Event Solutions: Supplier showcase - Making it alright on the night

In true celebratory style, awards and premieres rely on eye-catching elements that dazzle guests and create an atmosphere of electric anticipation. Adam Woods looks at companies that will bring these events to life.

WEIRD AND WONDERFUL

From company awards to world premieres of blockbuster movies, there are few events that can't be improved by a theme, and there are few themes to which Weird and Wonderful can't turn its hand. "With awards, one of our main ones is 'heroes'," says managing director Jonathan Sands. "We base it around the movies and we mix up a lot of the media." Sands cites the example of the Batman theme for a company awards show.

Film footage can show a managing director, for example, looking out of his office window and seeing a bat projection, retrieving a Batman suit from the stationery cupboard, and setting about a villain.

Defiantly more than just a theming company, Weird and Wonderful creates exhibitions and theme-park experiences globally, and is the exclusive UK licensee of the Lord of the Rings films and of Lucasfilm's Star Wars franchise.

EVENTS DIARY

Return of the King premiere, Odeon Leicester Square, 11 December, 2003 - design and art direction Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith, May 2005 - worldwide launch publicity

Red Bull Formula One party and promotion in Monaco

Centenary Museum at Stamford Bridge - waxworks, set-builds, design and graphics

PSL

The latest Bond film, Casino Royale, transformed a familiar institution, and the film's premiere had similar aims. Out went the red carpet in favour of an overhead bridge from the central garden of Leicester Square to the terrace in front of the Odeon. Positioned at the highest point of the bridge was a giant Lighthouse LED screen, provided and erected by PSL, to give the crowds a clear view of the attending stars and dignitaries.

December jobs included premieres of Happy Feet and Eragon, while for the 2006 Baftas PSL hung a 70-metre screen off the front of the venue - the Leicester Square Odeon once again.

PSL has been at the Roundhouse on an almost daily basis recently, providing visual display technology for events such as the BT Digital Music Awards and the Vodafone Live Music Awards.

EVENTS DIARY

British Academy Video Game Awards, The Roundhouse, London, 5 October, 2006

Casino Royale premiere, Odeon Leicester Square, London, 14 November, 2006

Happy Feet premiere, Empire Leicester Square, London, 26 November, 2006

Eragon premiere, Odeon Leicester Square, London, 11 December, 2006

Orange British Academy Film Awards, London, venue yet to be announced, 11 February, 2007

EAT TO THE BEAT

Keeping the masses adequately fed and watered while they wait for an awards presentation is no simple task. Eat to the Beat, part of the Global Infusion Group, has extensive knowledge in providing food for a wide range of events, including awards shows.

For the Royal Mail Chairman's Diversity Awards at Alexandra Palace on 8 June, produced by agency Sledge, the caterer provided Caribbean canapes to tie in with the Caribbean Carnival theme. Food featured jerk chicken rice cakes with mango salsa and butternut squash, and goats cheese tartlets.

A three-course lunch included the main course of Trinidad chicken pan-fried in caramel and garlic on a bed of bok choi.

"This is the second time we've worked on this event and we are looking forward to the next one," says Eat to the Beat sales and marketing manager Liz Madden.

The company also catered for the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall on 31 October for Indigo Television. "The theme was Art Deco and the set and room were draped in black with silver chandeliers," says Madden.

EVENTS DIARY

The Royal Mail Chairman's Diversity Awards, Alexandra Palace, 8 June, 2006

National Television Awards, Royal Albert Hall and Royal College of Art, 31 October, 2006

REEDS CARPETS

Clearly, a premiere almost always needs a red carpet to welcome the steady stream of celebrity guests, but it would be a mistake to believe that is where the job ends for any carpeting specialist.

To take an extreme example, Coventry-based Reeds Carpets laid 50 different types of floor-covering for the World Travel Market at Excel, and while the business of carpeting awards shows and premieres is rarely quite as extensive, the brief is not usually as simple as: one long carpet - red.

The world premiere of Beatrix Potter biopic Miss Potter was a relatively conventional job for Reeds that called for a red, 60-metre walkway, with the film's logo at either end.

Awards shows are certainly a more complicated proposition. At the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, which took place outside London for the first time at the Birmingham NEC in December, Reeds carpeted both the studio hall and the party hall next door.

And, in keeping with the environmental concerns that are currently affecting the events industry as a whole, Reeds recycles 40% of its carpeting.

EVENTS DIARY

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy premiere, Empire Leicester Square, 20 April, 2005

Flushed Away premiere, Empire, Leicester Square, London, 23 November, 2006

UK Music Hall of Fame post-ceremony party, Alexandra Palace, London, 14 November, 2006

Miss Potter premiere, Odeon Leicester Square, London, 3 December, 2006

BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, Birmingham NEC, 10 December, 2006

ARENA SEATING

Of the many music-related awards shows scattered across the calendar, the MTV Europe Music Awards has emerged as one of the most durable and high profile, and this is at least partly a tribute to the effort that goes into keeping the look and feel of the event fresh every year.

Staged at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen on 2 November, this year's event deployed a set design that called for a seating layout in the shape of a three-quarter circle. As Arena Seating will attest, such a configuration requires a great deal of skill to put together. "We had to create the layout using 25 independent straight sections of seating joined together throughout the under-structure to form one solid circular grandstand," says account director Bradley Merchant.

Having thrashed out proportions using prototypes in the UK and communicating with set company Stage One, Merchant and his team's five-day build produced a unique structure, using Arena's In Style luxury seating, joined with aluminium nosing and finished with black-laminated ply, black carpet and neon lighting.

EVENTS DIARY

Brit Awards, Earls Court, London, 15 February, 2006

MTV Europe Music Awards, Bella Centre, Copenhagen, 2 November, 2006

UK Music Hall of Fame, Alexandra Palace, London, 14 November 2006

SHOWSEC

Given the interruption by Jarvis Cocker of Michael Jackson's Earth Song at the 1996 Brit Awards, and the controversy that has surrounded Jackson in the intervening years, it was vital that security for the World Music Awards, at which he appeared, was tight.

Showsec has a hard-earned pedigree in event security, having worked on events such as the Manchester Commonwealth Games, Live Aid and Live 8.

It has overseen the World Music Awards and the MTV Europe Music Awards this year, and according to southern regional director Simon Battersby, such events, while far smaller than most concerts or sporting occasions, are a discipline unto themselves. "They are trying to achieve something different," he says. "It's about achieving exposure for their products or their network, artistes and sponsors."

The main challenge is managing the movement of VIPs. "It's about ensuring that the people who need talent escorts can move around very quickly, so they can be on stage or in the press areas at exactly the right time," says Battersby.

EVENTS DIARY

MTV Europe Music Awards, Bella Centre, Copenhagen, 2 November, 2006

World Music Awards, Earls Court, London, 15 November, 2006

POWER LOGISTICS

Power might not be the most glamorous ingredient of an awards show or a film premiere, but it is one of the most important. Whether driving screens, sound or lights in an outdoor location, or compensating for an under-powered venue that lacks the ampage to power an exceptionally large circuit, nothing happens without a temporary power provider.

Premieres and outdoor movie screenings are a regular source of work for Power Logistics, whose recent jobs in this area include the first night of Flushed Away and the BFI's A Portrait of London event in Trafalgar Square in October, showcasing the work of up-and-coming directors as part of the 50th London Film Festival. The company also worked on the 2005 Kiss Awards and the T4 Poll Winners' Party.

Power Logistics typically provides a generator, cabling and technical support, as well as installation and de-installation. "Premieres tend to be high-impact, big-bang stuff because of the money that has usually gone into making the film," says general manager Paul Dumpleton. "The client needs dependability in terms of service, and we provide that."

EVENTS DIARY

A Portrait of London, London Film Festival, Trafalgar Square, London, 27 October, 2006

Flushed Away premiere, Empire, Leicester Square, London, 23 November, 2006

STAGE ONE

Perhaps not an awards show in the strictest sense - but certainly presenting many similar challenges - is Eurovision, for which Stage One created a highly sophisticated, hydraulic stage set. Using its own motion-control system, the company built a set comprising six moveable banks of treads, each weighing up to six tonnes and covered with LED screens, as well as a huge globe and large amounts of aerial engineering.

The contest itself was staged by Greek broadcaster ERT. Stage One has experience of working with television companies, having created sets for the MTV Europe Awards in 2004 and 2005 and numerous television sets.

But when it comes to international awards shows, the challenge never grows stale, according to Stage One senior project manager Steve Dolan. "Generally speaking, the creative team is different each year and that provides a new design focus for us to respond to and develop," he says.

"Each year, the client is aiming for something better and more creative.

The challenge for us is to deliver a quality product from an ambitious design, often for a similar or even a decreasing budget."

EVENTS DIARY

MTV Europe Music Awards 2004, Rome, 18 November, 2004

MTV Europe Music Awards 2005, Lisbon, 3 November, 2005

Eurovision, Athens, 20 May, 2006.


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