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IPM 12: Advancing & Sharing: Oops, they did it again

With rider requests and production/safety information arriving later and later, IPM wrapped up with a talk on the increasingly challenging science of show routing

By IQ on 05 Mar 2019

IPM 12: Advancing & Sharing: Oops, they did it again

In the wake of the infamous “logistical issues” that plagued Mumford & Sons’ scrapped 2018 UK arena tour, IPM’s final panel looked at advancing and information sharing, and how the industry can keep things moving in an era of late rider requests and hit-and-miss safety information.

Allen Cook, of event IT company TOURtech, said, 16 years into his live career, he’s “still finding it hard to get and give information. There are hundreds of reasons [why that flow of tour info can break down] but the question is, how do we get and give that information efficiently? There’s often just not time to jump on a conference call… Why isn’t there a guide?”

It’s a similar situation when it comes to show safety, said Sophie Ridley from Safents Consulting in Ireland. With safety information, “it’s the same as production information,” she explained. “There isn’t a system.” Although many European tours start in Ireland, she said, “there’s often no one to give it [safety info] to.

Chair Tony Hayes, from Arena Birmingham, then director addressed the Mumfords situation (which saw every other date of the arena tour cancelled as the build/break timings had not been correctly factored in), saying the first his arena – slated to be the tour’s third venue – knew about the tour being partly cancelled was when trucks that should have been in Manchester turned early up in Birmingham.

“we need to make it as simple as possible in terms of info”

“Somewhere down the line, mistakes occurred,” said Hayes, though he noted that the Mumfords tour is an “extreme example” and a “very, very rare case”. An audience member spoke on the importance of artists’ expectations for stage design being managed. “It’s too easy to just say yes,” he said.

Live Nation’s Andrew Craig elaborated on his role as a promoter rep, with Hayes praising Craig and other good reps’ ability to act as a “conduit” between venue and production, while Octavia Harwood from the O2 spoke on the logistical challenges involved in her role as head of venue management at the world’s busiest arena.

In response to a question from the floor that asked if, with increased sharing of information, there comes a risk of overload, Harwood said: “I’m aware we have a lot of shows coming in, and there’s often too much email chains going round… we need to make it as simple as possible in terms of the info we [as a venue] ask for.”

Intelligence officer Kevin Walker outlined the work of the UK’s National Events Intelligence Unit (NIEU), which, he explained, is missing crucial security information from arenas, as large venues are reluctant to send data to the NIEU owing to commercial considerations. “We often get 20 pages of information from police, then two paragraphs from the venues,” he explained.


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