It used to be that tours would have two sets of drapes – one for the US leg of the tour and another for Europe. These days, many tours are becoming more budget conscious and are choosing to purchase a single set of drapery and soft goods. One thing to keep in mind when considering this option is the issue of flame retardancy.
The requirements and regulations regarding flame retardancy of hanging drapery are quite different between the US and Europe. Just because a fabric passes US standards doesn’t mean it will pass European standards, and vice versa. It is especially difficult because there is no single European standard – Germany, France, and the UK all have their own standards.
Does that mean you can’t get custom stage curtains, scrims, band backdrops, stage skirting, etc., in the US and then use them in Europe as well? Certainly not. But what it does mean is that you need to plan ahead. Let us know that you will be using the drapes in Europe as well as the US. We can recommend fabrics that have previously been shown to pass both US & European standards.
Another idea – contact the European venues for each stop on the tour and ask if there is a process you can go through in advance to get your drapes approved for that venue, such as sending burn samples to the venue or contracting with a company in that country for pre-testing and certification.
The most important thing? Do your homework before the tour heads to Europe. The last thing you want is to find yourself standing in a venue in London or Berlin the morning of the show, being told you can’t use your drapes!