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FEBRUARY 2019 • ISSUE 017

BAO FESTIVAL

PRODUCTION VALUES MEET ASIAN CULTURE IN DUBAI FOR EDM SPECTACULAR

GLOBAL CITIZEN • GRUCCI BREAK WORLD RECORDS • WATERWORKS FLOWS IN THE UAE • FORMULA E


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TPMEA

WELCOME... TO TPMEA

Dear Readers, After 3.5 years with TPMEA [and 8 years with TPi!], the time has come for pastures new. This will be my last issue of TPMEA, and so I wanted to personally extend my thanks to everyone who made launching this publication possible, and to those who continue to support it. It’s brilliant to be able to say we’ve become a market leader. Thank you for sharing your stories, achievements and challenges with us - it’s been an education! We’ve had so much guidance and so many welcoming trips to the Middle East and Africa, and the team are excited to carry on and evolve over the coming years. This issue details technical adventures in Johannesburg as Stew attends Global Citizen: Mandela 100, Jacob meets the team behind the incredible Waterworks production and touring hero and Event Safety Alliance Founder, Jim Digby, opens up the magazine this month to discuss his own role as the Formula E After Show Concert Senior Producer. Amidst all of the joy and celebration within the live event production community, it’s also key to acknowledge tragic accidents that sometimes occur. With this in mind, both TPMEA and Gearhouse Group would like to dedicate this edition to Siyabonga Ngondze who sadly lost his life in a rigging accident in South Africa during the build of Global Citizen. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues during this difficult time. And so, I’ll say for one last time, thank you for reading.

www.tpmeamagazine.com | www.tpimagazine.com | www.tpiawards.com

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CONTENTS

CONTENTS MIDDLE EAST 06 - FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST

34 - TECH PROFILE

10 - REGIONAL ROUND-UP

38 - INSIDE LOOK

Jim Digby discusses his work at last year’s Formula E After Show Concert in Saudi Arabia.

The latest news from the Middle East.

16 - ILEA COLUMN

TPMEA speaks to the suppliers from the inaugural Formula E event in Saudi Arabia.

Byrne Equipment Rental’s Patrick Fallon talks Stew through his 25-years in the business and his predictions for the GCC events market.

TPMEA checks in with the new ILEA board members.

AFRICA

18 - TECH FOCUS

42 - REGIONAL ROUND-UP

Fireworks by Grucci CEO, Phil Grucci, looks back at its New Years Eve double world record success.

20 - TECH PROFILE

The latest news stories from the region.

48 - TECH PROFILE

TPMEA speaks to the suppliers of 2019’s largest EDM show, BAO Festival: The Final Frontier.

TPMEA travels to Johannesburg, to witness the continent’s largest ever multi-artist event - Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100.

28 - TECH PROFILE

57 - TECH FOCUS

EDITOR Kel Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail: k.murray@mondiale.co.uk

ASSISTANT EDITOR Stewart Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: s.hume@mondiale.co.uk

STAFF WRITER Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 4768385 Mobile:+44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: j.waite@mondiale.co.uk

COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: h.eakins@mondiale.co.uk

SALES EXECUTIVE Lauren Dyson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)741 5773 639 e-mail: l.dyson@mondiale.co.uk

SALES EXECUTIVE Lyndsey Hopwood Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)780 005 57094 e-mail: l.hopwood@mondiale.co.uk

ACCOUNTS Lynette Levi / Sarah Miller: ar@mondiale.co.uk

DIGITAL EDITORIAL ASSISTANT James Robertson

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: j.gawne@mondiale.co.uk

GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: d.seaton@mondiale.co.uk Zoe Willcox: z.willcox@mondiale.co.uk

Jacob meets the Waterworks crew that aims to bring classical music to a new generation.

MONDIALE GROUP CHAIRMAN Damian Walsh

www.tpmeamagazine.com www.tpmeaawards.com www.tpimagazine.com www.tpiawards.com

Harmony Entertainment’s Tsholanang Montsho discusses a DiGiCo S31 investment.

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BAO Festival: The Final Frontier by Protec. PRINTED BY Buxton Press • www.buxpress.co.uk @tpmea_magazine facebook.com/TPMEA_Magazine @tpmea linkedin.com/company/tpmea

VIDEO SOLUTIONS

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FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST

JIM DIGBY, FORMULA E AFTER SHOW CONCERT SENIOR PRODUCER AFTER A CAREER TOURING THE WORLD WITH ROCK BANDS, AMERICAN PRODUCTION VETERAN, JIM DIGBY, HAS SET HIS SIGHTS ON SOME SPECIAL PROJECTS. RECENTLY, HE UNDERTOOK THE FORMULA E AFTER SHOW CONCERT AS THE EVENT’S SENIOR PRODUCER & SHOW DIRECTOR. HE TELLS TPMEA ABOUT THE SAUDI ARABIAN PRODUCTION...

I was requested to take on the Show Director / Senior Producer role of the Formula E After Show Concert by colleagues in the region. Previously, I’d been in the area with some of the artists I’ve worked with over the years; coincidentally one occasion was with Linkin Park at the Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi. The experiences on each of those occasions were very positive and demonstrated an overwhelming ability to succeed that permeates the region. For the Formula E project in Saudi Arabia, the entire event came about in a significantly compressed timeline. The first contact relating to the music event with Formula E was a mere 80 days from the first performance. Initially defined as a three-day festival with some of the world’s foremost bands, it was an enormous undertaking. Fortunately, the Saudi stakeholders were aware of the challenges of the compressed timeline and empowered a fullcourt-press to succeed, and were prepared to move mountains to ensure success. Complete cooperation along the way with the full weight of the stakeholders was required and delivered to clear any obstructions to the processes. Early on, we collated the technical riders of the known committed artists at the time and began to design around their needs. With the help of Earlybird Visual we were able to homogenise the production requests into a festival rig that would satisfy the needs of the artists. The greatest challenge with this project was the short delivery window; fortunately, everyone tasked with delivering the project was ‘in for the win’ and worked to meet the challenge from the very first moment, keeping in mind the actual ‘go’ orders to move equipment to the site came with less than 30 days to go! There was an undeniable driving attitude of ‘we can do this’ as the deadlines loomed, which played a huge part of creating the success, thankfully the spirit of collaboration and cooperation prevailed keeping us from losing ground. As obstacles arose, we acknowledged openly and positively the enormity of the demands and took measures to address concerns immediately and aggressively. Long before we got the actual commitment, time was invested in face-to-face meetings with each of the regional vendors to discover concerns that might possibly impact the ability to succeed and the daily shrinking window of time. To our great advantage, the supply chain was made up of many of the known and

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THE CLEAR CHOICE


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FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST

successful providers in the region including: Show Makers as the Show Direction team, TESS for health and safety, PRG Gearhouse’s for lights, IMAG and LED, EFM’s freighting expertise, Delta Sound for audio, Grucci’s brilliant fireworks, Showsec for event security, Matrix Laser as SFX and laser supplier, ME I for backline, SSE Audio Group (out of the UK) for the artist’s audio rider, Gulf Crewing for labour, Blink for the race site activation, AES for staging, FAB for hospitality coordination, power suppliers Aggreko and

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Earlybird for visuals. Considering the scope and scale of the event, the regional challenges, the artist coordination and the short time to delivery it was an incredible team achievement with very few significant errors, that credit goes to the spirit of success that permeated all of the teams who came to win. For me personally, confidence in the local supply chain was as high as it would be in the United States or anywhere else in the world - it’s clear that the major providers have matured

well in the Saudi region and are ready for any undertaking. Early and important steps were made prior to any commitments preparing for the possibility of the event and many of those plans were executed exactly as forecast. It’s also essential to give high accolades to the Formula E leadership team, they were incredible hosts, transparent and very much a catalyst of the ‘winning ethos’. Photos: AES and TPMEA


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REGIONAL ROUND UP

CT SHINES BRIGHT ON THE OLDEST BUILDING IN ABU DHABI QASR AL HOSN REOPENS ITS DOORS AS A MUSEUM TO THE PUBLIC, SHOWCASING THE DEVELOPMENT FROM A COMMUNITY RELIANT ON FISHING AND PEARLING TO THE MODERN ABU DHABI.

Creative Technology Middle East (CTME) was on hand to deliver 9,750sqm of projection for the historical event on behalf of our client People. The Qasr Al Hosn Inauguration was opened by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces on the 5 December 2018. The large projection show featured content supplied by Fly Studio, showcasing the UAE’s heritage and the history of Qasr Al Hosn Fort. The content was delivered across three buildings, the Musalla, the Cultural Foundation and the Qasr Al Hosn Fort. The projection covered such a large area of the event that the only way for the audience to follow the full story was from the central revolving grandstand which slowly rotated as the show progressed across the large site. CTME used 34 Panasonic 31K laser projectors and 46 Panasonic 21K Projectors installed into 20 bespoke towers strategically placed to cover all three main aspects of the projection areas. CTME’s Senior Project Manager Dan Hughes

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stated: “We use Panasonic projectors due to their reliability, brightness, optics and are a perfect product for the job in hand.” Prior to the event, all three projection areas were laser scanned, and an accurate 3D model was prepared for both content pre-visualisation and creation. The 3D model of 1,200,000 vertices and UV maps was shared between the creative department and CTME for content creation and mapping. Senior Project Engineer Alem Dzinic added: “Having an accurate 3D model and disguise servers, meant we were able to deal with any changes quickly and continue with the projector line up to meet the clients schedule and timelines.” CTME used its internal Octopus application to control switching of backup feeds on the matrix. Hughes explained: “Octopus is an application created internally by our team within the CT group for the purpose of controlling other pieces of hardware by network commands. It was a great tool to have on hand to manage the failover switch.” To ensure system operation was in sync,

CTME used Riedel Compact Pro equipment for distribution of sync and timecode to all media servers. Compact Pro units were also used for signal distribution of six robo cameras in place for a rough projector line up. In addition to Riedel units, CTME provided a large number of fibre network switches across site for the purpose of content sharing, control of the robo cameras and projector control. To achieve the high brightness stipulation CTME provided multiple projector channels in double and triple stack configuration. Each projector in the configuration received main and redundant signal feed resulting in a total of 180 unique video signal feeds. The event was broadcast live across local television stations and the Qasr Al Hosn YouTube page where thousands of people tuned it to watch the historical event take place. Hughes went on to state: “Everyone came together to pull off this fantastic event, it was a great success and real pleasure to have been part of it.” www.ct-group.com


REGIONAL ROUND UP

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DELTA SOUND OPENING DOORS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION DUBAI-BASED AUDIO SPECIALIST DELTA SOUND WELCOMES ATOUSSA ZAMANI AND ISMAT ASSAFIRI TO ITS SOUND ENGINEER INTERN PROGRAMME, WHICH FACILITATES ENGAGEMENT BY DELTA’S HIGHLY EXPERIENCED TEAM OF EXPERTS AND SHARING OF VALUABLE INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE DURING THE UAE’S BUSY EVENT SEASON.

Having a profound passion for your industry and being able to follow your dream career should be possible for everyone, and it’s the embodiment and culture of the senior team at Delta Sound. “We believe you should not only love what you do, but do it to the highest possible standard, and the principal way that you achieve that is to learn from the best in the business,” said Delta Sound MD Andy Jackson. “This is such an important gate-way to a competitive industry and if we can identify ardent students who fit the mould, then we will always have an open door for interns to develop their skills and launch their careers. “It’s so important to give back, and help foster new starters, it provides them with an unrivalled opportunity and it also ensures that not only our knowledge is passed on, but also our integrity, work ethic and dedication is ingrained into these young woman and men. It’s a wonderful legacy to provide,” said Jackson. “Normally students have to do a two-week internship of around 80 hours, but I chose to do a six-month internship with Delta Sound I also

started one trimester earlier than everyone else,” said Atoussa Zamani, one of Delta’s latest interns. A student at the SAE Institute in Dubai, Zamani has made it her mission to bring her skills level up to the highest standards and she sees her opportunities at Delta Sound as a way of making them a reality. “What I am most interested to excel at is to become a professional live front of house mixing engineer. I need job satisfaction and I am all for working hard to reach big goals, so for me, I believe it is very fulfilling. A journey of hard work that starts in the warehouse and ends in front of a cheering crowd of some sort,” Of course, not all interns are students, Ismat Assafiri is currently employed as a Lighting and Video Engineer with VenueTech. “I’ve had experience in permanent installation projects within the lighting and video fields. “My interest in acoustics and the physical elements of sound space have made me focus on ease calculation and acoustic simulation on a theoretical level, although I lack the on-site experience that is, in my opinion, the most valuable knowledge to fully understand

sound in any element and be able to become a professional,” said Assafiri. Assafiri is looking to compliment his lighting and video skills. “My aim is to able to fully grasp a working audio system it’s integration, and the various methodologies to run any live or installed projects by gaining experience and knowledge about audio solutions for every unique application.” Throughout the program interns are given tasks that suit their skill set. Delta provides them with a spectrum of diverse projects with a variety of audio system configurations and event communications networks across multiple locations. If you are serious about your professional future and you are willing to work towards it, this is the place to be. No one else’s future depends on yours and they don’t know you exist or what you are capable of, until you show up and show them; so, it is solely your job to grab this opportunity and turn it into a life changing one, internships are a blessing to any student with the right attitude. www.deltasound.ae

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REGIONAL ROUND UP

DUBAI FITNESS CHALLENGE 2018 The culmination program of the highlycelebrated Dubai Fitness Challenge was an engaging and enthralling experience for guests and spectators alike. Burj Park was filled with exciting sports activities like cricket, football, cycling and group exercise training classes too. Open for kids, adults, and the whole family, the atmosphere was vibrant, active, and full of positivity-encouraging a healthier Dubai lifestyle. From eight towering trusses of 4m high T truss / totem, Meyer Sound Leo-M large format line array speaker, Meyer Sound 100-LFC high

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power subwoofer, L-Acoustics Syva, the vivacity of the event was demonstrated all through-out. Complementing the high-energy atmosphere it brings, are the Martin by Harman MAC Viper Performance Moving Head Spot, Cyclops Zoom 19 LED Moving Head Wash, and the Martin Atomic 3000 Strobe Lights, among others. One of the massive features on-site was the VR (Virtual Reality) Zone which was highlighted by Claypaky Alpha SPOT HPE 1200 Moving Head, GTD 330 Beam Spotlight, and the static LED lights which gave a prominent neon-tech vibe on-grounds.

With the Dubai Sports Council’s commitment to deliver and improve sports in Dubai through cultivation of talents, creation of an inclusive fit and healthy environment to create a high level of impact in the society. Organised by HQWS, the Dubai Fitness Challenge was a flagship initiative of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. www.slspro.net


REGIONAL ROUND UP

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MATRIX LASER AT NATIONAL DAY 2018 MATRIX LASER EXTENDS ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH THE UAE NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS.

At the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, the company installed and projected lasers from the building. This year was truly special as it marked the 10th year in a row Matrix had been involved with the event, as well as it being the year the UAE celebrated The Year of Zayed in honour of the life of the Founder of the UAE. Additionally, Matrix supported the two-day, much anticipated Emirates Palace fireworks display with a synchronised laser show. In true Emirates Palace fashion, the end result was spectacular, with eight high power lasers projecting from the sea. This year to company, for its second year, projected on the iconic Al Bahr Tower, Abu Dhabi with a bespoke laser show for 7 nights in a row. www.matrix-laser.com

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REGIONAL ROUND UP

SENNHEISER AUDIO SOLUTIONS ELEVATE EXPERIENCE FOR THE DREAM OF FLIGHT SHOW SENNHEISER’S G4 IN-EAR MONITORING SYSTEM POWERS A TEAM OF SKYDIVERS DURING AN IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY AT THE INFLIGHT DUBAI INDOOR.

When some of the world’s best skydivers descended on Dubai for the ‘Dream of Flight’ show, held late last year at the Inflight Dubai indoor skydiving facility, Sennheiser’s evolution wireless G4 In-Ear Monitoring systems ensured that despite the overwhelming sound of wind in the tunnel, they were provided with crystal clear audio, enabling them to perfectly synchronize the ‘aerial gymnastics’ of their routines. Music was central to the hour-long show which comprised of 14 routines and featured a variety of songs from A Million Dreams to popular hits by artists including Lenny Kravitz. Sennheiser provided one transmitter and four receivers of its EW IEM G4 system as well as IE 40 in-ear headphones for each of the performers. The

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skydivers who used these in-ear monitors were most impressed with their performance and appreciated how much they helped coordinate their routines with the music that the audience heard during the show. “It was a new experience and it helped the performers execute their routines as per the flight plan. Also, it was easy for them to put the packs under their jumpsuits and fly,” explained Nadia Adamali who organized and produced the event. She added: “There were of course some concerns given the wind pressure and noise within the tunnel. But Sennheiser’s system did the job very well enabling the performers to hear the music without the encumbrance of any bulky equipment.” www.sennheiser.com


ILEA COLUMN

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INTRODUCING THE NEW ILEA BOARD MEMBERS VP Expo Relations: Peter Anderson Peter moved to Dubai in 2015 and quickly joined ILEA to get more involved in the events industry in the UAE. Prior to that he was based in the UK working as Regional Director for Viceroy Hotels and Dorchester Collection. He currently represents his nine luxury hotels under the Dorchester Collection brand across the GCC. VP of Finance: Stephen Armitage Stephen is the founder and Managing Director of Dubai based outsourced accounting company, UAE Business Solutions. He has accumulated a wealth of experience in finance, internal audit, business process re-engineering, business consultancy and business ownership in a career spanning 29 years. A qualified accountant and internal auditor, Stephen has worked for several global corporations based out of the UK and Australia and has been resident in the UAE for 11 years.

VP Health & Safety: Adrian Peet Adrian moved to the UK from South Africa over a decade ago, joining the events industry, and, by 2010, focusing on event safety. He gained insights in large-scale event infrastructure working on the London 2012 Olympics, before becoming the client lead for Shell - in Malaysia, Nigeria and Japan. As Project Lead for the Rugby World Cup 2015, he developed the health and safety framework for overlay works to the 13 stadiums and 44 team bases, assisting with health and safety management within the Organising Committee’s functional areas. VP Membership: Karishma Hundalini Karishma Hundalani is the Co-Founder and Director of EVENTFAQS Media, India’s largest business media platform for the business events, weddings and live entertainment industry. She has been instrumental in growing the company

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ILEA COLUMN

Peter Anderson; Steve Armitage; Adrian Bell; Karishma Hundalini; Adrian Bell; Emma Clark; Melissa Tenkhi; Ahmed Al Shehhi; Paul Berger; Khalid Alhammadi.

together with its flagship brands, like The WOW Awards, amongst others. Through her experience gained in chronicling and research of the events industry, Karishma lends her expertise to producing and curating content for business conferences, for various clients and platforms.

Having worked in the events industry for over 18 years in the Middle East. Her knowledge has included work with most household names and brands across the UAE, launching nuclear power stations through to building a floating auditorium to open the largest theme park in the Middle East.

Adrian Bell: VP GCC relations Adrian is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Action Impact and has been living and working in the Middle East for over 20 years. His agency is one of the most decorated live experience agencies in the Middle East region and is admired for its creative thinking, talented people and high-standards of delivery working with top global and local brands such as IBM, Expo 2020, Aldar, Google and ENEC. Adrian is also the Founding and PastPresident of the Middle East Chapter and has received a lifetime achievement award at the Middle East event awards for Outstanding Contribution in 2014, Excellence in ILEA Membership Recruitment 2013 and the Robert J Graves Award for Pioneering Spirit in 2013.

Melissa Tenkhi: VP Marketing & Communication: With eight years of hands-on experience in Dubai, Melissa is an astute marketing and communication professional. Graduating from one of the top business school in France, Melissa is also a self-starter with a track record of producing outstanding results throughout her career. She currently works for one of the leading Overlay management Dubai-based company and has been heading the marketing strategy for the past five years.

Emma Clark: VP Knowledge & Education Emma Clark, Action Impact’s Event Director is also the VP of knowledge and education for the International Live Events Association (ILEA), invited back by Paul Berger to serve a second term; an entirely voluntary role, and was the first person in the MENA region to successfully achieve the prestigious and hard-earned Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) qualification.

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Ahmed Al Shehhi: ILEA Board Advisor Ahmed is considered a modern day entrepreneur who identifies opportunities in different verticals and expands them to become leading brands in their own industries. He founded Blink Experience in 2003 and over the past 16 years he has gained invaluable experience in managing and delivering events with prestigious scale. Driven by passion and perseverance, Blink Experience has been recognised at international prestigious awards ceremonies like Gold and Silver at SPIA Asia, and other awards in the Middle East Event Awards. Today Ahmed chairs the board of Directors of

Selayia Investments, the parent company and the driving force of the multiple successful entities such as Blink Experience, Recchi Constructions, Union Information Technology, and Difuzed, where he continues to lead the teams with the same passion & vision Paul Berger: ILEA President Elect Paul has been working in the Middle East and Asia since 1993, starting his career in Dubai with the OMNICOM Group as a lead Account Director on Emirates Airline, Pepsi Cola and General Motors. In 1997, he moved into the sports event management and sports marketing sector by launching the first leisure motor sport tracks in the region; Indoor Karting, Outdoor Karting, and the Dubai Autodrome circuit. In 2006, Pauil began a close relationship with Formula 1, working closely with McLaren and Ferrari on their Middle East partnerships and being involved in the launch of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. After 12 years in the motor sports industry, I acquired a shareholding in one of the Middle East’s leading event industry suppliers, Harlequin Marquees & Event Services. In 2009, he became CEO of Harlequin and subsequently sold the company to the Arena Group. In 2010, Paul was appointed CEO of the Middle East and Asia Division of the Group, launching the company in Singapore and Malaysia. He has subsequently expanded the division to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Korea and now Japan. The division has grown from an AED 20m business in 2009 to over AED 100m by the end of 2018, with over 180 employees. www.ilea-me.com


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TECH FOCUS

FIREWORKS BY GRUCCI’S DOUBLE WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT THE 2018 NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORK DISPLAY AT RAS AL KHAIMAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, WAS BOOSTED BY AMERICAN SPECIAL EFFECTS COMPANY, FIREWORKS BY GRUCCI, BREAKING NOT ONLY ONE, BUT TWO GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS FOR THE ‘LONGEST CHAIN OF FIREWORKS’ AND THE ‘LONGEST STRAIGHT LINE OF FIREWORKS’.

Still riding high on post-project adrenaline, TPMEA spoke to CEO Phil Grucci about the company’s latest world record attempt and to learn a little more about what it takes to achieve such a feat. Taking place on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah, and produced by property management firm, Marjan, Fireworks by Grucci’s special effects team captivated the thousands of visitors with a display that lasted over 13 minutes and featured both the longest chain and the

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longest straight line of fireworks ever attempted. But breaking world records has become somewhat of a family tradition for Fireworks by Grucci. This six-generation family business based in the United States has broken nine records over the years including its latest double triumph, achieved in the closing minutes of 2018. “The first ever record that Grucci broke was by my father in 1979 for ‘the largest shell to ever be shot into the air,’” he began. “Since then, we have had to defend our titles numerous times

and win back the records from other companies.” It was actually in Ras Al Khaimah, the previous New Year, when the CEO had won back his father’s record which had been broken in Japan in 1988. “I wanted to get that one back in his honour which saw us create a shell that was 5ft in diameter and 2,200lbs. This would have only been possible in the location provided to us by Marjan.” For the most recent project, the display covered an impressive 13km with the longest


TECH FOCUS

chain of fireworks coming in at 4.6km displaying 11,284 devices. For each effect, Grucci had to make metallic fixtures to hold each of the products. During the show, several effects were created and achieved including a palm tree look in the sky as well as utilising SKYMAGIC’s squadron of drones to pay homage to the largest mountain in the UAE, Jebel Jais. “For this NYE event, we had staff on the ground, prepping the site in the first week of December,” recalled Grucci. “We needed this long run up time due to the marine elements of the project as we were moving vessels eight miles out into sea as well as the assembly of 14 custom 600mm aerial shells. Then, for the actual performance, our crew numbers went up to 80, to make the final prep for the show. It’s become somewhat of a tradition in recent years for the extended Grucci family to celebrate the holidays in the UAE due to the demand for our services during that time of the year.” This New Year’s event marked the third time the company put on a show in the northern region of the UAE. Grucci recalled when he first visited the Al Marjan Island and immediately saw the opportunity it presented. “It’s the perfect stage for a firework display! Up until being shown the area, we didn’t know the man-made island existed. I remember my first trip there, and as I saw the spiralling landmass, I was reminded of

the project we did at the opening of the Palm back in 2008. It was just a playground for these large-scale events.” Grucci went on to state how each year its New Year Eve performances have become more elaborate. “After the first project in 2016, Marjan came to us and put down the challenge to make the next event bigger,” Grucci explained how this willingness to give his team time to work on the project - as opposed to a more last-minute request - was greatly appreciated. “I’m sure there are many readers of TPMEA that would appreciate a message going out to the wider community that being given enough planning time gives the performance companies suppliers the ability to be creative and think outside the box, and ultimately put on a more creative and unique show. At Grucci, we manufacture a lot of our effects in America so having a longer run-up time to the project was incredibly helpful.” On the topic of freighting, Grucci was quick to complement the work of EFM, which has provided shipping needs over the years. “We also have collaborated with Delta Sound numerous times, including on this latest project,” he added, giving his respects to the audio specialist. Delta’s team last year was headed up by Technical Manager Liam McGrath, with support from Jude Menezes, one of Delta’s up-and-coming

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communications engineers, and Mark Gesmundo, the in-house Radio Technician. “‘We deployed the FM transmission of show audio to the surrounding area, for use in hotels and localised event areas to receive the main show content. We also supplied the wireless firework timecode distribution across 11km as well as site-wide radios, and radio coverage for the show and during the build period,” stated McGrath. “There is nothing quite in the same league as being involved in such spectacular shows such as these, and it is an absolute privilege to be able to work alongside a team such as Grucci, putting together what turned out to be two new Guinness World Records!” With yet another record to the company’s name, there was inevitably a question TPMEA had to ask – does it have any more record attempts in its sights? “There are some very exciting projects on the horizon,” he commented. “But one thing I have been very clear about is not to lose the integrity of a World Record. You can get silly with it and turn it into a bit of a farce. In my mind you should keep the records for those projects that really push engineering and creativity.” So, we’ll keep our ear to the ground – and eyes to the sky – to see what Grucci has in store for its next project. Photos: Fireworks by Grucci. www.grucci.com www.deltalive.com

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TECH PROFILE


TECH PROFILE

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BAO: THE FINAL FRONTIER BILLED AS THE BIGGEST EDM EVENT OF THE YEAR, ENVIE EVENTS WELCOMES SOME OF THE BIGGEST DJ ON THE PLANET FOR TWO DAYS OF PULSATING BASS LINES AND ENDLESS DROPS. TPMEA INVESTIGATES THE AMBITIOUS EVENT.

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When it comes to large-scale EDM events, there are few destinations in the world that do it better then Dubai. When news came through that BAO: The Final Frontier would be the largest dance music event of the year for the region, you know the organisers mean business. Produced by Envie Events and hosted at the Meydan Racecourse, the two-day extravaganza boasted a line up consisting of Afrojack, Don Diablo, NERVO, Alok, R3hab, Salvatore Ganacci Marcus Santoro, Brooks and Dante Klein. The overarching theme of the event was a culmination of Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, all to the tune of some of electronic music’s biggest names. As Envie’s website states: “Bao pays homage to the grandeur of the past by celebrating with the musical heroes of today.” Envie Event Quote. For the project to realise its production capabilities, Envie inducted Protec, Al Laith, Laser FX and Flash Art to make the dream a reality. Protec was called upon by Envie Events to provide full AV support for Bao: The Final Frontier. Having worked with Envie before on Sensation and Unite with Tomorrowland, Protec was delighted to continue this partnership and rise to the challenge. Mel Deighton, Protec’s Project Manager, worked closely with other

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suppliers to make sure the show was delivered beyond expectation and on time. Faced with considerable challenges along the way, he credited his team on delivering under pressure. “Due to the complexity of the production, we were on-site for 11 days in order to set up, two days for the show itself, and a further two full days for load out,” stated Deighton. “It was a challenging build which required cooperation with our staging company, Al Laith. The LED and lighting needed to be rigged intermittently and built into the structure, which took some extra time and careful planning. Unfortunately, we got unlucky with the weather as a thunderstorm hit us a few days before show, which resulted in our timeline being significantly affected. Thankfully, we had ample resources and a committed team to ensure we delivered on time, and as promised.” Michael Clark, Al Laith’s Events Division Manager, discussed the company’s involvement with the event. “We have worked with Envie Events since its inception in the UAE and have been strong partners ever since. We were brought into the BAO project from the beginning. Our main goal was to design a structure bold enough to receive and support the complete ‘scenic set’ that was shipped in from Belgium,

yet be inconspicuous enough to allow the set to be presented in its full glory.” Al Laith’s design incorporated elements that formed part of the set, such as the six vertical steel space truss masts, which became the ship sail masts. It also supplied structures to host the heavily loaded LED and PA supply. In addition Al Laith supplied complete overlay to the event such as fencing, barriers, toilets, offices, picnic benches, VIP platforms, FOH, bars and powered access. “Our build was approximately three weeks and we had an average of 60 crew throughout,” stated Clark. “The ultimate challenge was connecting the scenic elements to the stage structure. Primarily the Dragons head which was a clean two tonnes. A considerable amount of design and engineering went into this.” The Events Division Manager concluded stating: “This was an exciting project to be part of. We hope to see a lot more of this type of creativity being brought into music events increasing spectator experience -it was truly a spectacle!” AUDIO Protec’s Chris McAleese operated audio at FOH and he gave us an insight into what he used to deliver sound that had both the crowd and DJs completely immersed in the moment. The FOH


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audio team utilised an L-Acoustics K1 line array for the sound design which comprised 16 boxes of K1 per side, along with 30 V-DOSC (15 per side), supplemented by boxes of flown K2 under the downfill and Kara for front coverage and on stage, either side of the DJ. For the essential low-end for the high profile DJs, Protec supplied 40 SB28s. McAleese stated: “We chose the L-Acoustics K1 and V-DOSC because of the distance we had to cover and due to the type of venue, which didn’t allow for delays. Coverage was linear throughout the venue and frequency response throughout was smooth.” Working alongside McAleese during the show was Ed Ross, Head of Audio. He gave his thoughts on the system: “Having big hangs of K1 L-R allowed the low end to really carry into the back of the venue,” he stated. “With Chris doing some EQ work and FIR filters in the LA-Network Manager, he was able to get an even frequency response across the whole venue, so it sounded and felt the same everywhere you went in the venue.” McAleese continued: “We used a DiGiCo SD5 desk and Dante networking from FOH into a Focusrite Rednet to breakout the AES 3 signal for the amps on the side of the stage side.” Throughout the two-day event, McAleese handled both FOH and monitor duties bar one artist’s request to have their own engineer. Protec also supplied the in-house DJ decks, a set up that included a DJM900 Nexus 2 and 4 x CDJ2000 Nexus 3 with a cloned set-up on site for a back-up. Also provided was a Shure UR4D+ with UR2/Beta58 handheld microphone enabling

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the acts to interact with the crowd during their performance. VIDEO As is now common-place with most large scale EDM shows, video played an integral role in the stage design for Bao. For the event, Protec deployed a Barco E2 large screen management system linked with Barco S3-4k image processor and EX Event Master Processor to provide the 3 x 4K inputs and outputs which were the split into 10 full HD outputs and distributed over fibre optic cable to 12 Barco HDF W30K projectors (6 in place for back up). There were over 300 panels of 6mm and 9mm LED tiles used with the fibre optic distribution over a Lightware 220 Pro Transmitter and Receiver. “General content for the event was provided by Prismax with most of the headliners coming along with their own VJ,” commented Protec’s Scott Walker. Speaking of the challenges the video department faced, Protec’s Florian Hoss added: “The major challenge we faced was the building of the LED gradually into the set which unfortunately was met with delays due to the rain and high winds. This had a trickle-down effect, which led to a shortened period of time for our setup. But with excellent equipment, a strong team and an impressive amount of processing power, we delivered a large scale show we are proud of.” LIGHTING Producing the lighting design for the production was Ronnie Santegoeds of 4Light ShowProjects.

Protec’s lighting team supplied and installed from its extensive range of Claypaky fixtures - 20 x A.Leda K20 Washes, 7 x A.Leda K10 Washes, 32 x Prima Mythos 2, 31 x Scenius Unico and 20 x Scenius Profiles. From its Robe inventory, the selection was 88 x Robe Robin Pointes. The rig was supplemented with SGM P5 and P2 wash light fixtures, plus over 200 classic PARcan fixtures. Protec also provided the latest full size MA Lighting grandMA3 and a full size grandMA2 lighting consoles. “I chose the Scenius Unico as it has a lot of output, a large lens, nice colour mixing and useful gobos,” explained Santegoeds. “The Mythos is a good multipurpose fixture and is useful as a wash and a beam. The Robe Pointe is the best versatile beam fixture on the market and the K20 is a nice, big LED wash with great zoom and output.” The LD went on to state how the main goals from a design angle were to illuminate the scenic elements and to highlight the dragon that resided in the centre of the stage design. “To solve this matter we used SGM P2 and P5 fixtures to illuminate the ‘house’ (roof and walls) then used the Claypaky Scenius Unicos to highlight the dragon with the Scenius Profiles with gobo projection over the set. The SGM P2 and P5 are nice LED flood lights which are suitable for outdoor use. The choice of the old school PARcans worked nicely as blinders.” In the prep for the show, the 4Light team used Wyg R41 for the design and technical drawings along with the company’s in-house software for datasheets and stickers for fixtures, cabling, dimmers and networking. “For testing


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fixtures we used an Apple iPad running the Fixture Tester App from Bart van Stiphout,” said Santegoeds. “With this app, the iPad streams ACN and the ELC and MA2 Nodes are outputting DMX towards the fixtures” Santegoeds explained that due to the weather, the team experienced a delay, but praised the crew for getting everything done on time. “The Protec team and entire crew were very motivated to get the job completed professionally. Big thumbs up to the entire team for their efforts to ensure the show went ahead on time and looked great!” Protec was proud to be a part of a festival that celebrated the Chinese culture and its relationship with the Middle East. Mel Deighton reflected on the success of the show, and in particular, working with Envie Events. “We were proud to be a part of such an artistic production. The show looked stunning with great visuals, a stunning lighting design, and a worldclass line-up of DJs who were all incredibly positive about the audio package and sharp visuals. “I’d like to particularly congratulate my team on their efforts, long hours and dedication to the event. These professionals are what the Protec reputation is built on. We were delighted to work with Envie Events once again and look forward to supporting their next big festival!” he concluded.

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LASERS Handling the arsenal of laser effects was Technician Oliver Yates of Laser FX. He told TPMEA: “Envie Events wanted us to provide lasers for specific artist riders, especially Martin Garrix, by making sure we used the whole physical structure. Their team specifically asked for lasers in the dragon’s eyes.” Collectively, the rig consisted of 6 x 12w RGB lasers on the sail masts, 2 x 12w RGB lasers for the impactful dragon eyes, 6 x 24w RGYB Phaenons across the downstage edge and within the décor on both stage right and stage left. Additionally, 20 x Starbeams were placed on the entire width of the structure. Further effects comprised 4 x MDG fog machines and 4 x Pro fans at FOH and the pit. Yates continued: “The brief for the clients was to have moments throughout the night in which the lasers in the dragons eyes - the main centre piece of their stage – were really notable. To prepare for this, I met with each DJs’ lighting designer to go through their set list and desired looks, and even made a few custom cues for Afro Jack on site.” To control the laser effects, Yates deployed Pangolin Beyond 4.0 software - as requested by the Martin Garrix team – which was operated on Laser FX’s Pangolin controller. The Starbeams were operated by ChamSys PC wing with ASUS Laptop. He furthered: “Marin Garrix’s LD controlled the lasers via Protec’s MA Lighting

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grandMA2 console which was linked into our Laser distro via his Laptop. One of the main challenges with using the lasers was working around the stage décor and Protec teams to get our lasers safely into in position,” said Yates. For Martin Garrix’s set, the artist requested big some audience-scanning laser moments. To pull off the effects, Yates measured the leasers and kept them below the specific MPE. He added: “I thought the event was great, and the biggest EDM show I’ve worked on to date in Dubai… I hope it continues next year!” PYROTECHNICS Also working within the special effects department was Dan Ivory, Project Manager at Flash Art. “We were first asked to supply the event’s pyrotechnics six months ago, and we began to locate the products which fit the DJs’ show riders. “ The Project Manager explained that this posed some interesting challenges, not only due to restrictions within the UAE, but venue itself poses tight limitations. Throughout the show, Flash Art deployed a selection of 60ft and 200ft Comets and Mines alongside 60 Duration Gerbs and 100 Big Shot Jets. Ivory continued: “A lot of the looks I particularly liked were from Martin Garrix set,” said Ivory. “We were using two positions above and behind the stage, as well as either side of it. We opted not to use the front of the centre stage as the safety distance was too small for this event

so we went to the two wing stages and lifted the effects heights from 30ft up to 60ft.” Ivory gave his final thoughts on the production: “I think it went very well and Envie Events did a great job, I was very pleased to be working with them and hope to do so again the future. I’d like to thank all 22 of my crew for doing such a good job.” Envie’s Event Director, Tessa Sprangemeijer, echoed the sentiment: “A production the scale of BAO requires nothing but the best from all teams and suppliers,” she stated. “Therefore, we’re happy to once again have enlisted Protec who, with their extensive experience in AV Technology in the region, took this project to the next level. The difficulties faced when dealing with stage details of this magnitude, especially during the storms we had to endure, had everyone on their toes, but teamwork, dedication and in-depth knowledge ensured everyone came together and brought forward solutions for every obstacle faced. In the end, this surmounted to a show like never before seen in the region, and we’re very proud of the achievement!” Photos: Protec www.baofestival.com www.envie-events.com www.productiontec.com www.allaith.com www.laserfx.ae www.flashart.com


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WATERWORKS FUSING CONTEMPORARY AND CLASSICAL MUSIC WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART LIGHTING, SOUND DESIGN AND PROJECTION, SUNBEAM PRODUCTIONS AND THE BALTIC SEA PHILHARMONIC EMBARKED ON THEIR FIRST MIDDLE EAST OFFERING, AS TPMEA DISCOVERS…

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Sunbeam Productions took to the Dubai Opera and the Emirates Palace, located in Abu Dhabi, to stage a two-date tour which transported attendees in each region on a journey through the different facets and forms of water; from the dramatic power of the Amazonas in South America to the gentle, soft springs in the North. Tasked with ensuring this unique vision was delivered to the best possible standard was Production Manager, Ricarda-Selina Reichert, of Sunbeam Productions. She took up the story: “The search for suppliers was complicated by long negotiations, which led to many design changes and new budget calculations. In the end, our audio supplier, Delta Sound, was a vendor which was highly recommended to me several times over, and with whom our sound designer had already worked. For our audio needs, it of course made the decision easier. Another advantage was that they knew both the venues.” Led by Project Manager Jaco Saaiman, PRG Gearhouse was also brought on board to supply projection, lighting and rigging across both shows. Reichert continued: “I knew PRG before, from other collaborations, so we already had a certain relationship of trust. Their German team had conducted the negotiations closely with the Middle Eastern team, which made the work a bit easier from my POV. Due to the tight install and

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load out times, it was very important that we had a partner which was available at all times. My expectations were not disappointed.” Saaiman commented: “PRG thoroughly enjoyed working on such a unique show with Sunbeam Productions. The organisation was fantastic, enabling a seamless effort to deliver a unique and spectacular event. The audience reaction to the show was fantastic and our client was very happy. We look forward to working with the production again when it visits this region.” Dubbed by Saaiman as a ‘magazine-style artistic picture story that is designed to immerse the audience’, both of the Middle Eastern venues became the canvas for large-scale projection with lighting and audio creating a multi-sensory experience. Reichert recounted the potentially tricky pre-production process. “My relationship with this project is very special because it was [Creative Director and Baltic Sea Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor] Kristjan Järvi who started this orchestra 10 years ago, with the idea to create an orchestra that is able to adapt to all of the situations the kind of productions ask from musicians these days.” The Baltic Sea Philharmonic comprises a community of musicians from the 10 countries that the Baltic Sea transcends. Reichert articulated: “The Baltic Sea Philharmonic Orchestra has been developed into a group

of excited musicians who are ready to play in new concert formats and are always motivated to make the impossible possible. I have never seen an orchestra that can adapt so flexibly in such a short period of time without losing its motivation and ambition. Each time they perform, they seem to find new places and technical implementations. You can’t rely on the concert being played the same way today as tomorrow because Kristjan Järvi likes to try out new things, and that alone is always a challenge!” she exclaimed. “The orchestra is not only incredibly talented but also very young. They are also part of the stage effects and must not be disturbed. This requires a lot of concentration, but also a willingness to play under these demanding circumstances.” Järvi explained: “Waterworks creates an overall immersion into our shared Baltic Sea cultures, unifying the world from the Baltic Sea into the world’s oceans, rivers, streams and lakes. A spiritual, emotional and musical journey from its own Nordic roots, spreading to the southern parts of our world.” He furthered: “This new approach of having a personal and emotional experience in a concert engages participation, connects to the ‘here and now’ and brings together ideas, people, emotions, cultures, and our own intuitive connection to nature. It shows that the orchestra


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as an ambassador of goodwill among people, where true harmony is achieved through the spiritual power of music. We create a platform for resolving and exploring the frontiers humanity has to offer: a new force for positive change and a sense of longing for a better world.” Sunbeam Productions developed Waterworks in 2017, bringing together a worldclass creative team in Lighting Designer Bertil Mark, Sound Designer Chris Ekers and Projection Designer, Philipp Geist. The team collaborated with the orchestra in real time to reimagine the concert experience, which immerses audiences in a world of sound, light and imagery. Renowned for his creative flare, Järvi expressed his inspiration: “With this show, we are not only communicating the importance of this element, reminding us of the necessity of water as a source of life and making clean water sources available for everyone, but its sustainable element functions as a role model for the possibility to adapt to outer circumstances. Water is capable to adapt and transform into all shapes to find a new way of presenting itself. “Water is capable of adapting and transform into all shapes to find a new way of presenting itself. When I developed Waterworks together with my team at Sunbeam Productions, we all were inspired by Bruce Lee’s mantra: ‘Be soft like

water, be strong like water, no boarders to come... Be like water my friend.’ We want to remind the audience about the necessity of water as a source of life.” Conducted by Järvi and with solo violin performances from Mikhail Simonyan, the music score was accompanied by lighting effects and projection art, taking the audience on a spectacular sensory journey. “There are a lot of productions which make the visual a primary focus without a real focus on music to supplement it. Whereas this is a multimedia production with lighting, projection and an orchestra.” Embarking on the orchestra’s first venture outside of Europe, Järvi reflected on the UAE encounters: “The Dubai and Abu Dhabi venues have been extremely accommodating and are well-equipped. They’re some of the most modern opera houses in terms of technical capacity. “Over the last past few years, Waterworks has become one of the most important productions on the Sunbeam calendar – therefore, I’m really happy that the audience in the Middle East has given us such a great feedback,” said Järvi. Waterworks presented Philip Glass’ Aguas da Amazonia with an orchestral score arranged by Charles Coleman. It offered a dazzling portrayal of the beauty of nature and all the colours of the Amazon River.

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Dubai Opera’s Chief Executive, Jasper Hope, commented: “From a contemporary take on Handel’s Water Music to pieces by the incredibly talented American Composer, Philip Glass, the Waterworks tour is not only inspired by water and its power but has almost literally been making waves around the world in offering audiences an incredible sensory experience for both the ears and the eyes.” The Baltic Philharmonic offered a new experience for music and culture lovers as it pushes the traditional orchestral model to new heights and is fast-becoming a new social movement for the Nordic region which celebrates the relationships between society, culture and the environment. With members from all 10 of the countries which surrounds the Baltic Sea, individuals are all united through their connection to the incredible body of water. Hope concluded: “I’ve been telling everybody that we should rename ourselves the ‘Baltic Sea non-Philharmonic’ because in a way we are everything that a normal orchestra should not be. I draw influence from hip-hop and everything in-between.” LIGHTING Bertil Mark is synonymous within the German live touring circuit through his show and lighting designs and his collaboration with Rammstein,

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Production Manager, Ricarda-Selina Reichert; Projection Designer, Philipp Geist; Lighting Designer, Bertil Mark Creative Director and The Baltic Sea Philharmonic Conductor, Kristjan Järvi.

Helene Fischer (among others) and more recently, Kristjan Järvi. “I started working with Kristjan Järvi over two years ago and it was very spontaneous. Initially, he got in contact because he was curious about the fact that I was a musician who also designs lighting for music. We arranged to meet in Vienna and we jammed to some classical music. Despite being untrained in that field and without any notes, it worked and was a really free and gratifying experience. Philipp also jammed with us, creating a visual atmosphere for the music.” A touring box of tricks, Mark recited his transition into the field of lighting design. “I started early playing drums in a band with my older brother. He began working as an audio engineer for other bands we toured with. I noticed lights were missing during their shows, so I used to manually control the visuals with old school cables and plugs, essentially flicking lights on and off. I remember having six channels and a proper desk at some point. It was while touring with friends that I gained experience working with different gear. It was definitely a learning process. Nowadays, I always try to incorporate

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new technology in my work. “At the very core of my lighting design, I want to illuminate the architectural elements of the hall as much as possible. From my experience designing in the classical and philharmonic venues, it’s beneficial to make it as simple and minimal as possible to achieve my aesthetic goals. Every venue and night are different and interesting. However, for the Middle Eastern shows, I tried to use a lot of lights on the floor and the mid-range towers to light the venue and orchestra spaces. Waterworks is like a new field of combining old structures and routines of touring with new technology. The great thing, and I believe a lot of us forget this, is that in smaller rooms you get more impact with the light.” Mark’s lighting rig included PRG Gearhouse’s brand-new Martin by Harman MAC Viper Performances, Robe BMFL Spots, Claypaky A.leda Wash K20 moving heads, amongst others. “I chose the Claypaky A.leda Wash K20 fixtures because of the animation and the kaleidoscope feature with a little bit of hazer. It’s a great scenic element and displaying it on the roof and wall, in combination with Philip Geist’s projections, it’s

a great colourful fixture to use. While I used the Martin by Harman MAC Viper Performances in a theatrical way with a lot of gobo work and big textures, often during heavily musical parts of the show to pan over to the audience, using the room, while making movements.” When it came to the economy of light, Mark was wary of utilising bright, warm and blinding fixtures by the orchestra, choosing instead, for LED-based lighting instruments. “Dubai Opera is well equipped, they’ve added brand new in-house fixtures to their rig, so it was very easy to work with them and achieve this type of performance. I used small lightbulbs on microphone stands during both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi shows to create a soft, white glow which evokes a lot of emotion from the audience during the epic parts of the soundscape. It’s like a big palette of things and then we start to flow with the music. Over the last two years, there’s been a huge step forward in LED spotlight fixtures and they’re perfect for building a ‘lightroom’ around the orchestra.” Overlooking a traditional lighting desk, Mark instead opted for a PC with MIDI Controllers.


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“It’s like a DJ controller for the lights and I’m only using one page. It’s all on the programmer and it’s all got lots of knobs and faders but they’re all unlabeled. It’s all intuitive. My process involves flowing with the music. Recently, I’ve stopped using the MIDIA feedback, so I’m always aware of what I’m adjusting visually in-order to deliver a show actively, in a stream of consciousness. Philip Geist and I are immersed in the performance together and people feel it, which is why it’s a very passionate and special production. It’s important to make sure no show is the same every night, because of my musical background,

being able to improvise helps my creative flow.” Mark summed up: “Waterworks is like a journey. Kristjan is an entertaining conductor and actively involves the audience, encouraging them to clap and get involved with the show. I’ve found that many of the audience members are overwhelmed and shy to clap in such beautiful spaces. Kristjan’s new way of conducting creates for great moments of immersive classical production. He tries to show younger generations that classical music is trippy, inviting younger generations classical concerts,” he concluded: “Overall, it’s a very beautiful production. The

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great thing about Waterworks is the fact that it’s a compilation of music with different composers and locations. Our primary focus is to bring people together and connect.” PROJECTION Berlin-based artist, Geist, experiments with mediums of video and light installation, photography and painting. For Waterworks, the multimedia creative was tasked with developing site-specific light and video mapping installations during the performance. He recounted: “It’s interesting to utilise a contemporary setup in a

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classical environment with light, projection and music. I really like the idea of bringing music and art into a classical, orchestral concert hall. My objective is to develop a completely new mindset for the audience members, which reflects how we purpose lighting in a classic environment. From pop to rock music, stage design is contemporary but projection in the classical world is something completely new. Utilising the conventions of modern technology also allows us to attract newer generations and bring young people into classical settings.” Mark remarked: “Philipp is a unique artist and he does a lot of analogue work with the projectors. He comes from the world of live mapping so it’s a beautiful skill to purpose the roof in the Middle East shows. Surprisingly, working in the Middle East feels like touring elsewhere in terms of utilising trucks, equipment and the entire space to make it atmospheric. It’s interesting how the audience reacts.” In true DIY style, the projectionist used a handheld camera to gauge visuals and his hands to create shapes through projection. “Everything is live, and I use view cameras to get an input. I get interesting views and detail. Its material which I can integrate into my artistic installation, so you can see the music, the strings of the players and tiny details of Kristjän hands while

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conducting. I turn the visuals into abstract fields and integrate the material through the feed of the camera to give a view of the details and bring a different dynamic. As soon as I hear the music, I sit next to the stage and act on different situations and go further with it, I prefer that workflow because it allows me to react with the lights and creative a difference experience every show.” Geist specified 2 x Panasonic Dz21 20.000 Lumen Video Projectors alongside 4 x Panasonic PT-DZ6710E WUXGA DLP Projectors, controlled via an Apple Mac Pro Computer System, and supplied by PRG Gearhouse. “The Panasonic media projectors allow me to create site specific visuals and movement in the venue. I use 2 x 20k projectors and smaller projectors for the sides to fill the whole concert hall. Different venues require a different setup, so its site specific. Before the show it’s essential to develop and adapt to venue locations with the equipment. I’ve used Panasonic projectors a lot and they’re very reliable.” Projecting onto the grand canvas of classical opera houses provided Geist with a litany of challenges. “Bringing something visual to the architectural elements of the concert hall was often challenging. Traditionally, they’re very dark spaces so it can be tricky. It’s similar to

when I work on projection mapping in outside locations and overcoming the familiar challenges of darkness. My role is all about scouting the locations and overcoming challenges.” Geist praised the tour’s visual supplier. “PRG have been great. I’ve worked with the German operation in Hamburg and Berlin on a number of concerts together. The Dubai operation are very accommodating, helpful and friendly. It was super nice to work with them. I was also taken aback with their enthusiasm and professionalism. Their operators arrived two days before the show at Abu Dhabi to set up and cater the show’s needs, which was amazing.” AUDIO Naturally, when the Middle East tour was conceived, Reichert sought the advice of Ekers, who only had one audio supplier in mind, Dubaibased Delta Sound. “We had to come up with the approach fairly early on, so I contact Delta Sound’s Director of Engineering Al Woods at Delta and as he knew it would be an incredibly busy time, he was onto it and all over the details very quickly.” Ekers explained how the planning for the Emirates Palace show had to factor in the additional Dubai gig. “As the tour was also headed to Dubai Opera (following the Abu Dhabi


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show) where there is scope for the surround sound systems at that venue, Emirate Palace does not have the permanent infrastructure like that. We had to amalgamate the two projects into one, so we weren’t reinventing it all over again.” However, the production came with its fair share of challenges. “With a very tight set up time we were under pressure, but happily, Al has just taken it all on and prepped the venue in advance where possible.” Mark added: “There was a technical problem during the Abu Dhabi show, so Chris lost all of his snapshots and everything he had worked on that day. In the meantime, he had to set up his desk 10 minutes before doors opened. Thankfully, he was able to recover, and it was still incredibly sounding. It was so punk rock despite being in a really high profile, classical environment.” Woods expanded: “The audio was really natural, the effects of the audio, video and lighting elevated the music and overall concept to a different immersive level. I personally really enjoyed the show and thought my old friend Chris did a great job.” Ekers offered insight into the maiden Middle East performance. “Working with Kristjan’s team including Sound Designer Ruben Ferdinand has been a wonderful experience. Ruben uses Ableton Live to playback clips and process audio

on the fly to manipulate it by using various pitch shifting techniques and other effects such as freezing he then plays it back through performance. “Essentially, he is DJ-ing his own orchestra, but what makes the Abu Dhabi show a bit special is that Kristjan has the musicians standing and they are planning to play the whole show by memory, so we have no sheet music on stage,” he continued. “I think the music is really fantastic, so I am excited to hear the whole thing in performance, sound checks and rehearsals are never quite the same thing.” While the musicians achieved Järvi’s aim of playing the entire performance by memory, the audience were immersed into the performance with the audio in the venue comprising of a selection of Delta Sound’s inventory of L-Acoustics boxes, including a PA system comprising Kara for the main hangs and SB18s with X8 front fills for the stage, and a surround sound system made up of a selection of MTD108s and X8s, which were positioned in the roof portals of the auditorium and at the rear sections of the space. The orchestra was mixed by Ekers on a DiGiCo SD7 console with the help of Delta’s extensive stock of high-end microphones. While a Sennheiser 9000 Series Digital Wireless system

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was used to enable string players to roam freely in the orchestra. In Waterworks, Järvi has broken the conventions of contemporary orchestral performances. The Creative Director’s approach of having a personal and emotional experience in a concert engages participation, connects to the here and now, combining the use of ideas, people, emotions, cultures, and human’s intuitive connection to nature. Fundamentally, from its talented crew of creatives onsite to those in the supplier warehouses, Waterworks created a platform for resolving and exploring the frontiers that humanity has to offer: a new force for positive change and a sense of longing for an inclusive world, such is the inclusiveness of water, which connects us all. In this vein, it was perhaps fitting, that the same evening as the Waterworks performance commenced in Abu Dhabi, the area was lashed by a major storm, and the performers claimed they, indeed, ‘made it rain’. Photos: Paul Gärtner, Christian Mai & Fred Pacífico www.deltalive.com www.prg.com/ae/en www.dubaiopera.com www.sunbeamprods.com www.bertilmark.com www.videogeist.de

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REGIONAL OUTLOOK

SAUDI ARABIA FORMULA E HIGHLIGHTS FORMULA ONE’S ENVIRONMENTALLY YOUNGER SIBLING MAKES ITS GCC DEBUT, CALLING ON THE REGION’S LARGEST AND BEST-KNOWN TECHNICAL SUPPLIERS TO PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THE ELECTRIC CAR RACE AND SUBSEQUENT AFTERPARTY AS TPMEA DISCOVERS...

Losberger De Boer’s Senior Sales Manager Middle East, Paul Machin.

LOSBERGER DE BOER Global mega-sporting events specialist, Losberger De Boer, secured the temporary structure build contract for the electric Grand Prix in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The international temporary structures specialist built a 190m-long pit lane building together with second floor hospitality and viewing facilities. The build site located in Ad Diriyah, the historic centre of the Saudi Arabian capital, faced an existing public road that will be closed for qualifiers and race day between 12-15 December 2018. Losberger De Boer was responsible for project managing turnkey delivery of the entire pit lane structure to support this event within a tight 40-day build timeframe together with rapid dismantling immediately following race day. Senior Sales Manager, Paul Machin, of Losberger De Boer Middle East said: “Functionality and delivering an optimal viewing experience are key concerns for the organiser, so in light of this we were pleased to be able to deliver our Emperor and Premier products using ISO 14001 environmentallycertified processes. This ensures the needs of the planet are carefully balanced with delivering optimal race day performance, while providing an

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unrivalled visitor experience for guests. “Critically, our team follows a carefully planned project management process to ensure tight build and dismantling times are met. Since the race track is located in the centre of a busy working city, our team works hard to keep disruption to local residents and businesses to a minimum - this is an area of expertise for Losberger De Boer,” concluded Machin. With close to 700 projects every year, Losberger De Boer also delivers the world’s largest temporary event overlay for the bi-annual Farnborough Airshow in the UK and installs temporary structures annually at the largest global trade fair, Bauma, in Germany. Last year, Losberger De Boer also built the Middle East’s largest temporary exhibition hall, Bay X, at King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia and also built the Baku City Race Circuit event overlay for a major international Grand Prix motor sports racing event in Azerbaijan. Photo: Losberger De Boer www.losbergerdeboer.com


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ADI Event LED specialist, ADI, delivered over 650sqm of stunning modular screens for the Season 5 opener in Ad Diriyah, which not only marked the first E-Prix in the Middle East, but also the first major international sporting and live music event to take place in Saudi Arabia. A variety of 19 high-resolution screens were installed across the purpose-built Ad Diriyah circuit with a range of formats and displays up to 70m in size, which featured trackside, above grandstands and at the Allianz E-Village - along with 18km of circuit level fibre distribution to deliver HD feeds to every screen and the debut of a new custom-made LED podium that will travel to every E-Prix. The international electric street racing championship made its debut in the Middle East with an ambitious staging and screen requirement for the historic occasion, which was held at a UNESCO world heritage site just outside Riyadh. Screens included 2, 70m x 6mm modular displays that were hung from 25m high structures, towering over the main grandstands, while freestanding 33m screen structures faced the crowds to deliver non-stop coverage. At the Allianz E-Village ADI seamlessly integrated LED to amplify brand partners and spectator experience, with 4mm product installed across the front of the Gaming Arena and also creating a super-wide digital backdrop to the Podium staging, in addition to 4, 3mm screens provided for the Emotion Club hospitality suites. The podium itself was a newly manufactured build that features four

steps and full 4mm LED frontage, hosting the winner Antonio Felix de Costa of BMW Andretti Motorsports, alongside second and third place drivers and the Constructors trophy winner. ADI’s Screen Rental Director, Nick Robinson, stated: “The Ad Diriyah E-Prix was by far the most technically and operationally challenging project we’ve delivered for Formula E to date – with just 72 hours to install 650m of LED across a huge venue encompassing a UNESCO World Heritage site – and load-out was achieved in a short 10-hour timeframe. We shipped and airfreighted over 67 tons of kit to Saudi Arabia for the event, designing and delivering a complex range of modular solutions, and employing the assistance of Video Illusions and Showforce UAE to achieve the vision for this momentous live event.” He added: “In 2018 we supplied 8 events and over 3,500m of LED to Formula E globally, and that will grow considerably in 2019 as we provide screens and video distribution to new and existing E-Prix’s around the world during Season five, with January 2019 featuring both the Marrakesh and Santiago de Chile E-Prix’s.” The Ad Diriyah E-Prix took place on the 15 December 2018, with the Marrakesh E-Prix on the 12 January 2019 and the Santiago de Chile E-Prix on the 26 January 2019. Photo: ADI.tv www.adi.tv

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AES AES continued to provide the region’s biggest music events with the best staging and structure solutions, by supplying the after-race concert staging for the ABB FIA Formula E, Riyadh and the Abu Dhabi F1 Yaslam concerts. Running in a similar format to the Abu Dhabi F1 program, the new E-Prix after-race concerts, organised by Live Nation, were held in the Allianz E-Village situated next to the race track. Lucky race fans were treated to some of the best musical acts in the world. The AES team was brought in to provide a stage setup. Supplying the four Leg Classic Stage in KSA has now set the standard for future music festivals in the country. The stage, a favourite for international artists, provided a variety of benefits for the performers, the spectators and the organisers. The wide and flat frontage of the stage is a marketeer’s dream, opportunities to brand the structure are endless As the leading stage and temporary structure supplier in the region, AES used its previous six years of experience providing the AD F1 after race concerts, to provide a spectacular stage setting for the gigs. The stage setup provided artists with a 25m x 15m performance area with steel wings extending the stage to 51m wide. AES Project Manager, Jacques Steyn, discussed how the build went: “It was yet again, another great experience to come back to Riyadh and work on an event such as this. Although I have built many of the music stages over the past six years in the UAE, working on this one, for the first ever Formula E race in KSA, meant there was a little bit of pressure on site. The hype and expectations of the new event meant that; to get it right (which we always do anyway), was as higher priority as ever.” AES work regularly in KSA and strive to ensure all of the labour and materials are available and we can built safely and quickly. Steyn explained: “We were tasked with a seven-day build schedule to complete all structures, including; stage, FOH, VIP platform, towers, crowd control barriers and fencing. The team worked long days and it was a great effort by our excellent staff, as they had just come off another big job we had built three weeks earlier in Riyadh. Spending a month away from homes and families is tough on the crew but the AES family dug in and we got the job done.”

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JJ Trichardt, Managing Director of AES, attended the shows in Riyadh and described the importance of such an event. “From the start, the whole Formula E event has been such an exciting project for us at AES, even before you look at our own scope of work, you just have to consider what is happening here in Saudi,” he stated . Trichardt reflected: “Ad Diriyah, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the vision between the General Sports Authority, along with Formula E, to host such a major festival of racing and music here, has really set the bar high for future large-scale sporting events, live music and entertainment in the Kingdom. “I believe the three-day event was the first-of-its-kind to run in KSA and really shows the social change happening here. Sixteen years in this business, means that I have attended and worked on thousands of shows and concerts across the world. However, the experience I had from the Riyadh race concerts was like no other. To be surrounded by crowds of thousands, people who are just simply loving their involvement of being there. They could have been David Guetta fans or not, it didn’t matter!” he exlaimed. “I realised that this experience, one that I have come accustom to, could be the first time artists, of this global scale, have been received here and it was so special to witness. The expansion of this industry in Saudi is really interesting to see. To be involved and taste the enthusiasm of the Saudi people for these shows is really refreshing and it really makes you feel good about the business we do and why we do it.” JJ also talked about the products AES supplied for the event. “The staging is, of course, the show piece of the show and we are very pleased for how great it looks with the Formula E branding on. However, the shows we supply for, would not happen if other elements of the infrastructure were not in place. We have provided this event with the Mojo Barriers, police barriers and Heras fencing. Although these are smaller products, they are crucial to the running of a safe event, as crowd control is a priority to any event organiser. AES have recognised the demand for these types of items and we have just invested in over 15km of fencing which is available in Saudi and all across the region.” Photo: AES www.aes.ae


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AGGREKO

throughout these downpours.” Nichol reflected on the flourishing Saudi events market. He concluded: “Saudi has had some great events in 2018 and we see that the event industry is growing very quickly. We expect this industry to grow further keeping in line with the Saudi development program released by Mohamed Bin Salman. Aggreko has been in KSA for over 20 years and we are here to support the region with any events and developments that will result from the development plan.” Photo: AES www.aggreko.ae

Aggreko provided generation, secondary power and temperature control solutions for the whole event, including the Formula E element and after race concerts. The team specified 17mW power supplied via 72 generators installed at various locations on site and 18 units of cooling equipment generated 485 TR of cooling. 14 Technical specialist and three Project Managers were flown into The Kingdom from Aggreko global network and 15 local man power staff were appointed specially for the duration of the undertaking. Despite a litany of logistical challenges, the Agrekko team was more than up to the task Martin Nichol, Aggreko Events Manager Middle East, commented: “The challenges we all faced with this event was that it was revolving and growing in size on a daily and weekly basis, it was important from our side to be working very closely with the Blink Experience Production team that we were providing the most cost effective solution in providing power and temperature control and covering all of the requirements of the various vendors and suppliers on this large scale event. Due to this event being the first event of its kind in Saudi Arabia, in regard to both scale and global viewing, there were many challenges that were faced by both the organisers and the suppliers. Changes in the design packs of power and cooling installation required at the different areas in the venue had to be submitted multiple times due to various changes in the demand by the customer, which in effect caused the crew to go back to the technical drawing board and changing the full specifications of the equipment. Nichol added: “With the event being first of its kind, we all faced many challenges, not to mention the weather acting up and the down pour of the rains. Vendors came to the site with different types of connectors which was a challenge to get them up to Aggreko standards to be able to connect to our systems. This was a learning curve for all parties involved. Race day was the largest challenge of the whole project, with the weather not being on our side and with the region experiencing a huge downpour on the morning of the race, our equipment and design ensured that all electrical circuits supplying power to every vendor on site from the garages to the concert site were kept safe. Due to the high standards that AES work to and the requirements from the client, all elements of the site remained powered

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PATRICK FALLON GROUP CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AT BYRNE EQUIPMENT RENTAL TPMEA’S STEW HUME CHECKED IN WITH BYRNE’S GCOO TO TALK ABOUT HIS 25-YEAR HISTORY WITH THE COMPANY AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN THE GCC REGION.

Founded in the early ‘90s, Byrne Equipment Rental has become one of the largest plant and equipment rental companies within the Middle East. With over 20 offices throughout the GCC, the group offers a range of products & services from temporary power, aerial access equipment, modular sanitation facilities and temporary structures for multiple industries. Fallon talked TPMEA through his background, some of the changes he has seen within the events industry and the part which Byrne has played in the development of the Middle East’s events market.

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“I joined Byrne in 1994,” recalled Fallon, “in a business development role. In 1996 I became the General Manager and then the Group GM in 2000. As part of a change of ownership when HSBC private equity acquired the business in 2008, I took on the role of Group Chief Operating Officer, a role I continue in today working alongside a great team of that has grown to be almost 1,500 people across the group.” Over the years, one of the developing sectors for Byrne has been the live events market. The Byrne business has been at the coal face of these developments and has weathered some

of the greatest changes in the industry. “I can remember one of the first trips I made to Dubai in 1992, before officially starting with Byrne. I got to attend a concert held on the lawns of the Dubai Creek golf & Yacht Club which was a really big deal at the time. I remember hearing that this event was not the norm and when it came to live events in the region, there really wasn’t much going on.” Although Byrne’s main interest has always been in the construction and O&G industry amongst others, Fallon explained how the appetite for entertainment in the region has


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““We’re only nine months into the new structure but I’m sure our partners would agree that we have developed a model within the GCC which is very transferable to other regions.” Byrne Equipment Rental, Patrick Fallon.

dramatically affected its business model. “I would say in the UAE specifically it accounts for about 30% of our business,” stated the GCOO. “Since the mid ‘90s onwards, there was a real increase in sports, leisure and entertainment. Especially entering the 2000s when there was a slew of people coming into the market as employment opportunities grew in many areas of business. The growth of the expat community brought higher demand for more entertainment, specifically international touring acts. The growth has been incredible. You just have to look events like the Dubai world cup horse race, the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Dubai Rugby Sevens that have been held in Dubai for many years, but comparing what these events have become today, is truly remarkable.” Fallon said it was not only the growth in the expat community that developed the events industry, but the push from the various emirates in the UAE, too. “They really wanted to be recognised on the world stage. I always take the

example of the F1 in Abu Dhabi. The commitment to build an F1 track from scratch really sent a message to the global market that the UAE could and would compete with other, more established markets.” With the rapid increase in the entertainment industry, Fallon detailed how Byrne has dealt with the demand. “The way the entertainment landscape has grown fits right into our remit. To date there have been few permanent entertainment venues here, so most events take place in temporary locations.” This means the need for temporary infrastructure, power, sanitation and traffic management is one of the greatest demands - all lines which Byrne specialises in. Over the years, the company has worked on a multitude of aspects in the entertainment industry from initial layout and site design to delivering venues which meet the needs of organisers. The company has offered and executed complete turnkey solutions for a

vast array of events including headline shows for artists like Justin Bieber, Guns N’ Roses and Madonna to name but a few. Byrne also provided temporary facilities for major film productions such as Mission Impossible and Star Wars, as well as more recent events such as the Emirates NBD Unity Run and Dubai 30x30 Fitness Challenge. With 2019 already getting off to a busy start, TPMEA asked the GCOO to recount some of his highlights from the previous year. “Although we were not quite as busy in the UAE on the events side of the business last year, we were pleased to see how the Saudi Arabian entertainment market really went into high gear. The scale and size of the events there over the last 12 months have been incredible; with projects such as Formula E, and others with big name acts coming to the country for the first time.” Fallon was surprised by the growth of the Saudi events & entertainment market, yet was happy to say the Byrne team was more than

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prepared to cater for all demands. “Out of our 20 offices and depots in the GCC, seven are located in Saudi Arabia. We have a fleet of over of 10,000 items of rental equipment and a huge team of people, so it was easy to deploy the right team when the region’s events industry really started to boom. “Up until this point, our main focus in Saudi had been oil and gas. With the growth of events we`ve had to change tack a little and invest as we needed to bring in events spec equipment.” Fallon sees no reason for the Saudi entertainment market to slow, and asserts that Byrne is continuing efforts to build its infrastructure in the region. “It really is an exciting development in the region and the GCC as a whole,” he said. “We also have the opening of the new Dubai Arena in the summer. I think this will really change the UAE event market and will mean projects can continue into the hot summer months, extending the events season.” Discussing the various services Byrne

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provides, TPMEA asked about the company’s work with more modern, eco-friendly options for its power solutions. “It’s actually an interesting time for Byrne, as we are about to set out on a tour to launch our new hybrid generator package. This is initially aimed at other sectors of business, but essentially, it’s a solution where we use a unique battery in combination with a conventional engines driven generator to deliver reduced fuel consumption and cost. Another department which has seen massive changes, he adds, is lighting. The company underwent a conversion of some equipment to LED solutions as the need for more sustainable options grew. He furthered: “Most companies in the region are very aware of the need to embrace more sustainable, modern technology. Byrne is ISO 14000 accredited and we are paying very close attention to the ways in which we can reduce our environmental impact.” Last year, Byrne also hit the business headlines, with the announcement in the first quarter that Itqan Investments, owned by Byrne’s

Executive Chairman and CEO, Sheikh Hamad Al Sulaiman, together with Tamar VPower Energy Fund and CITIC Pacific had acquired the Byrne Group. “It’s certainly an exciting time within Byrne as this new ownership opens up more opportunities in the future,” stated Fallon. “We’re only nine months into the new structure but I’m sure our partners would agree that we have developed a model within the GCC which is very transferable to other regions.” And as for right now? “We’re gearing up for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic along with other annual events such as the Dubai Jazz Festival and RedFest,” he enthused. “We also have a very special event in February where His Holiness, the Pope, will visit Abu Dhabi! We are providing everything from traffic management solutions, lighting, sanitation and temporary structures to ensure the event goes smoothly.” Gearing up indeed, as clients don’t come much higher up than that… www.byrnerental.com


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Front: Reon Swart, Bernard Gramann, Greg Pascoe; Back: Michael Wessels, William Fryer, Byron Colquhoun.

CORE PRODUCTIONS GEAR UP CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY LAST YEAR FOR CAPE TOWN BASED RENTAL COMPANY, CORE PRODUCTIONS, TAKING OWNERSHIP OF MA LIGHTING DOT2 XL-F, DOT2 F-WING, A DMX KING PRO1 (WHICH INTEGRATES WITH DOT2 ON PC SOFTWARE), AND A DOZEN LONGMAN FACEPARS.

For the tight-knit group of creative individuals who make up Core Productions, the new equipment will bring peace of mind. “We are always motivated to come up with amazing ideas, sell it to the client, stress on how we will pull it off, and then pull it off… blowing the socks off people,” grinned Bernard Gramann, owner of Core Productions. “That’s why I love my job and need to rely on gear that won’t fail.” Gramann said he decided on the dot2 console and DMX King Pro1 due to the great functionality of the operating system and the after-sales service he will receive from DWR Distribution. “The dot2 also has the Resolume Profile which we often use for effects on shows, and my team is very excited about ‘giving it a go’ as well as triggering the dot2 through our Watchout for different video cues and so forth.”

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MA Lighting’s dot2 XL-F is a compact light controller which has up to 4,096 channels and extensive connectivity options, making it ideal for all applications whether theatre, touring, corporate events, TV or training. The dot2 F-wing offers modular playback expansion to any of the dot2 consoles. The wings are connected plug and play via Ethernet and can be assigned to the correct fader or button location with the console in seconds, providing an additional eight faders and 16 playback buttons with an integrated touchscreen. Adding to its existing stock, Core Productions also purchased an additional 12 Longman Facepars. “These are handy light fixtures that are small and punchy,” commented Schalk Botha from DWR. “They are particularly useful for corporate events, lighting up trussing, backlight, sidelight and even for FOH on small stages!” The

Longman Facepars utilise a 12W RGBW 25 degree LED chip set to produce rich and vibrant colours. “We have a wonderful working relationship with Bernard and his team,” concluded Marlene Riley of DWR. “They have a great reputation in the industry for going the extra mile no matter how big, or small, an event. It’s wonderful seeing how much Core Productions have grown over the past few years and we are honoured to play a part in offering continued support as they grow even further.” Bradley Bruchhausen, based at DWR Distribution Cape Town, delivered the gear and will be presenting training to the operators within the next week. “Core Productions are a great team who take pride in their work. I can’t wait to see what they do with the console,” he said. www.coreproductions.co.za


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MGG COVERS COMIC-CON AFRICA

Tim Timpleton MGG’s Technical Production Manager

Comic-Con Africa, was hosted for the very first time in South Africa at the Kyalami International Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg. MGG was appointed as the main technical supplier for the sold-out event, enjoyed by over 45,000 superheroes, villains and sidekicks. Geeks, gamers and superheroes were spoilt for choice with an enormous exhibition area (just ask any of the visitors what their step count was for the day), and were enthralled by gaming panel discussions, cosplay contests and a chance to rub shoulders with celebrities like Travis Fimmel of Vikings fame. MGG meticulously executed the technical setup for Comic-Con Africa, that included a main stage, four prescreening rooms, two VS gaming areas, kids’ entertainment area, an MTN outdoor stage which included a VIP and screening area, and lastly, audio for both multiple exhibition floors and the food zone. Professional gear was utilised all round, which included Robe and Claypaky lighting fixtures, Prolyte trussing, Absen LED screens, L-Acoustics PA and DiGiCo audio consoles that both amplified and magnified an exhilarating event. “Getting these shows and putting them together really excites me,” said Timothy Templeton, MGG’s Technical Production Manager for Comic-Con Africa. “For me, 80 percent of an event depends on pre-production planning. This is also where you rely on the crew, and we would not have been able to accomplish, what I feel was a professional and seamlessly executed event, without them. The crew are a band of brothers if you will. They have a competition culture which is great to see, and it’s all about team effort.” Not put off by the magnitude of the event,Templeton segmented each location to run independently, the crew of 35 plus knowing

exactly what was required of them, from the four-day set up to running the event. Attention to detail prevented any challenges on site. All equipment was labelled according to the allocated venue areas. Obtaining an extra day for rigging, made things even easier. COMIC-CON MAIN STAGE The main stage seated an audience of a 1000 and carried a tangible air of excitement. This was the popular platform for South African cosplayers to jump in boots, wigs, body paint and all, as they represented characters from cartoons, comics, films, tv series and video games. The main stage area included panel discussions, Q&A sessions and interviews with celebrities in the comic book industry, such as the comic book writers, illustrators and a few international stars like Kevin Sussman from The Big Bang Theory. “We deployed an Absen 2.9mm LED Screen (8m x 3m) which looked really cool,” said Templeton. “We used a DiGiCo SD11 at FOH for audio.” Robe Robin LEDWash 600s and Claypaky Sharpy’s hung off Prolyte V40 truss were used for beam work. Robe LEDBeam 150s were positioned on the stage floor. They are great little fixtures!” PRE-SCREENING ROOMS Absen 2.9mm LED Screens and L-Acoustics audio were used in all four pre-screening rooms. L-Acoustics ARCS Wide and Focus coupled with SB 18m subs were located in the largest of the four pre-screening rooms. L-Acoustics 12XTs coupled with SB 18m subs were placed in the remaining three smaller pre-screening rooms. “The sound reinforcement for those rooms was important, while the visuals had to be high res,” he explained. “While the Absen 2.9mm hit the button I also absolutely loved the L-Acoustics and we were pleased to receive positive feedback from the international guests.”

VS GAMING ARENAS The CSGO and DOTA2 gaming arenas both captivated and mesmerised all spectators, progamers and novices alike. Pro Gamers were pitted against one another in heated battle in enclosed, soundproof booths, while spectators had a view of the game taking place on the ultra hi res Absen 2.9mm screen. “What is interesting about the gaming is that it’s a serious, competitive event and includes panel discussions, commentary during the game and post-match discussions, just as you would see for a regular football game aired on television,” said Templeton. MTN ZONE STAGE The outdoor MTN Zone proved to be a popular venue with MGG erecting its Prolyte Arc Roof for jam-packed entertainment that included live music and SA’s favourite DJs. This zone also consisted of a VIP area, a screening area and hosted exclusive gaming competitions. A Vuepix 12mm LED screen was used for the backdrop of the stage while MA Lighting grandMA2 controlled the lighting aspects of the show. FOOD AND EXPO AREA In addition, MGG had the responsibility for providing the audio solution for both the exhibition and food areas. “One thing that technically stood out for me was the comms solution that we put together for this,” said Templeton. “We covered an area of three floors and over 400m. It was very stressful, but worked brilliantly in the end.” MGG used the Clear Comms FreeSpeak system and integrated it with a wired comms system. “There was an international expectation and scrutiny on the event,” ended Templeton. “Being Comic-Con’s first event on the African continent, there was pressure to meet the global standard.” Photos: Anriette van Wyk www.mgg.co.za

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SPLITBEAM ADD TO ITS PROLYFT STOCK GEARHOUSE SPLITBEAM, THE SOUTH AFRICAN THEATRE EQUIPMENT RENTAL COMPANY INVESTS IN 53 NEW PROLYFT AETOS MOTORS AND THREE AETOS 24 WAY REMOTE CONTROLLERS TO KEEP UP WITH DEMAND OF UPCOMING THEATRE PRODUCTIONS.

Established by Alistair Kilbee and Ofer Lapid in 2010, Gearhouse Splitbeam was set up to provide the best professional gear at the best possible prices to its clients. “We have sent the 53 new Aetos motors, along with 47 of our existing stock – a total of 100 Aetos motors – to the Philippines where they will begin a world tour,” explained Alistair Kilbee, Managing Director. “I will be joining the production in Manila in January 2019 as Technical Director, but will not be touring with the show, only flying in for load in / load outs as required.” Investing in half tonnes and one tonne units, Splitbeam have gone for double brake units. “The double brake is an international safety requirement so we have decided to upgrade our existing stock and purchase all new motors with double brakes so that we are not limited for touring purposes,” he explained. “In order to tour internationally, it is important

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to keep our standards high. The control is the most important part when it comes to operating motors, so it is worth every cent to go for superior quality and reliability. We purchased three Aetos 24 way remote controllers, these are a fantastic addition to our stock as they help to centralise control for the motors which is important when dealing with large quantities of motors.” In addition, Splitbeam have invested in Eilon load cells. “The Eilon load cells are crucial in monitoring your load weights while lifting to ensure an even distribution of weight between motors. The great thing about the wireless Eilon system that we purchased is that the cells can be monitored continuously in real time via an iPad. This particular production has a complex rigging system, so the load cells will help to ensure the safety of the performers and longevity of our Aetos Motors.” Splitbeam have been involved in a number of

international touring productions such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Evita and The Sound of Music to name a few, and the team are very proud to have built up a good reputation in the industry both in South Africa and around the world. “It is not always easy competing with the equipment requirements, fluctuating exchange rate and logistics but these challenges are what we thrive on and we are able to learn and continuously improve our service delivery as a result,” said Kilbee. “Theatre is my passion and lighting is my background, so Splitbeam was originally just a lighting company specializing in Theatre rental. However, we have had to adapt to meet the technical needs of theatre productions and are very pleased to now be able to provide the full package, lighting, audio, AV and rigging as well as technical management services.” www.splitbeam.co.za


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ALLEN & HEATH DELIVERS RECORDING AND BROADCAST SOLUTIONS IN NIGERIA Based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Chicoco Studios is housed in the community gathering space, The Shed, which was built by young residents of the city’s waterfront slums. The studio was designed and installed by the Collaborative Media Advocacy Platform in conjunction with the Chicoco Collective and is home to both recording and radio broadcast spaces. Directed by former BBC Engineer, Ana Bonaldo, with technical mentoring and support from another ex-BBC Engineer Colin Neal, Chicoco Radio is powered by a pair of Allen & Heath XB-14-2 compact broadcast mixers. That Neal said, “were chosen for their incomparable value and versatility. We found no other desk at this price point which features broadcast functions such as TELCO channels with clean feed, talkback and remote starts for playout channels.” While Chicoco Radio was devised to give the residents of Port Harcourt’s waterfront their own voice, the studio and live performance area of The Shed also offered a creative outlet for local singers, DJs and musicians. Both feature A&H digital mixing set-ups, with a Qu-16 model at the heart of the recording set-up and Qu-24 mixer and A&H AR2412 AudioRack for live use.

“The Qu-16 was the first Allen & Heath desk we installed.” Said Neal: “I found it to be really well thought out and I liked the amount of facilities that it offered – the onboard effects, gates and compressors and so on. To get all these things in something so small and portable is impressive. so when it came to needing a second desk for PA use, the Qu-24 was a natural choice. This one is even more impressive, with four separate on-board effects available. The combination of the Qu-24 with the AR2412 digital stagebox and flexible CAT5e snake is great. You just plug it in, turn it on and it works, straight out of the box, no setting up required although – like all these products – customisation is easily possible. We’ve really been delighted with the set-up.” The result of the investment in Port Harcourt’s creative spaces has both an increased

empowerment within the local community and a growing profile further afield. The Chicoco Collective were invited to perform at Felabration -Nigeria’s best-known music festival- in 2017 and were invited back again in 2018. They have been hailed among the hottest new acts in Nigeria by the likes of The Arts Desk’s Peter Culshaw. www.allen-heath.com

LAGOS JUMPS AT TRAINING

Often known as the ‘Giant of Africa’ due to its large population and economy, Nigeria has an estimated 197-million inhabitants, many of whom have a hunger and passion for knowledge not often seen elsewhere in the world. With this in mind, South African based DWR Distribution recently took hands

with Livespot Productions to present a two-day lighting workshop, hosted free of charge in Ikeja, GRA in Lagos. The DWR team included Jannie de Jager and Michael Taylor-Broderick who presented the training, along with Duncan Riley, Kyle Robson and JP de Vernon, who were eager to be part of the adventure. Topics covered included the objectives of stage lighting, controllable properties of light, colour and light theory, setting up and designing a lighting system, reading lighting plots and fault-finding. “I loved the attitude of the attendees,” said Michael Taylor-Broderick. “They came thirsty for knowledge and were deeply invested in the training. I was humbled by their sense of gratitude towards us for the sharing of our

knowledge. There is huge potential in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and I believe the industry, as a whole, have yet to realise what these capabilities are… I believe they are boundless.” The experience was echoed by Jannie de Jager. “There is an incredible desire for information by the people of Nigeria,” he said. “I have never had a workshop with so much involvement and feedback from the trainees. The questions asked were good and extremely relevant to their sitation and at times I had to think a little before answering! This enthusiastic involvement helped to steer the course in a direction that was pertinent to meet their needs.” A distinct bond was formed within the DWR team as they travelled in unison to the Northern Hemisphere. “We had a special energy which went with us and made the trip exciting,” said Jannie. “We were very well accepted and taken care of by the locals.” The team really felt the love as locals asked for selfies, and all parties were appreciative to have spent the time together. www.dwrdistribution.co.za

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SARA INVEST IN ABSEN AND GREEN HIPPO EXPOSING YOUNG INDUSTRY PLAYERS TO THE LATEST TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT, SARA, THE SOUTH AFRICAN ROADIES ASSOCIATION, INVESTS IN AN ABSEN D3V INDOOR / OUTDOOR LED SCREEN CONSISTING OF 150 PANELS AND A GREEN HIPPO KARST+ MEDIA SERVER, TO DRIVE THE CONTENT, FROM LOCAL DISTRIBUTOR DWR DISTRIBUTION.

SARA is a non-profit training organisation based in Newtown, Johannesburg, providing young students with skills in lighting, audio, staging, power, rigging, AV and production. An On-The-Job Training program gives students hands on tutoring both locally and internationally. The investment of a new Absen D3V Indoor / Outdoor screen and Green Hippo Karst+ was funded by the National Lotteries Commission (the NLC). “The equipment is crucial for SARA’s On-The-Job Training,” said Freddie Nyathela, SARA’s founder. “The purpose of purchasing this equipment is not to compete with anybody’s business or with any hire companies. The main focus is for students to have access to hands on training with the latest technical gear. We will also assist some of the SARA graduates who have set up their companies and need gear for an event. They don’t have large budgets and we will loan it to them at a minimal rental fee.” Schalk Botha of DWR said the Absen D3V’s ability to produce a high-resolution screen for both indoor and outdoor applications make it a great choice. “The screen is simple to operate and easy to set-up thanks to its simple slot-and-lock

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mechanisms and maintenance is made easy with the magnetic LED modules and quick release control modules,” said Botha. “Key features include the built-in curving mechanism and the high output white face LEDs, producing 4 000 NITS of output and sporting an IP65 front rating.” DWR presented training to the students and were pleased at their positive response. With a total of three outputs, as well as two ZooKeeper monitor outputs, the Hippotizer Karst+ will drive content and any shows with ease. “The Hippotizer Karst+ is a great choice for SARA because it allows them to gain experience and receive training on a Media Server used by some of the top companies in the Industry,” said Dylan Jones from DWR, who represents the Green Hippo brand. “I’ve known Freddie for a long time, and what he wants to do is try and expose people who would not typically get the opportunity, to work on professional equipment so that when they get to the work environment, they will be able to say, ‘I understand that this is an LED screen, I know what it does and how it works,” said Duncan Riley of DWR. “Freddie has built a bridge where

people with limited resources are trained up and equipped to work in the industry.” Each year SARA recruits 30 students each of which pay a small fee of R500 for the entire year and cover their own transport costs. That said, for many students the year is a sacrifice as they study and still have to continue to support their families at home. “That is why we offer on-jobtraining opportunities, where they work and get paid, helping them to survive,” said Nyathela. And once the year is complete, SARA students don’t struggle to find employment. “The industry know they are different and capable because of the formulae the training is based on, a syllabus comprising 30% theory and 70% practical.” Freddie sees 2019 as the turning point. The SARA premises in Newtown have been paid off, again by the support of National Lotteries Commission, and they have also been allocated funds by the National Department of Arts and Culture to complete much needed renovations. DWR Distribution have made a commitment to present a range of training courses from lighting to audio, fixture service workshops and a list of other topics, to the enthusiastic students. www.sara.co.za


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PLATTELAND, THE NEW HOME TO MUSIC PRODUCTIONS A NEW VENUE BASED IN CENTURION, GAUTENG, DELIVERS AN OUTSTANDING MUSIC PERFORMANCE BY LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS ON A PLATFORM WHEREBY; TECHNOLOGY MEETS A WORLD CLASS STANDARD. The professionally equipped venue in Centurion, Gauteng, includes an L-Acoustics audio system, a DiGiCo S21 digital mixing console, and an impressive all Prolyte 8 x 5m, 4.5m high structure with an eye-catching circular truss that surrounds a screen. Most importantly, it offers a warm and vibrant atmosphere felt by patrons visiting the establishment. “While the venue is new, my partners and I worked on the concept for the past three years, waiting patiently for the perfect site,” explained Marcus Oosthuizen from Platteland. “It took close to a year to secure the right deal and then to build the venue.” The founders had all been involved in nightlife venues at some point of their lives. “We wanted to give the live music industry a boost by opening an internationally equipped venue which, in turn, would bring the best music to our customers and enable them to experience a quality production.” Oosthuizen was referred to DWR Distribution through one of his suppliers, Music Junkies. “Jaco Beukes, Richard Smith and Duncan Riley of DWR guided us with the initial set up,” said Oosthuizen. “We did our research and spoke to many sound companies and audio engineers, and all of them mentioned L-Acoustics. We required a clean sound that would deliver a punch, and without a doubt, that is what the ARCS WiFo have

delivered.” The audio system includes four ARCS Focus and two ARCS Wide. “The quality of the audio is what differentiates us from other venues,” said Oosthuizen. “If you want to be the best, you need to use the best equipment, not to mention the fantastic ongoing support we get from DWR.” For the mixing console, Platteland choose a DiGiCo S21, a cost-effective solution backed up with the DiGiCo power. The compact dual screen design of the S21 provides 10 channel strips per screen allowing the operator instant feedback and control on 20 simultaneous channels. This amount of instantaneous feedback offers total reassurance when mixing large shows, but the newly designed drag, swipe and drop channel layout system makes it simple for operators to move channels and busses across the surface to design their own custom fader layouts. The beauty of having two screens is that it not only gives you more channels to view at any one time, but it allows you to utilise one as a setup or master screen, while still operating with the other. You are always looking in the same location, whatever function you have highlighted. “Due to the design of the venue we were not able to hang anything from the beams in the ceiling, and we had a fair amount of gear that needed to be suspended,” explained Jaco Beukes from DWR, who managed the project. Platteland’s stage has an 8 x 5m, 4.5m high, H40

Prolyte structure that overshadows the entire stage with a circle truss flown on the back of the main structure and six totems with lights and TV displays on them. “We needed a clean and professional look that would also be safe and secure and future proofed so that we can add sound, AV or more lights with ease of mind to the structure. Prolyte delivered on the spec,” said Oosthuizen. Starting a new venue requires dedication, and the Platteland brand aims to attract fans and artists alike. “We have an amazing internal marketing team,” said Oosthuizen. “And by offering artists the best possible platform in regards to audio and the production as a whole, we find that bands are loving the opportunity as much as we are enjoying them on our stage.” In the short time of its existence, Platteland has attracted artists such as Robbie Wessels, Brian McFadden (ex-Westlife), Francois Van Coke, Jo Black, Blood Brothers and Jack Parow, to mention a few. DWR’s Beukes added: “It’s clear that the Platteland team have put much thought into their establishment, without doubt making a permanent impact on the local music scene. They have invested in quality gear and quality personnel. We wish them every success for the future and would like to thank them for the opportunity and for their support.” www.platteland.live

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GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL: MANDELA 100 BILLED AS THE LARGEST MULTI-ARTIST PRODUCTION EVER TO BE ATTEMPTED ON THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA, TPMEA GLADLY ACCEPTED THE INVITE FROM GEARHOUSE SOUTH AFRICA TO WITNESS THE GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVITIES FIRST HAND. TPMEA’S STEW HUME REPORTS…

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In the last few weeks of 2018, South Africa’s live events industry was abuzz. From religious productions to appearances by classic rock stars, the region hosted live entertainment in abundance, yet it was one-day festival, Global Citizen, which really put SA on the technical production map in 2018. Quite literally a global affair - with 2018 seeing London, New York and Vancouver host the brand before it landed in Johannesburg on 2 December - Africa’s biggest ever multi-artist event, orchestrated by the international charity organisation, was the gig everyone was anticipating. With the biggest names in pop music on the bill, it’s not hard to see why. The festival rolled into town with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Pharrell Williams, Usher and [Coldplay’s] Chris Martin taking the stage. As the sun set on the festivities, world-dominating musical power couple, Beyoncé and JAY-Z, closed the epic day to rapture. During the day, some of Africa’s biggest artists also trod the boards including Cassper Nyovest, D’banj and Sho Madjozi, to name but a few. What, you may ask, could bring such an ensemble cast together? The answer; a collective mission to call on world leaders to defeat extreme poverty and to stand in solidarity with those still living in unimaginable conditions.

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The event also paid homage to the late Nelson Mandela, celebrating his centenary year. Throughout the day, in between musical acts, world leaders spoke to the crowds and educated both the live audience and the millions watching the live stream broadcast about charity incentives designed to tackle poverty. With the support of various organisations, governments, activists, and artists, by the end of the night, Global Citizen had achieved 57 commitments - worth a total of $7.1 billion/R100 billion - to change the lives of 137,368, 628 people for the better. Hosted at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Global Citizen: Mandela 100, opened its doors to more than 60,000 attendees completely free of charge. “You can’t buy your way into a Global Citizen show,” stated David Beame, Global Citizen’s Vice President of Events and Experiences, as he spoke to TPMEA prior to the event. “Taking action is our only currency.” The ‘action’ Beame refer to take the form of sending out digital messages to highlight issues faced by those living on less than USD $1.90 a day. From tweets to signing petitions, the hope was – and still is – to further raise awareness regarding the plight of different people around the globe and drive action to end extreme poverty by 2030. After taking millions of ‘actions’, hopeful ‘citizens’

were able to enter into a draw to be one of the lucky 60,000. “The first festival we held was back in 2012 on the Great Lawn in New York’s Central Park,” said Beame. “That event had an amazing line up with Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Band of Horses and K’Naan. It was actually Dave Grohl who pushed us to host the venue on the Great Lawn. Naively, we agreed, thinking, ‘how hard could it be?’” Although he is now able to look back fondly on that first event, Beame admitted it was a challenge which really set a precedent for future Global Citizen events. “We had this South African event on our minds for some time,” explained Beame. “Over the years we have worked closely with the House of Mandela, specifically Kweku Mandela Amuah, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, who is a big supporter of Global Citizen. We knew the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth was coming up in 2018 and we wanted to do something special for the region.” PUTTING THE PIECES IN PLACE Before getting anything off the ground, Global Citizen contacted Big Concerts. “In short, Global Citizen has a year round partnership with Live Nation. In fact, Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s Chief Executive Officer and President, is on our


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Gearhouse’s Branch Operations Manager, Stuart Andrews; Showcom’s Managing Director, Nickolas Chapman; Peter Abrahamse, Lighting Crew Chief; System Technican Jonathan Green; Graeme Baker from LEDVision; Pieter Joubert, Managing Director of SDS.

board,” explained Beame, outlining the origins of the event. “South Africa is a new region for Live Nation so we spoke very early on to get an idea of who and what resources were already here in the region.” Big Concerts’ Justin Van Wyk, Chief Executive Officer for the company, joined the conversation: “Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of Global Citizen before they got in touch,” began Van Wyk. “We get approached all the time – and I mean all the time – about doing benefit concerts, so we weren’t immediately convinced it would even happen. Fast-forward 12 months later, and we were helping them organise the largest multiartist event ever seen on the continent.” There were two major challenges facing Global Citizen: Mandela 100. The first was scale. This was a far greater undertaking than the standard one-day festival, with Beyoncé and JAY-Z’s crew bringing in the infrastructure for the OTR II tour with them. The second was schedule. Other events preceding Global Citizen: Mandela 100 during the week before included the Motsepe Foundation National Day of Prayer which saw over 100,000 attendees descend on

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the stadium and Guns N’ Roses who were in town for a show just four days prior to the festival. This packed diary required an incredibly detailed plan so that all three productions (four, if you include the addition of the OTR II tour) could work around each other. The dedicated work from technical provider Gearhouse Group, crewing company Mushroom Productions and staging giant Stageco - along with the international suppliers including Stufish Entertainment Architects and PRG - also played a huge part in pulling off this ground-breaking production. “It couldn’t have been a more complex event,” stated Beame. “We were attempting to put on the largest production the local market has ever seen which required a great deal of set up and rehearsal time, all while working around two other large events in the same venue. Credit really has to go to both Gearhouse and Mushroom; both teams were up for the challenge and embraced it. I believe this show will really put the country on the map for being able to handle this level of event.” Van Wyk echoed this statement. “At the end

of the day, South Africa is a long haul destination and it’s a challenge for acts to come over here with their full touring rig. Over the years, our local industry has had to step up and invest in equipment to attract these big name tours.” SET THE STAGE The line-up kicking off the advocacy campaigning was announced in the summer and the Beyoncé and JAY-Z performance caused quite a stir. “Obviously both of them are incredibly popular across the globe, but here in South Africa, they are massive,” stated Van Wyk, trying to put into context quite how big a deal it was to see the duo perform together for the first time on a South African stage. Early on in the discussions, Stufish Entertainment Architects were brought in to help design the staging for the event. Speaking on behalf of Stufish on site at the FNB Stadium was Ric Lipson. “We were first brought into the picture partly because of our experience with the OTR II World tour which we designed,” began Lipson. “With this being the headline act of the show, Global Citizen thought it made sense to


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bring us in to design the rest of the look of the festival to avoid any conflicting interest.” This effectively meant Stufish had to find a way of combining the best bits of OTR II and replicating them in the region as well as it being able to be built during festival. This involved some innovative switching of video screens. “The main element of the OTR II tour is the massive video screen which opens and closes to reveal a giant gridded performer wall.” Not wanting to spoil the surprise and give away the look of the headline performance, Lipson and the rest of the Stufish team opted to have the large automated wall open up to effectively become large left and right festival screens, flanking the main performance area with an additional screen being flown throughout the day down stage, obscuring the performer wall from view. “This meant we had to re-engineer the Stageco roof system so as to hang two LED screens,” explained Lipson. Then, during Cassper Nyovest’s set, which preceded the Beyoncé and Jay-Z set, along with several special guest speakers - including Oprah Winfrey and President Cyril Ramaphosa - the large LED screens moved to meet each other in the centre while, behind the scenes, the downstage screen was removed. “It was quite the feat of engineering,” said

Lipson, concluding his explanation of the various movements of the stage. “We were also keen to ensure the set design of the main festival was unique,” said Lipson. “If we just had a massive video screen, this show could have been anywhere in the world. We wanted to build a set with its own identity which reflected the host country.” The Stufish team drew on a lot of the iconography associated with the Global Citizen brand, specifically the red circle of the organisation’s logo. “Also, across the bottom of the rear video screen, we had a mesh set piece that replicated the skyline of Johannesburg, paying tribute to our host city.” THE TEAM ON THE GROUND During pre-production, TPMEA caught up with Gearhouse’s Branch Operations Manager, Stuart Andrews just a day before the event. Walking from the production compound to the stadium while the final prep was taking place, Andrews talked through the extent of the Gearhouse Group’s work with the event which saw the collaboration of several of its subsidiary companies - LEDVision, Sets Drapes Screens, Gearhouse South Africa, In2structures, Showcom and Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa Academy -providing everything from audio and lighting to

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video and rigging infrastructure. “The planning went into high gear for us once we found out how much equipment the Beyoncé and JAY-Z production was bringing in and worked out what we would be able to provide.” Andrews went on to describe the trying week in the build up to the show. “Before the day of prayer, we had two days of technical rehearsals for OTR II, then took it all out for the Motsepe event - save the stage, sound system and screens which were used for the performance. Then on the Sunday, we had to turn around the venue again for more Global Citizen rehearsals on Monday morning. Then, over the Tuesday night, we loaded out again to prep for Guns N’ Roses on Thursday evening.” During this potentially stressful situation, it should be noted that Andrews was incredibly complimentary of his extended Gearhouse family who made it all possible. Overseeing the staging elements for the festival was Sets Drapes Screens (SDS). Talking TPMEA through the company’s role within the project was Pieter Joubert, Managing Director of SDS. “Our involvement with Global Citizen really began 16 days prior to the show,” he began. “As we were also overseeing Motsepe Foundation National Day of Prayer and Guns N’ Roses, it was an active time for the SDS workshop.” At

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its busiest, Joubert explained that the SDS HQ was open 24 hours a day, with the staff working rotational 12 hour shifts. “The only reason we were able to achieve what we did came down to the dedication of our team!” enthused the MD. For their performance, the OTR production brought the entire infrastructure for their set elements with SDS providing the Global Citizen stage along with the skins for the Beyoncé and JAY-Z runway. “The OTR thrusts have various automated lifts which they brought into South Africa. We then provided over 700 pieces of plywood to skin the stage which we treated with a non-slip paint.” Working alongside Joubert for the project were six permanent carpenters alongside an army of 40 stagehands. AUDIO System Technician Jonathan Green guided TPMEA through the finer points of the event’s audio set up. Standing at FOH, Green started by addressing the abundance of DiGiCo consoles which gave the backdrop to our conversation. “Well, there are certainly a lot of them!” joked Green. “A total of 10, by my last count.” Gearhouse provided three desks: an SD7 at

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FOH, an SD5 at the monitor position and an SD10 for running formalities including the speeches which took place between each act, and for host, Trevor Noah’s, microphone mix. “Yet we had both Ed Sheeran and the OTR II productions bringing in their own control package,” stated Green. “Sheeran’s team brought their own monitor and FOH consoles whereas Beyoncé’s team have brought five – yes five! - SD7s!” In total the headline act deployed an SD7 at FOH with the remaining four being split up into two pairings – one set for the musicians and singers and the others for the dancers. L-Acoustics was the system of choice with an excess of 300 boxes being used across the stadium. “The main hang consisted of 48 x K1 and 20 x K2 with a three-hang delay of 12 x V-DOSC and 15 Karas,” said Green. “The rig as a whole was designed for Global Citizen, festival but with the understanding it would also also be used for the Motsepe Foundation National Day of Prayer and Guns N’ Roses. Once it was in, I just needed to reconfigure the boxes for each event.” Gearhouse provided a 15-strong audio team to operate the show. “A lot of the performers are bringing their own audio engineers,” stated

Green, who was also stepping in as FOH Engineer for two of the African acts performing that day. VISUALS As with the set design, the lighting rig for the show grew from the demands of the OTR II tour. Peter Abrahamse, Lighting Crew Chief, said the development of the rig was a “tricky project”, reminiscing on the past few months. “Gearhouse’s Robert Grobler dealt with this contract before handing it over to me. My first port of call was cabling and designing an infrastructure which would work for the week’s events. We had very little time to change between the National Day of Prayer, Guns N’ Roses and Global Citizen, not to mention all the rehearsals in the interim.” The solution was to have a very modular lighting rig which would allow the Global Citizen set to be taken down as a whole and stored in the tunnel entrance while loading in the Guns N’ Rose rig. Then, once the American rock band’s performance was over, the Global Citizen lighting set up could be rolled out and re-rigged. “The load-ins and outs have been tough but, that said, this setup was much easier then stripping down a whole rig and starting


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from scratch,” stated Abrahamse. The LCC recalled what it had been like working with such high calibre acts. “It can be quite intimidating when you receive these international riders as they send over fixtures or brands that you, as a rental house, simply don’t stock. However, all the touring teams have been really receptive to our alternatives. We did a lot of research when the original rider list came through, looking through endless tech specs to find the best alternatives.” The rig consisted of a whole host of Robe fixtures including 48 x Robin BMFL Blades, 24 x Robin BMFL Spots, 20 x ColorWash 2500, 64 x Robin MegaPointes, 100 x Robin Pointes and 40 x Robin LEDBeam 150s. Also on the rig was 48 x Martin by Harman MAC Vipers, 30 x MAC Quantum Washes, 36 x MAC 2000 Washes, 60 x GLP impression X4 Bar 20 and 16 Ayrton Ghiblis. “We provided the majority of the rig, with the main exception being the 124 Elation Professional Proteus Hybrids,” commented Abrahamse. These weather-proof fixtures were used downstage of the video wall, as well as the delay towers. “It was also exciting to have the PRG GroundControl Followspot Systems in use for the event,” continued Abrahamse, describing the spotlight system used to manoeuvre the 8 x PRG

Ground Control Long Throw Spots and 11 x Robe Robin BMFL FollowSpots. “A couple of our local guys got to work closely with the OTR II team who gave them a crash course in how to use the system.” Finally, under the lighting tent at FOH, Gearhouse provided a selection of MA Lighting systems for the international and local crews consisting of 5 x MA Lighting grandMA2s Full Size and 6 x grandMA2 Lights. Abrahamse concluded by giving his thoughts on the collaboration. “To have been able to witness the international touring standard has been fantastic,” he enthused. “I was able to bring a lot of youngsters who have not been able to tour up until this point to come and work on the show. All four of the trainees I invited are part of the Kentse Mpahlwa Academy in Gearhouse. It’s been such a great experience for them. All the OTR II crew have been fantastic and took the time to answer our questions.” Abrahamse asserted that educating the next generation of engineers and techs will ensure the live events industry in South Africa continues to thrive. VIDEO Graeme Baker from LEDVision walked TPMEA through the contribution of the video faction of

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the Gearhouse Group. “In short, the main thing LEDVision has done is integrate all the OV as well as the OTR II screens which, during the festival, are the main left and right side screens.” It had certainly been an interesting week for the crew at LEDVision who were handling the Global Citizen project, while simultaneously working on a gig in Durban for Cassper Nyovest titled, #FillUpMosesMabhida. “We stock around 2,700sqm of LED screen in total at LEDVision and, at the moment, there isn’t a single panel left in the warehouse,” laughed Baker. The main left and right screens, which became the OTR II large video surface, consisted of a 9mm screen moving on a Kinesys automation system. For the festival stage the screen comprised ROE Visuals Carbon CB8, the MC7 and the Black Pearl 3mm tiles, as well as ROE Visuals RS1200 LED strips. “The whole video set up is controlled via our Brompton Processor,” explained Baker. “It’s a fantastic system as you don’t have to manually program what output surface you are sending content to because the system works out the pixel pitch of the surface.” For media servers, disguise was utilised across the festival site for content streamed throughout the day, with several of the touring acts - including Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams,

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Kacey Musgraves and, Beyoncé and Jay-Z bringing their own disguise touring set ups. Barco E2 media servers were also used for screen projection. With yet another sound check in progress, Baker and TPMEA walked from the stage to observe some of the final prep. “It’s a great time in the South African events scene but, practically, Global Citizen is a fantastic opportunity for us,” stated Baker. “From the Gearhouse and LEDVision side, the compliments we have received from the international crews have been fantastic. I think many of them didn’t really know what they were coming into and have been pleasantly surprised. But this level of service is what we have really been striving for over the years. Yes, we have the kit but, more importantly, we have the dedicated and hard-working crew. We all talk the same language in this family! Even if we work in different fields, we all have the same goal - to provide the best service possible.” COMMUNICATION As with all festival sites, communication is always of the utmost importance. Leading the RF management team was Showcom’s Managing Director, Nickolas Chapman. “It’s been challenging,” opened Chapman, while recounting the last few days of preparation. “There are around 300 channels of UHF used across the site

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and another 500 outside the stadium so keeping things clean has been interesting. We have a base on site where we are monitoring all wireless frequencies and ensuring everyone using them is approved.” Chapman outlined the procedure they had put in place for visiting artists. “Essentially, we have been speaking to all the crew directly and requesting a list of what they are using and coordinating that on our end to ensure there is no crossover. That’s standard practice, but this event has had a few challenges. First of all is the abundance of broadcasters who are using a large amount of RF. Then there is the stadium itself. It’s not the most RF-friendly environment and has some peculiar reflections.” Finally, the number of heads of state and their security, who also needed clean channels, proved a more unusual consideration for the Global Citizen team. In total Showcom provided a team of seven crew with three managing comms and the remaining four monitoring the RF. In the final days, the ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) were on site aiding Showcom in its efforts. With the stage set and the 60,000 fans quickly filling up the arena, Global Citizen: Mandela 100 was officially underway with some of music’s biggest acts, worlds leaders and artists

all standing up in the name of ending extreme poverty. Throughout TPMEA’s time with the technical crew, everyone had been making comments about the joy of watching a show in South Africa, and as soon as the first act hit the stage, we understood why. The infectious energy of the crowd remained high and peaked with incredible crescendo when Mr and Mrs Carter hit the stage. It was truly a showcase in the level of commitment from the local crew who proved ready and willing to cater for more events of this nature. With Ed Sheeran planning a stadium run of South Africa in 2019, it seems the local live events industry will have plenty more opportunity to show what they are made of. Photos: Stufish Entertainment Architects; Global Citizen, TPMEA www.globalcitizen.org www.bigconcerts.co.za www.stufish.com www.gearhouse.co.za www.prg.com www.showcom.co.za www. ledvision.co.za www.fulwell73.com www.mushroom.co.za www.setsds.com www.in2structures.co.za www.gearhouse-academy.co.za


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HARMONY ENTERTAINMENT TALKS NEW DIGICO INVESTMENT THE STORY OF HARMONY ENTERTAINMENT IS A BEAUTIFUL ONE – A SOUTH AFRICAN BLACK MAN GROWING UP IN A RURAL AREA WHO BECAME A PIANIST, A REGISTERED BUSINESS ACCOUNTANT, THE FOUNDER OF A RENTAL COMPANY AND MOST RECENTLY, THE OWNER OF A DIGICO S31. IT’S THE STORY OF TSHOLANANG MONTSHO WHO SOME YEARS AGO LOOKED OUT OF HIS WINDOW TO SEE RENTAL COMPANY GEARHOUSE SOUTH AFRICA PREPARING FOR EVENTS AT THE UNION BUILDINGS, AND THEIR SOUND TEST ENTICING HIM TO LEAVE HIS APARTMENT TO GO WATCH THE CREW SET UP.

As a student studying accountancy, Montsho lived in an apartment block positioned in Arcadia next to Pretoria’s Union Buildings, the official seat of the South African Government which house the offices of the President of South Africa. “Gearhouse used to do most of the big events taking place there,” he recalled. “Every now and then, they would start stacking gear. I would be one of the first to hear that something was happening, and by the time they did the sound check, I would hear the audio in my flat. I would go down, look at the rig and admire it. At the time they were using the large pieces of gear, –the big blue boxes –

Turbo Sound Flashlight. They would rig them and pump up the sound. It increased my love for audio.” From his apartment, he realised this is what he wanted to do and planned how to start his own company. It was 2006 and with no funds available, he sold his computer for R3,000, and from the gigs he worked on as a pianist, added another R3 000, which was just enough for two tops. “I had no amplifier, no microphones no nothing but two tops!” he admits. “I took them to the flat and I looked at them every day.” His first client was a three-day conference for a church a few months later. Dan Mampone,

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INSIDE LOOK

“We wanted something competitive with at least 48 channels. For live bands, outdoor events, corporates and weddings, the S31 seemed to be the best possible option.” Tsholanang Montsho, Harmony Entertainment

whom Montsho had worked with before in a studio environment, lent him an amp, mixer and one microphone for the event. The church also had a few microphones. “There was so much trial and error on the mixing, I was a pianist, after all, and not an audio engineer.” But having been a keyboard player at the church, Tsholanang knew some of the basics and the conference was a success. He continued, hitting birthday parties, weddings and churches, slowly building his gear and always keeping an eye on what Gearhouse were doing. “I would get a gig, finish on Sunday, derig at 9pm and put all equipment in my flat. The following day I would have to wake up and go to work, drink tea, and balance the books. I still pushed but I knew my time as an accountant was limited.”

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His parents were thrilled when Tsholanang completed his studies over a three-year period but his heart wasn’t in it. In 2010 he started working for Toyota as a financial accountant with a two-year plan in mind – he wanted to raise R200 000, finish his car payments and get married. When Tsholanang unexpectantly lost his job, his rental company Harmony Entertainment received his full attention. Enrolling at the Academy of Sound Engineering, he upped his game to have a clear understanding of audio and the technical set-up thereof. Today, Harmony actively supply the full technical for corporate and live events. Needing a professional audio console, Tsholanang and his freelancing team, Masilo Makgato and Katlego Masogo, decided to invest in a DiGiCo S31,

purchased from DWR Distribution. “We wanted something competitive with at least 48 channels. For live bands, outdoor events, corporates and weddings, the S31 seemed to be the best possible option,” he said. “DiGiCo is a sound changer. My team is excited and this is the right time. The S31 is a versatile console and enables you to do a lot without stressing.” Jaco Beukes from DWR said: “We are very pleased to have Harmony on board as new DiGiCo user, which just takes them to a new level as a technical supplier. The S31 is a good introduction to the DiGiCo range, complimented with an extra screen and fader. Thank you Tsholanang for your valued support.” www.dwrdistribution.co.za www.harmonyent.co.za www.digico.biz


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