Siyan celebrates 21 years of business

High Wycombe-based lighting and video rental company, Siyan, celebrates 21 years of business with a refreshed ownership and management structure, signalling a generational shift for this proudly independent outfit.

Anniversaries are typically an opportune time for reflection and to take stock. However, this seems even more poignant when emerging from a global pandemic. Siyan – which this year celebrates 21 years at the forefront of the entertainment industry supply chain – is keen to return to normality after a turbulent two years. Having made significant ownership and management structure changes in 2019, the flourishing independent lighting and video rental outfit has managed to weather the economic storm of COVID-19, retaining all of its workforce, while making further investments in people, processes and technology. 

Founded by Nick Valdez and the late, Bryan Leitch in 2001, Siyan has remained a proudly independent cornerstone of the live events supply chain, with a team talented enough to deliver complex projects, yet tight-knit enough to go to the enth degree on every single job. 

In 2019, Managing Director Mark Baruch and Business Director Tom Grant purchased Siyan from then company founder, Nick Valdez, who assumed the position of Technical Director alongside long-standing Project Manager Jez Johnstone, who became Projects Director with Pam Farrant continuing as Company Secretary. 

“I am pleased to be selling the company to existing members of staff, safeguarding both Siyan’s ethos and its independence for the future,” Valdez commented on the move at the time. “This is a seamless transition, so it really is a case of business as usual.”

Farrant added: “Nick and I are so glad to have been able to hand the company over to its current owners and we feel that it’s in such safe hands.”

Regarded historically for its lighting expertise, Siyan were early adopters of then-cutting-edge developments like RadLight and Green Hippo media servers while working with the likes of ZZ Top, Coldplay and Adele. Regailing TPi with some of his favourite moments over the past two decades, Valdez highlighted Coldplay’s Earls Court show during 2003s Rush of Blood to the Head Tour as a significant turning point in the course of Siyan’s trajectory. “It proved to me that we were capable of supplying such prestigious shows,” he said. “It was also great to see the success of the band, who we had been working with since their first tour as the opening act of a four band bill.”

Over the past five years, Siyan has transitioned into specialist and bespoke lighting and video rigging solutions. “Rather than staying static, we’ve evolved into a provider of almost all visual infrastructure for live entertainment needs,” Grant remarked. 

Amid the pandemic, Siyan began exploring new markets, pivoting its creative capabilities to provide equipment to the corporate, film hire and sports broadcast sectors, as well as renting its in-house production space as a livestream facility. “Even in those dark times we were able to drive growth and investment in our video capabilities. It was a bit of a punt initially, however, the risk has paid off – we are now able to provide professional-grade camera packages and PPU systems to the live events sector,” Grant explained.

Siyan also lent its services to campaigning for sector-specific UK government support amid the lockdown, helping create material for the #WeMakeEvents Campaign, which highlighted the plight of the sector with its stirring ‘Unfamiliar Faces’ video, which attracted over 200,000 views across social media platforms.


Like most businesses in 2022, addressing workforce shortages – in addition to financial stability and accruing two year’s worth of losses amid the lockdown – is at the top of the Siyan’s agenda. “There’s a lot of pressure to hire good people and we have been lucky to recruit five production technicians on a full-time basis over the past few months,” Grant acknowledged. “It won’t be long until we’ve doubled the size of our 2019 team!”

Newly-recruited Production Technician and TPi Breakthrough Talent winner, Owen McIlreavy, said his favourite aspect of working at Siyan is the culture of camaraderie. “People always have time for each other, both professionally and personally and I think when one is in such a working environment as that, it’s easier and more enjoyable to put on the growing number of great productions that Siyan is known for.”

The latest addition to Siyan’s accounts department, Tamie Masters added: “I’ve received such a warm welcome and support from the entire Siyan ‘family’ – from the directors right through to the warehouse team.”

As well as investing in personnel and products, Siyan’s medium term plans include a move to a significantly larger new premises, as part of the company’s next phase of expansion, enabling it to service its ongoing and future workload more easily.

With a busy summer season ahead, which will see Siyan’s new look workforce traverse their way through a series of concert tours, projects and muddy festival fields, Grant was optimistic about the future. “We’ve recently landed all three stages at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Music Festival, which was a big coup, in addition to our annual pilgrimage to Leeds and Reading Festivals,” he stated. 

Key to Siyan’s success, it seems, is its ability to focus on maintaining a steady rate of growth. Not only from a financial perspective, but elevating its portfolio of work which is, according to Grant, ‘self-perpetuating’. “Most of the people who work with us are either long-standing clients who are themselves growing, or are accrued based on the recommendation of others,” Grant concluded. “We are also well aware that the groundwork which we have put in over the past few years has put us in good stead for the next 21 years.”

This article originally appeared in issue #269 of TPi, which you can read here.