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February/March 2004
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Executive Hire News › Archives › February/March 2004 › Executive Report: Eventful opportunities

Executive Report: Eventful opportunities

EHN reports on the Event Show 2004, which suggested that the industry is buoyant and increasing in sophistication.

Successful events don’t just happen: they require careful planning, together with the right equipment, amenities and quality attractions. And that means there are more and more business opportunities for hirers targeting this market. The Event Show, held in London from 27-29 January, exuded an air of optimism and continuing progress. Exhibitors reported that public event organisers realise they have to provide facilities that meet the needs of more discerning visitors. Furthermore, private organisations and businesses are keen to devise corporate events that are unusual and original in order to maintain interest and to project an image of individuality.

One particularly upbeat exhibitor was Johnson Hospitality Services (020 8443 3333), which has been created following the acquisition of Jongor North Ltd and the assets of Jongor Events Ltd by Johnson Service Group. Operating nationwide, the company serves organisers of events ranging from small private gatherings to sporting events at venues such as Royal Ascot, Twickenham and Wimbledon. Products offered include china, cutlery, glass, linen, cooking equipment, refrigeration and barbecues, along with banqueting, garden and office furniture. At the Event Show, Johnsons’ Stalbridge Linen arm promoted chefs’ workwear made from fabrics containing a treatment called Permagard. This is formulated to help combat bugs and bacteria that may be present and to maintain hygiene.

Pulsating display

Alistage (020 8808 5005) promoted a wide range of modular staging, canopies, lighting and related equipment. The business is part of Aliscaff, a north London based supplier of pre-fabricated scaffolding and tower products. Alistage’s Production Controller Graham Hards told EHN that the staging market has witnessed strong growth, particularly in more unusual products like the company’s Light Deck. This is a standard staging deck fitted with a perspex top in place of the normal plywood decking. Coloured disco lights can be installed underneath to create a pulsating dance floor display. The product was recently incorporated into the stage used by pop star Britney Spears when she performed on BBC’s Blue Peter programme.

Another staging specialist, Wango’s of Bury St Edmunds (01284 729038) promoted its curved, modular staging featuring a proscenium arch, that has been used at concerts such as the Glastonbury Festival and the Guilfest event. Proprietor Simon McKenna, says that the family business has used its experience of circus tent construction to design and develop the membrane structure, which is said to be able to withstand storm force winds. Nicknamed the Purple Pyramid, it stands 13.5m at its highest point, covers an area measuring 25m by 25m, and the arch spans 25m. Lighting and sound systems can be tailored to individual requirements.

Temporary access specialist Eve Trakway (08700 767676) recently added SteelShield fencing to its portfolio. This consists of a heavy-duty galvanised steel frame with plastic-coated steel as cladding, and can be used as a perimeter fence, secure storage area or simply for concealment. Eve also has the exclusive hire rights to the Terraplas turf protection system in the UK, France and Germany. Used at top stadiums like Old Trafford, the interlocking polythene grids prevent damage while allowing light and air to reach the grass. A soccer pitch can typically be covered in 24 hours.

Seating is a major consideration at events like conferences and product presentations. The Arena Event Services Group (08707 202010) unveiled its Diplomat seating system. Designed for comfort and legroom, it was installed in the hall used for the Event Show’s seminar sessions. The fully upholstered seats are placed at 520mm centres and provide 463mm of legroom. The banks of seating are carpeted.

Glenbys (01590 681434), a specialist hirer of air conditioning and heating systems for events, reports that the industry is ‘probably as strong as anyone can remember,” according to the company’s founder Richard Ferrand. “Climate control in temporary buildings used to be considered a luxury. Now it’s essential, since modern tenting systems are hugely sophisticated, providing genuine temporary structures that are draughtproof and leakproof. Last year’s hot summer did the industry a favour: the heat caught out many organisers, and the signs are that climate control will be a major consideration this year.”

For reliable communication around a site, Direct Communications Radio Services (DCRS) has introduced its Hire Station package. The company is offering a choice of Motorola two-way radios, for periods from 1-365 days, and for 2-200 handsets. DCRS (0114 273 9988) offers discounts according to the number of radios hired and the length of the contract.

Many event organisers rely on voluntary aid services for medical standby provision, but Events Medical Services (EMS) suggests that such operations can become overstretched. Medical Director, Dr Mall Robbins, says that the company provides a complete package that takes account of all legislative requirements, based on a thorough risk assessment. EMS (024 7644 0080) claims to provide services ranging from a single first aider to a full field hospital with ambulance, pharmacy and logistics support.

Portable sanitation is another essential event requirement. Toilets+ (01953 601345) promoted a range of roto-moulded polyethylene products, including toilets with cisterns, back-to-wall toilets and wash basins. The material is said to be chemical and corrosion resistant, as well as being durable and easy to clean.

Business partnerships

Speedy Power and Toilet Hire UK, two Speedy Hire group operations, shared a stand at the Event Show. Clive Owen, MD of Toilet Hire UK, said that the companies were exhibiting to promote business partnerships with event organisers such as local authorities and other bodies. “Until comparatively recently, organisers’ requirements could be met by local specialist companies. But, given the expansion of the market, larger, national organisations have a role play in serving its needs.” Toilet Hire (01452 311357) operates from 12 regional depots and has a fleet of over 6,000 toilets. Past clients include the Reading and Leeds Festivals and the Notting Hill Carnival. Speedy Power (0845 307 0777) offers a range of generators, including black units designed to blend in better with event and stage sets, super-silenced equipment and automated tower lights.

Another exhibitor was the National Outdoor Events Association (020 8669 8121), whose membership of over 300 comprises local authorities, show organisers, suppliers and other interested groups. “The market is really developing,” states General Secretary John Barton. “Events for special occasions like the Millennium and the Oueen’s Golden Jubilee caught the public imagination and people now expect such attractions regularly. Modern technology has also helped: with today’s structures and heating systems, you can stage an event in a field on a cold November day. This is extending the season, and driving the industry forward.”

     
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