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REM guide Tour of Britain through Bristol Stage

REM assisted Tour of Britain organisers in managing the 15.3km circuit, which took in some of Bristol’s most iconic sites for Stage 7 of the Tour of Britain, Sept 10th, 2016.

The Tour of Britain is the UK’s leading road cycling event, with 21 teams comprised of 121 world class riders, including six of Team GB’s Olympian cyclists, competing across ten gruelling stages. This year’s tour was won by Dimension Data rider, Steve Cummings, the second Briton to have won the event since its rebrand in 2004, after Sir Bradley Wiggins rode to victory in 2013.

Saturday’s penultimate Bristol stage was split into two parts, both started from the Bristol Downs, around a 15.3 kilometre circuit which took in iconic Bristol sites, and saw the riders cycle across Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. Each lap included the 9%, 600-metre climb of Bridge Valley Road, once during the time trial in the morning and on each of the six laps of the circuit race in the afternoon.

REM started work in April on the project, consulting many stakeholders about closing down a significant part of the cities road network, particularly in close liaison with Bristol City Council’s highways manager Duncan Venison. REM’s project director Ben Hardy explains the key factors to enable road closures on an unprecedented scale:

“Closing a road loop circuit on this scale within a city has only ever been done in London and Liverpool, so we had to create our own traffic and event management blueprints from scratch to achieve these complex closures. The race circuit took in some significant roads, such as The Portway, which carries approximately 40% of Bristol Airport traffic, and we blocked roads passing six of Bristol’s major tourist attractions. On a more personal level, I have been in touch with six brides concerned about access to their weddings and we were aware of a few expectant mothers who may need prioritised travel facilities.”

Mick Bennett, Race Director, Tour of Britain commented: “In 33 years of tours I have not seen a better organised stage, it has been a true pleasure coming to Bristol and working with the local team.”

Bristol attracted thousands of cycling fans from across the country, so to ensure the routes were safely enclosed for the riders to speed through, and that facilities for spectators’ welfare and enjoyment were in place, REM brought in:

  • 191 Bristol event personnel (in addition to the tours own event team)
  • 100 two way radios, operating across 16 channels
  • 1,700 red and white cones
  • 1,000 ‘No Waiting’ cones
  • 250 road signs
  • 300 pieces of heavy duty (MASS) road barrier

Half term report

Soundclash: 30 April – 1 May

Previously held in a field next to Eastleigh Football Club’s stadium, Soundclash relocated to Somerley House near Ringwood to develop the festival’s potential and enhance the customer experience. REM were contracted to offer guidance through the licensing process as well as site and production management.

With 10,000 people, 4 stages , 50 Djs, a funfair , VIP tent , lasers and LED screens , it was a full on weekend but a successful first run out with a new client .

Mersey River Festival: 3 – 5 June 2016.

The River Mersey is not just any river, it’s the beating heart of a truly special city that has been at the forefront of innovation for three centuries. Liverpool’s evolution has developed around the Mersey which opened as a gateway to the world in 1715 and positioned the city as a major player in the UK and beyond.

The River Festival is a celebration of this glorious waterfront with a three day extravaganza of family fun, amazing music and entertainment alongside the iconic river. The 2016 version really made waves with an incredible musical line up gracing three stages, a host of creative workshops and entertainment for the whole family. As in previous years, REM were able to draw on years of expertise, built up from working on lots of waterside events to provide site management.

Lashings: 3 June

Lashings All-Stars take their team of cricket legends up and down the country every year, bringing top-notch cricket, entertainment and fundraising opportunities to dozens of community clubs.

Their Bristol ground of choice is Downend Cricket Club and REM are delighted to organise and manage the event on behalf of the club.

This year’s stellar squad included the likes of Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Courtney Walsh, Herschelle Gibbs, Devon Malcolm, Saqlain Mushtaq and Owais Shah to name but a few.

Lovely setting, great food and drink, excellent company cricket played with huge skill and a great sense of fun – it really is a great day out.

Sky Ride: 19 June

Sky Rides are big, fun events taking over a town or city centre so thousands of cyclists of all ages and abilities can ride safely together on a traffic-free route. They’re a great day out for families, with loads to do both on and off a bike. This year the Bristol version attracted nearly 5000 entrants who rode a 14 kilometre course taking in some of the city’s best views. As always, traffic management is a big challenge with this event but working with a well-established team always get the best results.

Woking Party in The Park: 9 July

REM made a return visit to provide site and production management for the town’s biggest and best outdoor party. An estimated 20,000 visitors came to celebrate the 150th birthday of the Borough’s beloved author, H.G. Wells.

Stretching across three fields there was something to excite and delight all ages. The Time Zone offered an immersive experience for those wishing to explore the world of H.G. Wells at a gentle pace. Blasting off from the Morrisons Main Stage, Star Wars tribute act, Sci-Fi Band, had partygoers singing along to hit covers from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to AC/DC’s Back in Black. Younger explorers enjoyed finding a whole galaxy of amusement in the Children’s Zone.

The journey to the final frontier concluded with a free outdoor screening of the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga – The Force Awakens.

Cowley Road Carnival: 10 July

Cowley RoadAll The World’s a Stage, according to the Bard, and all the men and women merely players.

Wise words indeed, and an appropriate theme, in this the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, for Oxfordshire’s biggest public event of the year – Cowley Road Carnival.

This freewheeling extravaganza, which takes place on Sunday, will see 45,000 dancers, musicians, DJs, revellers and free-spirited people to take to Oxford’s most vibrant road for a celebration of life in this most multi-cultural of communities. It’s like an event espresso, short and intense but having been involved for several years to manage the pre-production phases, build and carnival day, the local knowledge and relationships we have built up pay dividends.

Bristol Harbour Festival: 15 – 17 July

Bristol Harbour Festival celebrated its 45th anniversary on 15-17 July with a weekend packed full of music, entertainment and activities around the city’s historic harbourside. This is the 4th year that REM have been principal contractor to Bristol City Council although we have been involved in a multitude of roles for nearly twenty years.

Bristol Harbour FestivalWith over four miles of activities, showcasing the talent and skills of the city, the festival does really produce an incredible variety of cultural entertainment. The big challenge is to build a festival, keep 250,000 visitors entertained whilst allowing the city to operate without too much disruption.

The festival and REM has a long standing commitment to waste recycling, amongst many other ISO 20121 standards that we maintain. As in previous years, we managed to increase our recycling rates and divert 100% of rubbish away from landfill.

Liverpool International Music Festival: 22 – 24 July

Liverpool has a long and rich musical heritage. From Merseybeat to the famous Cavern Club, to Billy Fury and undoubtedly the most successful export, The Beatles. The city’s heart certainly beats to a tune.

Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) has become the voice of the global music city, shining a spotlight on its musical pedigree both past and future.

Consisting of Commissions, Academy and the grand finale, Summer Jam, LIMF takes place in several iconic Liverpool venues, attracting tens of thousands of music lovers, making it a must-visit summer destination. Our measured approach to site and production management ensured that all the drama stayed exactly where it was planned to be.

In the end, more than 120,000 music and culture lovers descended on this incredible city for what many consider to be the best LIMF ever.

Bournemouth Summer Stage: 21 July – 6 August

Everyone likes a trip to the seaside and having worked in Bournemouth on several events, we were delighted to be awarded the contract to produce and manage the Bournemouth Pier Approach open-air stage.

It’s undoubtedly an ambitious project with 17 days of entertainment with a minimum of 25 performances. The line-up includes cover bands, tribute acts and original music, across a variety of genres.

World Yoga Festival: 29-31 July

The wise traditions of the East describe the world as made up of five elements Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. In their subtle form (imperceptible to senses), they are collectively responsible for our Mind and our Prana (Life forces) and in their physical form, they are responsible for all matter in the universe including our bodies.

The World Yoga Festival celebrates the wholeness of the Universe (both seen and unseen) by symbolising the four elements as contained in space. It’s the first year of this festival and the beautiful location of Beale Park was chosen as the idea location.


We do like to be beside the seaside

Bournemouth Air Festival

Years ago, a trip to the seaside meant ice cream, donkey rides, amusement arcades and a lot of staring at the sea. Those days are long gone especially if you visit Bournemouth around the time of the award winning Air Festival. With a record-breaking 1300 boats in the bay on Saturday alone and total numbers topping 750,000 in spite of weather extremes, the event welcomed new displays from the MiG 15 and Hawk T2 Role Demo Team as well as an emotional farewell from festival favourite, the Vulcan against a backdrop of a flotilla of Royal Navy ships. The world-renowned Red Arrows stole the show as usual performing on all four days. The REM slice of this seaside confection is Night Air with the Wave 105 Music Stage fully loaded for three nights of fantastic music. Thursday night kicked off with a Proms on the Beach style ‘Power from the Sea’ concert with HM Royal Marines Band Collingwood Friday night turned into Pop Night with Alesha Dixon, Lawson and Scouting for Girls. Saturday night saw the Wave 105 crew presenting ‘Take Off’ a journey through 25 years of dance, with club anthems and DJ sets on the beach from Livin’ Joy ft Luzahnn, K Klass, Karen Harding, Artful (Artful Dodger’s Mark Hill) and Black Box . That’s the way to do it – something for everyone and yes – we did manage at least one ice cream!

Flights of fancy

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2015

Anyone who works on an outdoor event has one eye and one ear on the weather forecast. Never more so than at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta where over 150 pilots all seem to have a slightly different idea of what is around the corner. As it turned out the Fiesta celebrated breaking an event record with hot air balloons flying in all of the 7 scheduled ascents, for the first time in the event’s 37 year history.

Perfect flying conditions meant that the 551 balloon flights took place from the evening of Thursday 6th to Sunday 9th August, in the morning and evening ascents.

Friday’s peaceful early morning balloon flight included the launch of the world’s first certified hybrid-solar powered hot air balloon, developed by Cameron Balloons and funded by Bristol 2015,the balloon marks the city’s status as the UK’s first European Green Capital.

Working in and around the historic Ashton Court Estate always presents a lot of challenges as the Smyth family who built it never really foresaw it being used as the site for one of the UK’s largest outdoor events. Add on to that, the estate’s Special Scientific Interest status with protected trees and insects, the complex traffic management plan, enormous media interest and hundreds of exhibitors, caterers and traders, it all makes for an interesting project. The REM team have years of combined experience and knowledge to make sure any drama is where it’s supposed to be.

Bristol Half Marathon

As the city’s Saturday night revellers drifted somewhat unsteadily towards their beds, the REM team were busy putting in the final preparations for the Half Marathon. Bristol was bathed in glorious autumn sunshine as over 8,000 runners took part in the 2014 run.

Wave 1 was started by the Lord Mayor of Bristol who jumped down from the podium and joined the race – running in his thick Mayoral robes complete with dummy gold chain and race number “1” befitting his status as the “First Citizen” of the city of Bristol.

Cathedral bells chimed as runners assembled for Wave 2 and with the Lord Mayor now well into his race, the starters flag was waved by Cllr Simon Cook accompanied by the Lady Mayoress and veteran local Olympian Nick Rose.

There was tough competition amongst the elite athletes with some excellent results for local club Bristol & West AC – but the real winners were the thousands of participants many of whom were chasing personal best times or taking part to raise funds for charity.

Supporters of the three official race charities St Peters Hospice, Penny Brohn Cancer Care and Refugee Action turned out in force, along with hundreds of volunteer marshals provided by the 3 charities.

Liverpool goes global

Liverpool International Music Festival

The phenomenal Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) returned for a third year from 27th to 31st August to celebrate music of all cultural diversities on a worldwide scale, alongside the city’s extraordinary music heritage.

This year LIMF explored the theme ‘Music Migrations‘ through four specially produced commissions including Routes Jukebox exploring the cultural impact of music from the Americas, The Revolution will be Live: A Tribute to Gil Scott Heron curated by Malik Al Nasir and Rich McGinnis and featuring veteran rapper Mos Def

The festival culminated in the LIMF Summer Jam, a three-day FREE outdoor bank holiday extravaganza based in Sefton Park. Headliners such as Basement Jaxx, Labrinth performed alongside local heroes Echo & the Bunnymen performing with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

An understandably exuberant Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson summed it all up by saying “The 2015 LIMF line-up is testament to the success of this event after just two years. The number of high calibre, diverse acts is staggering and I’m positive the Summer Jam element in Sefton Park is unrivalled anywhere else in Europe – what other city stages household-name music acts and up and coming talent in the beautiful surroundings of a Grade I park and all for free?

REM spend a lot of time in Liverpool and have developed some really productive working relationships. Great music in an iconic city – what’s not to like?

“What can we say – just thank you so much!

We have pulled off an incredible festival together, and we can’t thank each and every one of you enough! 3 years in and we really have created something amazing and special and that is down to each and every one of you.

We have some really special memories of this weekend – we all kept laughing and smiling when things were tough. But to see the crowds and the people enjoying themselves so much made it all worthwhile.”

3 Queens in River Dance

REM have a long tradition of working on major events in Liverpool but not quite as long as Cunard, who established the first scheduled service across the Atlantic in1840 and every year since, Cunard vessels have crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic without fail.

The historic 175th anniversary was celebrated in enormous style with the first-ever three Queens meeting on the Mersey on 25th May.

On 24th May,   Queen Mary 2 arrived at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal to be joined the next morning, by her sister-ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, creating an unprecedented three Queens spectacular.

Having performed a series of synchronised manoeuvres , the celebration finished with the three ships, the largest passenger ships ever to muster together on the River Mersey, lined up across the river just 130 metres apart as the Red Arrows performed a fly-past overhead.

As anyone who has worked on an event in Liverpool will know, this is a city that loves to party and the celebrations lasted three days with an estimated audience of 1.3 million at various locations throughout the area. Spectacular lighting projections illuminated the Cunard Building whilst Pier Head provided music stages, buskers and impromptu street theatre to create a festival atmosphere.

Having provided site and production management for the long weekend and with a busy summer schedule ahead, none of the REM team will actually be going on a Trans – Atlantic cruise but it is a fantastic feeling to be a part of such an historic occasion.

Caption; when it is reported that every vantage point was taken, we are often a little cynical about such reports. But, our MD Mike has evidence that on the Mersey that was the case, as this picture illustrates. We assume the two people actually knew each other!


Run! – it’s Bristol 10k

Bristol 10k has gone from strength to strength in recent years, establishing itself as a major date in the running calendar.

Whilst the runners are waiting for their alarm clocks to go off or doing a last minute bit of carb loading, the REM team have already been hard at work for several hours setting out the course and making sure every detail is in place.

It’s not all about elite runners and club runners as many people are lacing their shoes for their first time in a formal event.

Underneath overcast skies and a smattering of rain (which race officials cleverly describe as “advantageous cool conditions”), thousands of runners took to the streets of Bristol led by Lord Mayor Claire Campion Smith.

Men’s race winner Jonah Chesum finished with an unofficial time of 29 minutes 17 seconds, while Louise Damen was the fastest woman at 33 minutes 40 seconds.

The REM finishing time was a lot later but in fairness, we were carrying barriers, signage and event kit.

Champions Parade

Champions Parade There used to be a joke that Bristol had two football teams – neither of which were any good. Well, that’s just not true anymore.

To prove the point, on Sunday May 3rd, Bristol City thrashed Walsall 8-2 prior to being presented with the League One trophy in front of a home crowd of 11,960.

Which didn’t leave a lot of time to work on their celebratory coach trip through the city on May 4th. Actually there were so far ahead in the league, that we had a little bit more notice – but we relish a challenge and the REM home squad is always ready for action.

The first team and club management left Ashton Gate at 12:30 to tour the city with thousands of supporters lined up to cheer the team along a celebratory open-top bus parade. Thousands more turned up at the end of the route on the Harbourside’s Amphitheatre.

Club directors, Steve Cotterill the manager and players thanked their fans and a sea of red and white chanted their approval. The REM squad covered all positions from upfront staging, lighting and PA, to a solid midfield of site management and a robust backline of safety documentation. It is 60 years since the Robins last won a league championship so it really was a unique occasion. But here’s to the next one! Ends