West London production rental firm supports the UK’s leading guitar and bass event.

In September, Entec renewed its acquaintance with the exhibitions division of media group Future plc to deliver an array of sound and lighting equipment to the two-day UK Guitar Show and the London Bass Guitar Show.

Moving this year from Olympia to the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London, the twinned event is the country’s leading platform for hundreds of manufacturers and tutors to demonstrate their wares and services to the retail trade, musicians and fans alike. Centred around the sprawling Gear Hall, the show saw Entec liaise with production manager Pete Witham to equip five stages that hosted a diverse programme of stellar musical performances, showcases and masterclasses.

The Northolt production rental company originally became involved with Pete and Future plc after winning a tender against two rival firms. September’s event was Entec’s fourth for Future in just over a year. “Entec was mainly given the contract because it was able to provide a complete range of sound, lighting and some elements of staging, unlike the other companies we approached,” said Pete, who worked for a small provincial PA company before entering the ‘big league’ as a rigger on Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell tour of 1994.

After long spells of touring around America, Europe and the Far East, covering a variety of roles, Pete became embroiled in events within the musical instrument market through his work in the related electronics field. He added: “Although hiring Entec was initially a decision driven by available equipment stock, location and pricing, once I got to know Noreen O’Riordan, Jonny Clark and the rest of the team at Entec, I soon realised that I was dealing with like-minded people who were as keen as myself on delivering the best possible event.”

The Entec-supplied stages featured appearances by such revered musicians as prog rock guitar icon Devin Townsend, Nick Beggs, Paul Gilbert, Eric Gales, John Patitucci and Big Country’s original bassist Tony Butler. While the Auditorium presented star name showcases at just £5 per ticket, the A Stage attracted audiences to a series of competitions and medium-sized performances. The MusicRadar Stage held masterclasses from leading tutors and two smaller venues, the Bass Stage and Guitar Techniques Stage, hosted more intimate tutoring sessions.


Along with a host of leading microphone models and wireless equipment distributed amongst the performance areas, the audio specification for the main auditorium included a Midas PRO1 24/16 FOH console, a DiGiCo SD12 monitor desk and SD-Rack, a d&b V-Series PA (comprising eight V12s and six cardioid V-SUBs) and six d&b M4 floor monitors.

For the A Stage, Entec provided a combination of d&b C7 tops and subs, with a pair of Y10P cabinets, with a DiGiCo SD11iB console and four M4 wedges. The Bass stage saw a Yamaha LS9 16-channel desk used to mix through a d&b Y10P system with a pair of QSC K8 1kW active speakers for foldback, while a Yamaha QL1 provided the same function in the Guitar Workshop, again with Y10Ps but with d&b E8s on stage.

Entec’s lighting team selected a number of practical items from its warehouse to fulfil a variety of requirements. They included a raft of Selecon Acclaim fresnels fitted with barn doors and rigged on Manfrotto Wind-Up stands, numerous bars of six Thomas lamps, lighting consoles and dimmer packages. On the MusicRadar stage, the company also aided past client Devin Townsend’s seminar on recording processes by providing a 90-inch plasma screen.

The crew included James Jewry, who has worked on all of Future’s shows to date, monitor engineer Emma Wood, MusicRadar stage technician Tom Olorenshaw, Bass Stage tech Rik Hart and patch technician Colin Woodward, an “an ace troubleshooter” according to Pete Witham. The sheer amount of staging required at this joint event forced the decision to hire additional services from backline provider John Henry’s, while Redbeard Touring Support supplied an additional five crew as stagehands and stage managers.


Summarising his experience of working with Entec this year, Pete added: “The great thing about Entec’s west London location is that additional equipment can be ordered and often delivered within the hour, and that has happened a few times when we’ve needed something like a rack of power amps at very short notice. They always get their own trucking sorted so that’s another thing I can cross of my to-do list. Aspects such as these are so helpful and contribute greatly to a successfully-run event.

“In my mind, Entec absolutely define the word ‘support’. When senior management are immediately accessible and listen carefully to your requests, you know you’re working with people who really care. I wouldn’t even bother to take this contract to tender if policy did not determine it, because I just know I’m in the right hands. If I’ve ever hit upon a snag, they get right on top of the problem and graft without batting an eyelid. They are precisely the kind of people you want on your side.”



Photography courtesy of Future plc