TPi July 2019 - #239

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A science fiction inspired spectacular with cutting-edge touring technology



JULY 2019 #239






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Welcome to the Family This month, it is with great pleasure that I can introduce our newest member. Harley joins Lyndsey and Hannah on the marketing team, having already gained his fair share of experience in our industry, previously managing bands and events. In Harley’s first few weeks he’s already been out and about paying a visit to AC Entertainment Technology’s Northern office for Chroma-Q’s 15th anniversary celebration (read more on p14). Welcome to the family, bud! Meanwhile, Jacob and I have been juggling massive tours and festivals, as is our annual summer tradition. As well as checking in with the teams at this year’s All Points East and visiting the Marco Borsato crew in Rotterdam, Jacob got to witness the ever-extravagant production from Muse (p24). Gracing the cover once again, the rock trio presented a spectacular show straight off the pages of science fiction to stadiums across the UK. Sometime between visits to Download and Parklife, I pulled double duty seeing Mumford & Sons’ first venture into 360 touring (p56), as well as Mark Knopfler’s latest outing with a full L-Acoustics L-ISA system (p66). Finally, Mark fully embraced ‘90s nostalgia with one of the most talked about reunions of the year – the one and only Spice Girls (p40). Variety is the spice of life, after all. As you will see from our rather extravagant gatefold, we are proud to launch the TPi Awards 2020. Early bird tickets are on sale now - so avoid disappointment and save some pennies. It will be time to dig out the old tuxes before you know it. Saying that, this time around, a flared jumpsuit might be more appropriate… Watch this space. Stew Hume Editor

EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail:

STAFF WRITER Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8352 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail:

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Lyndsey Hopwood Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7800 557094 e-mail:


ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Harley Daniels Tel: +44 (0)161 476 9119 Mobile: +44 (0)7854 087731 e-mail: DIGITAL EDITORIAL ASSISTANT James Robertson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819 e-mail: COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail:

EDITORIAL INTERN Ruby Penson ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller:

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MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh COVER Muse by Andrew Benge PRINTED BY Buxton Press • Issue 239 - July 2019 Annual subscriptions (including P&P): £42 (UK), £60 (Europe), £78/$125 (RoW). Subscription enquiries to: Subscriptions, Mondiale Publishing Limited, Strawberry Studios, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)161 476 5580 Fax: +44 (0)161 476 0456 e-mail:

TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2019 Mondiale Media Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Media Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited United Kingdom. The 2019 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Media Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.

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08 Marco Borsato Faber Audiovisuals deploys ROE Visuals largest live music video canvas ever. 14 Chroma-Q’s 15th Anniversary AC-ET opens its doors to acknowledge Chroma-Q’s 15 years of LED innovation. 16 Mariah Carey 4Wall UK makes its touring debut on the singer’s latest Caution World Tour. 18

Jason Mraz Powersoft amplifier platforms provide coverage for the singer-songwriter.


Alice In Chains Entec rolls out a versatile lighting solution for the band’s European tour.

Fog is our passion! Cobra 3.1

PRODUCTION PROFILE 24 Muse Jacob Waite reports on a production torn straight from the pages of a science fiction novel.



Spice Girls Mark Cunningham discovers the inner workings of one of this year’s highly-sought after gig tickets.


Mumford & Sons Stew Hume catches the tail end of the band’s latest 360° live production.


Mark Knopfler The guitar virtuoso bathes audiences in a sonic sea of immersive audio.




This month, TPi checks in with the crew at All Points East, Parklife and Gottwood, among others.


Sound designers, Gareth Owen and Andy Green utilise the d&b Soundscape.


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TPi looks at the latest innovations in the IP65 rated fixture market.

PRODUCTION FUTURES 100 Vectorworks Scholarship launches for its fourth year.


GEAR HEADS 102 Optocore’s Maciek Janiszewski details the capabilities of the Festival Box.

PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 104 Andy reports from the UK Live Music Group’s annual summer gathering.

INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 108 The latest movers and shakers.


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BACK CHAT 114 The 2019 Des Fallon Video Visionary Award Winner, Richard Turner, takes the hot seat.

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BORSATO DE KUIP Dutch megastar, Marco Borsato, makes a landmark return to De Kuip, Rotterdam for five record breaking and visually encapsulating sold-out shows. TPi’s Jacob Waite was onsite to speak to the visual team behind this outlandish production…

Fifteen years ago, one of the most successful and biggest grossing artists in the Netherlands, promised to return to one of the nation’s most iconic stadium venues with a series of concerts that audiences would never forget. True to his word, Marco Borsato transformed the home of Feyenoord Rotterdam into his playground for five nights of visual and sonic revelry; opening the doors to 250,000 friendly faces with guest performances from a plethora of Dutch artists including, André Hazes, Lil Kleine and DI-RECT, Maan, Ali B, Davina Michelle and Armin van Buuren. For Show Designer Carlo Zaenen of the task was monumental – devise a stadium-filling set that not only fits the music, which is neither pop nor rock, but also showcase pioneers from all corners of the live music and entertainment technology industry. MOJO Concerts’ John Mulder, Marco Borsato’s manager of ten years, explained the rationale behind the five-day spectacular. “Marco has played this historic venue nine times before, six times in a row,” he said. “As soon as he found out that The Rolling Stones had also played De Kuip nine times, he

promised that he would return to beat the record.” Mulder explained the tour’s modus operandi was to create a historic production at an equally historic venue. “Initially, we thought that we would only play a few shows here,” he conceded. “Now, we’ve ended up doing five consecutive, sold-out performances to a quarter of a million fans!” he proudly exclaimed. However, with popularity comes expectation and a box-office budget. “We have had to create something really special to commemorate the occasion,” Mulder said with earnest. “Marco wants to give each fan who has spent their hard-earned money an experience, so they not only go home having witnessed a great show, but they also get their money’s worth.” VIDEO In video village, TPi met Project Manager, Ben Augenbroe, by the team’s backstage ‘Fa-bar’ – a space adorned with tiki posters, beer cans and ROE LED Strips. “Everything was entirely LED,” Augenbroe reflected on the 08


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Below: The Faber Audiovisual team in video village and Malf Media’s Michael Al-Far.

initial CAD drawings. “However, given the height, arched stage structure recording, and an entire data distribution system for content. As well as a and unpredictability of the weather we had to revisit the drawing board to technical container to hold technical racks with CCUs, 6 disguise VX 4 and 4 create a feasible solution.” disguise GX 2 media servers, and signal routing. Step forward Faber Audiovisuals, who on behalf of Musica è & Mojo, Two backstage containers joined as a control room and housed a supplied a monumental production package which included 1,000m² of 30-person strong video and camera crew members, 40 people during the ROE Visual Carbon CB5 LED screens, 4,000m of ROE Visual LED Strips, and date of recording. ROE Visual Evision controllers. Malfmedia’s Michael Al-Far picked up the story from a content design ROE Visual Technical Engineer, Victor Kortekaas, provided comment on point of view, he said: “ROE Visual LED screens are fantastic, because the company’s largest touring LED display to date, weighing in at 14 tonnes: when you’re going from daylight to night in an outdoor venue the video “For projects of this scale, it is nice to be involved in the background at an screen is essentially the nucleus of the show. The quality and the size of it is early stage, so we can provide the best solutions as paramount. The LED screens had to be ROE Visual a manufacturer.” CB5s because it’s the best screen out there, there’s ROE Visual provided some additional support no doubt about that.” in setting up the processors. Kortekaas said: “We Under the creative supervision of Al-Far and support in the background, ultimately, it is about his associate content designer Olav Verhoeven being of service to our customers, so that they from Studio Regie, the songs were accompanied of can deliver a good performance in the field. Faber cinematographic footage, with a great eye for detail “For projects of this scale, Audiovisual supplies the hardware as manufactured and finesse. When it came to content design, Marco by ROE Visual, however, without great content Borsato adopted a hands-on approach, as Al-Far it is nice to be involved in creators our screens won’t stand out. It’s about the explained: “As a photographer and musician, he’s the background at an early total package, the cooperation between companies in a very creative phase of his life and that helps that make or break a production. We are really us enormously when it comes to devising video stage, so we can provide proud to be the engine that drives our customers’ content.” the best solutions as a projects.” Using some of the latest AR techniques, the To capture content, Faber Audiovisuals supplied creative team added some interactivity to the show, manufacturer.” a camera package, playback and additional video unseen before on a live concert. “Every show Marco Victor Kortekaas, facilities. The camera packaged comprised 17 Grass puts on, he tries to push the boundaries a little Valley LDX 86 N Series cameras, 21 on the date of because he can, this year, we sat down and decided ROE Visual Technical Engineer 10

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to do some radical, like AR techniques to create an immersive environment screen. “There’s no other tool in the market but Notch that will allow us to for the audience.” manipulate and handle the live feeds in real time.” For the introduction of the show, Marco Borsato donned a motion Vrij Zijn had it all: glossy 3D renders with embedded dynamic live feed capture suite in pre-production. “We transferred his image in 3D onto a live in a ground breaking new fashion and on-screen AR. “This lets us not only video feed and played it to the audience to make it look like he was walking add a level to the content that would be impossible to achieve in the real the span of the roof of the stadium.” world but sucks the audience into the screens - creating an audience To which end, the audience look over to the roof of De Kuip, as the participation and ties both on and off-stage worlds together. That, to me, is artist jumps down, in VR, and flies onto the stage. “Seeing the confusion the future of live event entertainment.” on the peoples face as they see Marco walking on the ridge of the roof Al-Far stated: “This show ticks all boxes as a concert goer. You walk on the screen was a great sight,” he enthused. “For that brief moment, away visually, emotionally and sonically stimulated from a show of this the audience believed the illusion. As soon as he jumped of the roof and magnitude and all of those elements fit together perfectly,” he stated started flying, it became obvious that this was AR,” Al-Far noted with a wry enthusiastically, coining Borsato De Kuip as the “ultimate fan experience”. smile. He stated: “I’m proud of what we, as a team, have achieved. Marco Borsato’s Visual Solutions programmed the video content on six of disguise vx 4 believe and encouragement has been excellent and as creators - it’s media servers, making sure the right images at the right time were shown. refreshing to deal with an artist with that mentality.” Control of the E2 was also achieved by disguise servers. Realtime image Al-Far gleamed with enthusiasm: “Working with an Artist who is so grading was then added to the live feed in disguise, and the use of Notch excited and wants to be part of every step of the creative process has effects during the show make way for a range of opened up a lot of creative solutions for us. live feed integration in 3D scenes. Al-Far teamed up Marco handled everything we threw at him with a with Visual Solutions’ Jo Pauly because “you just professional enthusiasm he likes of which I have not don’t change a winning team”. He said: “For large often experienced before.” canvas shows, like this one, it’s hard to provide a For one of the songs, the creative team full end solution for every song and dotting the I’s booked Europe’s biggest water studio and for the for the perfect playback,” he noted on the media full duration of the day Marco was submerged in server end of things. hurricane like waves. “It made for some spectacular “Working with an Artist who “Notch allows us to embed live feeds in ways footage and you just know that when this song is so excited and wants to no other software package will let us do,” Al-Far is played in concert on those vibrant screens, in explained. During one song, the camera travels combination with the music and the spectacular be part of every step of the through a futuristic city, modelled and fully lighting settings, something magical happens. creative process has opened rendered in 3D - the camera then moves through MBDK is an accumulation of little magical moments the billboards and during the chorus the team like this.’’ up a lot of creative solutions insert the AR to open windows to another world, The AR team boasted Hans Cromheecke, for us.” duplicating to 30 versions of a female dancer Maarten Francq, Scott Millar, Sebastian Barić, Frank flying on a disc, over the audience’s head on the Brusselman, Jeroen De Haan, Koen De Winne, Michael Al-Far, Malfmedia 12


Teun Toebes. IMAG grading was handled by Lewis Kyle White. The content team comprised Ellen Cosyn, Marco De Ruyck, Bart Tauwenbergh, Sander Heynderickx, Lieven Vanhove, Tim Vandekerckhove, Miki Arregui, Aitor Biedma, Nina Caspari, Katrien Frenssen, and Enora Oplinus. “Everything has to be up to par technically, and ROE and Faber Audiovisuals have been excellent in providing us that,” Al Far openly declared: “This is one of those projects where 10 years from now we’ll be talking about the fact 250,000 satisfied customers came to De Kuip over five nights and walked away happy. Simply put, Marco Borsato knows how to throw a party!” Looking around the De Kuip, Augenbroe reflected on the undertaking: “It’s truly one of the best shows I’ve seen, as soon we see the crowd walk through the doors in their thousands, it makes it all worth it,” he conceded: “It was a long and often heavy road but I’m really pleased with the outcome. The entire team have put in a lot of effort to achieve this feat.”

SGM P-2 Wash lights at 43° - while 1m worth of GLP impression X4 Bar 20s, 78 to be exact, added to the lighting arsenal along with half a metre of 11 GLP Impression X4 Bar 10s. Additionally, 22 Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 LEDs and 42 Briteq NonaBeam BQ1s contributed to the extensive lighting rig. For key light, 4 Robert Juliat Lancelots were positioned at angles between 2-5°, controlled by a Robert Juliat Follow-Me Remote follow spot control set. For control, a pair of MA Lighting grandMA2 Lights were utilised with a grandMA2 Faderwing and 8 MA Lighting grandMA NPUs. Ampco Flashlight’s Daniel van Lochem, who was responsible for lighting, concluded: “Two things really stood out at this production for me,” he began. “One was the level of detail from all the companies involved achieved,” van Lochem praised the finishing of the materials as being taken care of to “perfection”. He concluded: “The other thing is the collaboration; whether it is with production or with the suppliers present, it was really nice, smooth and an easy-going affair.” TPi Photos: Jorrit Lousberg & Faber Audiovisuals

LIGHTING Underscoring the visual elements of the show was a plethora of Robe lighting fixtures. On the rig were 84 Robe Robin MegaPointes, 8 Robe Robin BMFL Spots, 92 Robe Robin LEDBeam 150s, 280 Robe Spiiders and 16 Robe Squares. A further 262 SGM Q-7 Wash lights were also placed at 110° along with 28


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CHROMA-Q CELEBRATES 15 YEARS OF LED INNOVATION To acknowledge Chroma-Q’s anniversary, A.C. Entertainment Technologies opens the doors of its Northern and Southern offices for a series of summer open days.

The events, held in the North and South offices of Chroma-Q’s UK dealer, A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET), presented a fantastic opportunity for users, new and old – including lighting designers, specifiers, rental production companies and venues – to get hands on with the latest fixtures. The full Chroma-Q range was on display, including its film and broadcast portfolio, featuring the Space Force and Space Force onebytwo soft lights, the Studio Force II studio light, and the Brute Force quarter wendy alternative. In addition, the multi award-winning Color Force II cyc light and the Inspire range of colour changing LED house lights were also on show. The

Vista 3 by Chroma-Q lighting and media control range of software and hardware solutions featured at the event as well. The British summer weather held out and allowed guests to indulge themselves with a selection of specialty gin and tonics from the Just the Tonic bar and enjoy an assortment of delicious BBQ food, whilst sat in the sun. The events were supported by Luminex. During the events the company showed the latest range of LumiNode converters, as well as its ever popular GigaCore Switches, and AC-ET’s in-house cabling manufacturer, Tourflex Cabling were also a proud supporter, giving guests the opportunity to discover their new services, including laser engraving and overmoulding. 14


“These events have gone down really well with our customers,” commented Jonathan Walters, UK Sales and Purchasing Director for AC-ET “Not only was it a great chance to network and catch up with old and new friends, but we were able to show them the latest technologies and demonstrate how far Chroma-Q has developed with LED.” Peter Marshall, Sales Director of PRG, attended the High Wycombe event: “A big thanks for a fantastic Open Evening on Tuesday night, the

barbeque was impressive, the food was delicious, and what a great gin bar! Just the tonic! It was also nice to see the latest kit and get hands on with the many new LED products from Chroma-Q. I really enjoyed networking with all of the other guests and seeing some old faces from the past.” TPi Photos: Chroma-Q



MARIAH CAREY 4Wall made use of its recently launched UK base to supply lighting for Mariah Carey’s latest Caution World Tour alongside the live offering’s visual partner, Transition Video.

The award-winning US songstress returned to the UK earlier this year as part of her wider Caution World Tour in support of her 15th studio album. As part of the European leg, the singer performed a rare threenight residency in the Royal Albert Hall – marking Mariah Carey’s first headlined performance in the historic venue. With a touring production that had carried over for her previous American leg, the artist’s internal team called upon the services on 4Wall UK to oversee lighting duties. 4Wall UK, established in April following the complete asset purchase of Blackburn’s HSL Group Holdings, offers a transatlantic service for touring productions. Mariah Carey’s latest European run was the first tour undertaken by 4Wall UK since the purchase. TPi spoke to Jordan Hanson, Account Executive from 4Wall about the experience. “The tour was brought in via the 4Wall US,” he began. “It was a nice rig with all pre-rigged truss. There was one straight UK truss with six angled truss with a further six upright towers.”

The flown rig comprised Robe BMFLs and Mega Pointes along with a selection of Solaris Flare Q+s. The side towers housed GLP impression X4 bar and Robe MegaPointes. While the floor was filled with six GLP impression X4 Bar 20s on US risers in a line with six Robe MegaPointes split between stage left and right, located next to the towers. “There weren’t really any major challenges,” enthused Hanson. “It was a great run with great people from Production and Stage Managers to LDs, riggers and video crew. A fantastic team to be part of.” The 4Wall team on the site consisted of Crew Boss Ian Stevens and two lighting technicians Marcel Wijnberger and Joe Willcox. Also on the tour was Transition Video, aiding the visual feast. “We were initially contacted by Jordan from 4Wall to come on board as video Supplier for the European leg,” explained Rhodri Shaw, Director of Transition Video. “The design for the show meant that we had several different planes of LED screen, not just an upstage ‘slab of telly’. This meant the load-ins took a little longer as the different screens were flown on different trusses. This did 16


have the benefit that they could scale down the show for each venue if the full show would fit, which was the case at the Royal Albert Hall.” The company supplied, 105m2 of the ROE Visual CB5 along with dual Panasonic DZ21 video projection IMAG screens. We supplied two operated cameras at FOH, two Sony HXC FB80 with Canon XJ95 Long lenses along with four Marshall mini cams and a Panasonic AWUE70 hot head camera. “The CB5 was actually specified by Mariah’s rider due to it being lightweight, hi-res and bright. It’s also a solid product that you can now get access across the globe.” Also supplied as part of the video system was an active and backup PRG MBox media server package which drove the content on the LED. The video crew comprised Director, Dan Ormerod, Video Crew Chief, Will Wight, LED Tech, Kieran Yates, Systems Engineer, Bjorn Parry and Camera Operators, Jamie Cowlin and Rupert ‘Pesh’ Dean. “This was the first time working with 4Wall, the guys thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we look forward to hitting the road with them again soon,” stated Shaw. “It was an absolute pleasure working with 4Wall and Mariah’s production team on this tour. The whole team worked really well together and we look forward to working with the production team in the future.” In conclusion, Hanson commented: “It was a pleasure to be involved and couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of people or a smoother run from the first tour to happen as 4Wall UK.” TPi Photos: Joe Okapo



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POWERSOFT GIVES JASON MRAZ GOOD VIBES IN MALAYSIA Powersoft X8 and X4L amplifier platforms provide coverage for the artist’s performance at the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur.

Singesen Technical Production and Chan Lee Sound and Light selected a powerful combination of Powersoft’s X8 and X4L amplifier platforms for American singer-songwriter, Jason Mraz, as he stopped off in Kuala Lumpur for the third Asian date of his Good Vibes World Tour. As an artist that favours the fidelity of the songs themselves over the usual bells and whistles associated with a modern-day pop show, the quality of the sound at the Axiata Arena had to be the technical crew’s main concern. The main hangs at the arena were made up of 12 JBL VT4889-1s per

side, with eight JBL VT4888s flown per side as side fill and six JBL VT4888s in the centre. The 20 JBL VT 4880s subwoofers were ground stacked at the side of the stage, while a series of Nexo PS15s wedge monitors were placed along the downstage edge. A total of six JBL VTX A8s were used as front fill. The main system was driven by 11 of Powersoft’s road-proven X8 amplifier platforms, while a pair of the company’s latest touring product the X4L - were also used to power eight of the VT4880s, with each channel driving just two of the subs. The crew made use of the brand new X4L – launched at this year’s 18


Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt, Germany – which currently stands as the “We are big fans of the software’s Smaart v8 integration,” he most powerful amplifier on the market. As Jackie Ng, Owner of Singesen, commented. “In this case, it did a very good job of distributing equal SPL explained: “The gig was used as something of to cover all of the major sound locations. The a field test for the X4L amps, before loading it Interactive Tuning plug-in is also a great tool, with VT4880A long excursion subwoofers in the as it helps us to keep the system quiet while we future.” do system calibration. This allows us to see the The Powersoft gear used to drive the Good system response simulation without blasting Vibes in Kuala Lumpur were made available pink noise at every change. We then only need thanks to Singesen Technical Production’s to verify in the end with the predicted curve.” recent investment in the Italian manufacturer’s Ng was also keen to point out the industry leading technology - a testament to assistance that came from Powersoft’s staff their growing confidence in the brand. as well as its software. He concluded: “The “We have used Outline systems Ng said: “We have used Outline systems technical representative from Powersoft was for some time, so we were familiar with the there when we received our amplifiers, so they for some time, so we were reliability and high-performance levels of were able to make sure that everything was in familiar with the reliability Powersoft amplifiers. When the opportunity working order. We then did some testing and, to invest in Powersoft amplifiers presented using the LiveImpedance data in ArmoníaPlus, and high-performance levels itself, it really was a no brainer for us. Since we managed to detect an issue with our of Powersoft amplifiers. When Powersoft works with all our speakers in our speakers. Thanks to the software, these inventory, being an open platform, we couldn’t problems were rectified quickly and we were the opportunity to invest in be happier with our decision.” able to get on with putting on a great show.” Powersoft amplifiers presented As well as the high praise Singesen had TPi from the products themselves, he also Photo: David Wolff-Patrick itself, it really was a no brainer highlighted the effectiveness of Powersoft’s for us.” ArmoníaPlus software during this particular application. Jackie Ng, Owner of Singesen 19


UNCHAINED EMOTION Entec provides a versatile lighting solution for Alice In Chains’ 2019 European tour.

American rockers Alice In Chains crossed the Atlantic in May to begin a six-week tour of the UK and Europe, enlisting Entec’s support as their lighting provider. In the experienced hands of Production Manager, Paul Binder, the six-week itinerary saw the band follow their latest and most successful album to date, the Grammy-nominated Rainier Fog, with an astonishing show that spanned arenas, festivals and theatres. Now 32 years into their career, the Seattle four-piece toured Europe last year with Entec supplying fixtures, control, rigging, motors and crew, and this was a formula that Binder was keen to preserve, having originally encountered the west London rental company on Josh Groban’s Stages tour in 2015. Said Binder: “Entec has a collaborative relationship with our US vendor, Premier Global Production [PGP], based out of Tennessee, and I deal directly with [Entec MD/head of lighting] Noreen O’Riordan who never fails to come through for me. I once asked her to supply some chandeliers for Josh Groban and she found the perfect type by getting in touch with a wedding specialist. That’s just one example of how she and the company go above and beyond what’s expected.” The entourage arrived at Entec’s Northolt warehouse to finesse the specifications of two distinct lighting packages: a floor lighting combination travelling in two trucks to fulfil the general run of European shows and an expanded four-truck package that covered three major arena dates at Braehead Arena in Glasgow, Arena Birmingham and Wembley’s SSE Arena.

Binder commented: “Our stage manager Albert Bermudez, our lighting guys and I prepped the floor package at Entec, then the lighting boys stayed to work on the arena rig while Albert and I went to Dublin where the band rehearsed for a few days at Camelot Studios before their first date at the Olympia Theatre. To prepare for the arena run, we loaded into Glasgow a day early so we had enough time to program the larger rig, and we’ve had nothing but amazing comments from everyone.” Alice In Chains’ PM since 2016, Binder explained that the intention of the show design – by Scott Holthaus – was to allow audiences to focus on the band with little distraction. “This is a band that could have six PAR cans on stage and still rock, and that was partly the inspiration behind Scott not wanting to get too fancy and eliminate all front lighting,” he said. Despite the minimalist aspirations, however, the show makes a feature of four 6ft x 8ft custom floor pods that contain a total of 192 PAR 64 lamps running on Avolites ART 48-way dimmers, and 24 discreet Ayrton MagicBlade-FXs. And there’s a twist: the reverse sides of the pods are fitted with LED screens and, at various points in the show, the pods spin around to reveal video content, with the MagicBlades firing beams of light between them. Lighting Director and Programmer, Matt Guminski joined the team after his predecessor Marty Postma came off the road last year to accept a position with Robe. Once Matt added his own ideas to Scott Holthaus’ original design, the show effectively became the end result of a 20


517 Yeading Lane, Northolt, Middlesex UB5 6LN, United Kingdom +44 (0)20 8842 4004 • • Photography © Joe Okpako •




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collaborative effort that blends moments of high theatricality with full-on rock ’n’ roll. “It’s now an amalgamation of ideas,” explained MG Lighting Design’s founder. “I’m not taking anything away from Scott’s concept or Marty’s contributions; I’ve simply added an extra layer. I learned early on that AIC are a very mood-centric band with a dark, brooding element to some of their music, and Scott translated that so well with his design. “What I’ve tried to do is drive the focus so when Jerry Cantrell is playing a big guitar solo, I pull a bunch of fixtures on to him, allowing the others to fade into the background. It promotes that high school feeling of excitement amongst the crowd, like you’re hearing it for the first time.” Entec’s floor package consisted of 24 Ayrton MagicBlade-FXs and 10 MagicBlade-Rs, 4 Elation Cuepix WW4 blinders and eight Martin by Harman Stage Bar 2 LED battens, along with a pair of Base Hazer Pro units. For the arenas, the spec was boosted to include an extra 20 MagicBlade-FXs plus 20 Robe MegaPointes, 13 Martin by Harman Atomic 3000 LED strobes, 10 JTE PATT 2013s, six Thomas 4-Lite Molefay and draping. The arena fixture choices, said Guminski, were inspired by those used on a smaller scale during the preceding American tour. “We chose to major on the use of the MagicBlade-FX which I really like because of the versatility of colour it offers. There are several moments where the MagicBlades give us single point source looks and by zooming them out I can achieve a beautiful, giant wash. I hadn’t seen these fixtures before but Entec has a lot of them, and for the arena design we added 10 MagicBlade-Rs on stage left and right poles because while they have a tight, narrow-focused beam, they punch through haze really well.” There is an air of narrative about the way the lighting builds throughout the performance, incorporating simple spots and MagicBlade waterfall effects in the first two numbers, and then PATT 2013 tungsten softlights and Megapointes in the fourth song, leading to a breathtaking chorus. Guminski noted: “There’s a distinctly old-school flavour at the beginning with modern textures creeping in as the show progresses. When we finally revolve the pods to create a video wall, the MagicBlades blow through with this immense brightness.” Guminski controls both lighting and video content from FOH with a High End Systems Hog 4 full-size with a playback wing. When he is off the road, the Boston native serves as a beta tester for High End’s Hog 4 Software Development and is a certified console trainer for the platform. “I’ve never

wavered from Hog,” he claimed. “Being able to seamlessly cross from the Hog 3 platform to the Hog 4 platform was a huge bonus.” The tour is also carrying the increasingly popular SpotTrack automated follow spot system which PGP shipped over to Europe to work in conjunction with Robe BMFL wash beams supplied by Entec. Aside from the health and safety benefits of not having crew working at height, the system frees Guminski from the burden of calling spots during the show. AIC’s SpotTrack system consists of three PC terminals, a DMX interface and a GoPro video camera that is set up on the back truss to transmit a wide view of the stage to the spot operators backstage. The operators are then able to follow the performer with a mouse. “We usually assign two of our truck drivers to partner with our lead operator Andrew ‘Willis’ Johnson at the SpotTrack terminals,” commented Guminski. “This just leaves me to control intensity and colour, so it’s quite liberating.” For the full European tour, Ian ‘Mac’ MacEwan is Entec’s general technician. He was joined on the arena section by Sudip Shrestha and Will Mashiter, who worked alongside AIC tech Keenan Bevans. Guminski: “When we visited Entec’s warehouse at the start, Patch Cleaver and Lee Stennett were our go-to people; we had their undivided attention and they couldn’t have been more helpful. Our pods were already wired and assembled, with our 110v PARs replaced with 220v versions. Within a day, they had everything in pre-rig truss and built all the looms, enabling quick rigging at each show. We were completely taken aback by such an efficient and friendly service.” Alice In Chains’ European itinerary comes to a close in Athens on June 24th and will be followed by a six-week American tour as co-headliners with Korn. A satisfied Paul Binder said: “It’s all turned out so well on this leg, particularly the arena shows which looked absolutely fantastic. The band and I were very happy, and Entec continues to do us proud.” Noreen O’Riordan congratulated Paul and his team for their sterling work and said: “We are very honoured to be involved with this tour and wish the guys all the best with Korn!” TPi Photography by Joe Okpako 22


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MUSE SIMULATION THEORY WORLD TOUR Heralded for their groundbreaking live shows, Muse returns to Etihad Stadium in Manchester, with a science fiction inspired live spectacular, harnessing cutting-edge touring technology, as TPi’s Jacob Waite discovers…



Torn straight from the pages of a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel, Muse’s Drones tour showcased the technical innovation of live touring. Four years on, the band has further pushed the boundaries with Simulation Theory World Tour, a production influenced by the dynamic realms of science fiction, simulation hypothesis and the band’s latest VR-themed album. During the height of Mancunian summer, a sodden TPi arrived at Etihad Stadium to lift the lid on the technical cogs and crewmembers behind the feat.

first or second time. Touring worldwide at this scale and technical level requires vendors to perform above and beyond and we have the perfect team.” The roster was made up of Airworks Inflatables, ER Productions, eps, Legacy Power Services, Phoenix Bussing, PRG, Rockpool Tour Catering, Showsmiths, Silent Partners Studio, Skan PA Hire, SoundMoves, Stageco, TAIT, The Tour Company, Transam Trucking, Tzell Travel Group and Upstaging. Despite the prestige of the supply chain, the PM outlined the unpredictability of European weather coupled with an open-top, frontloaded show as the tour’s biggest challenge. “The stage design doesn’t particularly lend itself to weather protection and there’s no direct solution, you’re either out in the elements or not,” he pointed out that another consideration that comes part and parcel with an outdoor summertime stadium show is pacing the timing of the show’s various lighting and special effect ‘gags’ in-order to fulfill the show’s breathtaking potential. “Once the sun sets, during the second half of the show, is when things really come to life,” he declared.

PRODUCTION Brought in following Muse’s Drones tour in late ’16, Production Manager, George Reeves was embarking on one of the few grandiose tours that he’s witnessed from conception to inception. Speaking from the production office, Reeves wound the clocks back: “It’s almost been two years since the initial planning conversations,” the PM began. “We started the tour in US arenas in February, but it was always meant to become the global stadium show that it is today.” Asked about the catalyst for the tour, the PM explained that the artists adopt a hands-on approach. “Matt is really the driving force of the tour,” he said. “As a technically minded individual, he is very involved in the process and works directly with the creative and technical team from start to finish.” Despite the preparation, the PM explained that the camp had an “incredibly short” amount of time between finishing the US run and embarking the stadium tour, with only four days of production rehearsals in Prague to “modify the show” from arenas to stadiums. “It was very aggressive timescale. However, we were prepared for a larger rig and although it has been difficult to load-in and out with all the rain, the result has been excellent,” stated Reeves. “I am relatively new to the Muse camp and we have selected some long time Muse vendors as well as some that are supporting the band for the

SHOW DESIGN Tasked with transposing the sci-fi spectacular to the stage was Creative Director, Jesse Lee Stout whose partnership with Muse began on the Drones tour. While the band was penning Simulation Theory, they brought Stout onboard to ensure a holistic and cohesive aesthetic thread throughout their campaign. “I started off with press photos, styling and art direction of the band,” Stout reflected. “I also designed the album packaging, some VR games before it was concert time.” During the album writing process, Matt Bellamy discussed with Stout his fascination with metamodernism; a term that refers to the idea that the cultural zeitgeist is an amalgamation of re-contextualised elements from our recent past. Think Ready Player One, Stranger Things, Wreck It Ralph 26

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mixed with synthwave subculture and you’re on the right track. “I helped amplify that vision by creating nods to many ‘80s and ‘90s pop culture references from the band’s photo shoots, to the album art, and the show you’ll see hints of Gremlins, E.T., Terminator, Aliens, Back to the Future, among others,” Stout explained. The European legs of the tour were amped up with more performers, a larger stage and screen, and much more integrated IMAG. A robotic marching band, a repelling HAZMAT team straight out of X-Files, female assassins wielding massive guns, zombies, exoskeleton soldiers, and ninjas were among the visually climatic elements of the production. “The performers really bring the fantasy element to life,” Stout said. “We were striving for a rock opera convention, drawing influence from pop troupes, sci-fi themes, and ‘80s nostalgia to create something that was larger than life, a simulated reality, while staying true to Muse’s brand.” In the production process, segues were required to help with costume changes and hone in on the story. “The band would quickly create a soundscape piece, I’d add video to that and instantly we had these very defining moments of the show that anchored the acts in the show together to create a cohesive show that is much greater than the sum of its parts.”

Stout also devised the show’s script to fit the conventions of a video game with a series of levels, characters, worlds, and of course, villains. “I wanted Murph, which is a nod to Murphy from Robocop, to appear like a video game ‘end boss’. The band defeats him in the end and rejoices with the unification anthem, Knights of Cydonia.” Working closely with the production team, Airworks Inflatables came up with a convincing design and a simple plan to animate the creature. Using different pressurised sections, ropes and pullies, skilled teams of puppeteers were able to make Murph the Robot, breathe, attack, and open his mouth to reveal a powerful lighting fixture housed in the back of his throat. Airworks Inflatables also crafted two alternate versions of Murph the Robot, whereby an extra belly section could be added for the stadium tours when more height is needed or removed for more intimate locations. Airworks Inflatables’ Matthew Whitehead commented: “All of us here at Airworks are very proud of this piece and have really enjoyed the attention and success he has found on the tour.” STAGING Stageco Germany provided structures at all 17 of Muse’s European open-air shows. Guided by Dirk de Decker from Stageco’s Belgian office, Manuel Billian and Stefan Miller drove the R&D and engineering efforts from Stageco Germany in Königsbrunn, where the specialised parts were manufactured ahead of the entire structure being approved by German TÜV. The tour carried two leapfrogging sets with Frank Böhme and Andreas Deubach each heading a team of 13 crew, managing 17 steel trucks with a combined load of 375 tonnes. Measuring 30m tall and approximately 55m wide, with 1,500m² of decking, Stageco’s structure consisted of nine towers that support the curved, 13.2m high by 44.5m wide LED screen and the six 14m+ cantilevers from which the PA and lighting are suspended. Hanging the 40 tonnes of PA and lighting from the long outriggers gives excellent sightlines, even from an off-centre seat.

MURPH THE ROBOT One of Stout’s creative design goals was to create cohesion throughout the branding of Simulation Theory, far beyond just the concert — connecting threads from the videos and photos, to the show to the VR games he and the band created. The RoboSkeletons feature heavily in Muse’s The Dark Side music video, reminiscent of the Terminator series among other sci-fi stories, thus Murph the Robot was born. “Throughout the show, the viewer witnesses a series of video moments showing his creation originating as one of the performers. This performer is injected with a flesh-eating pathogen and is subsequently enhanced with robotic prosthetics and outfitted with a VR mask,” Stout explained. “The creature is then confined to a glass prison cell, which he escapes only to manifest physically in the venue to wreak havoc.” 28



Using three mobile cranes, two boomlifts and eight forklifts at each venue, it took the crew three days to load in the steel and one for load-out. Stageco also supplied and built the delay towers and FOH risers. Ensuring the pair of stage sets got to each venue were longtime Stageco supplier Saan Trucking who provided 17 trucks for both stages. Delivering the blitz of operatic space rock, TAIT supplied the dystopian set and automation elements of the band’s cybernetic live offering. “Muse shows are always very impactful, so it’s always exciting to have the chance to work on a Muse show again,” said TAIT Project Manager, Todd Vernon. Throughout the process, TAIT worked closely with the production team to ensure that the equipment provided satisfied the technical requirements - while simultaneously ensuring that the vision for the show stayed in line with Stout’s creative vision of Simulation Theory. To handle the increased number of performers and width of the stage during the European stadium legs, TAIT added performer flying winches. “With the stage changing in size we had to ensure it was adaptable between the two scenarios. There are a lot of components that integrate to the stage edge in unique positions so moving decks around makes respecting that geometry a little more challenging,” Vernon explained. “For example, the mainstage became 20ft wider, the B-stage almost doubled in size using a mixture of original arena decking and new stadium decks and the thrust was built to be longer as well.” The TAIT Navigator provided a single point of control for all automation axes in the system so that a single operator can monitor the system and operate. Vernon summed up the collaboration: “Working on the tour has been a great experience. We worked closely with George Reeves to optimise the design between existing TAIT components and new custom elements to provide a design that everyone from the crew to the creative director were happy with.”

of ‘80s and ‘90s sci fi films and culture. However, this didn’t come without a series of challenges, for example, the guitar solo in Break It to Me. Routhier explained: “We had to make the lighting rig look like it was broken, but still stay on beat. The result is a cue stack of asymmetrically focused lights in various beams, shades of blue, and strobes turning on and off to the beats of the solo.” For all of the weather-related challenges, Routhier dubbed the visual effect of the open stage as “key” to the design. “The sight of the sun setting throughout the shows in Europe really brings a unique dynamic,” she furthered. “The open feel of the staging enhances the performance space as it comes to life throughout the night.” The design threw up a few struggles with adding/subtracting gear. “We wanted to ensure that cloning would be easy and accurate. Our biggest challenge was adapting the Saber outline of the trusses and the stage to the current programming. It’s not simple to find a cloning path for that many linear fixtures!” The Upstaging Sabers were the biggest component in the Simulation Theory look. “They create the quintessential ‘Tron’ look that is prominent in the album cycle’s aesthetic.” The Solaris Flare LRs were second to the sabers. Routhier said: “They emphasize the shape of the stage and lighting rig by providing a thicker line of light in the trussing. They also provide a bit of a scenic feel in the tips of the trussing. At the end of the trusses, where they flip up 45°, they resemble thrusters on a spaceship.” Claypaky Scenius and Robe MegaPointes were selected to create the classic moving light beam effect. “Aaron and I programmed a number of effects using the shaper system in the Scenius. I really love the diversity in features of both the MegaPointe and the Scenius. We were able to make the stage look different by using various features in each light throughout.” At FOH, Lighting Director, Aaron Luke, was embarking on his first foray with a headline stadium act. For control, the LD used an MA Lighting grandMA2. “For a show of this size, there’s really no other console I would want, it has the most flexibility and capabilities that other lighting desks simply do not.” The show ran to timecode, barring sporadic song intros and outros. Luke said: “There are so many different elements to the production and

LIGHTING Lighting Designer, Sooner Routhier explained a running theme throughout the Simulation Theory was theatricality. “The various theatrical moments and dancers are pretty typical for a large pop show.” However, the band is a world away from pop, as Routhier exclaimed. “It’s a rare sight to see!” For the tour the LD drew inspiration for a variety of places including the realms 30


timecode allows you to accentuate everything accordingly. There’s one song in particular with no click, just drums and bass so I free hand that one - when you’re not really hitting go a whole lot it’s nice to have a few of those organic moments where you feel like a much integral part of the show.” In the air, moving lights included Claypaky Scenus Unicos and Solaris Flare LRs for their blinder and eye candy work. On the floor, the stage was lined with more Upstaging Sabers, Solaris Flare LRs were set along the handrails on the back as well to carry the overhead look. Supporting video on the backwall was a plethora of Robe MegaPointes. When it came to factoring lighting in outdoor stadiums, front light was a huge talking point. “Making sure that the band are covered everywhere they go is my main priority,” Luke explained: “As the stage is bigger and longer, and the lights are over 100ft from the B-stage you start to lose some

of the backlight, so we had to rectify that with some extra combinations of lights.” Delay towers in the audience created a series of looks once illuminated. “Immersive is the word of the moment but it really is as opposed to the disconnect of a spectator watching the show, putting additional light in the audience towers really helps those in the back because it creates an inclusive environment.” Additional fixtures were situated in towers, two Robe MegaPointes and a number of Upstaging Sabers lined the span of the tower truss with Solaris Flares at the top. The trusses were lined with Upstaging Sabers, which added a lot of visual impact to the show. “When programming the show, we found that they were supposed to be the icing on the cake but once you saw them on, you just miss them when they weren’t, so they’ve played a



Lighting Director, Aaron Luke; Production Manager, George Reeves; Stage Manager, Guy Habosha BlackTrax Technician, Luke Dobson; Head Electrician, Paul Traynor; ER Production’s Corey Newton, Miles Baldwin, Danni Madsen & Asher Heigham.

bigger role than we’ve expected,” he summed up. “I really couldn’t imagine doing the show without any of the fixtures.” Having no cover over the stage presented the challenges with the gear. “We have to focus overnight, as we need to wait for it to get dark,” Luke explained. “The rain also makes it a little more interesting.” BlackTrax Technician, Luke Dobson joined the conversation to explain the role of the vision-based tracking software. “BlackTrax is used on all the main performers, including dancers and band members,” he explained. “The performers wear an infrared LED node, and cameras surrounding the stage locate them in a 3D space to inform a light to point at the dancers on-stage.” Despite the innovative nature of the software, there was no accounting for the sun, as a giant infrared sphere in the sky as Dobson eluded: “By the time the show starts the sun is still out so the software is only used on the dancers who appear as the sunsets and because BlackTrax is an infrared based system, calibration has to be done at night.” For the stadium legs of the tour, BlackTrax was only used on the dancers to account for sunlight. Instead, Luke utilised a Follow-Me system with 12 Robe BMFL followspots, which allowed him to assign targets through the console to switch it up from song to song via programming. Routhier expressed her admiration for the IR-based system. “I love that we can simply pick a light in the rig that we’ve designated as a BlackTrax light and make it a side/backlight.” From a programming standpoint, she said the ability to change the way they light the lines of a body on stage easier with BlackTrax. “I also love the ease of keeping multiple dancers on stage lit without too much of a fuss. There are levels to manage but it’s as simple as a fader pull instead of asking a spot operator to insert a frame of ND or colour correction.” Luke concluded: “I think a computer is always more accurate than a

human being, BlackTrax software is a really good system for followspot, where you can to track movement.” LASERS & SFX Reflecting the imagery of a science fiction novel, ER Productions rolled out a full arsenal of high-end laser fixtures, including six Phaenon 30000, 14 brand-new ER AT-30 and 30 ER RGB Beambursts. ER Productions cofounder, Ryan Hagan, commented: “We have worked with Muse since their Resistance World Tour in 2009, and their shows have always been cutting edge in terms of production. On this run, we worked very closely with Creative Designer, Jesse Lee Stout, to deliver his vision, and it’s been a great experience.” A Phaenon was positioned upstage centre and rigged onto a DMX Lifting Column. The data feedback from the column was fed directly into the Beyond Universe to control the safety aspect of this system. The flown central Phaenon was used in conjunction with a rolling shutter camera on the DSE, to create real-time scan adjusted visuals on the huge curved LED wall, around Matt Bellamy. Eight Viper deLuxe and 14 Unique Hazers provided the atmospherics. The High-End Systems Roadhog4 at FOH ran all DMX control. Laser and SFX Crew Chief, Miles Baldwin, pointed out that the tour’s laser rig was one of the first times the team at ER Productions had embarked on a 360° laser show. “We’ve got 14 towers in the round and each one has a laser on top, so the audience gets a complete immersive environment and they get to see the show from different angles.” Hagan echoed: “This arrangement of lasers is something we have not delivered before, as the focus has generally been towards the opposite end of the stage, but for this show we get to place lasers all the way down each side of the stadiums. This way the whole audience receives incredible 32


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ER Productions is providing a full arsenal of high-end laser fixtures, including 30 x ER RGB Beamburst, 14 x AT-30 and 6 x Phaenon 30000. 14 Unique Hazers and 8 x Viper deLuxe create the atmospherics. All DMX control is run by Roadhog4. SFX include 20 x Stadium Shot II, firing orange and silver mylar streamers and 16 x Stadium Blasters, shooting UV confetti. 4 x Cyro-fog HP/XL systems fill the stage with cold low-lying smoke and dancers perform with 7 x hand-held Cyro Rifles. Finally, 150 black and silver 1m balloons are launched over the crowd every night. All SFX is controlled by our wireless Galaxis system. For more information, or a technical demonstration, please contact ER Productions: London +44 1322 293 135 | Las Vegas +1 702 330 8530 Australia +61 403 703 731 | Ibiza +34 938 000291


The PRG video team; Systems Engineer, Joachim Dewulf.

exposure of the laser set up, so it really is an effective and immersive experience for all.” SFX included 20 Stadium Shot II, firing orange and silver mylar streamers, and 16 Stadium Blasters shooting UV Confetti. Two pairs of Cryofog HP/XL systems covered the stage with cold low-lying smoke at key moments throughout the show. While 7 Cryo Rifles were used by the dancers during the track Propaganda and 150 black and silver 1m balloons were launched over the crowd for every show. The SFX were all controlled by ER Productions’ wireless Galaxis system. During the track Mercy, the Stadium Blasters cover the crowd in colourful, UV dyed tissue paper. “We fire around 70 kilos of custom-made confetti that has been UV dyed to react with the lights and 50 kilos of streamers a night,” Head of SFX, Asher Heigham said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and I don’t think we’ve had dry load-in, which always tends to slow us down but it’s getting easier each night and a fantastic tour to be a part of.”

stage. In video world, four disguise gx 2s were rigged in a master, two slaves and understudy configuration with Notch. “The disguise media servers are the main ingestion point of the tour, running camera engineering on two inputs, tied with automation, BlackTrax, and lighting,” Media Server Operator and Engineer, Grant Draper began. “The whole show is sockpuppeted to timecode or manual triggers when the band are riffing.” Most of the on screen content run through Notch. “Every piece of IMAG you see is atleast colour graded via Notch,” Draper noted. “In an arena, you can get away with using less IMAG, it’s more of a creative thing. However, in a venue of stadium scale, you need literal IMAG to transpose the show for the audience at the back. Ultimately, as much as the people are here to see the show, they’re here to see the band as well.” On the engineering side, the video team integrated an additional disguise gx 2 as a backup, without running Notch. “Although Notch is fantastic, it’s still in beta,” Draper gestured to the four-tier disguise setup. “All of these machines are running the same Notch block so if something was to go haywire in a traditional disguise setup I wouldn’t have an additional server for just getting camera to screen but with this show it’s a lifeline if all else fails, which thankfully, it hasn’t.” Outlining the entire stage, the Upstaging Sabers and grids were fed from video side with ArKaos ArtNet control, visualised within disguise. “Its quite the monumental task to mount and UV them correctly, so huge credit to the video and lighting team for making sure they’re locked in and visualised correctly within disguise.” With 14 different networks on the show, managed by Draper through various switches, he declared the network as the backbone of the whole show.

VIDEO The integration of video was essential to the concept of the show, think VR and videogames with moments which were enhanced on screen. As a consummate showman, Matt Bellamy was a natural with the camera. “He really plays to the camera, knowing how it makes the audience feel that he’s singing directly to them,” Routhier said. The screen set up was considerably scaled upwards. PRG supplied 792 Winvision 9Air LED tiles housed in 396 Spaceframes. For context, the setup was 40 by six tiles tall, whereas the stadium run was 72 by 11 tiles tall. The video wall had to be built in different sections as PRG Video Crew Chief, Sean ‘Sharky’ Harper, explained: “We couldn’t build it as one and lift it because of the sheer size of the wall at 141ft wide, it chokes the entire stage.” The video wall was a “game changer” for Sharky when it came to stadium setup in comparison to arenas. “We’ve gone from three hours load in to eight hours and 90 minutes load out to three and a half hours,” Sharky said while stressing the importance of setting up the day prior, which he dubbed as “integral” to the delivery of this show. The ‘gig blocker’ boasted cable looms for lighting and audio at the top of the wall as soon as they’re in show position. “We have to build the right and left sections of the wall and pull them off to the side and strap them to the side of the towers before building the centre section of the wall in the middle to allow audio and lighting to get everything done in the centre and then we stitch it together before putting it into its final position in one move.” To capture the action, PRG supplied a camera packaged which comprised a Grass Valley Karrera 2ME production switcher and five Grass Valley 5640/50 cameras along with a Sony HDC4300 camera with wireless transmission package, six Panasonic AW-HE130 robotic cameras and three Marshall CV343-CS POV cameras for FOH, the pit and a further camera that ran along the thrust on a Aja Rovocam on Polecam jib at the end of the

AUDIO FOH Engineer, Marc ‘MC’ Carolan, has been mixing Muse for the last 18 years. For this album cycle, he made the leap from mixing on the venerable, band-owned Midas XL4. A staple of Muse tours for many years. “This is the first tour we’ve switched to a wholly digital platform with the Avid S6L,” he proudly stated. “It’s also the first tour we’ve used the d&b GSL system, so there’s been wholesale changes.” Having specified both additions, MC walked TPi through the selection process. “We did a lot of listening tests before we changed from the XL4, which is such a great sounding beast.” He said one of the factors that influenced his decision to jump over to the Avid S6L was its automation capabilities and powerful control section. “The S6L really lends itself to allow me to manipulate it to get where I want to go, sonically, in an open and clear manner. I’ve been able to develop new approaches and methodologies. It’s a head of the pack in that regard.” He also joked that whatever choice he made; he’d be living with it for at least five years. “The feel and ergonomics are, to me, is a factor as important as anything else when it comes to choosing a mixing console.” 34


FOH Engineer, Marc ‘MC’ Carolan; Monitor Engineer, Adam Taylor.

MC’s outboard hardware included a series of studio worthy analogue gear such as Empirical Labs, TUBE-TECH, Rupert Neve, Maag, Midas, BSS, dbx, GML, Andiamo converters and various software plug-ins but, notably, no Waves. “There’s a lot of pieces I’ve used for a very longtime with Muse it’s a hybridisation of both digital and analogue approach.” For the drums, kick, toms and snare, MC utilised dbx Professional Audio 160as Midas XL42 channel strips and a touch of transient designer. A TUBETECH LCA 2B Stereo Tube VCA compressor / limiter and an Empirical Labs Fatso EL7x full analogue tape simulator and optimiser was purposed for the bass. On vocals, the FOH Engineer used Midas XL42 channel strips and trademark distressor. MC specified the GML 8200 EQ and the TUBE-TECH SMC 2B stereo multiband compressor, which “tickled half dbs here and there”. The other significant bit of outboard gear was the Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5024. Effects wise, an Eventide H3000, a pair of the old school, SPX 2000s, which predominantly cover snare reverb and doublers. And finally, the “venerable” Bricasti M7s - “there’s nothing that can beat them.” For radio mics, a mixture of Neumann KMS 105s and Sennheiser MD5235s were spread across six positions for Matt Bellamy and four positions for bassist Chris Wolstenholme, along with spares. As well as supplying all audio equipment, desks, microphones, speakers, comms, the team provided a maximum configuration of 116 d&b audiotechnik GSL on the main, side and field delay hangs. “The GSL allows me to develop a mix which I know will sound fantastic. I’m not afraid to get into the details because I know there’s a constant platform for output. Both the S6L and GSL, for me, as an engineer are seamless,” MC stated. “Muse projects always present a challenge because of its out of the box nature,” Systems Engineer, Joachim Dewulf, said. “Fundamentally, it’s a basic left/right PA but MC and Muse are famed for their innovation and live sound, so we’re not afraid to try new things. Even if it gets half a percent better than the previous show then it’s worth it.” The 220˚ hangs and ring delays boasted 88 d&b KSL while the pit comprised a mixture of 25 d&b audiotechnik SL-SUBs, 12 d&b audiotechnik Y10Ps, 8 d&b audiotechnik J12s and 120 d&b audiotechnik D80 amps. “It’s the first tour I’ve used the KSL,” Dewulf explained the PA had “a lot more body” than other PA systems. “It goes a lot deeper and there is much more detail in the high mids and the directivity of the system is amazing.” Network was achieved by dual redundant fibre Dante / R1 via Cisco switches with real-time network monitoring software. “Over the years, because technology is getting heavier and heavier, traffic is naturally getting heavier. For my main rack, I use a control cable so if anything feels suspect I can unplug the controls for damage limitation, which thankfully, has never had to happen.” Between FOH and monitors, Skan PA provided the infrastructure of Muse shared control – which boasted a pair of Avid S6L-32D systems sharing two STAGE64s, two Avid ProTools at FOH and monitors for archiving / virtual soundcheck, a 128-channel line-system and an Avid S6L-24C system with one STAGE64 redundant system in case of catastrophic failure of main control. In the caverns of monitor world, TPi located Adam Taylor who has mixed

the band since April 2001. Like MC, the longstanding Monitor Engineer made the transition to an Avid S6L console on this tour cycle. He reflected: “I was late switching over to digital, I was waiting for the Midos Pro console to settle down and when it did, we switched to the Pro 9. Our ever-expanding input count exceeded the capabilities of the band-owned Midas platform and this prompted a move over to the Avid S6L.” Taylor’s approach was to mainly mix hands-on, he said: “There are some more complex songs but I try to keep it one scene per song but a lot of my mixing is hands-on, partly because I’m old school but I also have more confidence in manually mixing and this console allows you to put anything anywhere, I can programme it so everything is on the surface.” The band all donned Sennheiser 2000-IEMs. “The level that everyone is listening to is much more manageable and cleaner when there’s no wedges,” Taylor said. “The band are very mobile so they’re running around so I give them a balanced mix with whatever they’re playing sat on top.” Barring Chris, who doesn’t have any ambient mic noise as a preference, Taylor rode the ambient mics in and out in between songs, “topping and tailing at some points of the songs for the band, where the audience sing along.” Sennheiser SKM5200 handled the RF mics. While Taylor’s hardware included Aphex, GML, Little Labs and converters by Andiamo. A 40-station GreenGo network - half wired and half wireless provided show comms. Skan PA’s support control came in the shape of 2 Avid S6L-24C systems sharing one STAGE64, a 64-channel line-system, Sennheiser 2000-IEMs and d&b audiotechnik M2 wedges. “The thought put into preparing the Skan PA gear is exceptional, I don’t think you can get that quality and level of finish from anyone else,” Taylor concluded. Audio Crew Chief and RF Tech, Liam Tucker, FOH minder, Eddie O’Brien and Advance System Designer, Matt Vickers were among the friendly Skan PA faces. “Skan always provide a mega crew and kit, and this tour is no different,” MC said. “The quality of Skan’s prep means we rarely have to call the warehouse but when we do, we know that the support is there if we need it. They even custom built the top piece of the S6L, their service is absolutely second to none.” SITE INFRASTRUCTURE A familiar face on Muse’s stadium-sized tours, Head Electrician, Paul Traynor checked-in with TPi: “It’s slightly changed this year, we’re using a lot more 208v, meaning using a lot more transformers, running 1.5mW of power across five generators, which is an average output for an event of this size.” ​ With generators comes a lot more cabling: “Our generators lead from the car park all the way to the stage. On average, we’re 100m from the stage so there’s a lot more cable. We put in about two and a half miles of cable for every show,” Traynor explained. ​For Traynor, health and safety of the crew is paramount. “Our main concern is ensuring the safety of the band, performers and the crew. An open top production is the ‘in thing’ at the moment so we have to make sure that everything is bonded properly and making sure the RCDs are set properly,” he furthered: “The only problem we have is water and we all 36

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Rockpool Tour Catering’s Liv Sondergaard, David Lesh, Mark Goodall, Hannah West, Stu Jackson, Susanne Traynor, Chris Carter, Izzie Kennan & Sarah Birnie.

know water and electricity doesn’t bode well so we’ve got waterproofing on the kit, but it does create issues that we have to constantly monitor throughout the course of the day.” Having worked on the band’s last stadium tour, Traynor was no stranger to powering a Muse show. “It’s a great team to work with, all the vendors are well-respected, and historical companies which have all got a good working relationship with the production. It’s a pleasure to be a part of the team.” Showsmiths devised guidance for the crew, preparing risk assessments and develop plans for safe working. Mike Herbert, Showsmiths Event Safety and Technical Production Adviser, commented: “We were delighted to be asked by Production Manager, George Reeves to help negotiate the potential minefield that is touring a large-scale performance of this type from a safety perspective.” A key pre-production element was helping to ensure the local promoters and authorities receive the information they need for the various territories to enable local licensing. The information was then collated and presented in an easy to navigate ‘safety file’ that could be accessed by local promoters. “We make ourselves available to answer any technical questions or concerns on safe working through rehearsals and then out on the road. Our goal is to take the stress out of safety for the production teams so they can get on and do what they do best.” eps deployed 185m of GIGS barriers and a pair of technicians onsite to provide heavy-duty protection for stages, mixers and delay towers. The company also supplied 95m of cable protection for up to 30 cable runs with trip-proof and wheel chair accessible ADA ramps, as well as corresponding width reducers for an ideal run through the barrier line. Sebastian Tobie, eps Director Global Operations, said: “Not only does this guarantee a safe concert environment for the audience but it also satisfies the requirements of this high-end production.”

CATERING Tasked with feeding the troops, the Rockpool Tour Catering team provided a personal chef for the artist party, tour catering with a team of nine as well as site catering during the UK stadium shows. Rockpool Tour Catering Operations Manager, Susanne Traynor, commented: “This is a massive job for Rockpool. We are catering across all areas of this tour and really embracing and enjoying the challenges a tour of this size brings.” The catering team’s relationship with Muse commenced with the placement of Peter Bailey as personal chef to the A party 13 years ago. Since then, Rockpool Tour Catering’s involvement in all things Muse food and hospitality has increased, expanding to catering for private birthday parties and weddings. Rockpool’s relationship over the past few years with US management Q Prime has also increased looking after various other bands within their portfolio. “We are super proud of our team on site producing amazingly quality choices to accommodate all dietary needs and requests,” Traynor concluded. The Rockpool Tour Catering team was made up of Stu Jackson, Mark Goodall, Dave Lesh, Chris Carter, Hannah West, Izzie Kennan, Sarah Birnie, Liv Sondergaard, headed up by Susanne Traynor. CONCLUSION Simulation Theory World Tour was equal parts rock opera come musical theatre, with thumping sound, a dynamic lighting design and blockbusterquality visuals projected onto the gossamer-like LED screens – the showcase, combined with the performer’s neon outfits, HAZMAT acrobatics, SFX, futuristic law enforcers and, of course, Murph the Robot was peak sci-fi spectacular. Stood in Manchester’s Etihad Stadium with crewmembers on one side and Muse faithful on the other, the extravagantly dystopian affair was a reflection of the band’s continued devotion to technical innovation and pushing of the boundaries of live touring. TPi Photos: Andrew Benge & TPi

LOGISTICS Assigned with transporting the kit and crew from A to B was Transam Trucking and Phoenix Bussing, while Sound Moves freighted the gear’s global expedition. Transam Trucking deployed 32 trucks to the tour made up of 45’ megacube and double deck trailers, generators and curtain-siders. A total of 24 universal trucks were deployed for all shows with eight utilised for stadium-only use. Having played an integral part in the delivery of Muse’s Drones tour, the logistics specialist understood the requirements. Transam Trucking’s Natasha Highcroft stated: “It is always so organised that it makes our job relatively easy despite some of the logistical challenges involved!” Stage Manager, Guy Habosha detailed the logistical challenges: “Going from an arena to a stadium can be a bit of a challenge depending on how we pack our trucks,” he explained. “We’re constantly looking for ways to streamline the process. Having loaded in and out of a lot of arenas in the United States, we were well prepared for this run and we have a good rhythm going – despite all of the rain,” he laughed. 38









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Opposite: Art Director, Kate Moross; Set Designer, Jason Sherwood.

SPICE GIRLS: SPICE WORLD 2019 Infused with all the trappings of modern technical production and creative ingenuity, the Spice Girls return to bring new meaning to Girl Power, embracing stadium audiences with a message of inclusivity. ‘Cockney Spice’ Mark Cunningham witnesses it unfold at Wembley...

Rarely has Wembley Stadium witnessed a display of such unbridled joy amongst an audience as it did when the Spice Girls stepped on to the stage to “welcome all ages, all races, all gender identities, all countries of origin, all sexual orientations, all religions and beliefs, all abilities.” Over three sold-out Wembley nights, 221,971 fans worshipped at the altar of Girl Power, dressed to the nines and as much a part of the show as their idols. Performing for the first time as a four-piece without Victoria ‘Posh’ Beckham, the quartet broke Ticketmaster’s UK records when their 13date Spice World 2019 tour went on sale last November, leading many to speculate about further appearances. Dripping with all the colours of ‘90s nostalgia, the tour was a victory for the vendor collective hired by Production Manager Tony Gittins, featuring the work of Brilliant Stages, PRG, PixMob, Wigwam Acoustics, Universal Pixels, Strictly FX, Star Events Group and, at Wembley, Stageco. Fly By Nite, Beat The Street and Eat Your Hearts Out also played faultless roles. It all has to begin somewhere and in this case the buck stopped with Creative Director Lee Lodge who assembled a vibrant creative team who had shared the experience of working on Sam Smith’s The Thrill Of It All tour. Namely Set Designer, Jason Sherwood, Choreographer/Stage Director, Paul Roberts, Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge, and Art Director, Kate Moross. As Routledge observed: “When Lee calls, you know it’s going to be special. Recognising great talent is one of his great strengths and he thrives on taking people like Jason and Costume Designer, Gabriella Slade from the theatre environment and placing them in the rock ’n’ roll world.”

wanted it to be a communal, fun experience, taking fans back to a place where they had innocence and a joyful connection with the music. “We looked at this not so much as a tour but as a theatrical entertainment property, analysing what the girls mean to their fans and how we can bring them to a market that has experienced The Greatest Showman, whilst harnessing all of the potential that today’s technology can offer. You need to have passion for something like this because the fan base exudes an enthusiasm that has to be matched in order to deliver what they want to see.” In preparation, while Moross curated a generous reference library of memorabilia, Lodge conducted a musical audit of the act’s entire concert history, noting every set list and watching hours upon hours of archived live videos. “Spice World 2019 is not about a reunion, it’s not a separate entity, it’s a continuation of the fabric of the band because if you’re a fan, they’ve never really been away – this is just the next chapter,” he commented, adding that the show’s opening sequence had to be a killer. “If you can’t create a brilliant first act for the Spice Girls, you shouldn’t be in the business, because all the ingredients are right there in front of you.” The initial concepts that were shared amongst the creatives all hinged around four houses that representing a different Spice Girl. “It resembled a developed script for five distinct acts with separate narratives,” explained Lodge. “Act One is ‘The Return of the Four Queens’, Act Two is ‘Girl Power’, Act Three is ‘The Garden’, Act Four is ‘Girls Night Out’ and, finally, Act Five is ‘The Last Waltz’. By using choreographic references, graphic elements and wardrobe, we were able to structure the performance. And as for assembling the core values, I can’t think of anyone who would’ve grasped the sentiments behind the girls’ brand DNA of the girls quite like Kate.” Said Moross: “That master document was available online for all the creatives to access and see how the show was developing. It was so

THE CREATIVE JOURNEY From the outset, the creative ambition was to give the Spice Girls the live production they always wanted by designing a show that was rooted in nostalgia while reaching forward as a symbol of inclusivity. Said Lodge: “We 41


important because each of us has informed and inspired each other. There was a huge holistic sense of everyone knowing what everyone else was doing, and being extremely communicative.” Sherwood and Moross were both first generation Spice Girls fans. “Their impact was life-changing,” the Art Director confided. “They were the first act I understood creatively as well as musically. Each member had a distinct personality while sharing a commonality that spoke to me as a kid. Naturally, I was excited to bring that all to life.” The girls had the same effect on Sherwood in America at the age of eight. “I was sitting in my studio one day when Lee called and said, ‘I’ll tell you what I want… what I really, really want.’ I freaked out! Two weeks after he asked me to come onboard, I had the design. The first decision that we locked into was the stage shape and the Passerelle, the latter being one of my favourite aspects of the show because these iconic women get to perform in the centre of the stadium, uniting everybody. “I was also attracted to the image of the iconic, tilted gold ring that appeared on the back of their début album. When the concept of Spice World came up in discussions, we were reminded that the second album’s motif was a planet surrounded by a ring and I began to brainstorm how that might translate to the stage.” Sherwood involved Render Artist, Evan Alexander ahead of Brilliant Stages building the show. “Most of our interaction with Brilliant was done by emailing photos and design files. It was a way into the project before I visited them to check on aspects of the build, such as the floor treatment of the stage and the Globe’s metallic finish, and I was delighted.” Spice World was the first concert project for Costume Designer, Gabriella Slade, a fellow student with Tim Routledge at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The fruits of her labours amounted to an astonishing 24 costume changes. Simultaneously, Paul Roberts had his work cut out when he auditioned contenders for the cast of dancers. “We had nearly 6,000 people apply,” he said, adopting a comic weary look. “They were whittled down to 400, then 80, and we finally ended up with the 20 dancers with whom we toured. The process was difficult because

the overall standard was so high, but we had a very firm idea of what we wanted to build for the four houses and, therefore, could spot the qualities we were looking for. “Each house has its own visual aesthetic and vocabulary of movement that is different to anything that’s been done before, with some references from past tours that filter into the choreography. The enjoyment for me comes from indulging in the music - 10 of which are truly inspirational bangers.” PREPARATION Production Manager, Tony Gittins was given the go-ahead last October, around the same time as he rolled out Rick Astley’s Beautiful Life tour. He said: “For a show of this size, we were given a very short lead time that was made easier by the professionalism of our suppliers.” After several studios at Sarm Music Bank were hired to accommodate separate rehearsals for the Spice Girls, the band and choreography, Gittins and his team booked a three-week stretch at Cardington Studios for production rehearsals. “This was probably the only place available that could have contained this show. It’s an empty hangar so in our first week we had to build what amounted to a complete festival-type infrastructure from scratch. After the stage was constructed, production went in on the 6 May and we were on track.” Assisted by Holly Sandeman, Gittins led 100 touring crew and an average of 130 local hands. A 36-truck tour, with transport co-ordinated by Matt Jackson at Fly By Nite and busses from Beat The Street, the frequency of the shows demanded three complete leapfrogging stage systems with two trucks overlapping on each advance to install the video header and crescent frame for the front stage. The main production, meanwhile, amounted to a single system. “With only 13 shows in the schedule, we had to be match fit from show No.1,” Gittins commented. “About halfway through we were loading out in four and a half hours and driving to the next gig, arriving for an 8am load-in and finishing between 10pm and midnight, ready for the following day’s 42


show, so we certainly had it together.”

Universal Pixels to design and make custom light weight frames to which the video panels were mounted.” A full ‘ground up’ system, the downstage crescent incorporated a sub level/structure as well as the top decks and scenic finish. In the centre, Brilliant used Serapid scissor lifts to form a customisable lift that could operate individually or as one large lift, controlled by the company’s own automation system. The same system also controlled the six Passerelle lifts. Another large element, measuring 41m in diameter, it featured egress bridges that provided access to the inner circle, underworld and lifts. It took the stage height from 2.5m at the main stage and downstage crescent to 1.5m at the Passerelle via custom non-slip treads, complete with handrails and secure doors and curtains on the underside. “This was a spectacular show to have worked on and it’s a credit to everyone who pulled it together,” commented Van-Hay, referring to Brilliant’s in-house team and the 18-strong touring crew led by Adam ‘Bullet’ Bettley, who was on the road from rehearsals to give direct support to the client.

ARCHITECTURE Brilliant Stages kept itself busy this spring with a raft of jobs connected with Spice World. As well as building the 13m diameter Globe, the Wakefield firm delivered the 19m diameter, 3m tall flown LED Ring; a 6m diameter, 1.2m high Globe base with tiered steps and integral LED lighting; the 30m by 11m downstage crescent comprising a substructure, underworld and six type A electric Serapid scissor lifts; and the extravagant 41m Passerelle that extended 34m into the audience. The Passerelle featured three circular lifts at three, six and nine o’clock, using Serapid scissor lifts, two miners’ carts and egress bridges with incorporated steps. Along with several other Brilliant-built items, this system was finished with matching non-slip surfaces. A challenge to engineer, the Globe’s scale dictated that it had to be selfsupporting. It was built from the top down using temporary hoists in the roof and then had its weight taken off to allow capacity for the Ring to be hung. This produced a clear order of events that needed to be considered for the overall build. The structure included 167 custom straight and curved truss sections and 51 profiled assembly nodes amongst a total of 554 sections that required an LED collaboration with Simon Cox from Light Initiative. Once Brilliant’s team understood the loadings and the effect the 15º angle would put on the structure, the construction of the 12-tonne Ring was a more straightforward task, involving 48 custom truss sections. The Ring included both upper and lower light weight composite walkways to provide access to the video once populated. Custom rigging points provided the ability to hanging the ring at the 15º angle. “Weight was again a big factor in the design and had the standard touring frame for the video been included we would have been too heavy,” said Brilliant’s Project Director, Tony Van-Hay. “Instead, we worked with

FOUNDATIONS At the foundation of the staging lies a tale of two staging companies: the tour’s main vendor, Star Events, and Stageco whose systems were resident at Wembley Stadium throughout June to cover a run of shows by acts including BTS, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles and P!nk. Star Events provided a 25m VerTech structure for each system, with custom angled IMAG wings bringing the total stage width to 65m. “We are very wide with abnormally large wings, pushing us into egresses in every stadium,” said Gittins. Extensive planning between Star Events, Brilliant, Gittins and the “amazing” Head Rigger James Heath went into ensuring that the roofs could support the Globe during assembly and the show, while retaining 44


The team from Brilliant Stages; FOH Engineer, Jim Ebdon & Producer, David Odlum Monitor Engineer, Neal Allen; Choreographer and Stage Director, Paul Roberts & Creative Director, Lee Lodge.

sufficient rigging capacity to suspend the video ring and other core elements. When heavy-duty hoists were needed to suspend the IMAG and Ring safely, Star Events supplied two packages of five tonne LoadGuard hoists and control from its inventory to meet requirements. At the top of the structure, a bespoke, cantilevered curved header truss linked to custom straight sections across the wings, providing a seamless video train. Star Events also designed, built and rigged identical aluminium header systems for each touring stage with over 300 custom suspension brackets to allow the screen modules to be quickly installed across the full width of the stage header. With Star Event’s head of structures Pete Holdich overseeing the whole project, the Thurleigh company’s 13 crew were boosted by up to 48 locals while one project manager was allocated to each system, namely Sarah Howlett, Phil Addyman and Rachel King. Holdich commented: “It was a tight schedule that had to interface with the advance production so we had three complete touring stage systems with three customised header arrangements to support the video header which itself ran to a different load-in schedule. We worked closely with Universal Pixels to develop the ladder frame system that supported the video header and then created a custom bracket that would fit to the video panels to allow smooth and rapid interface on to the stage during the advance scheduling. “We were on a three in, one out schedule. After day two of our build, we had to be ready for the advance production to come in and hang the video, lights and hoist pre-rigging, so that the full production could be handed over on day three.” A further challenge came when the teams loaded in at Wembley, where

Stageco was fulfilling a residential contract with Live Nation that demanded a Super Roof system formed of 280 tonnes of materials designed to cover all bases. Roel Voeten managed the project alongside Jelte Smets and Gert Hulsmans from Stageco’s R&D department, and Mario Dockx who created the drawings, incorporating “endless” changes to match the headlining acts’ configurations and rigging plots. “Moving everything over to a Stageco stage for Wembley required a lot of work because the show wasn’t designed for it, even though we were considering a certain amount of flexibility early on,” remarked Gittins. “The touring systems were designed to deal with specific weight loads, so there was some to-ing and fro-ing involved in matching Star Event’s elements with Stageco’s structure. Holdich added: “The header was our system. We took the truss that was effectively part of the regional shows’ main stage and turned it into a mother grid system, applied the same header and came up with a rigging solution to get it all suspended within the Stageco stage.” SPICE UP YOUR LIGHTS Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge’s priority was to accentuate the glamour of the four female icons and their cast both onstage and on screen, whilst ensuring that kicking off in daylight would not be an obstacle to delivering a powerful introduction. “It’s a full visual assault with Spice Up Your Life right from the top of the show,” he said. “Where some stadium shows lack punch until it gets dark but here there’s no holding back!” The tour’s lighting systems were provided by PRG, headed by Rich Gorrod and Aidan McCabe. Working closely with programmer and Tour Lighting Director, Tom Young, Routledge commented: “This was never 46


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Production Manager, Tony Gittins; Star Events Head of Structures, Pete Holdich; Former FOH Engineer ‘Snake’ Newton Lighting Designer, Tim Routledge & Lighting Director, Tom Young; The Strictly FX crew

going to be a subtle show. It’s big, it’s fun, bursting with colour and full of positive pop energy. We’ve achieved a lot of the glamour really well with clever positioning of 16 PRG Bad Boys and Best Boys, as part of our followspot system that is driven remotely by GroundControl.” Also making an appearance were PRG’s new GroundControl LongThrow high-output spots. Eight of them were out front alongside four GC Bad Boys downstage and four GC Best Boys hidden inside the Globe. The theatrically-styled ‘Queer Tango’ scene – in which two topless males appear from outside the B-stage – was lit in peach and lavender tones that were designed as a respite from that full-on assault of colour in the rest of the show. “It’s not what you might have expected from the Spice Girls,” admitted Routledge. “I’ve definitely had my TV head on with this show and this has been a great asset. We have Robert Juliat Dalis all around which give us colour temperature-controlled floor lighting with an even field. They’ve really lit the girls and the dancers beautifully, giving us a soft light for camera. They even have an internal safety light that you can dim so the dancers can always see the edge of the stage.” Routledge populated the Globe with Light Initiative intelliFlex RGB pixel tape to enable animation. A Robe MegaPointe was bolted on to each nodal point inside the Globe, where GLP impression X4 Bars were also rigged for band key light. To add general key light and back light from left and right of the Globe, vertical lines of Robe BMFL Blade moving heads were installed, nine per side. A further six per side were on the downstage edge of the back wall with some also on the floor to add cross light. Behind the Globe was what Routledge described as “the wall of doom”. He explained: “We have no less than 510 GLP JDC-1 strobes positioned in rows on what we call the ribs. Every other row of strobes also has MegaPointes on there, so it’s massively punchy and a relief from the growing trend of just big upstage video screens which I tend to view as lazy

design. What we get from the back wall, from the strobes’ twinkly effects to high intensity Beyoncé-style looks, is just stunning.” Icon Edge beam/spot/ wash luminaries were also in evidence, rigged above the stage wings as extensions to the rear MegaPointes. Tom Young has been Tim Routledge’s first-call programmer for many years. The designer was brimming with praise for his wingman, describing him as “probably the most intelligent programmer I’ve ever come across.” He added: “Every show file that Tom hands to me is immaculate and just seeing him program those JDC-1s within an inch of their lives was just incredible!” Young began work on Spice World by spending a week in WYSIWYG mode, continuing in production rehearsals during the set build when he was programming overnight. An MA Lighting grandMA user since 2011, Young was touring with two grandMA3 full-size main and back-up consoles as well as an MA2 light for use onstage to help focus the rig early on show day. “I’m pleased to have become an early adopter of the MA3 platform, just as I was with MA2,” said Young. “It’s still a work in progress running the MA2 software, but by using the new hardware, I’ve been able to get up to speed with the updated layout. I don’t believe there is another console that could reliably deliver this scale of show, which extends to just over 60,000 parameters across a single system with just one programmer.” WRIST ACTION The group wanted to include an interactive element and the solution came in the form of infrared-activated LED wristbands from PixMob. Tim Routledge explained: “A wristband is given to each member of the audience at the point of entry. Halfway through the show as the sky gets darker, those wristbands come alive during a disco medley. We have full control over each wristband and program them as we would for a light show so 48


they are beat perfect. It’s quite a moment as most of the audience would have forgotten they’re wearing them by this point, then suddenly they come alive.” Rafael Linares’ role as PixMob’s Creative Consultant included assisting Tom Young during the programming stage on how to achieve the desired looks and effects, while Nathan Ellis and Didier Lachance toured as the company’s technicians along with Executive Producer, Sophie Blondeau. Linares said: “We implemented four PixMob Moving Heads and multiple PixMob Wash transmitters into the lighting rig in an unobtrusive way. These transmitters are responsible for sending the lighting commands to the wristbands through our infrared technology. “Our show control was integrated into the lighting system on the main control desk, with Tom Young operating with the benefit of our in-house Visualizer software tool that offers a WYSIWYG-type environment. “The range of effects we can achieve with the wristbands is as broad as one’s imagination – they really contribute to the elevated excitement,” claimed Routledge. “In 2 Become 1 we achieve a comet trail effect across the stadium. At other times, we do colour chases, sweeps and strobing, and program them in such a way that different sections of the crowd will have different wristband outputs, and then chase between them in sync with a song’s tempo. It’s super clever!”

and mines, to crossettes and more, with heights ranging from 40ft to 400ft. As well as firing effects from the stage and the top of the header, Strictly FX shot 250 items from the roof. An arsenal of 20 machines ensured that the audience was regularly showered with various types of confetti including the powderfetti seen during Who Do You Think You Are? While Holler witnessed a huge pyro cue, featuring red and yellow comets and mines, the biggest display came in the finale when 120 items were fired simultaneously. Said Yarbrough: “It’s a fantastic looking pop show and we’re all proud to be a part of the spectacle.” VIDEO CONTENT The visual branding effort came out with all guns blazing from the show’s opening section in which the crowd were asked “Which Spice Girl are you?”. Representing the characteristics of each member, the accompanying short film was the first evidence of the extensive palette of video content produced by Kate Moross and the team at Studio Moross which, at the project’s peak, involved three producers, five freelance motion designers, a render manager and a core staff of eight. “There were so many of us, we had to hire a caterer! It’s the biggest project we have undertaken to date,” said Moross. “Whenever we create content, it’s either meant as a backdrop to support the choreography, the meaning of the song or to create a theatrical stage. It’s not usually meant to pick up on musicality. With graphical content, it’s all about highlighting lyrics or delivering branding phrases. For this show, we are dancing between the two all the time. “Throughout March, April and May, we were in full production mode, with eight to ten people working full time every day. The video content was built in disguise with a render farm set up with 10 PCs constantly running at full stretch, so that by the time we arrived at Cardington, everything was fully loaded. We continued to do a lot of work there, rendering terabytes of content and reloading the entire show every other day.”

HIT & SIZZLE In consultation with the creative team, Strictly FX designed pyro sequences for five key moments in the show. One of a seven-man crew, David Yarbrough explained: “Timing each sequence is the clever bit. Depending on the product we use, it can take a second or a second and a half between hitting the button and the actual impact, so it takes some rehearsing in order to be on the beat and accentuate correctly. It’s obviously not practical to try these things out in production rehearsals but you can give the client some reliable, computer-generated visualisations. The team shot around 600 pieces every night on the tour, from comets 50

SPICE GIRLS Universal Pixels’ screen package amounted to 795m2 of 5mm LED; 90m2 of ROE Visual CB5 for each of the two header systems, 360 m2 of InfilLED er5 for IMAG, and an additional 255 m2 of er5 for the Ring. A unique surface, the Ring was the visual core, while the headers and footers were used either architecturally to create a scenic backdrop or for tickertape-style graphics. While the Ring was static, the nature of some of the content sometimes made it appear as if it was twisting and turning. Moross commented: “The show is inherently British, with visual references to the Union Jack and Big Ben, though not in a nationalistic way. We build Big Ben on the side screens and extend the clock face on to the Ring. For Viva Forever we create a stone architectural flower garden which was inspired by Gabriella Slade’s ideas for the dresses. “There’s also a sequence that places a comic book item within a stained glass window for Say You’ll Be There and we have a disco moment where the Ring becomes a boom box controller. “My ultimate favourite look comes in Who Do You Think You Are? which is really simple. The song is all about celebrating the four houses of Spice World and we made a set of scenic banners like you’d see at a football match. We imply that they are being hung over the top of the stage. I knew I’d done my job when Bullet from Brilliant claimed he thought they were real… despite him building the stage!”

as much about showing their movement and chemistry, and reinforcing specific moments in the choreography that are so important to the branding.” Two Hitachi SK-HD1200E cameras manned two FOH towers to capture spot vocal shots. On the Passerelle, cameras were at stage left and right, with a floating hand held that focused on the more energetic sections. An additional camera was positioned at the front of the stage to capture the girls when they returned to the golden circle. Shrimpton was also intent on adding four Agile ARC360 robocams to the spec. He commented: “They’ve proven themselves many times to be rainproof and the built-in windscreen wiper is a very handy addition. We have them downstage centre, stage left and right at head height, and upstage centre on a four foot stand in front of the keyboard player to get a wide band shot.”

THE IMAG CUT Camera Director, Jon Shrimpton was touring with Snow Patrol when Modest! Management invited him onboard. Over the Christmas holidays, he reacquainted himself with the Spice catalogue and worked with Phil Mercer at Universal Pixels on booking a 16-person crew that included Video Engineer, Richard Burford, Media Server Tech, Ben Farey, Lead LED Tech, Al Wright and Crew Chief, Al Bolland. “Our crew have been amazing,” said Shrimpton. “Dicky Burford is a veteran of the first Spice Girls tour with PSL and when he’s on your side, you know you’re winning!” The scale of the show required a different approach to IMAG and the camera shots were notable for their televisual flavour. Shrimpton: “The fans obviously want to see the close ups of the girls but the camera cut is just



The camera cut was dispatched to the disguise gx 2 media server station manned by Ben Farey. “It’s a very complicated media show and Ben put in an enormous amount of time getting this all together and working his magic,” noted Shrimpton. “The camera images are predominantly in full colour and they are integrated into graphical frames of various styles depending on the song, sometimes with overlays.”

the smear campaign, however, the aforementioned tabloid continued to wage war. Said Newton: “I would never have left the show in jeopardy so my handover to Jim was done over three days. I was confident of him seamlessly taking the reins; he did just that and I’ll be eternally thankful. I am delighted that I spent several weeks with amazing people to help put together a unique show that was always about generating happiness.” Jim Ebdon was understandably moved by Newton’s departure. He explained: “I watched Snake mix the first of the three Manchester shows and then the baton was handed to me for the rest of the tour. I got on the console, listened to some ProTools sessions and used a virtual soundcheck [created in Waves Tracks Live] as I prepared to mix the second show with Snake helping me through it. There’s nothing quite like diving in at the deep end.”

PASSING THE MIX BATON The tour began with FOH Engineer, ‘Snake’ Newton. Everything was in place to deliver a sonic experience to match the stunning visuals and, sure enough, the opening show in Dublin was a huge success. Some corners of the media, however, decided that all was not rosy and launched an attack that led to Newton falling on his sword. He explained: “We had management, family and the support act, Jess Glynne, up on the tower enjoying every minute. There were some issues, such as the girls’ chat between songs appearing garbled up in the high stands where thousands were literally having a party, although nothing we couldn’t sort out. “Within hours, a few tweets of complaint were inflated by one of the tabloids, which claimed it was a “disastrous” first gig. A newspaper even offered cash to fuel what seemed to be a hate campaign. We had no indication that such a storm would be whipped up.” As the storm began to rage overnight, Newton considered throwing in the towel to present Modest! Management with the PR opportunity of announcing some major changes. “No one wanted me to do that – I never felt pressured to leave,” claimed Newton. “In fact, the girls looked at the speech delivery and we ironed out some kinks in the coverage. Meanwhile, the press criticism that snowballed after Cardiff convinced me that I should go, and I had already sent a text message to my friend Jim Ebdon, asking if he would be available to take over.” When Geri Horner asked the audience in the far reaches of Manchester Arena if they could comfortably hear her words, the resounding “yes” and follow-up reports of “crystal clear sound” should have been enough to kill

CONTROL Ebdon inherited Newton’s Avid S6L console, part of the audio package supplied by Wigwam, which accommodated the 128 inputs. “My current preference is SSL,” he said, “and Wigwam kindly obliged in case I wanted to switch everything over, but that felt like I’d be going backwards. Snake did a lot of great work before I came in and his session remains the foundation upon which I’ve built everything. “We all have our own process of how we get somewhere, so stepping into someone’s gig is always difficult. If you’re going to own the mix, you have to tailor things towards your personal taste. Fundamentally, we both achieved the same results through sightly different processes. “I took some elements off the mix. I don’t usually rely heavily on plugins – I’ll only use them when absolutely necessary. For me, moving a lot of air with a big sound system has a very different outcome to mixing in a studio. My outboard TUBE-TECH SMC2B multiband compressor took care of the vocal buss and gave me the warmth and control I was looking for. I’m from that school of thought where I raise the fader and think about what I’m hearing before I consider using compression. I also added an SSL Fusion 52


to the master buss to take the edge off the digital sound that I find hard to listen to.” At the heart of the analogue input side of the system was a three-way passive split stage box that divided the signal for FOH to a pair of Avid Stage-64 racks. One with five AES input cards and a DiGiCo SD-Rack and SD-MiNi Rack with 32-bit input cards for monitors. The digital input side came in the form of 48k MADI stream, split with a DirectOut Technologies M.1k2 MADI router into an Optocore DD2FX for monitors, which sent all of the MADI channels to the DiGiCo loop. For FOH, it was split to an RME ADI6432 MADI-to-AES converter that provided AES signals for the Avid Stage-64 rack. The band accompanying the group may be familiar to some as Melanie C’s touring band. “They’re very tight and consistent,” Ebdon commented, “and they are playing along to content on ProTools which amounts to orchestral and choral parts, some backing vocals and other filler

instrumentation.” Artists have been performing in front of PA hangs for years and many engineers have learned how to minimise the risk of feedback. It is, however, very unusual for an act to spend 95% of a show out front. “I expected that to be a challenge,” explained Ebdon, “but by following a detailed vocal cue script, everything has turned out fine. I have the benefit of music producer David Odlum, a gifted man who created many of the music files and knows the songs inside out. He works alongside me at FOH to ensure that none of those cues are missed.” PA & MONITORS Wigwam’s d&b audiotechnik PA system formed the main hangs of 16 GSL8s per side, side hangs of 14 GSL8s and two GSL12s per side, and two sub hangs of nine SL-Subs. A further 16 GSL8s constituted the outer fills, while 10 V10Ps and two V7Ps were distributed between the front and centre fills.



While 24 SL-Subs were arrayed at ground level, 56 KSL8s and eight KSL12s were divided between four hangs for the delay system, with D80 amplifiers powering the system. Ebdon heard GSL for the first time earlier this year at a festival in South America. He recalled: “I was beyond blown away. It sounded so natural and accurate from the moment it was switched on, so I was very pleased to see it on this tour.” His counterpart on monitors, Neal Allen was backstage at Wembley amongst a mass of control real estate. He also commented on GSL: “You don’t hear anything out of the back of the GSL hangs, so I have to make a few adjustments in that respect, so that the girls feel more of a true live response.” Negotiating 120 inputs, many of them running as stereo pairs, Allen assisted by Monitor Tech, Nick ‘Mystic’ Davis – presided over 177 individual scenes across 24 songs including segues. His choice of a DiGiCo SD7 Quantum desk gave him access to the onboard Nodal Processing. Said Allen: “Nodal Processing is like Y-splitting an input and then opening it up to all the front end control and it keeps everything in one place with maximum flexibility. It really proved itself when I had to lift a bass line that was buried within a drum loop but do it without affecting anyone else and without making another input which would’ve been the only option. Mel C needed to hear it as it was an indicator for where she needed to move within the choreography on the Passerelle. I used the compressor to lift the line and then EQ to drop the drum loop.” Although his plugin use was minimal, Allen did incorporate Waves’ dbx 160 compressor for guitar, MV2 on snare and the new F6 dynamic EQ, which he used for acoustic guitar and vocal contouring. Allen created 32 individual mix sends, which included five onstage sub mixes. Each band member had a d&b V-Sub to their rear as well as an in-ear mix to help keep them tight with what they might hear in a more regular situation. While the band were on Shure P6HW IEMs, the four girls used Ultimate Ears UE18s, fed by a system by Wisycom, consisting of MTK952 dual transmitters and CSI 16T wideband combiners. “We tried out the Wisycom gear on some shows by Mel C,” said Allen. “We were encouraged by the ability to always get a signal through, which was a consideration given how far away from the stage the girls are performing.”

The vocal mics were all from Shure’s Axient Digital range with Beta 58 capsules and a custom chassis design that was colour-coded for each singer. “I always know exactly what I’m getting with these mics,” insisted Allen. “It’s what we use with Melanie C and they’ve worked just as well with the other girls.” The remainder of the mic package included a Shure Beta 52 and Beta 91 for kick drum, an SM57 (snare top and congas), AKG C414Bs on snare bottom, overheads and percussion, Sennheiser e904s on toms, AKG C451s on hi-hat and ride cymbal, DPA 4015s on various percussion instruments and DPA 4035 lavaliers taped to the percussionist’s knuckles. Led by Nick Mooney, Wigwam’s audio crew also included Bill Laing, Nick Davies, Dan Dries, James Smallwood, Kyle Harris, Tom Maddocks, Sean Horsman, Tom Horrobin, Kerry Hopwood and Nigel Fogg. Despite the Spice Girls’ immense status within popular culture, it is possibly surprising that this was only their fourth tour, all of which have been covered by TPi during its 21-year lifespan. That elusive sweet spot between nostalgia and the present was captured, nurtured and executed perfectly at Wembley. Scanning the audience, the smiles and the elation were as infectious as the sing-a-longs on the return tube journey. Job done and then some. TPi Photos: Andrew ‘Timmsy’ Timms, Luke Dyson & Mark Cunningham. 54


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Opposite: Caption.

MUMFORD & SONS: DELTA TOUR In support of their latest album, Delta, the British four-piece concludes its first ever in-the-round production. TPi’s Stew Hume catches up the band to discover the evolving nature of this live production…


Mumford & Sons burst onto the UK music scene with their fresh take on traditional folk music over a decade ago – ten years since songs such as The Cave and Little Lion Man became certified anthems of our time. Now, four albums deep, it’s clear the quartet won’t be sticking to the same tried and tested formula. Delta, which was released late last year, saw the band expand their musical range and experiment with more electronic elements. While fans eagerly awaited the latest release, Mumford & Sons’ production were busy concocting a new stage show to elevate the band to a new level as a live act. The result was the group’s first venture into the world of 360° touring. On the road since November, the production and crew have risen to the challenge – including stage set alterations – presented in dealing with the rigour of an extensive touring schedule. Leading the crew was Production Manager Steve Gordon, who has been with the band since 2013. With so many new elements brought into this production, the PM put his faith in several suppliers the band had worked with numerous times, including Britannia Row Productions, Neg Earth, and Quantum SFX. Also welcomed into the fold were Creative Technology, Road Radios and Brilliant Stages. Finally, Fly By Nite provided logistics, while Phoenix Bussing alongside Sound Moves facilitated freighting, while tour catering was handled by Popcorn.

expanded the room and united the crowd. I was there for the second show and it felt like a religious experience – something I don’t say lightly.” Head Carpenter, Morgan Shevett, who has been with Mumford & Sons for the past two tours, talked TPi through the differences with this third iteration. “I received a preview of the stage plans about a month before heading to Brilliant Stages to do some prep on the tour,” he began. “The original design we had was very different to what we have now with the 90ft spanning stage. Back then there were eight of us on the carpentry team whereas now we are down to four.” Shevett explained one of the main issues with the bigger stage came while touring hockey stadiums in the US. “After a few shows out there, during a break from touring, it was decided we would scale it down to what we have now.” The stage is still made from the same elements as before, only with some of the middle section and wings removed. “When we scaled it down to size the band really liked it so we have kept it this length for the reminder of the tour,” he stated. “We did a fair amount of re-design work with the production during that time,” commented Brilliant Stages Ben Brooks. “Even through the changes we kept the same non-slip deck finishing with the clean stage edges that we developed at the start of the project.” Nearing the end of the band’s in-the-round leg, Shevett reflected on the 360° venture. “Some will be happy to see this go but I’m not among them,” he asserted. “It’s been an adventure and certainly a challenge. Usually, a standard stage-end show requires each department to work fairly separately but, with this kind of project, all the departments work together. It’s been very much a team effort.”

THEN AND NOW Picking up the conversation about the changing nature of the show was Ric Lipson, of Stufish Entertainment Architects, who led the stage and set design for the tour. Lipson happened to be visiting the crew in Manchester, so sat down with TPi to talk about the two-year visual journey. “This band has always been very in touch with their fans and lighting has always been at the forefront of their shows,” he began. “We were very excited to collaborate with Lighting Designer, Ed Warren who has worked with the band for some time.” Lipson explained an “immersive” concept was always at the heart of this design as the band wanted to give more people the “front row experience” from the beginning of the process. It quickly became clear this would be in-the-round, so Stufish presented the idea of a bridge element which would link the central stage to both sides of the arena so the band could effectively play in surround seating. Although this element has now been lost, Lipson still reflects fondly on the original form. “It really

LIGHTING Returning as Mumford & Sons’ Lighting Designer for the 10th year in a row was 2016 TPi Lighting Designer of the Year, Ed Warren. Once again challenged with reinventing the band’s visual show, the LD brought in the aid of frequent collaborator Phil Kaikoura. The duo had worked together on several other shows including The Maccabees and Mogwai although this was the first time collaborating directly with Mumford & Sons. As well as aiding the design process, Kaikoura also oversaw the design on the road. Away from his console, Kaikoura spoke to TPi about some of the lighting looks within the show. “One element which has remained consistently throughout Mumford’s history is the warm, friendly light,” he commented, 58



adding it’s always been tungsten-heavy. The Delta Tour was no exception. In fact, one of the starting points for the designers was to select a fixture to provide this key role in their design – namely the Portman P2 Hexalines. Warren was already very familiar with the Polish manufacturer having utilised the fixtures in a rig design at Sziget Festival last year. “We were headlining Sziget way before the campaign had even started, so obviously no design discussions had even begun, as the album was still being worked on,” commented Warren. “I based the design for this show around the Portmans as they’d been brought to my attention recently and seemed to suit our aesthetic perfectly. Every show design is a continuation of the last in subtle ways, and it followed perfectly from our mega par can rig of 2016.” When TPi visited the crew in Manchester Arena, 56 Portman P2s Hexalines hung in air. “It’s an individual fixture with a friendly look that creates some real eye candy moments,” commented Kaikoura. “There are times when we bring them down over the band to create an almost barnlike look.” The designers also wished to maintain the depth and drama of previous Mumford & Sons tours - a task which proved difficult due to the in-theround design. “You’re dealing with such steep angles in-the-round, not to mention less haze at your disposal,” commented Kaikoura. “We knew of these limitations and how we would have to combat them early on. One trick most in-the-round shows use is to fill the above stage with video screens. The band were not too keen on having a content-heavy show. This left us filling the above void with lighting.” Alongside the Portman lights in the flown fully-automated rig were 14 lighting pods - seven each side - with two Hexalines, GLP JDCs and Martin by Harman MAC Aura XBs. “The pods were to prevent the rig becoming a static light source. Instead, we created a structure which could be manipulated and constantly changed. Along with the automated pods were six lighting trusses, four also automated, which ran along the length of the stage. These were populated by four Claypaky Scenius Unicos, a Robe MegaPointe, two GLP JDCs, and Source FOUR PARs which ran around the outline of the entire stage, forming the “boxing ring” of truss, according to Kaikoura.

GLP impression X4 Bar 20s housed in a custom trough, designed by Brilliant Stages outlined the stage. “It doesn’t affect any sightlines and keeps a clear stage - yet this staging element still gives me a nice footlight on the band,” stated Kaikoura. At ground level was a selection of Martin by Harman MAC Quantum Washes. Working alongside the visual display, two MDG theONEs exuded haze from underneath grills in the staging floor. “Instead of providing generic atmospheric haze, the MDGs really built drama with a bonfire effect which fit the overall style of the show.” With an in-the-round configuration, followspots were always bound to cause some near-impossible issues, according to Kaikoura. “Each member of Mumford & Sons is integral so they needed to be lit, but having spots in an arena bowl was never an option, as we could never guarantee we’d get the position.” However, the duo found an elegant solution utilising the automated followspot system, zactrack. “I think we were one of the first major tours to adopt it,” mused Kaikoura. “For at least one song per night, Marcus will run into the crowd and we need a system that could keep up with him. Other systems have to keep in the parameters of the stage but zactracks keeps up with them, no matter where they go.” Tending the zactrak system each day was Nathan White. “Just like most products, there was an initial learning curve,” admitted White. “We also had to get the entire band wearing the packs, but we found a great compromise by stitching it into their stage clothes.” White joked the system created a few extra jobs for him each day, including measuring each radio anchor as well as each venue. “There’s also the fact your main interface is an app rather than a desk,” demonstrated White. “It’s a very modern way of working but I must admit walking around with an app and implementing your data from stage is infinitely easier.” He admitted he worries one day a backline tech won’t see him use the light metre on the tablet and set it on stage, so he’s constantly listening out for the dreaded crunch. But with his work set out, it’s quickly forgotten. In total, White calibrates 26 Claypaky Scenius Unicos to four positions in a total of 104 focusses daily. “The whole system has worked really well,” enthused Kaikoura. “The fact I don’t worry about calling spots and just pre-empt the faders is a load 60


PA System Tech, Micheal ‘Monk’ Shear, FOH Engineer, Chris Pollard & FOH Tech John ‘J’ Summers ; Monitor Engineer, Dan Ungaretti.

off my mind, knowing no matter when any of the four guys are on the stage, they will be lit.” The LD continued to outline his control surface of choice - an MA Lighting console. “I’ve moved over to the grandMA3 now,” stated Kaikoura. “The hardware is much better and, now I’ve got my head around the button placement, I far prefer the control.” Collectively, the production utilised two desks for the run, supplied by Neg Earth. “Neg have done a fantastic job on this tour,” commented Kaikoura, praising his wider crew which consisted of Rob Edwards, Miec Heggett, Mike Blundell, Tom Comrie, Neil Johnson, and Harry Smith. Also proving invaluable support to the visual team thought the project was Lighting Crew Chief, Adam Taff Morgan along with former Crew Chief, Adam Morris. “Both of them worked extremely hard to bring this project to life,” commented Warren.

Vector,” explained Williams. “This system works very much like the existing elevation 1+ system but has more built in safety features such as safe emergency limits, dual encoder and brake monitoring, and an integrated load cell on each hoist. This gave us a very high level of safety. “Thanks to the systems ability to hold hoists in position without the use of brakes (essentially hovering) we were able to create the slow and smooth moves that are seen during the show. It’s an impressive setup, for sure!” Commenting on the investment of the Apex System was Brilliant Stages Ben Brooks: “It was clear from the first conversation we had with production, that the automation system had to be the absolute highest safety standards. The only system that was available was the Apex system, which no one at the time stocked.” Making up the rest of the automation team were Sean Desiardins, David ‘Boots’ Callan, Max Pearson and Erin O’Brien. While on the subject of work overhead, TPi grabbed a moment with Head Rigger, Bjorn Melchert. “This was actually my first in-the-round show,” began Melchert. “It’s a tricky project, especially in the US where stadium score boards don’t allow for much room or extra hanging capacity in the roof.” The Head Rigger explained, as with many shows, weight was always a concern but manageable, as the setup totalled 120. He continued: “One of the biggest changes during the rehearsal stages was our treatment of cabling. We ended up building two cable bridges which could carry everything out to the rig.” Neg Earth also provided all the steel and motors for Melchert and the

AUTOMATION Always up in the air and impressing throughout the tour, right from initial conception, was the automated roof section. “It was always integral to the design of the show,” Kaikoura said, emphasising its importance. On this iteration an extensive Kinesys automation system provided by Brilliant Stages controlled 14 lighting pods and four lighting trusses. Overseeing the system was Automation Programmer and Operator, Luke Williams. In total, Williams was operating 36 axes - 28 of which controlled the 14 lighting pods with the remaining operating all four automated lighting trusses. “We are using the new Kinesys Apex system which is controlled by



rest of the rigging department.

Video System Engineer, Harry Watkinson, sat behind Price overseeing the all-important colour balance and exposure. “He’s only 27 and he’s amazing,” Price smiled. “We’ve built a great working relationship. He’s always one step ahead and knows where I’m going next in my cut.” On the subject of the rest of the team, Price spread the praise to the crew and his supplier, Creative Technology, a company with which he has collaborated on numerous occasions. However, both Price and the team from Stufish struggled with the placement of the screens. “One of the original designs included roll-drops screens which threw up a few challenges because of their portrait aspect ratio. Mumford & Sons simply are not a portrait band. Their performance is all about the connection between musicians which is harder to convey in that orientation.” The resulting set up saw four landscape screens hung diagonally off the four corners of the stage. “The issue with hanging screens over the audience is the band can see themselves which can be distracting. Hanging them like this means they can’t,” reasoned Price. All four gauze screens were projected onto from eight Panasonic RZ31ks. Elsewhere on the video rider were two disguise gx 2s which, according to Price, were used sparingly. “We have a few Notch effects in use on guitar solos during songs like Tompkins Square Park, but on the whole, the band are not effect or content-heavy.” Handling the disguise media server throughout the performance was Jamie Gadney. Creative Technology supplied equipment and crew for the European tour, having enjoyed a long history with Price. Project Manager at Creative Technology Jim Liddiard said it’s always a pleasure, elaborating: “He has a long-standing relationship with the band and his exceptional knowledge of what is required to suit the specification of the show guarantees a high-end finish.” CT’s Head of Music and Entertainment, Graham Miller, added: “It’s been great to be involved in this ground-breaking tour. The in-the-round format has brought an amazing show to the audience which pushes the energy levels through the roof.”

PYRO Quantum Special Effects aided in the visual design with a collection of eight Stadium Shots, 121 Red UF (Tracer) Comets, 38 1/2s x 30ft Jets and 15 Cannon Simulators. Leading the department was Rob Edwards. The SFX Crew Chief explained how it was decided to hang many of the SFX elements in the automated rig rather than in the pit or on the stage. “On the whole we’ve tried to keep as much in the air as possible. The pit itself is quite tight and, as the band are quite intimate with their crowd, we didn’t want to create yet another barrier between them and the fans. The last thing we want is for an audience member to have a confetti barrel in their face.” Moreover, according to Edwards, this flown rig created a spectacular effect. “The roof position of the Stadium Shot means you don’t see the source of the blast which adds a bit of mystery to proceedings.” Edwards fired the show from FOH with his team of two, Rob Sandeman and Erin Bowles, spotting from the side of stage. VIDEO Backstage, TPi Award-winning Video Director, Steve Price said working with Mumford & Sons is a dream job for any director. His history with the band goes back to 2015. “In the past, all four of them have stood in a line so cutting cameras between the band members has always been reasonably intuitive.” However, moving into the round produced an interesting challenge for Price. “Now it’s more of a three-dimensional environment so it’s harder to keep track of where everyone is. It took me a while to arrange my multi-viewer so my mind could make sense of the geography of the stage, but my camera operators were very good and between us we managed to crack it quite quickly.” In total, Price had eight camera operators at his disposal, all using Sony HXC-100 HDs and three Iconix Mini-cams. Standing alongside the show on a Kahuna 360 3 ME Mixer, he explained the aesthetic. “At the start of the show all the IMAG content is in black and white. Throughout the set, we gradually introduce colour over the first few songs until we get to about 60% which gives the screens a proper cinematic feel. It’s not too colourful or bright and really fits the rest of the look. For the encore, we bring it back to black and white until their last song – Delta – where we push it to 100%. Previously starving the audience of colour results in a huge impact.”

AUDIO Yet again taking his position behind the faders at FOH was Chris Pollard. “I’ve been with Mumford since their first headline tour when we were still in a van smashing out shows,” he joked, from the far more comfortable backstage of Manchester Arena. Just like the band, this was Pollard’s first venture into an in-the-round production. Despite the new environment, 62


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Lighting Director, Phil Kaikoura; Automation Programmer and Operator, Luke Williams; Greening Representative, Lucy Clumpas; The video team.

the FOH Engineer tried to keep his mixing style similar to the way he would work a traditional stage-end performance. “There are a lot of things you have to watch out for with this setup, such as the venue acoustics and how they react to having a PA in the centre of a room, specifically with the low end.” However, the FOH Engineer was quick to compliment the work of System Designer, Britannia Row’s, Josh Lloyd and his 360° L-Acoustics system. “This tour has been hardcore, especially when we were getting it up and running,” he admitted. “But even during the changes to the set, the audio rig hasn’t really altered. It’s a real testament to the original design.” “We were first approached to work on the tour during the design phase last year,” commented Lloyd. “We have previously worked with the band, and so have a good relationship with both Chris Pollard (FOH) and Steve Gordon (PM). There was also an understanding of what Chris wanted from this system and a mutual respect when dealing with pushing certain things that couldn’t be compromised.” The main considerations for Lloyd’s design was to achieve 360° coverage within the arena whilst optimising hang positions to minimise the need for time alignment. “We had to take into account that with a 360° show, you’re putting energy into the whole arena, so minimising the amount of sources and ensuring - as much as possible - the system covers the audience area.” The other huge consideration that Lloyd and the team had was with the cable run, which at its furthest arrays, was 125m from ‘dimmer world’ where all the production cables dropped. “We worked around this by using Britannia Row Productions flying amp carts, with amplifiers and motor control flown in just two positions. This meant the longest cable run from the speakers were 20m. This resulted in a significant sonic improvement. Both the amps and speaker hangs could be dropped in if necessary with the mothergrid at trim, giving as a degree of autonomy from the production. All we needed to run in this system was power and fibre to each amplifier location.”

Collectively, the system consisted of L-Acoustics K2s, K1-SBs, KS28 Subwoofers, KARAs, ARCS IIs and KIVA IIs. “The system ended up comprising six hangs of L-Acoustics K2 which were used for increased vertical and wide horizontal coverage, these had the ability to be adjusted in each venue when necessary,” commented Lloyd. “We also opted to use K1-SB behind arrays to help low-frequency extension and directivity, reducing low energy on stage for the band.” “We’ve toured with L-Acoustics for some time now,” Pollard said, reflecting on his last few outings with the Britannia Row Productions crew and their well-maintained equipment. “Their wealth of knowledge on how to do these new shows makes you feel incredibly secure.” Britannia Row Director and Account Manager for this tour, Lez Dwight, stated: “It is always a great pleasure to work with Mumford & Sons. The Delta tour has been a challenging project to put together and I’m very proud of the outstanding effort from all of the audio team.” MONITORS Monitor Engineer, Dan Ungaretti discussed the on-stage sound. He joined the crew last July and was relatively new to the Mumford & Sons touring entourage, having previously taken up the Crew Chief title for the Foo Fighters. Excited to be back behind a desk again, Ungaretti also opted for an SSL L500. One of the biggest challenges the Engineer faced was the sheer number of inputs. “We’ve pretty much filled the L500 and are actually due to upgrade to the L550 to give us extra capacity. At our peak, we were dealing with 146!” Ungaretti also made use of the additional SSL Fader Tile to allow more options at his fingertips. Additionally, on his rig was a TC M6000 multichannel-FX processor and a Bricasti Design M7 reverb. “I use the Bricasti on Marcus’ vocal reverbs and the TC to give me a slightly different flavour to the SSL’s onboard effects. I’ve worked on SSL desks with other 64


Head Carpenter, Morgan Shevett; Head Rigger, Bjorn Melchert.

acts like Peter Gabriel - I know it sounds great but in dealing with so many inputs I want to bring enough live textures to open up the large channel count. “On stage, the band was almost completely on IEM’s barring a selection of d&b audiotechnik M2 wedges built in under the stage. With the exception of Marcus – who used a Wisycom system - the band members used Shure PSM1000s.” The Monitor Engineer gave the frontman as much coverage as possible with the divergent pack because, during at least one song each set, he runs into the crowd and the Wisycom is “incredibly robust” from an RF standpoint. The four principle band members all used Ultimate Ears UE Lives for moulds with the supporting band utilising UE11s. Meanwhile, vocal mics utilised were Shure Beta 58s with the Axient Digital System. “When I first started they were using KSM8s, however, due to the in-the-round arrangement, we opted to go down the radio microphone route and used the 58s for consistency.” Shure Beta 58s were also the choice to capture the audience. “I’ve got four wired 58s on each corner of the stage,” commented Ungaretti. “I prefer these for ambience compared to the standard Shotgun setup as I think they blend better in the mix. I just find them softer and more natural sounding than the alternative.”

difference does a Greening Rep make to a tour? “Obviously touring, by its very nature, is not environmentally friendly. It’s not about a small number of people doing something perfectly – it’s about a million people doing it imperfectly. In other words, working with venues to educate them and demand they start changing the old habits of their waste disposal methods.” With the Mumford & Sons 360° tour coming to an end, the quartet and crew look towards a whole host of festival dates before heading back Stateside in August for an autumn tour. This latest leg of the Delta Tour certainly represented a turning point in the band’s live offering - taking their raw energy and creating a live show to match. Guess we have to watch this space to see what its up their sleeve next time. To paraphrase Marcus Mumford - “We will wait”. TPi Photos: Gavin Batty & TPi

A BETTER FUTURE The Delta Tour marked a milestone for the band breaking new ground in live production. However, touring innovation wasn’t just out on the arena floor. Meet Greening Representative, Lucy Clumpas. For those unfamiliar with the title, Clumpas ensured the backstage areas were as environmentally friendly as possible, from proper disposal of recyclable material to liaising with venues to oversee their waste management scheme. But, with the band playing multiple dates across the globe, what 65



Opposite: Caption.

AN EVENING WITH MARK KNOPFLER During his latest live outing, the singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso offers fans a brand new audio experience with an immersive audio package that leaves audiophiles across Europe speechless. TPi checks-in with Mark Knopfler’s touring production to find out more.



Lighting Designer and Operator Tellson James; Production Manager, Kevin Hopgood.

When you look back at the career of the former Dire Straits frontman, the word consistency comes to mind, with the musician producing an album every two to three years over the last few decades. This year in the quest to keep improving the live experience for his loyal fans, Knopfler and his wider production team set out on a tour with an innovative sound system in the shape of an L-Acoustics L-ISA system. Before we got down to audio specifics, TPi met up with long time Production Manager, Kevin Hopgood at Manchester Arena to discuss the innerworkings of the touring adventure. “I think in many ways I’m still thought of as the new guy,” joked Hopgood as he spoke of his 13-year history with Knopfler. “My first run with Mark was in 2006 during a co-headliner with Emmylou Harris. Bar one tour, I’ve held the position ever since. I’m a huge fan of Dire Straits as well as Mark’s solo stuff. It was one of those phone calls you just can’t say no.” Over a decade with the touring party clearly has not taken the sheen away from this dream job for Hopgood. “We have a lot of familiar faces on this one as it’s a tour that crew really like to come back to,” enthused the PM. “Also due to Knopfler’s clockwork nature of providing new albums every few years, means crew can often block-book six months of their schedule way ahead to the announcement.” Supporting the 27-strong crew production as SSE Audio, Hawthorn, Eat Your Heart Out, Coach Service, Fly By Nite and Captured Live.

check. Unbeknownst to the production at the time, it was that this request that planted the seed which led to the audio juggernaut which hung in Manchester Arena. “My mix for Mark has always been relatively mono,” stated the engineer. “I’m only ever able to pan elements a few degrees. We usually tour with 13 musicians and I want as many of the audience to experience the full mix.” With Knopfler’s request of a more open mix ringing in his ears, DD, during a break from the road, found himself at L-Acoustics’ headquarters to listen to what the team had been cooking up. “David Brooks twisted my arm for sometime to check out the L-ISA system but the timings never worked out. I explained that I was really looking to open my mix up. After hearing what the system could do and hearing a demo, I was sold.” With the L-ISA system in place, the engineer headed to Sarm Music Bank for band rehearsals with a scaled down version that would eventually become full scale arena set up comprising of a collection of X8s. “The first thing I told the L-Acoustics team that was had on site was that my main focus had to always be on the man on stage with a guitar, not the software,” he stated, asserting that he still wanted to maintain his mixes integrity and style that he’d been developing over the years with Knopfler. “Since being on the road that has been the biggest question I have been getting, ‘has your mix changed?’ What I keep telling people is that the sound has just opened up!” However, after getting to ball rolling on the tour, the engineer did state how he was throwing himself into the L-ISA side of his control package. “The L-Acoustics team explained that moving an instrument in the system also trimmed the high and low end to give a different image placement. I didn’t really appreciate what this meant at the start but in the last few weeks I find myself using the touch screen interface on the L-ISA to adjust the mix more subtly.” For control, DD kept to his favoured console, a DiGiCo SD7, which he’s used since 2013. Along with running snapshots for each song, the SD7 via MADI triggered various scenes in the L-ISA. “I think the hardest thing to get

AUDIO ORIGINS TPi caught up with long standing FOH Engineer, Dave ‘DD’ Dixon, who recounted a story from Knopfler’s previous tour in 2015. “It was during the early stage of the tour, during a sound check when Mark suddenly said through the mic, ‘Dave, is there any way we could have this guitar come out of just one side of the PA’,” reminisced DD. “I replied saying that it wouldn’t be possible, as half the audience wouldn’t hear that part of the mix.” After a “very long” pause, Knopfler agreed and carried on with the usual sound 68


your head around when first using the system is that you can’t simply plug a microphone into the desk,” laughed DD, reflecting in some of the head scratching that went on during the initial stage of the tour. Aiding DD’s mix was a selection of outboard gear including a Summit Audio TLA-100A compressor, TC Electronic Reverb 6000 and an Eventide H3000 Series. “On the whole I try to limit the number of compressors I use,” mused DD. “For me, it’s all about getting the source right rather than fixing it in the mix.” PA The PA and control package came courtesy of SSE Audio. “Our collaboration with SSE is really thanks to our ongoing relationship with Holger Schader,” explained Hopgood. “He had just moved over to Solotech which at the time was purchasing SSE Audio. It’s works well for us when we go to the States thanks to the new relationship of the two companies.” When DD went in to prep the show at SSE he was “blown away,” by the facility who prior to this tour was only really worked with Audio company on festival sites. “They have been excellent and the service has been superb. We’ve got three of their guys out with us at the moment who are fantastic.” The rig itself was always going to be a challenge. In total, nine hangs in the roof, seven of which were the primary L-ISA system. The PA boasted three hangs of 14 K2s, three hangs of three L-Acoustics KARA and two hangs of 23 L-Acoustics KARAs. Side hangs consisted of two hangs of 10 L-Acoustics K2s with near fills consisting of six L-Acoustics ARCS wide and six L-Acoustics SB18s. Finally subs consisted of two hangs of eight L-Acoustics KS28s. SSE Audio Hire Manager Miles Hillyard worked with Audio System Technicians, Ulf Oeckel and Max Menelec closely from



the beginning to develop the system. “Due to 95% of the PA being hung in the air, we decided fairly early on that we would fly the amp racks,” began Hillyard. “We’ve also used wireless motor controllers which are also in the amp racks. This means we’re only running fibre and power up to the roof.” The Hire Manager commented how the build process was very much a learning experience with a system of this kind never being created. “With the amp rack, we realised later in the process that they were not going to hold everything we needed them to. Instead, we opted to build our own, load testing the up to 10 tonnes.” The development of the touring rig made use of SSE Audio’s internal manufacturing department to develop all the various components inhouse. The company’s custom engineering has become very much part of SSE’s USP over the years. This included the Azimuth rigging elements that were created for the five hangs across the front of the truss, essential for the L-ISA array. The tour also saw SSE opting to use an AVB networking. “It’s a trend I think we are going to see on more and more tours,” stated Hillyard in the regard to the new networking system, which was also deployed on Rammstein’s latest tour. Hillyard went on to explain the key elements that SSE kept in mind throughout the project was that this system had to be ‘tourable’ keeping pace with successive dates. Overseeing the load-in of the audio system each day was Pete Hughes who was enthused about the package. “The only real issue we have had during the UK run was in the Royal Albert Hall which had more to do with the fact we had configured the system for arenas and had to condense the system – other than that its been amazing,” stated the Audio Crew Chief. Looking at the system that hung in Manchester Arena, with close to 150 speakers in the air, you may think that Hughes would require a larger crew than three. “It’s all down to the incredible design of the system,” beamed Hughes. “We’ve got a rigging structure that makes our day much easier. We tend to split the truss in half so we have to hangs of three which we can work on separately.” The Audio Crew Chief also chuckled that there was a time where the audio department actually had more point in the roof than lighting. “Although that has changed as we have taken away some of the subs and going from 31 to 25 points. It’s still more than average tours

though!” he enthused. “There has certainly been a lot of interest with this tour,” concluded Hopgood. “Lots of audiophiles have been turning up to the event and I think Mark’s work is a great showcase for the system’s musicality.” MONITORS Underneath the large PA, TPi met Knopfler’s Monitor Engineer, Gavin Tempany with Monitor and Stage Technician, Ben Byford. One of the newest members of the permanent Knopfler camp, Tempany took over the reigns from long-time engineer, Kerry Lewis. “I spoke to Kerry for a long time before taking on this tour,” said Tempany. “One of the key things he told me was that Mark likes to hear his mix as it was recorded on the record – a better place to start than any.” For control the engineer opted for an SSL L550. “Its ability to create stems has been incredibly useful with these guys,” he continued. “Not just for the drummer and percussionist but also for the various instruments that require two microphones. Instead of having two faders I can put them onto one.” Including reverbs and stereo tracks, Tempany oversaw 170 inputs, a task he comment the SSL was more than up to. To aid his mix the engineer also used a Bricasti Design M7 on hand to add to the internal reverbs. With no stage wedges present, the musicians and crew utilised Shure PSM1000s, which marked a first for Tempany. “I’ve been impressed, especially with their charging system which you can monitor very easily,” commented the engineer. For the moulds, the band opted of Ultimate Ears UE11s. RF management was a shared task between Tempany and Byford. “We’ve had Mission Control provide us with all our frequencies which mean both Ben and I can come in first thing in the morning and do a scan of the area – after 40 minutes or so we are ready to go.” Corinne Sutterby from Mission Control discussed how they were brought into the fold. “We were asked to take care of the licenses for the tour’s stage RF and walkie talkies. Alongside the licensing we liaised with SSE and provided an outline of the expected whitespace at each venue, to ensure they had equipment in suitable ranges.They had a large number of shows and we arranged licenses for 45 different dates, including the first 70


Monitor Engineer, Ben Byford and Monitor Engineer, Gavin Tempany; Audio Crew Chief, Pete Hughes and System Technician, Max Menelec.

license we have arranged in Slovenia.” The company dealt with 14 different licensing bodies and kept each one informed throughout, including all the promoters. “We are delighted to have been a part of this successful tour and have particularly enjoyed working closely with Kevin Hopgood, Gavin Tempany and Ben Byford,” concluded Sutterby. Along with the IEMs there were also a selection of wireless instruments including a saxophone, a trumpet and a traditional Irish bodhrán drum. While discussing his collaboration with the Monitor Technician, Tempany was more than complementary to his stage counterpart. “Ben really is amazing. Without him, coming into this tour would have been very difficult.” This tour marked the change over to Kemper, a move that many guitar enthusiasts may have found surprising. “I don’t think anyone was as surprised as me though,” laughed DD, recalling the time last term when it was suggested Knopfler would move over to the digitals amplifier. “I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely convinced it would happen leading up to the tour but I’ve been gobsmacked by what he and his Guitar Tech, Glenn Saggers have been able to get out of the system.” Although stating that the Kempers did mean it was one last mic on stage to deal with, the FOH Engineer did explain how they still required careful treatment. “Kempers

really do replicate what is being played on the guitar which means nothing is ever consistent – in the same way it never is with an amp.” With what looked like most of the stock from the local music shop out on the road with the band, most of the 50-stong stringed arsenal were used through the Kemper system. “The exceptions are the electric bass that still uses the amp,” stated DD. The “folky” sting section and guitars Richard Bennett’s acoustics utilising Audio Sprockets ToneDexter preamps. LIGHTING Lighting Designer and Operator Tellson James, spoke to TPi about the visual treatment of the tour. Similar to the last run in 2015, famed theatre designer, Mark Henderson, created the design for the tour with James then taking those designs and programming the show in WYSIWIG. “One of my biggest obstacles at the start of the design process was the front truss that had to cater for the large about of black boxes in the air.” The solution was a front truss that was placed 3ft upstage which gave James some cross light options. The front section contained Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles and Chauvet Professional Nexus Aw 7×7s. “The advantage of the Nexus is that you can put effects across them and the pixel mapping on them is

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really effective,” commented the LD. Also on the rig we a selection of GLP impression X4 Bar 20s, “a gorgeous fixture,” according the LD. “The ability they give with the zoom to give a nice curtain of light. I’ve been able to create some amazing looks with them.” The entire rear wall was and a whole rear wall of Martin by Harman MAC Auras. The rear was split in two sections which gave James several configurations where he would either use the top half or the bottom half of the rig. An extra addition that was added later in the process was the PRG GroundControl Followspot System. “This is the first time I’ve used it on a tour but it’s been very good. We brought it in as Mark was struggling with the followspots in his eyes. Now that we have got this system they are coming in much deeper.” For all other follow spot duties – specifically solos form the other musicians, the crew utilise Robert Juliat Cyrano 2500ws. A High End Systems Hog 4 was the LDs choice control. “I’ve been with the Hogs for a very long time and they do everything I need,” stated the LD, content with his currently live setup. “There is no timecode on this one and I’m firing all the content manually.” All the lighting equipment for this latest run was provide by Hawthorn thanks to a previous relationship with Hawthorn Head of Concert Touring, Mick Freer. “He used to work with a previous company that had been with us for years,” explained Hopgood. “The company were in the middle of developing their rock ‘n’ roll side of their business and we’ve stayed with them ever since.” “It’s been fantastic to continue our relationship with Mark Knopfler,” commented Freer. “It’s a privilege to be involved with an artist of his stature and as a live music experience. He sets the bar pretty high. It’s also been a pleasure to supply equipment to the specification of Mark Henderson. He’s really passionate about what he does and takes a collaborative approach to ensuring he gets the right equipment to deliver his design. The end result is stunning.”

Hawthorn and SSE providing their own sections,” continued Ashton. “Then to keep it in the metric system we have Hawthorn providing all the steel. For the lights we are using Prolyte Prolyft quarter, half and one tonnes. “The main issue we have been seeing looking ahead on this tour is venue height,” continued Ashton. “The minimum we need is 18m from the floor. Any less the we have too look at reducing the PA – but the audio guys have been really accommodating with any of these changes,” he enthused.” LOGISTICS Fly By Nite provided six trucks while Coach Service provided three buses. “They’ve both been with us for the last few tours,” commented Hopgood. “Virtually everything I do is with Fly By Nite, having their rehearsal studios really pushes them firmly in my number one spot.” Also key to the logistic element of the tour was Captured Live that provided all the provide cars for the band. Keeping each one of the crew and band fed throughout the tour were Eat Your Heart Out. FOH Caterer Steve Bond commented: “These guys are nice and easy to cook for,” but explained that the mission each day is still to offer a large variety of options for the men and women on the road. Head Chef, Chris Desmond also spoke of his experience on the tour as he was busily prepping that evenings delights. “It’s been a bit hectic here in Manchester as we also have Spice Girls in town, using many of the same haunts for their supplies. It’s happened a few times on this tour, playing cat and mouse.” With the UK contingent of the Knopfler fan club satisfied with the latest audio offering, the crew made their way over to Europe. “Mark has been very happy with this latest setup,” concluding DD, giving his final thoughts on the tour. “There are only a few people in the world that he will listen to about sound and he’s getting glowing reports all round.” TPi Photos: Sarah Askaroff, Kitty Riddell, GPC Media and TPi.

RIGGING Head Rigger, John Ashton detailed the various demands of the rigging system. Having been a regular of Knopfler’s camps since 2005 he explained his approach to this latest campaign. “Due to the scale of the PA, we developed three version on this one to give production a few options,” stated Ashton. The Rigger talked through his day-to-day routine, which involved a 7am mark out with all rigging being completed by midday. “We have both 72

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ALL POINTS EAST Emerging as an established music site on London’s inner-city festival scene, All Points East Festival takes over Victoria Park for the second year running…

All Points East bore witness to opening and closing three-day weekends firmly dedicated to music. The opening weekend main stage headliners included the likes of Chemical Brothers, The Strokes and Christine and the Queens. In between the music, four days of community-driven free entertainment was available, with comedy, film screenings, street food and much more at play. All in all, making for an inclusive, eclectic inner-city festival programme. The experienced AEG Presents team led by Jim King, and event production company LarMac LIVE, led by Director Ian Greenway, returned to deliver the highest of standards across every aspect of All Points East’s second incarnation.

festivals including Field Day and Lovebox, LarMac LIVE ensured experienced personnel were onsite to handle the dynamic nature of festivals. “Being able to give a show an identity is something we pride ourselves on,” he openly declared. “It’s an intention of the product to ensure that the customer walks away with a smile on their face.” Principal suppliers, Star Events, Pearce Hire, PRG, Colour Sound Experiment, Showforce, Capital Sound and Music Bank, were hand-picked to lead the technical charge. “It’s a mirror of the supply chain last year, we are big fans of familiarity and it’s not a case of convenience or laziness,” Greenway continued. “The old approach of being able to drop any show into any field is against our ethos, every show has a nuance.”

PRODUCTION Onsite at Victoria Park, TPi checked in with unshakable Production Manager, Ian Greenway, of LarMac LIVE. “There’s a high-level attention to the aesthetic elements of the festival – it’s a radical departure from the preexisting inner-city festival model!” Following its launch last year, changes to the production were “minimal”, as Greenway, explained: “It’s great that we had a successful model last year which we could then tweak rather than overhaul.” He referred to the “refreshing” attention to detail required. “Walking around the site, the average customer experience is heightened by the level of finish and veneer.” No stranger to Victoria Park, having hosted a plethora of summer

SETTING THE STAGE Working alongside Loudsound and LarMac LIVE, Star Events supplied the four principal stages to All Points East; the East Stage, the North Stage, the West Stage and the X Stage, together with FOH structures. This year, the APE production team and incoming productions benefitted from increased storage at the East Stage, while a fairly sizeable change to the stage dock has also helped with the transport arrangements. Star Events’ Project Manager at All Points East, Gavin Scott, discussed how the festival has evolved and diversified. “The most noticeable difference was with the FOH structures at East Stage where Huawei sponsored engineered terraces on top of the sound and lighting booths,” 74

Credit: Louise Morris


Loudsound’s Steve Reynolds & Dave Grindel; Capital Sound’s Martin Connolly & Tim Patterson.

he said. “Built with the same technology we use at British Summer Time, and sitting well above the crowd, they provide prime viewing for Huawei and artists’ guests while the studios underneath are 6m by 6m units replete with internal rigging capacity.” This year also marked changes to the Ray Ban X Stage. The Star Events team replaced the central DJ platform in X Stage Mark 1 with a 10m Orbit set between two legs of the 38m span arches. “The new look gave the X Stage a more traditional focal point in place of the in-the-round DJ experience without sacrificing any of its originality,” Scott said. There were also changes on the North Stage with much more storage to help with turnarounds. The ever-decreasing arches on the stage brought a brilliant Hollywood Bowl-style setting but they limited what could be move around at the back. This led Star Events to create an extra zone there to make it more manageable. Scott explained: “The stage itself was pushed back 10m into the trees, which meant building over picnic tables rooted into the ground. In addition, the FOH structure moved stage right which all helped to open up the arena.” Stage 3, West Stage, was in a new, absolutely immaculate tent this year – constructed narrower, so the stage was modified to suit, in the shape of a 17m span, three bay VerTech ground support. Scott concluded: “There’s a fantastic team at All Points East, literally from top to bottom, and Star Events works with Loudsound, LarMac LIVE and fellow suppliers to develop/ facilitate the best possible experience for the customer.”

Loudsound introduced additional stewarding and security onsite. Reynolds reflected: “Initially, there was a hostile reception to a major event taking place in the park because it’s a residential area, so we have also opened up the site for four days to allow the community to come in for free to experience comedy and a range of activities.” Onsite personnel at All Points East ran into the hundreds with a dozen Loudsound personnel deployed in key areas across the festival site to deal with issues as they arise. “Our biggest challenge has been maintaining the level of expectancy that comes with a successful run the first time without changing the things that work. It’s that old mantra, if it’s not broken – don’t fix it.” AUDIO Capital Sound was once again called on by LarMac to handle audio duties across the site for four stages and the VIP area. Capital’s Account Manager Martin Connolly said: “Field Day and LED provided the original template and barring minor tweaks to ensure the sound levels conform at the two offsite measurement positions set by Vanguardia, we now have a winning formula.” For the larger East and North stages, Capital opted for a Martin Audio PA. For the main East Stage, 13 Martin Audio MLA elements were deployed plus an MLD Downfill either side of the stage, with a side hang of eight MLA Compact on stage right only. Since the area stage left is the sensitive sound area, Capital provided two tiny speakers running on a radio link off a localised feed to service the wheelchair users compound. Underpinning this was 14 MLX subs in a broadside cardioid array, eight Martin Audio DD12, which have now become the standard front fills, and a total of 28 MLA Compact on the three delay towers, with the rear one boosted by three Martin Audio SX218 subwoofers. “The third delay was sited at 115m and I find this addition creates warmth and punch past that point,” said Connolly. System teching this stage was Dan Fathers. Over at the Orbit-roofed North Stage, the PA hangs comprised 11 MLA elements and a single MLD downfill per side. LF extension was provided by 11 MLX subs with eight Martin Audio W8LM as front fill. A single delay point was set, with 8 MLA Compact elements populating the tower, all overseen

LOUDSOUND Loudsound Operations Directors, Steve Reynolds and David Grindle joined the conversation. Reynolds said: “An integral part of delivering a successful festival is to engage with the residents, discover their concerns and work closely with the community to ensure that we adhere to their noise concerns and involve them in proceedings.” Acoustics consultant, Vanguardia, was brought in to monitor the sound. “We’re constantly tweaking to make it better for the next day,” Grindle explained. “There’s a big event management team on this and we encourage everyone to have a voice.” In addition to bringing in sound management specialist, Vanguardia, 76


by MLA System Technician in Ben Turnbull. Capital’s Audio Crew Chief was Tim Patterson, who said the only problem during the build-up had been the rain, and consequent change in humidity and atmospherics. “This changed the sound propagation by as much as 5dB,” he said. Patterson, a seasoned touring monitor engineer who was only recently introduced to the crew chief role, could scarcely have been more relaxed. “It’s a pleasure working with LarMac LIVE and Ian Greenway, who really know what they are doing. Everyone on the site has been brilliant, and for us, it’s just about seeing whether we can make any improvements.” For control, Main Stage FOH housed a brand-new Avid VENUE S6L. Capital Sound also supplied an Avid Profile on the North Stage and a Midas PRO2C digital mixing console on the X stage. “They’re historic pieces of kit, which were supplied last year. Last year’s X stage was a purely dance space with nothing but DJs,” Connolly explained. “The Midas PRO2C digital mixing console was DJ Richie Hawtin’s preferred choice last year. Now, it’s a mixture of bands and DJs that play but the engineers know how to use it so there’s no reason to switch it up.” One band for whom Martin Audio’s signature sound proved excellent were Friday night headliners, The Chemical Brothers. Said their FOH Engineer, Shan Hira, “I am never disappointed to see [MLA] on a festival spec.” While onsite, Connolly praised Hira who mixed on a Midas XL4. “He mixes the entire show manually which is often difficult with digital consoles given the vast number of layers, external compressors and EQs to get every last db out of the system. It’s an art form.” Using his own FOH set-up, and mixing the show on a Midas XL4, he said, “I am always looking for an even coverage, clarity in the tops, and punchy, weighty subs - and MLA did a good job all round. The system was set up well and the sub coverage was even due to a well-placed sub array.” His views were shared by Russ Miller, Johnny Marr’s FOH Engineer. “I thought MLA sounded great. Punchy and hi-fi without being harsh. It was well set up and I’m pretty sure I employed zero EQ to my mix.” He also highlighted the

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Star Events Project Manager, Gavin Scott.

system’s great advantages, namely that MLA makes it possible for higher levels to be achieved within the bowl area while reducing substantially offsite. “[Victoria Park] is always going to be a difficult site given the proximity to houses but as modern live engineers we should be aware that government levels will continue to decrease so we need to be vigilant and mix smarter. MLA goes a long way to making that possible whilst still being exciting for the crowd. “The bottom line is that the Capital guys were amazing as always and the PA a joy to mix on.”


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Both the East and the South Stage also boasted a selection of Outline products with a Superfly on the X Stage and a GTOC12s on the East Stage. The West Stage has always used Outline GTOCs, this year we’ve upped our count from 12 subs to 18 this year,” commented Connolly. After the event, Greenway, stated: “Victoria Park has, as with a lot of outdoor London venues, had challenges of late in terms of audio levels and the quality of phonic experience for audiences. Over several years we’ve successfully deployed Martin MLA and Outline on our outdoor stages with fantastic results, both on and off site.”

Fixture wise for East stage, 27 PRG Best Boy HPs, 17 Vari-Lite 3500 Washes, 12 PRG Icon Beams and 18 Solaris Flare JRs, and additional Molefays made up the extensive lighting rig. Various 250kg EXE, 500kg EXE, 1T EXE and 2T hoists were specified for lighting, video and audio departments rigging plus visiting artists. A pair of PRG Ground Control Bad Boy were purposed as followspots on the stage. On the North stage, PRG provided Claypaky Mythos, Martin by Harman Viper Wash DXs, SGM Q-7s and Molefays – as well as PRG Best Boy HPs for key light. PRG also provided a real-time programming software spaces in the shape of WYSIWYG suites, allowing touring LDs and operators to preprogramme their show before they turned up on the day. Having collaborated on a series of high-profile tours this year, such as Post Malone and Fatboy Slim, Robert Watson (lighting and rigging) and Paul ‘Macca’ Macauley (video) joined forces for All Points East. “The majority of PRG’s account managing team have spent a long time in the industry from the ground upwards,” Watson said. “The handy thing is, because we supply rigging, lighting and video, all the departments integrate seamlessly.” The East Stage lighting team was made up of Chris Scott, who designed and operated the show. Lighting Crew Chief, Andy Christie, Will Gallegos and Harvey Fitzpatrick. While the North Stage boasted Lighting Crew Chief, Dana Read, Lighting Operator, Dan Young and Lighting Tech, Simon Hossack.

LIGHTING Lighting for the festival’s larger stages was split between PRG on the East and North Stages and Colour Sound Experiment for the West and South Stages. The West Stage’s lighting kit included 34 Robe BMFLs, 38 Claypaky Sharpys, 30 Robin LED LED Wash 600s, 38 TMB Active DMX Sunset Sunstrips and 13 Martin by Harman Atomic Strobes, all of which were controlled by MA Lighting grandMA2 Lite and full-sized consoles. On the South stage, Colour Sound Experiment supplied 26 Robe MMX spots, 14 Robin LED Wash 300s and 25 DMX 2 Lite Molefays as the main fixtures controlled by an Avolites Tiger Touch 2 console. Haydn Cruickshank commented: “It was fantastic to be a part of All Points East again. The challenges of keeping lighting fresh and responsive at an event spanning 10 days, with the world class acts that perform there, are part of what keeps it such an exciting event to be a part of.” The Colour Sound Experiment team comprised Project Manager, Haydn Cruickshank, Lighting Crew Chief, Simon Robertson, Stu Barr, David ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, Hannu, Geno Welburn and Sam Akinwale. “Once again, all of our crew really came together to help pull off something special so an extra thanks to them and everyone involved - long may it continue!” Cruickshank exclaimed. For East and North Stage control, PRG provided grandMA2 control systems with customised festival racks across both North and East Stage.

VIDEO When it came to video, PRG covered all four stages on the opening weekend, before it dropping to the West and South Stage on the following weekend. The East Stage boasted ROE Visual MC7-H 7mm IMAG screens and ROE Visual CB5 onstage LED screens, processed by Barco E2 screen management, Sony HXC camera chains and a Ross Video carbonite PPU system. The North Stage saw the deployment of CB5 IMAG screens and CB5 onstage screen for Primal Scream’s headline slot. Sony HXC camera chains and Panasonic 450 PPUs captured a variety of looks. 78


The West stage brandished CB5 upstage wall, Barco E2 screen management and Resolume media servers. While the X Stage Rev showcased a plethora of Revolution Blade HD LED stripes processed by Resolume media servers. The entire visual content was processed onsite by Barco E2 screen management and Resolume and disguise media servers. Macca told TPi: “It was a pleasure to work with LarMac LIVE again, but equally in being part of the second ever APE show across both weekends. Having been so successful in its first year, it was always going to be a challenge for the crew, but PRG was very happy to deliver video requirements across four of the festival’s stages.” Watson echoed: “It was a really enjoyable experience and we look forward to working with LarMac again next year. It’s a great festival with a nice feel to it, with varied styles of music to cater to a diverse range of audiences.”

we use is now HVO, which is an eco-friendly diesel product. It’s refreshing to work with a client that respects the importance of putting together an environmentally friendly solution.” As well as powering the production, Pearce Hire provided creative lighting. A mixture of 70 SGM P-5s and Cameo ZENIT W600 Outdoor fixtures were deployed in communal areas of the festival site, such as the trees, bar facades and the bandstand. “They are big, bright coloured, IP-rated floods, which were the perfect for this application because AEG wanted the ability to change the colours to fit the festival brand.” Artist guest supplies can change on a daily basis, Both in the advance process and on site. This can be difficult with only an allotted amount of distribution equipment and generators but Pearce Hire prides itself on flexibility. “We understand things change and do what we do to get it sorted.” At peak times with a crew of 15 faces, the Pearce Hire team was project managed by Jake Vernum who worked in partnership with onsite Project Co-ordinators, Dan Shelton and Daniel Stratton. “We enjoy working alongside AEG, Loudsound and Larmac LIVE,” Vernum said “It’s a nice project to be a part of and we look forward to working with them again.” With a delighted audience, production crew and a long-term contract from the local authority, All Points East has consolidated its position as a cornerstone of London’s festival landscape for the foreseeable future. TPi Photos: Jessica Gilbert, Star Events & TPi.

POWER The team from Pearce Hire was busy loading an extensive power system into Victoria Park in London ready for the second incarnation All Points East Festival. The power specialist supplied all of the stages with independent generator areas. The main stage boasted four 500KVA generators, while stages two and three comprised a trio of 300KVA generators. The rest of the festival was powered by generator farms, covering vast areas of the site. Having played a key part in last year’s 10-day festival, the temporary power supplier provided double the amount of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) fuel as last year, as part of the festival organisers’ sustainable festival management. Based on data collected from the generators last year, the Pearce Hire team were able to tailor an economical package. “Working to a set of averages, we then build on information to provide smaller engines, This allows us to be more environmentally friendly, Whilst helping out with our clients budgets by reducing costs by removing unnecessary generator power” Pearce Hire Project Manager, Jake Vernum began. “70% of the fuel



FIELD DAY FESTIVAL Field Day delights inner-city festival revellers at its new venue in Tottenham, with Capital Sound providing sound reinforcement.

Taking place across ten acres of outdoor space and four large interlinking warehouses, Field Day’s move to The Drumsheds in Tottenham, London welcomed attendees in their thousands with an overall capacity of 10,000. Having supplied audio for the festival since 2012, Capital Sound returned to the Field Day fold, once again teaming up with Broadwick Live to deliver the feat. Capital Sound deployed a team of five on the Eat Your Own Ears Stage including Kev Smith operating as the Audio Crew Chief for the whole site. A trio of Capital Sound representatives each manned Printworks and the Boiler Room stages. Capital Sound’s David Preston picked up the story: “Broadwick Live wanted d&b System from the start in both the Outdoor Main Stage and the Printworks. A d&b audiotechnik J-Series line array was the PA of choice for both the main indoor warehouse space, as well as for the main outdoor festival stage.” The Eat Your Own Ear stage PA boasted a d&b audiotechnik J-Series of 12 J8s and two J12s per side, along with 15 B22s subs. Front fills came in the shape of eight Y7Ps. Advanced multi-source audio processing was achieved by an Outline Newton system processor while FOH control was delivered by an Avid S6L 24-C at with Waves Soundgrid. In monitor world, Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console manned eight Shure PSM1000s and Shure UR2s with Beta 58 capsules. Fourteen d&b audiotechnik M2s manned monitors, while two J-SUBS and a trio of V8s per side were on side fill duty. At the Printworks, a d&b J System made up of 10 J8s and two J12s per side partnered 12 SL subs. Ten T10s and two Y7Ps performed front fill duties. Delays at 60m were achieved by eight V8s per side and rear delays at

90m boasted ground stacked J-SUBS with four V8s on top, all were handled by a trio of Lake LM44 System Processors. A DiGiCo SD10-24 with SD mini rack performed audio control at FOH with a Yamaha QL5 digital mixer locate in monitor world; overlooking eight d&b audiotechnik M4 wedges and DJ fills of V-Series subs and V7PS. Using the d&b ArrayCalc simulation software, Preston calculated the PA requirements and loudspeaker hang points for the J-Series on both of the main stages. “ArrayCalc allows me to significantly reduce set up and tuning time and allows for precise initial simulations when planning installations.” For Field Day, the calculations were “pretty much spot on,” he added. “Things sounded really accurate and precise once the venue set up was complete.” On the Boiler Room Stage, Capital Sound deployed a Meyer Leopard system of six with four 900 LFC Subs per side, partnering four Meyer Leopard ground stacked delays further down the room. For control, Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console at FOH and a Yamaha PM5D at monitors along with 12 Martin Audio LE1500s. “Most of the artists used all house gear provided aside from the Jungle crew the on Main Stage and Saturday’s headliner Jorga Smith, who’s crew brought their own consoles.” With the new site located in on a non-residential area, so noise limits were more relaxed than typical London outdoor concerts. Preston explained: “The noise limits were kept to across the site and off site for the whole weekend with no problems. The new site has plenty of potential due to its non-residential area and now good transport links into Stratford and Kings Cross.” By opting for a ground-breaking fresh location with a befitting aesthetic, Field Day’s move and continued collaboration with Capital Sound shows no signs of slowing down. Photos courtesy of Capital Sound. 80


CAMP EDC Backbone International’s North American team descended on Las Vegas Build the campsite from the ground upwards, Backbone International was on site for the latest Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Backbone International’s Rutger Jansen picked up the story: “The campground was a huge asphalt terrain which we wanted to transform into a fairytale wonderland. Laying down 2.7million square-foot of artificial grass is a serious challenge, especially in the desert where we regularly had to deal with stormy weather.” After turning the rough terrain into a green oasis, the Backbone International had to build up 4,800 shiftpods which got equipped with air conditioning and power. In addition to last year’s Camp EDC, this year attendees had the option to book a preset RV besides driving their own RV on-site, so we also had to arrange all practical necessities for 1,500 RVs. Jansen reflected: “To accommodate these huge quantities, we had to completely redesign the power grid.”

Also new for this edition was the check-in lobby the Backbone International team built with food, music, seating, shade and WiFi. “We also doubled the number of checks in lanes for RV campers and took care of even five times more check in lanes for the shiftpod campers than last year,” Jansen explained. “We redesigned the passage between Camp EDC and the festival, build four swimming pools on the Mesa with more space to play and took care of new chill zones on the campsite.” Besides the creative development of a completely new Camp EDC, Backbone International were also responsible for the build and all operations during the event, making sure the client didn’t need to worry about anything. Full production and operation of Camp EDC was in Backbone International’s hands. “Six weeks of hard work during the buildup and preproduction was all worth it. It was really a journey of a lifetime and we are already looking towards next year’s edition,” he concluded. Photos courtesy of Backbone International



PARKLIFE LUCID takes to Heaton Park to design The Valley stage, a brand-new festival space.

LUCID returned for a second year to design and build the newly iconic The Valley at Parklife Festival 2019. Four times the size of the previous year, the company used innovative engineering and design techniques to build the dystopian cityscape structure by building in a modular way so that the stages could be built quickly on site and can be reused year after year. This year’s line up on The Valley, hosted by Disclosure, included the likes of Nas, Kaytranada, Annie Mac, Denis Sulta, DJ Koze, Honey Dijon and Sally C. Helen Swan and Chris Carr, Co-Directors of LUCID, and their team have made a name for itself by creating and building structures that generate audience interaction and immersion by pushing the boundaries of set construction and its integrated tech. This year, the organisers of Parklife Festival asked LUCID to design and build them a new stage building on its work last year. The result was The Valley: a life-size tower block complex influenced by brutalist architecture and dystopian fiction, consisting of the 100m wide by 22m high stage, a 50m brutalist bar and a two-storey Pepsi factory doubling as a viewing platform. “Last year was our first time building this structure,” reflected Carr, onsite at the festival. “We’ve really expanded the concept this year into an all encompassing theme which is all part of our three to five year plan of how to expand The Valley.” Every window in the eight life-size tower blocks that make up the cityscape of the stage is an LED screen featuring moving silhouettes of the people living in the towers whilst the billboard screens continuously show futuristic

public service announcements and adverts. LUCID designed and created every inch of the set, from developing an eight-layer process to turn ply flats into hyper-realistic aged concrete, to making and programming the on-screen content and LED lighting. “I think one of our strengths at LUCID is our ability to cross over set design and the integration video and led technology. This year we have brought in Video Illusions who provided all our screens and dbnAudile who provided lighting.” The screens provided for the stage included INFiLED L10 for billboards, L 6 for the windows in the towers and ER4 for all screens on stage. Video Illusions also supplied an Avolites Ai server with five HD outputs needed to drive all the screens. “What we love about The Valley is the opportunity to extend the video canvas outwards from just the traditional upstage wall,” commented Video Illusions’ Oli Chilton. “This allowed acts like Disclosure to take full control of the windows to create their mesmerising Friday headline show. We hope to keep working with Chris, Helen and the rest of the LUCID team and provide their ever more ambitious projects with our unique approach to video production.” All three of the structures comprising The Valley had to be constructed onsite at the Parklife festival grounds within 10 days. This included leaving enough time for Disclosure to run through their programming with LUCID’s lighting design team. To ensure this was possible, LUCID developed a modular frame and bracket system that allowed them to get set up at height, with speed, and without crane lifts where none were available. 82


Co-Director of LUCID, Chris Carr.

Swan explained that the inspiration for the stage derived from “a desire to create an immersive experience at Parklife.” She continued: “We wanted to bring more than the music to audiences. By developing The Valley into an arena made of three large structures, we are on our way to creating an area that people can lose themselves in and feel part of a fictional, escapist landscape. It allows audiences to play and have creativity with their dress and behaviour, to become one of the characters in the cast of The Valley.” The team at LUCID didn’t just want to inspire those audience members that visited the stage. “We were keen for artists to engage with the stage in their performances,” explained Carr. “We always wanted people to bring in their own ideas. Last year was difficult as we only had renders. This year, it has been so much easer as people already have a flavour. Disclosure has been the first to really engage with the set and produced their own content

for the show.” For the rest of the weekend, the LUCID team created content for the screen. “The feedback has been pretty overwhelming,” concluded Swan. “Major Lazer and Disclosure’s headline shows at The Valley were the stuff of dreams, the way the visuals and sfx complimented the music was truly spectacular. Keep an eye out for videos of those sets! We are obviously hoping to build even more structures in The Valley, to create a truly 360, immersive space,” Swan concluded. Photos courtesy of LUCID www.


DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL Yamaha Commercial Audio Sales Representatives Hans Metger & Reece Stead.

YAMAHA COMMERCIAL AUDIO AT DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL State-of-the-art tour truck showcase the company’s PM range of consoles to visiting engineers.

With a line up that consisted of the Slipknot, Def Leppard and the return of the mighty Tool for their first UK performance in 12 years, Download Festival once again proved itself as the stage for rock and metal music at the famed Castle Donnington. As throngs of rock fans and metalheads enjoying the weekend’s entertainment, TPi found itself behind the Main Stage to meet up with Yamaha Commercial Audio’s mobile showroom, showcasing the company’s latest line of professional standard audio desks. Greeting TPi on site was Hans Metger, Commercial Audio Sales Representative. The portal showroom, which is in the body of a customised truck, has already seen action this summer making a temporary home at Neighbourhood Weekender with the goal of also taking it to Leeds Festival later in the season. The concept of the incentive was very much build out of the demands to Yamaha Commercial Audio’s clientele: “With the development of the PM Series we wanted to get the desk under the nose of as many engineers as possible,” said Metger. “We knew festival season was a very busy time for engineers, so instead of inviting them to a demo day in our offices, opted to partner with Live Nation to create this space where engineers could come in and chill out before their set along with taking al look at the console.” On site, the Yamaha team displayed its current flagship desk, the PM10 along with its younger brother the PM7. Along with the new SWP2-10 SMF

Network Switch that was launched this year at ISE. The new release offers users two 10gb Fibre optic ports. Not only did the onsite showroom showcase the company’s latest offerings, it was offered some literal in-the-field feedback from engineers. “We had our Head of R&D Atsushi Kitagawa here throughout the weekend speaking to engineers which proved invaluable,” commented Metger. “All weekend he’s been taking notes with what the engineers have been saying which he can relay straight back to the engineering team in Japan.” With a selection of Yamaha Equipment out on the festivals grounds, Metger explained that the truck also worked as a great base to provide tech support. “Just on the main stage at monitors – a few step from the truck – there are a few CL5s, QL5s and an QL1,” he continued. “Over the years Yamaha Commerical Audio has built up a reputation of reliability and lots of engineers are able to walk up to one of our desks and use it during a fesival slot.” Despite the trying weather conditions, the Yamaha Commercial Audio team enjoyed a successful weekend. “We’ve had loads if engineers come in and say hello throughout the weekend,” Metger concluded. “The response we’ve been getting, I see no reason why we can’t roll it out to more festivals next season.” TPi 84


GOTTWOOD Dubbed as a mystical party in the middle of the woods, Gottwood celebrates a decade by rolling out a trusted network of suppliers to the intimate electronic music festival.

In a festival climate where big budgets and big production is often championed, it is hard for a smaller scale shows to stand proud unless creativity, commitment and passion prevails. Marking its 10th year, Gottwood’s 5,000 capacity show focuses on an underground selection of electronic music from across the globe spread across 10 stages in the North West of Wales, pushing the boundaries that small festivals are often constrained by to their limits. Knowledge of the industry and experience of the team allowed Director, Tom Elkington who handled design and technical production and Director, Digby Neill who overlooked the site - to deliver a special and one-off production in arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the country. For Elkington supplier selection was key. “Choosing to work with typical industry leaders doesn’t always work in smaller shows as budgets and aspirations don’t align. Smaller shows need PM’s with a true passion for the end product that are willing to go that extra mile and be resourceful.” This year, the Gottwood team worked with a variety of suppliers including Impression One (power), Audio Feed (sound), Lightup (light,

video and rigging), Nick Jevons (lighting design), The Fair (compliance and health and safety), Pinnacom (network) and the Creation Live team on show design and production delivery, headed up by Production Manager, Charlotte Denton. Elkington praised the festival collective: “Everyone shone through to deliver in my opinion the best Gottwood yet. A small dedicated team of highly skilled individuals willing to go that extra mile.” AUDIO Gottwood’s organisers are committed to giving its community the best possible sound and, with that in mind, called in Audio Feed to deliver Funktion-One systems on all 10 stages. This included the first outing for Vero VX. Each stage was curated by the people behind some of the UK’s best parties and music labels, making for a varied programme of DJ and live performances. Vero VX, which received its global launch at Prolight + Sound 2019 in April, was deployed at The Lawn – the festival’s 3,000-capacity main stage. 86


Production Manager, Charlotte Denton & Production Coordinator, Yasmin Galletti di Cadilhac; Organisers Tom Elkington & Digby Neill.

The system featured four ground stacked Vero VX90 cabinets per side, with bass reinforcement from eight V124 enclosures. Power came from MC2 Delta 90, Delta 100 and Delta 80 DSP Dante amps. Funktion-One founder Tony Andrews was onsite to assist with the set-up and to oversee Vero VX’s maiden voyage. Commenting on Vero VX’s performance at Gottwood, Andrews said: “Given that this was the first outing and as we only had four units per side, typical reasoning could lead you to think that it may not be sufficient for the size of venue. However, the output and clarity of this relatively small system was outstanding. It performed beyond all expectations, with headroom to spare.” Audio Feed’s Oz Jefferies added: “The VX produced an incredibly full, vibrant alive sound. The vocal clarity was effortless and its performance on live bands was incredible. The Deltas sound awesome.” The other stages provided a mix of styles and ranged in size from The Barn at around 200-capacity to The Curve at 1,150. Each had a FunktionOne sound system from Audio Feed, apart from Trigon which was supplied by Full Fat Audio. Tree House had eight Funktion-One Evo 6E speakers per side and four F221 bass enclosures, with MC2 amplification and XTA control. The Walled Garden used four Res 4T speakers and four F121 bass enclosures configured in a quadrophonic arrangement, MC2 amplification, and a Midas M32 console at FOH. Audio Feed deployed Res 4Ts, F121s, F101s and an SB210A at The Barn, with MC2/XTA power and control. Mother Owl was home to two F1201 speakers, two BR118 bass reflex speakers, and an F101, with XTA power and control. Trigon supplied by FFA’s

Dave Millard featured eight Evo 6EH mid/high speakers, eight F115 mid/bass speakers, eight F124 bass enclosures and two F101s, with FFA amplification. Ruffy’s Lab used four F101s and two BR118s with MC2/XTA amplification and control. Audio Feed used another quadrophonic system comprising four F1201s and four F121s at Ricky’s Disco. The system at Captain Cabeeza featured two Res 4Ts, two F218s and two F101s. The Curve featured two Res 4s and two F121s per side in a left/right configuration with a mono centre stack of two F124s for additional low end. Audio Feed’s Festival Project Manager Conor Dever reflected: “Supplying this year’s Gottwood Festival with 10 stages of Funktion-One was a great pleasure for all the team at Audio Feed. Set in an absolutely stunning part of the UK, it was a wonderful experience delivering high quality audio systems in such a beautiful setting. “The Lawn stage featured the first outing of the new Vero VX system which sounded absolutely immense. Elsewhere in the festival we focused on implementing quadraphonic systems to curb noise restrictions and deliver a sonic experience for the festival goers. We’d like to thank the festival organisers and everyone else on site who made such an amazing show possible.” SOUND MANAGEMENT For the last four years, Pinnacom’s sister company, SPLtrack has provided noise management services to Gottwood Festival. As sound engineer, sound company owner, loudspeaker designer and system designer over 87


Creative Designer, Nick Jevons & Liteup Director, Marc Callaghan; Pinnacom & SPLtrack Director, Chris Beale; The Funktion-One audio squad.

the years, music system control is firmly embedded in Chris Beale and the company’s DNA. “When we were invited to be involved the festival had been suffering with poor onsite sound levels due to strict council controls,” Beale reflected. “We were able to provide sound containment design changes and introduced processes that enabled the stages to operate at much higher levels whilst protecting the amenity of local residents.” Key to the management of the event was the SPLtrack cloud platform that enables the project to be modelled in detail during planning and then include live metres during the event. “This enables continuous evaluation of model vs real data including meteorological impact. The system has a host of other features that deliver a comprehensive environmental management tool,” he explained.

the operators a lot of options for creating different looks and effects. Then there was the small matter of the site lighting. He explained: “Gottwood experience is all about the experience for the festival goers and we put a lot of focus on the tree and site lighting.” With over 200 fixtures lighting the non-arena part of the site it gave a huge impact and followed on from the stage designs. “A lot of the tree lighting around the stages was also tied into the lighting console so at those big moments in the night the whole forest around could be strobing or we could drop the light level right down for the lasers to have maximum effect.” The Liteup team also got the chance to roll out its new InfiLED ER 5.9 video screen for one of the stages – making an 18m wide video wall rigged in a curve in strips to encompass the stage. As far as boutique festivals go, Gottwood’s uninhibited decade of success across four days of nonstop dance music partnered with an innovative technical team consolidates its place as a firm mainstay of the independent UK festival scene. TPi Photo: TPi, Chroma Collective’s Jake Davis & Rob Jones.

LX & VIDEO “We were delighted to be asked to supply lighting and video for Gottwood Festival’s 10th Anniversary,” Liteup’s Marc Callaghan began. “Gottwood is a truly unique festival with amazing custom stage structures and a multitude of different environments for all different types of dance music.” Working closely with Creative Designer Nick Jevons, Project and Account Manager Callaghan set to work on coming up with new ideas for the spaces. He reflected “Nick and I wanted to make the lighting and video absorb the audience, so we used a lot of creative LED products such as Martin VDO Sceptron to work with the structures rather than just use them as lighting supports.” As a number of the venues had a variety of DJ’s and acts over the course of the weekend the accompanying lighting rigs had to be versatile and give 88

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D&B SOUNDSCAPE DEBUTS IN LONDON’S WEST END Sound design duo, Gareth Owen and Andy Green achieve awardwinning sound design with d&b Soundscape’s first West End outing.

The Broadway sensation Come From Away landed in London’s Phoenix Theatre in February 2019. The heart-warming production focuses on the kindness and fortitude of the residents of Gander, Newfoundland; a small Canadian town that welcomed 38 planes full of passengers in the wake of the Federal Aviation Administration closing American airspace on 11 September 2001. The production also marked the first d&b Soundscape show in London’s West End. An auspicious debut, the sound design provided by Gareth Owen, along with associate sound designer Russell Godwin and production sound engineer Andy Green won Best Sound Design at the 2019 Olivier Awards. Using d&b Soundscape, Owen was able to overcome one of the major challenges of a show that features a 12-strong ensemble cast with actors playing multiple characters, often in the same scene. As he explained: “There are so many people delivering so many short lines very quickly that before we had Soundscape, the audience occasionally struggled to work out who is speaking.”

Prior to the London show, Come From Away director Christopher Ashley initially relied on lighting cues and movements from the actor to create the required focus. With the d&b software module En-Scene, up to 64 sound objects can be placed within a scenario so that what is heard aligns with what is seen. “After doing the first run with Soundscape, the director said to me ‘This is a revelation. Suddenly I don’t need to worry about lighting or staging or what the cast are doing to know who is speaking. My ear is drawn automatically because of the acoustic element. I can hear the sound coming from the people.’ He said it was an absolute game-changer,” Owen explained. Not only did Owen achieve the focus required but using d&b En-Space he was able to ensure that each seat in the architecturally impressive three-level theatre experienced the same acoustic sense of space, whether tucked under a balcony or in the open stalls. “We’ve now done five productions using Soundscape, more than 90


anybody else from a musical point of view,” added Owen. “Come From Away is by far the show where Soundscape has made the biggest, most significant fundamental difference. More than just improving the sound of the show, it’s actually added a new creative element that the show didn’t have before. It’s noticeable to everybody who’s involved. Very, very noticeable.” As well as installation of multiple loudspeakers from the d&b Y, T and E-Series throughout the auditorium, Owen wanted some “really serious low end” for a few key moments in the show. “We would normally use J-INFRAs for that, but I simply couldn’t find room for them in the theatre,” explained Owen. “I had resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t going to have that in the London version.” With help from d&b, Owen discovered he could have his low end and fit it under the stage too, using the 21S subwoofer from the d&b xS-Series. This was the first time Owen would work with the 21S, which is capable of extending the frequency response of a system down to 33Hz when operated in INFRA mode. “Steve [d&b Education and Application Support] told me it was a very shallow 21-inch subwoofer that goes really, really low. Phil Hurley at Stage Sound Services arranged to borrow it for us, so we tried it, we managed to get it in the space and arguably it worked even better than the J-INFRA for what I wanted to achieve. And it sits in a much smaller space. Phil very generously agreed to buy the sub. I didn’t tell him it was only for six seconds in the show. I guess when he reads this he’ll know [laughs]. It works brilliantly, and it achieves exactly what I wanted it to achieve.” While on the surface it would appear that Come From Away deals with very weighty subject matter, the production tackles the full range of emotions. Tears of sadness are followed by tears of joy and much, much laughter. It is a human story that absorbs its audience, and that connection is maintained throughout thanks to Owen’s masterful sound design using Soundscape. Effortless listening for the audience, but for Owen using d&b Soundscape is a whole new way of working with sound. “It’s like being at school again. It feels like for the last twenty years we’ve been doing sound for theatre in fundamentally the same way. And here we are just completely re-thinking what it is we’re doing… So often in the professional sound world people do things differently because somebody’s brought out a new piece of technology. I would say nine out of ten pieces of new equipment just end up making life more complicated, without really making the sound that much better. Whereas with Soundscape, yes, everything needs to change. Everything needs a re-think, but the result is something that you can clearly hear. That’s exactly the kind of technology that, in my view, is worth investing in.” Soundscape may be a wonderful tool, but it’s the people using it to create something great that deserve the recognition. As Owen is quick to point out, the success of Come From Away involved many people.

“The work that my team has put into the London show to make this work and make it as good as it is, particularly Russell Godwin and Andy Green as well as the show crew… I mean they’ve just gone above and beyond to deliver it. Steve Jones at d&b has been nothing but supportive. He’s always been there when we’ve needed him. When we got stuck, he helped us work out what’s going on and how to achieve the results that we need.” Over 6,000 people “got stuck” in Gander, Newfoundland. Come From Away’s ensemble cast depicts just a few of the remarkable stories that unfolded over those five days of grounded flights. Most remarkable is that these stories are all based on actual events. Owen’s award-winning sound design with Soundscape delivers the truth of every line and note of this incredible emotional journey, enveloping the audience in a celebration of human kindness. TPi Photos: Matthew Murphy



IP65 RATED FIXTURES An overview at some of the leading IP65 rated fixtures on the market.

CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL From the Wodapalooza Festival in Miami, to Wild In ‘t Park in Belgium, the new Maverick Storm 1 Wash from Chauvet Professional is already demonstrating its ability to stand up to whatever wet weather mother nature can dish out. Featuring precision-engineered die-cast aluminum housing and 316 stainless steel external screws this rugged fixture has an output of over 6,000 lumens, so it can pack a punch even as an aerial effect rain or shine. With 19 individually pixel mappable 20W Osram RGBW LEDS, a virtual gobo wheel with background colours, a wide (11° - 42°) zoom range and 16-bit dimming, it presents designers with a range of creative possibilities. PRODUCT FEATURES: • Fully featured IP65 rated RGBW LED yoke wash fixture with pixel mapping and zoom • 16-bit dimming of master dimmer as well as individual colours for smooth control of fades • Built-in colours for quick design possibilities • Built-in virtual gobo wheel with background colours for impressive atmospheric effects • Precise movement of pan, tilt, and zoom • Quiet operation for a wide range of installation situations, both indoor and outdoor • DMX, W-DMX, S ACN, Art-Net, and Kling-Net control for full flexibility • RDM Enabled for remote addressing and trouble shooting • 11° - 42° zoom angle for variable beam sizes 92


ELATION PROFESSIONAL Elation Professional’s 50,000-lumen Proteus Maximus is an all-purpose power luminaire and the brightest LED profile on the market. With flexible use as a profile, beam or wash light and an IP65 rating, it can be used for any outdoor or indoor application requiring radically bright output. Maximus houses a 5.5- to 55° zoom, CMY colour mixing with variable CTO, and 6-slot colour wheel. An FX package includes two gobo wheels, two prisms, animation wheel, two frost filters, and high-speed iris - 4-blade framing is also included. With 180mm front lens and 950W White LED engine, it delivers an unmatched level of brightness with the power to cut through, even at great distances.

AYRTON Perseo-S is Ayrton’s entry into the realm of compact multi-function luminaires with an IP65 enclosure rating designed for intensive outdoor use. For those already familiar with Ayrton’s growing family of automated luminaires, Perseo-S has again set the bar- smaller, brighter and almost the same weight as our game changing Ghibli. Uniquely for an LED outdoor moving head, due to its compact, sleek design resulting in the lightest fixture in its class, Perseo-S can easily be used for both outdoor and indoor applications. This means increased utilisation rates over other IP65 moving fixtures with an incredible feature set and outputting 27,000 lumens. Main features: • Beam Aperture: 7°-56° (8:1) Zoom Range • Total luminous output up to 27,000 lumens • CMY, CTO, Fixed Colour Wheel • Full field shutter blade system, rotatable +/-45° • 2 Gobo wheels- 1 Indexable/rotating and 1 fixed • 2 Frost filters, Iris, Animation wheel • 2 Prisms- 1 - 5 way radial and 1 – 4 way linear • All this in an IP65 rated enclosure, weighing just 38.8kg




27,000 LUMENS


8:1 ZOOM - 7° TO 56°





HIGHLITE INTERNATIONAL The Showtec Performer Profile is available as IP 3200K or IPQ4 version. Both are very well equipped for outdoor purposes. Theme parks, open air festivals or theatres form the perfect stage for the Performer Profile. IP65 rated, CRI> 90Ra for the 3200K and a 250W RGBW LED array for the Q4, a variable beamangle of 15°-30° which is adjustable via the electronic zoom and focus system. The Performer Profile has framing shutters built-in which can be controlled manually. For the overall control of the unit, this can be done manually, via RDM or DMX-512 protocol. A rotatable goboholder is also part of the package.

ADJ The flagship of ADJ’s new IP65 rated Hydro Series of moving head fixtures is the Hydro Beam X2. This extremely bright and feature-packed luminaire is designed for outdoor events, tour production and permanent installation in even the harshest of environments. Through a combination of precisionengineered optics and a potent Osram Sirius HRI 370W LL discharge lamp, the fixture generates a razor-sharp 3° beam that can be customised using a wide variety of beam manipulation tools to provide lighting designers with a high level of creative freedom. These include a 14 position colour wheel (including both 3200K and 5600K CTO filters), 10 replaceable rotating GOBOs + two fixed beam reducers, two multi-faceted rotating prisms with layering feature and an independent frost filter.





110W LED 2° beam 80,000 Lux @ 5m 2 prisms 12 colours + CTO + CTB 17 gobos Motorised focus Frost filter

PROLIGHT The powerful LEDJ Spectra QX40 Pixel gives the wow factor to any indoor or outdoor space. This IP rated exterior fixture outperforms other LED washes of this size, and will withstand the elements, illuminating event spaces, stages or facades in all weathers. Utilising quad-colour technology from 40 x 10W RGBW LEDs the QX40 can produce a wide colour spectrum. This, coupled with five segment pixel zone control, allows lighting designers to create stunning effects. This multi-use fixture can also be truss mounted via the included Omega clamps, making it perfect for use as a blinder, strobe or stage wash panel. PRODUCT FEATURES: • IP65 rated exterior fixture • 40 x 10W quad-colour LEDs (RGBW) • 8° Beam angle (Native) • Five segment pixel zone mapping • Wireless DMX by W-DMX Sweden • Precise 180° tilt angle adjustment • Optional accessories: 20°, 40° and 15 x 60° beam shaping lenses, barn door, snoot and a custom designed flight case

For a demo/finance options... Email Call +44 (0) 1254 704 111


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Due to its intelligent connector system the GLP FUSION Stick FS20 creates seamless light lines - horizontal or vertical, indoor as well as outdoor. With the FUSION Stick FS20 it is no problem to change the reflection angle between beam to wide flood or also asymmetrical. Nowadays light lines are an important part of modern stage designs. With the FUSION Stick FS20 you finally get a tool for such an application that even works fanless. No matter if used in a theatre or on a concert - in- and outdoor - FUSION Stick FS20 is the right choice.


. 20 x 15W RGBW LEDs . Large selection of accessories including diffusors and glare shields . Intelligent rigging system . IP65 . Lots of control options: DMX, Wireless DMX, IR Remote



The Vectorworks Scholarship The CAD specialist launches its annual Vectorworks Scholarship program, giving young designers a platform to showcase their skills.

Keeping to its commitment to foster creativity and innovation amongst young designers, Vectorworks has unveiled its fourth annual Vectorworks Design Scholarship. Undergraduate students and recent graduates from across the globe have a chance to share their best work and be in with a chance to win up to $10,000 USD, gain professional recognition and propel themselves into a bright future of design. Submissions are now open and are due by 29 August 2019. “The Vectorworks Design Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for up-and-coming designers to promote their work and win funds to support their future endeavors,” said Alice Lowy, Marketing Programs Director at Vectorworks. “We look forward to seeing what these young designers think up next.” Winners will be revealed on the 16 October 2019 following a two-round judging process. First-round winners will each receive $3,000 USD and will be entered for the chance at the grand prize Richard Diehl Award, worth an additional $7,000 USD. Scholarship award winnings may use their prize money as they see fit. Additionally, winners’ schools will receive free Vectorworks Designer software and complimentary training for faculty and students.

To apply, students must submit their best individual or group project and answer three questions in 150 words or less. Eligible students must be enrolled in an accredited design program and registered for six or more credits or must have graduated no earlier than 2017 with an acceptable design-oriented degree. A panel of judges will evaluate submissions based on design integrity, originality, the effective use of computer technology and communication of design vision. Vectorworks received nearly 1,000 submissions during its last scholarship run. Applications came from around the globe, including countries such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, China, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, India and more. “Submit anyway, even if you think your work isn’t going to win. Be sure to write about the heart behind your project,” said Morgan Lindsay Price, a previous winner of the Vectorworks Design Scholarship, when asked what advice she’d give to prospective applicants. “I was so shocked and grateful that we won. Vectorworks gave me a huge opportunity that I never dreamed I would have had, and I’m eternally grateful.” TPi /scholarship


Fly By Nite Studios, Redditch Wednesday 13 November 2019

Register for tickets

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OPTOCORE FESTIVAL BOX Optocore Applications Engineering Manager, Maciek Janiszewski lifts the lid on the Festival Box

What were your original goals in the development of the Festival Box? Our goal has always been to provide a straight-forward and powerful solution which makes production simple, yet flexible and better sounding. When we started thinking about the current market, we noticed that there are simply too many protocols, all requiring different cables and providing different functionalities. Our main goal was to simplify that and provide single-fibre transport which is as open as possible and compatible with everything.

bandwidth - it is truly ‘plug and play’ solution. Festival Box’s connectivity is based on SFP fibre platform which means user-swappable SFP modules which provide different connectivity - copper or fibre in different flavours. Based on job specifics users can easily change the device configuration by swapping the SFP module. How has the product been specifically designed to offer maximum flexibility in signal transport in live environment? We used our fibre expertise and knowledge. Instead of operating in electric signal the device works in optical domain - all SFP modules mentioned below are multiplexed in fibre domain which means there is no bandwidth restriction, also it doesn’t matter how a specific protocol which connects via the Festival Box works - Festival Box is as transparent as a cable.

What are the main capabilities and functions of the Festival Box? It essentially brings multiple protocols into single fibre and filters them out on the other end. Each protocol remains completely unaltered and independent, customers don’t need to look at the protocol type or 102


In terms of flexibility - the SFP-based design allows the user to change the connectivity even on daily basis - one day he can connect only fibre protocols, another day a mixture of fibre and Cat5 and on another occasion only Cat5 connections.

Grand offers 12 SFP slots which are transported on two duplex fibres. Petit is 6 SFPs on one duplex fibre. Were there any challenges in the creation of the Festival Box? The main challenge is to test it with all protocols which are available on market - there are a lot of those! We released the box quite some time ago and there are still some protocols we didn’t have a chance to play with. Still, up until now the tests have been very successful and the list of checked compatible protocols is growing every day.

What areas of opportunity does it afford festivals and live events? Festival Box saves time for the crew - instead of running 12 fibre or Cat5 cables, it allows for everything in just one fibre. It saves the storage and transport costs - just compare the weight and size of one cable drum with 12 drums. It also gives flexibility in longer festivals. For example, alternative days of festivals require different production crews bringing in different desks with just a couple of SFP all can be covered with the same Festival Box. Finally, as it is all fibre, you can reach further distance and there is less environment influence on the signal.

Where are we likely to find the product over the course of summer? The Festival Box has played a key role in signal transport at recent Spice Girls Spice World 2019 tour, the box has also played key role at Sweden Rock, Parklife and Opener Festival. Additional sets are touring in the United States as well. TPi

Could you outline what the differences are between the Grand and Petit models of the system? 103


Artist Manager, Andy Edwards; Help Musicians UK’s Head of Strategic Communications, Indy Vidyalankara; Chair of Music Tank, Keith Harris; UK Music CEO, Michael Dugher; Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright MP.

NOT REALLY PARTYING AT A CROSS-PARTY PARTY. UK Music, as part of the UK Live Music Group, shares its yearly work with MPs, members of the House of Lords and industry stakeholders. PSA’s Andy Lenthall reports from the summer party.

UK Music was formed to be the government-facing voice of the entire music industry, comprising representation from all of the main trade bodies in the sector, backed by a small, hardworking team of staff under the direction of a board and the leadership of CEO, Michael Dugher. Over the past 11 years, its activities have extended beyond its political mission to encompass research and skills projects. Every year, UK Music holds a summer party, a stone’s throw from Westminster, to encourage the wider membership to meet the influencers that they’ve been, well, influencing over the past 12 months. Sure, there’s drinks, nibbles and a few famous faces but the real objective is to reinforce the messages coming from the industry and get real understanding and commitment from ministers. To have Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright MP who addressed the Party

along with Shadow DCMS Secretary, Tom Watson MP and Lib Dem DCMS Spokesperson, Baroness Jane Bonham-Carter is no mean feat, there was a request from the floor for a spokesperson for the Brexit Party, we’re not sure what happened to that particular guest. Wright outlined his determination to work with UK Music to continue to develop the music industry’s eco-system. He said: “I recognise that what we need to do is to make sure that the talent pipeline stays open. That’s not just about bringing people in from overseas, though that’s part of it. It’s also about making sure the next generation of UK musicians have the creative education they need and deserve. I take the responsibility seriously. There is a lot more to do, but I think we as politicians should do it.” Wright also highlighted his support for UK Music’s successful battle over the EU Copyright Directive, encapsulated in our #LoveMusic campaign. The 104



Tamzene performs Last Song; Labour Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Culture Secretary,Tom Watson MP.

outlined the need for a “roadmap” to deliver the hard-won copyright reforms. He said: “At UK Music we will continue to highlight the need for touring artists and musicians to be able to move freely without the kind of cost and bureaucracy that, frankly, could make playing across Europe simply not viable for many UK musicians. “Our studios and festivals and venues need to be able to bring in talent from the EU. Also, without a transitional phase or withdrawal agreement, implementation of the Copyright Directive in the UK cannot be taken for granted which is why we urgently need a roadmap to get on and implement that Directive.” On music in education, Dugher warned: “If we don’t sort out music in our state education, as an industry and as a country, we will just be drawing water from a well that’s getting smaller and smaller. So we’re going to keep banging on about this in the weeks and months ahead.” Dugher also praised Wright. He said: “We have had some great discussions and have made some real progress in so many policy areas. “I know that Jeremy is someone who understands the importance of our industry. He has always been willing to engage with UK Music. He gets it. He listens. And he has supported us in any way he can.” UK Music Chairman, Andy Heath CBE thanks the politicians for attending and spoke about the vital importance of supporting political leaders in a parliamentary democracy. Heath said: “We need to challenge them and hold them to account. But we don’t need to insult them and denigrate them.” Aside from the speeches, a well-briefed set of attendees from UK Music’s various constituent bodies worked hard to engage with MPs, pressing home the current agenda with Brexit, freedom of movement and the continued work on protecting Grassroots Music venues top of the PSA list. For a party, it seemed like a lot of people were working very hard, putting faces to names and giving a real sense of engagement for all parties, leaving us with no doubt about the strong progress that UK Music has made in putting one key element of our members’ work in the political spotlight to effect positive change. Of course, no UK Music Party would be complete without a performance; this year’s was courtesy of Scottish singer/songwriter Tamzene who played a short set including a beautiful performance of Last Song. TPi

Culture Secretary said: “I also think it’s right to defend the rights to creative material of those who create it. That’s exactly what we’ve done over the past 12 months and what we intend to continue doing in conjunction with you.” Following that, Labour Party Deputy Leader and Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson said:“You have had a very good year, UK Music. The tech giants - they lost.” Watson added: “We’re going to press for greater support for the music industry, for protecting grassroots venues. They are central to that talent pipeline. They are the industry’s R&D.” Bonham Carter, praised the “fantastically brilliant” UK music industry, but added: “I think there are reasons for concerns and that’s a leaking talent pipeline.” Adding that “there is clear evidence that creative subjects are being squeezed out of the school curriculum”. In his speech, Dugher said: “As our flagship ‘Measuring Music’ Report showed, music makes a £4.5bn contribution to the UK economy - with music exports growing by 7%. As a country, we are phenomenally good at this.” He added: “We have been fearless and we will be relentless in taking on big tech - just like we did over the Copyright Directive.” Regarding the issue of Brexit and the Copyright Directive, Dugher 106

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Analog Way’s Demetrio Faroldi; Artem’s Toby Stewart; Audix’s Gene Houck; The Ayrton & Matrix team; d&b audiotechnik Spain’s Alfonso Luria Carrió.

Analog Way named Demetrio Faroldi as Sales Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In his new position, Faroldi will lead the EMEA sales team to steer the development of sales across the region for the system integration and rental and staging markets. “We are delighted to promote Demetrio to this position,” commented CEO of Analog Way, Adrien Corso. “In demanding high-end market segments where technology makes all the difference, Demetrio’s indepth technical knowledge, added to his proven sales expertise, will be instrumental to growing our footprint across EMEA.” Artem has appointed Toby Stewart as its new Managing Director. Artem Chairman, Mike Kelt commented: “I am confident that Toby and I will work well together as the baton passes to the next generation.” Stewart’s appointment comes hot-on-the-heels of Artem announcing three new board directors last November, all three were internal candidates. “We have always been dedicated to promoting talent within the company, where possible,” said Kelt. Audile Electroacoustics AB becomes the latest addition to Astro Spatial Audio’s global ecosystem of suppliers. As the official solutions partner for Sweden, Audile will provide training and support whilst spearheading the expansion of Astro Spatial Audio’s brand-independent immersive audio technology into the country’s entertainment sector. Audix Director of Sales, Gene Houck, has retired. Houck was succeeded by David Marsh, formerly with Audio-Technica. During his 16-year tenure with the Japanese company, Marsh rose from Regional Sales Manager to

Director of Sales for the Professional Markets in the US and Canada. Along the way, he helped expand Audio-Technica’s reach into professional audio, including the contractor/integration and broadcast markets. Ayrton confirmed the appointment of Matrix as its new exclusive distributor for Denmark. Matrix will focus on bringing the full Ayrton range of LED lighting products to the Danish market and the sales team are already out on the road with the new range of fixtures. “The Ayrton product range is strong and we are obviously excited about our role as Ayrton distributor,” said Jakob Hansen, Sales Manager for lighting and staging at Matrix. “Our expectations for the brand development are high – and very interesting when we look at everything that is currently on the international moving light market.” International Sales for Ayrton, Linnea Ljungmark said: “We are very proud to be represented by Matrix in Denmark. The company is known for its ability to find high quality brands and present them to the market with skill and dedication. We are extremely excited to be working with them.” Alfonso Luria Carrió has been appointed Sales Manager for d&b audiotechnik Spain. He joins d&b Spain at a time of expansion and growth, with a strengthening of its partner network and extension of Install Partners. One of Carrió’s focusses will be coordinating the activity of all Partner organisations and consolidating growth in the fixed install market. “My contribution will focus on extending the presence of the brand across all sectors. Also, we will improve accessibility, expanding our activities and continuing the widening of our partner network.” 108 • +44 208 986 5002


d&b audiotechnik APAC’s Kheong Sen Lim; Elation Professional’s Niccolo Cascino; PWS’ Lucas Lewis; The LFPS team; Prolights partners Lynx Pro Audio.

Carrió’s appointment follows the announcement of Kheong Sen Lim as d&b audiotechnik Business Development Manager for the Asia-Pacific region, based in the company’s Singapore office. With increasing demand for high quality and engaging performances from artists, sound designers and audiences, the APAC region is one of the fastest growing markets for entertainment technology - and d&b is right in the midst of this growth. “I am very happy to be part of an energetic and vibrant APAC team for one of the most progressive loudspeaker manufacturers in the world,” said Lim. “I am excited to catch-up with old friends while making new

connections with like-minded people in all the countries. In addition, I am very keen to share the d&b sound system solutions and the possibilities it provides for elevating performer and audience engagement that results in amazing experiences.” Niccolo Cascino has joined the Elation Professional as a Business Development Manager. His role at the company encompasses building collaborative relationships across the industry, including working closely with lighting designers to keep them abreast of Elation’s growing line of innovative lighting products while communicating market insight to the



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109 • +44 208 986 5002


Riedel Communications’ Dan Bakies; Solotech’s Christine Latour; Robe’s Nathan Wan & Jordan Tinniswood.

Elation product team to meet their exacting demands. “Working with these individuals gave me the understanding as to what it takes to be successful in live production,” Cascino commented. “I look forward to applying those skills to my new position to further my already existing connections while building new relationships to help grow the Elation customer base.” NovaStar Technology Europe welcomes Highlite International as its new distributor for the Benelux. Highlite will install a dedicated NovaStar showroom at its Kerkrade headquarters. On-hand product specialists will host exclusive product training days where the customers will be educated and learn about the features, functionalities and possibilities of NovaStar LED display solutions. Light Fantastic Production Services have appointed six new faces at its Borehamwood base. The new additions have a shared remit to strengthen the overall team and enhance the company’s service offering. Jed Burns and Taylor Bunn come onboard to expand the capabilities of the LFPS in-house fabrication workshop. Lauren Tanner, Joe Bentwood and Pius Yiga join as Warehouse Technicians, whilst Ned Lay takes up his new role as Project Manager. Powersoft has entered into a strategic alliance with Chinese audio manufacturer and rental house, Reyn Audio - the professional audio arm of Foshan YiFeng Electric Industrial. The company has an established presence in China and, thanks to the lighting expertise and inventory of its sister brand, ACME, it has been able to supply many of the region’s most important local and visiting artists with full production for shows that draw fans in their thousands. Prolight Concepts Group will distribute Lynx Pro-Audio’s vast sound reinforcement product offering. Lynx Pro Audio’s Ben Sinclair commented: “Prolight Concepts have grown very quickly, establishing them as one of the UKs premium distributors. I had the chance to welcome them during a recent visit to our factory and have no doubt that they are the perfect partner for us. They are committed to service and quality and we are very

excited to have them as our Exclusive UK distributor.” Prolight Concepts Group has also appointed Jeff Davenport as its new Area Sales Manager. The latest addition to the Prolight team commented: “It’s a pleasure to now be representing the fastest growing supplier to the UKs event and install industry. With so many event ready products available next day from their huge stock holding, Prolight is a really exciting company to know for every size of business.” Professional Wireless Systems has expanded its rental program with the addition of Lucas Lewis as National Rental Manager. “Our organisation continues to expand,” explained Van Winkle. “We have always had a national rental presence but have lacked a specific point person – Lucas is now that person. This will allow us to provide our products and services to a broader base of customers. We are very excited to have him on board.” Reflecting its continued growth in North America, Riedel Communications welcomed the appointment of Daniel Bakies as Project Manager for the company’s US system consulting team. In this newly created position, Bakies will work to ensure the smooth rollout of large-scale, multifaceted projects based on Riedel’s line of realtime video, audio, data, and communications networks. Bakies reports to Rick Seegull, Manager, System Consulting, for Riedel North America. Jordan Tinniswood has joined Robe’s international exhibition team, as a result of the NRG (Next Robe Generation) initiative in which he has been actively engaged throughout his academic career. In his newly created role, Tinniswood will help the team with their significant workload as projects for Robe take them all around the world. Shure continued its expansion in northern Europe with the appointment of Julian Simpson as Market Development Manager. Shure’s amplified investment in this region with the addition of Simpson mirrors its commitment to developing the Integrated Systems market in the Nordics. The appointment will enable Shure to support its channel partners in 110 • +44 208 986 5002


Solotech strengthens its positioning in the United States with the acquisition of J Sound Services (JSS).

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The Company will not sell direct. Simpson will step in to drive business to appointed distributors, including Benum Sweden, Benum Norway, Matrix Sales Denmark, and Intersonic Finland. Solotech has appointed Christine Latour as Vice President, Marketing and Communications. Joining the executive team, Latour will continue to oversee and manage all marketing and communications activities on a global scale, while contributing to strengthening the leadership and reputation of the Solotech brand, both internally and externally. Solotech has also increased offerings in Nashville for the North American leader in audiovisual and entertainment technologies, strengthening its positioning in the United States with the acquisition of J Sound Services (JSS) Martin Tremblay, President and CEO of Solotech, added: “Solotech and JSS both value collaboration and excellence, as well as share the common goal of bringing the highest level of professionalism and performance to each of our valued customers, we are very happy to welcome JSS.” TOMCAT and JTE celebrates a year since joining Area Four Industries America’s shared 25,000sq ft office and warehouse space. At the Thousand Oaks, California space, the company’s are able to provide their many customers on or near the west coast of the United States and Canada with even faster delivery, local customer service, and full technical support. Vectorworks will solidify its place at the forefront of the entertainment industry with the pending acquisition of connectCAD, a systems design solution geared for the audiovisual (AV) industry. As part of the pending acquisition, connectCAD Founder, Managing Director and Programmer for the tools, Conrad Preen will be committing to a minimum of two years with Vectorworks to continue the development of connectCAD. “Part of the Vectorworks family, connectCAD is poised to enter a new era and will be able to realise its true potential,” said Preen. “We’re looking forward to introducing many new features in the coming years with the expertise of Vectorworks engineers fine-tuning our existing features. As in human enterprise, teamwork is the key to great results, and I can think of no better team than Vectorworks.” Carmelo Amenta has joined White Light as Technical Account


Our impressive acoustic qualities make us a firm favourite with Martin Audio, Meyer Sound, Bose and Bosch ProSound ‘A’ Stage Hire £800 / 10hr weekday - 27.7m x 18m x 10m Recent visiting clients include:

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White Light’s Carmelo Amenta, Jade Harrison & Rodney George.

Manager to deliver a range of broadcast projects, large-scale award ceremonies and live music concerts. Ian Charlampowicz has also been appointed as Senior Account Manager and will work specifically within the Broadcast media sector. WL continues to be one of the leading technical suppliers to the events industry, it has appointed Jade Harrison as Business Development Manager. The company has also expanded the teams within its Managed Venues with the appointments of Mark Sutcliffe and Luis Quiterio as a Venue Sales Manager and Venue Technical Manager respectively. WL has also appointed Leonard Layton at Central Hall Westminster as Deputy Venue Manager. Alongside this, WL has recently acquired the assets of Imax Lighting, a company renowned for offering a premium level of equipment and service to the live events industry. The company’s entire equipment stock will now be available via WL and the company’s Founder Gary Churchill joins WL as a Consultant. Also joining WL is Rodney George as Used Equipment Manager who will oversee the sale of used equipment to small businesses, theatres, colleges and live music venues. Whilst there are lots of new faces joining the company, WL will be saying

goodbye to a long-term member of staff. Head of Broadcast and Corporate Hire Roger Deane will be retiring this summer after a long and successful career in the industry. Zero 88 welcomed three new faces to the firm which will help shape the future as it continues to grow, focus and build its capabilities across multiple dynamic new markets. Peter Coles joins the Zero88 team as Business Development Manager for system solutions. Tyler Holpin has also been named the UK and Ireland Sales Manager for the Zero 88 brand. Edward Smith has recently accepted the position of product specialist. Zylia has addressed the rapidly rising demand for the company’s innovative ZYLIA ZM-1 microphone and 360° audio recording software by hiring Maurizio Barausse as key Account Manager, Marek Kabacinski and Krzysztof Klos as Software Testers, Michal Huflejt as a Research Engineer, Wojtek Blachowiak as a Technical Customer Service Expert, and Lidia Wojciechowska as Office Manager. TPi

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RICHARD TURNER The 2019 Des Fallon Video Visionary Award Winner

From Roundel to Molinare which was one of the very few video facilities companies around then to work in the AV department there. We all left to form the AV Department Ltd then a few years later until I went freelance.

How did you enter the live events industry? I remember spending summers in a tent at the local hippy festivals helping with site, lights and generators, building a PA for local bands and theatre, running the technical side of the school drama studio when in the 6th form. I spent a week at Roundel Productions, a corporate production company with in-house facilities during my 18th summer demonstrating enthusiasm which resulted in a floor sweeping job a few months later. Almost roadying…

What was your first foray into the world of video? My first real roadie job was Depeche Mode’s Devotional tour in ‘93/94. Revolutionary in its use of 9 of the first practical touring Barco 5000 projectors fed by CRV laser discs and a Dataton PC control system, which read timecode from Wob Roberts digital 24 track machines. Wob and Liz Berry remembered my tour bus ramblings about what might be possible with multiscreen video and invited me to help out with Robbie Williams first arena tour in ‘98/99. 3D projection mapping worked out in autocad and photoshop, projector blending with gaffer tape. It is still my favourite method of static blending projectors. Chris Mounser then introduced me to Jonathan Park who was Roger’ Waters’ creative director at the time and we migrated the In the Flesh tour from 5k scrollers to stacked video projectors, simply because it was brighter. The rest is history…

What sparked your interest in the world of video? I have always been fascinated by images. I have early memories of playing with my dads slide projector and his transparancy collection from the days of his army service in Cyprus, including the drive home from there. Tin foil in slide mounts making gobos. Shining the beam through cut glass fruitbowls with all the curtains drawn.

How has Lucky Frog changed over the last few years? The most significant development has been employing the amazing Ellie Clement who should have won the 2019 Des Fallon Video Visionary Award!

What do you remember from those days? The school photography club printing black and white in the darkroom. One of the first things I got into at Roundel was “audio visual programming”. This was an Apple 2e reading time code from a 4 track tape deck and fading multiple slide projectors up and down. Those rigs could get to 50 projectors or more across very many screen areas. Still early 80’s so practically no video on site, which is what made the deeply painful process economically viable.

What is the biggest innovation in the live touring video over the last 10 years? Laser light sources for projectors have provided previously unheard of brightness and reliability. 114


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