Showcase: Brit Awards 2008 - No margin for error at The Brit Awards

Satisfying the demands of an eclectic music industry audience is a hefty challenge, and calls for near-military precision.

What was the event? This year marked the 28th outing of the British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) annual awards. The British Record Industry Trust Awards, or The Brits as it is widely known, aims to recognise the previous year's music success stories both in the UK and internationally. All proceeds are ploughed back into the trust, whose beneficiaries include the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.

Earls Court hosted the event - which took place on 20 February - for the 11th time, while Mastercard celebrated its tenth anniversary as headline sponsor.

How was the event structured? The theme was Glam Punk and aimed to reflect the edgy mix of music genres around today. The set featured two stages, designed by Stufish, and included glittered drapes, skulls and thrones for the show presenters, the Osbournes. A total of 4,650 seated guests tucked into a three-course meal, which required military precision as service lasted for just 90 minutes and all waiting staff needed to have cleared the floor in advance of the live show transmission at 8pm. Meanwhile, 900 standing guests, made up predominantly of Brit School pupils, were filtered into the pit area directly in front of the stage for the show.

For the second year the top-floor seated gallery catered for a further 5,200 guests, largely comprising competition winners and some paying members of the public.

Performances from the likes of The Klaxons, Kylie and the Kaiser Chiefs were scattered between the 13 award announcements, culminating in Paul McCartney's set and acceptance of an Outstanding Contribution Award.

Who was behind the event? The BPI launched the event in 1977. Its current event director, Maggie Crowe, heads the operation, supported by specialists including event production firm MJK Productions. The venue supplied 232 staff, from health and safety managers to staff from its catering partner Leith's, which worked with sister firm Payne and Gunter. Other suppliers included StageCo, which provided the staging, PA specialist Britannia Row, and PRG Europe, which supplied the lighting.

What were the highlights? Balancing the requirements of the show's assorted audiences was a logistical challenge. The various parties successfully prepared all food on site, served the 4,650 dinner guests, entertained those guests in both the pit and the seated 'public' space, while ensuring that the event translated into an entertaining televisual experience.

SUPPLIER FILE

Blackfriars Scenery
www.bsstaging.com
(020) 7928 6413

Britannia Row Productions
www.britanniarow.com
(020) 8877 3949

Eat Your Hearts Out
eyho@dial.pipex.com
(020) 7289 9446

Leith's
www.leithsat.com
(01895) 554000

MJK Productions
www.mjkproductions.co.uk
(020) 7383 3853

Payne and Gunter
www.payneandgunter.co.uk
0870 850 1848

PRG Europe
www.prgeurope.com
0845 470 6400

Showsec
www.crowd-management.com
(020) 7244 7443

StageCo
www.stageco.com
+32 (0) 16 608471

Stufish
www.stufish.com
(020) 7383 8833

XL Video
www.xlvideo.com
(01442) 849400


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