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Campaign against new lighting regulations grows

EUROPE -
World News
May 20, 2018
Royal Albert Hall

Alarm at lack of exemption for live sector  

Venues across the continent have shown their support for a campaign against proposed European Union (EU) changes to regulations covering lighting, which it is claimed would have a “devasting” impact on the live entertainment industry.

The UK’s Royal Albert Hall (cap. 5,250) in London and Spain’s Teatro Coliseum (800) in Madrid are among more than 40 venues who have joined the Save Stage
Lighting campaign.

The EU’s Ecodesign Working Plan, aimed predominantly at domestic and office lighting, would have a “devastating” impact on all stage lighting, including tungsten, arc and LED, requiring it to meet the same new criteria,
say critics.

Due to come into force from September 2020, the regulations would affect all live entertainment events where stage lighting is used, including shows at clubs, arena, stadium and festivals, as well as lighting hire companies and equipment
distributors.

Lighting fixtures would have to have a minimum efficiency of 85 lumens per watt and a maximum standby power of 0.5W, in an effort to improve energy efficiency.

As much lighting currently in use fails to meet those requirements, it would need to be replaced. Existing regulations contain an exemption for stage lighting, but the new ones do not.

“Should this proposal go ahead as written, and unchecked, the effect on show lighting in Europe will be truly devastating,” says Johanna Town, chair of the UK’s Association of Lighting Designers, which is behind the campaign.

“We are alarmed that the EU has not afforded stage, theatre and show lighting equipment an exemption,” Dave Ridgeway, MD of UK-based lighting company Neg Earth, tells Audience.

“The failure to do so puts the full spectrum of our industry at risk. As a rental company, we will be reliant on our industry’s manufacturers to develop suitable, compliant alternatives to the lamps currently in use. They have clearly stated they simply will not be able to do so
by 2020.

“Rental companies such as us, supplying worldwide tours to some of the biggest artistes, will be seriously affected.”

Christof Hahnl of Germany’s PRG, which has supplied lighting for festivals including Rock am Ring (90,000) and Rock Im Park (70,000) says the impact would be significant.

“Not too much has been made about the changes over here, but it would cause a lot of problems for us,” says Hanhl. “Losing all the tungsten lighting particularly.”

A European-wide petition to keep stage lighting exempt from the legislation has received more than 75,000 signatures.

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