TPiMEA #044 - Oct/Nov 2023

Page 1

ATEEZ The BreakFellowship: The Wall

KSA SELA puts on a spectacular drone show to celebrate the arrival of the Brazilian superstar
of the
top companies reflect on the popularity of
Neymar lands in
Projection mapping Some
Middle East’s
Dana Amphitheatre The team at Bahrain’s premier live music venue discuss the country’s fast-growing live events industry
Ethara Chief Event Operations Officer, Haidar Shukry on Ethara’s joint venture with Oak View Group
The FletcherMachine Remote software offers an easy-to-use yet complete set of mixing functionalities, including EQ, compression, auxiliary sends, and much more. To learn more about the FletcherMachine visit our website at MIXER PAGE Send on Fader for Speakers, Aux, Reverb and VCAs Dedicated Page for Solo in Place Custom Fader Page Mixdown Connects with the FletcherMachine Remote software without the requirement of a dedicated hardware engine. Download now | Free of charge!

Welcome to TPiMEA

While the Middle East’s quiet summer season is getting shorter and shorter, there’s no denying that the region still calms down significantly during the hottest months of the year.

Most companies use this downtime for training, planning, and preparing for the new season and, as you’ll see from the coverage in this issue, there’s been plenty going on. From Coca-Cola Arena’s new kit investments (page 72), to Showforce’s new KSA operation (page 80), and ES:ME’s Alex Wuerfel heading to Rwanda to conduct training with the company’s AV Alliance partner, Rwanda Events, (page 84), the industry has been busy over the past few months.

Ou r cover story for this issue comes from Saudi Arabia – a country whose emergence on the global events scene has played a major role in the shortening of the traditional summer slump. The Kingdom has developed a real affinity for K-pop in recent years, welcoming some of the genre’s biggest stars and even hosting entire conventions devoted to Korean culture. We go behind the scenes of the recent ATEEZ show in Jeddah on page 36

Elsewhere in the issue, we speak to some of the region’s leading experts in projection mapping to find out why the medium is so popular throughout the Middle East (page 64); we hear from Ethara Chief Event Operations Officer, Haidar Shukry, following the big news of a new joint venture with Oak View Group (page 8); I had the pleasure of catching up with the team behind Bahrain’s Al Dana Amphitheatre for an in-depth profile of the venue (page 46); and much more.

In b etween bringing you the story of the summer, we at TPiMEA have been busy behind the scenes doing some forward planning of our own. Our first order of business has been to relaunch the TPiMEA Awards, complete with several new categories and a new and improved voting process. Read about all the changes on page 16

We’ve also expanded our team over the summer, with the additions of Account Manager, Sheelan Shah, and Editorial Assistant, Alicia Pollitt. Both newbies have been getting stuck in straight away, with Alicia providing some much-needed support for the editorial team and Sheelan set for his second Dubai trip in the space of a month!

Enjoy the issue.

Middle East 05
INTRODUCTION Contents 36 46 60 84 Cover Story Subscribe Online

Editorial Director

Peter Iantorno

Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360

Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637


Contributing Editor

Stew Hume

Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344


Contributing Assistant Editor

Jacob Waite

Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612


Editorial Assistant

Alicia Pollitt

Mobile: +44 (0)7508 441986


Commercial Director

Fran Begaj

Mobile: +44 (0)7852 336728


Account Manager

Matilda Matthews

Mobile: +44 (0)7413 555978


Account Manager

Philip Tucker

Mobile: +44 (0)7522 130473


Account Manager

Sheelan Shah

Mobile: +44 (0)7401 690960


Digital Content Manager

James Robertson Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819


Marketing and Event Manager

Alice Clarke Mobile: +44 (0)7752 392465


Chief Executive

Justin Gawne

Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767


Mondiale Group Chairman

Damian Walsh

Graphic Design & Production

Dan Seaton:

Mel Capper:


Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller:

First Look 08 Haidar Shukry
Chief Event Operations Officer on the new joint venture with Oak View Group. Event Focus 16 TPiMEA Awards 2024 Everyone's favourite night returns – with big changes. 18 Maiden's Tower Martin Kuhn describes his epic Istanbul light show. 26 Neymar is Blue Drones and fireworks welcome the Brazilian to KSA. 32 Wrestling Championship The world's top U20 wrestlers compete in Amman. 34 Armin van Buuren Untold Dubai launches in spectacular fashion. Production Profile 36 ATEEZ A mammoth K-pop show in Jeddah. In Profile 46 Al Dana Amphitheatre Meet the team behind Bahrain's top venue. 52 Agora The firm brings a specialist approach to audio. 56 Solas Proof that small companies can grow into major ones. Interview 60 Building Borderless BeWunder's Daniel Charles on his upcoming project. 64 Projection mapping Why is the medium so popular in the Middle East? 72 Coca-Cola Arena New season, new kit. 74 10 years of Event Lab The company celebrates a decade in the business. Feedback 80 Showing the force in KSA Showforce's Zachariah Smith on opening in Saudi. 84 Rigging in Rwanda ES:ME's Alex Wuerfel heads to Africa. Gear Heads 86 Look Solutions OctaJet The CO2 alternative now available at Matrix Laser. 87 HOF Monobloq A new product set to transform the rigging world. 88 Regional Round-up The latest news from the Middle East and Africa, including HiLights Group's Ayrton investment and Dubai Opera's partnership with d&b audiotechnik.
Cover Photography ATEEZ The Fellowship: Break The Wall by SLS Production Arabia Printed By Buxton Press @TPiMEA_Magazine / TPiMEAMagazine @ tpimea_magazine /company/tpimeamagazine CLUSTER SERIES THE 3-5 December 2023 Las Vegas Convention Center Booth 466 ROXX GmbH | Cologne/Germany

Haidar Shukry, Chief Event Operations Officer, Ethara

Fresh from the announcement of a new joint venture between global arena operator Oak View Group and event and venue operator Ethara, TPiMEA catches up with Ethara’s Chief Event Operations Officer, who discusses the vision behind the new enterprise that’s set to thrill audiences and provide ‘moments that matter’ throughout the UAE and beyond.

In May, Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management and Flash Entertainment merged to form Ethara – a new powerhouse operation destined to have a massive impact on the region’s live events scene. Just a few months later, the company announced a landmark joint venture with the world’s biggest arena operator, Oak View Group (OVG), signalling OVG’s long-awaited expansion into the Middle East.

“The Middle East is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and live entertainment markets, so our new offering in the region is a natural step for OVG to take,” said Tim Leiweke, Chief Executive Officer of Oak View Group at the time of the announcement.

“The pace of change in the region, with major global events like the Dubai Expo and Qatar World Cup, makes it one of the most exciting places in the world to operate in right now. We are confident that working with our partner Ethara, OVG will emulate our success across North America and Europe in the Middle East.”

With the news making waves not just in the Middle East but all over the world, TPiMEA sat down with Ethara’s Haidar Shukry, who discussed the motivation behind the formation of Ethara as well as what the new joint venture with OVG means for the company.

What was the motivation behind the formation of Ethara?

The vision behind Ethara was to transform the world of events and entertainment, setting a new benchmark and redefining the limits that events can reach. We wanted to reshape the entertainment landscape, not only in the region but, eventually, across the globe.

By integrating two entities – Flash Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management – that have collectively orchestrated 700 successful large-scale events,

reaching 16 million attendees and earning over 100 industry awards across three decades of collective operation, we carry a legacy of excellence.

Ethara is committed to continuing and furthering this legacy beyond anything that has been done before. Our name, Ethara, meaning ‘thrill’ in Arabic, embodies our goal to create thrilling experiences for our fans and give them ‘moments that matter’.

Will the integration mean any operational changes, or any differences in the way events are managed?

The coming together of two industry powerhouses marks an exciting new chapter in the events and entertainment landscape. Combining the strengths and knowledge of 300-plus professionals will elevate our capabilities and redefine what is possible in event management and operational delivery. With a team enriched by the blend of talent, skills, and proven successes from both entities, we’re poised to set a new benchmark for the industry and deliver unparalleled experiences for our fans and to our clients.

We a re a people-first event, experience, entertainment, and venue management powerhouse and as such we’re focused on utilising the expertise and experience of our people to propel our collective success and continue to maintain our reputation for excellence and innovation. With the cumulative skill set we now possess, there are no limits to what we can offer here in the UAE, regionally and globally.

What does the joint venture with Oak View Group mean for Ethara?

The announcement of Ethara’s joint venture with a global leader in Oak View Group is a positive step in our vision but it also puts a spotlight on the incredible work of our team across our venues to date. Their efforts to deliver incredible

Middle East 08
Middle East 09

spectacles and events with maximum efficiency time and time again is now being recognised by international brands and major global events, and this new partnership will help us to continue this growth not only here in the UAE but also region-wide as is our objective. We are looking forward to collaborating with major international players on a dayto-day basis and continuing to upskill our capabilities for further expansion too.

What are the greatest strengths of Ethara?

Our strength is our people. We are a 300-plus strong company with team members in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Riyadh. Crucially, we understand the significance of nurturing homegrown talent, and our people all know the events industry in the region inside out.

Our collective expertise, knowledge, dedication, and passion form the bedrock of Ethara – something I’ve seen over my time working with these teams. This commitment to excellence enables us to deliver events that leave a lasting impact, and it is this passion that infuses every event with a touch of magic, ensuring that each experience is unique and unforgettable. The events industry relies on highly specialised, experienced people, and we are fortunate to have an abundance of talent and expertise to help us realise our potential.

Ad ditionally, we can host an extensive spectrum of events, from thrilling family entertainment to the renowned Yasalam After-Race Concerts, we are equipped to deliver

experiences that cater to hugely diverse audiences. This versatility speaks to the adaptability of our team and our unrivalled knowledge of the venues and destinations we operate in, which is a cornerstone of our success.

What are the biggest challenges you will face?

It goes without saying that with an extensive calendar of international events lined up over the coming months, one of the biggest challenges that we are preparing for is ensuring we navigate each event with efficiency. From now to the end of 2023, we are set to host over 40 events across our venues and beyond, so staying connected across our team will be key to our success.

The re are many components and teams involved in running an event successfully – from venue operations to the content or talent’s international team, and the event management communications to the commercial and partnership team. It takes teamwork to make sure that each cog in this well-oiled machine continues to turn and we can deliver a seamless experience for guests. It is our job to ensure we maintain the quality of operational delivery that has become synonymous with Ethara.

So far, we have been successful in delivering some incredible events at Etihad Arena, Yas Marina Circuit, Etihad Park, and Yas Conference Centre, so the aim is to continue this positive momentum over the coming months and consistently deliver the world-class standard of events that our fans have come to expect.

Middle East 10 FIRST LOOK


the first 3D automated beaconless tracking system

Follow Spot and interactive lighting

Interactive media projection

Spatial and immersive audio

Creative programming

Game engine


A multispectral sensor which hangs above the scene/space and scans it in 3D and in real-time.


A server hosting a unique AI trained by deep learning over thousands of hours of shows.


The user software monitors the entire system, manages automations and sends the tracking data in real time to third-party systems.

PTZ camera tracking

Be among the first to use KRATOS free standalone version

Abu Dhabi has several world-class venues for live events now. How helpful is this to you when it comes to attracting top talent?

Ethara’s portfolio includes some of the region’s, and the world’s, most iconic and versatile venues, each with its own unique charm. Etihad Park, the largest open-air venue in the region, provides a stunning backdrop for music spectacles, while the state-of-the-art Etihad Arena offers an unparalleled indoor multi-use entertainment experience. The internationally renowned Yas Marina Circuit, host to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and versatile Yas Conference Centre furthers our range of offerings. These spaces allow us to tailor each event and accommodate various scales and types of productions and events.

Ad ditionally, the region has positioned itself as a leader in the global events and entertainment scene, and we are playing a pivotal role in this. Our extensive portfolio of venues, coupled with the reputation that the Middle East has built for itself for hosting world-class events, is attracting top talent to the region.

We’ve noticed numerous major artists including several Middle East dates on their world tours. Is this a trend that you’re seeing, and is it something that you’re looking to build upon?

What we are noticing is there is a demand from international entities, whether it be major brands like UFC, NBA or World Supercross, or award-winning performers like Foo Fighters,

Middle East 12
“We have a global vision, and while our immediate focus lies in our local operations in Abu Dhabi, we are keen to tap into the immense potential that Dubai and Saudi hold.”
Haidar Shukry, Ethara

to perform in the region, which shows the growth of the Middle East as a major market for global tours. This is partially due to the versatility of our venues, namely the Etihad Arena, meaning we can accommodate a monster truck event on the weekend, a rock ’n’ roll performance a few days later and then build an ice-skating rink for the following weekend. The efforts of our team to ensure these events run safely and smoothly with maximum efficiency has helped our reputation in this, and brands know what they can expect with an event at our venues. We’re expecting more brands to continue incorporating Middle East venues in their international tours, so we are certainly open to welcoming a wide variety of events to our venues in the near future.

What are your plans for Dubai and Saudi Arabia?

We have a global vision, and while our immediate focus lies in our local operations in Abu Dhabi, we are keen to tap into the immense potential that Dubai and Saudi hold. We have already opened offices in both locations to meet the fast-growing consumer demand, and we look forward to growing our teams on the ground there. In Dubai, we have been delivering events for several years and see

great opportunities to deliver more content that resonates with the city’s vibrant and diverse scene. In Saudi, we see an ever-increasing appetite for world-class events and entertainment. As the country continues to welcome international acts and experiences, we want to be at the forefront of this evolution, contributing our proficiency in event management to deliver remarkable experiences that cater to the Saudi audience.

How are plans coming together for this year’s F1?

This year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the 15th edition of the race held at Yas Marina Circuit and is set to be the biggest to date. This is evident from the high demand for tickets from fans. The race is not until the end of November and all Grandstand tickets have already sold out, so we are anticipating a massive weekend with our international fanbase here across our venues. This year, we have partnered with some leading restaurants to create new hospitality experiences across the weekend, which are still available and will offer some never-seen-before views of the action on the circuit.

With Ava Max, Tiësto, and Foo Fighters already announced for the Yasalam After-Race concerts, we

Middle East 13

have a world-class line-up confirmed with more artist announcements to follow over the coming weeks.

We are proud that artists of this calibre continue to show interest in performing at our event, and it is satisfying that Foo Fighters were keen to perform this year for their UAE debut. We are well underway with the preparations for the event, and it’s the weekend that our entire team looks forward to every year.

What are Ethara’s goals for the future?

First and foremost, we are committed to ensuring a seamless integration and that our operation continues to deliver top-quality events and experiences for fans. The diary from now until the end of the year is jam-packed with thrilling events, and our priority is delivering exceptional moments that matter, which exceed expectations and set new benchmarks for events in the region.

Ou r medium-term goals focus more on expanding Ethara’s footprint regionally, turning our attention toward Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the region, and identifying untapped markets and opportunities. We are also keen to embrace the emerging technology and digital

advancements that are happening, by implementing cutting-edge technologies where possible to deliver new and exciting experiences for fans.

Ou r long-term goals include increasing our global reputation as a leading events and venue management company and cementing our position as the go-to for impactful experiences and events. We want to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible while inspiring and leading the events and entertainment industry through redefining what events can be.

Ad ditionally, with 2023 being announced as the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and the UAE hosting COP 28 later this year, we are also focused on our sustainability initiatives across all levels of the business including at our events.

We have already outlined several goals for the F1, including eliminating single-use plastics from the Abu Dhabi GP by 2025, enabling every fan to reach the event by lower/ zero carbon transport methods, and reducing the event’s energy consumption with a target to have 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Photos: Ethara

FIRST LOOK Middle East 14

TPiMEA Awards 2024

The industry’s favourite night out returns in 2024, with updated categories and a new and improved voting system.

On 2 May 2024, the biggest night on the Middle East live events industry calendar returns for its sixth year to recognise and celebrate the incredible achievements in the sector over the past 12 months.

Af ter our record-breaking 2023 event, which saw 591 of the industry descend on Hard Rock Café Dubai, the 2024 event is set to be bigger and better than ever.

With this year being the first awards under our new TPiMEA moniker, we’ve made some significant changes behind the scenes to bring the awards closer to its international forbearer, the hugely successful and long-running TPi Awards, which has been taking place in the UK for the past 23 years.


The most notable change is to the voting process, which has been tweaked to ensure fairer representation throughout the industry, with the introduction of the TPiMEA Academy.

Composed of last year’s winners alongside other prominent industry figures, the TPiMEA Academy will be responsible for curating the shortlist for each category. This shortlist will then be put out to a public vote, with our judging panel also casting their votes.

Th ere have also been some changes to this year’s categories with the likes of Sound System Designer of the Year, Health & Safety Officer of the Year, Showcaller of the Year, and Comms and Network Engineer of the Year added and some other categories altered to better represent the different disciplines that go into creating the region’s biggest and best live events. The Green Award – which requires companies to submit an entry demonstrating their achievements in the field over the past 12 months – also returns for a second year after making its debut in 2023.

We c an’t wait to see you there.

Maiden’s Tower light show

EVENT FOCUS Middle East 18
Martin Kuhn tells the story of Istanbul’s most iconic and important building with a spectacular light show designed to be viewed from both sides of the Bosporus.
Middle East 19

With a long history stretching back beyond the 15th Century, Istanbul’s Maiden’s Tower is one of the city’s most iconic and important buildings, and the subject of many stories and fables. With the building in need of a complete renovation, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism commissioned contractors ASTEL to conduct an international competition for a light show not only to highlight the beauty of the tower but also to be visible from far and wide, which was to run fully automated every night.

Th e contract was won by Martin Kuhn of Berlin-based MKLD Lighting Design & Consulting, who conceived the idea of telling the tower’s story using light to accompany the narrative in the manner of a theatre piece or performance.

“The process started in May 2021,” he informed TPiMEA, recalling how the enforced downtime brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic provided the opportunity for him to delve deep into the folklore surrounding the

building. “It allowed me to dive into the history of the tower, gathering ideas to write the script.”

Th e lighting project was incorporated into the building refurbishment, and included all the architectural lighting, which served a dual purpose for both the show and the general architectural look at night. “My first priority was to ensure that the tower is lit adequately when the show is not playing, which led me to look around for all kinds of products on the market,” Kuhn commented. “The biggest issue was that the tower is so close to the water level, so everything had to be marine grade. I was amazed at how much this narrows down the options.”

Af ter talking to many manufacturers, Kuhn settled on Anolis for some of the linear ingrounds and SGM P-2 POI and P-6 fixtures to provide a more powerful wash from further afield.

Away from the architectural element, Kuhn selected 48 Ayrton Cobra units for the light show installation. “When I started to look into the

project, I knew immediately that I needed to find the most powerful beam lights to be able to cut through the ambient light of the Istanbul sky,” he explained. “Michael [Althaus, Ayrton’s Global Sales Director] then told me in secret about the Cobra project and I was invited as one of the first to take a look at the newly developed fixture.”

With Ayrton offering a full marine-grade finish and IP66 upgrade, Kuhn dubbed the Cobras as “the natural choice”. He described the positioning of the fixtures: “They are based at ground level and incorporated on the outer seawall of the island,” he explained. “They are hidden behind closed hatches in the daytime, so they do not interfere with the clean look of the tower. Once the island is closed to the public at night, the hatches are opened, and the lights exposed to take part in the performance.

Su pplied by local distributor, Asimetrik, the Cobras were vital to the design. “They perform well and can be seen from far away,” Kuhn stated.

Middle East 20 EVENT FOCUS
Fon: +49 8466 9415 - 300 | | CGS Dry Hire | Keltenstraße 3 | 85095 Denkendorf | Germany Robe Esprite Robe MegaPointe grandMA3 Series Elation Maximus Ayrton Domino SGM - Q8 GLP - JDC1 GLP Impression X4 BAR 20 SGM - P6 Martin MAC Ultra Performance d&b audiotechnik GSL- / KSL- / XSL-Array L-Acoustics K2/K3/Kara/Kiva L-Acoustics Syva YOURSTRONGDRYHIREPARTNER ASKFORYOURPERSONALOFFER Ayrton Perseo Robe iForte Robe Forte SOUND d&b audiotechnik L-Acoustics Digico Yamaha Shure Clearcom Pioneer etc... Robe Martin SGM GLP MA-Lighting etc... Eurotruss Movecat BroadWeigh etc... LIGHT RIGGING LONG TERM RENTALS

“We use them almost exclusively in beam mode and with pastel colours to give a strong beam. I am very happy with them and 100% sure I made the right choice.”

Ku hn also introduced lasers as a second element to the show, working with LaserFabrik – whose founder, Daniel Brune, Kuhn met while working on large outdoor raves in 1990s – to set up and program the laser part of the show. “To fill an eight-minute show, it was clear that we would need more than just a couple of moving lights and colour on the tower,” Kuhn said of the decision to bring LaserFabrik onboard.

“I opted for very powerful lasers to match the Cobras, placing eight 50W RGB on the top balcony, and a further eight 24W RGB incorporated into the sea walls for projection on the walls of the tower,” he added. “There are also two 60W lasers, one on the Maiden’s Tower and one on the Galatea Tower 2km away on the other side of the Bosphorus, to build a visual connection between both.”

As the Tower can be viewed from near and far and is monitored tightly as a national monument, the show could not be programmed live on site, so Kuhn and his team programmed the show remotely in a studio using a very accurate 3D model created in Depence R3 and MA Lighting grandMA3 software. Additional programming and touching up was carried out on site very late at night.

Kuhn commissioned a seven-minute script from respected Turkish writer, Ayse Kulin, had it translated into English and Arabic, found professional speakers for all three languages, recorded the story, and then edited it with music he also specially commissioned and produced with some Turkish musicians in Berlin.

As the Maiden’s Tower is positioned 300m from Istanbul’s ‘Asian’ side and 1,500m from the ‘European’ side, broadcasting the story from speakers on the Tower was impractical, so Kuhn devised a method of using a website to send an audio file to visitors’ phones and synchronised it with the timecoded show.

While the show is designed to be viewed from both shores of the Bosporus, Kuhn’s personal favourite viewpoint is from the ‘Asian’ side. “Most tourists view it from the other side, where you can see more of the beams,” he said. “The idea was to think of the show in two different aspects – one close up where you can see more detail, which is my personal favourite, and one far away for more of a big beam show that has been seen from a few kilometres away.”

Middle East 22 EVENT FOCUS
Photos: Martin Kuhn, Amanda Holmes Right: Martin Kuhn (centre), with Laser Technician, Dennis Klipp, and Lighting Programmer, Marc Marlo Schelesnow on site in Istanbul.




75000 lumens of cutting power!



Market-proven all-purpose power luminaire!


PROTEUS RAYZOR ™ Beam, Wash, Sparkle. More than just a pretty face!


PROTEUS EXCALIBUR ™ Brightest IP65 full-featured beam fixture ever!

PROTEUS LUCIUS ™ Little but lethalthe Maximus mini-me!



The market‘s most versatile FX bar!




The new Monobloq rigging system is going to revolutionize the way of rigging: All you need is a single fix cable plus Monobloq to create your hanging point. The patented system allows a cable adjustment in seconds and the installation of up to 8 bridles per hour with 2 technicians.

We offer 2 different Monobloq bodies: one for 8 mm steel ropes and one for 10 mm steel ropes. To operate with each of these diameters, the corresponding pressure wedge must be used. In both cases the installation is done the same way.

Neymar Is Blue

EVENT FOCUS Middle East 26
The Brazilian superstar is welcomed to Saudi Arabia with 1,700 drones and a spectacular firework display filling Riyadh’s sky.
Middle East 27

While football has been popular in Saudi Arabia for a long time, it’s only in the past year that the Saudi Pro League has captured the attention of football fans outside the country, thanks to an unprecedented slew of incoming big-name transfers, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mané, Karim Benzema, Riyad Mahrez, Jordan Henderson, and many, many others. One of the largest jewels in the league’s newly bedazzled crown is Brazilian superstar Neymar, who left Paris Saint Germain for Riyadh-based Al Hilal for a reported $100m. To mark Neymar’s arrival, SELA produced a spectacular drone and firework show, working in collaboration with Rising Star Co and Groupe F.

Ta mim Alduhaish, Events Experience Manager at SELA, explained the creative thinking behind the drone show aspect of the project. “Football and eSports are two of Saudis’ favourite things, thus the idea to start with Neymar’s FIFA card as the first thing Neymar sees when he reaches the pitch came from there,” he revealed.

“Following that, the portrait for everyone to view Neymar’s face up in the sky, looking not just at the 67,000 Hilal fans at King Fahd Stadium, but at the entire world, was unveiled.”

Fo llowing the portrait, the drones moved into several other striking formations, including spelling out ‘Neymar Is Blue’. “That was the background of most of Neymar’s photos that day, as well as a welcome message to the club and league – RSL, ROSHN SAUDI LEAGUE – for he is now at home,” Alduhaish added.

With 1,700 drones used for the show, Alduhaish looked back on how the production came together. “Our two great pilots – Omar Mandour, Events Experience Senior Manager at SELA and Mohammed Belal, Project Manager at Rising Star – programmed and operated the drones, beginning with a site visit a few days before the show to choose the best take-off area, laying out the pit and our equipment, identifying the viewing angle and parameters, and on the event day making sure the formation of drones

and all parameters are met to be ready to take off, perform the show, and finally landing 1,700 drones safely to the pit,” he recalled. “Along with the efforts of an incredible team that assisted in arranging the drones in a 1m by 1m shape on the ground, everyone contributed to this achievement and felt honoured to be a part of such a memorable event.”

Time constraints proved a challenge, with the SELA team also operating another show on the day of rehearsals. “We had to pack everything from another location, go to the site, set everything up, adapt to site conditions, and successfully execute a rehearsal for the client to see the final outcome and provide feedback,” he recalled. “Remember how much the Saudis adore eSports? The show we had on the same day as the rehearsal was for eSports, which inspired the storyboard.”

Another consideration was the element of uncertainty brought by having to time the show to fit in with the requirements of the wider event.

Middle East 28 EVENT FOCUS

“We didn’t know exactly when we would take off because of the many things going on inside the event, which was around 400m away from the drone take-off location, so we had to always have enough power in the batteries to make it on time, perform the show, and return safely,” he revealed.

“This meant that we had to stay in constant contact with our personnel on the inside and the show caller to have a 15-minute window to tweak our settings and make any necessary modifications. Other than waiting for the cue to take off, what truly puts us on edge is synchronising the performance with the audio, lighting, pyrotechnics, and all the aspects of the show to execute a performance where all elements are in harmony.”

Th e fireworks element of the show was equally challenging, with Groupe F leaving no stone unturned to ensure a spectacular yet safe production. “Displaying fireworks within a stadium field of play, in close proximity of football players, journalists and photographers, technical teams and audience is always a challenge,” commented Groupe F Sales Director and Content Coordinator, Nicolas Chavance. “Safety and coactivity are the most important elements at stake in a proximity environment.”

Th e Groupe F also had a tight timeframe to contend with, making communication more important than ever. “The key element of success was a strong and solid relationship between Groupe F and SELA,” he reflected. “They

understand that sometimes we have to say ‘that’s not possible’, but at the same time, they know we are doing beyond our best to deliver a thrilling experience for the audience and media coverage,” he noted.

According to Chavance, Groupe F always makes sure to keep in mind the overall dynamic and spirit of a show when designing the fireworks element. “The fireworks here are the cherry on the cake of a whole scenography,” he explained. “Our strategy is to illuminate, punctuate or enlighten others rather than trying to design a show as if it was its own star. It would be a huge mistake to come up with something that tries to say, ‘look at me, not Neymar!’”

He added: “The fireworks here are designed to get the perfect TV shot, the perfect photo for the social media, the front page of the newspaper that will last for years, as well as the wow-effect conclusion for the live audience in the stadium, creating smiles and laughs for everyone.”

Lo oking back on the event, SELA’s Alduhaish was most pleased with the audience reaction. “Nothing beats hearing the reaction of the audience once the fireworks and drones light up the sky,” he concluded. “The best part was Neymar’s reaction and the smile on his face seeing the show at the stadium once he entered the field.”

Photos: SELA

Middle East 29

Be at the heart of the live experience. Discover the latest venue and live event technology solutions at ISE 2024.

Be at the heart of the live experience. Discover the latest venue and live event technology solutions at ISE 2024.

ISE is the world’s largest AV and systems integration exhibition. It’s your destination for innovation, to connect, collaborate and create. Join us in 2024 and see the future of live event technology.

A joint venture partnership of
Photo credits: (Left) Gran Teatre del Liceu ©️ Paco Amate. (Right) First rehearsals of Macbeth at Gran Teatre del Liceu ©️ Jaume Plensa.
Fira Barcelona | Gran Vía 30 Jan - 2 Feb 2024 Get your FREE TICKET Register with code: tpimeamag

U20 World Wrestling Championship

RB Event Technology provides a turnkey creative and technical solution as the world’s best young wrestlers compete in Amman, Jordan.

With this year’s U20 World Wrestling Championship being hosted in Amman, the Jordanian Wrestling Federation tasked audio-visual company RB Event Technology with managing the event. “Our team member Adnan Al Dala is a former Jordanian Champion in wrestling, and after transitioning his career, he maintained an interest in the wrestling scene,” explained RB Event Technology Project Manager, Ahmad Al Haj. “With his background, the Jordanian Wrestling Federation reached out to him regarding the project.”

With a reputation as one of Jordan’s most prominent AV companies, RB Event Technology has an active portfolio of sporting events, including Cage Warriors, which also took

place in Amman. For the U20 World Wrestling Championship, the company’s co-founder, Muhannad Al Rabadi, met with the client several times to define the brief before the requirements were translated into a final technical design.

“The brief revolved primarily around the sport, emphasising the artistic presentation of the show,” Al Haj said. “This artistic focus greatly influenced our approach to the lighting design. Our team of accomplished lighting designers, including Mahmoud Al Daraghmeh, Sachin Lele, and Ahmad Al Shurofat, demonstrated exceptional skill in bringing this vision to life.”

An extensive inventory of lighting, audio, LED and trussing and rigging products were deployed. ADJ was the brand of choice on the

lighting rig, with 96 PAR Z Move, 48 Vizi Wash Z19, 24 Vizi Beam 12RX and 24 Focus Profile fixtures selected.

“The pivotal fixture was the ADJ PAR Z Move,” said Al Haj. “We positioned 24 of the fixtures around each mat at a 45° angle, and an additional set of eight PAR Z Move units were suspended at the centre to light up each mat. Given the colour temperature of the fixture (3,000K), we sought equilibrium by incorporating the Focus Profile with a white colour. Following this methodology provided the best setting for the photographers, referees, and fighters.”

A total of 200 sq m of Esdlumen Eastar Wing Series P3.9mm SMD indoor LED screen combined with 16 Samsung LED screens,

EVENT FOCUS Middle East 32

Magnimage LED-W4000 Series video processing, and Dataton Watchpax media servers to round out the visual setup. While a 250m cross section of DuraTruss trussing and 32 CHAINMASTER CM-901001-25 one-tonne motors were provided.

Th e PA system was made up of L-Acoustics Kara, SB18 and 112P, controlled using a Midas M32 console. A Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus2 Professional DJ multi-player and DJM 900 Nexus2 four-channel professional DJ mixer was also provided, along with JBL SRX812P monitors and Shure microphones.

Lo oking back on the project, Al Haj was pleased with the way the team managed the expectations of the various stakeholders at play. “There were distinct expectations from all parties,” he recalled. “For instance, photographers needed a particular lighting temperature, the control room sought uninterrupted transitions between visuals and music, and organisers mandated uniform sound dispersion, factoring in the presence of elderly attendees. Addressing these multifaceted challenges demanded meticulous attention and constant vigilance throughout the event.”

He c oncluded: “The entirety of the production exuded a cinematic quality – marked by opulence and an exhilarating atmosphere. I recall the palpable enthusiasm within my team as we cheered for one of the wrestlers, who eventually emerged victorious. The experience remains vivid in my memory.”

Photos: RB Event Technology

DuraTruss B.V. Junostraat 2 6468 EW Kerkrade The Netherlands Tel. +31 45 546 85 81 220mm 290mm 400mm 194mm 220mm 257mm 290mm 353mm 400mm 400mm 290mm 290mm 220mm 220mm W 220mm 290mm 400mm 194mm 220mm 257mm 290mm 353mm 400mm 290mm 290mm 220mm 220mm 220mm 290mm 400mm 194mm 220mm 257mm 290mm 353mm 400mm 220mm 290mm 400mm 194mm 220mm 257mm 290mm 220mm 290mm 400mm 194mm 220mm 257mm 290mm 353mm 400mm 400mm 400mm 580mm 148mm 290mm 290mm 220mm 220mm 290mm 400mm 194mm 220mm 257mm 290mm 353mm 400mm 220mm

Armin van Buuren Burj Khalifa set

SLS Production Middle East provides sound and lighting as the Dutch DJ makes history, playing the first-ever set on the Burj Khalifa to mark the launch of next year’s Untold Dubai festival.

While many music festivals would settle for a social media post to announce their launch, when Romania’s Untold Music Festival announced its entry into the Middle East with Untold Dubai, something rather more spectacular was required.

As part of the teaser for the festival’s grand opening, Dutch DJ, Armin van Buuren put on a record-breaking performance from the 149th floor of the Burj Khalifa. In a ground-breaking, 41-minute set, the world’s tallest building was transformed into the world’s largest LED screen, dwarfing even the largest of festival productions.

Th e event was managed by Marvels Group, with SLS Production Middle East providing the technical production, including lighting and sound solutions for the performance.

“We believe that our contribution to this event not only enhanced the overall experience but also showcased the importance of technical expertise in creating memorable occasions,” said SLS Managing Director, Edwin Cheeran. “Our team’s dedication to excellence reflects our commitment to delivering unparalleled quality in every project we undertake.”

The audio supply consisted of L-Acoustics X12

loudspeakers coupled with subwoofers, while the artist selected two Pioneer DJM-V10 mixers, CDJ3000 multi-players, and DJS-1000 samplers to create his performance.

Romanticising the event experience, Project Manager, Ezhil Vasanth commented. “The audio solution was designed and meticulously calibrated for the venue’s acoustics, our goal was to create a dynamic lighting experience synchronised perfectly with the music, which transformed the venue into a visual spectacle.”

Untold – the music festival is set to take place from 15-18 February at Expo City, which will add yet another string to the bow of a city that is now bursting at the seams with world-class entertainment options. “Untold Dubai promises a stellar line of global artists and quality music,” commented Marvels Group Managing Director, Hadi Rifai. “This teaser is just an indication of how the real production will astonish the audience.”

Photos: Untold Dubai

EVENT FOCUS Middle East 34



ATEEZ The Fellowship: Break The Wall

As Korean boy band ATEEZ bring their world tour to Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Superdome, TPiMEA checks in with the teams from sweetwater KSA, SLS Production Arabia, and WICREATIONS to find out more about how this ambitious production came to be…

Middle East 37

With global megastar performers and legions of devoted fans the world over, K-pop is a genre that is experiencing a rapid increase in popularity that extends far outside of its South Korean origins. One country that has developed a particular affinity with the genre is Saudi Arabia, with the Kingdom welcoming several high-profile acts including the likes of BTS and BLACKPINK, and even hosting conventions and festivals devoted entirely to K-pop culture.

Experiential agency sweetwater KSA has been the driving force behind many of Saudi Arabia’s most successful K-pop shows –including last year’s Saranghae KSA (TPMEA #38) – and the company once again leveraged its network and partners in the K-pop industry to convince Korean boy band ATEEZ to make Jeddah Summer Concerts the only GCC performance on their The Fellowship: Break The Wall world tour.

“O ur team in Saudi served as the main artist liaison, managing artist requirements such as travel, accommodation, logistics, security,

media, communication, backstage, and rider management,” sweetwater CEO, Steven Hetzer, told TPiMEA. “Additionally, we acted as a liaison between the local and Korean production teams to ensure the show met specifications, cultural norms, and client expectations for Saudi Arabia.”

Th e planning process for the show began with the sweetwater team working with the client, venue, and artist team to identify suitable potential dates. “Once the date and venue were confirmed, we divided the work into key pillars: show production, artist logistics and management, legal and commercial elements,” Hetzer revealed. “Each pillar was led by an experienced team member who coordinated with relevant partners and stakeholders. The process was conducted collaboratively across multiple time zones from various locations, including Jeddah, Dubai, Seoul, and others, as the band was on tour.”

Th e project delivery process was divided into three phases: pre-production, build, and live. “During pre-production, teams focused on matching artist requirements to local market

solutions. This required lots of coordination, understanding and expectation management,” Hetzer described. “For the technical production team, this required the adaptation, redesign, and fulfilment of the artist global production rider specifically for the Jeddah Superdome and the client requirements. The logistics team worked hard to figure out routing for the large entourage and artist group which included sourcing the artists’ private jet flight from Seoul to Jeddah, and then onwards to Madrid immediately after their performance in Jeddah.”

In the build phase, team members moved to the site office to coordinate the installation of all show elements, from stage build to artist village and technical production. “Daily team meetings ensured coordination and troubleshooting was taking place and any requests by the artist tour management team were addressed quickly and efficiently,” Hetzer commented.

“U pon the arrival of artist management and tour production teams, individual teams work closely with their Korean counterparts to ensure all requirements have been delivered, installed


You asked for a lighter, more powerful line array. How about

You know what you want in a line array. And now, we’re giving you more than you ever thought possible. Introducing PANTHER. Over 150 decibels at only 68 kilograms and 97 centimeters wide. Exactly what you asked for—turned up a notch.

You spoke. We listened. And then we went wild.

properly, and resolve any final pending issues and last-minute requirements. The demands on the logistics team in this phase increased with multiple simultaneous movements of teams from various locations requiring close coordination and communication.”

In the final phase, with the artist and VIP entourage’s arrival, teams finalised project delivery in preparation for soundcheck and live show. The logistics team handled the large group’s multiple movements from various locations in Jeddah, while the AV production team transitioned control to the tour production team for rehearsals and the live show.

“The media management team ensured timely artist management approved content was released to media outlets and social channels,” Hetzer recalled. “Ongoing and close communication and coordination with the venue management and crowd control team was ensured to create a safe environment for the fans attending the concert so that they can focus on what they came for – to enjoy a fantastic and energetic live performance by their favourite band for more than two hours and leave the venue with a smile on their face.”

‘A striking story’

SLS Production Arabia delivered a turnkey technical solution for the show with Project Manager, Anuj Naik leading the team, along with Structural Engineer, Lee Irving; Lighting and SFX Engineer, Hemanth Rao; Video Engineer, Marvin Dela Cruz; Rigging and Staging HOD, Kevin Shyamprasad along with Senior Audio Engineer, Arun Kumar.

With the ATEEZ production team keen to carry through the distinctive look and feel created for The Fellowship: Break the Wall world tour, high production values were paramount. “We are delighted to help deliver 360° production for ATEEZ’s The Fellowship: Break the Wall concert in Saudi Arabia,” said SLS’ Managing Director, Edwin Cheeran. “We focused on delivering the striking story that the client wanted to communicate through this event. Much work was done understanding and benchmarking previous production cases of this type of performance and the team came together to produce an amazing show.”

Su mmarising the event experience, Naik said: “The client was very pleased with the setup. The production team had a specific stage design to meet the performance requirements, and this was an opportunity for us to use our knowledge and equipment in different ways to meet the needs of the performance. The challenge was to squeeze in all the requirements in a temporary structure, as the original stage design was designed for arena venues. The crew pulled out all the stops to ensure a spectacular result.”

Th e event saw the debut of the new SLS Ultra Tri-Fold, which was used to create a 58m-wide by 18m-high structure that the SLS team of engineers and riggers came together to deliver in just three days.

“There is an abundance of staging and trussing material available in various markets around globe right now, but the Ultra Tri-Fold allows for faster and easier width changes using the basics of simply adding or removing a main truss for width alterations without having to bring in major component changes,” said Irving, explaining the benefits of the new system.



feel the freedom

Bringing you a feeling of freedom is unquestionably one of AYRTON’s most sincere commitments.

For the first time since the company began, AYRTON is launching a weather-sealed effects luminaire that offers you as much creative potential indoors... as outdoors.

Another totally incredible luminaire in the history of the brand… A robust yet lightweight luminaire entirely designed around a simple idea: add to freedom of expression and provide a high level of precision even under the most extreme conditions.

ARGO 6 offers a perfect balance between precision and versatility.

This luminaire is guaranteed to impress. You’ll be able to compose stage graphics with a huge visual impact. The sublime Liquid Effect is simply hypnotic.

EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR FOR MIDDLE EAST PROCOM MIDDLE EAST - Phone: +97142369777 - - 6 Series - Source 19 RGBW LED Zoom aperture 4° to 56° IP Rating IP65 Frontal Lens 19 x 50 mm Weight 23.2 kg Lumens 13,000 9S 3S 6S

“It is designed around the ringlock scaffold dimensions that have been commonly found in the entertainment industry for the past three decades. These features played a pivotal role in delivering the production.”

Th e main stage was installed using scaffolding equipment with 66m-wide and 20m-deep aluminium channels, with an 18m by 12m protruding audience ramp. The stage design included an automated LED screen, which could raise, lower, and split by virtue of a stage lift, which was designed and installed by Belgiumbased WICREATIONS.

“We were contacted by SLS Production three weeks before the projected equipment pickup date,” recalled WICREATIONS Key Account Manager, Koen Peeters. “We supplied two of our TP6 telescopic lift units, intermediate trussing and WIMOTION control system to create the lift platform, which measured 13m long and 2m deep. Our TP6 units have a lifting capacity of 2.5 tonnes each and a maximum stroke of 6m.” The lift was used to bring the eight band members from main stage level to a higher stage level.

With the system tried and tested many times, the main challenge for the WICREATIONS team

were on the timings and logistical front. “This is a proven system,” Peeters confirmed. “The only real challenge is that each lift unit is a 3,500kg heavy lump of steel that had to be air freighted due to the very tight delivery schedule.”

Working alongside Peeters on the project were PM, Jasper Rosiers; Operator, Adrian Typkiewicz and Technician, Piotr Wityk.

Su mmarising his experience on the project, Peeters added: “It’s an extremely impressive sight to see such a large stage area move. It is always nice to work for new clients and to amaze them with our technology.”

‘High standards and production values’ Video played a major role in the stage design, with SLS Production Arabia supplying 453.5 sq m of INFiLED GX mk2 4.63mm LED panels and 171 sq m of Absen TS3 7.8mm transparent LED panels, controlled by NovaStar H-Series of LED controllers comprising a H9, two H2s and eight CVT4ks with full redundancy in mind.

Control consisted of three disguise gx3s, a Barco E2 Gen2 processor, and Luminex GigaCore 30i 10G networking. “The show was preprogrammed by the touring team and with a little

tweaking of the pixel mapping, we were ready for rehearsals,” recalled Video Engineer, Marvin Dela Cruz, who was aided on site by Video Systems Engineer, Clinton Due.

“The team worked systematically and delivered on time. The coordination between all departments was on point, and it was a wonderful experience for the whole team.”

Complementing the extensive video supply was an equally impressive lighting setup, overseen by Lighting and SFX Engineer, Hemanth Rao. The inventory included 24 Martin Viper Performance, 48 Robe Spider, 20 Magic Panel, 56 Cyclops beam 300, 99 SGM P-5, 48 Robe Tetra 2 linear bar, and 16 LED molefays.

Atmospheric effects were provided by MDG haze generators supported by Le Maitre and Robe smoke machines, with everything controlled via MA Lighting grandMA2 full size consoles, with four MA NPUs providing a redundant signal boost to all systems.

“The show was pre-programmed by the touring team, and we had to assist in some changes in terms of positions, focus points and editing the time code cues,” Rao explained.

“The SLS lighting team consisting of eight crew

Middle East 42

members did a great job in terms of cable management, setting timelines for the overhead rig and floor package to be ready for the touring crew, resulting in a seamless and immersive experience to the audience.”

SLS Production Arabia also provided a comprehensive audio package, including a Meyer Sound PA system and paired with DiGiCo consoles. The system comprised 24 LEO-M and four LYON-W, with 20 LYON-M and six LYON-W for outfills and 24 LEOPARD used for front fills. Low frequencies were handled by 18 1100 LFC in flown cardioid formation, and 12 1100 LFC in stacked cardioid configurations.

Processing was via six Meyer Sound Galileo GALAXY 816 processors, while MAPP 3D software played a huge role in achieving the design and Luminex GigaCore 10 switches helped deliver redundant AVB digital audio throughout the network.

According to Senior Audio Engineer, Arun Kumar, DiGiCo was a natural choice when it came to control.

“We have always been part of the DiGiCo ecosystem with significant investments in consoles and accessories, and we did not think twice about assigning DiGiCo consoles for this

show,” he said. “For FOH, we used an SD10 paired with two DigiGrid Waves Servers, and for monitors, we used an SD12 with two Waves Extreme SoundGrid Servers. An SD-RACK with 32bit I/O cards gave us enough input and output options, while the two racks were shared with both control Desks through Optocore,” he stated.

Shure UR4D systems were used for capturing vocals and PSM 1000 for in-ear monitoring. On stage monitoring was taken care of by eight Meyer Sound MJF212 and four MJF210, with eight LEOPARD and four 900LFC used for side fill.

For communications, a combined system of ClearCom FreeSpeak II and HelixNet was deployed, totalling 50 FreeSpeak and 24 HelixNet belt packs.

“O ur highly experienced crew had extensive preplanning completed for the event and configurations preloaded ahead of schedule, resulting in the systems being ready to run ahead of schedule and before the ATEEZ Production team arrived,” Kumar confirmed.

Ch eeran concluded: “K-pop as a genre and its explosion onto the international stage has once again brought to light the high standards and spectacular production value that aspiring artists and production companies must attain to

entertain the audiences. Our team delivered the creativity and aesthetics as expected, which was acknowledged by the client and artists.”

‘Effort, dedication, and passion’

No production is without its challenges and, according to Hetzer, the challenges in bringing a K-Pop show to the region are specific. “They include the large travelling parties, the specific artist requirements that are often challenging to source and, of course, the language and cultural barriers,” he detailed, adding that while there has been “lots of learning over the past years for the team at sweetwater”, making this gig “considerably easier than previous ones”, for partners, suppliers and people exposed for the first time to the K-Pop machine, these challenges prompted “a steep learning curve”.

A further challenge included the adjustment of the show to respect local cultural requirements and customs in Saudi Arabia.

“This resulted in the editing of show content, costume adjustments and the complete redesign and production of new stage props,” Hetzer commented. “We understand that this has been a challenge for other K-Pop performances in Saudi Arabia, but the key to overcoming this

WI make the world a happier place by delivering jaw dropping show effects for its human inhabitants. Contact Koen Peeters +32 16 79 73 44 | btkpeeters Entertainment Engineering Middle East 43

challenge was something we had learned from previous shows – transparent, respectful, and continuous communication paired with solution-driven thinking to ensure the artistic integrity of the show is retained while creating a unique performance that works for the specific requirements in Saudi Arabia.”

Th ere was one more rather large challenge that the team had little control over: Typhoon Talim. “The artist was on a performance in Hong Kong right before our show when a major typhoon hit the city and the airport was closed, threatening a major rerouting of the artists and crew,” Hetzer recalled.

“Thankfully the typhoon was not as severe as expected, the airport remained open, and the artists and entourage could depart as scheduled. We were very relieved that we did not have to overcome that challenge, but we were ready to go with alternative routing nonetheless.”

Su mming up his experiences of the project, Hetzer was delighted with the “collaborative nature” from all parties involved.

“There were a multitude of stakeholders, partners, providers, and people involved in the delivery of this event and, despite the numerous

challenges we had, everyone came and worked together to deliver a fantastic outcome,” he stated. “I am truly thankful to everyone involved and the team’s effort, dedication, and passion it took to bring this show to life. The team and I are appreciative of the opportunity to be part of this incredible journey Saudi Arabia is on by bringing ATEEZ to their fans in the Kingdom.”

He was also impressed by the exceptional performance of the band. “ATEEZ played for over two hours, impressing the audience with their on-stage presence and energy while wowing the crowd with the international tour-level production,” he concluded.

“The enthusiasm of the ATINY [ATEEZ fans] was, as always, impressive – and seeing their growth as a fanbase, demonstrated by increased audience participation versus previous years, added to the success of the project. The passion, emotion, and joy on everyone’s faces made it an incredible project for the entire sweetwater team to be part of.”

Photos: SLS Production Arabia, WICREATIONS



Al Dana Amphitheatre

As the Middle East touring market goes from strength to strength, TPiMEA sits down with the team at Bahrain’s premier large-scale live entertainment venue to discuss the latest goings-on at Al Dana Amphitheatre and gain some insight on the country’s live events industry.

Middle East 46
Middle East 47

Carved from the rock of the Sahkir desert, the spectacular Al Dana Amphitheatre is a one-of-a-kind 10,000-capacity venue that has hosted some of the world’s biggest A-list stars since it opened in late 2021 – including Backstreet Boys, Bruno Mars, Imagine Dragons, Post Malone, Kings of Leon, and Eric Clapton to name just a few. With the Bahrain live events scene growing at pace, Al Dana Amphitheatre is perfectly positioned to serve this rapid development and bring new experiences to regional music fans as well as attract new audiences to the Kingdom.

With Al Dana Amphitheatre building its reputation as an elite venue show by show, Vice President of Booking, Lance Tobin explained how the venue is providing an opportunity for Bahrain’s music fans to see their favourite touring acts play in their country – often for the very first time. “Each artist that plays Al Dana Amphitheatre has been a milestone for us in the opening season,” he commented.

“H osting acts like Bruno Mars, Post Malone, Kevin Hart, Jack Harlow, Backstreet Boys, and

Mo Amer have all been incredible experiences for the fans of Bahrain.”

De scribing the MENA region as “the fastest growing for live music in the world” Tobin is pleased to be part of it. “We have ardent fans of live music here in Bahrain who can now see their favourite artists live,” he stated. “Veteran acts also have a unique experience of playing for the first time in a new market, and seeing the fans’ reaction as if they were on their first tour. Additionally, we go above and beyond to make it a great experience for artists and their teams. We put everything into the quality of the show, and this has become the reputation of Bahrain.”

Ac cording to Al Dana Amphitheatre Chief of Events and Marketing, Mohammed Alansari, the venue attracts a mixture of both local and international visitors. “With every show, you see new audiences coming to the region,” he said. “We’ve even seen some fans travelling from Europe to attend concerts in Bahrain.”

As well as attracting new audiences to the country, the emergence of Al Dana Amphitheatre – and the influx of large-scale events it brings

with it – has helped progress the technical side of Bahrain’s live events industry. “With the introduction of Al Dana Amphitheatre, Bahrain became more attractive to companies both inside and outside the country – people are seeing the calibre of artists and the standard of events that we put on and they want to pitch to be a part of them.”

With up to 30 shows per season, the venue prefers to partner with technical suppliers for a full nine-month period to provide continuity for incoming productions. “Every company we use carries high-end equipment that is accepted by large-scale international A-list productions,” Alansari commented.

“O ur in-house technology is driven by rider requests, and we work with fully certified L-Acoustics engineers to ensure we’re delivering the ‘A standard’ to every incoming artist. So far, every production we have hosted has been incredibly pleased with the setup here at Al Dana Amphitheatre. We’ve had so many nice emails from tour and production managers thanking us for the hospitality and delivering what we said

IN PROFILE Middle East 48

that we’d deliver.” Technology plays a crucial role in attracting top talent to Al Dana Amphitheatre.

“By embracing technology, the venue can create a modern and innovative environment that appeals to talented individuals. For example, advanced audio-visual systems and interactive displays can enhance the overall experience for performers and artists, making the venue more enticing,” Alansari stated. “Additionally, digital marketing strategies, online ticketing platforms, and social media presence can help reach a wider audience, increasing our visibility and attracting people who may not have otherwise been aware of the venue.”

‘We’re a school of fish’

The Middle East has long been an unconventional market when it comes to live concert touring. However, while Tobin described the region’s live music scene as “unique in many ways”, he pinpointed the relatively recent addition of Saudi Arabia as a potential touring destination as a catalyst to the Middle East realising its potential.

“We’re becoming a 30-day market like when an act goes to Western Europe or the Eastern US,” he stated. “The entry of Saudi Arabia into building the arts in the region has been massive and Bahrain has certainly been a beneficiary of that. We’re a school of fish and it makes much more sense to be able to offer a multi-date tour in the region – much like Backstreet Boys’ shows earlier this year.”

That said, Tobin believes there’s still work to be done. “The MENA region is still building out tours,” he stated. “When you look at the US and Europe, an act can play 30 dates on a run and benefit from economies of scale. We have a few markets here that combine to form a fixed tour route, and as the region develops, we will be able to execute larger tour routing eventually, but it’s one step at a time.”

As well as forming part of a Middle East touring route, Al Dana has also been able to consistently tie into European, South Asian, and Australia/New Zealand dates for many artists.

Middle East 49
Al Dana Amphitheatre’s Mohammed Alansari, Taher Ali, Sarah Baqer, and Lance Tobin.

“Bahrain benefits from being centrally located, giving it the ability to tie into various tour routings, and Al Dana Amphitheatre has been able to host some incredible shows as an extension of these tours,” Tobin explained, adding that the venue has also hosted its fair share of one-off shows, with the likes of 50 Cent and Maroon 5 scheduled to perform at the space in November.

On e metric that is becoming increasingly important when selecting artists is streaming figures. “Data plays a big role,” Tobin revealed. “The infrastructure is still growing here compared to other places where there are years of touring routes to draw information from. So, we must be more data driven. Where the rubber meets the road is seeing the streams, seeing the data, and calculating how this will translate into ticket sales. We’re taking risks with every show and it’s our job to make sure the risk is as low as possible.”

‘Where imagination comes to life’

Like any top-tier live events venue in the Middle East, the premium VIP experience at Al Dana Amphitheatre is a vital part of its offering.

Discussing what he described as the “customer journey” Al Dana Amphitheatre Sales Manager, Taher Ali, outlined what the venue offers guests.

“U nlike many other venues in the region, the premium boxes at Al Dana have been built into

the architecture of the amphitheatre, so guests in the premium spaces have an up-close view of the stage. These boxes come with a dedicated food and beverage experience, premium parking spaces, fast-track entry, and all the privacy that most premium guests appreciate,” Ali explained.

While these premium experiences are clearly a popular choice – “they are almost always sold out” – Ali was keen to stress that irrespective of the ticket type purchased, the team at Al Dana Amphitheatre aims to provide every guest with an experience that lives up to the brand promise – “where imagination comes to life”. He added: “Our priority is to give customers the best experience possible while they are in the venue and convince them to come back again.”

On e quality that is becoming increasingly important, not just to audiences but also to many artists, is sustainability – something that is built into the fabric of Al Dana Amphitheatre, with custom-designed elements throughout the venue contributing to its eco-friendly credentials.

“Sustainability is so important not only to us but also to many of the incoming acts who we want to play here,” Alansari commented, going on to explain how raw and unfinished materials such as concrete, epoxy coatings, recycled pallets and recycled rubber are used throughout the venue on both flooring and walls to help sustain ambient

temperatures and keep the summer heat at a minimum. “We also have a 900-cubic-metre water tank, which is used to store and reuse rainwater during the rainy season for irrigation purposes,” he added.

Al Dana Amphitheatre also recently entered into an agreement along with other venues in Sahkir to implement a 72-Megawatt solar power plant, comprising rooftop, ground-mounted, car park solar power systems and electric vehicle charging stations.

Lo oking to the future, the Al Dana Amphitheatre team has several aims, including investing in technology upgrades to enhance the concert experience for both artists and spectators, increasing marketing efforts to attract a larger audience, establishing partnerships with record labels or streaming platforms to host exclusive concerts or live streaming events, and even potentially launching its own festivals.

“Look at us not as Al Dana Amphitheatre, the venue, but as the most experienced live events team in Bahrain,” Alansari concluded. “We have more than 20 years of experience, and we’re always innovating to attract the best artists and in turn, bigger audiences – be that inside the venue or anywhere else that suits the show.”

Photos: Al Dana Amphitheatre

IN PROFILE Middle East 50








With a specialist approach to audio, Agora is the company behind some of the UAE’s highest profile and most complex productions. TPiMEA catches up with the team to find out more…

In a live events industry saturated with ‘onestop shops’, there’s something to be said for specialising in an individual discipline and carving a niche in the market. While some clients will favour the ease of dealing with a single company for every element of an event, for some more complicated, high-profile productions, there’s a need for each discipline to be handled by an expert in their field.

On e company that is perfectly positioned to serve this demand is Agora, which has quickly become a major player in the region’s sound reinforcement space, offering its specialist approach to audio to some of the biggest shows including UAE National Day, the UAEFA President’s Cup Final, and Expo 2020.

“We want to make a difference in the projects we take part in, and audio is the area where we

can really offer something special,” said General Manager, Giulio Rovelli. “We want to keep the level of everything we do very high, and this lends itself well to the high-end projects that are taking place in the region.”

While Agora’s UAE branch is only a year old, the company was born in the early 1990s in Italy. “We started in live touring and we’ve built up over the years to now have the majority of the Italian market,” Rovelli commented.

Th e company soon began to branch out into international events, working on several global productions including the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Expo 2015 in Milan, and the 2016 Olympic Games Opening in Rio de Janeiro. This global experience proved vital when it came to Agora’s entry in the UAE market. “We were invited to tender to be the resident audio and lighting

provider for Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai,” Rovelli recalled. “Once we won the project, we started to think that our expertise would be useful for the UAE and the region, because there are many other large-scale events that would benefit from our approach to audio.”

Although Expo 2020 has now come to an end, the legacy project, Expo City, is still in operation, with the Agora team still in situ delivering its services to Al Wasl Plaza. “We recently extended our contract with Expo City,” Rovelli revealed. “This gives us a large imprint in the market and allows us to work on a medium-term plan for the Middle East operation.”

Ag ora now has two separate teams operating in the UAE, with one serving Expo City and the other working on the various other projects the company is involved with. While the Expo City

Middle East 52
Middle East 53
Agora has worked on some of the UAE’s most prestigeous projects, including UAE National Day, the UAEFA President’s Cup Final and Expo 2020.

team includes a dedicated lighting department, Rovelli sees the future of the company in the region very much as an audio specialist.

“O ur lighting team on Expo 2020 is excellent and doing a fantastic job,” he stated. “But for future projects, we’ve seen the demand in the region to have a specialised audio company, and we have the specific technology and experience to fulfil this demand.”

Th e company’s first major UAE job following Expo 2020 was supplying the sound system for UAE 50th National Day – a spectacular production that took place at Hatta Dam and featured a hugely ambitious immersive sound system made up of 979 loudspeakers.

Th e company also provided the sound system for the following year’s UAE National Day, supplying an equally impressive system that distributed signal to over 700 speakers delivering immersive audio to an audience spread over 100m. “Projects like UAE National Day are totally different to normal concerts or corporate events,” Rovelli commented. “They require a different approach to audio that is much more considered.

We like to be challenged by the difficulties of projects and we want to produce something more in terms of quality.”

While Agora has a long history with L-Acoustics – “we were one of the first companies to invest in them back in the early 1990s,” Rovelli recalled – the company has kit from a range of manufacturers and a team who have wide-ranging experience. Matt Oliver, Senior Project Manager, commented: “It’s true that we have more history with L-Acoustics, but we have a good mix of people in the team who have experience on all the major systems.”

With UAE’s events scene quietening down over summer, Agora takes the opportunity to send its team to get experience working on large stadium shows in Italy. Edoardo Michelori, Head of Audio, explained why this practice is so important to the company.

“The best form of training is on the job,” he commented. “Stadium tours around Europe are a very different experience to the kind of shows we often get in the Middle East. Working on different kinds of shows gives the team the possibility of

seeing a different approach to audio. Experience helps you grow, and the guys love it!”

Tu rning attention back to the Middle East, Rovelli stated the company’s intentions when it comes to the exciting growing market of Saudi Arabia. “We have done some great projects in Saudi Arabia, but it’s not our focus at the moment,” he commented. “Our UAE company is only a year old, and we’re looking to consolidate our position here. We don’t want to try and run before we can walk. Just because there’s a lot of work in Saudi now, it doesn’t mean there’s any less in the UAE.”

Lo oking ahead, Agora is set to continue its focus on long-term, high-profile productions within the UAE. “It’s not a tactic – it’s where we’ve come from and what we’ve been doing for a long time now,” Rovelli explained. “Our company is structured with the right equipment, experience and methods that are tailored towards delivering these kinds of events – not to mention to mentality to work on these types of projects.”

Photos: Agora

IN PROFILE Middle East 54


From humble beginnings as a supplier of exhibition equipment to the sprawling enterprise it is today, the evolution of Solas is proof that small, independent companies can grow into major industry players. As the company undergoes a rebrand, TPiMEA catches up with General Manager, Eoin Sheridan to find out what prompted the decision.

They say that from small things, big things will one day grow, and that is certainly true in the case of Solas. The brainchild of Managing Director, Edward Crossan, the company originated primarily as a supplier of exhibition equipment, with Crossan identifying a gap in the market to rent out items such as TVs, trussing, and small audio systems to exhibition fabrication companies and agencies, while also providing accompanying services and technical support. It’s fair to say that the company has come a long way since its early days and Solas is now a leading full-service technical production company that delivers creative event and communication solutions to corporate events, exhibitions, awards shows and even live events throughout the GCC.

Discussing the company’s rapid progress was General Manager, Eoin Sheridan, who told TPiMEA what he believes sets Solas apart from the competition. “Aside from the array of

high-quality branded products we offer in large quantities, one of the greatest assets we’ve acquired during this journey is our incredible team,” he commented. “We’ve had the pleasure of assembling a team of skilled technicians, project managers, and core management professionals. Their loyalty and talent have been instrumental in shaping our success story. It’s the collaborative effort of this team that allows us to deliver top-notch services consistently.”

While Solas is well known in the UAE events space, with the company preferring to focus on quietly going about its business rather than an aggressive marketing strategy for most of its eight years in operation, there’s still a way to go before it becomes a household name in the wider GCC market. However, with Solas performing better than ever, the company recently decided to undergo a rebrand.

“This was a pivotal moment in our trajectory, born out of a realisation that we were lagging

behind in the marketing department. We recognised the need for a fresh look and a renewed push for the Solas brand,” Sheridan explained. “The rebranding exercise aimed to shed the outdated image of Solas being solely an exhibition company facilitating technical events. Instead of that, we wanted to project a highend, corporate image that accurately reflects the company’s capabilities and aspirations. By undertaking this rebrand, we’ve unlocked a world of new possibilities.”

The GM was keen to stress that while the rebrand of course includes a visual alteration, with a new logo and marketing material, the changes are so much more than simply aesthetics. “It’s our way of introducing ourselves anew to both existing and potential clients,” he stated. “It’s about conveying our true identity as a comprehensive technical event solutions provider. This redefined image not only attracts new clients but also supports the growth of our existing clientele.”

The corporate event world remains a key market for Solas. “Successfully executing a toptier corporate event holds immense significance – especially when catering to attendees who are well-acquainted with similar setups throughout the world,” Sheridan said. “The accomplishment lies in not just meeting but exceeding their expectations. This is precisely the vision we hold for Solas – to establish ourselves as a premier corporate technical supplier. Our aspiration is to become synonymous with flawlessly executed top-tier corporate events.”

Sheridan is under no illusions as to the competition in the region, with several major global players operating in the same sector as Solas. However, the GM sees the company’s tight-knit operation as a differentiating advantage. “This unique setup fosters a close bond among our team members, which reverberates in our interactions with them and, in turn, with our clients,” he explained, adding that “adaptability and approachability” are two qualities that the whole company strives to maintain.

The difference between being a supplier and a partner, Sheridan believes, is that a partner

Middle East 56
Middle East 57
Opposite: Solas General Manager, Eoin Sheridan.

will strive to achieve the same end goal as the client. “A true partnership is about collaboration and mutual support. Our approach involves not just providing assistance but actively working together to realise the client’s vision,” he commented. “We guide the client and the word ‘no’ is rarely part of the conversation.”

Looking to the future, the short-term goals for Solas revolve around navigating through the busy months of October, November, and December, with a jam-packed season in the offing, including the significant COP28 as well as the usual array of corporate gatherings. “Our immediate goal is to manage these commitments effectively, ensuring seamless delivery amid the high demand,” Sheridan stated.

“Looking ahead in the medium term, our strategy involves team expansion and inventory growth,” he commented.

“This approach is geared towards ensuring that we are not only capable of upholding the highest standards but also equipped with a robust support network to uphold those

standards effectively. Our emphasis on quality remains unwavering as we endeavour to accommodate the growing needs of our clients.”

Finally, taking a long-term view, Sheridan has his sights set firmly on Saudi Arabia. “Our aspirations are set on KSA. However, we approach this expansion with caution, prioritising a well-thought-out strategy. The vision of establishing a presence in KSA aligns with our goal of extending our reach while maintaining the exceptional standards we have cultivated in our Dubai office,” he concluded.

“We understand the importance of balance; while the expansion to KSA is a part of our long-term plan, we are committed to ensuring that the quality and service at our Dubai office remain steadfast and uncompromised. Ultimately, the vision is to have a Solas office in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia, supported by teams and equipment that mirror the excellence we have consistently pursued.”

IN PROFILE Middle East 58
Photos: Solas Above: The Solas team on their stand at the recent Middle East Event Show.


Building Borderless

Ahead of the opening of the first permanent teamLab Borderless museum in the Middle East, TPiMEA catches up with BeWunder’s Senior Project Manager Daniel Charles, who gives an update on the progress of the project and shares his experience of living and working in Jeddah.

Founded in Tokyo in 2001, Japanese art collective teamLab has become world renowned for the innovative use of digital technology within its exhibitions. Made up of artists, programmers, engineers, computer graphics animators, mathematicians, architects and graphic designers, the multidisciplinary company is set to open its first permanent teamLab Borderless museum in Jeddah early next year.

With a laser-like focus on maintaining the exacting standards that the exhibitions have become known for around the world, nothing but the very highest quality of installation will do for teamLab. Tasked with living up to these expectations is BeWunder – a company that seems almost tailor made for high-profile installations such as this.

“At BeWunder, what many would call Systems Integration, we call Spatial Experiences, because we specialise in delivering immersive experience-driven installations,” began Senior Project Manager, Daniel Charles.

Working with specialist fitout company MAC, the Bewunder team started work on the project around June this year. “We started with a concept from teamLAB and we have brought that to a full technical design within the space of fourth months,” Charles revealed, adding his thoughts on the pace of progress in Saudi Arabia in general. “Everything seems to move incredibly quickly here – even compared with the UAE, which we all know is fast-paced!”

While much of the technical specification is still under wraps for the time being, Charles was able to reveal that

Middle East 60

more than 800 projectors and 1,000 PCs have been purchased for this installation alone. “BeWunder has been investing heavily in new stock across the board, and we’re keen to ensure that we can more than meet the demand in Saudi Arabia,” he commented. “We’ve got the space for it, we’ve got the work, so why wouldn’t we?”

As well as the vast amount of purchased kit, the Bewunder team has also been hard at work on numerous bespoke lighting and special effects solutions, created to the exact specification of teamLab. “Everything has been carefully considered,” he stated. “There’s even a specific type of liquid that must be used for the smoke machines, which creates the artist’s desired effect.”

While delivering to such exacting standards to meet artistic intent can be challenging, the Bewunder team is used to working with artists and knows what to expect.

“Artists usually have a very specific vision and idea of what they want to convey to the audience, and we must be sympathetic to that and make it happen,” Charles explained.

“We can’t just be stuck in our own way of thinking. Sometimes we end up doing things in an unusual or even occasionally impractical way, but we do that to convey the artist’s message as it was intended. Their art must be

displayed how they envision it.” Another consideration when working with artistic talent is that it can lead to technical changes throughout the project.

“D uring the design process, the artist’s creative thinking changes over time, so the design can morph and adapt as the project goes on,” Charles said. “These are all challenges, but it is why we love what we do. We want to produce something that the artist is proud of.”

Sp eaking in more general terms, Charles believes that digital art museums such as this are going to become increasingly popular over the next 10 to 15 years. “Given the huge influx of technology into museums in general, it stands to reason that there’s be an increased demand for these experience-led venues and exhibitions,” he reasoned.

Speaking from his accommodation close to site in Jeddah’s old town of Balad, Charles told TPiMEA of his impressions of Jeddah so far. “I’m loving it here!” he beamed. “There is loads going on, the people are so friendly, I love the culture here, and the beach is beautiful. It’s a very pleasant place to be.”

Photos: teamLab

Middle East 61

Massive Local Stock, Global Innovation: Elevate Your Events with Our Expert Team 10X


BeWunder’s rapid expansion prompts a substantial inventory upgrade with cutting-edge equipment.


Projection mapping in focus

As the Middle East continues to embrace technological advancements in projection mapping, TPiMEA explores the insights and experiences of key industry players who have contributed to its remarkable growth in the region.

Middle East 64

It’s fair to say that when it comes to live and corporate events and even permanent installations in the Middle East, bigger, bolder, and brighter is generally considered better. With the ability to display pretty much any content onto almost any size and shape of surface, projection mapping has proved to be the ideal solution for many of the region’s event organisers and building developers in recent years, with ever larger and more elaborate projects pushing the boundaries of the technology.

On e particularly prevalent purveyor of projection mapping that has worked on several high-profile projects throughout the Middle East and beyond is Maxin10sity. With previous projects including the likes of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Seattle’s iconic space needle, Jerusalem Light Festival, Al Wasl Plaza in Dubai and most recently a ground-breaking projection mapping project on Jordan’s world-famous UNESCO World Heritage site, Petra Treasury, the company is renowned for projecting onto some of the world’s most prestigious buildings and famous sites.

With such an impressive catalogue of success stories, Maxin10sity Managing Director, Tamás Vaspöri, is well placed to speak about the popularity of projection mapping. “I think projection mapping is so popular in the Middle East because clients in the region tend to want to see something new, modern, spectacular, and something that has never been seen before,” he hypothesised. “Their projects are often on a massive scale, and they want to see something that can match up to that and elevate it even further.”

Th e Petra project was a perfect example of what can be achieved with projection mapping technology. The first-ever multimedia show on the city’s ancient sandstone ruins, as the standout event of Petra Light Festival, Maxin10sity’s

artwork, Re-Vision, utilised eight 32,000-lumen Panasonic projectors to warp, mutate, and de- and re-construct the face of the iconic Treasury temple.

“I was thrilled when they called me about the project,” Vaspöri said, reflecting on the achievement. “I was a bit nervous, given the profile of the project and how many stakeholders were involved, but once we’d signed the contract and we found ourselves standing in front of the Treasury, all I could feel was happiness and pride.”

With an open brief, the Maxin10sity team was given less than two months to make its vision for Petra a reality – a process that began with the delivery of a new, locally created 3D model of the Treasury to Maxin10sity Art Director, László Czigány, who immediately began to work on the mapping setup.

Speaking of his creative process, Czigány explained what his work means to him. “As an artist, I am filled with a sense of awe and reverence as I labour over my creation, weaving together history, technology and art to breathe life into the once-lost statues of the ancient Nabataean civilisation. I see projection mapping as a way to reconnect our modern world with its historical roots,” he pondered.

“As I watch my work come to life, there’s a thrill to witnessing the past being reborn. I feel a rush of excitement as the simple play of light and shadow transforms the barren façade of the Petra Treasury into a canvas of intricate patterns and shapes. The process of layering the animation with music is a surreal experience. The haunting yet uplifting tones lend my work a new dimension – an emotive layer which resonates deeply within me.”

As ide from its subject being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, what was particularly striking about the Petra project was the level of realism and 3D effect that

Middle East 65

was achieved – something Vaspöri puts down to several factors. “Firstly, we like to work in a perspective way, which creates much more three-dimensional effects for the animation. While UV mapping could be easier to install, our preferred method can give us deeper 3D effects,” he revealed. “Also, we have never worked in a space that is as dark as Petra. There is zero light pollution, which made the content seem so clear it almost looked like it had been added in post-production!”

While Petra will undoubtedly prove a tough act to follow, Vaspöri is certain that the Middle East will remain a happy hunting ground for future projects, with the region continually striving to experience the latest technological developments. “Interactive projects are becoming increasingly popular in the Middle East,” he revealed. “These use real-time renders, which aren’t as high-quality as prerendered content that we would use for typical events but have the benefit of being able to be manipulated live by the audience. We’re seeing many requests for this type of installation from throughout the region.”

‘A fast-growing market’

Another individual who knows a thing or two about projection mapping is Ahmad Zaiim, Senior Project Manager at Martin Professional Middle East (MPME). Having worked on some of the region’s most impressive projection mapping installations including at the QE2 and Dubai Mall,

as well as Boulevard World in Riyadh and the world’s largest installation of 84 permanent projectors beaming onto a space of 150 sq m on a cliffside in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, Zaiim has witnessed the development of the technology over the years.

“Projection mapping evolved from using normal façade lights on buildings in the mid-2000s until we started looking into more media façade products such as LED strips and pixel-controlled facades around 2010,” he recalled. “As technology became more readily available and hardware became cheaper, projection mapping started to become more common as part of live events.”

More recently, he has noticed a strong demand for projection mapping on permanent installations. “Visually appealing content gives an extra attraction to new developments, makes them stand out and makes them more of a draw for people visiting the area. It’s a fastgrowing market here in the Middle East, where people like to adopt all the latest technologies and show them off on the many prestigious projects happening in the region.”

Pe rmanent installations demand a different mindset to one-off events, with extra care and attention towards the legacy of the project required. “We always base our design on the idea that the client may want to reconfigure in the future, keeping the setup modular and flexible,” Zaiim explained. “Qiddiya is a perfect example of this, as the area is being redeveloped all the time, so the client required that

INTERVIEW Middle East 66
MPME has worked on some of the region’s most impressive projection mapping installations.

the 84 projectors would be able to move to a different area where it is more visible to spectators.”

MPME is Barco’s official partner in the Middle East, and the company’s projectors were used for the Qiddiya project and many other high-profile MPME endeavours. In terms of media servers, Zaiim described the company as ‘brand agnostic’ when it comes to the technology they deploy. “We use all the main brands on the market, from disguise, to 7thSense and Modulo Pi,” he stated. “We are not locked into any brand – it’s all dependent on the project requirements and the type of application the technology will be used for.”

Re gardless of the technology, the Senior PM stressed the importance of high-quality content. “You can have the Rolls-Royce of projectors, but without an artistic content creator who knows how to produce something engaging, the project will not be a success,” he commented.

Like Maxin10sity’s Vaspöri, Zaiim pinpointed interactivity as the next development to look out for in the world of projection mapping. “We’re now entering the era of interactivity – especially with the advancement of the metaverse and everything that can be done within that,” he told TPiMEA. “In any theme park or new development that wants to incorporate technology, there’s always

the question of, ‘how can the audience interact with this content?’ From integrated avatars to motion sensors and touch interfaces, this is the technology that is evolving fastest, and everyone is working towards it.”

‘Messaging at scale’

With more than 25 major projection mapping projects in the past few years utilising anywhere from 36 to an eyewatering 252 projectors each, Creative Technology Middle East (CTME) is a massive proponent of the technology. The company can count the likes of Diriyah Gate, Via Riyadh, and Formula 1 Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, UAE National Day, Al Wasl Plasa, and the President’s Cup, among the many high-profile projection mapping projects it has delivered.

“Projection mapping in the Middle East has grown over recent years – partly because it enables producers to create large-scale and immersive imagery and messaging at scale,” said CTME Sales Director, Mike Walker. “The Middle East is known as a forward-looking culture and for being bigger, brighter and bolder in everything it does, and projection mapping allows event owners and creatives to produce epic-sized content to engage and wow audiences.”

Middle East 67

Walker explained how using existing buildings or structures as a canvas allows the three-dimensional effect to be accentuated. “We have done projection mapping on modern buildings and UNESCO heritage sites and the results have been quite breath-taking,” he stated. “Opening ceremonies and cup finals are another major area where we have delivered a lot of projection mapping, where the field of play becomes a huge canvas on which video stories unfold, often interacting with artists and performers to create a unique visual experience.”

For Carlos Aguilar, CTME Deputy Head of Video, projection mapping is all about telling stories fluently that transport the audience to imaginary places. “The canvas could be everything, and this provides more flexibility to the creatives, allowing them to experiment with the shapes of buildings or any other larger surfaces,” he told TPiMEA. “Additionally, technology has advanced so much that we can now have brighter projectors and better resolution. The quality, detail and colours of the projection are unbeatable.”

As technology has advanced, CTME has kept pace with the developments by continually investing in the latest highend equipment, including projectors, media servers, matrix systems, and kilometres of cables such as fibre, power, network, and signal cables. “We have more investments in the pipeline such as SMPTE 2110, which will enhance our

signal distribution capabilities,” added the company’s Head of Video, Tom Stocks.

According to Aguilar, an accurate projection study is fundamental to the success of any project. “It provides confidence in the exact positioning of projectors and lenses. This study also calculates shadows and brightness, forecasting challenges and helping creatives to develop more immersive experiences for the audience,” he explained. “It is very important to have good preproduction with detailed video schematics, cable route plans, network list, and signal distribution diagrams. This helps us ensure that we have the correct kit onsite.”

Lo oking to the future, Aguilar believes that there is still a lot more to come as the technology develops. “Projection mapping is evolving very quickly,” he commented. “Creatives and audiences are always requesting more exciting experiences and immersive content, incorporating real-time content and interactions with laser lighting or drones. We anticipate a new generation of projectors that are not only smaller and brighter but also more energyefficient and environmentally friendly.”


INTERVIEW Middle East 68
most impressive mapping events in the world’ According to Mark Wadsworth, VP of Global Marketing at Digital Projection, the Middle East is the ideal region for CTME has deployed projection mapping on more than 25 major productions over the past few years.

impressive projection mapping projects. “There is a huge appetite to create spectacular events and shows in the Middle East, and a hugely talented base of creative people based in the region,” he commented.

“When you combine this with the bonus of some iconic and architecturally impressive buildings, you get some of the most impressive mapping events in the world.”

Digital Projection can lay claim to some of those impressive events, with the most recent example being one of Wadsworth’s personal favourites, Dubai’s Khawaneej Mosque. “It brings together everything I mentioned earlier, including the stunning building that creates a perfect canvas for a mapping show,” he reflected.

“The geometric design of the building provided beautiful and visually sharp, clean lines that could be used by the creative team to create a very colourful, impactful show.”

Musing in more general terms about what Middle Eastern clients expect from a projection mapping show, Wadsworth noted that “reliability, brightness and excellent colour reproduction” are top of the priorities list. “The harsh conditions sustained by the projectors are often far from ideal, so features like IP6x sealed optics in our top-end models prevent the ingress of dust further extending the longevity and reliability of the projectors,” he explained.

“The ability to produce beautifully saturated colours is also essential, whether via one-chip or three-chip DLP models. Our one-chip models now have additional red lasers, which brings significant improvements in colour reproduction over traditional blue-laser only models.”

C M Y CM MY CY CMY K PRINT_PREVIEW_LaserSaga_august-2023_advert_banner_150x210mm_3mm_bleed.pdf 1 31.07.2023 16:30
Khawaneej Mosque proved to be the ideal canvas for projection mapping.

With RGB laser illumination becoming more and more accessible cost-wise, Wadsworth believes that “the ultimate in colour fidelity and image quality” is now at the fingertips of the creators. “When you bring this in combination with a small package like our Satellite Modular Laser System, you can fit more projector in spaces that others simply can’t go,” he said. “Mapping onto ancient ruins or heritage sites is always tricky as there’s often no space for big, bulky projectors. Our Satellite system solves this problem by putting all common challenges – size, heat, and noise – up to 100m away from a small, compact, light projection head.”

‘Remarkable visual experiences’

Another company at the sharp end of several eye-catching projection mapping projects is Dubai-based Laser Saga, which recently completed an impressive installation at the Address Downtown Dubai’s KRASOTA restaurant.

“This project involved the installation of 30 projectors to create an extraordinary gastronomic movie theatre experience where the projection environment seamlessly melds with gourmet cuisine and a captivating theatrical performance delivered by the restaurant’s dedicated wait staff. The result is a truly immersive and unforgettable dining experience,” said Laser Saga founder, Serge Lomadze.

“We are proud to share that we embarked on an exceptional project in collaboration with the Touch Designer system and our esteemed partner in this project, Epson.”

Describing the Middle East “a global leader in embracing cutting-edge technology and top-notch equipment,”

Lomadze gave his two cents on why projection mapping is so popular in the region.

“Projectors are now a popular tool, seamlessly deploying captivating video installations without compromising architectural beauty,” he reflected.

“I n this forward-thinking environment, projectors create remarkable visual experiences. These installations, featuring brilliant displays and compelling content, consistently capture attention. Whether introducing new products, government initiatives, or simply impressing, the blend of innovation and quality delivers unforgettable shows.”

As far as what we can expect in the future, Lomadze believes that the future is here already. “What’s on the tech horizon? It’s happening right now!” he exclaimed. “Laserlight projectors are becoming versatile and cost-effective, making creative ideas more accessible. Technologies like projection mapping, interactivity, and personal devices are converging to create amazing experiences.”

He a dded: “AI is a key player in this evolution, significantly improving technologies in the Middle East and beyond, speeding up content creation and making it incredibly personalised. In the near future, personalised AI-driven content will become the norm.”

Photos: CTME, Digital Projection, Maxin10sity, MPME

Middle East 70 INTERVIEW
Digital Projection used the building’s sharp, clean lines to create a colourful, impactful show.
TRULY EXCEPTIONAL COLOUR + TECHNOLOGY + IMAGES WUXGA - 4K - 8K - MultiView Satellite Projection Heads and RGB Modular Light Sources The Visionaries’ Choice - www.digitalprojection.comSATEL LITE MODULAR LASER SYSTEM SATEL LITE MODULAR LASER SYSTEM

New season, new kit

As Coca-Cola Arena purchases a range of high-end audio control equipment, General Manager, Mark Jan Kar details the investment and explains what incoming productions can expect this season.

Since it opened in 2019, Coca-Cola Arena has provided a much-needed elite indoor facility in Dubai, catering to numerous incoming A-list artists and world-class productions. Ahead of the new events season, the venue took delivery of a state-of-the-art audio control package, overseen by Director of Technical and Production, Malcolm Giles, to further enhance the event experience for incoming productions and audiences alike.

Gen eral Manager, Mark Jan Kar detailed the new investment. “We have purchased a control package to complement the Arena’s JBL PA system,” he began. “It consists of DiGiCo Quantum 5 and 338 consoles, a Shure PSM 1000 IEM system, 96 channels of stage split, Axient RF microphones and a full festival microphone package with Shure, Sennheiser, and DPA microphones, as well as Radio

DIs.” The investment also includes L-Acoustics X15 and X12 monitors as well as KS21s with A15s for side fills.

Th e purpose of the investment is to offer a “full sound package suitable for 80% of the shows”. Kar elaborated: “Due to our ROI being a different model to the average rental house, we can package the audio into more affordable options for the promoters. Purchasing the package from Solotech in the UK has allowed for the system to be put together in the highest level possible and ready to go out the box.”

With the package designed around a typical touring setup, it should provide quicker setup and dismantle times, and since it is not being exposed to the harsher outdoor environment, Kar hopes that it will prove to be more reliable in the long run. “We strongly believe that the

Middle East 72

new package will help the bottom line for promoters –especially for some of the smaller shows where budget is tight,” he stated, adding that some artists may still require a higher specification system, which when rented from local suppliers is often too high relative to the show’s capacity and expected revenue.

With a busy events season in the offing, the Coca-Cola Arena technical team continues to grow, with four new technicians joining the team. “With the new investment in equipment and a busy Q4 ahead, we want to be able to offer all our clients the best international-level service that they would get anywhere else in the world,” Kar commented. “With the increase in back-to-back shows, we want to ensure that as a venue we can meet these demands for the promoters. We are always looking for ways to improve and continue to push for further investment into the department to meet the demanding challenges both our clients and the region continue to put on us as a first-class international destination.”

Th e Coca-Cola Arena team have developed their services to offer a smooth transition from sports event to concerts – sometimes even on the same day. “We did this on the World Tennis League in Q4 last year and the World Paddle League events earlier this year where we turned over from sports to concerts in under an hour,” Kar recalled. “By using the venue to its max with dividing drapes and

the easy rigging, we have been able to have almost three shows set up at one time and then each day peeled back each show until we finished with the larger setup. This has been achieved by out-of-the-box thinking, planning and an amazing support team in the department.”

With strong team dynamics, the venue can go from a sports event into a 15,000-capacity concert, then back to a sports event or gala dinner. “Our goal is to facilitate as many event days as we can in a year – that maybe be midweek sports events followed by a corporate event and then a weekend of concerts then back to sports.”

With a dynamic range of events already confirmed from now until the end of the year and into 2024, Coca-Cola Arena is set to continue its position as Dubai’s premier largescale events venue.

“Since the turn of the year, Dubai has seen a very strong appetite for live events in both quantity and ticket sales,” Kar concluded. “The dynamic capability of the Arena allows for quick transformation between different configurations allowing speed and efficiency in hosting the maximum number of shows, evident as we now add live shows midweek to our corporate calendar. The rest of the year will see some exciting acts with new announcements every five to seven days. Exciting times are ahead!”

Photos: Coca-Cola Arena

Middle East 73
Coca-Cola Arena General Manager, Mark Jan Kar.

10 years of Event Lab

As the company celebrates a decade in business, TPiMEA sits down with co-founder Nadim Jamal, who looks back on some of the highlights over the years, shares details of a recent brand refresh, and speculates on future expansion plans.

Starting in 2013 as a humble basement operation, Event Lab has grown into one of the region’s best known staffing agencies, providing its services to some of the largest and most prestigious events all over the Middle East, from the Special Olympics in 2017 to Expo 2020 Dubai, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and countless major Saudi Arabian projects including MDLBEAST Soundstorm, Formula 1 and Riyadh and Jeddah Season, to name a few.

With a team of 45-plus full-time employees operating from a plush office in Dubai’s Barsha Heights, the company is unrecognisable from the fledgling outfit that started out a decade ago. “When we started, there was nobody in the market properly representing event professionals looking for freelance or full-time work and helping clients find freelancers,” Jamal said. Here, the co-founder shares his take on the industry and where Event Lab sits within it 10 years on from the company’s formation.

How has the market changed since the early days of Event Lab?

We started this business because there was a huge gap in the market – in fact, there were very few freelancers back then compared to today, and clients still weren’t as accustomed to using large numbers of freelancers as they do today. We found that there was often even a distrust in freelancers, but as clients gained confidence that somebody was vouching for the individuals being placed and providing a system to recruit and onboard freelancers, they gained more trust in using freelancers. It really changed over time.

Th ere was also a lack of consistency in the rates that freelancers would charge, which could range massively. This is still an issue, but over our 10 years of operation we’ve helped both freelancers and clients to find a happy medium, creating a fair middle ground and getting closer to standardisation of rates. In the early years of Event Lab, the UAE was the main territory where freelancers operated, but now it’s going well beyond that. There are countless opportunities in Saudi Arabia, the FIFA World Cup brought a lot of work to Doha, and we expect Qatar to get very busy again once summer is over.

Dubai has embraced the importance of the events industry to the economy and to its development, introducing proper legal frameworks and freelance visas.

Middle East 74

So, with more opportunities than ever, there are significantly more agencies in town. Thus, the past decade has been characterised by a shift from a scarcity of opportunities to a flourishing landscape, where trust, consistency, and expansion across borders have defined our trajectory alongside the evolving events industry.

Tell me about the brand refresh…

When we started the company, there weren’t any ‘Event Labs’ around the world. Now if you do an internet search, you’ll find dozens of entities of the same name – some even adopting similar colour schemes. We decided it was time to break away from that and reclaim an original look and feel we had when we started.

What makes us different is our unique approach to people and recruitment. We put people first, which means finding the right fit for both clients and jobseekers. We have a sixth sense for fitting the right person to the right job – the job where they’re best suited and most demanded.

Ou r new brand identity reflects what makes us different. It serves as a visual representation of our most powerful attribute. The new logo is a combination of simple geometric shapes that combine in an unconventional way to create the series of letters that make up ‘eventlab’. We’re proud of where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going, and we think it’s time our brand reflects that.

Can your clients expect any changes in the way you operate this year?

We are in continuous strive for improvement. We’re always learning from things we could’ve done better, constantly investing in new systems, training modules, internal procedures, software innovations. Our fresh identity does not redefine our operations, rather, it amplifies their essence. We are building our capabilities to manage larger volumes,

with a goal of over 20,000 placements in 2024 to the same quality and care that we currently handle our annual volume of 7,000-plus placements.

Fu rthermore, our horizons are expanding beyond events into other related industries. Our commitment remains the same: To ensure the right job is connected with the most suited professional, every single time.

How have the summer months been for you?

What used to be a quiet period for us has now transformed. Traditionally, summer marks a low season, largely due to the heat in the Gulf. Although it’s of course not as busy as peak season, we’ve experienced a surge in business, with clients actively assembling teams to work on the planning of the big projects – hiring full-time in anticipation of a busy season and with more activities, and significantly more events happening indoors. We’ve encountered this bustling period of activity in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

How is the full-time recruitment side of the business going?

The full-time division has experienced remarkable growth over the years. We were historically known as just the freelance agency and it took a few years to gain traction, but one successful placement led to the next and we rapidly became the go-to for many clients’ full-time needs, catering to a wide range of role types at any seniority levels, from junior to VP positions. In 2022, we successfully placed nearly 100 candidates in various roles across both private and governmental sectors in the GCC.

This segment of our services requires a different approach compared to freelance placements – it’s a more strategic and delicate process, demanding more time to find and vet the right candidates. For this reason, from day one, we dedicated a specialised team separate from the team that handles freelance placements.

Middle East 75

How about the guest service staffing side?

It’s flying, and we couldn’t be prouder. Our team has grown significantly with various skill sets and experience, from ushers and hosting staff to guides and brand ambassadors, allowing us to expand our project capacities with the same quality. We’ve increased our capacity to be able to manage up to 4,000 staff at any given moment, on multiple projects across the GCC.

This requires consistency in quality of staff and management. We were very cautious to never overextend ourselves to preserve this benchmark of quality that we expect of ourselves. Clients have returned for repeat business consistently, and this is truly rewarding. One of our recent successes is the Islamic Arts Biennale where we booked and managed over 200 guest service staff including tour guides, which was fantastic; everyone did a great job and it was well received by visitors and clients.

Last year, we filled over 7,000 guest service staff positions across multiple projects including but not limited to: Coca-Cola Arena, Etihad Arena, NBA Abu Dhabi, Gov Games, PubG, UFC, Formula 1, Formula E, Riyadh Season, and MDLBEAST projects. Furthermore, in collaboration with MDLBEAST, we conducted ‘Supervisor Essentials’ workshops in Riyadh and Jeddah during June and July.

Th ese workshops aimed to equip 60 of our supervisors with essential skills for success in the events industry and develop their knowledge base to help them grow faster in the industry. Our friends at Safe Events were kind enough to support the Health & Safety segment of our workshop.

What’s the outlook for Saudi Arabia?

It is an immensely exciting territory to be involved in. The landscape is brimming with opportunities, and the scale of these opportunities are very exciting. This aligns perfectly with our goals, as we are always seeking large-scale challenges to sink our teeth into and to really show our teams’ qualities and capabilities. Thankfully, our hard work and the quality the team has put out over the years has paid off and the clients are coming back with a very healthy stream of large-scale projects. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what we can accomplish in the Kingdom yet.

What do you anticipate your biggest challenges will be over the next year?

As we’ve seen in the past, when projects like Expo 2020 come in and need large numbers of professionals at the same time, there’s a gravitational pull on staff, creating a scarcity in qualified professionals in the region. When compounded with big projects like the Horticultural Expo in Doha, multiple Saudi mega projects, and COP28, we anticipate a shortage of qualified locally available staff.

INTERVIEW Middle East 76
The Event Lab team receiving the Best Staffing Acency award at the Middle East Event Show.

To solve this, we have year-round campaigns to build our databases locally, regionally, and internationally. The talent exists – it just needs to be found. Our database now is over 50,000 event professionals across the GCC – many of which we’ve placed in the past.

Another challenge is maintaining quality over larger quantities – we spent so much time, effort, and investment in combating this. Thankfully, we’ve been successful so far and we aim to continue this success. In 2022, we placed over 10,000 candidates and we’re anticipating that by the end of 2024, we’ll place between 15,000 to 20,000 due to the sheer scale of the projects we’re involved in. To achieve this, we grew our team, improved our system, trained our staff… It’s an ongoing process of development and we never allow ourselves to be overextended and let quality falter.

Where do you see the biggest potential for growth?

Longer-term projects, permanent projects, and related industries. Over the years, we’ve been gearing up capabilities towards catering to the other related industries, to multiple-month, large-scale projects and permanent projects and venues.

We’ve already seen the value that we can add to these projects as we were lucky enough to be involved in both of the UAE’s live entertainment arenas – Coca-Cola and Etihad – where we’ve been an exclusive supplier since their preopening, taking charge of their staffing requirements. We’ve also had incredible success at Expo 2020, FIFA World Cup, both Riyadh and Jeddah Season, as well as the Islamic Arts Biennale. These all operated as semi-permanent venues, with many staff needed – they are the types of projects that have significant growth potential for all our departments, whether it’s freelance, full-time or guest service.

We also recently joined forces with the acclaimed Jimi Elgohary to launch a new brand for our Arts, Culture and Entertainment department, MISTIKA. With a diverse range of core services including entertainment programming and curation, bookings and tour management, culture and heritage expertise, show production and teams, and cosulting, the new brand aims to be the go-to creative consultancy specialising in cultural entertainment, live music and performing arts in the region.

What are your goals for the future?

In the short term, our primary objective is to further enhance our already robust operations in Saudi Arabia. Given the substantial size of the Kingdom, there’s a growing demand for comprehensive services. While we already boast a very strong team permanently based in KSA, we understand that meeting the huge demand requires a larger team. Our goal is a full-time team of 15 to 20 based between Riyadh and Jeddah by the end of 2024.

We’re also excited about the organic expansion of our services into industries beyond events. This strategic move has been initiated by the market’s recognition of the quality we provide. It’s a testament to our adaptability and capabilities that clients from various sectors are seeking our expertise. Moving into other industries is promising as the skill set and agility that freelancers gain from working in the events industry are transferable to a multitude of sectors.

In the long term, our vision extends beyond the Middle East. We would like to extend our footprint into new territories. This expansion isn’t just about offering our services elsewhere but it will also serve to strengthen the Middle East operation in many ways by giving certain clients that operate across geographies consistency in service wherever in the world their project may be, and by continuing to offer a fresh stream of candidates from around the world into our GCC operations, contributing to our ongoing success.

Photos: Event Lab

INTERVIEW Middle East 78

Showing the force in KSA

As Showforce opens a new Riyadh office, Business Development Manager, Zachariah Smith shares the company’s ambitious growth plans for the region with TPiMEA. Alicia Pollitt reports…

Founded in 1991, Showforce provides crew services worldwide with offices in the UK, Qatar, and UAE. Now the company has added to its global footprint, opening a branch in Saudi Arabia, with Business Development Manager, Zachariah Smith relocating to Riyadh to spearhead the operation.

While this is Showforce’s first KSA office, it’s far from the company’s first foray into the country, with projects dating back to 1994, such as providing crew for the Royal wedding in Jeddah. In more recent years, with the Kingdom’s events industry growing at an astounding rate, the company has contributed to the success of events such as Formula 1, MDLBEAST Soundstorm, WWE, Winter at Tantora Festival and Diriyah Season.

Previously these events were handled from Showforce’s UAE offices, but with the exponential growth in the Kingdom, the time was right to get boots on the ground.

“We had massively increased the number of local crew in the country and the time felt right ahead of an incredible winter season of work to have a permanent base there,” Smith explained.

“H aving a local presence not only demonstrates good business practice, but it also aligns with the Saudi Vision 2030 of creating a vibrant society, thriving economy and creating an ambitious nation,” Smith commented, discussing the impact of the growth. “We want to show our commitment to the KSA market and build long-term partnerships with clients and stakeholders throughout the country. Taking our skills and expertise to new towns, cities and countries is what we do best.”

Client relations are important for Showforce, and the new branch will only improve the company offering in this regard. “Our Riyadh office means that we can offer direct assistance and be readily available to both crew and clients. We can meet with clients face to face and have members of the senior operations team on hand to react quickly to requirements,” Smith enthused.

With an increasingly competitive industry in KSA, Smith discussed Showforce’s place within the ever-growing market, with crew welfare a priority.

“When it comes to global events, Showforce has an unrivalled level of experience, knowledge, and expertise. We pride ourselves on our reputation for delivery and safety,” he stated. “The service clients receive doesn’t differ wherever

Middle East 80

they are in the world – and that makes us uniquely placed to provide crewing services in KSA. We also set the standard in prioritising the welfare of our crew; coupled with our training and opportunities for career progression, we can attract and retain the most talented people in the industry.”

As a part of the Spendlove Group, Showforce has the benefit of working with THE Production TEAM (TPT), which gives access to a large database of event professionals.

Smith described TPT as ‘invaluable’ in the rebuilding following the COVID-19 pandemic: “Utilising TPT’s recruitment experience will be vital to our success in KSA,” he commented. “While TPT can recruit for office roles, it also manages all our event personnel recruitment. TPT staff are already operational on the ground in Riyadh and have been instrumental in recruiting and onboarding both office personnel and local crew over the past six weeks.” Showforce KSA already has its first Saudi national

employee, Salma Juhany, who will work directly alongside Smith. “Salma is both a native Arabic and English speaker, who also speaks Japanese and Korean,” Smith beamed. “Her local knowledge coupled with her passion for fashion and cultural events is going to add so much to the team.”

Loo king ahead to the future, Smith emphasised that the company is consistently exploring new opportunities and development, and with Showforce already actively working in Jeddah, AlUla, Neom and Damman, there’s plenty of potential for further new branches if the need arises.

Lo cated within the Al Sahafah District in Riyadh, the office is well connected to transport links and neighbours several event companies. “We have an open-door policy and would love to welcome clients and event professionals to stop by for a coffee or a catch-up,” Smith concluded.

Photos: Showforce

Middle East 81
Harron Nasir, Zachariah Smith, Amir Tufail in the brand new Showforce KSA office. Salma Juhany is the comapny’s first Saudi employee.

Rigging in Rwanda

ES:ME Entertainment Services’ Alex Wuerfel embarks on an inspiring trip to Rwanda to conduct training and lend his knowledge and support for AV Alliance partner, Rwanda Events Group.

While live events tend to take a backseat during summer in the Middle East, the quiet period provides a valuable opportunity to pursue training and travel that the busy events season often leaves little time for. This summer, ES:ME Entertainment Services CEO, Alex Wuerfel used the time to embark on a trip to Africa to provide training support for one of the company’s AV Alliance partners, Rwanda Events.

Th e idea for the trip came about after an AV Alliance gathering in Dubai where Wuerfel met Rwanda Events CEO, Christian Gakwaya and discovered that there were ample opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration. “Christian and I got along well,” Wuerfel said. “We started talking about my experience and some of the stunning rigging productions we are delivering, and then the conversation turned to how we might be able to train his team in statics, mechanical advantages and PPE usage.”

According to Gakwaya, the Rwandan events market is growing and needs capacity building to sustain it. “One of the challenges we’re facing is how we can develop our technical rigging skills,” he commented. “We are in a market where the event industry is still new. We are the first generation in this business and most of our colleagues are self-taught young people. So, when we met with Alex, who brings such incredible experience, we were keen to build a synergy between both companies and see how we would start working together.”

With a July dateline agreed, Wuerfel packed his rigging gear and jumped on a flight to Kigali. “The first few days were all about theory and checking what knowledge level the team had,” he said. “We did a test prior to the theory sessions to give me an understanding of the level everyone was at and help to ensure that we could lift everyone to the same level of knowledge.”

Fo llowing the baseline testing, the Rwanda Events team were put through a carefully coordinated training agenda covering topics such as levers, pulley systems, and forces in triangles. “There were a lot of smoking heads with all the calculations and a lot of questions asked – but crucially there were lots of the right questions,” Wuerfel recalled. “I was very impressed with the guys’ thirst for knowledge.”

Describing the course as “an opportunity for the team to understand how things can be done on another level”,

Africa 84

Gakwaya was full of praise for the initiative. “It’s not that the guys don’t know what they’re doing, but often they might be doing something in an over-complicated way, so they got a lot out of listening to Alex’s experience and tips on how to make things function easily and safely,” he commented.

As well as the training, Wuerfel supported the Rwanda Events team in setting up an international conference at BK Arena, guiding them in safe working practices. “The whole training and event were very successful and we’re already discussing the next steps so we can go deeper into things like slinging methods, material choices and of course have a few more days of PPE training,” he reflected.

“The team really enjoyed the approach of Alex, which was more like an exchange of information than a teacherstudent relationship,” Gakwaya added. “He treated our team with respect and even though he clearly has much more experience than them, he was willing to see their point of view and help them grow, because he saw their appetite.

“The training has created more appetite for the team to learn and to explore more,” he concluded. “I think it’s going to be a continuous relationship. I hope Alex and his team come back again to Rwanda and we would welcome the opportunity to send some of our guys to work with Alex’s team and learn by seeing bigger events.”

Photos: ES:ME Entertainment Services

Africa 85
“Alex treated our team with respect and even though he clearly has much more experience than them, he was willing to see their point of view and help them grow, because he saw their appetite.”
Christian Gakwya, Rwanda Events

Look Solutions OctaJet

How long have you been working with Look Solutions, and what attracted you to offering their products for rental and sale?

We first discussed the possibility of becoming a UAE/Middle East distributor for Look Solutions when we met with them during the 2019 Prolight + Sound exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany. Having worked with show lasers and SFX for 30-plus years, the link between Matrix Laser and the smoke and haze products from Look Solutions was naturally worth considering. Being familiar with the company in terms of the quality and reliability of its products made establishing the partnership an easy decision.

How does OctaJet save users money and increase efficiency?

The traditional CO2 jets, in addition to separate cylinders, also require substantial amounts of CO2. OctaJet provides a similar effect as CO2 jets, without the logistical limitations created by bulky equipment or excessive use of CO2. One OctaJet unit hosts a self-contained two litres of jet fluid that is capable of firing 120, onesecond shots as opposed to 25 to 30 shots from a traditional CO2 tank.

What are some of your favourite features of the OctaJet that you think end users will benefit from?

A favourite and extremely versatile feature is that OctaJet can fire from any angle, vertically, and horizontally. The units can be safely trussed to shoot from above, with no risk of fluid leakage. This offers different stage effect

possibilities, also in venues where previously CO2 jets have been restricted.

What are the main applications for the OctaJet?

OctaJet is a perfect alternative where venuespecific health and safety restrictions prohibit or restrict the use of traditional CO2 jets. Additionally, the compact size of the units and the absence of bulky CO2 cylinders is a great solution where a specific aesthetic is to be achieved in a restrictive space.

How popular do you anticipate this product will be with your clients?

While OctaJet is a newcomer in the world of SFX, we are confident that its popularity will steadily increase as the industry becomes aware of its capabilities. It has most recently

been utilised at Gamers8 in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest gaming and esports event, where its features were truly given the showcase it deserves.

In the past, when clients have been forced to eliminate the use of CO2 jets from their event scopes due to health and safety restrictions related to the gas cylinders, OctaJet is the best solution to maintain the required celebratory aesthetic – a good example being one of the major marathons that took place in the UAE in late 2022 where the request for CO2 jets during the podium ceremony was denied. We’ve since had several requests from our client base to test the OctaJet for themselves.

Photo: Look Solutions

Middle East 86
Matrix Laser owner, Michael Hilgemann extols the virtues of the Look Solutions OctaJet, which is now available for rental and purchase.

HOF Monobloq




What exactly is Monobloq?

Monobloq is a new and patented rigging system that is going to revolutionise the way of rigging.

All you need is a single fix cable plus Monobloq to create your hanging point. The patented system allows a cable adjustment in seconds and the installation of up to eight bridles per hour with just two technicians.

It ’s designed to be used with either 8mm or 10mm steel ropes, once the rope is inserted into the Monobloq device by the rigger, the pressure wedge is placed in the Monobloq body recess, and the cover is fixed by three fixing screws. Then the shackle is mounted and gets attached to the structural element.

Once the Monobloq is suspended from the shackle, the length of the cable can be adjusted by exerting a two-handed effort in the desired direction of travel.

To fix the cable at a given point, a manual load must be exerted. Finally, insert the set screw on the side opposite the load and screw until it is tightened.

What are the main benefits Monobloq?

There are a few main benefits of the Monobloq system. Firstly, it is extremely safe; second, it allows a quick cable adjustment within seconds; it is very easy to handle; and finally, using the Monobloq system means that less cable stock is required.

How does Monobloq help create efficiencies in an event setup?

When using the Monobloq rigging system, the cable adjustment can be made within seconds. This saves a lot of time for riggers, meaning more efficient workflow during the setup process.

Where are we likely to see it deployed?

Monobloq is being used in trade fair halls including, for example, the Fira Barcelona where ISE takes place. It is also being used for shows, venues and conference areas with high demands on flexibility and appearance.

Photo: HOF

Middle East 87
the company’s new product that is set to transform the rigging world.

Dubai Opera partners with d&b audiotechnik

The new arrangement sees the manufacturer become the Official Technology Partner for the venue.

d&b audiotechnik and Dubai Opera have entered into a new partnership. The deal will see d&b audiotechnik become an Official Technology Partner for Dubai Opera, which will adopt the immersive audio technology of d&b Soundscape for its Studio venue.

Unveiled at a Dubai Opera official press conference by Dr Paolo Petrocelli, Head of Dubai Opera, alongside representatives from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai Culture and UNESCO, the new partnership with d&b audiotechnik is one of several new initiatives designed to ensure the venue’s continued role as a cultural hub for the region’s arts, entertainment, and creative education.

By embracing technological innovation in this way, Dubai Opera aims to broaden its artistic horizons, ensuring its place as an indispensable performance destination for the Middle East. Its partnership with d&b audiotechnik ensures a cutting-edge auditory experience at Dubai

Opera’s Studio, delivering an immersive sound experience that will promote creative expression.

“As we embark on the new season, we are filled with immense pride in the remarkable artistic diversity that characterizes our line-up of performances and productions, catering to the entire community and bringing together prestigious companies and celebrated artists from around the world onto the stage of our exceptional venue,” stated Petrocelli.

“d&b audiotechnik is honoured and excited to become the Official Technology Partner for Dubai Opera,” said Brad Maiden, VP of Business Development, d&b Middle East. “This partnership elevates Dubai Opera and d&b audiotechnik as industry leaders when it comes to experiential performance, technical innovation and developing performing arts in the Middle East. The installation of d&b Soundscape into the Dubai Opera Studio provides local and international artists with an exceptional immersive sound

system, and the audience with the full aural sensory experience through our signature d&b quality of sound.”

Amnon Harman, CEO of d&b audiotechnik, added: “Our partnership with Dubai Opera is driven by a strong set of mutual goals – our willingness to explore new technological frontiers to experience a multitude of artforms, our commitment to the development of the Middle East performing arts industry into a sustainable industry that is globally recognised as fostering the best talent, and, importantly, our combined sense of unity and togetherness, working as one team; at d&b, we call this ‘Wir-Gefühl’.”

The adoption of the ground-breaking d&b Soundscape in the Dubai Opera Studio will be implemented in time for Dubai Opera’s forthcoming 2023/24 season of performances.

Photo: Dubai Opera


Pixotope XR Roadshow

AVI-SPL hosts Pixotope, ROE Visual and Illusion XR Studio for two days of innovation, knowledge sharing, and networking. Alicia Pollitt reports…

Taking place at AVI-SPL’s Dubai office on 26 and 27 July, the Pixotope XR Roadshow showcased all the latest advancements in Pixotope’s extended reality solutions to an audience of potential customers, partners, and industry professionals.

With Pixotope, ROE Visual, Illusion XR Studio, and AVI-SPL joining forces at the collaborative event, attendees experienced cutting-edge technology and demonstrations of real-world applications and success stories.

“The attendance at the Pixotope XR Roadshow was great. The event attracted a significant number of participants, making it a resounding success,” stated Phil Marlowe, Managing Director, Middle East, AVI-SPL.

“The positive response from the attendees demonstrated their keen interest in Pixotope’s XR solutions and showcased the growing importance of extended reality in various industries. Witnessing such a favourable turnout further solidified our belief in the potential of XR technology and its transformative impact.”

Marlowe added: “We are delighted to have engaged potential customers and partners building brand awareness and fostering collaboration in the realm of innovative technology. The enthusiasm and engagement of the attendees left a lasting impression, and

we look forward to continuing our journey of advancements in the XR landscape.”

One of the many attendees was Lindsey Malcom, Associate Director and Sustainability Lead Middle East for global professional services company Turner & Townsend. “The team provided a fascinating insight into their tech and some of the recent applications,” he commented on his experience. “It was great to see the potential opportunities that XR could offer, particularly in the sustainability arena.”

Founded in 2013, Pixotope, which was formerly The Future Group, began its Extended Reality journey by developing technology for an interactive game show in Norway. The group then went on to release its Pixotope Software in 2019 when it realised the demand for accessible XR solutions, before rebranding as Pixotope in 2021.

Given the overwhelming success and positive response, the AVI-SPL team are looking forward to hosting more events in the future. “Hosting the Pixotope XR Roadshow at our AVI-SPL office was an exceptional experience,” Marlowe commented.

“The event successfully showcased the cutting-edge technology of Pixotope’s XR solutions and brought together innovative minds, creating an unforgettable and inspiring atmosphere. We took great pride in providing a platform for creativity and innovation to thrive.

Showcasing the power of extended reality was truly exhilarating and left a lasting impact on all who attended.”

He concluded by thanking Pixotope, ROE Visual and Illusion XR for their “invaluable support” in making the event a success. “It is through collaborative efforts like these that we can push the boundaries of what’s possible with transformative technology. We look forward to building on this momentum and exploring new frontiers in the world of XR technology.”

Photo: AVI-SPL

Middle East 89 Show Laser.... Stage Effects.... and Smoke.... our Business Mail: Phone: +971.2.6459554

Terra Solis gets L-Acoustics upgrade

Levels AV designs and installs a K-Series sound system at Tomorrowland’s Dubai Destination.

After opening to much acclaim earlier this year, Tomorrowland’s new multipurpose UAE destination, Terra Solis, has received an audio upgrade with Dubai-based L-Acoustics distributor Levels AV designing and delivering a K3 system that injects the manufacturer’s iconic sonic signature into the venue.

“We were delighted when Tomorrowland’s partner company approached us for this project,” reported Richard Prior, Head of Operations at Levels AV. “They wanted the very best audio for their venue, and as we have a long-standing relationship with L-Acoustics, we recommended them as the top choice, which perfectly aligned with their view of L-Acoustics as industry leaders. We created a detailed specification for the sound systems, including K3,

KS28, and Syva with SB15m, as well as A10 and KS21 in the DJ booth.”

Prior explained that during the installation process, which began in September, there were some challenges due to the location. “Logistically, it was tricky to get to because you have to drive out into the desert,” he noted. “Other than this, we had no sound-related issues, except for the need to conduct on-site tests before the installation.”

The tests were necessary due to the amphitheatre’s unique design. Featuring a manmade sand dune at one end, which created some tricky reflections, the team had to make precise measurements to ensure flawless sound experience. “There was one hell of a slap back that we had to consider, which we did by adjusting positions and optimising the system

output. We managed to get it working perfectly and it has sounded great ever since the venue was opened,” he added.

Fe aturing a circular layout, the amphitheatre occupies the top part of the circle and is used mainly for concerts and large-scale events, with a bar in the centre, and a pool area at the bottom of the circle.

Fo ur ground stacked L-Acoustics K3s with two KS28 subs are installed in the pool area, controlled via LA12X amplified controllers. According to Prior, the system is designed to be flexible and expandable, allowing their technical team to add more K3 and KS28 boxes for larger events and concerts.

“We’ve created a versatile sound system that can cater to any occasion,” he stated. While


the K3 system handles most of the sound in the pool area during the day, the focus of the entertainment shifts to the DJ booth located in the centre of the complex in the evening.

To e nsure a continuous audio experience, the team installed Syva, Syva Low and SB15 subs behind the DJ booth. “Syva is probably my favourite loudspeaker at the moment,” Prior revealed. “It’s compact in size with an elegant design and packs a serious punch that I love.”

The partnership with a prestigious brand like Tomorrowland and the ongoing work with L-Acoustics has paved the way for several significant projects for Levels AV this year.

“O ur association with L-Acoustics has raised our profile, and it’s all working in our favour,” Prior commented. “We have an exciting 2024 and 2025 coming up, not to mention this year, with many projects in the pipeline, both here in Dubai and in Saudi Arabia.”

With the venue’s team planning to host around eight large-scale, Tomorrowland-style events ever year, Prior and the Levels AV team are assured an ongoing partnership between Terra Solis, with multiple opportunities to enhance the installed system by providing L-Acoustics rental systems.

“The popularity of L-Acoustics in the Middle East has surged in the recent years,” he concluded. “The brand has become the industry reference system, and their reputation for exceptional sound quality has made them a highly sought-after brand in Dubai, where customers demand the very best.

“We’ve had the pleasure of installing L-Acoustics systems in some of the most prestigious venues in the city, including the Terra Solis project, and our clients have been blown away by the quality of sound, with many of them specifically seeking out L-Acoustics as their preferred sound system. As a result, we get a lot of business through word of mouth from people who have visited our venues and experienced their systems. We’re proud to be associated with L-Acoustics. It’s a great partnership.”

Photos: Levels AV

Middle East 91

The industry mourns Stephen Lakin

The legendary Protec Founder and CEO leaves a legacy that will continue long after

his passing.

announced on social media at the time of his passing. “Stephen left us peacefully last night, leaving behind a legacy that will forever inspire and guide us.

“Stephen’s journey was nothing short of remarkable. From his beginnings as the founder of Viewplan in the UK, he embarked on a visionary path that led to global triumphs with Gearhouse, and culminated in the realisation of his passion project, Protec. His unwavering commitment to excellence, quality, and consistency shone through every single endeavour he undertook.

“A true pioneer of the industry in the Middle East, Stephen’s leadership and innovation paved the way for countless others to follow. His remarkable contributions have left a far-reaching and indelible mark on the entire world of events and entertainment.

When Stephen Lakin, Founder and CEO of Protec, passed away in August, it sent shockwaves through the live events community. The industry veteran touched the lives of many over the years – including everyone at TPiMEA, as one of the magazine’s earliest supporters.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of an industry legend, our CEO and Founder of Protec, Stephen Lakin,” the company

“O ur thoughts and prayers go out to the Lakin family and friends during this difficult time. We also extend our deepest condolences to Stephen’s partner, Mai, who shared in his dreams and aspirations.

“As we take some time to mourn the loss of an extraordinary individual, let us also celebrate and reflect on the extraordinary life he lived. Stephen’s passion for excellence, dedication, and visionary leadership, have guided us on

Johnny Mollet joins All Things Live

a remarkable journey of growth and success over the years. His indomitable spirit has shaped Protec into what it is today – a team driven by innovation, collaboration, and a shared commitment to creative and technical excellence.

“H is legacy will forever be an integral part of our company’s identity, and his contributions will continue to inspire us as we move forward. We will honour his memory by upholding the values he instilled in us and continue to drive Protec to new heights in the Middle East and in the UK.”

Stephen’s son, James Lakin added: “Thank you for your heartfelt condolences and stories celebrating my father’s memory during this sad time. Steve’s passion for events has always been larger than life. Our industry could count Steve’s impact in decades, countries, the thousands of events delivered, or the talented people he has worked with. But the best legacies are the ones that carry on.

“Steve’s legacy will continue. Protec will continue to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients. Protec will continue to collaborate with our partners to bring artistry and technology together. Protec will continue to be a place for those with a passion for events. Steve’s legacy lives on, even now.”

Photo: Protec

The new Head of Operations brings a wealth of experience on world-class events to the role.

All Things Live Middle East has announced

Johnny Mollet as its new Head of Operations. His background spreads across opening/ closing ceremonies including Expo 2020 and London 2012 Olympics, entertainment shows such as Expo City Dubai’s 2022 Christmas show, Ministry of Sound worldwide tours and other music shows, F1 entertainment (Abu Dhabi), festivals, global PR launches and countless other events for high profile corporations and government entities.

Mollet will focus on delivery to standards of the firm’s regional events, overseeing a line-up of 2023/24 shows across Middle East and India, and

working closely with local and regional partners, venues and suppliers.

Taking his seat at the company’s Dubai office, Mollet stated, “I am tremendously excited to join the team at All Things Live! They are a highly experienced group and I hope that my experience can add a fresh perspective.”

All Things Live has a packed events schedule coming up with the likes of KISS, Khalid, Macklemore, and Bryan Adams all set to appear in Dubai, 50 Cent playing Mumbai, and many more events still to be announced.

Photo: All Things Live


CHAUVET Professional fixtures ‘snapped up’

Dubai-based event production company Snap invests in Maverick Storm 1 Hybrid units through CHAUVET distributor, NMK Electronics.

Snap has invested in 12 CHAUVET Professional Maverick Storm 1 Hybrid fixtures, with the purchase marking the latest addition to its expansive lighting portfolio.

Da rren Hodge, CEO at Snap, commented about the addition of these lights to their inventory. “We’ve been associated with CHAUVET for almost 12 years now,” he said.

Sp eaking on his motivation behind this particular purchase, the weight, brightness, and multi-functionality of the Maverick Storm 1 Hybrid, combined with the “rock-solid support” of NMK Electronics, played a pivotal role in the decision. “What’s beneficial for me is that it comes from NMK, where I have 100% support,” Hodge added.

Sna p’s decision was further reinforced by feedback from their team member, Rupert Morse, who experienced the Maverick Storm 1

Hybrid firsthand at its launch at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt.

With this acquisition, Snap not only augments its lighting portfolio but also reinforces its strategic partnership with NMK Electronics, the distributor of CHAUVET lights in the region. Following the acquisition, Snap’s team put the new fixtures into action at the “Next World” event in Saudi Arabia.

Sc halk Botha, Lighting Brand Manager at NMK Electronics concluded: “Working with someone who knows exactly what they want makes the process incredibly smooth. Darren’s extensive experience shines through, and I’m excited about our future projects together.”

Photo: Snap


The four channel FIBERFOX 4CH briDge and FIBERFOX 2CH briDge are the first ever chassis connectors which converts a standardized LC Patch cable into an expanded beam solution. It acts as a “feed – through” and fits into standard D -size shell.

No splicer, no expertise required for installation. Suitable for Lighting, Network, PA, Video, Broadcast, Defense & Government, Railway and Petrochemical. Easy patching with common patch cords. Very compact design-fits in every D-hole just like OpticalCON. IP68 Waterproof even without a protective cap.

Middle East 93
Email: | T: +971 4 266 5244 Website: | NMKelectronics Middle East Leading AV Distributor

The manufacturer undertakes its first project in the Asian country through its new local distributor, World Wide Vision.

European LED screen manufacturer Alfalite has had its first project in Pakistan, with distributor World Wide Vision installing two 5m by 3m Modularpix Pro 1.9 screens at the country’s Senate in Islamabad.

The two displays, each with a resolution of 2560 by 1536 pixels, have a total of 120 Alfalite Modularpix Pro 1.9 LED panels and have been mounted on the plenary walls. The displays are managed by two NovaStar VX1000 all-in-one controllers, also supplied by World Wide Vision.

Luis Garrido, Executive Director of Alfalite, stated: “We are very happy with this first installation in Pakistan and would like to congratulate our partner World Wide Vision for

Alfalite LED gets pride of place at Senate of Pakistan Phoenix Networks bolsters inventory

The Indian rental house invests in a DiGiCo Quantum 338 console as well as Meyer Sound LEOPARD audio system.

Phoenix Networks has boosted its audio offering with the purchase of a DiGiCo Quantum 338 digital mixing console, coupled with the SD-Rack – the first Quantum 338 system to make its way into Central India. The company has also added to its existing Meyer Sound inventory with the acquisition of a new comprehensive system comprising LEOPARD modules complemented by the powerful 900LFC Low-Frequency Control Elements.

“O ur vision for success is deeply rooted in our relentless pursuit of audio perfection, and these strategic investments are a key extension of this ever-evolving pursuit.” commented Animesh Mishra, Director of Phoenix Networks.

Describing the DiGiCo Quantum 338 as “a technical powerhouse and an absolute marvel of audio engineering”, Mishra is delighted with the purchase. “It boasts unmatched audio quality,

versatility, and an array of advanced features like Mustard Processing channel strips, Spice Rack plugin style native FPGA processing options which provides a plethora of effect options, Nodal Processing and True Solo – all of which make it a top choice in the industry,” he stated. “The system as a whole is absolutely magnificent, and it enables us to handle the most intricate live sound setups with unbelievable grace and precision.”

As the first in the country in invest in the Meyer Sound PANTHER system, the decision to add LEOPARD was easy. “Our choice to expand our existing Meyer Sound arsenal with the LEOPARD line array modules and 900-LFC subwoofers emanates from our unwavering commitment to deliver an audio experience that stands unparalleled,” Mishra said. “The system’s remarkable frequency response, exceptional phase coherence, and expansive horizontal

their excellent work in integrating our screens in the country’s Senate.”

Huzaifa Mustafa, Technical Director of World Wide Vision, added: “We are very pleased to have completed our first project with Alfalite in an environment as emblematic and demanding as the Senate. Working with Alfalite’s Europeanmade screens gives a great level of confidence for our clients. In addition to the excellent image quality and the peace of mind they offer, they feature ORIM technology, which makes them particularly robust.”

Photo: World Wide Vision

coverage make it the ideal choice for delivering pristine sound across a wide spectrum of venues. This strategic investment aligns with our mission to set new benchmarks in the industry by offering audio solutions that redefine excellence.”

Mishra believes that the new acquisitions have now opened up a world of possibilities for Phoenix Networks, not only within India but also on the international stage. “One of the most exciting aspects that comes with these purchases is our ability to seamlessly adapt to diverse venues and event scales,” he stated. “We’re now capable of providing world-class sound reinforcement solutions for events outside of India as well. Our teams are thrilled to take on new challenges and showcase our technical expertise on a broader stage.”

Photo: Phoenix Networks

CTME doubles down on d&b investment

The new purchases makes the company the region’s largest d&b audiotechnik stockholder.

Creative Technology Middle East (CTME) has expanded its audio services through an investment in d&b audiotechnik products.

This move positions CTME as the region’s largest stockholder of d&b equipment. In 2022, CTME took the lead in introducing the XSL line array module to the region, showcasing its commitment to innovation. The expanded inventory includes a range of d&b products, such as the AL-Series, Y-Series Point Source, V-Series Point Source, V-SUB, E-Series, S-Series, and D80 Amplifiers.

Wissam Shaheen, CTME’s Head of Audio, explained: “The debut of the XSL line array module has been particularly well-received, enabling us to deliver unparalleled sonic performance in even the most demanding environments. This, combined with our extensive d&b portfolio, ensures we are equipped to address any event’s unique audio requirements.”

One highlight is CTME’s investment in d&b’s SoundScape spatial audio system. Shaheen explained: “We strongly believe that immersive, object-based audio is the future of sound reinforcement, and this investment demonstrates our dedication to staying at the forefront of industry advancements.” Shaheen continued: “We are excited to continue expanding our 2023 audio offerings with the integration of d&b’s latest products, such as the KSL Series, SL-SUB, and the advanced D40 Amps. These additions to our repertoire will further enhance our ability to provide exceptional audio solutions for events of any scale or complexity.”

“O ur ongoing investment in advanced audio technology reflects our commitment to quality, innovation, and setting the bar in exceptional audio experiences,” Shaheen concluded.

Avientek and LEA Professional announce strategic partnership

The agreement sees the distributor offer LEA Professional products throughout the Middle East, Africa and Indian Subcontinent.

instils the assurance we require to address the needs of our valued customers.”

LEA Professional has partnered with AV distributor Avientek, utilising the company’s widespread vendor and channel partner network throughout the region.

“A key part of our growth strategy focuses on our continuous dedication to delivering userfriendly, quality AV products, which are sourced

from globally renowned vendors including the likes of LEA Professional,” VM Manu, Director of Avientek shared.

“LEA amplifiers and solutions are a perfect complement to our portfolio. Its ongoing commitment to innovation, combined with its well-established and dependable technology,

“Avientek’s presence throughout the region and strong track record supporting technologically advanced brands made them an ideal distributor to bring LEA Professional’s technology to a wide customer base,” added Scott Robbins, Vice President of Global Sales at LEA Professional. “Pairing that with their highquality customer service, we’re confident they will represent the LEA Professional solutions with the same passion and care that we exemplify.”

Photo: LEA Professional, Avientek

Middle East 95
Photo: CTME

The deal sees the manufacturer extend its distribution in Southern Africa.

Riedel Communications has partnered with distributor AV Worx, extending the reach of its product line-up across Southern Africa.

“We are thrilled to partner with Riedel Communications,” said Lee Brune, Audio Product Specialist at AV Worx. “Riedel’s reputation for delivering high-quality and reliable solutions aligns with our commitment to provide professional systems integrators with advanced and innovative products. This partnership strengthens our position as a trusted industry authority in Southern Africa.”

“AV Worx is a welcome addition to the Riedel partner family – a longstanding expert in the

region with remarkable expertise and a proactive approach that will give us the flexibility needed to adequately service the African continent,” commented Adrian van Rooij, Regional Sales Manager, Riedel Communications. “With the help of the AV Worx team and our other strong regional partners, Inala Broadcast and ApexPro, we’re well positioned to extend awareness of our state-of-the-art solutions and services while making them more readily accessible to customers across Southern Africa.”

Photo: AV Worx

AV Worx becomes authorised Riedel Communications dealer HiLights Group makes major Ayrton investment

The newly purchased stock includes Cobra, Domino LT and Domino Profile fixtures.

HiLights Group has invested in a large shipment of Ayrton fixtures, comprising Domino Profile, Domino LT and Cobra fixtures, purchased both for stock and specific projects in the region. “By acquiring a significant quantity of Ayrton fixtures, HiLights aims to expand its inventory and be prepared to fulfil a wide variety of project requirements,” commented Hamed Arafa, Founder and Chairman of HiLights. “Additionally, having these fixtures readily available in stock allows us to promptly meet the demands of our clients and provide timely solutions where required.”

Th e fixtures were supplied by Ayrton’s exclusive distributor for the region, Procom Middle East. “We recognise Procom as the largest supplier for HiLights Group and have been highly impressed with their exceptional service and after-sales support,” commented Arafa. “Their expertise and commitment to providing quality products and services have been invaluable to

our business. We are extremely pleased with their level of professionalism, reliability, and dedication to customer satisfaction.”

The consignment of Ayrton fixtures mark HiLights’ first investment in Ayrton products. “Ayrton stands out in the market due to its commitment to developing new technologies that push the boundaries of what is possible in the lighting industry,” Arafa said of the investment.

“Crucial to HiLights’ decision were the superior quality and advanced features of Ayrton’s fixtures which not only showcased the latest technology but also addressed our specific needs. We found Ayrton products to be unique, offering capabilities that were not readily available from other manufacturers.

Hi Lights’ new Ayrton fixtures are to be deployed in its busy programme of mega events across the region. “Moving forward, our strategic plan is to expand our stock of Ayrton fixtures because we recognise the potential

and value they bring to our portfolio, particularly for iconic projects and mega outdoor events,” Arafa revealed. “By increasing our Ayrton fixture inventory, we can meet the growing market demand and provide our clients with a wider range of options.

He a dded: “The events industry demands lighting fixtures that possess not only power but also durability. Ayrton’s equipment, equipped with laser sources and LEDs, offers powerful lighting capabilities and robust construction for enhanced durability and resilience, making them highly suitable for outdoor applications.

“These fixtures are engineered to be extremely resistant to adverse outdoor weather conditions ensuring reliable performance even in challenging environments.”

Photo: HiLights Group

Sybel Event Company deploys NEXO STM M28 system at the 42nd Festival International de Dougga.

Taking place between 27 July and 7 August in the well-preserved Roman town of Dougga, northwest Tunisia, Festival International de Dougga offers festivalgoers a feast of music and theatrical performances on stages dating from Roman times.

For this year’s 42nd edition of the festival, performers included contemporary oud player Dhafer Youseef, Algerian Berber singer, songwriter and guitarist Souad Massi, AssyrianSyrian singer Faia Younan, Mauritanian singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Noura Mint Seymali, and Tunisian musician, composer and singer Zied Gharsa.

Sound for the festival was provided by local event technology specialists and NEXO distributors Sybel Event Company, which deployed a NEXO STM M28 system comprising eight M28 main cabinets, six B112 bass extension

cabinets and four S118 subs for the main FOH system, supplemented by four M28 and four S118 front fills, and two NEXO PS15s with LS18 subs as side fills.

A total of 12 NEXO P15s were available as stage monitors, with all power and processing provided by NEXO NUAR Universal Amp Racks and NXAMP4X2Mk2 powered controllers.

“O ur technical team used the NEXO STM system, which delivered impressive sound quality,” commented Sybel Sound Engineer, Yassine Jlassi.

“Artists, musicians and festivalgoers were delighted by the clarity, the quality and power of sound that covered the theatre whose capacity can reach 3,500 spectators.

Photo: Sybel Event Company

NEXO impresses at Tunisian festival Sound increasesStylistsRobe inventory

The south African rental and production company purchases 24 PAINTE moving lights via DWR Distribution, with more to follow.

Sound Stylists has invested in 24 Robe PAINTE moving lights. The new fixtures join around 300 other Robe luminaires in the Sound Stylists inventory and will be used on a diverse mix of corporate shows and events.

Owner and Founder Kevin Glover explained that the company is in the process of consolidating and rationalising the lighting kit as work has steadily returned after the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking for a compact LED fixture with shutters, and “something bright, reliable and with plenty of features to service indoor venues with a headroom of around 6 or 7 metres” – a size and level that constitutes a lot of the company’s work – PAINTE ticked all the boxes.

“We know from experience that Robe fixtures offer fantastic longevity, great value for

money and ROI,” Glover confirmed, adding that solid backup and after-sales service from DWR Distribution is another deciding factor in his investment decisions. “Not that I am expecting any issue with the Robe kit, but if there is, DWR are on it immediately to help or provide a solution,” he said.

Glover thinks Robe’s personal approach is impressive, commenting that both CEO Josef Valchar and key account manager Harry von den Stemmen have visited SA regularly over the years. “they have made great effort to get to know myself and the team personally, which means a lot.”

DW R’s Duncan Riley commented: “Kevin has been a fantastic and loyal customer over the years and built a great reputation for excellence.

As with everyone, it’s brilliant to see Sound Stylists bouncing back strongly and with plenty of work again.”

Africa 97
Photo: DWR Distribution
Solas 59 TPi Awards 55 TPiMEA Awards IBC Unusual Rigging 15 WICREATIONS 43 YesTech 15









Hybrid infrastructures have never been easier to achieve. As a highly dense IP gateway and processing solution, HorizoN combines the simplicity of SDI with the interoperability of ST 2110 and provides powerful UHD video processing such as SDR/HDR conversion, UDX conversion and color correction. Thanks to a flexible application concept, HorizoN scales with your needs and is an indispensable appliance for any state-of-the-art video infrastructure.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.