Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Backstage at... The Prodigy

The Prodigy were here on Monday evening, and they’re just the sort of act you’d expect would leave me with loads of tales to tell. Boozy antics, backstage bust ups, and smashed TV’s. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but there was none of it. In fact, just about the worst thing I can come up with was that the band travelled here in separate limos, so the environment isn’t top of their agenda!

If you were here on Monday, or have read the comments on thisisplymouth, you’ll know that it was an awesome night. Throwing back to a previous posting, it’s also great that it’s been acknowledged that although the sound system was loud, which it really needs to be for a gig like this, that the sound was perfect and you could hear every word.

The biggest worry for us ahead of the gig was that we received some intelligence that organised pickpockets had targeted this tour, had bought tickets for all of the shows, and were travelling the country conducting their crimes. Losing your wallet or your mobile on a night out can completely change your evening, and of course it doesn’t do our reputation any good either. It’s extremely rare that such a thing happens here but we couldn’t ignore the tip off, so we worked extremely hard to try and strike the right balance between taking every step possible, but without spoiling the experience for our 4000 customers.

The best way to prevent crimes like this is to deter or prevent the criminals in the first place. The Police were fantastic. On site we had a Police CCTV van, and around a dozen uniformed officers and PCSO’s. They maintained a high visibility presence around the venue, but also respected our wishes for them not to be present inside the arena, so that our customers didn’t feel intimidated. Instead, they also provided undercover officers, who were inside and on the lookout at all times. In addition, our security team of around 40 were on full alert.

We also took the rare decision to search and pat down customers on entry to the venue. We don’t do this lightly, as we don’t wish to intimidate, antagonise or scare anyone. In actual fact, the feedback that we’ve had over the last couple of days was that it had quite the opposite effect – people were happy and comforted by the fact that we took their safety so seriously. Importantly though, it worked. The evening passed without major event, and “Everybody In The Place” went home happy.

Friday, 15 January 2010

New signing

Within the last half hour I’ve just completed negotiations on our first major signing of the year.  Unfortunately I can’t tell you much more than that right now, as the announcement can’t be made for a few more weeks.


The timing of when a show is announced is sometimes completely random, but on many occasions it is planned with meticulous detail, and involves many different organisations.  With this show, the act in question haven’t released any new material for a little while, and so the first job to be done is to get them back in the public eye.  To start it all off, the 1st single from their new album will be unveiled on the radio.  That will be followed by the band doing a heavy schedule of promotion such as media interviews.  Then the single gets released, and touch wood it does well in the charts (which it should).  A week later the album will be released and hopefully the same pattern flows.  At that point, when the public appetite for the band is at its highest, the tour will be announced.


Later that week there will be a “pre-sale” which is where a small allocation of tickets will be sold early to hardcore fans through the act’s official website.  Then on the Friday, we’ll start selling the tickets


And it doesn’t end there.  A few weeks after that the follow up single will go out.  The theory being that each wave raises the hype, and helps the sales of the next.


In this case the whole process of the single’s first play on TV and radio is happening right now, and we’re scheduled to announce the show on February 1st, so make sure you check and that day to find out who it is!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

What you never get to see

Happy New Year!
Over Christmas I signed off the artwork for our new season brochure.  It's being printed as we speak (or is that type?!), and will be in the post to our subscribers and available in hundreds of locations across the South West in 2 weeks time.  It's our major showcase of the events we're presenting from now until the summer.
However, what I bet you don't know is that a sizeable amount of what we do in the Pavilions Arena never makes it into the brochure.  Or the website.  Or into any publicity at all.
That's because as well as the entertainment events we host, the Plymouth Pavilions is the South West's leading conference and corporate destination.  Organisations from all over the country (and sometimes abroad) choose to hold their events right here in Plymouth, which often go below the radar of the local community.  Recent examples include a conference for the Royal College of Nursing, a prestigious media awards ceremony and a trade union congress.  This year amongst others we're hosting a major Baptist Assembly.
In addition to that, we host many local corporate events.  Just this week we have 2 local employers hosting their Christmas parties in the arena.  But back to the national stuff we attract.  The planning cycle for these types of event is often 2-3 years.  It starts with us pro-actively marketing Plymouth as an exciting conference destination to the people who book these events, and after lots of conversations ultimately leads to some bookings. 
This part of our business is incredibly labour intensive in comparison to sticking a comedian on a stage for a night.  However, the benefits to the city of several hundred (or thousand) delegates and their families descending on Plymouth, staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants and buying in our shops is a return that far outweighs the investment. 
Plymouth is a wonderful destination, and we find time and time again that once we've demonstrated that, business will come from all over the country to the West Country.