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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

SATISFACTION UNFILTERED! THE ROLLING STONES IN EUROPE Alpha & Bravo: A Mobile Venue Revolution Stageco Nederland at 25: In Profile • Maanrock Les Insus? • SonneMondSterne • Lollapalooza Berlin Global Citizen Festival • Made In America U2 In Trafalgar Square • MTV Europe Music Awards AU T U M N 2 0 1 7

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A Dream Concept Is Realised... INTERNATIONAL NEWS

IN THIS ISSUE AUTUMN 2017

3 ON THE BEACH WITH SMS 4 MTV’s GLOBAL ICONS ROCK THE SQUARE U2 and the MTV EMAs in London

8 GOING LIVE AT 25 Stageco Nederland celebrates its silver anniversary in style

14 THE ALPHA-BRAVO REVOLUTION Launching Stageco’s new mobile venue solutions at the Lowlands festival

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had been occupying our minds for many years: to devise and implement a successful mobile venue concept. Quietly, in the background to our regular, busy workflow on tours and events, we waited for the right opportunity to

The Rolling Stones’ 2017 European tour

come along and hoped that, one day, a forward-thinking

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When Mojo Concerts asked us to participate in such a

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client would be willing to take on such an adventure. project for this year’s Lowlands festival, it was the perfect moment and it finally became true with the Alpha and Bravo tent structures that you can see in our feature, on pages 10-15.

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At first, we were only considering the Alpha model but

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the talk of the festival but have also provided us with the

32 FLASH BACK 2006: THE MAN IN RED Revisiting the birth of Symphonica In Rosso

Photography: Graham Brown

In August, we were able to finally realise a dream that

by the end of the project, we had created two beautifully engineered, contrasting structures that were not only opportunity for future use in an almost limitless range of event applications. This is a seriously exciting prospect. On the subject of excitement, it was great to join in the celebrations at Stageco Nederland’s 25th anniversary party. Time goes by so fast – it only seems like yesterday

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that it started with one trailer of gear! Holland has always

Ex-Téléphone stars regroup

fice has a very specific position within the Stageco group.

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been a market with a vibrant live scene and its local ofWhile it focuses on Dutch activity, it also brings new trends to our business like dance events, and let us not forget that Holland invented the dance festival model that is now globally popular. Congratulations to a fine team!

Cover image © The Rolling Stones by Mark Cunningham

Hedwig De Meyer, Stageco President AUTUMN 2017

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The Electric Daisy Carnival’s flagship event in Las Vegas continues to evolve with the expertise of Stageco US.

On The Beach With SMS

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Photography © Tony Guenther, Time Code Pic & Stagr.de

One of Germany’s longest-running open-air electronic dance festivals, SonneMondSterne XXI took place this year in mid-August over three days at its traditional home of the Bleilochtalsperre reservoir, a.k.a Saalburg Beach, in Saalburg-Ebersdorf, Thuringia, attracting a total audience of more than 35,000 EDM fans. For this, the 21st edition of SMS, the artist line-up included an impressive roll call of dance music artists and DJs, including Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Marteria, Kid Simius, Sven Väth, Fritz Kalkbrenner and Felix Jaehn, while the Main Stage and other structures were built with precision by a crew from Stageco Deutschland. Around 360 tonnes of Stageco equipment filled 20 trucks to enable the build of a 3-Tower roof with the addition of a special video header and video screen wings. Led by Frank Boehme, the crew also used scaffolding materials to construct an entrance bridge and a 41m long, 10m deep and 13m high ‘Dekowall’ feature near the main stage containing bars and video installations. Stageco’s project manager was Sebastian Kraas and R&D was headed by Christoph Schulz.

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Photography © David Holt

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Read on...

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MTV’S GLOBAL ICONS ROCK THE SQUARE U2 give special performance on the eve of London’s first EMAs for 21 years Overlooked by a dominating Nelson’s Column and The National Gallery, the mighty U2 premiered material from new album Songs Of Experience amongst a set of their greatest hits, at a free show for 7,000 fans in London’s historic Trafalgar Square on November 11th.

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Introduced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, MTV Presents Trafalgar Square was the curtain-raiser to the following evening’s 24th annual MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) at The SSE Arena, Wembley, where the Irish four-piece were honoured with the coveted Global Icon award. Both events were graced by Stageco’s dedication as staging provider with Wim DeWolf and Mario Dockx handling the R&D, while Dirk De Decker managed both projects. For the U2 event, the Stageco crew of seven [plus local crew], headed by Stefaan Vandenbosch, negotiated one of the busiest tourist areas of the city to erect the company’s now-classic transparent canopy roof. The choice came directly from the event’s production manager, Chris Vaughan, who successSTAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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opportunity to incorporate hydraulic lifts within the stage and ‘subterranean’ tunnels that allowed production to be raised into position via the lifts, as well as enabling quick artist changeovers. Under crew chiefs Patrik Vonckx and Stefaan Angillis, a workforce of 17 – as well as extra labour from Stageco Nederland – was spread across three teams in full day and night shifts to ensure that the set was built and ready within three days. Stageco’s brief also included the building of numerous camera platforms, relay screen positions in seating blocks, the front of house risers and a ‘glamour pit’ for VIP guests. The impressive set design for both events was delivered by Julio Himende, who has a long history with MTV’s live productions. Watch highlights at: www.mtv.co.uk/ema/videos

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Photography © Kevin Mazur/Getty; Stageco

fully implemented the product on other events earlier in 2017. Along with the band roof, the three-day build saw Stageco construct 16 vertical 460type towers of varying heights and widths, each accommodating 1m and 0.5m wide LED strips designed to transmit lyrics, slogans and graphical content to augment U2’s live set. The company also built four towers for PA and lighting, bridged by horizontal truss which served the dual purpose of suspending black drape while offering additional stability. “Organising and co-ordinating some 20 trucks to come on to one of the busiest squares in one of the busiest cities over the course of a few days is quite a challenge,” said Chris Vaughan, who had to interrupt load-out for eight hours on the Sunday due to the Remembrance Day commemoration held nearby.

THE WEMBLEY WAY DJ David Guetta followed U2 to bring the show to a triumphant close with an hour-long set punctuated with an array of special effects. He was also one of the acts at the EMAs, which were held in the UK’s capital for the first time since 1996. Hosted by Rita Ora on a remarkable set that filled the entire arena floor, the Wembley show witnessed live performances by Eminem, Demi Lovato, The Killers, Kesha, Stormzy and multiple award-winner Shawn Mendes. “It has to be one of the largest productions ever staged at this venue… certainly within the timeframe we were working to,” said Dirk De Decker, who worked with the EMAs’ production manager Maggie Mouzakitis throughout the project. “The extent of the real estate taken up by the production was so vast that there was only about seven or eight metres of backstage space left behind the video screen, so there was no other option but for us to raise the arena floor to a height of five metres,” contined De Decker. “This provided the


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Eddie Slotboom

The Electric Daisy Carnival’s flagship event in Las Vegas continues to evolve with the expertise of Stageco US.

GOING LIVE AT 25 Stageco’s Netherlands office hits a silver milestone When Stageco Nederland B.V. hosted an exclusive party to celebrate its 25th anniversary at the end of September, it came loaded with all the style, sophistication and panache that event organisers and audiences alike have come to expect. Designed by Paul Schijfsma, Stageco NL’s super-inventive head of R&D, the gathering was spread out over five small outdoor stages with a bar, food trucks, arcade games and live music, topped off with a gigantic “25” scaffolding structure lined with LED. It was all a far cry from the early Nineties when Hedwig De Meyer formed an alliance with Wim Smies, resulting in the formation of a Stageco office in Scherpenzeel, central Holland, in 1992 – the first regional branch outside of Belgium. Within a few years, Stageco Nederland relocated to Lochem where it shared its building with event management company LOC7000. After 10 years, Stageco NL’s business had grown to the point where it required a larger premises, and so the company moved to another part of Lochem, where 26 full-time staff and a small army of freelancers are currently on the books at the 6,500 square metre base.

Eddie Slotboom, the principal and director of Stageco NL, eventually took over from Smies but not before racking up a considerable amount of experience. “Like a lot of staff who have come through Stageco, I started as a holiday worker, helping to build stages with the other guys and gaining some real-world experience,” says Slotboom, a native of Lochem. “A year later – in 1997, after completing my studies – I was offered a job. As time progressed, I spent a little time in almost every department, from materials and planning to logistics and sales, and project management. For me, it was very important that I saw the how the mechanics of the entire company worked close-up before I finally became a director.” How has the spectrum of projects evolved over a quarter of a century? “For quite a long time, all we did here was rock’n’roll shows for Mojo Concerts but, over time, the range of projects we have undertaken have become similar to those of the local Belgian and German offices,” Slotboom comments. “In general terms, it’s a good mixture of TV work, electronic dance music [EDM] festivals, corporate

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Above, top row: A look around the Lochem site. Second row: PinkPop 2017, ‘Tarzan’ at Scheveningen’s Circustheater, last year’s Gouden Televizier-Ring awards. Below: Sporting action with Giro D’Italia and the European Athletics Championship’s MedalPlaza.

Photography: Mark Cunningham, Joel Perry, Stage Entertainment, Avro Tros, Kei Tsuji, EC Athletics

and sports events, and the major festivals such as PinkPop and Lowlands that have always been at the heart of the company. In fact, Mojo still remains our biggest client.” [See separate feature on this year’s Lowlands festival.] MARKETS The Dutch branch’s constant analysis of business potential over a wide span of markets has ensured that, for example, its involvement in national television is showing no sign of slowing down. Slotboom: “We have ‘Circus Gerschtanowitz’ and another ‘Gouden Televizier-Ring’ awards gala coming up, along with the ‘In Holland Staat Een Kerk’ special for NPO 1. Production companies come to us mainly for the building of grandstands with one metre depth between each level of seating. The stages themselves tend to be highly decorative. “It’s an area of our work that faces great competition from other suppliers because it’s indoors and out of season, so everyone wants a piece of that pie.

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“Corporate event projects were very frequent some years back, and a few were so big that they were held in stadiums, but budgets began to decrease severely. Now we see some evidence that the production values are returning with a few events in venues such as AFAS Live [the former Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam]. All of these things are cyclical.” As for the sporting world, Stageco Nederland has successfully contributed to a number of major events that have been staged in Holland, such as the Giro d’Italia cycling race that, in 2016, started in Apeldoorm, and the European Athletics Championship in Amsterdam for which the firm built the MedalPlaza, numerous TV platforms, flycam towers and many other key structures. “In situations like these, an international reputation really counts,” comments Slotboom. “The clients can rely on a very solid service with all the experience and back-up required to deliver, and having a compact team means that we are able to react very flexibly to last-minute demands.

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WHAT’S 25 YEARS? Eddie Slotboom: “Compared with 1992, the industry is now driven so hard by money and budgets, that it’s almost unrecognisable. The accountants effectively decide what can and can’t be done, and while that makes sense from a business perspective, it’s not the kind of thinking that attracted most of us to our careers. Nevertheless, it’s our reality and we have to learn to deal with it. Above, clockwise: Leading EDM festivals Decibel and Mysteryland, and Marco Borsato’s Symphonica In Rosso.

In theatre, Stageco NL has worked on countless small shows as well as occasional major productions such as the stage musical version of Walt Disney’s ‘Tarzan’ at the Fortis Circustheater in Scheveningen, featuring Phil Collins’ music. The largest theatre show to harness the company’s skill set to date, it required the team to supply customised scaffolding and build a large master grid with an aluminium truss system, as well as install a number of lifts. CONCERT STAGING “Rock’n’roll is as strong as ever for us,” insists Slotboom. “As well as large shows for major Dutch acts including Guus Meeuwis and Marco Borsato, whose Symphonica In Rosso

“Decisions are often made according to who is the cheapest because, after all, the show will always go on regardless, but it’s a false economy. However, the cheap way is rarely the correct way and, as Stageco has proven time and time again, there is absolutely no substitute for experience, skill, reliability and the right standard of equipment, all of which has a price tag.”

Crew boss Arjan Bettink (below left), a veteran of 25 years with Stageco NL: “The whole business is run so much more commercially and professionally. In 1992, when all we had were landlines and fax machines, we would load a trailer and arrive at the job with very little knowledge about what the customer required. We pretty much invented the structure on-site but that is almost unheard of today, because so much advance planning and design goes into a project.

25-year veteran Arjan Bettink

“Health and safety is another of the biggest changes. No member of crew begins work without the appropriate personal protection clothing, harnesses and equipment, and having reliable weather predictions is also important because of how wind strength and speed may affect stages. Legislation can be obstructive in some ways but in others it’s a very good thing that can save lives.”

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Photography by B2S, ID&T, Patricia Kleijn, Marcel Helder

“Tool sets have become vastly more sophisticated. I can remember a time when all we used were hammers because stages were assembled with nails and not screws.


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Photography by Mark Cunningham

“We are still the only stage builder in the Netherlands able to supply multiple structures at the same time, that are big and stable, with a large loadbearing capacity.”

concept has been running for more than 10 years, we are on call when international stars’ tours come into Holland. This year, for instance, we provided stages for U2’s Joshua Tree tour, The Rolling Stones, Bryan Adams, Andre Rieu, Lady Antebellum, John Legend and Volbeat, amongst others. “Of course, it’s the outdoor EDM festivals that command the most profound attention in terms of size, design and crew numbers. Although Sensation had its last edition this summer, I’m still not sure that this genre has peaked just yet in Europe because the massive Defqon.1 weekender, Mysteryland, Tomorrowland, Decibel, Parookaville and the Amsterdam Dance Event continue to do excellent business, and the stage sets are more outrageous every year.” As Slotboom observes, while the festival season represents the busiest and most important period of each year, competition between suppliers has become fierce. “Once upon a time we only had one serious rival; now there are five or maybe six, but it remains true that we are still the only stage builder in the Netherlands that can supply multiple AUTUMN 2017

structures at the same time, that are big and stable, with a large load-bearing capacity. “Obviously, we want to provide our clients with our industry-leading standard of service every time, so the challenge is always to ensure we have all the vital crew and equipment available, regardless of how many events are happening simultaneously. It’s quite a skill to juggle all these parts! “We are fortunate to have a lot of loyalty from our clients and a fantastic international reputation but, of course, it’s something you have to constantly work hard at to maintain. Along with all our varied permutations of staging and roof systems that are identical to those available throughout our international network, we have constant back-up from the Tildonk head office and other branches whenever that is required, and at the end of the day there is always Hedwig [left], who not only started everything but remains the ultimate calming influence.” Despite a little rain, Stageco Nederland’s anniversary party (see opposite) was a deemed a huge success. Here’s to the next 25 years! STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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Party photography by Pop-Up Borrel

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STAGECO’S ALPHA-B

Setting sights on the future with new mobile venue structures For nearly 10 years, Stageco has been investigating a number of possibilities for mobile venue concepts, based on the unparalleled knowledge and practical experience it has acquired through festivals, concert touring, sports tournaments and corporate events. It was not, however, until August 2016 that this unique field of design and engineering became a reality for the Belgian company, when the leading event promoter in Holland, the Live Nation-owned Mojo Concerts, approached Stageco to help revive its Lowlands festival with the introduction of two extraordinary tent structures – the Alpha arch and Bravo dome – for its 25th anniversary edition in 2017. AUTUMN 2017

The two contrasting tent designs will not only serve the festival for many years to come, they also now provide an ingenious temporary venue solution to promoters outside of Holland for an almost unlimited range of future events. “When Mojo first came to us, we were geared up to respond very positively because we had been discussing the subject for so long,” says Dirk De Decker, Stageco’s director of international projects. “There were a couple of occasions where we had used an existing product, such as our Giant Arch, for a temporary venue because it offers an enormous amount STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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BRAVO REVOLUTION

hangar rather than a standard festival stage, Alpha, a 22 metre high, 75 metre long (modular) x 60 metre wide steel structure accommodates 15,000 people inside while also providing uninterrupted visual access to a further 20,000+ outside. Bravo, its futuristic-styled sibling, measures 20m high with four ‘cloisters’ breaking out of a cathedral-like central dome. While 64m wide and 69m long in its Lowlands configuration, it is extendable in all four directions for other applications. As with Alpha, it includes a modern, touring-style main stage, and is built within a period of six days. The oxidised, metallic appearance of Alpha’s copper-coloured skin was a choice jointly made by Mojo and Stageco. Meanwhile, the avocado green hue of Bravo’s tent fabric is a reference to the colour used in 2009 for the fabrication of the iconic ‘claw’ structure that accompanied U2 on 360°, the world’s all-time high-

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Photography by Bart Heemskerk & Graham Brown

of versatility with its span of 36 metres, but this was the first opportunity to custom-engineer a very specific mobile solution and, of course, it was an exciting prospect.” De Decker, who worked closely alongside Mojo Concerts’ senior production manager Niels Peeters throughout the project, continued: “Mojo had clearly done a lot of homework before our first meeting and came up with some ideas including a particular type of arched structure. Through discussions with us at Stageco, this model evolved into what became Alpha. “Much of the time and funding was allocated to developing the method of creating the resident concrete foundations of the structure, enabling the tent to be re-built in the same location every year. This permanent interface required the insertion of piling 13 metres into the ground, although this depth may vary with future builds depending on the location’s type of soil.” Giving the immediate impression of a huge aircraft


16 12 The Bravo experience at A Camping Flight to Lowlands Paradise (to give its full name). Opposite page: Inside, outside and the creation of Alpha.

est-grossing tour. Both skins were manufactured at a specialist Belgian factory, using woven textile material with a resilient PVC coating.

Photography by Bart Heemskerk & Graham Brown

BUILDING “The project as a whole has been a great challenge,” comments Gert Hulsmans, who headed Stageco’s team of five dedicated R&D staff. “The way we approached it as well as how it was eventually realised says a lot about the knowledge and ‘can-do’ attitude of our staff. The most interesting aspect was the amount of practical knowledge of heavy engineering that we have gained. “For instance, working with Alpha’s permanent interface was completely new territory for us because our history has always been about temporary structures.” At Lowlands, Stageco deployed 45 trucks of equipment, divided over the two structures, and assigned a team of approxAUTUMN 2017

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Photography by Bart Heemskerk Photography & Graham © Insomniac Brown

imately 14 people from Stageco Belgium to each tent, with support from 10 local crew and plant machinery including five boom lifts, three cranes and six forklifts. Despite the pressures of including the project within a frantic summer touring period, the building partially coincided with breaks in between U2’s and Coldplay’s schedules of The Joshua Tree and A Head Full Of Dreams tours, respectively. After Antonio Duarte Da Cruz led the team that built Alpha’s foundations, a Coldplay crew headed by Mark Van Gorp assisted with the Alpha build at the end of July, followed by Hendrik Verdeyen’s team who arrived at the end of U2’s European leg to continue work on Alpha as well as Bravo. Johan Van Espen’s team were assigned to the load-out, ensuring that the site was fully restored by the end of August. Also on the R&D team, Dirk Van De Goor, the symbolic glue keeping everything together

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throughout the many crew changes, was on-site for four weeks. He explains: “The Alpha arch is built in three parts from around 95% standard Stageco material including our 1800-type trusses, with much of it assembled at ground level and then erected to form the final structure. “On top of the 1800 trusses, we built a special profile

created previously but never got off the ground and the Giant Arch that we originally developed for Pink Floyd’s 1994 Division Bell tour proved absolutely crucial,” he reports. “In simple terms, we have two Giant Arches crossing each other at 90° in the middle, with the four sides connected to form a tunnel shape. A temporary tower was constructed to support the building of the centre section, which preceded the remainder of the build. And because this concept relied heavily on existing rental materials, it would have a lighter impact on costs, with the central dome being the major custom-built element. “It wasn’t until March that we started on Bravo and from our point of view it was better to have created two new products rather than one. Even though the Bravo structure was less complicated than Alpha in terms of foundation work, we encountered some very specific problems that we hadn’t anticipated, purely due to the way the structure works. “Practical knowledge of external specialists is a great asset in situations like this, which is why we enlisted the help of London-based Momentum Consulting Engineers with the calculation models that make Bravo so effective as a single structure. “Of course, this was all happening when we were con-

“The freedom that these models present to clients is almost limitless...” in which we placed an internal skin rail that allows the skin to be pulled tightly to the structure, resulting in the smoothest possible appearance. We worked on Alpha with Belgian sub-contractor Timmers Cranes & Steelworks [TCS] who assisted us on tours by U2, Beyoncé and The Rolling Stones so this is a proven partnership that we were very happy to revisit.” Mojo originally considered having an identical Alpha structure as its second tent but in January, as the project was gathering momentum, De Decker offered a more extravagant, alternative option for the domed Bravo venue. “I presented some drawings for an idea that I’d AUTUMN 2017

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FUTURE POSSIBILITIES While Alpha hosted memorable Lowlands performances by the likes of Mumford & Sons, Bastille, Alt-J, The XX, Cypress Hill and Nothing But Thieves, Bravo’s domed environment proved perfect for Iggy Pop, Elbow, Skepta, At The Drive-In and London Grammar, among many others.

Lowlands director Eric van Eerdenburg comments: “The new stages meant we were able to accommodate the full festival productions for our headliners on both stages. I’ve talked to some tour managers who are really happy with the facilities that the stages offer artists. I’ve also spoken to the audiences, who are all so enthusiastic about the new structures.” Universally acclaimed by crew, fans and the media alike, Stageco’s new mobile venue structures are primed for an exciting future. While Alpha plays a hybrid role as both a stage and a tent at Lowlands, there are plans to develop the model as a fully enclosed structure with an arena floor for self-contained touring shows and events of many types – from concerts, awards galas and television spectaculars to fashion shows, product launches and exhibitions, and beyond. “When you design a mobile structure, one should always prioritise ease of build and now that all the troubleshooting has been done with our first events, we are very confident about its wider potential,” comments Dirk De Decker. “It doesn’t take much to imagine erecting Alpha in a static location for a limited ‘pop up’ residency of around four to six weeks, and then take it somewhere else. Where Bravo is concerned, the big advantage is that it is perfect as a 360° venue for in-the-round events because it is a fully symmetrical structure. “The freedom that these models present to clients is almost limitless and Stageco is delighted to once again be at the cutting edge of event production.”

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Photography by Bart Heemskerk & Graham Brown

centrating on touring projects and preparing for other festivals, and as we reached July, it coincided with holiday season for all the fabrication shops, so it was far from simple and consequently we found ourselves working against the clock. However, working in extremely tight situations is something that Stageco has thrived upon for so many years that we were able to use that experience to our advantage.” Alpha offers an approximate 30 tonne rigging capacity per arch which enables anything up to around 45 tonnes of production to be rigged over the stage area, although the capacity remains equal across the entire depth of the structure. This would become an important issue in situations where a show design encroaches into areas traditionally occupied by the audience. Meanwhile, Bravo’s rigging capacity is between 60 and 80 tonnes. Not surprisingly, weathering the natural elements was amongst the most critical aspects behind the design of both products. According to European legislation, the tents may be operated in wind speeds of up to 28 metres per second, which is in excess of the directive laid down for the Lowlands festival (25m/s).


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Satisfaction

THE ROLLING STONES TOUR EUROPE WITH STAGECO... THE ROLLING EUROPE WITH STAGECO... THE ROLLING STONES TOUR EUROPE WITH

Since building the support structure for Mark Fisher’s iconic, fire-breathing cobra at every show on the 1994-95 Voodoo Lounge tour, Stageco has been proud to have a close association with the world’s greatest and most enduring rock’n’roll band, The Rolling Stones. And this year has seen them back on the road with No Filter – yet another spectacular production milestone that has spanned outdoor stadiums and arenas around Europe with Stageco’s expertise close to hand all the way. AUTUMN 2017

With more than 50 years of instantly recognisable classics to choose from and a reputation for never resting on their laurels when it comes to show design, the Stones arguably offer the most reliable guarantee of entertainment satisfaction on the planet. Straight out of the starting gate, the hypnotic red wash of ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ sets the pace for a performance that delivers raw excitement, song after song. There is still nothing quite like a Rolling Stones concert. STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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Unfiltered!

STONES TOUR EUROPE WITH STAGECO... THE ROLLING STONES TOUR H STAGECO... THE ROLLING STONES TOUR EUROPE WITH STAGECO...

No Filter marks another stunning victory for Rolling Stones production manager Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth who engaged what he referred to as “my A team” – creative director Patrick Woodroffe and set designer Ray Winkler from Stufish Entertainment Architects, with Jeremy Lloyd of Wonder Works co-ordinating the technical design elements and working with Stageco’s project manager Hedwig De Meyer and R&D engineers Tom Frederickx, Patrick Martens and Kai Eppinger. Together, they created two complete steel, tower and roof systems that have been leapfrogging around Europe

since the start of September when the tour opened at Hamburg’s Stadtpark Festwiese. From the outset, the band’s main wish was for a tidy and streamlined production, with sleek contours but absolutely no hint of behind the scenes steelwork. Spreading 60 metres wide, the resulting set features four monolithic 22m high x 11m wide LED video screens, a 28m long T-shaped catwalk and B-stage, and a bespoke, cantilevered, transparent-skinned ‘roofette’ that hovers above the band. Stefaan Vandenbosch, the leader of one of the two Stageco crews (Kevin De Meyer managed the other),

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Above: Stageco crew chief Stefaan Vandenbosch. Below left: Production manager Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth; towering structures behind the screens.

commented: “Each system fills 17 trucks. Working with our own team of 14 along with 15 local climbers and 15 stage hands, it takes two and a half days to load in with six fork lifts and a pair of cranes, and we are averaging about 18 hours to pull it all down and put back into the trucks to head to the next venue.”

commitments throughout the summer, we looked at what we could achieve in collaboration with each other.” “It’s a genuine collaboration and it works very well,” observed Vandenbosch. “All the pieces came in and connected with our systems perfectly. Of course, it helps that Hans has worked for Stageco and knows our procedures so well. They developed and fabricated the aluminium-clad transparent band roof that has its own drainage system to cope with

Photography by Mark Cunningham

COLLABORATION When planning began, Opie invited Belgian engineering company Wicre-

ations to team up on the project. “Hedwig and I went to the first meeting together, and advised on aspects of the design,” said Wicreations founder Hans Willems, who gained his early industry experience as a Stageco employee. “There are only 14 shows in 12 cities, which is now fairly typical of the band’s current touring pattern compared with the very long schedules of 10 years ago or more, and so because of Stageco’s widespread

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Above: Ladies and gentlemen, The Rolling Stones... live in Barcelona. Below: Spot/delay towers and FOH risers built by Stageco; pre-show status.

rainy conditions. It’s formed from four curved 12 metre long steel roof beams that each break down into two sections. “The roof travels with us and we build it for each show, along with our towers, pulley beams, lifting cables and the trussing support system for the video screens, while the wind bracing system and motion control hoists [connected to the black steel base of the towers] are provided by Wicreations. The way the screens are rigged means

that any wind pressure on them is borne by their supporting black steel towers. Personally, I love the three-dimensional effect of the screens – they give the impression that the band are playing in front of four tall buildings.” Each of the roof’s 12m sections accommodates nine Martin intelligent lights that are key to Patrick Woodroffe’s lighting design and travel in custom-built beams. Interconnected to the black steel superstructure of two of the four central video tow-

ers, the band roof was flown on the indoor arena shows and continued to be a major part of the performance area, with modified construction. For these arena performances, Stageco assigned an additional crew led by Martin ‘Tinus’ Beckers. As usual with productions of this scale, Stageco handled all the scaffolding and stage decking requirements, and also supplied and built the spot/delay towers, platforms and covered front of house risers – for this

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“Because I know these people, I know what we can do.” JEREMY LLOYD, Wonder Works have to unload everything outside, put it on small trucks and bring it in that way.” In his role as technical design co-ordinator, Jeremy Lloyd was perfectly placed to appreciate the interaction of Opie’s chosen task force. “All around, it was a great collaboration,” he said. “We didn’t spend a lot of time in meetings. A lot of it is about trust and knowing what can be done in the time. Because I know these people, I know what we can do.” * * * The Rolling Stones’ No Filter European tour ended in Paris on October 25th when they became the first band to perform live in the French capital’s newly-opened U Arena.

Photography by Mark Cunningham

tour, lighting/video control and sound each had their own riser. “Due to the way our two systems have been allocated to the overall touring schedule, I have been in charge of three of the seven outdoor dates, while Kevin De Meyer looked after the others,” commented Vandenbosch. “For my crew, the run started with Munich’s Olympic Stadium [September 12th] and Zurich’s Letzigrund [September 20th], both of which I worked at earlier this year on the Robbie Williams tour and they are very easy stadiums from a load-in and building perspective. The Olympic Stadium in Barcelona is the last of the three shows and it’s been a little more difficult because there is only one entrance and you

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On Guard At Alcatraz Named after the legendary San Francisco Bay island prison, the Alcatraz Hard Rock & Metal Festival in Belgium has been growing steadily and doing great business since it started in 2008 as a one-day indoor event at the Brielpoort concert hall in Deinze. When the festival eventually moved outdoors in 2012, Stageco Belgium was brought in and the company has been playing a major role ever since. Now located at the Lange Munte Sportcampus in Kortrijk, West Flanders, Alcatraz marked its 10th edition this year with a classic line-up of metal greats, such as Korn, Saxon, UFO, Ghost (above), Krokus, Venom, Paradise Lost and Life Of Agony, who were among the 39 bands attracting 25,000 rock fans over the weekend of August 11th-13th.

Since Stageco’s first encounter with the festival, it has been supplying its versatile 25 x 10 festival roof for the main ‘Prison’ stage with an expanded rear loading dock (31m x 14m), a FOH tower and other structures. This year, project manager Wim Maes and Luc Dardenne from the R&D team worked closely with the client, Apache Productions, on the site plan and the positioning of the stage as it had to fit perfectly within the larger site layout – another company was responsible for the scaffolding framework on which the decor was attached. The 11th edition of Alcatraz will take place on August 10th-12th.

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It’s A Rap For Soprano One of France’s more interesting contemporary music artists is singer and rapper Saïd M’Roumbaba, who performs under the stage name Soprano – a partial tribute to TV character Tony Soprano. After earning fame as a member of rap group Psy 4 de la Rime, 38 year old Soprano first stepped away in 2007 to develop a solo career that has most recently led him to the multi-purpose Orange Vélodrome in his home city of Marseille, where he played to more than 55,000 ecstatic fans on October 7th at the close of a nationwide tour. Stageco France was delighted to supply and build a full stadium packAUTUMN 2017

age for the client, Decibels Productions, with Dirk Van De Goor creating the drawings and leading a crew that included Olivier Daulon, Jean François Dervaux and Alex Brunel, pictured above right. The package consisted of a 40m x 16m Giant Arch with two PA and video screen portals, each on four towers, 1200m² of decking including a front extension podium into the crowd, two FOH risers, four delay towers and four platforms for video cameras. “We started planning the show in the middle of July during Les Nuits Bressanes, a festival at the Hola

Kids activity centre in Louhans,” said Stageco France project manager Thierry Nataf. “This all happened within days of working at the Vélodrome on Céline Dion’s show and the Summer Stadium

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Greeted by the multi-generational audience like the local hero he surely is in Marseille, ‘Sopra’ kicked off the proceedings with ‘Mon Everest’, the gold status single he recorded last year with Marina Kaye, perched on his mountain (pictured right) and ready to take on the world as a fine mentor to youth.

STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Photography © Sebastien Paszkiewicz, Greg Zolvanoff, Olivier Daulon & Jean François Dervaux

Festival, so it all pieced together in a timely fashion. “Twelve trailers of gear went into the four-day construction by a team of 10, while another trailer and crew member were assigned to the Mojo barrier system. Everything went very smoothly and we were then out of the stadium by the end of the next day.”

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Fun In Berlin

Stageco returns for third edition of Germany’s Lollapalooza While Taylor Greenwood, a Los Angeles singer-songwriter discovered by the Foos’ Dave Grohl, was brought on to guest on ‘The Sky Is A Neighborhood’, a huge wave of appreciation was reserved for Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell – the mastermind and curator behind the original American Lollapalooza back in 1991 – who joined the band on a cover of his own ‘Mountain Song’.

Photography © Mike Auerbach

Held at the Rennbahn Hoppegarten horse racing track east of Berlin on September 9th and 10th, the third German edition of Lollapalooza was a perfect opportunity for Stageco Deutschland to demonstrate its craft as the leading festival staging provider. And, of course, it was also about great music, with the mighty Foo Fighters (above and below) delivering a set that included a pair of unique collaborations.

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Other big name performers wowing the 170,000 visitors (85,000 per day) included Mumford & Sons, The xx, Hardwell, Beatsteaks and London Grammar, who dominated stages built by Stageco. With a team of 85 at their disposal each day to unload 40 trucks of equipment, and erect and dismantle as required, crew chiefs Stefan Stadelmann, Markus Olma, Andreas Deubach and Hendrik Förster managed the building of a 4-Tower roof for Mainstage 1, a 3-Tower roof for Mainstage 2, a 2510 Stage for the Alternative Stage, and an 8m x 6m Prolyte Stage for Kidzapalooza, which featured a full bill of entertainment for children up to age 14. Stageco’s project manager for Lollapalooza, Michael Herbst, and R&D manager Kai Epping

collaborated to also ensure that video portals, front of house risers, a variety of towers and the entrance portal for Kidzapalooza were constructed as part of the overall job. In addition, the team built the ‘Absolut Lolla’ portal and various scaffolding structures and platforms. Promoted by Hörstmann/Melt! and Live Nation’s Festival Republic, the 2018 edition of Lollapalooza Berlin will be held at Olympiapark Berlin.

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Staged In

America

“Before we even arrived on-site, the incredible group at Global Citizen helped drive over 1.6 million actions... that are set to affect 221 million lives worldwide in the fight against poverty.” AUTUMN 2017

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‘Rocky’ steps in front of the Museum of Art, this year’s Jay-Z curated bill starred J. Cole, The Chainsmokers (who starred at both events), Migos, Solange and the main man himself, a.k.a. Hova. Stageco co-operated as the main stage provider for D.P.S. Productions, rolling in with 14 trailers and 11 supervisors, and working hand in hand with the Philadelphia I.A.T.S.E. group to install a 2520 stage. Since our Summer 2017 bulletin, the US team has also been busy on the road with Metallica, U2 and Guns N’Roses (providing three systems for each), and fielding two systems for Coldplay’s extensive tour. In addition, Stageco US was a key vendor on Kenny Chesney’s shows at Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium, the Escape: Psycho Circus event for Hallowe’en in San Bernardino and another Electric Daisy Carnival spectacular in Orlando.

STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Photography © Kevin Mazur, Daniel Dorsa & Dan Garcia

the production schedule and, even in the face of a possible hurricane, Stageco’s crews stood fast and completed the work to schedule. Jonathan ‘Hawk’ Hawkins, Stageco’s project manager, said: “Before we even arrived on-site, the incredible group at Global Citizen helped drive over 1.6 million actions, pushing around 3.2 billion worth of commitments that are set to affect 221 million lives worldwide in the fight against poverty. “We are humbled to be able to help support an event with that mentality and drive. It’s a fantastic event for such a worthwhile cause, and this was a great job done by everyone.” Three weeks earlier, Farley Gross managed a Stageco US crew in Philadelphia for Made In America (below), a two-day staple of Labor Day weekend. Held on the famous

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Stageco US was proud to be a part of the amazing team that brought the Global Citizen Festival to life in Central Park, New York City on September 23rd, while working with an all-star cast of consummate professionals from the ground up – the D.P.S. team, headed by Chris Balogh to the All Access New York crew. Headlined by the incomparable Stevie Wonder who shared the bill with The Killers, Green Day, The Lumineers and guests including Pharrell Williams, the event saw Stageco fielding two teams of 10 supervisors in to work around the clock in shifts with Dennis White’s crew. Headed by Jim Ramacus and Ray Mangum, these two crews built the reinforced Boogdak XL roof that is reserved especially for this event. The company sent 15 trailers of equipment, specially loaded to land in the exact spot at the right time of


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Photography by Mark Cunningham

The Man In Red

Revisiting the birth of Marco Borsato’s Symphonica In Rosso AUTUMN 2017

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produce that roundness of the staging. We also invested in nine new Ribbon Lifts from the USA for the 30ft high flame effects around the auditorium [designed by Ron de Koster] and built a door at the back of the stage with fitted strip lights for quick changes, took care of the whole construction in the floor for the strip lights, installed a bridge in the audience pit, and erected two support towers for the PA as well as platforms for the eight follow spots. Not a bad effort considering we had less than two days to complete everything from load-in to showtime!” CENTREPIECE Other suppliers on the shows included projection specialist firm E\T\C UK, EML Productions, Frontline, Spot Rental, Peak Audio, Mojo Barriers and XL Video Belgium. Built with the aid of two cranes, the set’s centrepiece was a massive vertical ‘guitar’, made from 200 of XL’s hi-res Mitsubishi DV08 LED modules, which were stacked 25 high and 13 wide, covering a surface area of approximately 157 square metres. A specially reinforced steel framework was devised by Stageco to keep the ground-stacked guitar LED modules stable. The guitar was constructed with the aid of two large cranes. The début Symphonica In Rosso performances were captured for CD and DVD releases at the end of 2006, and the highly successful show concept continues annually with major international special guests that have included Sting, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie and this year’s stars, Mick Hucknall with Simply Red.

STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

www.symphonicainrosso.nl

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Photography by Graham Brown & Show.nl

Dutch star Marco Borsato debuted as a singer in 1990 and originally performed in Italian, but it wasn’t until his eponymous fourth album four years later – when he switched to singing in his native tongue – that his career took off. With record chart achievements in Holland that had only been surpassed by The Beatles, Borsato took up residence at Arnhem’s Gelredome in October and November 2006 for a staggering 10 consecutive dates, where he introduced for the first time the ambitious Symphonica In Rosso (Symphony In Red) live show. Supported by impressive opening act Ilse de Lange and starring guest singer Lucie Silvas, Borsato’s presentation saw his 14-piece rock band specially augmented by a 34-piece orchestra for the highly theatrical production. The production manager was Tammo van Brakel of Sightline and, like many of the suppliers, Stageco Nederland had remained loyal to Borsato (below) since the start of his career trajectory. For this 2006 production, the company had nine trucks of steel to load in and position within 36 hours, to create the 60 metre wide, 1200m2 set. The original set concept by Gertjan Schreuder was amended by scenic and visual designer Bart Clement late in the planning stage. Stageco NL’s Eddie Slotboom said at the time: “When Bart made his changes to the set he made all the edges round, which made our job a little more difficult. There’s not one straight corner! “This meant we had to make a lot of special end pieces to


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Les Insus? No Question! In the early ’80s, Téléphone was one of the biggest-ever French bands, touring the world as special guests of The Rolling Stones and recording with such legends as The Who’s John Entwistle. Breaking up in 1986, there was clearly some unfinished business and this became clear nearly 30 years later when original members Jean-Louis Aubert, Louis Bertignac and Richard Kolinka reunited under the name Les Insus? for a one-off concert. So successful was the reunion that further appearances prompted a

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full-length tour last year, leading to a much anticipated festival run in 2017 along with an extraordinary pair of shows at the Stade de France in Paris on September 15th and 16th. For these performances, Gérard Drouot Productions hired the services of Stageco France to build a regular 4-Tower roof (minus a back wall), four delay towers, a pair of front of house risers and four camera platforms, as well as the Mojo crowd barriers. Patrik Vonckx was in charge of 12 supervisors who worked with 13

trailer loads of material (including the barriers) over a three-day build and a single day load-out. Tom Bilsen, Stageco’s project manager on the shows, commented: “This was our fourth job at the Stade de France this year, following Depeche Mode, Guns N’Roses and Coldplay, so there was a lot of consistency in the way we planned ahead for it. “From our perspective, as we were into mid-September, it was a very favourable extension of our summer season.”

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The Spirit Of Maanrock Every year at the end of August, the city centre of Mechelen in Belgium plays host to Maanrock, a sprawling openair festival whose main stage consumes the Grote Markt (Great Market Square), and also features side stages on the Botermarkt and the IJzerenleen. It’s no surprise that Stageco Belgium is very proud to support this long-running, local and consistently popular event. Launched in 1996, Maanrock grew into the largest and most visited free rock and pop festival in Flanders. Presenting a youth day (Saturday) and a family day (Sunday), the festival has historically welcomed up to as many as 120,000 visitors. While the latest edition retained a typical stage set-up for Grote Markt, the stage for Ijzerenleen sported a newer, more modern look for 2017. Starting on the previous Monday, the load-in for the Ijzerenleen stage took two days with a six-person crew led by John Claessens, flanked by 10 local

crew provided by production house Tailormate. As well as building the 20m x 8m Ijzerenleen stage, Stageco constructed 10m high scaffolding walls all around and a large, 18m x 12m VIP deck with floor heights of 2.5m and 3.5m. The Tuesday and Wednesday saw Bart Bleys head a 14-strong crew for the load-in at Grote Markt. Here, the team built a 25m x 10m stage tightly around the majestic Town Hall (Stadhuis) of Mechelen, adding a completely covered 25m x 4m backstage area. The brief also included a two-storey 4m x 4m FOH platform, a pair of 6m x 4m x 6m video walls, and a 7m x 4m PRM deck. Stageco project manager Lies Rombouts commented: “It was brilliant to be part of another great edition of Maanrock, and it was a pleasure to work with Mistiaen Anthony from the festival organisation mmMechelen Feest, as well as Ignace Degens from Tailormate.”

STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

www.maanrock.be

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IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT, WE CAN BUILD IT.

Stageco Belgium N.V. Kapelleweg 6 3150 Tildonk Tel: +32 16 60 84 71 Fax: +32 16 60 10 61 info@stageco.com Stageco France sarl 158, Le Petit Palais 84800 L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Tel: +33 4 90 20 90 90 Fax: +33 4 90 20 90 31 info.france@stageco.com

Stageco Deutschland GmbH Schäfflerstrasse 13 86343 Königsbrunn Tel: +49 821 440 22 0 Fax: +49 821 440 22 22 info.deutschland@stageco.com

Stageco Austria Heigerleinstraße 23/31 A-1160 Wien Tel: +43 1 48 11 513 Fax: +43 1 48 11 513 20 info.austria@stageco.com

Stageco U.S. Inc 8755 Vollmer Road Colorado Springs CO 80908 Tel: +1 719 495 9497 Fax: +1 719 495 9098 info.us@stageco.com

Stageco Nederland b.v. Stageco Deutschland GmbH Aalsvoort 14 Herzbergstrasse 120  7241 MA Lochem 10365 Berlin  Tel: +31 573 25 63 02 Tel: +49 30 54 98 72 40 Fax: +31 573 25 60 62 Fax: +49 30 54 98 72 44 info.nederland@stageco.com info.berlin@stageco.com

Stageco U.S. Inc Manheim 181 E. Stiegel St. Manheim, PA 17545 Tel: +1 866 782 4326  info.us@stageco.com

WWW.STAGECO.COM EDITED & DESIGNED BY MARK CUNNINGHAM / LIVECULTURE FOR AND ON BEHALF OF STAGECO STAGING GROUP

Profile for Stageco Group

STAGECO NEWS Autumn 2017  

The official Stageco Staging Group news journal.

STAGECO NEWS Autumn 2017  

The official Stageco Staging Group news journal.

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