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Author Topic: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre  (Read 4731 times)

Brad Galvin

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Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« on: June 05, 2011, 01:53:20 am »

Hi everyone -

Typically I try to not talk poorly about people and places because it always comes back to haunt you, but this I fear will come back to me if I don't make people aware of it.

I'm currently on tour and we played a show at the Arcada Theatre in St Charles, IL. Rough load in to begin with due to the loading door height and the fact that you cannot put a semi in place without blocking traffic on the road and even then you are at roughly a 45 degree angle to the door and need to use a short ramp. The loaders/crew are very inexperienced, and don't really listen to you. There were many times we would have to repeat ourselves and then finally stop them from doing things incorrectly, just to make them listen to us. There is almost no dead case storage.

The dangerous stuff:

Upon walking in I found my audio power with hot tails hanging in a bag on the wall with no 200A disconnect. When I gave them my feeder and distro then asked the house tech (who happens to be the owner of the production company) to tie me in he simply connected my cams, put them in mic bags and laid them on the floor hot. Had this not been very early in the morning (aka before I knew better) I would have watched him do it and not assume that he had some sort of a clue.

After our lighting/video guys fixed the way they had hung their (the venue's) offstage truss (it was originally hung from the top chords only) they then proceeded to hang 3 DL3's on it. It was hung using wire-rope winches (aka the kind you find on a pickup truck). On the way up one side looked as if it was slipping and then when they finally stopped it one side dropped 8". Needless to say it was brought down immediately and our stage manager went above the ceiling to see what was going on. Turns out the things were rigged in such a way that the weight ended up breaking 3 of the 4 points the winch was held with and only by sheer luck did the entire truss not fall. Needless to say our motors were brought in and rigged by our guys and flown correctly. *** Obviously this should have been checked beforehand and I realize this. I had nothing to do with it and was on stage dealing with audio at that point and had nothing to do with any truss ***

After that fiasco my guys began getting ready to put up their flown fixtures onstage using the house truss. Once it was brought in (this stuff was on chain hoists) my LD noticed that there were no safeties on anything. Color blasts were held on with nylon ties and a large number of the clamps were (first off) not rated, and secondly put on such that if the screws were to loosen up instead of hanging there they would have fallen straight down. When questioned about this the house tech said that Reed Rigging flew all of the truss and lighting. Being a Chicago person, and knowing Michael Reed and his organization, I said I'll call them and verify what he was saying (I knew he was lying to me). Not surprisingly, I was told by the Reed employee that had supposedly done it that all they did was verify the 4 points with chain hoists out in the house, and also verify the 4 points on stage that have chain hoists. They had nothing to do with any truss or anything else, all they did was verify that everything from the hook up is correct so if you must hang, I would say hang on those points.

As far as the audio system goes, if you are forced to use it (as we were) the tech will tell you that it is a Peavey Versarray System. He's only telling you half of the truth. What he doesn't tell you is that the ribbon drivers have been removed and he has replaced them with compression drivers and still uses the Peavey processor with the ribbon driver settings. I could barely dig out enough 4160 Hz (seriously, I pulled it 15dB, and then the FOH guy pulled more during the show).

As I mentioned, my purpose in writing this is simply to warn people about the venue. The place itself is a somewhat nice place and with a decent rig it has potential to be nice, but please be careful when going in there. Even the downstage edge is rickety from a poorly built addition and then the flooring over the pit is shady as well. Then the downstairs dressing rooms are off of the most slippery floor I have ever walked across in my life. It was seriously as slick as ice because of the humidity down there so we made them go purchase rugs that we (and more importantly our band) could walk on when down there.

As I said, please be wary when advancing a show at this venue, and check everything the house tech tells you.
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Brad Galvin

Freelance Audio Engineer & System Tech

Jeff Bankston

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2011, 04:30:21 am »

it needs to be reported to the city dept that oversees that kind of stuff. major safety issue.
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Robert Weston

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 08:32:15 am »

It's good to read information like this!
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Tom Braxton

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 10:51:46 pm »

This is very interesting...the production company Brad references, that runs the Arcada Theatre, was the subject of a long and interesting thread a couple years ago on this forum.  That thread was started by the Monitor Engineer and -I believe- PM for The Plain White Tees at the time, about a festival date in NW Indiana.  Their thread mostly centered around dangerous staging conditions, if I recall properly. 

I tried a search, but can't find the link to the old thread I'm talking about.  Regardless, it sounds like not much has changed with that production company  ::)

Hi everyone -

Typically I try to not talk poorly about people and places because it always comes back to haunt you, but this I fear will come back to me if I don't make people aware of it.

I'm currently on tour and we played a show at the Arcada Theatre in St Charles, IL. Rough load in to begin with due to the loading door height and the fact that you cannot put a semi in place without blocking traffic on the road and even then you are at roughly a 45 degree angle to the door and need to use a short ramp. The loaders/crew are very inexperienced, and don't really listen to you. There were many times we would have to repeat ourselves and then finally stop them from doing things incorrectly, just to make them listen to us. There is almost no dead case storage.

The dangerous stuff:

Upon walking in I found my audio power with hot tails hanging in a bag on the wall with no 200A disconnect. When I gave them my feeder and distro then asked the house tech (who happens to be the owner of the production company) to tie me in he simply connected my cams, put them in mic bags and laid them on the floor hot. Had this not been very early in the morning (aka before I knew better) I would have watched him do it and not assume that he had some sort of a clue.

After our lighting/video guys fixed the way they had hung their (the venue's) offstage truss (it was originally hung from the top chords only) they then proceeded to hang 3 DL3's on it. It was hung using wire-rope winches (aka the kind you find on a pickup truck). On the way up one side looked as if it was slipping and then when they finally stopped it one side dropped 8". Needless to say it was brought down immediately and our stage manager went above the ceiling to see what was going on. Turns out the things were rigged in such a way that the weight ended up breaking 3 of the 4 points the winch was held with and only by sheer luck did the entire truss not fall. Needless to say our motors were brought in and rigged by our guys and flown correctly. *** Obviously this should have been checked beforehand and I realize this. I had nothing to do with it and was on stage dealing with audio at that point and had nothing to do with any truss ***

After that fiasco my guys began getting ready to put up their flown fixtures onstage using the house truss. Once it was brought in (this stuff was on chain hoists) my LD noticed that there were no safeties on anything. Color blasts were held on with nylon ties and a large number of the clamps were (first off) not rated, and secondly put on such that if the screws were to loosen up instead of hanging there they would have fallen straight down. When questioned about this the house tech said that Reed Rigging flew all of the truss and lighting. Being a Chicago person, and knowing Michael Reed and his organization, I said I'll call them and verify what he was saying (I knew he was lying to me). Not surprisingly, I was told by the Reed employee that had supposedly done it that all they did was verify the 4 points with chain hoists out in the house, and also verify the 4 points on stage that have chain hoists. They had nothing to do with any truss or anything else, all they did was verify that everything from the hook up is correct so if you must hang, I would say hang on those points.

As far as the audio system goes, if you are forced to use it (as we were) the tech will tell you that it is a Peavey Versarray System. He's only telling you half of the truth. What he doesn't tell you is that the ribbon drivers have been removed and he has replaced them with compression drivers and still uses the Peavey processor with the ribbon driver settings. I could barely dig out enough 4160 Hz (seriously, I pulled it 15dB, and then the FOH guy pulled more during the show).

As I mentioned, my purpose in writing this is simply to warn people about the venue. The place itself is a somewhat nice place and with a decent rig it has potential to be nice, but please be careful when going in there. Even the downstage edge is rickety from a poorly built addition and then the flooring over the pit is shady as well. Then the downstairs dressing rooms are off of the most slippery floor I have ever walked across in my life. It was seriously as slick as ice because of the humidity down there so we made them go purchase rugs that we (and more importantly our band) could walk on when down there.

As I said, please be wary when advancing a show at this venue, and check everything the house tech tells you.
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Matt Young

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 01:05:27 am »

This is very interesting...the production company Brad references, that runs the Arcada Theatre, was the subject of a long and interesting thread a couple years ago on this forum.  That thread was started by the Monitor Engineer and -I believe- PM for The Plain White Tees at the time, about a festival date in NW Indiana.  Their thread mostly centered around dangerous staging conditions, if I recall properly. 

I tried a search, but can't find the link to the old thread I'm talking about.  Regardless, it sounds like not much has changed with that production company  ::)

Found it,
http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/mv/msg/36437/0/0/0/
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Tom Braxton

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 01:16:01 pm »

Thanks for finding that Matt.  This is a long-standing pattern with that company, and even though I refuse to name names, I think people should be aware that they could be walking into at minimum a nightmare, and at worst a very dangerous situation with them. 

It's not that hard to figure out who they are with all the information in these 2 threads.... Just trying to keep people like us safe and sane working out there :)

Found it,
http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/mv/msg/36437/0/0/0/
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James Henriksen

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 03:26:09 pm »

I can vouch for Brads statements as I was there and helped out a little during the strike.  The venue is just not quite up to the task of handling the modern touring production. 

Just as a self-disclaimer - I was not one of the local crew, but a fellow audio guy and family memeber of brad's stage manager. Brad and his crew are top notch, and they work with one heck of a seasoned band.  Its always a pleasure to catch up with you guys when your in the area.
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karel will

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 04:52:19 pm »

Thanks for finding that Matt.  This is a long-standing pattern with that company, and even though I refuse to name names, I think people should be aware that they could be walking into at minimum a nightmare, and at worst a very dangerous situation with them. 

It's not that hard to figure out who they are with all the information in these 2 threads.... Just trying to keep people like us safe and sane working out there :)

So, I guess nobody did call OSHA?  :o

Unbelievable...

Karel.
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John Halliburton

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Re: Be Aware of this Venue: Arcada Theatre
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 07:32:39 pm »

I had chatted with Brad last week about this venue's production, as I happened to  have a show where the client went out to the Arcada the following day for a show.  I also had posted about a show this company did on the old LAB back in August of 2008:

http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/347248/1641/#msg_347248

Not a track record I'd want to have...

Best regards,

John
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