BCP Council tender

BCP Council: Bars and hospitality

Budget: £47,500

Deadline: 2pm on April 2

Contact: procurement@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Info: BCP Council is seeking bids from suppliers to operate either bar/hospitality services at Bournemouth Air Festival (August 29-31). This tender has been divided into five lots.

For full details, click here.

Visually spectacular Bristol Light Festival

Visually spectacular events: Lighting the way with drones, fireworks and special effects

Lighting, drones, lasers, fireworks, and special effects are used by organisers to create memorable “wow” moments. Read on, as StandOut shines a light on the visually spectacular events being produced...

Bristol Light Festival returned to the city on February 2. The fourth iteration of the annual event ran for 10 days and saw thousands of visitors interact with and immerse themselves in 10 spellbinding light installations.

Founded by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), the event featured everything from a life-sized projection of an astronaut drifting through a cosmos to a series of colossal inflatable illuminated arches.

SC Productions provided Bristol BID with site management and production expertise and Redwood Event Solutions provided pre-event safety planning and event control and safety services during the festival’s much-anticipated 10-day run.

Since its inception, the festival has attracted thousands of visitors (250,000 in 2023) and welcomed an additional
£3.3 million increase in spend. As the installations have got bigger and bolder, so has the event’s reputation and as a result, the event does change the make-up and demographic of the city centre between 5pm and 10pm. But it can only be expected as once-familiar locations and buildings are visually enhanced and transformed into spectacular sights to behold.

ABS GlassFloor credit image to NBA


Light festivals are certainly growing in popularity, as local authorities and BIDs realise that there is an appetite for visually spectacular events that engage the senses. In January, Battersea Power Station launched its first free light trail and this March, a new light festival called Beam – organised by Harrogate International Festivals – will illuminate the historic town for two nights.

Such events are in total contrast to the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) latest “visually spectacular” development.

In February, it revealed details of a state- of-the-art LED floor, the first full video court to be installed for an NBA All-Star basketball game. Developed by ASB GlassFloor, the LED court was installed at Lucas Oil Stadium, giving fans at the arena a “game- changing” experience.

The digital court displayed customised court designs tailored to each event as well as fully interactive game moments and player statistics. During the same week, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium called on fans to take part in its first mobile phone light show ahead of Tottenham’s Premier League clash against Brentford.

Fans heeded the call to get involved and used the official Spurs App to take part in a “pre-match spectacle” by hitting “Light Up” on their phones. Subsequently, their phones synced to the music played in the stadium and the light show engaged supporters who relished the opportunity to be part of the pre-match atmosphere.

Pains Fireworks


Both examples are demonstrative of how sport is leading the field in engagement, using lighting and LED to connect with loyal fans and customers who want memorable event experiences.

Special effects have long been a fixture in sporting events and Pains Fireworks is no stranger to supplying visual effects – such as daylight pyro, smoke jets, and flames – to the field of play. For example, Pains Fireworks worked with Progress Productions on the FA Cup Final in 2023, and Event360 on the MLB London Series. It also supplies pyrotechnic displays to The Hundred – organised by England and Wales Cricket Board – on matchdays.

“The impact and atmosphere created when some form of visual effects are used is incredible,” explained Tim Griffiths, managing director of Pains Fireworks. “Without it, some big moments can fall flat.”

He continued: “As you can imagine, there’s a big difference between daylight SFX and those used in the dark. There
are various effects including flames, cold sparks, smoke jets, pyrotechnics, confetti and streamers which work well in both situations, but for maximum impact, you can use traditional fireworks, pyrotechnics, flame effects and virtually any effect when it’s dark. It’s all about coming up with the best solution for the moment that you’re trying to create, whether that be inside a stadium, out on a sports pitch, or in a large open space.”


Griffiths says that sports clubs/venues often report an upturn in revenue and performance when incorporating flames, special effects, and pyro (synced to music) to pre-match entertainment. Bar revenue is better, the atmosphere is greater, and eventgoers arrive earlier in anticipation of having a good time.

Titanium Fireworks recently delivered fireworks at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Celebrations and earlier in 2023, working with E1FX, supplied pyro to All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) highly anticipated UK debut at Wembley Stadium. Multiple pyro sequences were fired for the wrestler’s entrances as well as celebratory moments.

The event – delivered by Live Nation UK – was such a hit that its return in 2024 has been confirmed. Its founder and CEO, Tony Khan, created AEW because he wanted to create memorable entertainment and spectacular events, with light, sound, and pyro adding to the experience.

And he’s not on his own. From large brands and local authorities to festival promoters and sporting boards, the
desire to create visually stunning and “Instagrammable” events shows no sign of waning. Events and campaigns that capture the imagination, engage audiences and leave guests in awe are the dream. And, if they can have a huge impact on social media and increase campaign or brand awareness, even better.

For example, Boss recently kickstarted its spring/summer 2024 campaign by projecting 10-metre-high holograms of its brand ambassadors Lee Minho and Gisele Bündchen in London’s Potters Fields Park. Production house Kaleida and Video Design worked on the project, which used smoke and moving lights to create the illusion.

Nadia Kokni, SVP of global marketing and brand communications at Hugo Boss, said that using the hologram technology achieved consumer impact at scale, whilst creating intrigue. Not only was the content captured immensely shareable, but Kokni also believes that it encouraged customers to engage more deeply with the brand.




Samsung also turned to tech and Celestial, the drone specialist, when it wished to create hype to celebrate the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S24 mobile phone. Using 552 drones to create a spectacle over the River Thames, Celestial partnered with agencies Taylor Herring and St Mark’s Studios to bring the launch to life.

In keeping with the Galaxy theme, the drone animations lit up the night sky with objects from the solar system and beyond. Taking place after Samsung’s annual Unpacked event, “Galaxy AI is here” was prophetically written in the stars, in an opening visual that stretched 160 metres wide across the city and took 650 hours to be designed and programmed.


When planning a drone display, Tom Rees, director of AeroAVA, advised organisers to think about the core visual at enquiry stage, so the quantity of drones can be assessed as a minimum and as an optimum. This is because quantities will impact budget. Getting the right balance is critical from the off, Rees commented. Therefore, event organisers should consider the creative early on in the process, especially if there’s to be a major reveal or audience surprise.

Rees explained: “Giving the audience an eye-catching experience with impact can leave a lasting effect on them, if planned well. With the right tools and skills, a deep emotional message can be visually delivered, especially if it is reinforced with sound and other atmospheric enhancements.”

He continued: “It is essential that the display serves the event’s goals and enhances the overall visitor experience too, rather than just catch the audience attention fleetingly. Visual effects should be like a sound effect, they should be carefully planned, balanced and executed to complement other elements, so that they feel natural and in place.”

FlightShows credit Press Association


Before producing an impressive drone show for guests at Event Buyers Live 2023, FlightShows produced a massive 120-metre-wide drone-formed moustache to mark two decades of Movember.

The spectacle, aptly named The Mo Drone, gracefully soared above the landscapes of four major UK cities. The drone moustache tour kicked off at London’s picturesque Greenwich Park before making stops at Stanley Park in Liverpool, Inverleith Park in Edinburgh, and the Angel of the North in Gateshead.

The drone display was the perfect way to mark two decades of Movember changing the face of men’s health.

FlightShows has always been a fan of “drones for good”. In this instance, it used a drone light show to help spread the word about the charity in a unique and special way.

But it’s not the only visually spectacular event that the drone specialist has been involved with recently. In November, it also worked with North Yorkshire Council to commemorate the re-established Scarborough Fair and the council’s new year- long programme of events.

The overarching strategy of the Scarborough Fair project is to bring significant economic and social benefits to the coastal town by creating events and activities that will be entertaining for residents and tourists.

FlightShows produced a drone show at Scarborough Castle. It was one of 15 events and artworks that comprised Scarborough Lights. Using 100 drones, FlightShows told Scarborough’s story.

Eoin O’Grady, director of FlightShows, said: “Visually spectacular events have to have some scale and when they start they have to make you go ‘wow’ in those first few seconds. But they also have to keep you entertained and engaged throughout the whole show.

“Sometimes people ring me and say they want to create a 45-minute drone show,” O’Grady concluded. “But 10 minutes is the sweet spot. In 10 minutes, you can put your story across and get your money shot.”

Images: NBA/Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association/Andre Pattenden/Cris Matthews/Boss

Co-op Live MTV EMAs

Manchester's Co-op Live to host MTV EMAs 2024

MTV has confirmed that the 2024 MTV EMAs will take place in Manchester, UK. Now in its 30th year, this is the first time that the event will be staged in the city, and also marks its return to the UK. Broadcasting from Manchester’s brand-new, purpose-built live entertainment arena Co-op Live on MTV in more than 150 countries on November 10, the show will honour and unite music’s brightest stars.

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "As a city that is known the world over for our legendary music scene, MTV could not have picked a better place for this year's EMAs. With the expertise, experience and reputation we also have for delivering successful, world-class events, we're confident Manchester will provide a superb platform for the best MTV EMAs yet, and look forward to welcoming MTV and the global music community to our city for what is set to be an epic celebration of music and artists. Manchester meets MTV - we can't wait!"

Gary Roden, executive director and general manager of Co-op Live, said: “Co-op Live has been designed from the ground up to offer, at its core, a truly exceptional live music and fan experience, and we are delighted to be hosting an event which epitomises what our venue stands for. We are honoured to become part of the MTV EMAs story, and to cement Manchester’s standing within the global live entertainment industry.”

BCP Council tender

Tower Hamlets: Event management and delivery

Budget: N/A

Deadline: 12pm on April 2

Contact: Neil.Ward@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Info: Tower Hamlets is seeking an experienced outdoor production and events management company to support the Tower Hamlets arts, parks and events team with the delivery of council-organised events.

For full details, click here.

Bath Half Marathon

London Marathon Events takes over Bath Half Marathon

London Marathon Events (LME) is taking over the Bath Half Marathon as Andrew and Mel Taylor, the current organisers, step down after the 2024 event.

The Bath Half, first held in 1982, is one of the UK’s most prestigious half marathons, the largest sporting and community event in Bath and the largest charity fundraising event in south-west England. The 2024 edition takes place on March 17.

Hugh Brasher, event director at London Marathon Events, said: “The Bath Half is a wonderful event in a beautiful setting. We look forward to working with Bath and North East Somerset Council to grow the event over the next five years and inspire activity in local communities and schools. I’d like to pay tribute to the work of Andrew and Mel Taylor for developing the event over the past 25 years.”

Andrew Taylor, co-founder of Running High Events, organiser of the Bath Half, said: “Mel and I have been honoured to have organised the Bath Half for the last 25 years and we’re proud to have built a platform enabling charities to raise more than £30 million pounds since we took over management of the event in 2000. Now is the right time for us to step down and we’re delighted that London Marathon Events will be taking the event forward. We’d like to thank our staff, race entrants, charity and corporate partners, contractors, volunteers, council staff and councillors, and above all the community of Bath for their longstanding support for this much-loved event.”

Councillor Paul Roper, cabinet member for Economic and Cultural Sustainable Development, said: “The Bath Half is one of the country’s leading half marathons. We owe a huge thank you to Andrew and Mel who have managed the race since 2000 and are now handing over the baton. I am delighted that Bath Half, which has been so successful, will continue under London Marathon Events.

“Organising a race of this size takes a huge amount of planning and resources and it is really important for the runners taking part and the residents that everything runs like clockwork. To have the resources and experience of London Marathon Events at our disposal is just fantastic news for the city. I could not be more pleased. And I look forward to this year’s edition on Sunday 17 March when I will be running and hope to get my 16th finisher's medal.”

The 2025 event will take place on March 16.



BCP Council tender

Blackpool Council: Ice rink

Budget: N/A

Deadline: 12pm on April 2

Contact: sarah.manderson@blackpool.gov.uk

Info: VisitBlackpool is looking for an organisation to install, manage and maintain a free ice rink as part of the Christmas by the Sea event for the next three years.

For full details, click here.

BCP Council tender

Royal Parks: Event organiser

Budget: N/A

Deadline: 12am on November 1

Contact: sreboucas@royalparks.org.uk

Info: The Royal Parks is conducting an early market engagement exercise before it issues a tender to find a qualified organiser/promoter to organise an event for up to five days in Kensington Gardens. This contract will start in 2025 and the event will take place in April or May.

For full details, click here.

Engine No.4 Katie Vine credit Jody Hartley

Full throttle: Katie Vine, the new MD at Engine No.4, talks of her first three months in the role

Katie Vine is the new managing director of Engine No.4. Here, she talks candidly about her first three months in the role and what she foresees for the event production specialist...

"I feel like I am one of the luckiest people in the world,” chuckles Katie Vine, new managing director of Engine No.4. “When people want somebody but they’re not quite sure what it is that they want, my name seems to come up in conversation.”

Vine smiles, as she reflects on her colourful career and her first three months on the job at Engine No.4. Whilst some organisations weren’t quite sure what they were looking for when they hired Vine, Engine No.4’s senior management team [Jim Gee, Will McHugh, Jon Drape, and Tommy Sheals-Barrett] knew exactly what they were doing.

Vine has extensive experience in arts, theatre, and cultural events. From company manager of the Royal Shakespeare Company and director of programme and production at the Royal Exchange Theatre to technical co-ordinator at Manchester International Festival, her skills are varied and her commercial awareness is apparent.

We chat on a blustery Wednesday afternoon, as Storm Jocelyn batters the UK, taking refuge from the wind and settling to talk about direction and the future. “I prefer to have an overview and not a finger in all the pies,” says Vine. “I’m not very good at just sticking to one particular thing and only looking at that thing and not looking at those other things as well. So you know, when people talk about continuing to work at home, I would rather be in an office, hearing all the things that are going on, because everything feeds into what you’re doing, and you don’t do anything in isolation.”



Vine joined Engine No.4 – the full-service production company behind Parklife, Kendal Calling, The Warehouse Project, Bluedot
and Snowbombing – in October. Her remit: to grow the business, implement new processes and support the senior leadership team as Engine No.4 enters its next chapter.

Jim Gee, director, explains: “I think the realisation came last year that we needed to re-structure the management of the company. The model we started with was based on the fact that the original directors and founders of Engine No.4 were all specialists in their specific fields. Effectively, we created a company that was naturally split into three departments (operations, site and tech production). As directors, we are often very hands on in the delivery of those services across multiple events and multiple clients.”

He continues: “As the company grows and the portfolio expands, we really needed somebody who could focus on the day-to- day running of the business, without being too focussed on existing projects.”

Gee and the directors made a conscious decision to employ someone with wider event industry experience, who wasn’t necessarily already too deeply entrenched in the world of music festivals. Vine’s experience working in live events and arts organisations adds another dimension to Engine No.4’s skills set.

“A big chunk of my role is new business,” Vine continues. “I don’t need to sell Engine No.4 to the festival world because festivals know us. I want to look at arts and culture, things like a Cultural Olympiad, events that happen outside of the traditional ‘season’, and not just summer. And that’s important because if you want to grow an organisation and employ people full-time, you need more things to do.

“It’s one reason we’re so lucky, as we work with The Warehouse Project over the winter, but what else can we do?”

Vine is keen to work with other events professionals on arts and cultural events, for example, and see how Engine No.4
can help other organisations. She says that the expertise within Engine No.4 such as logistics, event management and production – all “transferable skills” – are transferable across a “gazillion different areas” so it makes sense to take those skills and enrich the lives of team members too by giving them the opportunity to do different things also.

So, three months in the new job and how is she finding things? “It’s been very different because when I joined, everyone was getting ready for Christmas. Whilst we produce events all year round, and the first few weeks were very busy, I have had days where I go “Oh, I have read all my emails by the end of the day’. That said, I am also very cognisant that that scenario is not going to be forever and soon, I’ll be praying for the days when it was a little bit easier,” she laughs. “But I think it’s also been incredibly invigorating, learning new ways of working. It’s really exciting.”

She continues: “I think for me, one of the reasons I do what I do is because I still get a buzz about what I do. There’s something about live events, whatever the audience, whether you’re sitting down to watch a play or whether you’re standing up at a rave, those people are going to come. They’re going to come at a certain time, on a certain day and there’s something about doing those things, organising events and experiences, that is still really amazing.”



In just three months, Vine feels that she has entrenched herself in the business; she has observed how everyone works and has identified systems and processes that can be implemented as the business continues to grow. Gee concurs. He says that the business is already seeing positive impacts in terms of productivity, team welfare and diversification of projects. Furthermore, he and the team are excited to continue their journey with Vine steering the ship!

“We’re a young company but we’re growing,” explains Vine. “When you have a small group of people and you’re all together in a room, it’s fine, but the minute you start to grow then you have to think about people management, and if you’re too busy thinking about event delivery and you already have a job, who is going to look at holidays and appraisals and all the things that need to happen in an organisation.”

Vine comments: “I can’t wait to get my hands dirty in the field, but I can also see that to get the most out of the team, you have to make sure your team have all the information they need, and things are structured. It’s not about making it corporate. It’s just when there were just two of you, or three of you or four of you, it was OK, but now there are 11 of us. I think what’s exciting for me is that there isn’t a list of things to do each day. There’s no mould – I have an opportunity to go: ‘How can I work with this team of people, as we change, and develop and grow as a company?’

“Being somewhere at a point of growth is great. What’s not to like?”


Vine views herself as a “constant”. She hopes her arrival has already made everyone’s lives at Engine No.4 easier and better. Not more difficult. By ensuring information is being communicated throughout the team, everyone knows what’s going on, and key team members can do their jobs knowing the day- to-day is being taken care of.

She wants to find new opportunities within other areas and make those projects feel “like an Engine No.4 project”. Plus, she is keen to see if the new systems she has implemented – that work brilliantly during the quieter months – work equally as brilliantly when things ramp up in the summer. But only time will tell. Right now, as well as preparing for a Lost Village site visit, Vine is learning the rhythm of the company. Figuring out as things get more crazy, how best to respond and what support is needed.


Vine’s previous experience as a stage manager, company manager, and touring manager has stood in her good stead for her new role. She has enjoyed various positions at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Manchester International Festival but did now feel like the right time to become a managing director? Did she feel ready to take the next step and be the managing director of a respected live event production specialist?

“Yeah, I think I was, if I’m honest,” she says candidly. “Although I would never have thought so until Jim [Gee] had the conversation with me. I wasn’t actively looking. I wasn’t scanning the papers every day. But sometimes the universe goes ‘Hmm...’ and Jim went: ‘Let’s have a conversation’.

Kendal Calling credit George Harrison


“I dread how people now have to apply for jobs and produce a 3,000-word essay.

“There’s no greater compliment than people who have worked with you and want to work with you again. You know that because they’ve seen you at your worst and you’re most passionate. You know, they’ve seen you in the midst of doing something and they think you’re the sort of person they want to work with. To be given the opportunity to work with a small company where it’s, it is their baby, to be tasked with looking after it [Engine No.4] is amazing, especially as Engine No.4 is so respected in the industry.”

She adds: “What was interesting when I arrived, was that I talked to all the team, and then I talked to all our core freelancers. To hear them talk about the company was brilliant. It was obvious that Engine No.4 is held in high regard. So my job that I can see

is, I don’t have to come in and save it [the business]. My job is to maintain it, to allow it to grow and to take work off the directors and allow them to do all the things they do.”

Vine has a clear direction. She knows the path she wishes to follow and feels honoured to have been tasked by Drape, Gee, McHugh and Sheals-Barrett with growing Engine No.4.

She explains: “I think the care that Engine No.4 has and the desire to look after people, whether that’s the clients that we deal with, or whether that’s the audience or the team, it all sits at the heart of what we do. So, whilst I look at my new role, I love the fact that I won’t ever stop learning and that there will always be something to learn.

“That’s really, really exciting. But what have I learned in my first three months? I definitely need to buy more waterproof clothing,” she laughs as she concludes.

Images: © Jody Hartley/Sam Neill/George Harrison/Joshua Atkins

110 Above Festival

Volatile costs and uncertainty cause 110 Above Festival to cancel

The organiser of 110 Above Festival has today (February 23) announced that the festival will not take place this year.
110 Above Festival was due to take place at Gopsall Hall Farm, Leicestershire, from August 10-13. 
In a statement, the organiser said: "Having considered carefully and explored various options we have taken the tough decision to give 2024 a miss. The current economic climate means it would be reckless to plough on with such uncertainty and volatile costs  – particularly for a fully independent festival like ours.
"We already had a feel for this in 2023 where conditions were challenging and the festival made a sizeable loss (this could have been much worse if it wasn't for the amazing support from team members, contractors, and supporters – a huge thank you goes to all)."
The statement continued: "What’s next? The break will give us a chance to re-group and re-energise. We really want to keep 110 alive as it's a passion that we see bring joy to so many."
John Rostron, CEO of John Rostron, commented on the 2024 postponement of 110 Above Festival: “Week by week, day by day, one by one these brilliant, vital independent music festivals are disappearing. With it, we lose the pipeline of talent development for artists and a space for audiences to find new music across the UK. Future headliners were made here. 
"The costs of putting on these festivals has risen so much, way beyond the price of the ticket, and so independent festival promoters – already losing money – are having to call time. This is a long tail impact of Covid and of Brexit. If the UK wants to be a world leader in music, then the UK Government needs to do as other countries across the world have done, and support the festival sector for a few years to make its recovery. Lower VAT on tickets to five per cent for three years, and we’ll prevent more festivals having to say enough is enough and goodbye.”
Image: Jake Haseldine

MOBO Awards credit Glenn Ashley

Steeling the limelight: The inside info on the MOBO Awards and MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe

The MOBO Awards took place in the city of Sheffield for the first time. Read on, as StandOut talks to key players behind the MOBO Awards and MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe...

On February 7, Sheffield hosted one of the biggest nights in the world of music when the MOBO Awards took place at Utilita Arena, Sheffield. It was the first time that the event had taken place in the city and the move north continued the MOBO Awards’ tradition of celebrating the best of Black music and culture in the regions and UK-wide.

For the past 14 years, the MOBO Awards have travelled to cities outside London, including Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, and Coventry. The ambition to take MOBO to different cities across the UK has always been rooted in the desire to unite fans with local and global talent and to celebrate Black music and culture.

But whilst MOBO will always have its roots in music, the MOBO Awards now champion Black culture in arts, sport, and media. This year’s event demonstrated that, taking a new direction with the introduction of new awards, including the MOBO Impact Award and MOBO Pioneer Award.


Thousands of fans gathered inside the arena to celebrate with the event’s big winners – Little Simz, Ezra Collective, Raye, Central Cee, Ghetts, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sugababes, and Soul II Soul. But such famous names were not the only ones celebrating.

Whilst event industry professionals – including Marvellous Incorporated, SWG Events, and Harrogate Food and Drink Company – worked hard to ensure those inside the arena experienced an amazing time, the city itself was still reeling from hosting MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe from February 5-7.

MOBO Awards credit Glenn Ashley


Organised by Sheffield City Council in collaboration with MOBO and members of the local community, MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe was a series of events that took place before the big awards show.

Emma France, manager at Marketing Sheffield, explained: “As the city’s destination marketing organisation, we look after the Sheffield brand and work closely with the events team and senior leaders at the Sheffield City Council.

“We developed a great relationship with MOBO,” France continued. “The Fringe was our idea. We wanted to make sure we could wrap the city of Sheffield around the event, to welcome the MOBO Awards and to have good community engagement.”


MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe took place over three days and comprised several smaller events and showcases; each designed to inspire creativity or shine a light on some of Sheffield’s new and emerging talent from across the MOBO genre. For example, an industry panel event featuring leading players from the UK’s Black music scene offered insight to local young talent and there was a MOBO city takeover at Sheffield’s iconic Winter Garden full of exciting daytime performances.

MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe was built on four pillars – school engagement, where 8,000 local children learned a Stormzy song, a general city takeover with Black businesses showcasing their wares on MOBO day, a showcase of local talent at the Crucible Theatre, and an industry panel of key players from the UK music industry.

Kanye King, founder and CEO of MOBO, said that The Fringe was more than an event; it was the start of a movement, an opportunity for the city to foster community spirit and a platform for many voices to be seen and heard.

France concurred. She explained that not everyone thinks about attending an event because they naturally assume that an event is “not for them”. Therefore, local authorities, destination management organisations, and event organisers need to collaborate and educate people on events and what’s out there. For example, some people might not like the music, but the food and culture could appeal instead.

“The community support for the MOBOs was exceptional,” continued France, who supported the MOBO Awards’ COO with logistics and operations, and worked hard to ensure the city’s hotels and transport providers knew the scale of the awards and were onboard to help. “We are used to organising large-scale and high-profile events like Sports Personality of the Year Awards and the International Indian Film Academy Awards [Bollywood’s equivalent to the Oscars]. The MOBO Awards was not a big event but like large events, it still captured the hearts and minds of the city.”

Industry panel session at MOBO Awards Fringe event


King hopes both MOBO Awards – hosted by Babatúndé Aléshé, Indiyah Polack and Zeze Millz – and MOBO Awards Sheffield – The Fringe will leave a lasting legacy.

“I’m still overjoyed by the celebration of Black music and culture we witnessed in Sheffield,” King said. “Since 1996, MOBO has been an unstoppable force, championing Black culture, and providing a platform for many unheard voices to be seen and heard, particularly in the city of Sheffield, leaving a legacy that will endure long after we are gone. Together, MOBO and our stellar array of talent elevated the scene to such heights and created a real landmark moment.”

Again, France agreed. “The legacy that this event will have will be amazing,” France said. “What we can do with the city in years to come will be powerful.

“The value of having a connected city team and working with an organising team when an event rolls into a city is critical.

“The MOBOs are such a multi-faceted event and that’s why convention bureaus are so important. We connect the city. For example, we made sure that we had enough VIP coaches and I know that might seem like such a small thing, but it’s not, it was important. We wanted to make sure that MOBO’s guests had the VIP experience they had been promised.”


The MOBO Awards 2024 was a resounding success, reaffirming the importance of diversity, inclusion, and artistic excellence in the music industry. Like France, the team at Utilita Arena Sheffield is also looking forward to welcoming future events that continue to celebrate and amplify diverse voices in music and culture.

Dom Stokes, director of live events and venues at Utilita Arena Sheffield, said: “What an incredible honour it has been for Utilita Arena Sheffield to host the 26th MOBO Awards. What a celebration and showcase for what we do so brilliantly day in and day out! Working together with our amazing partners, the MOBO organisation and Sheffield City Council, we got to show the world why we are renowned for being a city built on the best music and culture! With Sheffield City Hall being a part of the innovative and groundbreaking MOBO Fringe, we have ensured there will be a lasting and fruitful legacy after what was quite simply a reyt good party.”

Images: © MOBO/Glenn Ashley/Utilita Arena Sheffield/Marketing Sheffield

Tour O The Borders Hillside Outside

Tour O The Borders cycling event "taking a year out" to give local residents a break

Event management company Hillside Outside has decided not to run Tour O The Borders in 2024. Instead, the major cycling event will return in 2025 as a closed-road event.

Hillside Outside has promised to work with Scottish Borders Council, Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council, and local communities to ensure future iterations will not inconvenience residents too much.

In 2023, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) called a halt to running the event on closed roads in 2024 in response to requests from a group of residents unhappy about the Tour’s road closures. In December, the council surveyed local people to get a clearer picture of how they felt about the event.

The cancellation of the 2024 event will give the communities a break from the event, Hillside Outside said.

Tour O The Borders will return with a new route but as a closed road event on September 7, 2025 (subject to all necessary permissions and agreements).

In a statement, Hillside Outside said: "The importance of the event as a sports event and as a contributor to the local economy has been recognised and we’re delighted it now seems to have more support than ever.

"So while there’s some disappointment this year, we hope you agree that a more secure long-term future for the event is worth it. The huge amount of work gathering and listening to views has been a vital part of this process, and we will continue to respect the voices of those who are inconvenienced by the Tour."



Poole Pride

Lighthouse arts centre to host inaugural Poole Pride event

Poole's Lighthouse arts centre is to host the first-ever Poole Pride event on June 8.

Planned in consultation with a community steering group that includes members of the LGBTQ+ community, Poole Pride will include performances and activities throughout Lighthouse, including the outdoor theatre.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor will headline the event, a Queer film festival will run in the week leading up to Pride as well as a month-long exhibition, presented in partnership with AUB, honouring influential gay activist John Chesterman who was closely involved in the formation of the Gay Liberation Front in 1970 and whose ideas underpin the modern Pride movement.

“We’re thrilled that Sophie will headline Poole’s first ever Pride this summer – she’s the perfect artist to top the bill on a day that is all about inclusivity,” says Tim Colegate, head of programming at Lighthouse.

“We want to create an amazing day, an event that all the people of Poole can be proud of. Poole Pride will be a safe space for everyone where people can be themselves, come as they are, and crucially, enjoy some first-class entertainment – something that Lighthouse is very used to.”

Colegate continued: “We’re also working on a family-friendly daytime programme with performances, talks, educational sessions and signposting to LGBTQ+ support charities and groups, and we’re thankful for the support of Bourne Free, Bournemouth’s annual pride festival, to pull this off.

“Poole is a major conurbation and, as a much-cherished part of life in the town, Lighthouse is perfectly placed to host its first ever Pride event… and we’re going all out to make it a day we’ll never forget!”


Rhyl Air Show

Rhyl Air Show organiser cancels 2024 event

Denbighshire Leisure (DLL), organiser of Rhyl Air Show, has announced that the event is taking a break this year. The news follows the announcement that the Red Arrows will be touring this summer with a special 60th anniversary international tour.

The Red Arrows have been an integral part of the show line-up in past years and the decision has been taken not to run the show in 2024 without them.

Graham Boase, chief executive of Denbighshire County Council, said: “We understand the decision will be a disappointment to those who regularly attend the air show, and also to local businesses. We fully appreciate the economic impact of the events to Rhyl, and as a council, we remain committed to working with DLL to build the town’s reputation as a destination for major events. We will work with DLL to seek alternative events”

Jamie Groves, managing director of DLL, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided not to run the Rhyl Air Show this year. The Red Arrows have been an integral part of the air show programme over many years, usually providing a spectacular finale to the shows. Unfortunately, we have been informed that they will be away on an international tour over the summer, and unavailable for UK displays. With the programme already subject to scrutiny over recent years, we believe the Red Arrows to be irreplaceable, and that their loss would inevitably lead to criticism of the air show. We have concluded that it would be impossible for DLL to deliver a show in keeping with the proud tradition of the Rhyl Air Show, which also meets public expectations, but we will come back in 2025 stronger.”


BCP Council tender

Aberdeenshire Council: AV and videography

Budget: N/A

Deadline: 12pm on March 4

Contact: cpssprocurement@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Info: Aberdeenshire Council has issued a tender for AV and videography services for events in 2024 and 2025, as well as specified support for community-based ceremonies requiring AV.

For full details, click here.


The British Motor Show

Farnborough International acquires stake in Automotion Events' The British Motor Show

Automotion Events, the business behind The British Motor Show, has confirmed that Farnborough International has purchased a 48 per cent stake of the business, to support the brand in growing its automotive portfolio.

The British Motor Show is a four-day spectacle delivering live entertainment, interactive displays and driving experiences for the whole family. Hosted at Farnborough International’s exhibition and conference centre since it was established in 2021, the event is embarking on its next wave of growth across the 500,000 square metre show site.

This investment comes hot on the heels of the recent announcement of a new multi-year headline sponsorship deal with Motors and helps ensure that the show will continue to grow and develop over the coming years, with strong partners and fantastic exhibitors, supporting manufacturers and retailers throughout the UK.

Andy Entwistle, CEO of Automotion Events, said: “This is an incredibly exciting step for the business and The British Motor Show brand. With over 75 years of legacy, Farnborough International has unrivalled expertise in developing and hosting pioneering events, and we are looking forward to working with the team to propel our show to the next level.

“Thanks to the continued backing of our partners and supporters, I’m looking forward to welcoming everyone to Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre this August for an even bigger and even better show.”

Gareth Rogers, CEO of Farnborough International, said: “We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with Automotion Events, ahead of The British Motor Show 2024. We have hosted the show for the last three years and can look forward to hosting many more.

“This is an opportunity for us to take everything we know from running first-class B2B exhibitions and conferences, and support Andy and his team in growing The British Motor Show and cementing its position as an unmissable family event for the South of England.”

The event takes place August 15-18, 2024.

Back2 Festival James Dean Events

James Dean Events' James Dean on the new event series heading to the NEC this May

A new outdoor event series is heading to the NEC this May. Called the CP Projekt, James Dean, CEO of James Dean Events, explains all...

For 17 years, James Dean, chief executive officer of James Dean Events, has been running successful events and festivals across the UK. From tribute festivals and events packed full of nostalgic acts, Dean has made a name for himself, ploughing away, and building a group that is now comprised of 10 event companies.

Today, he is excited once more, as he sits to chat with StandOut about his latest new venture – a month-long run of shows at Birmingham’s NEC. But the events are not taking place indoors. Instead, Dean and his team are busy planning the “CP Projekt” – the car park project; a total of 14 shows that will take place over four weekends, including two Bank Holidays, this May.



The car park project will take over the NEC’s North 5, a vast expanse of hard standing, so there’s no risk of any muddy fields if the heavens decide to open and Mother Nature has her way.

“In December [2022], I won an award at the UK Festival Awards and met a great guy called Andy Lenthall [CEO, UK Festival Awards],” explained Dean. “We had a conversation, and I said I was looking for a venue for a run of events. Andy knew what I was looking for;
I needed the venue to be near major cities and I wanted an area of concrete to mitigate risks from infrequent weather patterns. He mentioned the NEC.”

He added: “On the same day, my assistant passed me an envelope and it was a digital pitch deck from the NEC. I got straight on the phone to Richard.”

The Richard that Dean refers to is Richard Mann, new business director at the NEC, the man in charge of promoting the NEC’s varied event spaces to organisers. And in this case, the NEC’s North 5. “We have 100 acres of hard standing on our site,” explained Mann. “James’ events will take place on the north side of our campus, on the sexily titled North 5 car park, next to where we hosted Wireless in 2022.”


Since Wireless graced the Birmingham site in 2022, the NEC has actively been encouraging outdoor event organisers and promoters
to consider the NEC for their events and festivals. The NEC’s pitch deck caught Dean’s eye as it landed on his desk at the end of a busy summer. Some might even call Dean’s conversation with Lenthall and the pitch deck landing serendipity but whatever it is, it’s clear that this new relationship is working for both ambitious parties.

Dean is incredibly excited for the future. “Our first site meeting was at the end of October, and we have another site meeting tomorrow,” Dean commented. “The event management plan is done, and we have a few Ts to cross, and some Is to dot but I really do think the planets aligned and that’s why we’re here now.”


“We’ve been wanting to diversify for a while now,” Mann tells StandOut. “The summer was traditionally quite quiet, and the site was under-utilised at certain times of the year.

“When Live Nation and Festival Republic put in the infrastructure for Wireless, they took it all out and in hindsight, it could have stayed in, and the asset could have been sweated more.”

Mann says that the NEC team – Kara Pridmore, event manager, Michelle Baldwin, head of events, and Linda Ritchie, venue general manager – learned a lot from their first festival experience in 2022. They acquired new skills around outdoor events, particularly around wayfinding and egress, and these skills will be drawn on when Dean and his team descend on North 5 later this year.



The events – everything from cinematic events in a big top to concert-style shows, one-day festivals and family-focused events – will run from May 3 to 27. This year, Dean and his team – Michael Kelly, festival director, Connor Lovejoy, assistant festival director, and Simon Stanaway, operations and logistics – are expecting 5,000 to 6,000 people per show [except the cinematic events in the big top] and there is the potential to go up to 20,000 people in the future.

“We’re already looking at acts for next year,” Dean added. “This year, we were late getting to market but we’re now having big conversations about 2025.”

Dean is thinking long-term. He has three main goals for 2024. He wishes to develop a “fantastic working relationship” with the NEC team and leave a pristine site, he wants to ensure ticketholders a great customer experience, and he wants to try and break- even in year one. Which is why that particular point is his third priority and not his first.

Mann confirms that both parties are already talking about year two. He added: “We want customers to have a great time and associate

our campus with good entertainment. When we started on this journey, we were aware that when you think of festivals, you think of green fields, and you don’t think of a car park at the NEC. But I really do hope we can build something together.”

Event safety Boardmasters picture by Will Bailey

Boardmasters festival granted capacity increase

Cornwall Council has approved a licence application submitted by BM Management to increase capacity at Boardmasters festival.

The festival will expand to a new, total capacity of 58,000 (previously 53,000) this August. A decision was made a licensing committee hearing in Cornwall.

The application seeks significant increases in capacity over the next three years. Up to 65,000 capacity in 2025 and 66,000 in 2026, inclusive of staff and performers.

Andrew Topham, Boardmasters CEO and festival organiser, said: “We’re delighted that Cornwall Council has granted us permission to expand Boardmasters to a new total capacity of 58,000 from this summer. Thank you to Cornwall Council, the residents who took time to provide their valuable feedback and to all the relevant parties who have supported us on this journey. We have an incredible show lined up this year, with headliners Stormzy, Chase & Status and Sam Fender, and a wealth of music and surf talent. As always, we will continue our hard work to produce a world-class festival in Cornwall.”

Image: Will Bailey

BCP Council tender

Brixham Town Council: Event management

Budget: £45,000

Deadline: 12pm on March 15

Contact: Ross Green – info@brixhamtowncouncil.gov.uk

Info: Brixham Town Council is inviting tenders for a three-year contract for the management of Brixham's Christmas event commencing in 2024.

For more details, click here.

BCP Council tender

Godiva Festival: Staging/scaffolding structures

Budget: £54,000

Deadline: 12pm on February 23

Contact: procurement.services@coventry.gov.uk

Info: Coventry City Council requires structures for a main stage front of house mixing desk/control tower, accessible viewing platform, and a performance stage inside a Saddlespan canopy roof for Godiva Festival.

The main stage has already been procured.

For full details, click here.

BCP Council tender

Portsmouth City Council: Event and technical services

Budget: £250,000 to £375,000

Deadline: 12pm on March 10

Contact: procurement@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Info: Portsmouth City Council's events team is inviting tenders for the supply of equipment and services for events, including Armed Forces Day, International Kite Festival, Fireworks Display, and Remembrance Sunday Service and Parade.
For full details, click here.

Hay Festival

Hay Festival reveals new brand identity

Hay Festival Global has unveiled a bold new brand identity and campaign, developed in partnership with EDIT Brand Studios, celebrating “a world of different…”.

Hay Festival – which was founded in Hay-on-Wye in 1987 – encourages audiences to come together to share ideas, different perspectives and provoke conversations that "can create a better world".

The new identity unifies the charity’s multiple editions, projects and social purpose under a core brand, highlighting its internationalism and impact.

Julie Finch, CEO of Hay Festival, said: “As an international charity, we reach millions of people every year through our one-of-a-kind Festivals, Forums, programmes, and digital platforms. Opening minds to new ways of thinking about our ever-changing world, we are a charity for everyone.

“We are delighted to share our new identity created by EDIT Brand Studio, underpinned by a year of audience development research, and aligned to our mission, vision and values as a charity. With just 100 days to go until Hay Festival 2024 in Wales, we are starting our next chapter with purpose and vision.”

Khadija Kapacee, founder and managing director of EDIT Brand Studio, said: “We have been delighted to support Hay Festival in its brand transformation journey. Creating a dynamic, energetic new identity that roots the new brand in Hay Festival’s long-standing legacy as a world-leading book festival, whilst also looking towards the future and creating a brand for a global festival of stories, ideas and new possibilities; focusing on new ways of engaging with people all around the world.”

Over the past year, the organisation has delivered 12 festivals in seven countries: Colombia, Peru, the USA, Mexico, Spain, Ukraine and the UK. A total of 1,111 individual events featured 2,018 artists with 315,395 tickets sold and 6.7million web views. Meanwhile, year-round education and outreach programmes reached 15,081 school pupils.


2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

2023 UCI Cycling World Championships generates £205m in economic activity

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has published a report highlighting the positive economic impact of the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships (August 3-13, 2023) for hosts Glasgow, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the biggest cycling event ever organised, brought together 13 UCI World Championships from different disciplines in the same region over 11 days. More than 7,100 athletes from 131 nations took part, hoping to win one or more of the 220 titles of UCI World Champion at stake. This combined event will be held every four years, the year before the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games. The next UCI Cycling World Championships will be held in Haute-Savoie, France, in 2027.

According to the report – authored by professional services firm EY – nearly a million spectators gathered at the different venues to watch the competitions. A third of them came from outside Scotland, including almost 90,000 from outside the United Kingdom.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships brought significant economic benefits, generating more than £205 million of economic activity for Scotland, with the equivalent of 5,285 jobs created over a year.

The event was also notable for its contributions to a more sustainable society. These included promoting inclusion and accessibility, encouraging active travel, instilling a sense of civic pride among Scottish residents and facilitating sustainable investment in the communities involved. The following figures demonstrate the success of the event in the areas mentioned:

  • 97 per cent of visitors rated the UCI World Championships as inclusive;
  • 40 per cent of visitors were women;
  • 82 per cent of visitors used active modes of transport;
  • 79 per cent of Scottish residents said they intended to cycle more;
  • 95 per cent of Scottish residents said they were proud to see their region host the event;
  • More than £6 million invested to date in all 32 local authorities;
  • 93 per cent of stakeholders said they intended to continue the initiatives developed as part of the UCI World Championships.

Sustainability was also at the heart of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, through measures such as signing the United Nations Framework Agreement on Sport for Climate Action, measuring the event's carbon footprint, implementing a waste management plan, using renewable energy sources wherever possible, taking sustainability standards into account when choosing suppliers and implementing a number of environmental and biodiversity initiatives at local level.

According to the EY report, 86 per cent of the event's stakeholders consider that the UCI World Championships were organised in an environmentally-friendly manner and 35 per cent of participating National Federations intend to offset the carbon footprint of their travel to the UCI World Championships.

The organisers of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will shortly publish a Sustainability Report presenting figures on the event's performance in this respect.

David Lappartient, UCI president, said: "The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland were an unprecedented success at every level. As the EY report shows, this success extends beyond sport, to the economy, tourism and sustainable development. An event like the one we experienced in August 2023 leads to long-term benefits for the host communities and their residents. We are all the more pleased because, well before it took place, this was the event's main objective: to delight those who love sport, but also to ensure that the power of the bike would enable the organisers of the UCI Cycling World Championships to achieve broader objectives related to development, wellbeing, and health.”

Paul Bush OBE, chair of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, said: “We set our ambitions high to create something truly spectacular for the athletes, the fans and for the wider community with the first-ever combined UCI Cycling World Championships. The study underlines that this event was about much more than eleven days of incredible performance, it delivered a variety of social, economic and environmental benefits, setting a benchmark for future editions and paving the way for positive longer-term change.

“Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events is recognised nationally and internationally, and its enviable global reputation as a major events powerhouse was further reinforced as a result of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. Events of this scale not only provide the opportunity to create memorable experiences, but they have the power to connect, inspire and transcend boundaries.”

Image: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Spica Temperature Control Solutions

Temperature control: Industry experts discuss trends, new products and best practices

Temperature control experts discuss trends, new products, and best practices...

In recent weeks, the UK has experienced an arctic blast. The freezing temperatures were in sharp contrast to the Met Office's latest figures, which state that eight of the last 12 months were warmer than average and 2023 will go down as one of the five warmest years on record.

2022 was the warmest year on record, and 2020 also saw sweltering temperatures. Both are indications of how fast our climate continues to change. But as well as being much warmer than average, 2023 was also wetter than average for most areas and in England and Northern Ireland, last year was one of the 10 wettest years on record.

So what does this mean for organisers who must grapple with delivering events and festivals in torrential rain or soaring heat?

Temperature control specialists say that the UK’s current weather extremes are all the evidence that organisers need to make heating and cooling a priority.

“Don’t make us the last thing you think of,” explained Kay Lindars, director of Spica Temperature Control Solutions. “It’s easier for us to be involved at the beginning when we can get any solution right for you.”

With current temperatures in the minuses, Spica Temperature Control Solutions is busy quoting. This year, the Hampshire-based business is supplying Seawork with ventilation and a mix of cooling and heating equipment to Jalsa Salana and has invested in equipment to ensure clients get the best service.


Acclimatise works alongside many event professionals to devise temperature control plans, including Royal International Air Tattoo, Arena, Detail, and Chord Events.

The temperature control specialist recently worked on Frieze London and Frieze Masters and delivered controlled temperature environments for both art fairs, which operated on battery power.

Acclimatise worked alongside 20-20 Events, which runs operations and site management at both Frieze events. Acclimatise, which
is part of Cross Rental Services, provided heating to keep the events’ structures between 22C and 24C but on sunnier days, chillers had to be turned on to keep the structures at a consistent temperature. However, when the chillers were turned on, battery power was not enough to power the initial draw needed and additional generator power was required.


In 2023, Acclimatise took delivery of new “more attractive” white Nykku air conditioning units and it predicts that heat pump chillers will become more popular within the marketplace.

Richard Ferrand, project director at Watkins Hire, disagreed with Acclimatise, believing that cream Nykku units blend better with marquee linings and said that black fan coil units look better when placed within a black-framed orangery such as Ascot Structures’ Orangery structure that is used at Royal Ascot.

But he did concur with Acclimatise on heat pump chillers. “I am looking forward to the day when heat pump chillers are used to heat temporary structures in city centres such as London,” explained Ferrand. “As the UK gets warmer, and tents get less draughty, it will be much better to heat a tent with a heat pump chiller rather than burn endless amounts of diesel in boilers.”

Last April, Watkins Hire used heat pump chillers to heat the temporary structure used by Bonhams for its auction at Goodwood Members’ Meeting. Ferrand predicts that in the next three to five years, boilers will be used to heat structures less and less, especially as tech becomes more efficient.

“With the severe weather that the UK is experiencing, the efficiency of our cooling systems is coming to the fore,” Ferrand continued. “The days of hiding air con units behind screens are gone. If you hide them, you don’t get much cold air into a room. I say, please be realistic about your requirements and listen to what your temperature control specialist recommends. Don’t hire two-thirds of the kit they recommend and then come unstuck on a hot weekend in June.

“In winter, no one ever questions how much heat is being pumped into a tent to keep it warm because no one ever wants to feel cold,” Ferrand concluded. “I just wish the same consideration was given to cooling.”

Watford Borough Council: Urban beach

Budget: N/A

Deadline: 10am on February 22

Contact: derek.hatcher@watford.gov.uk

Info: Watford Borough Council is looking for an experienced contractor to provide an urban beach. The beach will be located in the town centre and will operate over a two-week period over the summer holidays.

For full details, click here.

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