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Eat to the Beat founder Tony Laurenson passes

Tony Laurenson, founder and CEO of global catering group Global Infusion Group (GIG) and its well-known subsidiary Eat to the Beat, passed away last Tuesday (19 January).

Laurenson spent over four decades in the catering industry and cultural catering company Eat to the Beat (founded in 1983) became a forerunner in the business.

The company has provided catering for tours, festivals, TV and film – with clients including Alicia Keys, Iron Maiden, Coldplay, Download, V Festival – and later became the foundation of GIG (founded in 1981 by Laurenson), which also operates e2b and Bonnie May Food & Events.

“Tony was so passionate about the industry and was ‘everybody’s mate’… you’d often see him rolling his sleeves up to help”

The news of Laurenson’s death was announced on the GIG Facebook page: “It is with tremendous sadness that we announce that Tony Laurenson, our founder, and CEO passed away, at home, suddenly yesterday (19th January 2021). We are all in complete shock. Our thoughts are with Bonnie, Matt, Will, Tom and Harriet and all of Tony’s family.”

Andy Hudson, who worked with Laurenson in the early days of e2b, wrote: “This sparkling man was an asset to all of us who knew him. Professionally, he and his team were the ultimate caterers – to the stars and equally to the road and technical crew that kept the show on the road. His bonhomie and reliability and much of his homely wisdom will be engrained in me for the remainder of my life.”

“Tony was one of the true characters of the touring industry with his big smile and love of a good time”

Brian McCarthy, club president of Chesham United FC, where Laurenson once held the role of hospitality director, wrote: “I was fortunate enough to work with Tony when he was a director of the club. He brought so many new ideas to the table and gave myself and the board energy and belief that we can broaden the appeal of the club within our community.

“Tony understood the role that football can play in people’s lives and was inspirational in helping us to make new contacts and develop new ideas that are still key to the way the club operates today. Tony will be sorely missed, but his memory will live long with those that had the pleasure of knowing him.“

Musician Stuart Uren paid tribute: “So sad to hear about the passing of Tony Laurenson! A lovely, kind and ever-cheerful chap, I was fortunate to work and travel with on various tours in the 80s. . . Full breakfast please Tone.”

Thank you so much O2 Academy Brixton this is a wonderful tribute. We know that Tony loved the venue, it was definitely one of his favourites!

Posted by Eat To The Beat on Monday, January 25, 2021

 

Ex-business partner, Neil Armishaw, wrote: “Tony was a one of a kind who many will have seen at events, festivals etc catering backstage with his company, Eat to the Beat. Tony was so passionate about the industry and was ‘everybody’s mate’… you’d often see him rolling his sleeves up and jumping in to help.”

Australia-based roadie, Paul Streaky Hawkes, says: “Tony was one of the true characters of the touring industry with his big smile and love of a good time. He and his legion of caterers kept us well fed on many tours through Europe over the last 30 odd years… he will be sadly missed by many.”

Laurenson is survived by Bonnie, Matt, Will, Tom and Harriet.

They ask for donations (“not carnations”) to be made to Stagehand, the PSA’s benevolent fund, in his name: click here for the JustGiving page, which has raised over £10,000 at press time.

 


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SSC launches Eat the Beat foodie division

Dusseldorf-based SSC Music Group has announced the launch of Eat the Beat, a new “cultural catering” division combining high-end food with live entertainment.

The official launch of Eat the Beat follows SSC’s taking over the lease on the restaurant of Dusseldorf’s NRW Forum museum, which it has rechristened Pong – Popkultur & Gastro. The aim of the new division is to “operate as a modern food service, embracing [SSC’s] love of pop culture”, says CEO Hamed Shahi-Moghanni tells IQ, who adds that “food culture is fast becoming part of pop culture”.

“Not until maybe ten years ago were people going out just to eat,” he tells IQ. “This is a trend we’re seeing more and more in Germany: people going out to eat with friends.”

Commenting on the launch of Eat the Beat and the NRW Forum deal, Hamed Shahi-Moghanni says: “Pong is the new place for the SSC Music Group to arrange shows by our artists, co-operate with our festivals and create pop-cultural experiments in a unique location.”

“Food culture is fast becoming part of pop culture”

Pong has an indoor capacity of 500, while outdoor events can accomodate up to 1,500 people. The outdoor site was previously used for Kraftwerk’s 3D Tour de France 2017 show in Dusseldorf.

In addition to the Pong events, Shahi-Moghanni adds that the Pong/Eat the Beat crew can now provide local, sustainable cuisine for all SSC events, which include concerts, live shows and festivals.

Bands and DJs for a capacity of 500 people are highly welcome to perform at PONG. Corporate events can be presented indoor and also for up to 1,500 people outdoor where Kraftwerk played their outstanding 3D show at last year’s Tour de France Grand Depart.

 


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Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins killed in plane crash

Richard Cousins, the chief executive of Compass Group, the world’s largest catering firm, was one of the five people who lost their lives in a plane crash in Sydney on new year’s eve.

Cousins, 58, was killed along with his fiancée Emma Bowden, 48, her daughter Heather Bowden, 11, and his two sons Edward and William Cousins, 23 and 25, respectively, when their seaplane crashed into the Hawkesbury river on 31 December.

The pilot, 44-year-old Gareth Morgan, also died.

Cousins (pictured) had led UK-headquartered Compass Group – which provides catering services to some of the world’s leading arenas, including The O2, Staples Center and SSE Arena Wembley, and has also held a 49% stake in AEG Facilities since 2011 – for the past 11 years.

“Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies”

Reuters reports he was due to retire on 31 March; new CEO Dominic Blakemore stepped into his role on 1 January, instead of the planned 1 April.

Paul Walsh, Compass Group chairman, says: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news. The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.

“It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years. Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies.”

 


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