Emma Hudson

Emma Hudson, Editor

LOLA Staffing celebrate 10 years with a name change


Temporary staffing suppliers LOLA Staffing announce a full rebrand for the 10th anniversary of the company.

The company, alongside the rebrand, have unveiled its name change to TempTribe. The change is said to represent an intention to retain a core focus as a specialist supplier to the hospitality and events industry.

The business intends to use its developing technology to better connect workers with each other, ensuring the best hospitality staff are motivated to remain on the platform.

“We strongly believe that by enabling better horizontal relationships within our community we can create vastly improved outcomes for all of our stakeholders,” said recruitment director Tom Boyesen-Corballis.

The company provides to work to thousands of active temporary staff who are free to manage their own working week through an online portal and app.

Duncan Mitchell, founder of LOLA and TempTribe said: “I am delighted to announce that LOLA has now rebranded as TempTribe. We had a wonderful ten, memorable years under the LOLA brand but we’re excited by this big change.”

“We are an established business in the hospitality industry and we are confident that our brand evolution coupled with our ongoing systems development will provide increasingly positive experiences for everyone,” added Mitchell.

Tech it Out: Exploring Cvent’s Crowd Compass app

Tech it Out pays a visit to Cvent’s London office to learn more about the Crowd Compass mobile application and how event technology is fare more simple than a lot of people realise.

Nick Tinker, Business Development Manager at Cvent, takes Martin Fullard through the app’s functions. If you would like to feature in an episode of Tech it Out, contact Simon Farnfield on sfarnfield@mashmedia.net

Kent Event Centre celebrate 25 years of Kent Garden Show

The Kent Event Centre is set to host the silver anniversary of the Kent Garden Show.

The Kent Garden Show will take place 27–29 May. The event has seen an increase of more than 300 per cent, with over 27,000 attendees expected to make it to the three-day show. Attendees will be able to interact with 300 exhibitors offering nurseries, garden furniture, water features and garden sheds.

“The Kent Event Centre is the perfect venue to host the Kent Garden Show and year after year helps the team deliver an excellent event,” said Will Chesson, show organiser at Kent Garden Show.

”It is amazing that we have been coming to the venue for 25 years and highlights what a quality venue the Kent Event Centre is, delivering excellent customer service and offering versatile spaces that allow us to create the perfect event for all our attendees to enjoy. We look forward to working with the Kent Event Centre team for many years to come,” Chesson added.

The show will also feature a floral marquee with displays including medal winners from the Chelsea Flower Show.

Alison Wallington, event centre manager at Kent Event Centre commented: “It is such a special occasion to welcome the Kent Garden Show back to the venue for the 25th year. We have been working alongside the Show since it first began so it is amazing to see how much it has grown and evolved over that period, welcoming 27,000 attendees across three days is truly incredible. It is always a pleasure working with the team at the Garden Show and we look forward to continuing to support the event as it grows.”


Across the universe

Nerdy and proud, bluedot and its organisers From the Fields look to the stars as they prepare for year two

On 14 February 1990, as it flew through the outermost fringes of our solar system, the Voyager 1 spacecraft turned for one last look homeward.

About four billion miles away from Earth, the spacecraft captured an image of our planet—appearing in the photograph as a tiny blue dot—that shattered any lingering perception that the human race was the centre of the universe.

“Look again at that dot,” wrote American astronomer Carl Sagan, who had suggested that Voyager 1’s NASA operators instruct the probe to take the photo. “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.

“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.”

Those words, written in 1994, are more relevant today than ever. So much so that they inspired one of the most genuinely original festivals to launch in the past few years: bluedot.

For those who spent the last festival season under a rock, bluedot entered the landscape with a mission: ‘To inspire and entertain. To explore the frontiers of human advancement. To celebrate science and the exploration of the universe. To explore the intersections of science, culture, art and technology. To highlight the fragility of planet Earth’.

BlueDot_Saturday_JodyHartley-120The immediately iconic festival has more than just a clearly defined mission, though. It also happens to be staged on probably one of the best festival sites ever: Jodrell Bank, with the Lovell Telescope looming large over the 12,000 attendees.

From the Fields, the organisers behind Kendal Calling, are the event geniuses behind bluedot. They got the idea, From the Fields’ Jamie Smith tells Access, over the course of six years working on the Jodrell Bank site putting on the Live from Jodrell Bank concert series.

“2017 is in effect our sixth year working at Jodrell Bank,” he says. “I think from the first event there with the Flaming Lips in 2010, a seed was planted that we could expand on this format and make it into a three-day event that encapsulated all of the science, culture and arts aspects into one.”

Although they had experience on the site, as the team prepared in 2016 to launch bluedot, they realised that it was bigger than anything they had ever worked on.

“It was interesting,” Smith laughs. “We couldn’t go at bluedot in a small way in its first year and build towards what we eventually had; we had to go the whole hog and do it right, with a full bill of 300 scientists, talkers and thinkers, as well as the musical side as well.

“With a music festival, you can dip your toe in a few different genres of music and have a few stages, and then each year you grow a bit more and you add another stage. But this had to be the whole package right out the gate. It was quite a challenge—especially as we managed to put Kendal Calling and bluedot on back to back.”

From the Fields enlisted festival production company Ground Control to help them make bluedot a reality. Being familiar with the site, working with a trusted company to produce the event and just a bit of luck for good measure all made the festival a smash success.

It’s a success that must also be credited to From the Fields’ relationship with the Jodrell Bank team, which stretches back to when they first came up with the idea for the Live from Jodrell Bank series.

“You stick your head out of the tent and this giant telescope with artwork is there”
—Jamie Smith

“We thought the Jodrell Bank site would be a good venue to have some music on, so we talked to a few people about it who all just laughed and said no way,” Smith remembers. “We went to ask Jodrell Bank the question anyway, and they said yes. It was as simple as that.”

When the team decided to go ahead with bluedot, essentially an expanded, three-day version of the Live from series, that six-year relationship came in handy, lending credibility to the bluedot programme.

“The two key people at Jodrell Bank are Tim O’Brien and Teresa Anderson, who are both heavily involved,” says Smith. “They do all the programming for the science side of things; they come to a lot of the meetings and they’re interested in the music and arts side. It’s great for us, because they want to help and make sure that everything works.

“Having bluedot on the Jodrell Bank site also gives the festival genuine credibility: to be there rather than just doing a science festival in a field. It would still be a great event no matter where it was, but Jodrell adds that x factor; it’s a fantastic venue.”

The looming Lovell Telescope gave the organisers an obvious point to revolve the festival around. Much like our solar system circles the Sun, bluedot expanded from the awesome telescope at its site centre.

“It makes a great centrepiece every night as an art installation that was a commissioned piece by Brian Eno,” says Smith. “It was an ever-evolving piece of artwork, so no two things turned up twice. It was very cool to wake up in the morning when it was still just about dark; you’d stick your head out of the tent and this giant telescope with artwork was there. It was wonderful.”

The telescope, with its projection mapping by longtime Jodrell Bank collaborators Bluman Associates, is not just there to look pretty. It puts the scientific talks in perspective, and also inspires the musicians, band and artists to push themselves further for their sets.

One such band is 2017 headliners Orbital, who Smith tells Access will be doing something this summer that truly brings bluedot full circle.

“This year, Orbital are going to utilise the telescope, which we normally use for projections, but they also want to beam their set into space in real-time, so they’re playing for anyone that may or may not be listening up there. They’re also keen on doing a Doctor Who special that they’ve not done before and won’t be doing again, purely because of the venue.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have the Lovell Telescope there, because it automatically offers something amazing that you won’t see anywhere else. You walk on-site and the telescope is vast and awe-inspiring. Artists come down for a site visit maybe thinking it’s just another show, but once they see it, they are blown away. They’ll come back with some amazing piece of artwork or ideas for the telescope. They’re doing new things that they wouldn’t necessarily do anywhere else.”

“The only home we’ve ever known”

It feels strange that in 2017 we should be celebrating an outward looking vision and a commitment to hearing from experts—but here we are.

There is something quietly revolutionary, and slyly political, about bluedot’s mission to ‘cultivate a unifying celebration for citizens of the world’.

Access wonders to Smith if he feels bluedot has inadvertently launched in a time where it couldn’t fit into the cultural zeitgeist more perfectly.

“I think so. Our mission was always clear from the name and being inspired by Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’. Looking out was the idea. I do think that is more relevant now than ever, to push the realisation of how small our planet is and the vastness of space. It really opens people’s minds. With the last couple of years, people are paying more attention to this sort of thing, and I think it’s a good platform for the science and the arts.You_are_here

“It all started with that very first Live from Jodrell Bank show—we realised we had an audience for something like this when we had a crowd of a few thousand people in 2011 all chanting, ‘Science! Science! Science!’”

It seems incredibly necessary, revolutionary even, that—in the age of post-truth, alternative facts and Michael Gove’s ‘The British people have had enough of experts’—a festival could celebrate so joyously its nerdy roots, aiming to educate and inspire rather than terrify and bully.

“We want people going away from the event with the thirst to want to know more,” Smith says. “Having learned things over the weekend, going away from that with the quest for discovery. There’s a lot of stuff going on with science and the arts, and bluedot gives those areas a platform to shine, and hopefully people take a bit of that away with them and go even further.”

Ultimately, it all seems to swing back round to that Sagan essay and the photograph of Earth from Voyager 1, a tiny blue dot in a vast ocean of space and time:

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Access mentions this to Smith as our conversation is coming to an end; he responds with an anecdote.

“Last year on the Sunday night, Caribou were on stage, and they were playing their track ‘Mars’. We were stood there watching them, and just to the right of the stage was a little red dot in the sky. We called Tim O’Brien over and asked if it was Mars and he said, ‘Yes, it is’. That was it for me, something that will never be recreated: watching Caribou play ‘Mars’ and looking up at Mars.”

The little red dot from the pale blue dot, Access says.

“Exactly! We were looking from the other side.”


This feature originally appeared in the March issue of Access All Areas, out now.

Isle of Wight Festival acquired by Live Nation

Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in the Isle of Wight Festival.

IQ reported today (17 March) that John Giddings’ festival has joined Live Nation’s portfolio of 85+ music festivals around the world. The acquisition was reportedly made through LN-Gaiety, Live Nation’s joint venture with Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments.

Isle of Wight Festival is Live Nation’s sixth acquisition in 2017 alone.

Live Nation UK chairman Desmond told IQ: “John Giddings and the Solo team have developed the Isle of Wight Festival to be one of the most iconic festival brands in the world. It’s fantastic to be able to add it to our growing and diverse portfolio of festivals.”

Giddings revived Isle of Wight in 2002; he will continue to run the festival alongside Live Nation.

Giddings commented: “After 15 hugely successful and glorious years, we have been looking at how we can elevate and take Isle of Wight Festival to the next level. This partnership with Live Nation will give us the ability to access the company’s scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK.”

GES acquires ‘game-changing’ Poken

GES has announced the acquisition of cloud-based event management platform, Poken for an undisclosed sum.

Poken joins the N200|GES event intelligence team, and the company will retain the product name Poken 360°.

Poken founder and CEO Stéphane Doutriaux and the global Poken team will join the global full-service provider for live events, with offices in New York City, London, and Lausanne, Switzerland. 

“This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to being the preferred global live events partner offering the most comprehensive breadth of technology and services,“ said GES president Steve Moster. “We know our clients want engagement and concrete metrics from their events. They will benefit from the technology and insight capabilities that Poken and our existing Visit solution offer together.”

Poken brings together digital and physical event spaces to drive engagement and gain better insight through real data. The Poken 360° platform offers an ecosystem of technology tools that enhance event engagement through smart badges, and digital document collection through its patented ‘Touch and Glow’ technology, visitor-to-visitor engagement, gamification, and full metrics reporting. 

“The addition of Poken is a game-changer in providing a truly intelligent event for organisers, exhibitors, brands, and attendees,” added GES EVP of International, Jason Popp. “The extensive features and services offered by Poken create and drive engagement and are a natural complement to GES’ core live event services and robust technologies. Poken has an extremely talented and enthusiastic work force and we are happy to welcome them to our team.“ 

GES and Poken already work closely through a strategic partnership, providing clients with measurable technology solutions for event registration and visitor engagement. N200|GES and Poken are currently integrated with plans to develop deeper integration with even greater customer benefits. 

“We have always enjoyed working with the N200|GES team,” said Doutriaux. “This acquisition demonstrates their commitment to being the world leader in event technology, and especially to the importance of measurement and data intelligence. Together, we intend to pursue an aggressive strategy to bring about a truly measurable and connected event. ”  

The Poken suite of products and services can still be purchased on a stand-alone basis or as an integrated suite with GES’ other registration products and services.

Marquees fit for #HeForShe

In a guest blog, The Arabian Tent Company tells Access why it’s important to foster gender equality in its workforce, and how they’ve embraced #HeForShe

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a marquee that has been hired for a wedding must be in need of an erection specialist to set it up.

But, unusually, it won’t just be a crew of lads that arrive with sledge-hammers, tool-belts and string vests to set up The Arabian Tent Company’s range of tents, themed interiors, props and furniture—instead, you’ll find a perfectly balanced group of both men and women who have been basking in gender equality for years.

These creations require brawn, brains and technological and creative flair to conjure up magical wonderlands in venues that range from gardens in the home counties to fields in the Scottish highlands.

As team leader and one of ATC’s female crew members, Lushka Mengham says: “It’s kind of like a removals, event production, and interior design job all rolled into one.”

Skills required include physical strength and stamina during long days on the road, knowledge of building, roofing, flooring and general construction techniques, electrical know-how, the ability to work in a hard-working team, problem solving and an eye for the detail and style of the furniture, draping, ornaments and accessories that all go into creating ATC’s interiors. Not to the mention the people skills required to soothe the jangling nerves of the bride’s mum.

“I was very much a tomboy when I was a kid, climbing trees, BMX biking, that sort of thing,” says Katherine Hudson, ATC’s founder. “So when I bought my first old Pakistani marquee, it never even crossed my mind that it wasn’t going to be me setting it up. And it’s been exactly the same with every other element of the business—driving vans, packing trucks, lifting heavy weights, whatever needs to be done. If I can do it, then so can other women too.”

“Having both men and women on a team creates a great team spirit and we’re all very upbeat people” –Leah Tomas

In the past almost all construction jobs were part of a closed, men-only world. Not anymore. Around half of ATC’s rigging crew are women and an integral part of the team, and the men on the crew are delighted to have the women involved.

“It’s the fact that all our girls are equal to the men that matters,” says operations manager Jennie Stogden. “So the guys respect the fact that they are perfectly capable of doing exactly the same job as them.”

Stogden has been pushing aside the boundaries of stereotypical roles all her working life, with a degree in stage management that often took her to the main stages of music festivals.

“I’ve never had an issue working in a boy’s environment,” she says. “Anyway, it’s not really down to gender; it’s the temperament of the people themselves, not whether you’re a boy or a girl that matters. In this job you just need to be a practical hard-worker and they come in both blue and pink flavour!”

“I find that women discuss more beforehand about the method of doing a job,” adds Hudson. “Women want to be involved more in the decision-making process. I also think women can be just as strong as men if they use their strength with a bit of thought—if they lift properly and work out the best methods for doing things.”

But are there any differences in the way women and men go about the job?

“Although everyone is different, women can be more perfectionist with finishing touches and tend to be more lateral thinkers,” says Stogden. “But at the same time, they can quite often get distracted by discussing in-depth the best way to do something, whereas what is often quite handy with the men is that they single-mindedly just get on and get the job done. However, girls are very good at putting clients at their ease. Two of our women are team leaders, Grace and Lushka. They’re both incredibly good at reassuring nervous clients. Mothers of the bride are very good at winding themselves up into a tizzy and our female team leaders are very cool, as well as being very physically fit.”

5. Sasha with sack truck“Our clients on wedding jobs are often women and I think they like to see women in the crew,” agrees Leah Thomas, electrician and HGV driver for ATC. “It’s very reassuring for them as they often feel we have a shared sense of style and an eye for detail. That’s not to say the boys don’t have that too, because they do; it’s just a perception thing more than anything else, but it certainly helps. Women can also bring a sense of calmness to the team. Some days get quite emotional but it’s best to have a hug rather than an argument with someone. Having both men and women on a team helps create a great team spirit and we’re all very upbeat people.”

So what’s the final score? Is it three cheers for the girls and two cheers for the boys? Let Mengham have the last word:

“I’ve thought hard about this and it’s my personal opinion that there is no desirable or undesirable trait that isn’t demonstrated by both sexes, be that height, strength, attitude, graft, technique or initiative. As long as you care then you’re gold.”

To find out more about The Arabian Tent Company, visit arabiantents.com.

Midas invests in LiveLink monitor

Temporary power specialist Midas has introduced LiveLink to the company’s latest generators.

LiveLink, the unique monitoring system from JCB, lets Midas remotely watch and address its machines’ performance, efficiency and security.

This is the first time a major manufacturer has got involved to make a monitoring system the new reality for temporary power, and is already mooted as an exciting new progressive sustainability solution.

The system provides real time and historic analytics through the Vodafone emergency services network, which has 99 per cent coverage across the UK and offshore. LiveLink measures every element of a machine’s performance and how it’s being run, unaffected by the biodiesel/red diesel cost equation.


Trend charts from the Generator Performance Report

The accompanying security package keeps Midas informed when its machines are out for hire, as well as how they are being treated on the job.

“You don’t have to rely on the client for information anymore,” said Midas’ managing director Dave Noble. “With LiveLink, we know more about the machine than the person using it. The graphs tell us how the machine is being run. The object is to get the pie chart as green and yellow as possible by drilling down into the dynamics. LiveLink means we can watch the kit at all times, give advice about any impending problems and optimise performance. It’s a massive step forward.”

pictured: Midas managing director Dave Noble

GALLERY: Winners announced at EPAs

The live and outdoor events industry celebrated well into the night last week at the Event Production Awards, cheering on a host of well-deserved winners.

The Ticket Factory, Ascot Structures, Quantum Special Effects, The Loop and Continental Drifts were among the night’s winners.

Arena Group ended up as the biggest winners at the ceremony, with its company Arena Structures collecting the Access All Areas Editor’s Award. Dave Withey, Arena UK & Europe sales and marketing director, also took home the inaugural Industry Legend Award, recognising his 40 years working in the events industry.

“It was such a surprise to be honoured with this award,” Withey said. “My thanks have to go out to my wonderful colleagues at Arena that I’ve worked with over the years, in particular Jill Mowat who has put up with me for over half of that time, as well as the many peers and friends that I have had the pleasure of collaborating with across the events industry.”

A Special Recognition Award was also created for 2017, to bring attention to the organisers behind charity event The Flying Seagull Project. Ash Perrin, Ed Harcourt, Melody Kennett, Neil Kennett, Faye Toner, Paul Luxford, Iain Rayner, Jim Carey Connell and Steve Wynne collected the award.

Duncan Siegle, the Event Production Awards’ event director and publishing director of Access publisher Mash Media, commented: “Everyone had a fantastic evening at this year’s Event Production Awards. We couldn’t have asked for more deserving winners, picked by our esteemed and diverse panel of judges.

“The addition of the Industry Legend Award given to Dave Withey, coupled with our Special Recognition Award to The Flying Seagull Project, made for an incredible night of celebrations. Congratulations to all the winners, and roll on 2018!”

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See the full list of winners below.

Best Audio Visual Supplier

Best Crewing Company

Best Fencing/Crowd Barrier Company
Entertee Hire Services Ltd

Best Security Company
Security Force Management Ltd

Best Staging Supplier
Acorn Event Structures

Best Technology Provider
Nicomon Event mApp

Best Temporary Power Supplier
Pearce Hire

Best Ticketing Company
The Ticket Factory

Best Toilets
A1 Loo Hire

Best Trackway Supplier
Eco Track & Access

Best Structure Supplier
Ascot Structures

Green Supplier of the Year
Power Logistics

Best Welfare Supplier
The Loop

Best Visual Spectacular
Quantum Special Effects

Brand Activation of the Year
Circle Agency — Playstation The Future of Play Tour

Production Team of the Year
Continental Drifts

Access All Areas Editor’s Award
Arena Structures