latest news headlines
Star Events Group Rises to Castle’s Challenges
Sitting on an exposed outcrop of rock in what is now the heart of the modern day Scottish capital, Edinburgh Castle is a Mecca for tourists the world over. And, as well as the castle itself, every summer thousands flock to the Castle as a focal point of the annual Military Tattoo.
Extensive temporary seating galleries are erected around the castle’s Esplanade for the tattoo’s spectators and, since 1991, advantage has also been taken to use the facilities for live concerts.
2007 saw two Castle Concerts taking place, Blondie with Echo and the Bunnymen on Friday 13th July, followed by Pink two days later. Star Events provided a 50’ SAM Stage with two fully enclosed, wheeled PA wings for the shows and, in a venue which combines very tight clearances with an ever-present horde of tourists, the Star Events crew were provided with a unique set of challenges.
“The Esplanade is surfaced with tarmac and slopes,” says Andy Drew, Star Events crew boss at the event. “But visitors to the castle also need to have access throughout the day, including a minibus service for disabled visitors. On a site that is already very tight on clearances, this makes for an interesting few days work!”
The temporary seating galleries mean that there is very restricted clearance either side of the stage, so the crew has to position the structure with pinpoint accuracy. However, there is not enough room for the PA wings to be in place during the day, so these are built in front of the stage, meaning that access to the castle can be maintained each side throughout the day.
Only once the final visitors had left the castle in the evening, could the PA wings be pushed into place, meaning that the schedule was very tight before the beginning of the shows.
“The public are around all the time so, together with helping local crew and instructing on procedures as needed, we really need to have eyes in the backs of our heads!” adds Andy.
As soon as the headline band is offstage and the monitor consoles disconnected, the PA wings are moved back in front of the stage, the crew taking care to observe the strict 11pm curfew.
With the castle’s exposed position, the Star Events crew also has to be on hand throughout the show, monitoring weather conditions and wind speeds. “Edinburgh has its own micro-climate which can change very quickly. You have to keep a close eye on wind speed in particular,” says Andy.
This was certainly proved on the Friday evening, as a gloriously sunny morning and early afternoon gave way to lashing rain and a cold wind from 4pm, which continued throughout the night.
But the relentless sheets of rain, which from the galleries could be seen falling all the way across from the Pentland Hills in the south to the Firth of Forth in the north, did nothing to dampen the Edinburgh crowd’s enthusiasm. A sea of umbrellas and waterproofs may have belied the fact that it was mid-July, but as Blondie played hit after hit from the SAM Stage Debbie Harry was moved to observe: “You are the craziest bunch of people I’ve ever seen!”
20th August 2007
FOOTNOTE: Select the news type you require in the red band above; this will enable you to see the current news stories from that section
© 1999 - 2013 Entertainment Technology Press Limited News Stories