Nearly 14,000 fans saw David Gray, Morcheeba and Nitin Sawhney perform at a free concert in Trafalgar Square — lined up by Mayor Ken Livingstone and Visit London to boost tourism and showcase the capital’s revamped pedestrianised square.
There was also a top line up of production services to ensure that, technically, the event — organised by b-live, with production by AMP — went without a hitch.
Among the specialist service providers was CT Screenco, who had also provided video reinforcement the last time Trafalgar Square hosted a concert — in 2001, when rock giants REM performed for Nelson Mandela at a show to mark South Africa Freedom Day.
This time the celebration formed part of the Totally London campaign aimed at getting people to make the most of the major events and festivals happening in the city. Funded by the London Development Agency this initiative will run until October.
Screenco provided two of the new Lighthouse LVP-1650 16mm outdoor LED screens — in 5 x 5 panel configuration at stage left and right — for the GLA’s big day.
Everyone — including b-live’s MD and event director Caroline Hollings — was hugely impressed. Said CT Screenco sales director, Mike Walker, “The 1650 provides a fantastic display which redefines the benchmark for outdoor LED screens. We fielded it recently with Jamiroquai at the Le Mans 24 Hours event and we even had European rental companies saying how impressed they were with it.”
Unlike the Mandela concert, the stage this time had moved through 180° … built up onto the steps of the National Gallery, which provided a magnificent scenic backdrop for the event. While the Lighthouse screens relayed images from the PA wings the upstage centre backdrop, designed by Mark Cunniffe, took the form of columns of 25mm LED display — the destination for some striking graphics from Richard Shipman for the chilled performances of Nitin Sawhney and Morcheeba.
Providing feeds for visiting broadcasters, CT Screenco fielded a three camera (D-30) PPU.
There were a number of Health & Safety issues to be considered, since the concert was seen as a pilot for three large scale events which the GLA are proposing to organise next year.
An 8ft steel fence prevented non-ticket holders from getting in or catching a glimpse of the show, and traffic diversions were put in place around the newly-pedestrianised Square.
Many of those attending were ticket winners from a telephone hotline, set up by b-live. Caroline Hollings said, “We ran this over a 40-hour period and then entered the people who phoned into a draw. The first 6,000 out of the draw all received a pair of tickets.”
She confirmed that “the event was a logistical nightmare — since this is a very public space; the event site included public highway so temporary traffic orders had to be imposed.
“Additionally there was various street furniture to consider, or incorporate, for example there was a couple of street lamps within the stage wings, left and right. But the great thing about the show was that it was so well received.”
She added, “The production crew were great to work with — in particular Star Hire’s Roger Barrett, who was the show’s technical director, and AMP production manager, Steve Allen, while CT Screenco’s Mike Walker I trust implicitly, and their project manager Stuart Young did a marvellous job with the screens.”