Page 1





Hello readers! I’m pleased to report that our last issue of TPMEA met with a great reception, which in turn has seen various members of the team return to the Middle East over the last few months. As this issue is going to print, Ste is gearing up to attend the Yasalam After-Race Concerts at Abu Dhabi’s du Arena and Justin will soon make another visit to Dubai for various meetings. Then, come the new year, myself and Hannah will be taking an Emirates flight to catch up on the latest news and live event stories. Basically; you’re going to be seeing a lot more of us! Amidst the international travels we undertake for our core magazine, it’s been really eye-opening speaking to crews and key decison makers about bringing their teams to the UAE. The general consensus is that people from ‘our world’ have had many a memorable experience in the region, helped along by the generous hospitality and expert technical support they recieve. It’s this environment that allows us, as trade media, to thrive within the industry. Already, we’ve established some relationships that will no doubt flourish further as time goes on (my social diary for January’s visit is looking healthy!) Special thanks must go to Barry Pavic, Managing Director of Envie Events - the masterminds behind Sensation. Our current cover story reveals the technical infastructure and creative design behind the scenes of this dance phenonenon. We also talked to the companies and individuals who worked on Bon Jovi and Take That’s concerts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively. Quite a start to the season! Meanwhile, the African live event scene delivered a truly lovely story. I was lucky enough to speak to Everybody Love Everybody, the team behind Beats In The Bush, about organising an event that solely aims to raise money for charity as people enjoy the music. In the end, isn’t that the experience we all want? |




CONTENTS MIDDLE EAST 06 - FIRST LOOK MIDDLE EAST Setting Up Shop in the Middle East: James Wheelwright of J&C Joel talks about the company’s services in Dubai.




NEWSUBSTANCE, d3 Technologies, Wicked and more feature in our news update.


Sensation: Meydan Racecourse hosts worldwide dance phenomenon.


Bon Jovi: The Abu Dhabi concert season kicks off in style with US rock royalty.




Take That: The UK pop veterans play their first ever Dubai show at the Media City Amphitheatre.


The latest news from Africa including SGM, ETC, and Gearhouse.




Beats in the Bush: TPMEA uncovers ELE’s South African charity fundraiser.


Queen of Flanders: A first look at Madame Zingara’s new home.

EDITOR Kelly Murray Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7738 154689 e-mail:

ASSISTANT EDITOR Ste Durham Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7891 679742 e-mail:

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Stewart Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7712 607419 e-mail:

GENERAL MANAGER - TPi MAGAZINE & AWARDS Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail:

ADVERTISING SALES Charlotte Goodlass Tel: +44 (0)161 476 9126 Mobile: +44 (0)788 0208 226 e-mail:

EVENT MANAGER - TPi AWARDS Mo Naeem Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)775 9272 313 e-mail:



ACCOUNTS Donna Barlow / Sarah Miller:

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Sensation - Meydan Racecourse courtesy of Jorn Baars / Sensation


PRINTED BY Buxton Press • @tpimagazine



SETTING UP SHOP IN THE MIDDLE EAST JAMES WHEELWRIGHT, CEO, J&C JOEL LTD J&C JOEL IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEADING MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS OF FLAME RETARDANT FABRICS, FLOORING, DRAPERY AND STAGE ENGINEERING. TRUSTED GLOBALLY AS A SUPPLIER TO THE EVENT AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, THE CEO REVEALS BUSINESS IS GOOD... Established in 1978 in the UK, J&C Joel founded its business as a supplier of black wool serge, providing the theatrical world with backdrops before progressing to manufacturing drapes. Over the years the business has diversified and now encompasses engineers, flooring, fabrics and drapes and shapes. Today we have a global presence with offices across the world and a highly skilled team. Our export market has always been very strong, we export to over 75 countries worldwide and one of our strongest markets is the Middle East. We have been doing business in the region for over 15 years but after recognising the future potential and identifying ways we can serve our customers better, we opened our JCJ Middle East office in Dubai in 2009, which has allowed us to fulfil the regional needs of our customers much more effectively. One thing that can be said about the market here is that it is fast-paced, and customers want things turned round quickly. We needed to ensure that we could respond rapidly and provide customers with what they need. Frequently we deal with last minute requests so we like to be prepared. Entertainment and events are a big thing in the Middle East and we have worked on some innovative and impressive projects, from working with interior designers, decorating various internal events, theatres, clubs and weddings, to, more recently, theme parks. Festivals, conferences and various awards ceremonies are also becoming significant. Over the years we have supported our customers in achieving their aspirations and have delivered lots of innovative and spectacular events in the UAE. An example of this is where we worked on an engineering project for the club Pascha, where we installed chain tracks and a fourpoint hoist for a show, allowing dancers to perform their acts safely. Another recent project we have just completed was for Evolution, which involved creating cloud-shaped structures, giving the appearance of ‘light and fluffy’ clouds hanging above people’s heads while taking in the views of Dubai’s skyline. We are now in one of the busiest months of the year with the lead up to National Day, celebrating the 44-year union between the Emirates. Our team in the Middle East has gone from strength to strength. We currently now employ 11 highly-skilled professionals in our Dubai office, enabling us to offer our Middle Eastern clients regionally-based expertise. Lynzi Spindley heads up the sales team for the region, with further support from Ben Richardson-Owen, who oversees our projects department.




All images courtesy of J&C Joel.





Dubai Music Week saw eclipse take full advantage of its new warehouse, conducting as much in-house prep as possible to make sure that all time spent on site was about delivering the show. “The biggest logistical challenge was dealing with back-to-back touring parties, who all had limited windows of opportunity for sound check,” commented eclipse’s Technical Project Manager, Duncan Shortt. As there was a show-specific floor package for each artist and a curbed time allowance for sound check, this meant a lot of early starts for the crew since the complete set-up needed to be ready before 3pm each day. The eclipse audio department was poised and ready to handle the event’s large requirement of kit following rapid expansion to the department over the past 18 months, as well as a more recent purchase of a significant amount of high-end audio equipment. The key items for this project included two 96-channel Avid Profiles desks, a large selection


of Professional Wireless RF systems, various compressors and effects units and a 56 channel three way split. Audio control came courtesy of a DiGiCo SD10 and two SD9’s. John Parkhouse, Head of Audio said: “I couldn’t have asked for more out of the crew or the kit, it was delivered impeccably.” This was the first time eclipse’s d&b audiotechnik PA inventory - which the company had built up over 12 months - had been used on a show of this size. Shortt commented: “I think the result really took a few people by surprise.” Joe Harling, Ellie Goluding’s FOH Engineer commented: “I was very impressed with the service that eclipse provided, to be presented with a fully ArrayProcessed J-Series system, running on the new D80 amps was a joy. It is also clear that eclipse has done the sensible thing and invested heavily in all the non-glamorous things like a good quality line system and microphone stands, which is so often what lets us down on these fly-in gigs. John and his team were a pleasure to work with at all

times.” The video team once again supplied a top notch service, providing a range of equipment such as a ROE 9 mm 12 metre by six metre USC Screen, ROE 9 mm 7.2 metre by 3.6 metre IMAGs, and Clear-Com five Way Camera Comms Systems. On the lighting side, the festival required a large selection of versatile equipment for all three contrasting shows such as Clay Paky Sharpys, Martin Professional MAC Vipers, Philips Vari-Lite 3500 Wash FX and Lycian 4k Followspots. Shortt commented: “Addressing all the lighting fixtures as part of the warehouse prep phase turns a big project into what you could essentially describe as little more than a plug-and-play affair. It’s always nice to receive a firm hand shake and sincere thanks from incoming engineers following a show, which happened at both FOH and on stage,” concluded Parkhouse.







UK-BASED SHOW DESIGN STUDIO NEWSUBSTANCE WORKED WITH THE ABU DHABI OFFICE OF LIVE COMMUNICATIONS AGENCY, PEOPLE, TO DESIGN AND DELIVER THE WORLD’S FIRST THEATRICAL DRONE SHOW FOR THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM’S SUMMIT ON GLOBAL AGENDA GALA DINNER HELD IN MUSHRIF CENTRAL PARK, ABU DHABI. The event was produced by People, which approached NEWSUBSTANCE to collaboratively devise, design and deliver an exciting new activation. NEWSUBSTANCE’s creative response was to advance the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, by putting them at the heart of the show’s narrative. Encased within bespoke, aerodynamic, geometric shaped cladding, five drones were fitted with an onboard light source creating flying orbs of light each of which represented an ‘idea’. Stuart Fairhurst, Technical Director at NEWSUBSTANCE said: “The most challenging aspect of the whole project was the design of the cladding in conjunction with the modification of the drone platforms themselves. We undertook an extensive period of R&D in order to establish the critical balance between flight optimisation and creative finish. “We explored a number of different materials testing each of their flight properties before we


arrived at something that delivered both stable and agile flight capability with retention of the integral light orb form.” The drones were operated from dedicated pilot platforms, rising up from behind a preset hide and flown in sequence over five circular stages interacting with the performers below in a choreographed language of movements as the ‘idea’ was shared and passed around the amphitheatre space. NEWSUBSTANCE worked closely with the relevant entities to develop permissions and flight parameters across the site. The dedicated pilot team was hand-picked and supplied by Resource Group’s unmanned aviation services division, the UK’s leading drone services provider - working with NEWSUBSTANCE to develop both flight capabilities and the choreographed sequence of moves. UK tests and rehearsals were followed by three days of intensive flying on site in Mushrif Central Park, rehearsing with the dancers who

were able to interact with their respective drone. Wind conditions remained favourable throughout and, come show night, NEWSUBSTANCE executed a perfect flight plan, wowing the summit attendees with the world’s first live theatrical drone show. “The use of drones within the show was a perfect fit for our creative vision, which centred around the theme of collaboration and the sharing of ideas. The drone performance allowed us to push the boundaries of both creativity and innovation as well as underpinning the ethos of the United Arab Emirates’ Year of Innovation 2015. “Together with NEWSUBSTANCE we delivered a world class and a world first theatrical drone show that captured both these qualities in an entertaining and imaginative way. We were delighted with the end performance and received excellent feedback from our client and guests alike”, said Rachel Sweeney, Event Producer at People.





Sennheiser’s partners, end-users and consultants in the field of integrated audio solutions recently got the chance to experience the latest offerings from the audio specialist at an event in Dubai on 8 - 10 September. Centred around the theme of ‘Business Communications’, this showcase provided attendees with in-depth presentations and hand-on demonstrations of the latest microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems that the company offers and educated them on how these systems can be utilised in smart office, education, hospitality and other industry segments. The event also gave attendees a first time view of a number of Sennheiser’s products that are yet to be officially launched in the region, as well as access to key members from Sennheiser’s Business Communications Team from Germany.

“Conference and translation systems accounted for the largest share of our regional revenue last year. This highlights the growing need and interest in business communications systems,” said Ryan Burr, Technical Sales Manager for Sennheiser Middle East. He added: “In an age where AV and IT technologies are converging, we believe our products can be utilised in just about all the verticals where some form of audio augmentation is required. The event served as the perfect platform for us to help guide investment and help our partners and customers explore new ways in which audio technologies can streamline business processes and customer engagement.” Sennheiser conducted fully operational demos for its MobileConnect mobile streaming platform, SpeechLine digital wireless

microphones, ADN and TeamConnect audio conferencing systems, as well as LSP-500 wireless loudspeakers. The event was well-received by partners and customers alike. Commenting on the importance of such interactions, Sami Jalil Janho, General Manager at Advanced Solutions, a Sennheiser partner from Jordan, said: “While a manufacturer’s website can provide the technical details, handon demonstrations and detailed examples of use cases and actual deployments offer unparalleled benefits. The sessions were extremely informative and gave us good insight into Sennheiser’s roadmap for its business solutions. This clarity has given us the tools and the confidence needed to promote these solutions within our customer base.”





Protec selected d3 Technologies and its creative software suite to handle the video elements for the opening ceremony of the Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Tournament 2015. The tournament, which was held in the NAS Sports Complex, awarded prizes for six sports including, futsal (a modified version of soccer), volleyball, paddle tennis, squash, running and cycling. Protec supplied its client, HQ Creative, with lighting, video and rigging for the opening ceremony. Two geometric-shaped screens, angled toward each other in a flying wedge formation, formed an immense backdrop for athletes and


other performers on the stage below. Video elements for the giant projections were created using two d3 4x4pros, which created the mask, blend and warp for the custom screens. Peter Jones, Protec’s d3 Designer, selected d3 for its flexibility in the timeframe dedicated to rehearsals and for its MultiEdit collaboration feature, which allowed two editors to work at the same time while rehearsals were underway. “The MultiEdit feature once again saved us a huge amounts of time on site,” said Jones. “The fact that we could run rehearsals and edit at the same time was key for this show. In addition,

the ability to edit and do the projection line up simultaneously made the set up quicker than expected. Now that I am familiar with the timeline I find it to be one of the easiest and quickest servers to programme.” Beyond video support, d3 also provided SMPTE time code to the MA Lighting grandMA console for lighting and laser cueing, performing vital functions across the entire production. “d3 performed well - as usual!” Jones reported. “Overall, the event was a success with positive feedback from the client and the customer.”



ILDA AWARDS DUBBED THE OSCARS OF THE LASER SHOW BUSINESS, THIS YEARS ILDA AWARDS WAS HELD IN DUBAI. Founded back in 1986 the International Laser Display Association (ILDA) not only define interchange formats and standards for laser shows but also host an annual event to recognise the work of those working within the sector at its yearly conference which this year was held in Dubai. The awards ceremony gives members the opportunity to gain recognition for their hard work and high-quality shows and help prove a company’s ability to put on worldclass laser shows. One of the most decorated winners was ER Productions. The laser show specialists had several nominations in some of the most sought after categories including Best Live Show, Best TV Show and Best Festival Show. Its work on Kylie Minogue’s Kiss Me Once Tour one Best Live Show with its involvement with Katy Perry’s Prismatic picking up second place. For Best Live TV Show the winner was the X Factor Final in Wembley Arena with third place going in Kasabian I-Tune Festival, both of which ER were both involved with. Finally ER’s work with Queens of The Stone Age performance in Reading & Leeds won third place in Best Festival Shows. Speaking about the company’s achievements was Director Ryan Hagan: “We are incredibly proud of winning these awards and in categories that are very important to us here at ER.” He

went on to explain: “ER’s core business is touring and to win first and second place in the Best Live Stage Show category against all the big international players really is an achievement. The Best Live TV category is also something we specialise in delivering really well. We have now won first place in this category for the past two years.” Hagan went on to state that he was very proud of the hard work that those in the company do and added: “Our team really is the company’s biggest asset so we at ER are always investing back into the company with the development of our own product ranges and scanning projectors to allow their creativeness to really shine through.” Another company that cleaned up at the awards was LOBO which ended up taking seven awards home including first and second placed in the Beams / Atmosphere show for its work on Wild Things and Sunrise respectively. It also picked up first place for it work on for X-mas Memories in the in the Beams and Screens category. Alexander Hennig, LOBO’s creative Director commented: “We are incredibly proud of our success. Every award stands for a unique team performance. This can only be achieved if everybody is demanding a great deal of himself and if everybody is prepared to go to the limits of

what is feasible. Without this perfect interaction of creative staff, engineers and technicians, such a result is just impossible.” KVANT also had a fair amount of success at the event by winning six awards. Four of the awards went to its laser display production crew and a further two were received for its technical achievements in 2015. On the subject of the development of laser solution in the Middle East region, Hagan explained that, although the growth in laser popularity was not as quick as it has been in the EU or the US, the region has warmed to it over the last decade. “In our 10 years of operation we have been involved in many projects in the Middle East such as Kuwait National Day and we are always meeting more clients in the region. Extravagance used to come at a price but the technological advances within our field have really been the game changer. Smaller, cheaper and more reliable systems have expanded creative capabilities. We now see shows we never thought possible 10 years ago and the Middle East will be part of that.”






Lighting Designer Steve Shipman looked to design a colourful show using the Robe kit that was available from Media Solutions, which included 12 MMX Spots, 18 LEDWash 1200’s, six LEDWash 600’s, 34 LEDBeam 100’s and 40 Pointes plus 12 BMFL Spots. The fully-skinned TTL roof system also supplied by Solution Media and Infotec LLC had an internal span of 30 metres, 13.5 metres of depth and 10 metres trim roof-to-stage. With no set Shipman had quite a substantial area to fill with lighting. Eight moving trusses on a Kinesys system were key to the show. All of these were loaded with Pointes and video panels, and there was also a big mesh video screen upstage. Four of the trusses had four Robe Pointes and the other four had six units each. Then there was a standard front to mid to back truss arrangement across


which the rest of the kit was divided, apart from the 12 BMFLs. A thrust at the front of stage was highlighted by 18 LEDBeam 100’s running along its path, with a diffusion filter added to increase the beam spread. The BMFLs were arranged in a straight line along the back of the stage. This was the first time that Shipman had run BMFLs on one of his own designs, although he had used them earlier in the year on a Mumford & Sons Tour in the UK and Europe which he was crewing. “They are super bright with lovely big beams even in the darkest colours,” he stated. He also used numerous prism and gobo effects from 40 Pointes which are also “extremely pokey”, freeing him up to use the BMFLs primarily for “hi-impact beam effects”. Shipman is a big fan of the Pointe and has used the fixture on many shows. “Having 40 of

them on this really helped in terms of adding dynamics,” he recalled, “I love the prism effect and they are great with or without the gobos.” Lighting was programmed on a MA Lighting grandMA2 full size console which was also driving content for the five one metre video panels mounted on the eight moving trusses. American singer Akon brought his own LD Brett Lorins, and Shipman ran lighting for the others artists, a scenario where his carefully honed busking skills, a technique developed through varied experiences in Dubai where he has been based for 20 years. Shipman’s hand-picked four lighting crew included Jossy Thomas, Sree Srinivasan, Shane Rivera and Kishore Kumar, from Dubai-based World Stage Management.





Kees Frijters, Rosco’s President of EMEA, will be responsible for leading the company’s new office while continuing his present responsibilities in Europe, Asia and Africa. “Rosco’s product line is rapidly expanding in creative and exciting new directions, as is this part of the world,” commented Frijters after the announcement. “In line with Rosco’s strategic objectives to invest in international markets, we intend to more effectively support our local customer base and also capitalise on the growth opportunities in the region,” he continued. To maximise the potential of the office in Dubai, Rosco’s Chairman, Stan Miller and CEO Mark Engel, asked Kees to relocate. While Rosco has been operating in the Middle East for many years, it was apparent that

in order to keep up with the rapid growth in that part of the world, and service its customers in a more efficient manner, a Rosco office in the UAE was the next step. “Our investment in this new office recognises the size and opportunity that the Middle East holds,” said Engel. “Our existing client base in the region and the potential to expand Rosco globally make this the perfect time to make our mark in the UAE. It was clear that to accomplish our objectives, it would require someone with knowledge of and experience with the full range of Rosco products and Kees Frijters is that person,” said Engel. In addition to the new office in the UAE and its headquarters in the US, Rosco maintains fullystaffed businesses in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom.





For the third year in a row, Wicked provided the structures, interiors and overlay services for the annual golf tournament in Muscat, Oman. The company has also revealed that it was awarded a multi-year contract with NBO. This year for the NBO Golf Classic Final, Wicked pushed the limits once more by providing its versatile structures to the Almouj Golf Course, maintaining the panorama of the ocean and the spectacular view of the Hajar Mountain. The company once again deployed its Saddle


Span system in order to create a spectacular viewing terrace overlooking the 18th green. In addition to this, Wicked also created a wrap around hospitality unit for the first time, which looks set to be a major development for the tournament. Furthermore it created an interactive tented village for the fans, creating an immersive and enjoyable environment for all age groups. Operating across the Middle East from its Dubai based head office, Wicked provides a host

of services relating to the temporary structure industry including structures, flooring, air conditioning, power distribution, interior design. Wicked has the in-house resources to design and execute to the highest possible standards and with its comprehensive range of furniture, soft furnishings and accessories combined with our extensive decor and fabrication department allows it to deliver a unique solution every time.




KNOWN FOR ITS INVOLVEMENT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE WORLD, N&M HAS BEEN EXPANDING THE RANGE OF PRODUCTS IT PROVIDES AND TYPES OF EVENTS IT IS INVOLVED IN. TPMEA REPORTS... With over 30 years of experience within the AV industry, N&M has become known for its involvement within the automotive world. Its services were provided at the recent International Motor Show in Dubai for several brands. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen and Maserati press launches, activations, and show cases were all delivered by N&M at this year’s show. As well as its work for the Motor Show, N&M’s new lighting package was used at at various high profile concerts in Dubai and will be out again for several new projects in December and early 2016. In early December N&M acquired new LED screens with a 3.5mm pixel pitch that can be used for both high resolution and a flat viewing surfaces. A special feature of this product is the concave and convex installations allowing a viewing angle of 160°.












Since its inaugural outing on 5 July 2008 in Sensation’s native Amsterdam, the aquatically themed Ocean of White show has toured five continents, recently washing up at Dubai’s striking Meydan Racecourse. The set design included gigantic white jellyfish, towering jets of water, and a fully-stocked arsenal of special effects. Alongside showcasing the quite frankly eye-watering production, Sensation actively nurtures a sense of harmony by ensuring that all of those in attendance follow the white-only dress code to the letter. This ethos runs not only during the course of the evening, but throughout the planning stage as well. Barry Pavic, Managing Director of Envie Events, explained: “I always say Sensation is an experience. It’s not about the DJs alone. It’s everybody dressed in white, the unity, the show, the pyrotechnics, the acrobats, the visuals.” Regardless of where Sensation locates to, the shows are prepared at its headquarters in Amsterdam. New incarnations are created each year and, as in the case of Ocean of White, even rebooted and taken to new locations. It is then a matter of logistics to see which venues are fit for purpose and what level of equipment and knowhow are available locally. Pavic continued: “I am the overall coordinator of the production process and I manage the site together with the suppliers. I oversee a 12-day load-in and load-out schedule involving 250


crewmembers, as well as making sure that all work permits and licenses are in place. Some of the kit is from Amsterdam but most of the production is sourced locally.” After cutting his teeth on the festival and nightclub scenes in Europe and the US, Pavic has spent the past four years in the UAE. Despite this relatively short tenure, he had sensed the potential in the region years before. “I first came to Dubai in 2002 and fell in love with it, though I didn’t think it was ready at that point. Year-on-year since, I came back to check finally deciding to make the move and build the business in 2011, starting with Sensation. I didn’t feel that we could grow any further in Belgium – and I’m also a fan of good weather! Dubai has always positively influenced me, as people here have a drive that has been lacking in Europe of late. I needed a new challenge and I still had the energy and motivation at the age of 37. I believe at that point you either make the jump or stay where you are forever.” While an event like Sensation warrants an inordinate amount of technical coordination, the team conducted 2.5 years of planning to minimise the amount of kit that had to be flown from Europe. This included one-of-a-kind scenic elements such as the giant centrepiece that were shipped directly from Amsterdam. For the second year in a row, Sensation called in ShowTex -this time to take care of the giant floating jellyfish onstage. The structure was

made of RP Fusion PVC on a PolyStretch P8 spiral and was covered in lightweight Organza sheer fabric to create the desired look. ShowTex also printed all information banners, eight metre high light towers and emergency exit signs on PVC, and created the MasterCard photo booth out of printed Universal 250 BB Blackout fabric. No less than 300 square metres of printed fabric made sure all visitors were well informed during the event! Pavic continued: “There are companies that can provide most of the things we need but the trick is putting so much effort into pre-production. For Amsterdam it’s a challenge because the rest of the locations that Sensation visits around the globe are indoor venues. With Meydan being outdoor we had to redesign the production – this is an interesting creative process where all the producers get involved. We’ve now set up a good crew that communicates internationally on a frequent basis to make these things happen.” Artists bring containers of props and tailor-made decoration pieces that cannot be recreated, as do Sensation, while a great deal of the rest is locally-sourced. This included lighting and audio from PRG Gearhouse and a great deal of structural work from Al Laith – two companies that Pavic calls, alongside Envie, “the main pillars of the production”. PRG Gearhouse’s relationship with Envie began when it brought Sensation to Dubai for the


first time in 2014, which was Sensation’s first ever outdoor show. The company provided rigging, audio and lighting kit and crew for the main show at Meydan, plus additional audio and lighting systems around the site including all VIP areas. The PA system was all L-Acoustics, as specified by the Sensation audio production team, NoizBoyz. It was made up of six main hangs using 56 V-Dosc’s, 32 K2’s, 40 Dv-Dosc’s, and 56 SB28’s. Phil Smith, Senior Project Manager for PRG Gearhouse, commented: “Audio for the event had its challenges, as the stage directly faces the main glass-fronted Meydan Grandstand. As a result, the PA had to be designed to take reflection into consideration while still maintaining the required level for this type of event.” This powerful audio setup was accentuated by a titanic lighting rig that consisted of 101 Philips Vari-Lite VL 3000 spots, 32 Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K20’s, 62 Martin Professional

Atomic strobe with colour scrollers, 51 Martin Professional Rush LED PARs, 88 James Thomas Engineering Pixelline 1044 LED battens, and 96 2 lite molefays. The fixtures were controlled by three High End Systems Hog 4 desks. The company also provided over 400 metres of truss in various sizes and 90 CM Lodestar motors. BIG IDEAS Event construction giant Al Laith provided a significant amount of both kit and crew for Sensation, a feat that the company’s Head of Event Services, Warren Barlow, believes it is perfectly-equipped for. He commented: “Our products are ideal for large-scale productions and Sensation is definitely that! When your stage is 25 metres high and 120 meres wide it requires a bit more than an aluminium ground support – that’s when we step in and do what we do best. I always think it ties into our motto of ‘building


big ideas’.” In addition to the ground support structure, Al Laith supplied and constructed five large VIP platforms on top of Meydan’s grandstand – essentially creating vast decking areas for the guests on top of the where the seating would usually be. The company also provided the bars, the branding on the archways and bars themselves, toilets, and staff cabins. Barlow said: “Basically we will build any of the necessary areas that don’t exist already. Although Meydan is a modern venue, its not necessarily built for an event like Sensation with such a huge concentration of people in one place.” Aside from normal water requirements for things like the toilets, Al Laith supplied almost 20,000 gallons of additional water to be used during the show for the downstage fountains. Barlow explained: “We provided that and, quite importantly, disposed of it after the event. When you are standing next to an expensive racing




Envie’s Barry Pavic on site at Meydan Racecourse.

track, simply pulling the plug on that amount of water isn’t an option!” He added: “We have worked closely with Envie and Sensation and we firmly believe that they have a decent set of products and good plans for the future.” Even for somewhere as accustomed to live events as Dubai, Sensation is a huge production.

Regardless of this, Pavic spoke highly of the local crew that handled the persistent demands. “The crew were very well-trained. It is not very often that we have such a big show here but they were great.” Aside from the ‘pillars’ of the production, Pavic took the time to mention a long time acquaintance, Creative Technology (CT), which

addressed the LED-based demands of the evening. The relationship between CT and Sensation on a global level has been established for some time, given that CT’s Holland operation has looked after Sensation since its inception. This includes supplying Sensation world tours that travel everywhere from Japan, to Mexico, the

䠀䤀匀倀䔀䔀䐀  刀伀䰀䰀ⴀ唀倀 吀䠀䔀 䘀䄀匀吀䔀匀吀 刀伀䰀䰀ⴀ唀倀 匀夀匀吀䔀䴀 䄀刀伀唀一䐀

䔀嘀䔀一 䘀伀刀 嘀䔀一䔀吀䤀䄀一 䌀唀刀吀䄀䤀一 伀倀䔀一䤀一䜀匀℀

䄀䴀䄀娀䤀一䜀 匀吀䄀䜀䔀 䘀䄀䈀刀䤀䌀匀 䤀一 䴀伀吀䤀伀一  吀㨀   ㌀㈀ ㌀ ㈀㌀㘀 㠀㐀 㐀  ⼀⼀ 䤀一䘀伀㏶匀䠀伀圀吀䔀堀⸀䌀伀䴀 ⼀⼀ 圀圀圀⸀匀䠀伀圀吀䔀堀⸀䌀伀䴀 ME


US, and Europe. CT introduced Sensation to its Emirati counterpart two years ago, which has looked after the event ever since. Pavic said: “CT is a very helpful company, very solid with great staff. Every time I work with them I come away very pleased. I even bought the first indoor LED screens from them back in the early days - the big boys that weighed a tonne!” For Sensation, CT provided an F&P Diamond 20mm LED screen that was flown at upstage centre, running behind the DJ box and totalling just over 60 sq metres. The company also provided two flown side screens made up of Panasonic’s new six mm creation, totalling 51 sq metres. This is a new product in the region, and CT has just taken a 300 sq metres inventory from Panasonic. Ed Jarman, CT’s Senior Project Manager for the Middle East, said: “It is a wonderful looking screen, so far every job we have had it on, people have commented. The problem in the region is that you can buy a great looking cheap screen that shows itself up when moving content is introduced. The refresh rate on cheaper products isn’t great, and you get staggering. The Panasonic is a mid-priced screen that is a great compromise.” CT also supplied a curved screen, again of the Panasonic six mm, that went round the front of the DJ booth, measuring 15 metres long by one metre high. This was all controlled by various fibre runs to FOH to the Catalyst media servers. Jarman continued: “We also had robocams that were positioned in and around the DJ booth - three Panasonic AW-HE50SE cameras that all ran to FOH where they were mixed by a Blackmagic Design ATEM 2 ME Production Studio 4K Live production switcher with the relevant monitoring. The live footage was mixed to the screens and overlayed with content provided by Sensation, operated by the touring Lighting Designer.” CT had three LED techs and a video engineer on site for the evening, though this number increased to around 15 during load-in and load-

out. “Although smaller acts have played at Meydan, they are usually end-on rather than side-on like Sensation,” Jarman explained. “This meant an easy load-in for us because we could get the trucks to drop us right where we needed to be.” CT puts a great deal of pride in its status as a regional trailblazer when it comes to LED technology, and Jarman enthused that this contributes to the vitality and potential of this deceptively small industry. He said: “This can be an incredibly competitive market, which is dominated by three established full-service players who have been here for about 20 Years. CT entered the market around 18 years ago and established a permanent base in 2007. We have historically been a video specialist and the majority of our clients see the value in this approach. In line with the strategy of our other offices worldwide, we are broadening our offering where appropriate, this is especially evident in the corporate events market where the single AV supplier approach is gaining traction.” ALL FOR ONE Dutch company Pyrofoor de Amsterdam provided special effects and pyrotechnics for Sensation right from the first event 15 years ago, and the Dubai spectacular was no exception. The company partnered with UAE locals Flash Art to assist with the import, licenses and regulations required to shoot the pyro, as well as sending three crewmembers from the Netherlands to lend their expertise on site. Pyrofoor’s Roy van Meel commented: “Sensation was a finely-tuned show with exactlytimed moments and chosen products that combined well with the music, lights and acts themselves.” While Sensation’s Dubai outing was something of a departure from the usual European and US indoor shows, van Meel maintained that this presented opportunities as well as challenges.


He said: “With indoor events you have always a maximum height of effects to worry about, but this becomes irrelevant once you remove the roof! Our more pressing concerns were regarding things like the weather conditions. Wind, for example, is a new challenge on a show like this, particularly with all the decorations and aerials close to where the pyro is being used.” Although the actual transport of the gear by sea was no problem, van Meel claimed that it would have been “almost impossible” to get it all into the country without the assistance Pyrofoor received. He added: “Although we fulfil the role of supplier, we needed a local company to support us to make this show what it is - this was proven by the import issues we had. That said, we couldn’t have done it without support from NextFX in the US and a great local company like Flash Art.” It is this international level of cooperation that is essential for a production as enormous as Sensation to enjoy such success. The show has already become an indispensible part of Dubai’s events season, and one that continues to astound no matter how high the bar is set. Pavic concluded: “Sensation has built up such an image over the last 15 years that it is sometimes hard to surpass these high expectations. Every time you build something beautiful you have to strive for progress year after year. It’s interesting to see how the show evolves alongside production techniques and technology. The team really have come up with something special - an end product that has solid values worldwide.” Photos: Jorn Baars / Sensation





The du Arena in Yas Island is a buzzing live venue, a venue which has seen some of the world’s most popular performers grace its stage and a venue that has Abu Dhabi’s premier live event promoter, Flash Entertainment, at the helm of relevant and enticing line ups. Vice President of Operations at Flash, Lee Charteris, spoke to TPMEA about the role the company plays. “It’s true to say that contracting and finalising events may take a little longer here than in Europe or North America, because our show date is often at the tail end of a run, or is a one off concert. Artists typically touring with


their entire production come to the UAE with just a small part of that - such as backline, control packages and wardrobe - and we then have to replicate a touring show with our local sound, light and video suppliers, which means the rider that we receive is customised for our event.” For Bon Jovi in particular, the band returned to Abu Dhabi by popular demand, as Charteris explained: “Who we book is totally driven by the touring market and artist availabilities; we are constantly in contact with agents. Seven years after I started Flash, all of our suppliers are wellversed in presenting the likes of artists such as

Bon Jovi, and all that it takes to produce an event of this stature. In the very beginning, there was a lot of ‘hand holding’ between us all, but the market has grown up and that trust and support has enabled us to get on the map as a ‘stop off’ for many tours now, because production managers and bands know what we can offer. “We see quite a few acts wanting to come back to the UAE after the first time they play here and that for me is testament to the shows we produce and also to the way in which they get looked after over here.” Charteris is also very hands-on for a VP,


which undoubtedly makes a difference: “I pride myself on being on site at all of our events. After nearly 40 years in the job, I’m still looking into and learning about the live event business. I like to see ingress and egress and I love seeing the start of any show; I still get a tingle of excitement during the start of the process!” FACILITATING A SMOOTH PRODUCTION Bon Jovi travel with their own stage manager, but upon their arrival in the UAE, were greeted by Gulf Crewing’s Nigel Beaton who acted as a facilitator for the touring crew and the local production team. Beaton said: “It was a more compact version of their usual stadium shows but I believe that with the infrastructure that has been built up in the UAE, the quality of the lighting, video, sound and staging companies can honestly match the service and skills seen anywhere else in the world. “Let’s not forget the talent that we have working in the background from production managers to artist liaison officers to wardrobe assistants and all the advance site and stage crews. Over the past few years, we have invested a lot of time and effort into making this region a destination that large tours want to return to, and having Bon Jovi open the new season is a perfect example of that.”

LIGHTING AND VIDEO “This was the first time I’ve worked with Bon Jovi, but we work with Flash Entertainment on a regular basis and have a great working relationship with both their operations and projects teams,” explained PRG Gearhouse’s Damien Jackson, who supported the technical needs of the show’s visuals. The band’s Lighting Designer, Sooner Routhier, and her rider led the lighting rig. Jackson continued: “Sooner was great to work with and there was plenty of communication between her and myself prior to the load-in to make sure I knew exactly what she was expecting for the show. She was flexible on a couple of fixture substitutions and as her preferred profile fixture is the PRG Best Boy, she was happy that PRG was the provider in Abu Dhabi.” The flown lighting package comprised 72 GLP Impression X4’s, 24 Martin Professional Atomic Strobes, 48 Martin Professional MAC Viper Profiles, six Martin Professional MAC Viper Performances, 10 8-lite molefays and eight Clay Paky Sharpy Washes. The floor package consisted of 16 PRG Best Boy HPs, which Jackson excitedly confirmed was “the first opportunity to get our brand new HPs on a show!” There were also 16 Clay Paky Sharpy Washes and eight SGM P5’s requested for the rider. For


control, MA Lighting grandMA2 desks were chosen for operation and backup. For video requirements, PRG Gearhouse supplied two IMAG screens, four ROE Evision HD101’s, two Vista Spyder 344 processors and a HD Camera PPU 4 System, which utilised a Sony MVS-3000A video switcher. With such a smooth transition with the lighting rig, and a simple IMAG implementation for video, were there any major challenges? “Weather is always an issue out here - as it’s always too hot!” he laughed. “The pre-production between Flash, the tour party and myself was very well detailed, so we met no challenges. We had plenty of time to get the prep completely right, which made for a simple load-in and the rig was flown before lunch time.” AUDIO Audio supplier, Delta Sound, worked closely with Bon Jovi’s touring crew who provided their own control, microphone packages and split systems. However, Delta was asked to have a DiGiCo SD7 console on standby for local backup. Delta’s Sound Engineer, Rob Eatock, detailed: “In addition to Bon Jovi’s show, we provided a control and microphone package to the local support act that included a DiGiCo SD11 console at FOH with a DiGi Rack on stage, and a




“Bon Jovi’s show was a great success which demonstrates what knowledge and coordinated communication can achieve.” JJ Trichardt, Managing Director, AES

Yamaha PM5D for the monitor control board. A selection of Shure and Sennheiser microphones with Radial DI boxes accompanied the band’s instruments on stage.” L-Acoustics XT115 HIQ wedges were used as monitor wedges for the five-piece opening band and additional instruments were supplied by local backline supplier, MEI. Delta also provided the RF requirements and chose to engage a wireless Clear-Com system. Continued Eatock: “It was great to finally see Bon Jovi live. They sounded great and had a really good energy on stage - considering the high temperatures and ridiculous humidity we face here!” The main PA was configured with 24 L-Acoustics K1 boxes (12 per side), eight L-Acoustics K2’s for downfill (four per side) and 12 L-Acoustics K1 subs (six per side) flown behind


main K1 hang. For outfill, 20 L-Acoustics K2 (10 per side) were specified and 16 L-Acoustics KARA speaker cabinets were configured in eight stacks of two for frontfill. Ground subwoofers were designed in a cardioid configuration and consisted of 30 L-Acoustics SB28’s in 10 stacks of three. Eatock noted: “We installed a cardioid sub configuration that I was not entirely happy with, however it worked very well for the Bon Jovi setup, even though it’s a configuration that we don’t use often.” Delay Speakers comprised 12 L-Acoustics VDOSC cabinets (six per side) and a total of 18 L-Acoustics LA8 Racks were used for amplification. Delta also provided the audio rigging elements comprising four two tonne and 12 one tonne Liftket Motors, six K1 / K1SB / K2 fly bars, two K2 link adaptor plates and a VDOSC rigging chariot.

STAGING All Event Services - AES - which works very closely with the German side of staging titans Stageco, provided the main staging elements for the show in the form of the company’s 4 Leg Classic Super Roof, and The Hospitality Staging Platform, which was constructed out of a large quantity of Layher event flooring and scaffold products. JJ Trichardt, Managing Director of AES explained that, from a Health & Safety stance, AES prides itself on being on the forefront of the latest industry standards: “We have a new edition to the Group-48.3 International Design and Technical Services, which provides CITB scaffold training, complying to the latest structural standards and scaffolding regulations from the UK and Europe.” AES has also implemented the new CDM


regulations and is a contributing member of ILEA. Continued Trichardt: “We aim to provide an unmatched service from inception to completion to create balanced projects that stand as testament of our corporate policy. We work hand in glove with a number of international suppliers to ensure that the Middle East is provided with the highest quality technological advances and products, while operating in a dynamic and competitive market.” At Bon Jovi’s concert, AES also supplied certified crowd control barriers, Heras fencing and some law enforcement barriers for extra safety. For personnel, only full time AES-employed crews are dispatched to carry out the staging setup and break down. A total of 40 certified crewmembers were deployed during a four-day build. Trichardt continued: “We are a connected team where the individual is valued and trusted, based on years of experience in the field. This

enables timely decision making, effective communication between all members and creates a sense of trust between clients and team members. Bon Jovi’s show was a great success which demonstrates what knowledge and coordinated communication can achieve.” A POWERFUL PERFORMANCE Ensuring the power supplies were met safely and accurately was Project Manager Michael Kennedy of the eclipse Group. He told TPMEA: “I actually worked on the opening night of this tour in Jakarta, Indonesia, which was a stadium show for 45,000 people. We didn’t face many challenges due to the superb advance work, and when the tour landed in Abu Dhabi, the crew was already confident that everything was under control. “The transition from the advance guys to the show was faultless. It’s always a great feeling knowing that a tour has full confidence in your


delivery from the instant they land.” Briefs for the power element of shows are always very last minute as they heavily depend on the other requirements being finalised. Kennedy continued: “The ability to pre-empt a number of variables is something that comes with experience; for pre-production, knowledge of the local venue plus the insight provided by the advance work undertaken from the production team is imperative to a smooth delivery on the night.” “eclipse is the tour’s in-house power team and we know this venue very well, having worked closely with Flash for a number of years. We have this arena running like a well-oiled machine!” For the stage power, eclipse provided 1MW of power to accommodate lighting, video and audio. “This was split into different supplies in order to provide the right power distribution to the right disciplines. Lighting ran from a 400Amp




“This was a great show and a fantastic gig to start the season off. There was a big sense of excitement and expectation around this gig...” Damien Jackson, Head of Lighting, PRG Gearhouse

3phase and a 200Amp 3phase supplies, the video element ran off a 250Amp 3phase supply that was split into the stage left and stage right IMAG screens, and the audio was fed from a 200Amp supply. “One of the biggest challenges we face is the ever-increasing demand for a ‘festival style’ approach to concerts in the way that food and drink villages are wanted by the audiences. It seems to be a current trend to utilise street food trucks at concerts, and they have a high demand for power. “The power department have and always will try to utilise as much locally-supplied power as possible so the team will constantly strive to minimalise the usage of generators and always opt for the shortest-running time possible. We also constantly monitor the quality of the fuel supplies and only accept fully serviced generators so as to reduce the emissions caused through generated power supplies.” For this event, eclipse chose Aggreko generators, which run on diesel fuel. Kennedy


enthused that eclipse keeps its power department in check at the highest certified standard and all of the team carry a number of qualifications from BS7909, a certification in temporary power solutions to the events industry to IPAF - a qualification in operation of mobile electrical work platforms. “One of our biggest selling points is our dedication to H&S. The production teams work very closely with our in-house H&S manager to constantly produce the highest possible standard on and off site.” A SUCCESSFUL RETURN PRG Gearhouse’s Damien Jackson summed up the event: “This was a great show and a fantastic gig to start the season off. There was a big sense of excitement and expectation around this gig and the crew was ready to get going again after the summer break. It was a complete smooth delivery from our side and the band’s LD, Sooner, and her team left extremely happy with the hospitality and technical support they had received in the Middle East, which for me is the

biggest compliment we can receive.” Between the key suppliers, and Bon Jovi’s own crew, their Abu Dhabi performance went without a hitch and set the bar for the next chapter of MEA live events, much to the satisfaction of Flash. Charteris concluded: “As the promoter, I really want audiences here to see the same quality show that fans in London or New York will see - performers presenting themselves in all their glory.” If this is the production standard in Abu Dhabi, there’s little danger of letting any fans down, and we’re looking forward to what the live entertainment circuit here will deliver next… Photos: Flash Entertainment








2nd PLACE KATY PERRY Prismatic World Tour

WINNER X-FACTOR UK Final Wembley Arena

3rd PLACE KASABIAN iTunes Festival London

3rd PLACE QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE Reading and Leeds Festivals

For more information or a demonstration contact ER Productions:

UK +44 1322 293 135

AUSTRALIA +61 403 703 731

USA +1 214 2700665 SPAIN +34 938 000291



TAKE THAT HOT ON THE HEELS OF A SUCCESSFUL EUROPEAN TOUR, RECORD-BREAKING POP BAND TAKE THAT JETTED TO THE UAE FOR TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS. THE LARGER OF THE TWO, HELD AT THE DUBAI MEDIA CITY AMPHITHEATRE, REQUIRED BOTH INVENTORY AND EXPERTISE FROM A NUMBER OF LOCAL SUPPLIERS. TPMEA’S STE DURHAM VISITED THE SITE. On a busy weekend in the UAE, legendary British ‘man-band’ Take That treated thousands of fans to an adapted version of their III Tour at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. With tickets to the intimate performance at Hard Rock Cafe, Dubai Festival City the following day hard to come by, this was a golden opportunity for many to see the group perform for the first time. Despite Take That’s hard-earned pedigree on home soil, this made the evening something of a grandstand performance, and one that called on some of the region’s biggest players to ensure its success. Director of local audio supplier Delta Sound, Al Woods, was no stranger to Take That after touring with them in Europe and was more than happy to reaquaint himself with the band when the call came. He explained: “I was involved with Take That when they reformed and took the role as PA System Designer and Crew Chief. I’ve toured


with them since then, apart from on their last tour, so it was a natural progression that Delta here in Dubai would look after the audio - if I had anything to do with it at least!” SERVING THE AUDIENCE The PA was made up of L-Acoustics. It included 24 K1 loudspeakers, 12 K1 subwoofers, 24 SB28 sub speakers, 18 KARA loudspeakers, 24 K2 loudspeakers, four K2 downfills per side and 12 LA-RAKs, each consisting of three LA8 amplifiers. For local control, the crew used a Meyer Sound Galileo 616 and 616 AES. Woods and his team knew the venue well, which minimised audio challenges and allowed them to focus on facilitating the best show possible. He said: “The priority of Sound Engineer Gary Bradshaw and his team is to produce an amazing sounding show for every audience member - it is part of the whole experience.” Woods was keen to highlight the “strong

allegiance” Delta Sound has with L-Acoustics, for which it is a major stockist and distributor, adding that his team receive “amazing support” from the company. Although it is also a stockist and distributor of DiGiCo equipment, the tour brought along its own road-tested FOH and monitor package. According to Chris Fitch, Director of Skan PA, the decision to freight over the same gear used in Europe boiled down to one word: consistency. Skan PA provided two DiGiCo SD7 consoles, one at FOH and one at monitors, with two SD-racks in an optical loop. The company also supplied eight Sennheiser SR2050 IEM transmitters, four Sennhesier EM3732-II receivers, eight SKM5200-II handheld microphones with 5235 heads, and a full compliment of d&b audiotechnik D80 amplifiers with M4 wedges. Fitch explained: “The market in the Middle East tends to be fly dates rather than touring by road. From what our touring personnel have


Take That FOH Engineer Gary Bradshaw.

said, the local vendors are good and can cater for artists’ needs.” LET THERE BE LIGHT For lighting and video, the Take That team called on industry heavyweights PRG Gearhouse, strengthening its close relationship with local promoters, Done Events. While the profile of the act made the event a ‘must have’ for all of the suppliers in town, PRG’s extensive resources meant they could meet Take That’s rider line-forline. Head of Lighting for PRG Gearhouse, Damien Jackson said: “I have put a couple of rigs in this venue, most recently the Blended festival in May of this year. It’s a great venue for concerts. The stage sits in the bottom of the bowl so it offers great viewing sightlines all over for the punters.” The lighting rig, which was led by Lighting Designer Tim Routledge’s rider, consisted of


Al Laith crewmembers on site at the Media City Amphitheatre.

46 Aryton MagicBlade-R luminaires, 32 Ayrton MagicPanels, 11 Philips Vari-Lite 3000 spots, 56 Clay Paky Mythos, 10 Clay Paky Stormys, 12 Clay Paky Stormy Washes, 12 Clay Paky Sharpy Washes, and 18 4-Lite molefays. This was controlled with an MA Lighting grandMA2 full size console, a lighting control rack and three MA NPUs. The upstage LED wall was a 5.4 metre by 9 metre portrait wall made from 135 panels of ROE MC-7T Blackface, while two screens of 6.24 metre by 3.6 metre Martin EC10 served as IMAG. A five camera PPU system and a pair of d3 Technologies media servers completed the video rig. PPRG Gearhouse had a number of lighting and video crew on site to ensure a seamless delivery. MULTI-TASKING The main stage at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, nicknamed the ‘Tarantula’, was a

steel roof manufactured by Stageco as a specially produced piece, owned by All Events Services (AES). Managing Director of AES, JJ Trichardt, said: “The massive challenge given by us to Stageco Germany was to come up with a design that was very modular, clean-looking, and adaptable. This included allowing for a maximum overall size of 43 metres wide by 21 metres deep.” He continued: “Many A-list artists use Stageco products, so the band felt right at home on our stage here in the UAE. Agents and bands know what they are getting and what to expect from this product and this makes life very easy for them, the local production, and the promoters. “We are very thankful for all of the support we’ve received in the Middle East, and we feel very blessed through the amount of projects that we now have under our belt. At AES we strive




PRG Gearhouse’s Damien Jackson.

to create lasting relationships rather than make one-off acquaintances. We always listen to our clients first, and then act. PRG Gearhouse’s Jackson was also quick to sing the praises of the stage provided by AES. He said: “The Stageco roof structure put in place for this show made our lives a lot more comfortable, and a decent-sized loading dock made our loadin and load-out easy. There was huge wing space to accommodate backline world, dimmer world and enough space to store spares without it being cluttered.” In addition to the stage, AES supplied a 20-strong crew for the three-day build that included four certified riggers from Stageco and AES, a site manager / safety officer, a project manager, a supervisor, and a certified first aider. “During this very busy time of the year, discipline and delivering on time is essential, as is satisfying the stakeholders that paved the way to


where we are today,” concluded Trichardt. With the exception of the stage, all structural elements including cabins, toilets, VIP platforms, temporary bars, and entrance archways were provided and built by Al Laith. The team of between 20 and 25 crew spent two weeks on site, rising to 60 towards the end, despite having a full schedule that weekend. Warren Barlow, Head of Event Services for Al Laith, said: “We have to be careful in terms of scheduling because we can be running 20 sites simultaneously sometimes - and this job is a logistical challenge at the best of times. This weekend alone there are three other large-scale events going on besides Take That.” Despite this mammoth workload, Al Laith has made its name supplying events large and small, often in and around a city that poses its own challenges. Barlow explained: “On the main roads in Dubai you’ll rarely see a truck as vehicle

routes are restricted - certain times of the day even have truck bans. This makes transport lengthy sometimes, particularly if you have to find alternative routes. There is not as much margin for error and everything requires detailed planning. At the end of the day we still deliver the same results.” He continued: “We have a certain amount of in-house transport but if we catered for everything then we would have a hell of a lot of trucks sat idle during the summer! “There are a lot of great vehicle rental companies, whose trucks can be on site within the hour. In a way, this is even better than having to move your own fleet around in a place like this.” KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Although this was Take That’s first performance in Dubai, the very same venue played host to



Delta Sound’s audio crew hard at work during set up.

Delta Sound’s Al Woods.

“I knew a number of the crew from previous projects and this was a great show to work on as the tour had full confidence in the power services provided. A very well organised tour, along with a great crew, made this a very easy project to deliver.” Project Manager for eclipse, Michael Kennedy a solo performance by primary songwriter and frontman Gary Barlow in October 2014. Having worked on that very show, Project Manager for eclipse, Michael Kennedy, knew what to expect when he was asked to supply power. He explained: “I knew a number of the crew from previous projects and this was a great show to work on as the tour had full confidence in the power services provided. A very well organised tour, along with a great crew, made this a very

easy project to deliver.” All show power at the venue has to brought in, so eclipse provided three diesel Aggreko 350Kva synchronised generators that ran to a primary distribution panel and were split to supply each discipline – lighting, video and audio. Lighting had a 400Amp, 3phase supply, while video and audio each had a 200Amp 3phase supply. Due to the way that the venue is laid out, the generators were placed 120 metres

away from the stage, necessitating 750 linear metres of 240mm single core cable to achieve the satisfactory results required by the local and touring technical elements. Kennedy commented: “The trend of festival style venues on this site is a very complex thing to manage. This site can quite easily take over five km of cable to supply power to all of the different vendors.” The company is keen to focus on H&S,




ensuring that all equipment is fully PAT tested for electrical safety before each and every job. Kennedy added: “As we strive to stay ahead of the standards relating to the power supply to temporary events I have constant eye on the best products to buy to keep the power department at the leading front of temporary power solutions. I am confident if there were to be a mechanical failure there is always enough power on site to accommodate. “The meticulous selection and planning of cable sizes and routes is something that myself and all of the power team have a vast knowledge of. This is one of the most important things to get right from the onset. Also the utilisation of the most up to date safety devices inside our event ready distribution panels helps us to eliminate any kind of unwanted power outages.” BOOTS ON THE GROUND While the event could not have happened without this formidable group of suppliers, the crew supplied by Showforce played a vital role.


The company sent eight crewmembers and a crew supervisor to carry out all of the work required to prepare the site, which included stage set-up, barrier fixing and the unloading of equipment where necessary. A second Showforce team worked solely on production and included a crew manager and 15 crewmembers split between day and night shifts. Working in tandem with Done Events’ production team, they were responsible for unloading and installing lighting, sound and video equipment. Gemma Charity, Showforce’s Group General Manager, said: “Done Events is renowned for delivering top notch performances from huge artists here in the Middle East. We were able to provide them with experienced crew with the skillsets that they required. Everyone involved worked to incredibly tight schedules and we’re proud to have played our part in its success.” As well as being involved with coordinating Showforce staff for the event, the self-confessed Take That superfan also attended both of the

group’s Dubai shows in order to stand on the other side of the barriers. She added: “As a fan I thought it was brilliant. I’ve been to all of their tours in the UK that have amazing special effects and production values but, to be honest, it was lovely to see them up on stage, just singing their songs to a great crowd. On the night the band themselves commented on how refreshing it was to be free up there and not have to worry about hitting marks or changing costumes. They seemed to really enjoy it and we certainly did!” Photos: Done Events



ETC SUPPORTS SOUTH AFRICA’S NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL ETC DEALER PROSOUND WAS ASKED TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THE FESTIVAL IN GRAHAMSTONE, IN THE EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE OF SOUTH AFRICA. The event is one of the biggest annual celebrations of arts in the African continent, though many of the venues suffer certain issues including a lack of power. One such venue, Vicky’s, is a small school canteen converted into a fringe theatre with a 150-seat capacity. To reduce the power issues caused by the lighting, this year the team decided to go all-LED, thanks not only to assistance from Prosound, but also to sponsorship from ETC. Prosound’s Mac Makhobotloane, who was responsible for technical lighting support, said: “We used ETC Source Four LED fixtures, due to their beautiful dimming curve as well as their impeccable capability to replicate the behaviour of tungsten. They were able to give us a wide range of saturated colour, making them by far the best for the job. To that, we added some of the new ETC ColorSource PARs, which provide an incredible colour spectrum and spectacular dimming curve, at a superb low cost.” For St Andrews Hall an Element console

replaced the festival’s previous control desk, which had reached the end of its life. Natalia Van Eck, who had never used an ETC desk before, said: “I was surprised to be able to just power up and go without the help of the manual.” Elsewhere in the festival, Denis Hutchinson lit two shows in the Victoria Theatre, with ETC Source LED Four Series 2 Lustr luminaires and an ETC Ion control desk that he had specifically requested. The main theatre at the festival was the Guy Butler Theatre, where an ETC Gio was used alongside ETC Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr fixtures. Lighting Designer Faheem Bardien lit the first show of the festival, Spring and Fall by the Cape Town City Ballet. After the ballet, the desk remained in the theatre for rest of the festival, where it was taken over by Lighting Technician Abby Thatcher. Two other halls benefitted from ETC sponsorship where the Alex Mullins venue and the Memory Hall.


GL events Audiovisual, a subsidiary to GL events Group, was tasked with supplying the closing ceremony of the Africa Games. From design to production, the team focussed on guaranteeing top-quality service within sound,


lighting and video. To achieve the best possible light installation, they selected 18 G-Spot LED moving heads from SGM. French Lighting Designer, Vincent Mongourdin, worked closely together with Show Director Martin Arnaud. “Arnaud’s scenographic method was to place a cube balancing on its lowest vertex in a pool in the middle of the stadium, symbolising the history, presence and future of Congo, when the cube opens. The lighting concept was to make this cube become a piece of jewelry magnified by a concentric implementation. This called for a powerful light output in order to give the right impression of the cube floating on water as I worked with the water reflections.” This concept required a moving head with high output while operating in a humid

environment as the fixtures were placed right next to a huge water screen. “I was also attracted by its LED system,” stated Mongoutdin. “So we decided to place 18 G-Spots in the pool.” The G-Spot moving head is IP65 rated, causing the use of domes to be completely unnecessary. By avoiding domes, the light output and contrast of the luminaire will maintain unaffected and thus the projection is bright and powerful at all times. Besides being protected against water and humidity, the G-Spot is also protected against sand, dust and the accumulation of other damaging particles, resulting in a prolonged lifetime of the unit and a significant reduction in maintenance resources as only the outer luminaire requires occasional cleaning.




Ryan Shepherd, Project Manager at Gearhouse’s Cape Town branch

The AV Alliance membership has grown to 75 companies serving 102 locations around the world – which equates to 5,733 employees involved in 100,248 projects per year. The membership is selective with only one representative included per region and applicants are required to fulfil a catalogue of qualitative assessment criteria focussed on the respective company’s quality and reliability. In 2015, Gearhouse South Africa identified two deserving employees to participate in the AV Alliance’s inaugural Skills Swap programme. Designated technicians spend a month working as part of the team at one of the other international companies on a one-to-one swap basis. For Ezekiel ‘Zieks’ Mashimbye, Senior Audio Technician at Gearhouse Johannesburg and Ryan Shepherd, Project Manager at Gearhouse’s Cape Town branch; it was the chance of a lifetime. Zieks spent September at Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik in Stuttgart, Munich and working at the IAA in Frankfurt on a prestigious motor show while Shepherd travelled from Karben and Werne, Germany to Hilversum, Netherlands during October. “In Karben, I worked on large scale corporate and in Hilversum the focus changed slightly to a more scenic / custom graphics focus for exhibition stands and displays,” said Shepherd. He was given the opportunity to work in all departments on a rotational basis under the guidance of Satis&Fy Project Managers, Oliver

Ezekiel ‘Zieks’ Mashimbye, Senior Audio Technician at Gearhouse Johannesburg

Heyde, John Van Gaal and Thanos Souliotis. Zieks also worked in a hands-on capacity as part of the Audio team under the guidance of Neumann&Müller Project Managers, Moritz Späth and Felix Möhrle. According to Shepherd, experience and competence levels across the board “from freelancer to technicians to office staff” were quite similar to South African norms. “Realising that Gearhouse South Africa is already delivering to global standards - albeit with smaller budgets - fills me with pride,” he commented. “I spent a lot of time abroad comparing systems and procedures and understanding that although the end goal is a common one, there are many different ways to achieve it. I have a long list of ideas and suggestions to propose for our own operation and hopefully was able to offer food for thought in return.” Zieks concurred: “It was an eye opener in terms of seeing where we are going and where the world is going in terms of technology. In this case I am glad to confirm that we are moving in the same direction as the rest of the world. Our techniques are not very different, but we could learn more from Neumann&Müller’s very structured approach to pre-prep. Every piece of equipment was labeled, with boxes sealed before dispatch.” He too has ideas to implement in the South African operation, but was particularly impressed

by the unity of the German team members. “The marketing team makes the promise to the client and when it gets to the team on the ground, it gets executed seamlessly.” The ongoing investment into equipping their technicians with the competencies to excel at their craft is a priority for the company. Gearhouse plays an integral role in many of the international tours, so there are ample prospects to learn from international technicians working locally or to travel abroad with touring concerts and to train with international equipment manufacturers; but a month-long technical exchange is something new and according to these two travelers, an exciting learning curve. “It was a very worthwhile exercise,“ said Shepherd. “I have learnt a lot from my peers, made some good contacts and a few good friends along the way. For me this exchange has made the AVA partnership real. I am confident we will generate more business through the Alliance and that it offers our own clients a much greater scope to explore with confidence.” “What a great opportunity,” added Zieks. “I cannot thank everyone who contributed in the formation of the programme, enough. Lastly, I would like to thank my company Gearhouse for choosing me. Its is an honour for me and will be forever grateful for that.” A representative from Neumann&Müller will join the Gearhouse team in February respectively.





Originally starting life as a one-off fundraiser to help a local orphanage, Beats in the Bush has quickly it grown into a major charity occasion and the flagship event in the organisers’ calendar. The gig happens once a year, generally over three days in the spring. Organiser Everybody Love Everybody (ELE) has hosted four Beats in the Bush events to date, with the first raising just £250 GBP and the most recent raising £10,000 GBP for its two beneficiaries. ELE has also held smaller, city-based, oneday events over the years that have added to the total funds raised, which is now over £30,000 GBP collectively. The fundraiser is supported by artists, DJs, suppliers and technicians who are willing to donate their services for free, underpinned by


the positive energy of ELE’s Mike Earp and Tim Sammons. Earp commented: “We have an epic network of friends, many of whom have jumped onboard and helped our beloved organisation make a substantial difference in the lives of those who desperately need a helping hand.” The tickets are limited each year and have sold out at every event for the past two. Earp maintained that this is because ELE prefers to keep the experience “intimate and personal”, allowing everyone involved to get to know each other and the general energy of the event to “shine through”. “It’s a great model and it proves itself over and over again. The DJs who share their passion at our events are in full support of the cause and love the ELE brand. It really is a beautiful initiative,

one that seems to have a ripple effect into the lives of everyone involved,” he said. Despite having a relatively modest budget, ELE has made top quality production values its number one priority. Earp said the best way of achieving this was to build and maintain healthy relationships with all of the suppliers and sponsors that fully support the cause. He added: “We want people walking away after having a unique experience and a feeling of awe. That’s our goal at each event – to create a unique, moving and world-class experience for each and every attendee.” The key to this for Beats in the Bush was securing a Funktion One rig from Pretoria-based supplier, Phuture Sound. The company’s founder, Anton Sinovich, oversaw the provision of a full Funktion One rig, which he said “really raised



“We have an epic network of friends, many of whom have jumped on board and helped our beloved organisation make a substantial difference in the lives of those who desperately need a helping hand.” Mike Earp, Everybody Love Everybody the bar of the sound quality” for the event. The company, which acts as the sole distributor of Funktion One in South Africa and Africa, provided the gear free of charge. The setup for the main dance floor consisted of four Funktion One Resolution 4 loudspeakers, and four F221 double 21-inch bass speakers. Processing was taken care of by a Funktion One X04 audio management system with AudioCore and the main amplification was through an E25,

E100 and an E90 unit, all powered by MC2. DJ monitors were two Funktion One Resolution 1’s, two BR115 15-inch bass reflexes and a Funktion One F60-DV quad amplifier and processor (FFA). Sinovich commented: “The event was very well organised and characterised by lovely people, both those organising it and those attending. It was 100% for charity, particularly for a children’s home in Johannesburg that was

struggling to make ends meet. There were no administration fees charged by the organisers and around £10,000 GBP was raised, which then went into an audited trust account. This then pays out a monthly sum to the charities, and enables them to keep afloat.” He continued: “This is a great story that should be told. The real heroes are Tim, Mike and the all the DJs who were motivated to do something great for this childrens’ home after




being moved by the poor conditions and lack of resources available for the great work of these passionate people,” added Sinovich. Earp added: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Anton on our most recent project. When we had the opportunity to meet him and the Funktion One South Africa team, we were over the moon. Needless to say the meeting went well and everything ran smoothly. “The sound on the night was impeccable

and definitely had a massive impact on our overall production values. The audio setup was unbelievable and we really hope to be able to maintain this relationship going forward, as having Funktion One on board is a real gamechanger from a technical point of view.” As well as the “world-class” PA system, ELE was adamant that it would not hold back on any technical aspects of the production. Beats in the Bush also sourced a three metre

by three metre LED screen for the DJ Booth and an array of atmospheric lighting equipment that Earp claimed overwhelmed the guests “in the most beautiful way”. He concluded: “It really was a magical event and a big part of that magic could be attributed to our technical success.” Photos: Melanie Van Zyl, Fausto Becatti, Alex Moore






QUEEN OF FLANDERS CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF PERFORMANCES, MADAME ZINGARA’S NEW HOME - QUEEN OF FLANDERS IS BROUGHT TO LIFE WITH THE HELP OF THEATRE RENTAL SPECIALIST, SPLITBEAM. Madame Zingara’s South African travelling theatrical experience has been delighting guests with its performances by outstanding South African and international award winning acts, classical music and brightly coloured costumes - it is easy to see why this unique show has been a success. To celebrate Madame Zingara’s 15th anniversary, Director Richard Griffin has created a new production - The Celebration - in a magnificent custom-built venue. Named the Queen of Flanders, the three-storey high, 650-seater handcrafted mirrored palace features upper level balconies, luxurious interiors and is located on the Cape Town’s main public square, Grand Parade. To help with the creation of Madame Zingara’s new home, theatre rental specialist Splitbeam and Lighting Designer, Mannie Manim


were chosen to enhance the technological theatrics and production. Splitbeam, part of the Gearhouse Group, provides equipment rental packages specifically for long term hire on theatrical productions and was therefore the right choice to supply both lighting and sound for the production. Richard Griffin, the founder of Madame Zingara and the creative genius behind the iconic brand directed the electrifying production, assisted by Marc Colli. “The design process began with the creative team, wardrobe and art department,” said Griffin. “Analysing the different acts with the intention of creating one-off effects in a unique space of the three storey mirrored tent. The technology brief aimed to create a sound and lighting experience where every guest is immersed in the space, playing on the

3,500 bevelled mirrors and creating an onstage experience for clients with continual shifts of technology.” Helen Surgeson, Splitbeam’s Key Account Manager discussed the thought process behind the equipment selection: “The Queen of Flanders Spiegeltent [mirrored tent] is a temporary venue that tours with the production. Unlike its predecessors, this newly designed tent was a triple volume space with the audience on two levels. This meant that the stage is now also on two levels and the aerial acts are able to reach even greater heights. The lighting and audio equipment needed to be clear of the performance area and could not impede audience sightlines in any way. “Therefore all equipment was rigged at maximum possible height,” Surgeson continued.



“We spent a day in the DWR Distribution demo room going through all the fixtures to see which of those we owned would match the requirements of his design.” Johann Grimsehl, Splitbeam Senior Audio Technician

“The lighting design carefully considered positioning, to light the stage without blinding performers or the audience. Working in the round, with tables close to the stage meant that the choice of audio, lighting design and equipment had to ensure that each and every audience member enjoyed excellent sound and lighting quality from wherever they were seated.” The Splitbeam audio team supplied a compact PA system from Meyer Sound, comprising 12 Meyer Sound M1D line array boxes. “Meyer Sound is amongst the top brands in the world, and generally preferred by technicians in the theatre genre worldwide,” commented Splitbeam’s Senior Audio Technician, Johann Grimsehl. “The venue has a in-theround setup, so just setting up a left and right PA system would not have provided enough

coverage to the audience. Because of this our solution was to utilise Meyer Sound’s smaller self-powered loudspeakers, for the compact size, high-output, low distortion and wide dispersion. Johann selected eight Meyer Sound UPM-1P loudspeakers, two Meyer Sound UPJ-1P loudspeakers and two Meyer Sound UP Junior loudspeakers. Meyer Sound was the perfect match because of the range of products it has available to meet the requirements of a show like Madame Zingara’s The Celebration.” Discussing the choice behind the selfpowered Meyer Sound M1D cabinets, Grimsehl reflected that there were both positives and negatives to powered and passive loudspeakers. “Not having to deal with amplifiers is great, but then again it means having to deal with more cabling,” he stated.

“For the Madame Zingara show, self-powered loudspeakers are a huge advantage as they also house an active crossover for optimised frequency and phase response correction. The intelligent AC supply also performs protective functions against power surges and dips. With all this integrated technology, we were able to supply a more compact system without the need for amplifiers and extra processing. It decreased set-up time and we were able to link a number of loudspeakers to one signal without having to factor in impedance.” A pair of Electro Voice PX2181 subwoofers provide low-end for the system, supported by a Klark Technik DN9848E system controller. For audio mixing requirements a Midas PRO1 console was chosen. “The Midas PRO1 desk was chosen for its versatility and processing and that




it is able to do 5.1 surround sound effect needed for production,” explained Grimsehl. “It can be configured to suit the engineer’s needs and the on-board processing capabilities, as well as the fact that it eliminated the need for any additional outboard gear.” The console is very compact and fully digital with 24 microphone inputs on the surface and 16 assignable outputs, which suits the requirements for Madame Zingara. The Midas PRO1 has eight VCAs and six population groups,

and heat while being comfortable to wear and discreet,” explained Grimsehl. “Combined with Sennheiser EW 500 belt pack systems reassuringly stable transmission, the sound quality produced is designed to meet the needs of its respective applications.” For DJ equipment, two Pioneer CDJ-900 Nexus multiplayers and a Pioneer DJM-900 Nexus DJ mixer were chosen. Looking now to the lighting used in the venue, Manim explained that the brief was to

assistantance of the Splitbeam team. “Mannie’s initial specification included a number of lighting fixtures not owned by Splitbeam or the Gearhouse Group,” explained Surgeson. “So we spent a day in the DWR Distribution demo room going through all the fixtures to see which of those we owned would match the requirements of his design. Through this process we were able to substitute all but two fixtures, those being Martin Professional

“Meyer Sound was the perfect match because of the range of products they have available to meet the requirements of a show like Madame Zingara’s The Celebration.” - Johann Grimsehl, Splitbeam Senior Audio Technician

it features Klark Teknik DN370 graphic equalisers and wide choice of dynamics processing making it a popular choice for theatre and live applications. A combination of Sennheiser and DPA microphones are used for the show, six Sennheiser EW 500 G2 handheld microphones were chosen for the vocalists together with two DPA 4066 headsets for the performers and two Sennheiser EW500 G2 belt pack transmitters for the cellos. “This is an active performance and the DPA headsets are able to withstand moisture


create something that would make the show glamorous, exciting and magical wherever possible. “I needed a full range of capabilities - washes, profiles, beams, break-ups, gobos, colours and zooms,” he explained. “But I had the budget to consider. I was given a lot of good advice by distributors DWR and Electrosonic, as well as from Splitbeam on how to achieve what I wanted, within the budget we had.” The lighting package comprises a mixture of Philips Vari-Lite, Robe and Martin Professional fixtures, which were chosen with the

Rush PAR2’s and Martin Professional MH4 beam lights, which were then purchased especially for the production. The winning fixture of the demo was the Robe Pointe, which was able to reduce the number of fixtures we needed due to its capability of being both a spot with a variety of gobo effect features and a beam light; therefore being budget friendly and reducing the weight of the rig. The VL2500 Wash and Spot also had features that fitted the requirements well and the fact that they were compact almost silent fixtures, was a bonus.”



The lighting was rigged as high as possible over the stage in sections, so not to interfere with the audience or performers. The use of profile fixtures with variable beams - 12 Vari-Lite VL2500 Spots and 12 Robe Pointes - helped overcome this challenge with support from 12 Vari-Lite VL2500 Washes and 12 Robe Robin 600 LED washlights. “A built in feature of the Queen of Flanders is a circular truss just below the apex of the tent - perfectly situated to allow overhead lighting to the aerial acts,” explained Surgeson. “The balance of the overhead lighting is spread over two additional concentric rigs at lower heights but still do not limit the movement of the acrobatic performers.” Installed under the circular section of the stage with a glass window in front of them are eight Martin Professional Rush PAR2 moving heads and six Martin Professional MH4 beam lights, which are used left and right of the staircase leading down to the stage as under-


stage uplighters. For hazer effects a Le Maitre MVS hazer was chosen. The lighting was programmed on a MA Lighting grandMA2 light console and the show is run by MA Lighting on MA and PC software package with an ETC Ion fade wing, which were synced together. “The grandMA2 light was used because its ease of plotting and then, due to space restraints, the MA on PC is being used to run the show,” said Surgeson. “The MA desks are widely used in South Africa and Mannie was able secure the right kind of programmers to support him in executing his design. All of these factors made it the obvious choice.” As the venue was a new structure, the Splitbeam team had to realise the space in the week leading up to the installation and while working closely with the Madame Zingara team, find and create solutions. Surgeson went onto explain that discussions about the project had started with the Madame Zingara’s management

team almost a year prior to the build. “We had given ourselves more time than usual for the installation,” she explained. “And employed a local project manager who fed information to Splitbeam on a daily basis. This was so that the equipment and accessories being prepped in our Johannesburg warehouse met the requirements of the venue.” Manim finished by reflecting on his experience with the Queen of Flanders: “This project, more than any other I have experienced, was a total team effort. It was an education to work with Rick Klessens and his family who built the tent just like his father and grandfather before him. The final result is the joint effort of the whole team in all departments coming together to realise the vision of Richard Griffin.”

Photos: Anton de Beer

Tel: +971 4 347 3788

Dubai & Abu Dhabi

TPMEA - 002  

Total Production Middle East and Africa

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you