducing Stage returned to Glastonbury for the third year running – showcasing up and coming artists and bands from around the country. Extensive coverage of the festival was broadcast by the BBC across TV, radio and online, which gave new acts the chance to be seen and heard by a huge audience. BBC Introducing editor Jason Carter said: “BBC Introducing provides new unsigned artists the opportunity to perform at one of the world's largest and most famous music festivals. All the artists' performances from the stage over the weekend are then broadcast across our platforms – local and network radio and online.”

Jennifer’s luxury pitch proves a hit at festival A FORMER barrister has revealed how buying a house next door to the Glastonbury site has enabled her to launch a successful new business venture. Jennifer Lederman bought her house without realising its close proximity to the festival – but she decided to use this to her advantage by setting up Camp Kerala. During the festival, Jennifer hires out 75 luxury tents – manufactured in Rajasthan and complete with home comforts such as king sized beds and fluffy towels – at a cost of £7,000 per couple. And she says that despite the cost, there is huge demand to stay there – with the site almost already fully booked for

next year. Jennifer told The Main Event that part of Camp Kerala’s appeal is its exclusivity. Tents can only be hired out for the duration of Glastonbury, meaning staying there is an opportunity which only comes round once a year. She also said the service is equivalent to that of a five star hotel, which is appealing for families and those who wish to make their festival experience more upmarket. She said: “We started off with 50 tents and increased it to 75 as there were so many people wanting to stay. Camp Kerala is so popular because every person is treated like an individual and the experience is like being at a private house party.

It is run like a luxury five star hotel.” Jennifer also said that Camp Kerala – which was set up in 2005 – gets a lot of repeat visitors – making the experience more special for visitors who get to know each other over the years. Included in the price are extras to make visitors feel looked after and pampered – including two backstage festival tickets, access to Camp Kerala massage therapists and hairdressers and transport to and from the Camp Kerala site to the backstage area. She added: ‘We have had a huge amount of support from Michael Eavis and is wonderful for us to be associated with Glastonbury.”

Honorary degree for Eavis GLASTONBURY’S founder Michael Eavis is to receive an honorary degree from Bucks New University in recognition of his contribution to the music industry. He will accept the award alongside students from the university who will receive their degree certificates at ceremonies in September. Pro vice chancellor (academic services, planning and enhancement) David Gay said: “We choose our honorary awardees in recognition of their outstanding achievements in

their particular fields. We are delighted that Michael Eavis has accepted our invitation to be associated with us in this way. I am sure that he will be an inspiration to the graduating students, and to those that will come after them.”




XL Video streams on at Download XL Video is in the middle of a busy summer season – having recently worked on several high profile events including Hard Rock Calling, Wireless and Download. The company supplied an HD camera and playback system plus assorted video extras for several acts appearing at Live Nation's three Hyde Park summer festival events Hard Rock Calling, Blur and Wireless - which all ran consecutively in London's most central greenfield location. This was project managed by Chris Saunders for XL, assisted by Zoe Minter, and the artist line up included the Killers, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen (Hard Rock Calling) and Basement Jaxx and Kanye West, who headlined the two Wireless shows

concluding the run. Chris has worked on the event for the last five years, ever since it was launched by Live Nation. He said: "It was great to be working with the Live Nation team again. The setting and the variety of the music makes it very special, everything went smoothly for us and we all relished the chance to enjoy glorious weather.” The Hyde Park events were the latest in a busy schedule – which has also included the Isle of Wight and Download festivals, alongside touring work with U2, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Madonna, Take That, The Killers, Kings of Leon and more. For its work on Download – which took place at Donington Park – XL Video supplied a completely integrated video package.

The brief included 72 hours of live internet streaming, a broadcast spec, HD camera system and screens package for Stage one. Other services facilitated by XL included an HD record for Live Nation TV and VH1, MMS/SMS relay to screen, plus a standard definition camera/PPU package for Stage two. Project manager Chris Saunders working on his sixth Download - led the video crew of 34. In recent years, Download's requirement for video/IT entertainment services has expanded voraciously – in line with the demands of its info-hungry audience. A live simultaneous web cast was a first for the festival – XL's IMAG camera relays from stage one flash encoded and sent footage via satellite

to the data server feeding promoter Live Nation's website. The 72-hour live webcasting that hit the ether involved bands agreeing to allowing their performances to be streamed for the wider enjoyment of fans around the globe. Viewing figures peaked on the Friday night, with 23,000 tuning in to share Faith No More's rocking main stage set. Chris added: "This was a perfect example of how well it can work when the broadcast, screen and web elements are all brought together into a truly integrated package by an organiser with a clear overview. It was a pleasure to be back working with John Probyn and Hannah Farnham again. Long may it continue."

HYDE PARK London’s Hyde Park came to life in June, when ten days of gigs and festivals ran in succession. Mary Ferguson reports.

Fans keep cool as park rocks ... GALLONS of water were distributed to music fans in Hyde Park to ensure they were kept cool in the heat. Hard Rock Calling – headlined by Neil Young, The Killers and Bruce Springsteen – the Blur concerts and the Wireless Festival featuring Basement Jaxx and Kanye West all took place over ten show days in the park. Following Hard Rock Calling the stage two area was used to host ‘Serpentine Sessions’, three evenings of intimate summertime gigs from acts including David Kitt and Regina Spektor. And two nights of Blur’s comeback gigs then followed, before events were rounded off with the Wireless festival. This year, Hard Rock Calling went on for three days and Wireless was reduced to two. And John Probyn of Live Nation, who produced the events, said the new timings worked well. “Trying to fill four days with big artists in central London on what is a big weekend for other festivals was difficult, which is one of the reasons

we made that decision. The main challenge of doing ten nights of shows on the trot was stamina but from a cost point of view it’s fantastic.” It was the first time the Serpentine Sessions had been held and John said because of their intimate nature, noise wasn’t a problem as they couldn’t be heard outside the park. “Hyde Park is the most difficult venue in the country as far as noise is concerned because it’s so central so we had to work very closely with Westminster Council. “And getting people home is always an issue in central London because the tubes stop so early, which is why every event had a curfew of 10.30pm. “The police were concerned about 50,000 people spilling out of the park every night but we worked very closely with them and there were no problems.” Showsec were on hand to make sure visitors were safe and secure throughout the week – particularly with the weather being so hot. Head of security Simon Battersby said: “This is the best team and secu-

Pictures: Louise Stickland

Contractors’ list Hyde Park contractors Site management – Red Sky Productions Site crew – Rock City Crew Power – Templine Plumbing – Tempsite Marquees – De Boer Cabins – Search Fencing – Entertee Stage barrier – Mojo

Crowd barriers/heras/ trakway – Eve Security – Showsec Medical – Events Medical Services Coventry Fire cover – Sharp Fire Bigtops – A&J Staging – Star Events Group Sound – Brit Row Lighting – PRG Cameras & screens – XL Video

rity operation I have worked with in Hyde Park. We have really seen the benefits of the years of our in-house training coming through at all levels. “The fact that we’ve had Showsec staff across the whole event drawn from different regional offices has improved co-ordination and made it easier to maintain consistency and quality.” John said Live Nation would love to do a full ten days of shows again next year, mainly because of the cost saving benefits. He added: “Part of the criteria for us getting the tender for the park was variety – and you can’t get more variety than what we provided this summer.”

John Probyn


GODIVA This year’s Godiva Festival attracted a record audience of over 85,000 people to Coventry’s War Memorial Park. Christina Eccles spoke to organisers CV One about the importance of marketing the event and how it keeps the crowds coming back each year.

Contractors’ list

The Godiva crowd and above: Idlewild – one of the festival’s headliners

Main stage – Wango’s Staging Concepts PA towers - Star Events Rhythm Tent / Paradise Tent – Albion Woods Show Tents Security – Show and Event Security Stewarding – Ramsgate Consulting PA (main stage and Rhythm Tent) – Stage Audio PA (Paradise Tent and Arena) – Jonathan Blackford Stage lighting – LightCo Design Traffic management – Highway Traffic Management Power and distribution – Gofer Temporary roadway – TPA Perimeter fence – Alpha Events Support Fencing dry hire – SGB Vehicles – NVR Fleet UK Plant – Hessle Fork Trucks Marquees – Snowdens Cabins – Elliott Hire Signage – Illingworth Signs Acoustic consultants – Vanguardia Water supply – Watermills

Godiva turns to online marketing THE Godiva Festival is Coventry’s flagship event and is enjoyed by both local people and visitors from all over the country. As there is no camping on site, it also plays an important role in the local economy – directing weekend visitors to the city’s accommodation, restaurants and tourism businesses. One of CV One’s most important roles in terms of organising the festival is marketing and this year they decided to make some changes.

According to marketing and communications manager Mick McLaughlin, one of the festival’s biggest assets is its online presence on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – and its own website, which was revamped in time for this year’s event. The site now contains much more information and features – with CV One hoping it will help to generate year round interest in the festival. As part of this, the marketing team

was on hand with blogs and video casts which were uploaded in the run up, during and post festival. Mick said: “We previously did the pre promotion, the event happened and then it went quiet until next year. We are now trying to make it a year round thing and encourage people to come back. Over the years, the social media side has become more important. It allows you to instantly reach an audience and is also much more interactive.”

However Mick said it is important to make sure you reach all potential visitors so the festival has also used tools such as mailed out postcards, posters and both local and national media to promote itself. He added: “The older generation don’t all grasp social media so we are very careful to make sure we also cater for them. We are always looking at new and innovative ways to market the festival – this year we were Tweeting from the site.”

CV One’s events executive Chris Davis was also on site. Here he answers The Main Event’s quick questions on the Godiva Festival.

Coventry festival’s challenges laid bare Were there any challenges with the site? One challenge with the site is the lack of roadway, with only a short run of tarmac along the top of the main field. This leads to a large amount of temporary roadway being laid for the event. This year we moved to using aluminum track rather than plastic, which stood up much better to the heavy vehicle traffic which drives over it. The site is also split, with a clear divide of a stream between the main entertainment field and the family field. This leads to problems with pedestrian movement between the two areas due to a single bridge being the only thoroughfare. To get round this, a temporary bridge structure is installed and a one way system for pedestrians is implemented. This split site has, in the past, led to a feeling that the family area isn’t integrated into the event as a whole. However, a redesign of the site layout with reorientation of the family area, this year led to much more positive feedback from festival visitors. Why is it a good site to work with? The site has a great natural raked slope to it, leading down to the area where the main stage is positioned. This allows a greater numbers of visitors to see the stage and also helps alleviate over-crowding closer to the stage. This slope also allows the sound from the main stage to be much more controlled, giving a natu-

ral sound break to direct the PA towards. The site layout allows for plenty of space to work backstage, with large loading areas for heavy vehicles, without compromising on space front of house. The site is well connected in terms of travelling to the festival, just off a major road route into the city, close to the motorway network, and is five minutes’ walk from Coventry station and 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre. There is also a large field which is dedicated to public parking, with ample space for the numbers of visitors to the event. The main entertainment field has excellent drainage which allows work to continue in adverse weather and good ground conditions onsite even in heavy rain. What were the biggest issues you faced? In terms of the site, one of the biggest issues in the past has been the impact of the festival on local residents, particularly with regard to noise. However, over the last two years we have worked to reduce these issues by redesigning the festival layout, introducing a new main stage, working closely with sound consultants and Coventry City Council’s environmental health team, consulting with local residents, maintaining a dedicated complaints telephone line and excellent work by our sound company. Traffic management for public vehicles coming to the festival has also

been an issue in the past, but again this has improved greatly year on year by working closely with West Midlands Police, traffic management companies and festival stewards. What worked well this year? This year was the second year of a new event layout – using a perimeter fence to control access to the event. This system works very well and is reflected in the levels of incidents at

the event (with only 12 arrests over the weekend despite visitors numbers of around 85,000). Incidents requiring first aid treatment were also significantly reduced on previous years. We introduced a second entrance to the fenced area for visitors arriving from alternative directions and the noise control and traffic management at the event were very successful.

Firm in the frame for Godiva MARQUEE and structure company GL events Snowdens supplied a range of traditional pole and aluminium frame tents for the 12th annual Godiva Festival. These were put to various uses around the War Memorial Park, including a kids’ tent, a community area, plus a 50ft by 80ft tent to accommodate the ‘Lives and Times’

exhibition, where visitors could discover more about local history. The Godiva Festival was a new client for Snowdens this year, but the company has a long tradition of serving the concerts and festivals market and includes Latitude, The Cambridge Rock Festival and the Gate to Southwell Folk Festival amongst its clients.


Above: The Brown Family – Robert, Jessica, Anna, Adam and Victoria and, right, Brian Cleary (Sygma), Adam Brown and Ken Rankin (Sygma)

Essex festival flourishes from family party THE organisers of a festival in Essex have told how it has grown from a small family party to an event licensed for 5,000 visitors. Brownstock started off five years ago and the first event was held in a marquee for 150 people – with family and friends of the organisers performing. After attracting 1,500 people last year, the family run festival was faced with a decision – either cancel this year’s event or ‘do things properly.’ After deciding to go ahead this year, the first thing the Brown family needed to do was apply for licensing for up to 5,000 people – as previously the festival had been run under a temporary event notice – limiting the amount of guests to 499 in any one

area. Adam Brown took on the role of event manager but soon came up against planning objections from local residents. After receiving a number of letters sent to try and stop the event going ahead, Adam decided to seek professional help and contacted Ken Rankin of Sygma Safety who first of all helped with the licensing issues. Soon after, the event got the go ahead. In addition to health and safety management, Sygma also provided and operated a digital ticketing system and helped market the event. The Brown family still feel it is important to involve family and friends in the festival and some even still get up on stage to sing.

Contractors’ list Fortune Security – security Sygma – ticketing and health and safety EPSL – sound, power, lighting Impact – staging Chelmer – marquees

Audacious Bars – Bars Rawley – toilets Medical Response Services – medical Pickering plant – cabins



Royal Ascot is attended by over 300,000 people each year with guests including the Queen and royalty from around the world. Louise Cordell talks to general manager Alastair Warwick about organising of one of the world’s most famous race meetings.

Galloping to the start gate ... ASCOT Racecourse holds race meetings throughout the year, with the last one falling just six weeks before the Royal Ascot event. This means a quick turnaround in terms of organisation, hindered by the fact that much of the equipment needed is tied up at the Derby until a fortnight before the big day. Alastair Warwick, general manager, said: “In terms of temporary structures we are usually very organised because we have a good relationship with suppliers and they are able to make sure that what we need is readily available. “However, for other elements like catering or toilet facilities we can be waiting for them from other events. “For example, this year we were waiting for some things from the Isle of Wight Festival, but because we wanted those particular quality suppliers we were willing to hold out. “It can be a bit of a balancing

act between getting what we want and what is available – but because it’s Royal Ascot, quality is key in the decision making process – so we will push boundaries if we need to, to get exactly the right products to fit the brand image.” With so many royals and celebrities attending the event each year, there are also many safety issues to take into consideration. The venue works closely with safety advisory groups, focusing not on meeting minimum legal requirements, but on creating a secure but enjoyable atmosphere for guests. Every day there are 140 police officers on site just for the visiting royalty and over 200 more to take care of public safety. Alastair added: “What we do depends on many factors, from whether we are dealing with specific personal security to general issue like terrorism threats. “Safety is also an issue for the animals involved, as the integra-

tion of horses and humans is a delicate balance. “The racehorses are worth huge amounts of money and can also be very temperamental so focusing on their safety and the public’s safety is a priority. “The horses need to cross a public highway to get to and from the stables so we have created a set of ‘traffic lights’ specifically for them to make sure that there is no risk of problems.” Since the site reopened in 2006 many changes have also been made to improve the event including redesigned marquees to create a garden party theme and the introduction of big screens inside the Grandstand for the first time. Alastair added: “We are constantly working to improve the customer experience. “People have certain expectations when they come along to Royal Ascot and we want to do everything we can to make sure those expectations are exceeded.”


Recession hits Royal Why Royal Ascot leaves Ascot numbers firm flushed with success MONEY troubles caused by the credit crunch led to a three per cent drop in visitor numbers at this year’s Royal Ascot. However, it was not all bad news as there was also a sell out crowd for the Silver Ring for the first time ever with 24,500 people buying tickets. The increase meant that organisers had to act fast to double the size of the wet weather cover provisions to cater for the extra numbers. Alastair said: “We were affected by the recession like everyone else, and overall numbers were down three per cent over the five days.

“Friday suffered the most with a 16 per cent drop, but this is due to the fact that Ascot is close to London and is traditionally a day for the city boys and the big banks’ corporate events. “This year those bookings just weren’t being made, for the obvious reasons. “But public support is still rock solid and growing – and just an overall three per cent drop is fantastic in the current climate – so we are very optimistic for next year and the future. “If we can sell out in a recession, things are only going to get bigger.”

Sunbaba worked with Royal Ascot to produce vibrant site branding which left visitors in no doubt that they had arrived at this year’s big event. 170m of Royal Gold Ultramesh surrounded the perimeter, interspersed with 17m Ascot Blue Heras fencing panels. 60 double sided crowd barriers were spread throughout the site while two seating grandstands in the Silver Ring were completely covered using 20m X 6m of Ultramesh, proudly displaying the Ascot logo. Sunbaba managing director Jan Booth said: “It was an honour to work alongside this prestigious event for the first time, producing striking branding which really made an impact.”

Royal Ascot was given a helping hand to maximise revenue at bars and eating areas at this year’s event. ADI provided 14 LED screens for the event which were situated all around the course – meaning that wherever visitors went, they were still able to view the racing action on screen.

The Plaza area is mainly for the general public attending the event; this area held 98 cubicles, 47 hand basins and 26 urinals, which were made up of the more basic panelled range, which includes Roca basins and maple cubicles. Smaller areas such as the Imperial Lawn and car park two used various 20’ and disabled Luxury Travelling Loo Trailers. Igloos provides loos to the event on an annual basis, some areas have the same configuration each year, others develop as new products and designs become available.

Contractors’ list GL Owen Brown Mar-key Marquee Igloos Toilets

The company was in its second year of a contract with Ascot and provided the screens from its fleet of iCONIC mobile LED screens. These included screens from every size in the iCONIC range, with the larger iCONIC 60s and iCONIC 100s along the home straight and facing grandstands.

Serving Ascot for over a decade LEADING structure company GL events Owen Brown enjoy a long standing relationship with Ascot Racecourse, spanning over a decade. For Royal Ascot this year, Owen Brown supplied structures from the company’s new ‘Absolute’ and ‘Ultimate’ ranges, both launched earlier in the year, plus a triple decker and other structures from its existing product range, totalling around 6000 sqm. The Absolute range features curved wall panelling and offers a choice of either curved, plateau or A frame roof profiles, with the latter being selected for Ascot, within the Royal Enclosure Gardens and the Imperial Events

IGLOOS are pleased to announce another successful year at Royal Ascot. This annual event is held over four days in June, however the company is on site for six weeks from start to finish. Igloos supply a variety of areas at the event including the Royal Enclosure, the Plaza and the Triple Decker Structure. These areas each have different kinds of loo systems depending on the end user. For instance, the Royal Enclosure consists of eight areas; with 31 cubicles, 31 hand basins and 46 urinals. These areas all had the high end luxury panelled range using maple panels and Italian glass bowl basins within the designs. The Triple Decker structure contains our bespoke panelled range on all three floors; with 21 cubicles, 20 hand basins and 15 urinals; this area is used for corporate hospitality during the event.

Courtyard. Elsewhere at Ascot, Owen Brown’s pagoda style ‘Ultimate’ structures were in evidence. The eye catching design and white powder coating to all supporting beams made them the perfect choice for a variety of bars and even a small art gallery around this prestigious course.

ADI Big Screens Joshua Meia Sodexo Catering


T IN THE PARK Artists performing included Kings of Leon and Lady Gaga

Fans’ feedback suits Colin to a T By Christina Eccles THE organiser of Scotland’s biggest music festival has told how taking time out to meet its fans is helping him gain vital feedback on the event. Event manager at T in the Park – Colin Rodgers – has just welcomed 85,000 people to the site in Kinrossshire and he told The Main Event that he was extremely pleased with how everything had gone this year. As part of his role, Colin had gone out into the crowd and spoken to festivalgoers – and was relieved to find

they were happy with the event. He said: “As event manager, I spent time driving around the campsite, talking to people. And I couldn’t find anybody with anything bad to say, which is a great position to be in. “We also had the police and stewards working well together which created a fantastic party atmosphere but with a sense of security. “I think we are doing a really good job of looking after our customers’ well being and security.” Interacting with visitors also gave organisers the chance to promote the

work they are doing to be environmentally friendly – particularly when it comes to the headache of clearing up discarded tents. Colin added: “We are saying that a tent is for life, not just for T in the Park and there has definitely been a reduced number left behind. “We saw a lot of people leaving with tents.” T in the Park was also fortunate to benefit from good weather and was hit by rain on just one day – which luckily organisers were prepared for. “We were expecting rain on

Saturday but it was sunny all day and the rain came about 1am. But we hadn’t had rain up here for weeks so the ground conditions were excellent and it held up really well. “We did have some issues with the wind on the Saturday so we had to drop the scrims as a precautionary measure.” Tickets for next year have just gone on sale and Colin added that the team is always looking at ways to improve visitor experience and keep things fresh year on year.

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Over 1,000 staff were on hand during T in the Park to deal with safety and security. G4S’ managing director Mark Hamilton was head of security and crowd management and has worked on the event since it started. He praised the crowd’s behaviour and attitude and said this year’s event was one of the best yet.

He added: “I was particularly pleased with the community policing scheme on the campsites which we introduced for the first time this year. It was well supported by T in the Park visitors, with a number of members of the public giving us information to ensure we were aware of potential issues.”

Warning over unofficial ticket outlets T in the Park’s organisers have warned of the risk of using unofficial outlets to buy festival tickets after a number of unofficial websites have sprung up, claiming to have tickets to sell. They are urging fans to only buy from the festival’s official channel,

Ticketmaster, and said that buying from unofficial sites means there is no guarantee the tickets are genuine or even exist. A limited number of early bird tickets for next year's T in the Park have already gone on sale – allowing fans to purchase them at this year’s prices.

Colin also revealed how the festival was nearly left without a headline act when Blur’s guitarist fell ill with food poisoning. He said it was touch and go whether Graham Coxon would make the gig or not – but the band eventually performed after a police escort was sent down to hospital in Edinburgh to bring the band back to the

festival. To accommodate the incident, fellow headliners Snow patrol performed their set later. According to Colin other popular acts over the weekend included The Killers and Kings of Leon who both sent massive audiences flocking to the main stage.

Tasty in the Park ... ONE of T in the Park’s most popular areas is Healthy T – a showcase for a variety of healthy, locally sourced food and drink. Colin said this area – now in its third year – keeps growing in popularity and is a great addition to the festival. He added: “The food choices at Healthy T this year were unbeliev-

able and it is definitely one of the best eating areas I have ever seen at a festival. It is great escapism from the high octane rush of going to watch the bands and offers a bit of tranquility.” Catering on offer this year included fresh fish and seafood, jacket potatoes, hog roast, fresh fruit and smoothies.



Gold accolade for access specialists PORTABLE access specialists, TPA Portable Roadways, has once again completed a successful installation and recovery at Scotland’s premier festival, T in the Park. The event organisers particularly valued the expert guidance and service offered by TPA and this resulted in comments such as: “You started and

finished on time”; “We didn’t know you were there” and “Your planning for this event shone through.” The organisers were actually so delighted that they awarded TPA a contractors’ ‘gold’ award for their efforts – a rarely given accolade which TPA’s Terry Mead and Steve Hancock were delighted to receive.

Contractors’ list 21CC Fireworks – fireworks A & J Big Top Hire – big top hire Aberdeen Stage Crew – stage crew Adlib Audio – PA systems Amazing Tent Hire – tents Arnold Clark – car hire Beaunosh – crew catering Blink TV – TV screens Buffallo Power – power supply and dist Cannon Safety – fire extinguishers\over CBA Ltd – telecommunications Central Catering – FOH bars/concessions CP Engineering – lighting Diamond Event Services Ltd – site crew Dundee Stage Crew – stage crew Dynamix – PA systems Easywaste Solutions Ltd – litter pickers/ skip supplier EFX Audio – PA systems Eve Trackway – hera fencing Event Traffic Management – traffic management Field and Lawn – marquees Firebrand – merchandising First Stage Hire – staging and obs towers FS Lighting – lighting Gig and Go – site crew Glasgow Stage Crew – stage crew Golf Buggy Hire (GBH) – buggies, gators etc

Heritage Event – site co Hewden Hire – plant hire In Focus – CCTV Interserve – scaffolding John Brown – furniture supplier LPM Bohemia – tent company Mad Tour Support – stage crew MOJO Barriers – stage barriers National Radio Bank – site radios Neg Earth – lighting Popcorn Catering – artist catering Portakabin – portakabins Rockmonster – hospitality Safety First Solutions – health and safety Scorpio Sounds – PA systems SEP – car park management SM Lighting – lighting Sound Acoustics – PA systems Sounds Inc – PA systems SRS International – security services Stagehire Scotland – staging Star Events –main stage and stage two Tempsite Installations –site plumbing Ticketmaster – ticketing TPA – trackway, fortress fence, temp roads Trathens – production buses WAAP Services – marquees XL Video – artist screens

Recycling recognition RECYCLING and waste management are also high on the agenda for the festival’s organisers and an area where T in the Park is achieving recognition for its efforts. A new litter contractor has also been brought in as part of a three year plan to reduce levels of waste and visitors have been encouraged to

pre order their beer online to make their journey to the festival easier – and hopefully encourage them to use public transport as they will have less to carry. Colin Rodgers, event manager, pictured above, added: “We have been highly commended on our recycling levels but we are hoping to push that even more.”



Task force cuts tent thefts at RockNess By Christina Eccles

XL Video worked with Take That on the band’s recent Circus stadium tour. The company has worked with the band since their first touring days in the 1990s when Des Fallon – now a director at XL Video – worked as the video crew chief. Des said: "Take That and their production team have always been prepared to push technical and imaginative boundaries to help deliver the very best in live performance. It's refreshing and inspiring working with those embracing the spirit of creative audacity and adventure.”

‘Amazing honour’ for Creamfields THE benefits which dance festival Creamfields brings to the local area have been recognised with an award win at the Mersey Partnership Tourism Awards. The festival was named tourism event of the year – beating off competition from entries including The British Open Golf Championships. Cream CEO James Barton said: “This is truly an amazing honour, especially when you look at some of the other nominees. As an organisa-

tion we strive for the best and over the last 10 years we feel we’ve delivered a unique and amazing event that people want to attend and travel to and who we hope leave our region with a positive impression.” Along with 10 other winners from the awards, Creamfields goes forward to represent the destination in the North West Regional Awards and the chance to compete for national honours.

THE number of reported tent thefts at RockNess fell massively this year – thanks to a new security task force set up to tackle campsite crime. The Association of Independent Festivals’ security task force worked closely with the event’s management and security companies to monitor the arriving crowds to prevent potential trouble makers from entering the site. This resulted in just five reported thefts during the festival – a fall of 95 per cent from 2008. Key to the operation’s success was the pre-event briefing held between security teams and the local police which allowed a more focused approach to onsite security. By adopting zoned off areas within the campsite and utilising Northern Constabulary’s community policing approach, the teams had less ground to patrol and were able to provide a more consistent monitoring of the audience throughout the weekend. Also secondary searching of people leaving the site was carried out earlier than would be normally expected – aimed at catching out the criminal gangs who have in the past tended to

‘AIF is very pleased with how the task force worked at the first AIF festival of the season and it fills us with great positivity going forward’ arrive, strike and leave after the first night when people are more likely to have cash in their tents. AIF co-founder Ben Turner said: “Though it would be wrong to claim complete responsibility for the dramatic decrease in crime it is a very positive step forward in the festival markets attempt to curb crime of this nature. “AIF is very pleased with how the task force worked at the first AIF festival of the season and it fills us with great positivity going forward.” Information and intelligence gathered from RockNess will now be shared amongst AIF members and as the festival season progresses, more will be gathered to make the task force more effective.

Local events prove credit crunch beaters AN increasing number of festival fans are attending local events in order to save money on their festival experience, according to new research. A survey of 3,000 people, commissioned by the Lovebox Weekender, asked festivalgoers to list their outgoings to provide an overview of the true cost of attend-

ing a major festival. And the results showed the average festivalgoer will spend £600 attending an event – with costs including tickets, food and drink and travel. However over half ( 54 per cent) said they were looking for more value for money by turning their backs on camping and traffic jams

this year and choosing festivals within easy reach of their home. Tom Findlay, from Groove Armada, founders of Lovebox Weekender said: “In these credit crunch times, festival goers are keen to get more bang for their buck and local festivals are a great way for them to watch live music without incurring the expense of camping and travel

costs. “As festivalgoers get older, they want to share the experience with their children and they are looking for festivals that not only showcase great bands but also provide great amusement, atmosphere and food options for the whole family.”



Over the next three months, The Main Event will be reporting on some of Ear To The Ground’s most innovative projects over the summer season. This issue, Mary Ferguson met production manager Tom Sabin at a giant soap box in Manchester.

Raising the bar with soap box THE company defined the word ‘experiential’ when they were commissioned to produce a groundbreaking temporary structure to celebrate the 125th anniversary of international brand PZ Cussons. The Soap Box Experience stood as part of the Manchester International Festival and saw hundreds of people a day visit to experience the story of PZ Cussons and interact with their brands, which include The Sanctuary, Imperial Leather and Original Source. At night, the temporary bar and catering facilities were used to accommodate corporate dinners and functions. The main cube structure – which stood for 11 days – was made by Tectoniks Limited from a durable fire retardant PVC coated textile, with a 400sqm floor plan. Tom Sabin, production manager for

Ear To The Ground, got involved full time in the project three months before going on site. He said: “We work a lot with temporary structures of various kinds but it was great to be able to commission one like this and be able to work with the client on the design. “It was a great experience for me to be able to work on such a challenging project and although 11 days is quite a stretch, everyone pulled together and did an amazing job.” 50 tonnes of pre-cast concrete blocks were dropped into place underneath a quick-stage grid and a city crane was used to drop them in as rigging points. 80 of them were placed at different coordinates and Tom said they had to be measured out extremely accurately so the anchor points of the structure hit the ballast points exactly. The stage build took three days and

on day four the main structure came up and they finished ramps, cladding and decking. The door frames were custom built on site. “Considering the complexity of it everything fitted exactly as it should have done according to the drawings. We had to make sure we could still get truck access to the rear of the structure to service the toilets and kitchen so we were literally working to tolerances of centimetres.” Tom added that although it was great that so many people could see the structure in the centre of town, it meant they were also very visible during the build and de-rig phases. Large vehicles including the city crane had to access the site through the city centre roads but clever scheduling and a designated vehicle route meant major problems were avoided.

Tom Sabin

While some parts of the events industry struggle under the weight of the recession, Ear To The Ground are flying. Mary Ferguson spoke to co-director Steve Smith about how they are bucking the trend.

Why Steve’s ready to shout about Ear to the Ground THE past year has seen big things for the Manchester-based event production company, which is now in its sixth year of operation. And according to Steve – who cofounded the business with John Drape – the future is also looking bright. He said: “The industry in general seems to be having quite a difficult time but we seem to be bucking the trend. We are very niche and we focus on live interaction, which is what makes us different. “Events are often done for the sake of it and there can sometimes be a lack of sophistication, but we try and make the whole thing cohesive so people know why they are there.” The company used to get a lot of its business from the property sector and Steve said its collapse under the recession – a year before many other sectors – provided a useful warning. “I think in times of boom people can get quite lazy but we never really did that and since the collapse of the property market, we have got some really good contracts.” One of these contracts was with social networking site MySpace, who brought the company on board to deliver flash mobs as part of brand marketing, producing one-off secret

gigs with the venue announced at the very last minute. Steve said one of these concerts – involving Lily Allen peforming a tube stop themed gig in a converted West London church – was one of the highlights of 2009 for him. Public sector events have included a circus-themed relaunch of Bristol city centre and a contract with Liverpool Primary Care Trust that involved the conversion of a huge tanker into a health centre to mark the launch of a challenge to the city to lose the weight of a tanker in a year. “In the property sector we were always a bit rock ‘n’ roll, and people saw us as risk takers, and we are now bringing that creativity to the public sector.” Steve and John have decided that after years of building a reputation through word of mouth, it’s important that the industry now hears about their work. Steve added: “In the past we have been really bad at telling people what we do as the kind of people we want to work with should hear about us anyway. But we have the case studies and experience and I feel like we do need to shout about it now.”

Steve Smith

Contractors’ list Inflatable structure – Tectoniks Ltd Bar – Bars 2U Catering – Fat Loaf Audio and video – Audile Lighting – DBN

Exhibition design and fit-out – Ignition Security – BDI Stage substructure – Raise The Roof



Street parties covered LIABILITY cover for street parties all over the UK was supplied by Event Insurance Services. The Big Lunch took place last month – inviting people across the whole of the UK to sit down and enjoy lunch with their neighbours in the middle of their street, tower block or field. The public liability cover protected legal liability to pay for compensation and claimant's costs and expenses for accidental bodily injury, accidental loss of or damage to property sustained by members of the public and occurring in connection with any Big Lunch Street Party. Cover also extended to the provision of food, drink, entertainment, music, games and bunting.


New company brings event and media expertise together TOWERGATE CoverEx is the new force in events and media insurance. We bring together the expertise of specialist event insurance broker, Woodgate and Partners and CoverEx International, and Europe's largest independently owned insurance intermediary, Towergate Partnership. John Harrison, CEO of this new venture, said: "These are exciting times for us. This move enables us to reach a much wider audience, building on our recognised success areas. "Our combined specialisms now include media, film and advertising industries, entertainment, theatre and music industries, event organisers, exhibitions and contractors." CoverEx event and media insurance Our bespoke policies and competitive premiums make us a leading provider of event and media insurance. We offer insurance solutions for:  Organisers of events, exhibitions, conferences, meetings, seminars, concerts, festivals and fetes  Contractors, suppliers and project managers working with the event, media and film industries  Music events  Theatrical productions  Film production and photographic shoots  Pop promos  Fashion launches and shows  Performers Protecting your business is our business.

John Harrison


The cancellation of the concerts at the O2 Arena has left promoters liable for ticket refunds.

Jackson death is a warning to organisers MICHAEL Jackson’s death is a warning to organisers that they should be fully insured, according to an expert. Leicester insurance broker Rob Marsh – chief executive of Marsh and Company – says the death of the singer highlights the risks that event managers face no matter how unlikely they may seem. Michael Jackson was due to perform in a series of shows at London’s O2 Arena in London, but their cancellation has left promoters liable for ticket refunds estimated at £30m.

Rob said: “It has been reported that only 40 per cent of the concerts were insured, and that is going to hit promoters hard. “It shows just how important it is to make sure any event that you are running is not just insured, but fully covered.” UK insurers will shell out an estimated £20,000,000 for the cancelled concerts. As well as Lloyds of London, other lesser-known insurers, who provided cover for promoters AEG live, also face big payouts.





Ready to face challenges IT is reported that outdoor events generally are going well but there have been a few high profile cancellations.

NOEA calendar 2009 September 22-23 EVENT UK Exhibition, NEC, Birmingham – NOEA Stand October 21-22 Showman’s Show, Newbury – NOEA Stand October 21 NOEA Local Authority Network Meeting, Showman’s Show (tbc) November Regional Conferences to be announced (Perth/Leeds) 2010 January The Event Show, London January Spotlight on Local Authorities Seminar (tbc) February 24-26 NOEA Convention & Tribute Celebration Evening – Venue to be confirmed February 25 NOEA Golf Day (Convention) – being considered March The Main Event Exhibition, Glasgow Other Conferences to include Teesside, Bath, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Channel Islands and Cornwall, (tbc) = all to be confirmed.

As always, the industry has responded well to the challenges of the changeable weather this summer. Over the last few years, the outdoor events industry has developed much more into the autumn and winter seasons and this has been very much reflected on what the association is trying to do for the benefit of its members.

The window of time to arrange the Annual Convention and Tribute Celebration Evening and the regional conferences (including AGM) have to be scheduled to suit the requirements of members – this too extends to the timing of the various trade shows supported by NOEA and its members. (See calendar of events). That window of time is quite limited and so we try very hard to organise events well in advance, but even that good principle does not always work out. However, the events industry is resilient and adapts very well

to changes and crises. And so as mentioned in the July edition, the Association (and its members) continue to be very busy both in the summer and the rest of the year, but we are ready to deal with the many challenges ahead. The next NOEA General Council meeting on August 19 is already gearing itself up to a very busy agenda and the possibility of introducing one or two special new services for the benefit of members – watch this space.

Partnership meeting discusses swine flu Business Visits and Events Partnership Meeting, London, 13th July 2009 NOEA is a pro-active member of the Partnership (BV&EP) along with many others including:  VisitBritain  VisitScotland  Eventia  ABPCO  ACE  EIF  EIA  UK Inbound  AEME  VisitLondon  MPI  CCE  MIA

 DCMS  NITB  HBAA  Also ISIS, EFAPCO and SITE are likely to join soon. Matters discussed included:  People’s First – Sector Skills Strategy. (,  Event Industry Panel – industry advisory panel ongoing progress – need to update mapping of events industry and to know number of event management courses etc, industry codes.  Event representation on Tourism Advisory Council  VisitBritain Confidence Monitor, VB strategy – vision to be launched

September 2009  Purple Guide (Event Safety Guide)  2012 Olympics – suppliers  All Party Parliament Event Industry Group  Tourism Alliance – all affiliated to that through BV & EP membership  Swine Flu – strong views on this – “press are writing for sake of it – not good for events – need to counteract scares” and ended with brief reports from members. Date of next meeting – beginning October – to be confirmed. Website:

Power company ‘always able to meet requirements’ POWER support company, Merlin Power Management, is providing event lighting company, ES Lighting Hire, with its ‘plug and play’ diesel generator solutions to power up lighting and visual effects at a range of events. Developed by Merlin’s technical team to make ‘on-site’ installation quicker and easier, the cables, plugs and sockets are all colour coded for foolproof installation. The ‘plug and play’ system enables the installation between Merlin’s generators, an AMF panel and the customer’s load to be carried out using only five plug/socket connections. ES Lighting Hire director Simon Dinsmore said: “We undertake lighting effects for a wide range of events from weddings to the Glastonbury

and Reading Festivals. “Merlin Power Management always provides us with a quick and reliable response which ensures that we are able to offer our customers a first rate service.” Available for three-phase generators from 30kVA – 110 kVA, Merlin’s ‘plug & play’ generator rental system ensures event management companies and exhibition organisers can get essential facilities up and running as quickly as possible. Simon added: “Merlin is always able to meet our requirements whether we need to hire its ‘plug and play’ generator rental system for a day or five weeks. Many larger companies we have worked with could learn from Merlin’s dedication to providing a customer focused service.”


Festival draws its biggest crowd yet A CROWD of 25,000 attended this year’s Wakestock – an event combining the sport of wakeboarding with a music festival. The festival – located in Abersoch, North Wales – was given a licence that increased its capacity by 5,000 and still sold out – attracting its largest crowd to date. Acts performing included Calvin Harris, The Twang and N*E*R*D and 10,000 festival fans also made use of the complimentary buses to pack out Pwllheli Marina and watch world champion

wakeboarders. Joint festival director Stuart Galbraith said: “I’m extremely pleased with the site layout, traffic management plan and schedule. Everything ran like clockwork. “There’s been a lot of scepticism about an over-crowded UK festival market, but we always thought there was room for expansion in specialist areas. Wakestock is the perfect example of that and it’s just a joy to combine wakeboarding and the some of the best acts in music in such a great setting.”

New festival location ‘faultless’ THE Bloom Festival’s new site has proved such a hit with the event’s organisers they have signed up to use it for the next three years. The event has moved about 20 miles from its original site at West Littleton Down to a new home, Chepstow Racecourse. And according to organisers, it is such a good location that they want the event to stay there. Organiser Olivia Chapman said: “This really has been a blessing in disguise. We’ve discovered that actually, Chepstow couldn’t be more perfect for Bloom 2009, it’s been a complete silver lining. Bloom is our heart and soul – it’s all about the people and we always strive to make it a superb, quality experience. The new location is faultless and we’re now even more excited about August’s festival.”

Capacity extended by a third A NEW festival celebrating the best of the 1980s has extended its capacity from 20,000 to 30,000 to meet demand for tickets. The 80s Rewind Festival takes place at Henley on Thames later this month and when it was launched in February, organisers expected 20,000 visitors over the weekend. But after a great response from the public, they have added more facilities to accommodate up to 30,000 visitors. Features at the festival will include a kidzone, a Pimms double decker bus and a comedy store and acts confirmed include Kim Wilde, Rick Astley and Bananarama.


The City of Manchester Stadium has a new member of staff – Neil Worcester. Neil has been appointed as catering and operations manager and is tasked with overseeing the catering and front of house operation on match and non match days. He said: “I decided to take the job at the City of

Manchester Stadium as it presented me with a challenge – the stadium is already renowned for its culinary offering and it is my job to make it even better. “Each season the quality of the food and the overall experience must be better than last season, so my immediate task will be to examine our current offer and improve on it.”

Professor takes on new role SAFETY and security expert professor Chris Kemp has taken on a new role at Buckinghamshire New University. He has been appointed as Pro Vice Chancellor – executive dean of the combined faculties of creativity and culture and enterprise and innovation. His previous roles have included working in sports and arts centre management and arts development, as well as the events promotion and management of over 3,000 events for organisations including the London Contemporary Dance Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Professor Kemp’s expertise include crowd and safety management, music and venue management, music genre classification and sports development. He is also on the Board of the Yourope Event Safety Group (YESG) He said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this new role and look forward to the challenges ahead with anticipation. This is a chance to work with colleagues to create an innovative and flexible approach to education which will put the University at the cutting edge of teaching and learning as well as industry partnership development and course delivery."

Chris Kemp



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The Main Event (Aug 09)  

The magazine for event organisers