I have again attended the IFS in Blackpool (click here to see my review of the IFS 2006) and am reporting back to all you exercise fiends of the goings on this year.
The IFS is organised by Chrysalis Promotions whose directors are Ceri Hannan, Lincoln Bryden and Steve Watson. This trio, together with Kardi Laguda, are now also directors of Solid Sound, who were sponsors of the event.
More Music Choice
The big news of the event is that JumpyBumpy, who sell aerobics music by MoveYa, have been in negotiations with PPL UK, so that now if you have any PPL licence from any company, you can buy music from Jumpy Bumpy without the need for an additional PPL licence. The way the law stands at the moment, if you want to buy your music from eg Solid Sound, you have to purchase a PPL for Solid Sound. In the past, this only allowed you to play music by Solid Sound. If you wanted to use music from another provider you had to buy a separate PPL licence. However, you can now purchase music from JumpyBumpy with your existing PPL licence, no matter which company it is from.
I think that it is about time that the law was changed. Fitness instructing is not the most highly paid job and I know of instructors paying for three separate licences - which is crazy because you can only play one disc at once. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before one PPL licence will cover you to play music from any source, and I think JumpyBumpy's negotiations have paved the way for this. Incidentally, it is only in the UK that such restrictive licences exist. You are free to buy music from anywhere else in the world and use a generic PPL licence. I personally have a generic PPL licence - I would not subscribe to just one provider.
My friend and I arrived in Blackpool on the 22nd - the day before the start of the proceedings. However, registration was open on that day from 6:00pm. We'd decided that it would be best to register the day before so we didn't miss the start of the first session the following day. We arrived at 6:00pm on the dot to register, and were in fact the first to arrive - how keen was that! We were greeted by a very friendly Ceri Hannan, who personally registered us.
The gorgeous Balazs Fuzessy. Keep your hands off, I saw him first.
Water or not
A change from last year was the provision of sports drinks throughout the venue. Last year, water was freely available from water fountains but this year there were no water fountains, just sports drinks. Personally, although I appreciated the sports drinks, I would have liked to have had the choice of fresh water aswell, without having to fill up my sports bottle from a cold tap in a toilet.
Imagine if you can hoards of people all wearing red wristbands walking up and down a corridor with stands on either side. The stands were advertising and / or selling music, fitness dvds, equipment, clothing, courses and more. Kardi Laguda is standing on one side handing out lollypops. On a stand high in the air there are four semi naked men dancing to the beat and strutting their stuff. Rebecca Small is sitting at the Flexibar stand smiling at customers and the delightful ladies from Loughborough College are chatting away whilst I help myself to their free sweeties and pens.
The choreography was varied and interesting. I attended classes in Step, Aerobics and Dance and enjoyed them all apart from one, which I just couldn't get the hang of. I think I'm a bit out of practice at picking up other people's choreography and have made a conscious decision to attend more events like the IFS in order to keep my old brain well oiled. I always have a favourite presenter and this year was no exception - except this year I have two favourites. My first one is Balazs Fuzessy. He is very handsome, very good at teaching and remembered me from one session to the next which was amazing considering the number of people that attended. I'm only sorry I didn't get a photo of him for the album. Never mind, there's always next year. The second one is Stuart Harrop. He is funny, witty, entertaining, also an excellent teacher and just so friendly and approachable. He is such a nice man, I just feel I could be best friends with him. I think he could certainly be a more entertaining replacement for Graham Norton, should he ever be looking for a change of career. Perhaps I should drop Channel 4 a note...
New Presenter of the Year
I attended the finals of the new presenter of the year competition. Four hopefuls were competing for the crown, which would hopefully provide them with a good few years of presenting, together with appearances on fitness videos and DVDs where they too could utter the immortal words "mambo cha cha cha". I enjoyed each of the finalists performances and agreed with the choice of winner, which makes a change for me. However, from what I can gather, the competition entrants are selected from certain gyms around the country. I would prefer to see a competition where anybody could put themselves up without having to work for a certain club. I think that would make the overall standard of the final higher - because there would be more people to select from.
A change from last year- it appeared that the videoing of the presentations was allowed, or at least unpoliced. I'm sure that last year video cameras were not allowed in the rooms whilst the sessions were taking place, but this year lots of people had video cameras and video mobile phones and I did not see anyone being told not to use them. In fact, even the stewards were videoing the performances. I did wonder how the presenters felt about that, especially if they have a DVD release about to come out.
I enjoyed another fantastic weekend in Blackpool. The sun shone, it didn't rain once and all being well I will go back again next year.