TPi Awards reunites the live events sector

The live events industry’s favourite night out returns, with 30 awards up for grabs as well as a chance to catch up with industry friends and colleagues face-to-face for the fist time in two years. TPi catches up with the technical team that made it all happen.

Who would have thought back in February 2020 that our annual soiree would be one of the last times that the industry would be able to gather under one roof for more than two years? Despite COVID-19 being a concern, nobody was to know how devastating it would end up being for the events sector. After such a trying two-and-a-half years, the TPi Awards 2022 saw more than 1,200 of industry’s best and brightest return to Battersea’s Evolution London to socialise face-to-face and celebrate the survival of the sector.

Comic Suzi Ruffel took the event in her stride as well as getting through the ceremony in record time. A few notable mentions this year were SLX, who walked away with the inaugural Green Award – a brand-new accolade which recognises the work being done to reduce the environmental impact of the events and touring market. You can read more about this year’s winners as well insights from some of the other nominees on page 24. 

Another worthy winner was Adlib’s Andy Dockerty, who was nominated for the Outstanding Contribution Award. In a touching video piece, the audience heard what Dockerty had done for the industry during this trying time, which acted as a reminder for all as to what the industry has been through over the past few years. You can read his Backchat on page 110. 


Planning for this the show started way back in 2021, when a date of May 2022 was set for the event – a change from the traditional date in February to reduce the chances of COVID-19 restrictions being in place. 

This was the first year that the sponsorship and marketing was handled by TPi’s Fran Begaj, who wanted to ensure the experience for both guests and sponsors was of the highest standard.  

With the TPi Awards being an event for the live events industry, the pressure is always on to ensure that the festivities meet the high standards that guests are familiar with. With the rough idea of an old-school theatre theme and rudimental sketches drawn up by Justin Gawne and Stew Hume, several suppliers and manufacturers were amassed to make this event a possibility.

These included Robe, NEXO in collaboration with the Sound of Music, 80six, Observatory, Strictly FX, TRUCKINGBY Brian Yeardley, Spartan Crew, Lang, Green Hippo and Epson. Following its own successful return to live events, with its inaugural show in Barcelona taking place just weeks before the TPi Awards, ISE assumed the role of headline sponsor.  


Production Managers, Ryan Esson and Jess Webb of GoTo Live returned to the fold this year. Having overseen the TPi Awards for up until 2019, GoTo Live provided its expertise and an incredibly safe pair of hands. “There was something very special about bringing our industry together for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic,” Esson stated.

The brief was to create a stage that gave equal real estate to lighting and video departments as well as replicate the façade of a theatre used in the promotional material. “While we were really busy on the day, the entire team found time to appreciate the honour of putting on a live event for our own industry, and I think many of us felt emotional about that,” Webb commented.

Esson concluded: “From a technical point of view, TPi is always a pleasure for us; to work with some of the best suppliers in the industry and have the ability to shape the look and feel of the room is like being in a big playpen for us!”

Integral to both these elements was Observatory. Featured in TPi’s respective coverage of Andy C and Enter Shikari shows this year, Observatory’s creative flair was on full display when Simon Harris and Ben Sheppee created mood boards to expand on the retro theatre theme. 

“It was a real pleasure to be involved in this legendary event – especially the first one back after the pandemic,” commented Harris. “The feeling of the industry being back played a major role in developing the creative for the intro; a virtual fly through of a city buzzing with life and music. This theme ran through all the awards and into the bar area where we also had the opportunity to showcase a back catalogue of Observatory visual content. Aside from our creative contribution, it felt very positive to be back among so many friends and colleagues all reporting their busy workloads.”

Like many, the past few years have been a bit of a roller coaster for Observatory. “Back in 2020, we were having to let people go and now in the past few months, we’ve been building the team back up again, with three new staff joining us in June and July. This has also required us moving to a bigger office. Essentially, our two-year plan has been fast tracked to six months.” 

The company has recently invested in a render farm to cope with the increased demand along with a Rokoko motion capture suit, which is built into the company’s Unreal Engine workflow. Along with investments, the team recently produced full scenic content creation and delivery at Electric Forest festival in Michigan, USA – not to mention the full content creation for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.


One of TPi’s longest running supporters, Robe returned to TPi Awards to provide an impressive arsenal of lighting fixtures during the night. A rear LED wall that had been intentionally designed as a cross enabled returning LD, Nathan Wan and the lighting team to create more lighting-focussed looks than in prior years. The latest Robe moving lights were used by Wan and associate LD, Andy Webb to deliver a look that sat alongside the vintage theatrical theme of this year’s awards. 

Webb described the experience as “both great fun as well as a huge challenge” to design within the timeframe. Aiding Wan and Webb in their lighting endeavours were Olivia Charneux, who ran the Main Room console, and Tom Taylor, who operated the Avolites Tiger Touch II console in the bar, as well as four Robe NRG students, who operated the RoboSpot systems. 

A key objective of the lighting design was to increase the depth of the stage’s three-dimensionality. Robe’s new PAINTE fixture took centre stage quite literally, with a five-by-five grid of 25 fixtures rigged above the stage reinforcing the geometric approach. This enabled numerous distinctive shapes and patterns to be created with the light sources. Robe’s new 360° rotating TetraX LED battens were deployed for vertical bookending of the side screens. Key light for the show came from three Robe T1 Profiles and four BMFL FollowSpots, all operated via four RoboSpots Base Stations. 

Away from the stage, the main room was lit with 28 Robe FORTE fixtures fitted with Robe’s HCF (high colour fidelity) Transferable Engine. With the FORTE being Robe’s next generation of high-powered LED fixtures, lighting the entire room represented a good proving ground for the fixture, with them having to cover a huge area. In the foyer and bar areas, Wan and the team selected 20 Robe CUETE fixtures, another new release from Robe, along with 20 LEDBeam 150s to provide some atmosphere for the pre- and post-dinner receptions. Once again, Avolites was the desk of choice for the Awards, with the team utilising the brand-new Diamond 9. 

Wan commented that this is a “very special show” and noted that with a large part of the industry present. “The pressure is on to create an outstanding look, which is very much down to the hard work of a whole team on the get in and show days – and not just those working physically on the show, but all the logistics and admin that happens in advance to ensure the latest technology is available.”

Robe UK Head of Marketing, Theresa Gibson concluded: “It was fantastic to support the TPi Awards again and celebrate the industry’s latest achievements recognising incredible talent and creativity. A night full of fun, jubilation, and unity reliving the passion and excitement of live shows, while having the opportunity to reconnect with industry friends and colleagues!”


Also joining the visual team this year – and a first for the TPi Awards – was Strictly FX, which provided several gags for the event, from “prop” light by the photo wall to create a vintage red-carpet feel to a large confetti hit to round up the ceremony. “This was a celebration of getting back to normality, supporting the event and a soft launch of Strictly FX UK,” stated Shaun Barnett, Chief Operating Officer for Strictly FX.

It has been a busy few years for Strictly FX having bought the assets of Quantum to then establish Strictly FX UK. “We’ve spent the time during the pandemic getting the company up and running. From moving to London premises, testing and maintaining equipment, and building a team of staff.” This move allowed the team to plan and purchase new innovations. “We’ve collaborated with some of the world’s leading laser manufacturers to produce new lasers that we are very excited about.”

Barnett continued by stating what the rest of the year was looking like for the SFX company. “We could not be happier with 2022,” he explained. “We were honoured to supply the Platinum Jubilee Concert and Pageant, having had a blast with three headline acts at Glastonbury: Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and Four Tet. We were back with Biffy Clyro at Download and Edinburgh, not to mention Adele at British Summer Time.” 

Strictly FX are also out on world tours with Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Killers and A$AP Rocky. 


Another familiar name re-joining the TPi Awards supplier roster was 80six, who handled the video requirements for the show. In the past, the video delivery for the Awards has been shared by several companies, but 80six took on the whole event on this occasion. 

For the main room, ROE Visual CB3 was selected for the on-stage screen as well as the IMAG screens in the rear of the room. Above the bar in the central area, 80six created an LED structure that would replicate the look of the theatre façade from the promotional material, made up of CB3 and CB5 LED panels. 

In the main room two disguise gx 2c media servers ran the onstage content while Green Hippo Hippotizers ran the screens in the bar. Processing was handled by Brompton Technology SX40s while a Blackmagic PPU looked after all the camera cuts from the four URSE broadcast cameras that were out in the main room. 

“Seeing everybody in the same room after so long felt surreal,” stated 80six’s Dan Hamill. “Being reunited with clients, old friends, and industry contacts, forging new connections and networking like in the good old days brought a much-needed sense of normality.” 

Despite the turbulent time for the industry, 80six has been incredibly busy throughout 2020 and 2021. “When in crisis – innovate,” stated Hamill while outlining how the past few years had been for his company. “We turned our hand to emerging tech, bringing mixed reality solutions to live production. It propelled us to extend our service offering to include real-time tech and to pilot alternative performance spaces.” 

After working on various iterations of this style of performance space, the success of the venture saw 80six reopening its studio in May 2022 in a permanent location after significant expansion earlier in the year. The brand-new 11,734 sq ft black box studio in Slough is now established as a multipurpose facility featuring bespoke LED stages and the latest real-time technologies for delivering xR and in-camera visual effects.

“Q1 has been particularly busy for us as we’ve undergone massive expansion, doubling the footprint of our studio and moving our tech warehouse to the adjacent unit next door,” stated Hamill. “The company has been growing at speed this year; we’ve filled nine positions so far and we’re currently promoting eight new ones. We’re looking at a busy summer of events. We’re fresh off the tour with Years and Years and Madison Beer, covering 22 cities in 14 European countries.”

While on the topic of video elements. The TPi Awards had additional support from LANG who supplied two large LED screens to display the table plan for guest. There was also support from Epson who supplied a number of projectors for the main bar area. 


NEXO, in collaboration with supplier, Sound of Music, returned to provide the audio backbone of the show. After the event, TPi caught up with NEXO’s Gareth Collyer to get his thoughts on the return of TPi Awards. 

“The TPi Awards’ design is always stunning,” he began. “The main point for us is the social perspective. If I tied our involvement in the awards to potential sales, it would not work – also we put a large target on our back every year, as there is no more critical audience than your industry peers – but the social side and networking opportunities are second to none and we are proud to sponsor the event.”

Collyer continued by reflecting on the past few years for NEXO. “During the pandemic, we used the time to work on some projects that previously we’d not had time for,” he stated. “These were both structural and in product development. The crisis saw the company become more involved in the install sector. The positive news is that even with a huge reduction in business, during this period NEXO was able to maintain its entire workforce, which was very important to us.”

Collyer closed by speculating on what the rest of 2022 will look like for NEXO. “2022 is looking very positive from the perspective of projects in both rental and install,” he enthused. “The big issue for everyone is supply of raw material to keep the wheels turning. It will certainly be a challenge for the entire industry.”


A newcomer to the TPi Awards this year was Spartan Crew who as well as supplying crew for the event, also walked away with the prestigious Favourite Crew Company awards on the night. 

“It was a great feeling to win, to have the recognition of our peers and for ourselves to feel the reward of such hard work and personal commitment to a business that has transformed our lives and hopefully helped to enhance the lives of our crew,” commented Spartan Crew’s Ciaran Boylan. 

He went on to highlight how the year had been for Spartan, with the business keeping busy during the pandemic, lending its services to local councils and the NHS. “We lost a lot of crew members to other industries and despite having a strong core of crew remaining, we anticipated large challenges in recruitment, onboarding and training new crew.”

At the start of last summer, the company saw the tide beginning to turn in its favour as business began to return. “That said, we were unable to get the required crew applying from our usual avenues,” Boylan said. “We had to innovate new ways to attract people to the industry who may not have known about the sector otherwise.”  

As well as this impressive recruitment drive, Spartan has now also expanded its internal team, with a host of office staff to cope with the high demand. In total, Spartan supplied 46 crew and one fork operator for a total of 327 combined hours. Back to the Awards, Boylan spoke of what it meant to be part of this prestigious event. “It was an honour to be asked to supply our crew for the event, to work alongside the industry’s best and show what our crew can do in front of the TPi Awards audience was a massive deal for us.”

TPi’s Fran Begaj concluded: “We would like to thank our sponsors, supporters and those that turned out in force despite the busy time of year, it was amazing to have so many of you involved in an event of this scale.”

This article originally appeared in issue #270 of TPi, which you can read here.