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Specialty fabrics companies help the entertainment industry

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The live entertainment industry is worth looking at for all kinds of specialty fabrics companies. Some may find that they produce textiles or end products theater designers can use; others may find they can lend a hand when entertainment companies need extra expertise.

“We don’t do any of our own printing, so we always go to a local sign company,” says Ken Hollands of Scene Ideas Inc., Richmond, B.C., Canada. “They’ll print anything. In most of the major centers, you’ll have a few different companies that can print on the 16-foot-wide machines. Larger prints with fewer seams are very handy for us.” Scene Ideas uses the large-format printed fabrics for tenting, trade show booths, and the occasional stage backdrop.

Spencer Etzel, owner of The SEC Group, Wilsonville, Ore., also calls in outside help when needed. The company has considerable expertise in building tents that accommodate stages for live performance and can easily create structures with excellent sight lines, but for acoustics, Etzel says, he calls the experts.

“If we have to build any [sound] baffles into the structure, then we would work with somebody else,” he says. “Acoustic baffling is an art all of its own. We’re not really into it, although if somebody tells us how to make the panel, we can make it.”

Jamie Swedberg is a freelance writer based in Georgia.

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