17/08/2022 - 21:14 pm

Return to the stage

Welcoming the return of live performances, Ross Moloney, CEO at the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), spotlights the crucial role that lifting performs in the Entertainment Industry

The sun is out and the festival season is off to a start with events to suit every taste happening round the world – including the return of familiar names such as Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Download, Montreux Jazz, Verona Opera festivals. Live entertainment of all forms was much missed by many during lockdowns, not least by the artists themselves for whom touring and performing live has becoming a more important revenue earner in a world of digital streaming.

It was LEEA’s entertainment sector members that gave the Association an early alert to the full seriousness that lockdowns would have. According to pwc’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2021–2025 report, restrictions on mass gatherings hit the live entertainment and media sector hard, shutting conference centres, arenas and stadiums for much of 2020. Live music was among the most impacted, with a 75% fall in revenue compared to the previous year. No wonder 2022 has heralded a stampede of artists returning to the stage, resulting in busy performance calendars in venues around the world.

It is timely to think about the part lifting plays in this. Stage productions from theatre plays to live music concerts are increasingly reliant of effects, set design and lighting to enhance the audience experience. It’s a similar case with filming TV shows and movies, as well as setting up conferences and exhibitions. Live music concerts, for example, have moved on vastly from the era when artists simply performed on a largely empty stage in a theatre. Today’s massive stadium extravaganzas generally require complex set and light designs involving arena-straddling trusses.

Audiences wowed by the finished spectacle of an entertainment performance of any kind might not be aware that there is an awful lot of shifting and lifting to bring the artist’s vision into reality. Whether you have taken your seat in a theatre, opera house, jazz club, comedy store, fashion show, conference or a public event, take a moment to glance upwards above the stage and consider the role of the production set teams and roadies that lift lighting trusses, scenery, video screens and other production elements into place.  Without lifting the Entertainment Industry would grind to a halt: theatre, television and film sets would not be moved, lighting rigs for live concerts will remain on the stage instead of above it.

Having the right lifting equipment and services that operate efficiently and meet high standards of safety is a vital part of running successful productions and concerts. Those responsible for lifting in the entertainment industry will therefore be keen to know that on Global Lifting Awareness Day #GLAD2022 on 7 July 2022 LEEA presented a webinar on this sector, which can be viewed at https://globalliftingawarenessday.com/videos if you missed it or would like to revisit it.

This was one of a series of end user webinars organised by LEEA, which kicked off with a highly informative session for focused on the oil and gas sector. Available to watch at leeaint.com, it discussed the complexity of standards and how they require regular updating to keep up with modern methods and materials. This can add an extra load of responsibility onto the already burdened shoulders of end users. But it was equally clear from the webinar that LEEA’s team is on top of these standards and, importantly is keeping members on top of them. This means that end users can turn to LEEA members confident in their ability to be experts in the field and providing best practice lifting equipment and services.

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LHI April 2024

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