A selection of recent Mainline news and outings.
Elfmas: Letters to Santa - December 2020
Elfmas event at East Lancashire Railway
East Lancashire Railway held a series of on-station Christmas events in place of Santa Season train running, which had to be cancelled due to Covid restrictions. This enabled visitors to enjoy a festive show while avoiding any on-train social distancing worries.
Mainline worked closely with ELR and Alibi Productions who ran the whole show. Production planning was completed in just 36 hours thanks to the resolve and determination of everyone involved.
Father Christmas joined the cast of actors, with Mainline supplying wireless lavalier microphones and lighting for the platform performance area. A small PA system consisted of Allen & Heath SQ-5 mixing desk and HK Polar 10 speakers, giving enough coverage and volume for the space.
East Lancashire Railway [new window]
Photo courtesy of Rory Lushman
On-train PA Installation, East Lancashire Railway - November 2020
Carriage end PA switch and inset showing PA rack
Mid-carriage speaker position
Initial plans to make Covid-safe train operation were extended to a strategic investment of on-train PA systems for all future events and on-train passenger announcements. Mainline held detailed discussions with the client to ensure requirements were met in a cost-effective and timely manner. A discrete installation achieved a great match with the overall 1950's-1960's railway carriage interiors, with careful selection of speakers, switches and cabling.
Each 100V Line PA system comprises an amplifier rack in the guard's compartment of the train, and Kestral4 speakers located at carriage mid- and end-points, and within each compartment. Each carriage has a local switch to disable its own PA. Connections are provided at each carriage end to allow train formations to be made up and altered as required.
Each PA rack consists of a 19-inch mounted Clever Acoustics MA3240 mixer amplifier and CDMP50 CD / USB media player, fed by a 24V DC to 230V AC inverter, powered from the carriage electrical system. A switched hand-held microphone is used for on-train announcements, muting any music source for several seconds.
Sadly, due to the region entering Tier 3 Covid restrictions the railway was unable to operate Santa trains this year, which would have made first use of the new PA systems.
East Lancashire Railway [new window]
East Lancashire Railway Halloween Event - October 2020
Platform performer at ELR's 2020 Halloween event
The annual ELR Halloween event took on a modified format just before the second lockdown.We took the opportunity to showcase our latest LED screen, floor-standing on the station walkway in a 6m x 2.5m format, curved snugly matching the curvature of the building wall. The overbridge had two sets of rear screen projection running animation sequences from PC's, with audio effects run in to Mackie 15 Thump speakers. Footbridge lighting comprised floor-standing Chauvet COLORdash LED lighting under Titan One DMX control, plus a segregated area for performance.
As an alternative to on-train acting, the cast performed on the main platform areas with Mainline providing wash and key lighting on a flown truss. The platform PA system comprised wireless lavalier mics. for performers, Allen & Heath SQ-5 mixing desk and HK Polar 10 speakers.
East Lancashire Railway [new window]
Photo courtesy of Rory Lushman
#WeMakeEvents, Hebden Bridge - August 2020
The evening of Tuesday 11th August saw another co-ordinated demonstration for #LightItInRed. The ongoing UK-wide campaign is drawing attention to the plight affecting our industry, and lobbying UK Government to provide grant support beyond the end of Covid 19 furlough schemes due to finish in October. Many venues, offices and warehouses were lit up in red to show their support.
The performing arts and events industries were among the first forced to a standstill and will be among the last to recover due to the impacts of social distancing. We welcome the UK Government's £1.57bn rescue package announcement in July, however we feel this doesn't go far enough yet.
At best, many of the 25,000 event businesses and 600,000 live event employees are facing a very uncertain future. At worst, we face imminent collapse of the events industry supply chain, worth around £110bn annually to the UK economy. The situation is now being treated as 'red alert' in its severity.
Although we welcome the limited return to live indoor events from 15th August, many venues from small- to arena-scale are not expecting any kind of return to 'normality' until well into 2021. Up to 70% of the live event workforce are freelance. Many have been forced to look for employment away from the industry, with the furlough scheme not covering anywhere near their normal level of income.
Mainline were approached by Calrec Audio Ltd., manufacturers of high-end broadcast audio equipment used worldwide, and one of the biggest employers in the area. We joined forces with Cleckheaton's Wedding Venue Lighting to illuminate Calrec's home, Nutclough Mill.
To the bemusement and delight of nearby residents, the mill building, dating from 1916, was washed with various discharge and LED fixtures in conjunction with LED uplighters. Chauvet Rogue RH1 and R2 LED washes were used alongside Chauvet COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 and PAR-Quad 18 LED units.
For further details please see #WeMakeEvents on the PLASA site
Client: Calrec Audio Ltd.
PA install, Bury - June 2020
PA system install at Stanley's of Tottington
With the news that pubs and bars are reopening, Mainline were pleased to be invited to install a new PA system at Stanley's of Tottington. We have previously worked with the owner on his other bar, House of Bridget. Stanley's is a contemporary bar in the heart of Tottington village, regularly hosting live acoustic and semi acoustic acts.
The brief was to provide a permanent install PA that acts could plug their equipment into without needing to bring their own mixer or speakers. The system should also be suitable for background music, and vocals for quiz nights and the like.
Mainline specified a four-speaker configuration of 6.5" + 1" boxes with a range of 75Hz - 19kHz and a max SPL of 115db. With a four-channel amplifier, the level in each part of the bar can be adjusted as required. At the stage area, a 12-channel Soundcraft Notepad 12FX mixer was specified. This compact mixer includes 2 switchable high impedance channels for direct connection of instruments, and features built in effects. Its small footprint made it the ideal choice for the space available. This mixer feeds a small Xenyx 5-channel mixer behind the bar, giving staff master level control, and inputs for background music playback and a microphone.
We also repaired the outdoor speaker system that had been down on level for some time. Rewiring the speakers in parallel presented the correct speaker load to the existing amplifier, giving a considerable increase in volume without replacing any equipment.
Client & venue: Stanley's of Tottington
If your bar needs a sound system inspection or upgrade, please get in touch.
Update and new DJ Disco lighting package - February 2020
DJ lighting package now available to hire
Throughout February we've continued to support our regular clients with their spot hire needs for lighting and audio.
Towards the end of the month we were at Pendrell Hall, near Wolverhampton, supplying PA and lighting for an evening wedding reception. This was the first outing for our new DJ lighting offer. The package includes 2 mini moving heads, 2 barrel scanners, 2 mirror scanners, RGB colour laser and 2 truss towers with covers for mounting. An optional hazer unit is available if the venue allows. Full details about our lighting and effects package.
The package is available for a single day hire of £120.00 including VAT, based on Friday noon collection to Monday noon return. Collectable with a large car due to the truss tower height being 2 metres.
Don't forget we also have a range of PA & speaker systems to suit DJ events.
At the very end of the month we signed off a new purchase. Direct from manufacturer and built to our specification, there will be more news next time on this exciting new offer.
Update - January 2020
A Mackie speaker under repair
January is a typically quiet time in the events world as everyone recovers from Christmas and New Year season. Here at Mainline, we take the opportunity to service all our equipment ready for the coming season. This is on top of the regular pre and post hire service that everything receives, ensuring reliability for your events.
It's not all repairs and servicing, of course. We continue to support regular and new clients with their hire needs, having several Chauvet fixtures on hire to Starlight Productions and SBS AV.
We have also been working with a new bar in Bury, The House Of Bridget, on their PA and lighting. After an initial three months of trading, they were looking to develop the performance, dancefloor and DJ areas after showing some improvements were needed. Mainline provided advice on décor, and options for lighting and PA. We suggested a phased implementation which will allow each aspect to develop and lead on to the next.
Supplying and fitting wall mounting brackets for the existing speakers
Rewiring speakers with new, installation-grade cabling
Set up microphones and sound mixer, and provided guidance on their use
Supplying and fitting PAR64 lights and dimming for the performance area
Supplying and fitting a pair of Martin Wizards as temporary effects lighting, for evaluation before moving to a permanent solution
Client: The House Of Bridget
Bolton School - December 2019
Lighting fit-out for Bolton School Hall
Bolton School's magnificent main hall was fitted out with key and ambient lighting for their end of year production, 'A Christmas Carol'. Lighting comprised various tungsten and LED fixtures together with runs of LED festoon. Power logistics were a challenge as it wasn't possible to light everything using LED. Incoming mains was fed from an adjacent building into local distribution while keeping cabling as inconspicuous as possible.
Lighting control was laptop PC-based Avolites Titan One, allowing staff to run the show themselves after an introduction.
Client & venue: Bolton School
Bradshaw Cricket Club Firework Display, Bolton - October 2019
Fireworks & lighting display at Bradshaw Cricket Club
Another spectacular and successful fireworks production saw Mainline on our fifth annual event for Bradshaw Cricket club. This year's display was set to music from The Lion King film soundtrack. Mainline supplied a PA system for the music reinforcement and lighting to supplement the fireworks.
The event production has steadily increased over the years with growing popularity, and intelligent lighting becoming a more important element. Working closely with our colleagues at Titanium Fireworks, several days of programming preceded in the Mainline studio. A bank of Chauvet Rogue RH1 Hybrid fixtures were used, with the show cued by the fireworks firing timecode, running fully automatically once the firing signal began.
This year saw our largest PA deployment yet for the client, using five speaker stacks. Three stacks of Logic Systems VA were used for main tiered audience areas, comprising SB2, B2 and VA units. Two full stacks of Logic Systems CA then covered the remaining areas.
Sound control was an Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixing desk driving a DX32 expander unit. AES digital audio was used extensively, feeding main VA stacks. Local radio station Bolton FM provided pre- and post-display music with a feed into the Mainline PA. The SQ-5 mixing desk channel compression and delay features came in handy for controlling the radio feed, as the crowd were 100m and more away from the Bolton FM truck PA system.
Client & venue: Bradshaw Cricket Club
Teachers Pet Rock Show UK, Congleton - September 2019
Teachers Pet Rock Show UK performing at the East Cheshire Hospice fundraiser
We were happy to help at a gig for East Cheshire Hospice. The charity's sound company had pulled out of a small fundraising gig headlined by the very talented Teachers Pet Rock Show UK. Mainline were able to step in at short notice.
The PA system consisted of the very versatile Logic Systems LM20 wedges plus an Nd215 bass unit, and LM20's for stage foldback, powered by Matrix amplification. Our Allen & Heath SQ-5 mixing desk was on FOH and monitor mixing duties.
Client: East Cheshire Hospice
Venue: The Waggon and Horses (Eaton)
New to stock! Allen & Heath SQ-5 mixing desk - August 2019
Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixing desk now available to hire
Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixing desk rear view
New to Mainine hire stock: Allen & Heath's highly acclaimed SQ-5 digital mixing desk. Never has so much processing been available, in such a small format, for so little cost…
96kHz 24bit sampling
Class-leading latency of < 0.7ms
8 stereo FX engines with dedicated return channels and access to the acclaimed RackExtra FX library
12 stereo mixes, configurable as groups or auxes
16 onboard preamps
Extra inputs available via a digital snake and configurable stage box (CAT5/6 connection)
Remote control via FREE SQ MixPad app
Up to 8 instances of SQ4You, the personal monitor mix app
Connect to other SQ or dLive mixing systems, e.g. as a monitor desk in FOH / Monitor duties
Dante networking option also available
SQ5 - just the desk, no expansion options, £65.00 / day +VAT
SQ5 + Stage Box - desk plus dLive DX32 Expander stage box with 24 analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs (can be configured with AES in / out if required), £80.00 / day +VAT
SQ5 + Stage Mix - as Stage Box option plus WiFi pack for MixPad or Mix4You apps running on your own device(s), £90.00 / day +VAT
See full details of the SQ-5.
Glaston-Bury, Propaganda - August 2019
Sunglo at Propaganda Bar, Bury
We ran the sound for Propaganda, one of many venues and stages taking part in this year's Glaston-Bury festival. This annual fundraising event continues to build from strength to strength, blessed with good weather again this year.
This was the first outing with our new Allen & Heath SQ-5 mixing desk following a few days of familiarisation. We used a dLive DX32 Expander as the stagebox, to allow more input channels. The desk proved to be a very flexible and powerful. PA was a small-format Logic Systems CA rig with a couple of Mackie Thump speakers for foldback due to the budget and very limited space available.
Thank you to all the bands who performed at Propaganda, and the Propaganda team. It was great working with you!
Please check out some of the bands in the lineup:
The Riflemen Of War
The Amber List
Venue: Propaganda, Bury
Sci-Fi On The Sidings, East Lancashire Railway - August 2019
Doctor Who exhibits at ELR's SciFi on the Sidings Event
We were very pleased that Mainline was invited back to provide lighting and atmospheric effects on this year's Sci-Fi On The Sidings. This now annual ELR Event continues to grow in popularity, appealing to visitors of all ages.
We supplied a mix of Chauvet Rogue Hybrid and LED wash intelligent lighting fixtures including an outing for our recent additions, COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 LED strips, along with Unique hazing. Control was in the hands of Avolites Titan Mobile, now available to hire from us!
East Lancashire Railway [new window]
Authentic Pole Dance 2019, St Helens - July 2019
Truss rig for Authentic Pole Dance 2019
Continuing another busy month, we had our first ever pole dancing rig build. Not exactly rock and roll, but the dance moves involved still require a very stable, sturdy rig, with the stage rake of 1:19 being a further consideration. This competition setup had two vertical poles.
A truss lighting grid design was adapted, raised off the stage on truss legs. Global F33 tri truss was used for the whole rig, with the poles supplied by the client (not currently part of our inventory!).
Client: Opal Dance
Venue: Theatre Royal
Private party, Knebworth Park Estate - July 2019
ELO Again at Knebworth
Other lighting around the stage area at Knebworth
Our third outing to this party held occasionally on the Knebworth Park estate. This is a little music festival and party for friends and invited guests only, held in the secluded grounds of the fishing lodge, and we were so pleased to be invited back.
A very varied lineup was headlined by ELO Again, a fine seven-piece E.L.O. tribute band playing all the well-loved hits. The evening was finished off by Les Lunettes, delivering a storming set of rock and pop covers from across the years in their own styles. Supporting acts ranged from a solo piano recital, the amazing voice of Abi Dhese Biggs, plus saxophonist Sandra Grant making a welcome return.
PA system was a tried and tested full Logic CA rig with flown top-boxes, bolstered by twin SB2 sub bass cabinets. Lighting comprised new Chauvet COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 LED units, 419Z LED washes, Strike 4 LED blinder/ washes, and a range of Fresnel fixtures for key lighting. A few more architectural fixtures were arranged to light surrounding trees and areas. Having a fairly large generator supply allowed us to use a few more tungsten lamps in the lighting system, giving extra warmth alongside LED colouring.
Front of house saw lighting control using an Avolites Arena desk, while sound was under control of an Allen & Heath dLive S5000 surface plus DM48 Mixrack at stage end. Multi track recording was used for some acts, using a JoeCo Blackbox BBR 64 Dante recorder.
Sankeys 25th Anniversary, Manchester - July 2019
Logic VA setup at the Sankeys 25th Anniversary event, photo courtesy of ACE PA Ltd.
When you're already planning a sizeable production outing and an enquiry lands for the same weekend, it can be a challenge. Mid-July saw us supply to, or operating at, FIVE weekend events…
We joined forces with our colleagues at ACE PA Ltd., putting most of our larger Logic System VA PA for the Sankeys Outdoor Day Arena. Two hangs of VA boxes were coupled with stage- and ground-stacked B2 bass cabinets with VA centre-fill, B2 and an array of SB2 sub cabinets. Amplification was a mix of Matrix and Camco Vortex. Sound system power totalled around 34kW, enough headroom for volume, coverage and low-end kick.
Client: Soundbase Solutions
Venue: Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Manchester
Matilda The 20 Minute Musical, Market Harborough - July 2019
The cast of Matilda The 20 Minute Musical
We were contacted by a client in distress - they'd been let down with only a few days' notice to find a replacement provider. We stepped in with stage lighting and PA for their production of Matilda, The 20 Minute Musical. A superb effort from our man on the ground saw everything ready to ensure doors opened on time.
The PA comprised a set of pole-mounted Logic LM20 monitor speakers for reinforcing a shy cast of kids facing a range of boundary and vocal microphones. Control was a small format digital mixing desk. Lighting provided a range of wash colours on stage using COLORdash LED PARs. Lighting was necessarily static, due to time and a tight budget.
The result was a lovely production and a happy client, which of course makes us happy at Mainline!
Client: Stagecoach Performing Arts
Venue: Robert Smyth Academy
Weddings, East Lancashire Railway - Summer 2019
Wedding scene at East Lancashire Railway
Mainline are very pleased to be working with East Lancashire Railway again, helping to deliver their wedding venue and service offering. We typically provide a small PA system and music playback for civil ceremonies held at ELR's Bolton Street Station.
This is an increasing popular alternative to traditional church ceremonies! Typically, we'll play the arrival and ceremonial music, with background music before and after the service. Microphones are provided when needed for speeches, announcements, and so on.
East Lancashire Railway [new window]
1940's Event, East Lancashire Railway - May 2019
1940's style British squaddies at Rawtenstall Station, ELR
Another of our regular jobs is providing a small but discreet PA system for commentary during the WWII battle re-enactments.
A pair of Mackie Thump 500W speakers are used with a Line 6 wireless microphone input. This setup provides enough coverage, throw and clarity despite the battle noise of blank rounds being fired, along with pyrotechnics.
Client: East Lancashire Railway [new window]
Venue: ELR Rawtenstall Station [new window]
Hattons Model Railways, SEC - February 2019
Hattons Model Railways exhibition stand at Model Rail Scotland
Our trade stand structure was supplied to Hattons for the 2019 Model Rail Scotland event.
The structure comprises a floor-standing 6m x 6m grid at a height of 3m, using Global Truss aluminium tri-sections from the F33 range.
Key lighting was achieved using a variety of PAR56 and pin-spot fixtures.
Client: Hattons Model Railways [new window]
Venue: Scottish Exhibition Centre, Glasgow