Murielle Gonzalez

Online Content Editor

Retro Rendezvous returns renovated

Retro Rendezvous, the Lake District vintage festival, has confirmed dates and events for 2018.

The weekend-long extravaganza of all things vintage will take place on 13-15 July in the centre of Ulverston, the South Lakes market town dubbed as ‘Cumbria’s ‘Festival Town’.

The event originally started with Velo Retro, a vintage cycling fair founded by Alan and Alison Brenton five years ago. The organisers realised that it needed a broader appeal and so they developed Retro Rendezvous by incorporating other events.

“Fron the outset we approached a number of other local groups, and so the festival grew from there,” he said.

A family-friendly event, Retro Rendezvous now comprises Velo Retro and Ulverston Live Music. The event also features food stalls, retro markets, outdoor gin bars, a cinema showing vintage classics, live music, classic car and motorbike displays.

“Ulverston Live Music was created many years ago to showcase national and international touring acts in Ulverston,” Brenton explained. The events team organises a monthly gig for 10 months of the year and a couple of annual showcase events at the town’s Coronation Hall venue to fund the programme.

Brenton said Ulverston is now a hotbed of live music from all genres and that Velo Retro continues to be a retro cycling event ranging from the steady to the very challenging – all of which have to be completed on bikes at least 30 years old and of course in period kit.

Also from the onset, the organisers have tried to square the circle of providing an event which is largely free, while accepting that grant funding is becoming increasingly difficult to access. “The event is largely dependent on selling market stall space and sponsorship primarily from a number of small, local businesses,” Brenton commented.

New features

Velo Retro 2018 will take place between 13-15 July featuring the Le Loafeur, a smooth ride bike which is a 47km loop of Coniston Water. targeting intermediate riders is the À L’ancienne Classic at 84km along Coniston Water, Windermere, Esthwaite Water, and Wray Castle and checkpoint at the Sir John Barrow Monument in Ulverston.

The Great Western is a new event for this year. It has been designed to add a country adventure challenge to the event. The ride comprises 123km featuring Kiln Bank Cross, Wrynose Pass, Hawkshead Hill and Grizedale Moor Top in one loop. The ride replaces The Mighty Corinthian, a 300km event that is set to return in 2019.

Brenton told Access that primary venues in Ulverston Live Music include:

  • The Roxy Cinema: retro film, music and cocktails night
  • The Coronation Hall as a music venue
  • Monk Coniston House and Wray Castle supporting Velo Retro

Retro rendezvous

“The event is very organic; we welcome new providers into the space, so there will be masses of small events in pubs, shops, restaurants etc in support of the festival…right up to ‘Bluegrass at the Bike Shop….which is exactly what it says on the tin!” Brenton commented.

Growing audience

Attendance at Retro Rendezvous has been on an upward trend. “[We have seen] steady growth up to 2016 (Saturday is always busier). 2017 featured biblical rain on Saturday so we had a dip. The estimate for 2018 is IRO 5,000 visitors,” Brenton said.

Commenting on the production stage, Brenton told Access that key elements are now in the confirmation stage. “We are still working on new elements as we seek to develop the event and in particular the attraction to families each year.”

Brenton said the calendar and street space are the main challenges for putting on the event each year. In 2018 Retro Rendezvous is sharing the town with the Furness Traditional Music Festival, simply due to the way in which the calendar falls for 2018.

“This is good for visitors as it gives more activity and variety, it does, however, create space and logistical challenges. We are considering moving the whole event under canvas at Ford Park in Ulverston from 2019 to avoid this clash,” he revealed.

Just So Festival reveals new experiences

Just So Festival

Entrance to Just So. Credit TenEight

Just So, the family arts festival, produced by Wild Rumpus, has started to reveal its programme of artists, performers and new areas for families to adventure through in 2018.

Now in its 9th year, Just So is dedicated solely to children and their families, offering arts and unique experiences.

The programme

Some of the new additions are:

  • Playground of Illusions, a new area full of mystery and trickery from Travelling Light Circus to see the world in a new light in this hypnotic fusion of science and art.  
  • Roll Up, Roll Up will be a large-scale, lakeside area, dedicated to all things circus and seaside. In this most spectacular and flamboyant area of Just So, expect tumblers, somersaults and aerial mastery from the best performers in the land including spectacular high wire show Equilibrius and tightrope workshops from The Bullzini Family.
  • The Flamingo Lounge is a new area filled to the brim with all things dance and tripping the light fantastic.
  • Idlewood area to enjoy family yoga, tai chi, Indian head massage, and reiki. The area also considers live music and performance together including Canopy of Stars performed in the trees from Whispering Woods.
  • Ministry of Games for the ultimate board games experience.

Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird, directors of Wild Rumpus, set up Just So Festival in 2009 to create a spellbinding weekend where families could step out of their day to day lives, be immersed in incredible stories and moments of wonder together, and experience world-class, breathtaking outdoor arts.

Just So 2017

Pillow fight Just So 2017. Credit Chris Payne

“We hunt high and low throughout the UK and beyond to find the very best performers and artists who we think can bring the festival to life. We love incorporating Just So traditions with new and exciting ground-breaking outdoor arts which we hope will create the most incredible memories. So roll on 2018 and in the words of the great Maurice Sendak ‘Let’s make mischief of one kind or another’,” the organisers said.

Commenting on the partners behind the event, Festival director Sarah Bird, added: “We’re delighted to continue our relationship with Without Walls – a consortium of UK festivals commissioning and touring extraordinary outdoor arts as well as the Northern Festivals Network ensuring high-quality programming for families at greenfield festivals in the North of England.”

Wild Rumpus manages the Northern Festivals Network. Awarded Arts Council Strategic Touring Funding until the end of 2018, the network will continue to ensure high-quality family arts events at greenfield festivals across the North of England.

Member Festivals include Cloudspotting, Festival Number 6, Just So, Blue Dot, Kendal Calling, Head For The Hills Festival and Underneath The Stars.

Fire safety checklist

Carrying out a fire risk assessment is the best way of ensuring a venue is fire-safe and prepared for an emergency. It’s also a legal requirement, regardless of whether it’s a purpose-built event space, an organised event in the outdoors, or a temporary marquee hosting an event.

Failure to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 could result in a fine or imprisonment, but can also put lives and livelihoods at unnecessary risk. Stuart Collyer of Fire Protection Online shares tips of the trade.

Event organiser have two choices. Either carry this out within the company or hire a professional risk assessor for peace of mind.

Spot the hazards
The first step is to look around the venue and make a note of potential fire risks – these will be things that can burn and the things that could start a fire – and then make sure they are kept separate as much as possible.

For example, this would mean keeping heaters and generators away from cardboard and fabric, smoking areas away from rubbish, and cooking equipment away from alcohol and cleaning products.

Think who’s at risk
At an event, the people who are going to be affected by a fire are those attending, or the staff, volunteers and contractors working the event. And for those with mobility issues or needing help making their escape, special provisions may need to be put in place.

Additionally, think about the number of people who can attend the event. The maximum number of people is determined by the number, location and size of the emergency exits.

Each exit with a width of 1.05 metres will accommodate up to 160 people, an exit width of 1.65m allows up to 240 people, and a width of 1.95m allows up to 320 people through each door.

Evaluate and act
When you know the risks, you can then put measures in place to reduce them.

Indoors, a fire alarm system will detect then alert you to threats, being mindful that heat detectors will reduce the risk of false alarms. Outside, and in temporary venues, fire bells, megaphones and air horns will raise the alarm.

It’s vital to have fire extinguishers too. One water-based extinguisher (water or foam) of three litres or more will cover 200 square metres of floor space. Although for specific threats, such as flammable liquids and electrical equipment, the appropriate fire extinguisher will need to be kept close to the hazard.

Make a plan
What should everyone do in an emergency? Now is when you clearly state the best emergency exit routes, where the assembly point is, and who calls the fire brigade.

Plus, the number of attendants on duty also restricts the number of people who can attend, and these people need to have received fire wardens’ training so they can act correctly and calmly in an emergency.

It’s recommended by the fire service to review a fire risk assessment annually, and it also needs to be kept up to date with any changes in operations or layout of the venue.

Bricklive signs Brazil deal and raises £1.6m

Live Company Group (LVCG) has announced that Bricklive International Limited (BLI), a subsidiary of the newly acquired BRICKLIVE Group Limited, has entered into a six-year contract with Universal Entretenimento e Produções LTDA (UEP) for Bricklive events in Brazil.

The contract provides for a guaranteed 30 events every 15 months, increasing the number of contracted BRICKLIVE events in 2018 to approximately 60 – twice the number of shows previously contracted for the year.

LVCG’s executive chairman David Ciclitira, said: “To start 2018 with such a significant increase in contracted events speaks volumes for the success of the Bricklive brand. Having had such a successful start to the year, I look forward to continued growth in 2018, especially in our expanded emerging markets. We are delighted to welcome our new institutional and other investors to the register, including Miton Group plc.”

Bricklive events are deemed leading network of partner-driven shows which are designed to showcase the benefits of LEGO as an educational tool worldwide.

Under the agreement, UEP will organise, promote and stage each Bricklive event, while BLI will source and provide the content.

BLI will receive license fees with the potential for further revenues through merchandising and additional content income.

Further investment

LVCG has also announced that it has raised £1.6 million (gross) through an oversubscribed private placing by Shard Capital Partners LLP of 4,571,425 new ordinary shares of 1p each in the company at a price of 35p per new share. The move would allow supporting the continued expansion of Bricklive’s increased network in South America and Asia.

The new shares rank pari passu with the company’s existing issued shares and are being issued under the company’s existing share authorities.

The placing price represents a discount of 18 per cent. to the closing price on 5 January 2018 and a premium of 17 per cent. to the price of the company’s placing completed in December 2017. Dealings on AIM are expected to commence on 15 January 2018.

LVCG has also appointed Shard Capital Partners LLP as its joint broker alongside existing broker and nominated adviser Stockdale Securities Limited.

Epson taps into live events with laser projectors

Epson has seen unprecedented growth in laser projector sales during the last year. Charlotte Hone, business manager Pro Displays at Epson Europe, told Access that between August 2015 and August 2017 its share within the installation market has more than doubled growing by 13.5 per cent.

The Japan-based manufacturer has been tapping into the live events market with the launch of high brightness laser projectors, such as the flagship EB-L25000U.

Charlotte Hone

“We have also recently launched a range of 15,000 lumen laser projectors, the EB-L1700U series. All deliver increased brightness, a robust chassis and intuitive features for demanding live productions and large venue applications; making them ideal for the events industry,” Hone said.

Since the launch Epson has seen major investments from leading rental partners across EMEA, helping the brand to establish a significant market share in the installation projector market.

“Although we are relatively new to the rental market, we have seen the likes of PSCo, MCL Create, Stage Sound Services, Big Purple as well as Universal Pixels making substantial capital investments in Epson’s laser projection ranges,” Hone said.

These customers, she added, have put Epson projectors to the ultimate test, using them for many high profile and demanding live events. Hone said Epson will continue to invest in projection technology to exceed the needs of the market, reinforcing our commitment to stay at the forefront of the projector market.

Good business

UK-based Universal Pixels purchased a range of laser projectors for use in some of the world’s largest music tours. The rental and video production staging specialist added Epson’s laser projectors to its product portfolio in September 2017, when it chose the EB-L25000U laser projectors for use as part of the staging for Radiohead’s world tour, Moon Shaped Pool, which included a headline performance at Glastonbury 2017 at the end of June.

EB-L25000U laser projector

From large-scale laser shows to custom stage projections, the projectors will be used on tour with the likes of James Blunt, Radiohead, Chris Rea and Rick Astley.

The decision to purchase the equipment was a bold move by Universal Pixel as the company established in 2017 as a bespoke video solution for the entertainment industry.

Oliver Luff, director at Universal Pixels, commented: “It was a no-brainer to invest in the kit. We were in a position, where, due to a healthy pipeline of projects, this investment made a lot of sense. Being one of the first to market with a viable 25,000 lumen product, Epson was the logical choice.”

Luff said that the company has secured a succession of global tour dates that require efficient load-in and load-out so they needed reliable projectors that its staff could install quickly and easily and that could also withstand the most demanding of locations.

“The ability of Epson’s projectors to adapt to different light and environmental challenges, plus the ease and speed of installation has been critical in this success. Looking to the future, we want to deliver projections in 4K and are confident that Epson will help us do so.”

Laser projection

Epson has been expanding its projector line-up in recent years. Hone told Access that in the past 12 months the brand has launched the world’s first 25,000 lumens 3LCD laser projector alongside two new 15,000 lumen laser projectors which provide the ability to remotely capture an image using the inbuilt camera.

The feature, Hone said, offers a great tool for those managing projectors at a single venue or across multiple sites. “The camera aids with diagnosis as it can control and monitor the status of the projector via a web based remote management browser, without needing an AV team to be onsite.

Epson has also been tapping into the entertainment market with the introduction of new resolutions, including the EB-L1715S a 15,000 lumens SXGA+ laser projector. The product features a 4:3 aspect ratio and high brightness.

In December 2017, epson debuted a new ultra-short-throw zero offset lens, designed to be used with its 12,000 and 15,000 lumens laser projectors and capable of delivering up to 1,000-inch images.

“Due to the increased demand for laser projector solutions we are anticipating further growth,” Hone told Access. “We also expect to see customers transitioning from traditional lamp solutions to laser over the years to come, due to several reasons including high picture quality, lower cost of ownership and longer warranties.”

Phil Mercer

Hone said customers tend to favour laser for installations where the projector is installed at height or in demanding environments, particularly scenarios such as live events where the projectors are being used for prolonged periods of time.

Commenting on the trend, Phil Mercer of Universal Pixel said: “The transition from lamp-based projectors to laser-based projectors will be a problem for all of the companies with large lamp-based fleets. The move to 4K will also be a challenge from not only a projector side, but also with distribution, payback and media management as we’re starting to see a demand for HDR support.”

Epson said the sales pipeline of laser projectors is strong and growing rapidly. “We’re working to fulfil several major projects in the live event industry, so we expect to see a strong upward curve,” Hone concluded.


Independent Venue Week announces birthday celebration

Nadine Shah, ambassador of IVW 2018

Independent Venue Week (IVW) is back for 2018. This year’s outing (29 January to 4 February) marks its fifth birthday and the organiser has announced that more venues and more ambassadors have joined.

IVW started with just 17 venues in 2014, and now there are 160 venues already signed-up to stage shows between Monday 29 January and Sunday 4 February 2018.

As part of the week-long showcase of the UK’s independent venues, the organiser has also invited five ambassadors – rather than the usual one – to champion the cause. South Tyneside singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, who released her third full-length record, Holiday Destination, to critical acclaim earlier in 2017, and Portishead multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Adrian Utley have been announced with the remaining three ambassadors set to be named shortly.

Commenting on the appointment, Shah said: “Don’t get me wrong I’m all for a fancy sit down gig in some elaborate venue but I’ll take a sweat fest in some small dive any day of the week. Being so close to a stage and properly submerging yourself in a show is hard to top.”

Shah continued: “It gives me a proper thrill to have the audience so close, they don’t miss a trick so I have to pull my finger out and really up my game. Do yourself a favour and get yourself down to an independent venue to watch artists you’ve never heard of before, you can be that smug arsehole who says ‘I saw them first’.”

Despite playing some of the world’s biggest venues and festivals with Portishead, Utley told IVW that independent venues remain close to his heart.

“I love smaller venues. They are where I started and vital for learning how to do it all really,” he said. “Sweaty and usually a good sound, it can be really nerve-wracking being so close to other humans but also it feels like a shared experience. Some music only suits small spaces… it’s so cool to see music that isn’t amplified at all and you can sit close and hear.”

Both Nadine Shah and Adrian Utley will be curating shows during IVW 18, which will be announced in due course.

Live event industry

IVW said that a real mix of venues have signed on to host shows during the week, ranging from halls in big cities to those in small towns and village that provide the heartbeat for their local scenes. “A great example of the blend of venues involved can be seen just within Halifax, which is not only the home of the smallest to take part, Grayston Unity, but also our youngest, namely the recently opened The Lantern.”

Some stern supporters of IVW 2018 are BBC Music as an official partner.

“Independent Venues Week shines a light on the UK’s grassroots venues and the work they do to unite artists and music fans across the country. We are proud to be an official IVW partner this year,” said Rachel Davies, commissioning executive for BBC Music.

IVW said that part of the BBC’s coverage will include BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, on the road for a third consecutive year, to broadcast his daily show live from a host of independent venues around the UK.

The event will also work with over 65 promoters from around the country to stage IVW 18, while Marshall Records – the record label of the legendary British amplifier company – has also teamed up with IVW. As part of the agreement, the company will be touring some of its new artists during the week.

IVW is also backed, once again, by Arts Council England alongside Creative Scotland and Arts Council Wales.

“For the fourth year running, Arts Council England is really proud to support Independent Venue Week with a National Lottery Good Causes, Grants for the Arts award,” said Ben Lane, National Music Lead Arts Council England.

Lane added: “With over 160 venues taking part this year the fifth anniversary event really resonates with our mission of Great Art For Everyone with events of almost every genre taking part. This year marks a step change in the ambition of the project with specially curated tours, commissions, and collaborations highlighting the remarkable diversity of this passionate sector. We look forward to a week celebrating the exceptional hard work these vital spaces hold for both communities and talent across the country.”

Key partners

Returning for a fifth consecutive year are founding industry partners PRS For Music, and it will once again be hosting panels for the artist community with the Musicians Union.

Leading independent music charity Help Musicians UK has renewed its partnering with IVW and is set to curate a number of shows around the country.

Attitude Is Everything also returns in 2018 and will be promoting its Grassroots Charter and DIY Access Guide during IVW, Stay Up Late are back to showcase their Gig Buddy scheme.

The Joe Strummer Foundation are also supporting the week will be presenting Strummerville-On-Sea, a special show to be held at local venue The Brass Monkey in the seaside town of Hastings, East Sussex. Arrows Of Love, Bloody Knees, Yowl, Lice and Heavy Lungs are some of the acts in the bill.

The Joe Strummer Foundation said it will keep door prices to a minimum and pay all acts as well as raising much-needed funds and awareness for the charity.

Vauxhall is back for their four year, continuing their commitment to the country’s live music community by offering their #VivaroOnTour van to musicians free of charge to enable them tour around the UK.

East London independent brewers Signature Brew are supporting IVW again too, as are Vevo and Fred Perry Subculture – with the latter travelling to gigs up and down the country to interview artists and fans exploring their playlists.

Commenting on the prospects of this year’s event, Chloe Ward, IVW UK director, said: “Having worked on the project for the last three years, I know all too well how much IVW has grown and the work involved in making it happen. But the scale of activity this year is something else – it’s been a huge effort – made possible by great teamwork and a lot of laughter. All I can say is: Venues are well good.

“We’re really proud to be shining a light on the UK’s independent’s venues who are the lifeblood of our rich and diverse music scene. It’s going to a be a great week,” she concluded.

Flexible venue Here East opens in London

Smart Group, the hospitality, catering and event management company, has announced the launch of Here East, a new flexible event space located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

The venue is available for a range of uses including exhibitions, conferences, product launches, cultural and arts events. The space is split into a first floor reception and a theatre.

These spaces have a capacity for up to 1,000 people and can offer in-house catering from Smart Group’s catering arm Smart Hospitality.

Here East has also partnered with creative event specialist Smart Live to offer organisers services such as digital registration, event design and full project management.

Protec acquires Aventeq

L-R: Protec CEO Steve Lakin and Chris Bramwell of Aventeq Ltd.

Protec has acquired Aventeq Ltd., the Birmingham-based production and hire service specialist. As part of the agreement, Aventeq will take Protec’s identity to operate as Protec European Events and will have access to a much larger palette of event production resources, including state-of-the-art technology, equipment and skilled staff.

Protec European Events will be in a stronger position to extend its services to a larger client base and offer a more comprehensive and creative approach to its technical productions.

Established in 2008 by an experienced team led by Chris Bramwell, Aventeq has prided itself in delivering quality projects all across the UK and Europe.

The company offers a comprehensive suite of services, including creative and technical design, production, lighting, audio, video, staging, rigging and venue support services.

Stephen Lakin, Protec’s founder and CEO, commented: “Chris Bramwell and the team have built up a strong business and I’m thrilled to welcome them into the Protec family. I am looking forward to the opportunity to introduce their customers to a wider global reach and more exciting tools & technology to create unique and memorable event experiences.”

Bramwell will continue to lead the company to execute on its growth plans but with the backing of the vast resources of Protec. He commented: “Aventeq, which of course I’m thrilled to say, is now Protec European Events, has a similar passion to Protec. We focus on delivering fantastic experiences for our clients and audiences.

“We are very excited to be a part of one of the world’s most respected industry leaders and now be able to offer our clients a more creative and technological palette with a wider market reach.”

Exponential growth

Protec offers comprehensive event technology and staging solutions from innovative design through to technical planning to the eventual implementation. It has ten fully-fledged departments and over 140 handpicked full-time staff who are highly trained and are at ease with the equipment and technology the company has continually invested in over the years.

“Technology in the events industry has seen exponential growth, creativity has become bolder, and audience engagement now plays a crucial role in every event,” Lakin commented.

The Protec boss said its clients are spending more time on developing bespoke events, creatively using content with technology to immerse and involve their audiences in their story’s environment.

“There is greater demand for a break from the typical ‘sit and listen’ conference format to a more imaginative, dynamic, immersive and involving experience. This spurs us to continually think creatively and develop new ways of delivering our productions,” Lakin added.

Lakin said that Protec’s creative approach to all its projects and the ability to consistently create extraordinary experiences through clever use of technology is what set the company apart. “It is this approach that Protec European Events will take on, which I’m sure will be an important factor to ensure that their clients are thrilled with every event delivery,” Lakin concluded.

The Roof Gardens closes its doors after 37 years

The Roof Gardens. Copyright David Hawgood

Virgin Limited Edition has announced that The Roof Gardens has closed its doors. The company, part of Sir Richard Branson’s collection of  retreats and luxury hotels, has occupied the venue as a tenant since 1981.

“For over 35 years it has played a key part in the London nightlife scene, showcasing top DJs and live musical talent from across the decades as well as hosting numerous events, showbiz parties, award ceremonies, weddings and dinners in its award winning restaurant Babylon,” read a statement on the company website.

The decision, Virgin Limited Edition has said, is based on an ever changing London market. “The Roof Gardens has stood the test of time but in the face of unpredictable market conditions and a challenge to remain profitable, we feel that the time has come for us to close our doors,” the statment added.

Virgin Limited Edition said The Roof Gardens will continue to be one of London’s most spectacular and extraordinary landmarks and look forward to seeing what’s next for this beautiful venue.

Central Hall Westminster hosts New Year’s Eve concert

Nile Rodgers played with his band CHIC at CHW. Credit Jill Furmanofsky

A live audience of over 2,000 were joined by millions of TV viewers when Central Hall Westminster provided the backdrop to a televised BBC New Year’s Eve performance by Nile Rodgers & CHIC.

Playing to a packed crowd in the venue’s Great Hall, music legend Nile Rodgers and his world-famous band CHIC created a New Year’s Eve celebration to remember. The concert was broadcast live on BBC One before and after the London fireworks display.

Introduced by presenter Roman Kemp, Rodgers celebrated 40 years in the business with a special performance by CHIC, playing a string of hits including Good Times and Le Freak.

The show, which also included a rendition of Pharrell Williams’ Get Lucky, was described by TV reviewers as ‘sensational’.

This was the fifth year in a row that the BBC selected the central London venue for its annual New Year’s Eve concert which heralds the world-famous fireworks display over the River Thames.

Previous performers taking to the stage in the 2,200 capacity Great Hall have included Gary Barlow, Queen + Adam Lambert and Robbie Williams.

Paul Southern, managing director of Central Hall Westminster, commented: “We were honoured to be part of the BBC New Year’s Eve celebration for the fifth year in a row. There was an incredible atmosphere in the Great Hall and this concert marked the start of another successful year at our venue.”

Rodgers, who was this year inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, said: “It’s been an incredible 12 months for us in the UK. I thought playing to 200,000 people at Glastonbury could not be beaten but getting to put a cherry on 2017 and kicking off 2018 in London at the historic Central Hall Westminster in front of a BBC television audience of millions has been incredible. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year and would like to express my sincere gratitude for all of your love and support!”