STAGECO NEWS Spring 2016

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

STRUCTURED FOR SPEED Winter Thrills with Air + Style & X Games

Stageco France Celebrates Two Decades Double Whammy at TPi Awards Kevin Hart: What Now Keeping Antwerp Live 20 Years at the BRITs SPRING 2016

Amsterdam Dances Marco Borsato Koninkrijk 200 Germany Calling W W W. S TAG E C O. C O M


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Perpetual Celebration INTERNATIONAL NEWS

IN THIS ISSUE SPRING 2016

3 • STAGECO’S DOUBLE WHAMMY 4 • STRUCTURED FOR SPEED Winter Sports in Los Angeles and Oslo 7 • A VERY ROYAL AFFAIR 8 • STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN? 9 • GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL 10 • VIVE LA FRANCE! Stageco France Celebrates Two Decades 15 • KEVIN HART: What Now 16 • GERMANY CALLING 18 • TWENTY YEARS AT THE BRITS 19 • AMSTERDAM ATTRACTION 20 • MARCO BORSATO’S SYMPHONICA IN ROSSO RETURNS

Photograph © Mark Cunningham

21 • KICK OFF... AND DANCE 22 • KEEPING ANTWERP LIVE

Cover image © Josh Zaretsky

Being acknowledged by one’s industry peers is one of the most satisfying experiences a professional can wish for. On behalf of my family and colleagues, I have been thrilled to accept awards for Stageco on several occasions over the years and, if anything, it’s always a reminder that a successful company must continue to push the boundaries and strive to improve itself at every level. We have been doing just that for over 30 years and I hope that attitude never waivers. This edition of our newsletter includes a compilation of some of our project highlights since the end of last summer, and it never fails to amaze me how much Stageco packs into a six-month period. In other news, I am very proud that we have now reached the 20th anniversary of the founding of Stageco France, which roughly coincided with our first appearance at The BRIT Awards. Congratulations to everyone connected with the office in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. You can read all about the milestone in this edition, along with references to defining projects and some of the branch’s most recent activity. I wish you all a very happy spring and I look forward to reaching out to you once again in the summer. Hedwig De Meyer, Stageco President

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Stageco’s Double Whammy

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In the wake of its 30th anniversary year, Stageco was proud to receive the Favourite Staging Company accolade at the TPi Awards 2016 on February 22nd at Battersea Evolution, London. The event was hosted by comedian Russell Kane and attended by an audience of more than 1,300 people from across the live entertainment production industry. On an evening that marked the 15th edition of the TPi Awards, the event founded by TPi magazine back in 2002, the ceremony climaxed with the coveted Outstanding Contribution Award, an honour bestowed on Stageco founder and president Hedwig De Meyer, much to his surprise and delight. David Rose, managing director of the category sponsor Navigator Systems, opened the presentation with a an impressive account of Hedwig’s career and achievements, followed by a two-minute video montage of celebratory comments from U2, Metallica’s James Hetfield and leading production managers Wob Roberts, Jake Berry and Mark Spring. The TPi ‘double whammy’ success follows in the footsteps of Stageco winning Staging Equipment of the Year at the 27th Annual Pollstar Awards earlier in February at the SF Masonic Hall in San Francisco. Photography © Mondiale Publishing

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS! Check out STAGECO’s DOUBLE WHAMMY AT THE TPi AWARDS 2016 at youtube.com

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Structured For Speed From Innsbruck to L.A., then across the Atlantic to Oslo, Stageco contributed to an exciting trio of winter sports events...

Photography © Air & Style Company GmbH / Josh Zaretsky

Since photographer Andrew Hourmont first dreamed up the idea of an international snowboarding competition in the mid-Nineties, Air + Style has been thrilling winter sports fans around the world every year. Now presented as the Opel Air & Style Tour, this February’s festival was another fine showcase for Stageco’s engineering prowess and international networking. After previous meetings in Bergisel, Austria, the competition was held for the first time at Innsbruck Olympia World on February 6th. According to the organisers, the move to the Tyrolean capital was prompted by the superior infrastructure and dimensions of the hill. The size of the jump was also larger this year: the ramp system – using 258 tons of Stageco steel and consisting of the InRun and Landing area – had an overall length of 100m and a width of about 23m. The highest point of the structure, the starting gate, was around 40m high. Innsbruck’s Air + Style event also saw Stageco build the stage for an open-air music festival at which 14,000 enthusiastic fans rocked to acts including Rudimental, Sum 41 and SDP. SPRING 2016

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Together, they built the ramp and two elevators, an 8m x 8m VIP platform at the top and a bi-level starting gate. Taking around 12 days to build, the 52.7m high structure was one of the tallest Stageco has built to date.

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Photography © Air & Style Company GmbH / Josh Zaretsky

L.A. BOUND Following the Innsbruck load-out, Stageco’s crews headed straight to Los Angeles where, on February 20th and 21st, the world’s most talented snowboarders fiercely competed for victory in the 2016 edition of the Air + Style Tour Final at the Expo Park at L. A. Coliseum. Working for both the Air + Style brand and Live Nation California, the project, managed by Tom Frederickx and Jonathan Hawkins with R&D expertise from Christoph Schulz, required seven sea containers of equipment to be shipped from Belgium, joining 12 trailer loads from Stageco’s Colorado Springs base. The equipment included more than 320,000kg of scaffolding which was assembled by a combination of American and German crew, led by Andreas Deubach.

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Photography © Paulo Pettigiani & Stageco

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SCANDINAVIAN CHILL Just three days later, more winter excitement was to be had over in Norway’s capital city, Oslo, which hosted the X Games for the first time, on February 24-28. Stageco was proud to be involved at its site in Tøyen and the Oslo Winter Park in Wyllerløypa. For the Big Air ski events in Tøyen, Stageco built a large, 108m x 21m scaffolding ramp, rising to a height of 42m, with a starting gate at the top of the run. The 12-day set-up also included building a video screen structure, four sound and lighting towers, two elevators, light trusses, stairs, a hut for VIPs and judges, and an additional complement of smaller scaffold structures. SPRING 2016

Requiring 18 trailers, the equipment was loaded out within six days by a local crew of 30 managed by 10 supervisors. Twenty kilometres north-west of Tøyen, the Oslo Winter Park site in Wyllerløypa presented the Snowboard Superpipe competitions, for which Stageco, with its four-person team and 12 local crew, mounted 12 lighting poles by helicopter on the hills each side of the half pipe – access was impossible by cranes – and built four extra poles for sound and lighting at the arrival area over the course of six days. A starting gate and platforms for cameras and VIP tents were also part of the five trailers’ worth of equipment deployed at the site. Tom Bilsen managed this project for Stageco while Gert Hulsmans handled R&D and Kevin De Meyer led the crew. STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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Celebrating 200 Years: A Very Royal Affair From November 2013 until September 2015, the people of The Netherlands celebrated the 200th anniversary of their country’s kingdom, reflecting on their past and present, while looking forward to a bright future. Over the last two years, the National Committee for the Bicentenary of the Kingdom organised a diary of events and festivities that involves a wide range of people and organisations, and it all culminated in a major closing event in Amsterdam on September 26th. Attended by the Dutch Royal Family, the event saw Stageco Nederland build a scaffolding structure on the Magere Brug, one of the oldest bridges in Amsterdam. This is a drawbridge that was in constant use during the whole load-in and load-out period, and one of the challenges of the project was accommodating the sheer load of the structure, as well as logistical difficulties of staging an event in Amsterdam’s city centre. The scaffolding was a significant element of the show as it hosted performing musicians, an orchestra and acrobatic acts. On top of the structure, which was 1.03 metres wide at the middle and situated approximately 17m above

the River Amstel, a brave stuntman rode a bicycle from left to the right. Thankfully, the whole Layher structure was accented with LED strips. Due to the narrow streets of Amsterdam and Stageco’s large trucks, the Stageco team had a sub warehouse at its disposal which enabled cross-loading into 12 small trucks. As well as the bridge structure, Stageco built a large FOH riser plus sound and light towers, and camera platforms. Headed by Maarten Geverink, the Stageco crew was spread over a six-day load-in and a three-day load-out. The concept and design of the ‘200 Jaar Koninkrijk’ (Kingdom) event was the brainchild of ACE Events, while the technical responsibilities were handled by production manager Thijs Nijland and Livetime Production.

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Stairway To Heaven?

Photography: Little Planet; Stageco Belgium

For the second consecutive year, the non-profiting Kempens Landschap association created a labyrinth at the border of a rural village in Flanders called Putte, about 30km from the organisation’s head office in Antwerp. Kempens Landscape works with nature and the environment and is also active in preservation, retrieval of landscape and cultural heritage. Each year, its team designs a new theme within the pattern of the labyrinth, and for 2015, they chose a concept based around the four principal wind directions. Stageco’s Belgium office was contacted to aid in the 3D visualisation of the labyrinth, creating a bridge from which a bird’s eye view was possible. In the middle of the maze, the company constructed two bridges on top of each other. The lower one at 2m while the upper bridge was positioned at 4.5m at a straight angle. Together both bridges made up the heart of a compass with legs running into the pattern of the labyrinth. The trickiest part was constructing both bridges at a straight angle and in a straight line with the cornfield. Building before the cornfield was fully grown meant that it was not yet clearly visible yet where the pattern of the cornfield would start. The project was managed for Stageco by Lies Rombouts and the end result more than satisfied all expectations. Thanks to the ‘stairway to heaven’ effect of the bridge structure, it encouraged some people to stage their wedding photography there. SPRING 2016

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Photography: UN Photo/Mark Garten, Desiree Alessandra & Taylor E. Hill

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New York City”s Central Park was lit up by the Global Citizen Festival on September 27th with its loudest call yet to end poverty by 2030. Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project stated that “this was the biggest year for Global Citizen by far.” Tens of thousands of people headed to Central Park for the fourth year of the festival with a fantastic line-up of musicians, world leaders and global citizens. The exceptional performances by Beyoncé, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Pearl Jam and Ariana Grande pumped up the crowd as world leaders pledged their support to the global goals. Stageco US sent two teams of 10 crew to work day and night on building the impressive Boogdak XL stage, video delays, spot delays and projector platforms in time for the incredible show. ACTION JOURNEY Global Citizen’s organisers said that the festival – which was compéred by Stephen Colbert and Hugh Jackman, and designed to coincide with the UN’s Global Goals, which replace the Millennium Development Goals – does not ask for people’s money, but their time instead. To enter a draw for a ticket to the free event, concertgoers had to complete “an action journey” such as writing to politicians or posting on Twitter. Around 60,000 people were chosen and the daylong event was their reward. Casey Ross of Stageco US commented: “It is always an honour to be part of such a meaningful event. We are really excited to see the growth each year and very eager to see what 2016 brings. Big thanks to Diversified Production Services and to all other entities that brought this event to life this year.” STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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The stage at Carcassonne amphitheatre. Below: Tom Bilsen, Thierry Nataf, Nathalie Claveyrolle & Dirk Van De Goor.

Vive La France! As Stageco France celebrates 20 years of business, Tom Bilsen and Thierry Nataf discuss some of the company’s highlights and recent achievements. When Stageco France S.A.R.L. began life at the end of 1995 it was the culmination of the wishes of some of its company crew members, notably Thierry Nataf and William Pacetti, to open a warehouse and office base close to where they lived, and start doing more with Stageco systems. There was no grand business plan, just a solid belief amongst the crew that under the internationally respected Stageco brand, more business could be achieved if they put themselves out there as a branch in France. “It “The entertainment production market in France is structured quite differently in comparison with other parts of Europe, with less of the larger outdoor music festivals that you might see elsewhere,” explains Tom Bilsen, Stageco’s operations director and designated director of the French office. “The staging market was already quite competitive there before we came along, so we were in for an interesting ride. But time flies and we are proud to be looking back over 20 years of adventure.” Located on Le Petit Palais, a street in the picturesque town of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in the southeast of the country, Stageco France is currently SPRING 2016

manned on a day-to-day basis by Thierry Nataf – a project manager and the main contact person who had been touring with Stageco for eight years before this office was established – and administration manager Nathalie Claveyrolle. Meanwhile, the Tildonk HQ handles planning, engineering and transport, with Dirk Van De Goor providing the main R&D and project management support from Belgium. “Here in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, we have sufficient supplies of black steel and scaffolding equipment to handle the smaller projects that we undertake, and we also have a standard stage available to us along with the PA towers and curved, transparent roof structure that was designed for the events in the amphitheatre of the medieval city of Carcassonne,” comments Nataf, whose first project as a Stageco crew member was Pink Floyd’s huge open-air concert on the forecourt of the Palace of Versailles in 1988. “Otherwise, around 90% of our equipment is shipped to us from Belgium or Germany, and this is the result of the ease of communication that we enjoy within the Stageco group, not to mention the exchange of skills.” STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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Top row: Johnny Hallyday’s Route 66 stage. Above: Mylène Farmer’s N°5 On Tour (left) and Indochine during the build phase. Bottom L-R: Hellfest 2015, Main Square Festival and Rock en Seine.

The Carcassonne Cité stage has been resident every summer since 2006, and was an example of one of the many practical challenges that Stageco is constantly asked to solve. In this case it was how to integrate modern, adaptable staging within an historical setting by using barely visible black steel fixed to a lightweight aluminium frame and making the entire structure appear as if it were floating – a completely harmonious solution. VERSATILITY “Dirk De Decker ran the French business between 2004 and 2007, and I took over from him although I’ve had a longer involvement,” says Bilsen. “The journey of our progress in France has been extremely varied and, I suppose you could say, a testament to Stageco’s versatility. “After 10 years in business, Stageco France began to focus on a diverse range of activities, from decorative building at Disneyland Paris to the installation of grandstands and temporary platforms. We then refocused our approach around 2006-07, concentrating more on temporary structures, mostly for large events, as a lot of the engineering, equipment and

crew had to come from Tildonk, and that wasn’t economically viable for smaller projects. “Today, Stageco France is in the fortunate position to be the preferred supplier for many of the country’s biggest shows and festivals including the world-famous annual heavy metal gathering, Hellfest in Clisson, the Main Square Festival in Arras and the capital city’s Rock En Seine. The office is also very active with some unique corporate events, whilst handling a number of permanent installations such as the arched grid (or ‘gril technique‘) in Hall 9 at Rennes Exhibition Centre and the ‘magic curtain’ in Lille. The Lille installation project, in 2012, was at the Grand Stade Pierre Mauroy in Villeneuve d’Ascq, a multi-functional, 27,000-capacity venue that can be used both as an indoor and outdoor arena, thanks to an an adjustable roof. Working in partnership with The PowerShop and Blackout, Stageco’s mission was to install a movable curtain that divides the arena into two separate halls. “We took care of the rails and bridges to ‘lead’ the curtain,” comments Nataf. “The engines were fixed at a height of 40 metres in the roof. The curtain consists of three parts that

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12 move independently, left, right and centre. The span that needed to be covered was huge: 130m wide and 25m high. “Despite the fact that it was not a temporary construction, the job was wonderfully suited to Stageco, allowing us to demonstrate our technical expertise and flexibility within a strict schedule. As well as providing us with extra permanent work in the venue, we achieved something that amazed everyone in France.” HIGH PROFILE Over the last 20 years, Stageco France has earned an enviable reputation for itself through a number of high profile projects. In the sporting world, the company has provided crucial video screen support structures for the Winter Olympics in mountainous Turin (2006) and Vancouver 2010), and for official UEFA fan sites in Switzerland, Austria, Poland and the Ukraine during the European Football Championships in 2008 and 2012. Meanwhile, Stageco France’s most notable work in the live concert field has been for its country’s ultimate rock hero, Johnny Hallyday, superstar Mylène Farmer and native rockers Indochine. Although limited to only 23 shows within France and Belgium, Hallyday’s La Tournée des Grands Stades stadium tour of 2003 remains one of the most demanding in Stageco’s history, with a huge, bespoke construction that truly threw down the gauntlet in terms of manpower, skill and time efficiency. Six years later, the third Hallyday production with Stageco France – Route 66 – saw the company construct one metre towers crowned with the star’s trademark eagle head that caused no end of problems associated with weight and movement. The addition of tracking video screens that were monitored by extremely heavy industrial robots – each two metres high and weighing two tonnes – generated a strong physical force and Stageco’s overall construction needed to be solid as a rock. “Ultimately, the project went smoothly,” says Dirk De Decker, the project manager on all of the Hallyday jobs, “and Johnny was very happy with the outcome.” Stageco France renewed its relationship with Hallyday in 2013 on the rock’n’roller’s last major stadium tour. Mylène Farmer is another high profile French artist to have benefitted from a relationship with Stageco France. The five stadium concerts featured on her N°5 On Tour schedule in 2009 were designed by the late, great Mark Fisher and saw Stageco provide a 1,200m2 SuperRoof that rested on eight one-metre towers. Nataf explains: “We had to bring in a separate truss structure to bear the weight of the giant video screen in the centre of the stage. The stage already weighed 400 tonnes! We toured with just the one stage system, so the time schedule was really tight. It was another test for us that we passed with flying colours.” The Stade de France in Paris has been the scene of many large productions featuring key contributions from Stageco, especially the French office. A spectacular stage was built for Indochine when they performed a one-off show there during their Meteor arena tour. Five 9m x 13m video screens spanning 75m took up the entire width of the stadium in June 2010, with a 21.5m structure height that guaranteed a good view of the band for every fan. Four years later, the band – and Stageco – were back for two sold-out dates on Indochine’s Black City tour.

Above, from top: The dividing curtain at the Grand Stade Pierre Mauroy in Villeneuve d’Ascq; Yannick Noah in the round at the Stade de France; a UEFA European Championships 2012 fan site; a structure built for Torino 2006. SPRING 2016

“[Mylène Farmer’s No5 On Tour was] another test for us that we passed with flying colours.” STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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Above: The Summer Stadium Festival at Marseilles’s New Velodrome Stadium. Stageco built a large podium and sound towers for the inaugural event in 2015.

Also in 2010, Stageco France constructed a bespoke staging solution at the Stade de France for a one night only performance by former French sports star turned pop singer, Yannick Noah. Amazing views were afforded by a customised, in-the-round stage design that included wide, flower-shaped catwalks reaching up to 40m into the crowd, built around the 26m x 26m SuperRoof. VARIATIONS Stageco France’s summer last year was another varied affair with a full diary that again included Hellfest in Clisson and the first-ever Summer Stadium Festival held at Marseille’s New Velodrome Stadium. Both events had their own specific demands, bringing out the best of Stageco’s skills set. Wim Dewolf was Stageco’s R&D manager for Hellfest and the team built three very large scaffolding structures on which Phyxion (the set design company behind Tomorrowland) attached its set décor. Between – and on each side of – the twinned main stages, the building and dismantling took longer than before but we gained time by building the scaffolding elements with a crane, in the same way that we build for Tomorrowland, using the same team led by crew chief Kevin De Meyer. Our work also included building audio delay and follow spot towers, and a large FOH station for both stages, a third roof configured as an arch for the War Zone stage plus a number of barriers around food and drinks concessions. The Summer Stadium Festival was an 11-hour marathon of live music and star DJ sets, and Dirk Van de Goor co-managed the project with Thierry Nataf, structuring the four-day build and 1.5-day load-out, reserving four trucks (including one for Mojo Barriers) and liaising with the client, Arema SAS. “Our responsibility was to construct a large podium and some sound towers. The event had a very good vibe and, for a first edition, it couldn’t have gone better,” says Nataf.

Here is a small selection of other projects that have been successfully completed by Stageco France in recent months… CINEMA PARADISO Since launching in 2013, Cinema Paradiso, the 11-day cult film festival hosted in the majestic Grand Palais at the foot of the Champs Elysées in Paris, has been a huge hit with movie aficionados whilst providing our client MK2 Agency with yet another creative success. Inspired by the Giuseppe Tornatore movie of the same name, MK2 concocted a gigantic experience that included food stalls, a pop-up nightclub, two cinemas, three Chanel-sponsored bowling alleys, dance classes, a hair salon, a photo booth and even a gourmet restaurant. Stageco France built two large steel trusses for video screen support as well as a grid and a special scaff screen support tower. The classic movies on show ranged from ‘Top Gun’ and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ to ‘Titanic’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ with audiences watching from the comfort of soft chairs or makeshift beds. With the aid of Bluetooth-enabled personal headphones, it was possible to screen two movies simultaneously in adjacent halls. And for those who wished to stay longer, the evening’s entertainment included a lavish ‘after-movie’ party with a different theme and international DJs each night. LA FAJEOLE FESTIVAL A new event, La Fajeole was added to the programme of the Carcassonne Cité festival that Stageco France has worked on for nearly 10 years. In essence, La Fajeole was a three-day festival within a festival, held at the horse racing track of the same name. And with such artists as Johnny Hallyday and Patrick Bruel making appearances, it was essential to harness all of the technical precision normally required for a large outdoor event, including a 20m x 15m Stageco roof.

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Above: Cinema Paradiso. Right: La Fajeole. Below, right: Canon Expo 2015. Bottom left: Fête de la Musique.

Tom Bilsen: “We really hope that La Fajeole becomes a regular feature of the Carcassonne Cité festival and continues to be as successful as its first edition.” FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE Also known as Make Music Day or World Music Day, the Fête de la Musique is an annual music celebration that, since 1982, has taken place in Paris and is simultaneously celebrated in more than 700 cities in 120 countries. Fully immersed in the spirit of the occasion, Stageco France worked with the Paris heritage department and built its smallest transparent roof at the front of the old Assemblée National for a pair of intimate, free concerts featuring rock band Night Flyers and swing combo Zazuzaz. “It was a pleasant job for us and although the building is well guarded – requiring full ID and credentials from each member of our team – there was easy access for loading in and out,” says Nataf. “The client was very happy to be working in partnership with Stageco, being very aware of our reputation for exceptional roof structures and design, and we were treated very well.”

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CANON CAN… AND SO CAN STAGECO On October 13-15, Imagination, the London-based global communications agency, delivered Canon Expo 2015 across 15,000 square metres of space at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris. Bringing Canon’s brand promise “Come and See” to life for 12,500 of its EMEA key partners and customers, the exhibition followed Imagination’s successful delivery of the 2010 Expo and both events embraced the “can do” approach of Stageco France. In liaison with Imagination and with a crew led by Olivier Daulon, we did it again with a special deck inside the venue that supported a big machine, a different level for the entrance and a large scaffolding structure outside on which the Canon Expo-branded skin was fixed. More than 100 trucks were deployed for the entire production, three of which were from Stageco, with everything built calmly within five days. The Canon Expo returns in 2020.

Photography: Stageco France, The Mark Fisher Archive, Radio FG, Victor Malecot & H.Lenie/Cinema Paradiso, La Ministere de la Culture.

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Comedy? The ‘new rock’n’roll’? That was what many reviewers claimed over 25 years ago when some of the most innovative stand-up stars began to fill arenas. Selling out an American football stadium is an entirely different level of status, but that’s what comedian Kevin Hart achieved when he set a new record at Lincoln Financial Field – the home of the Philadelphia Eagles – on August 30th, attracting an enthusiastic audience of over 53,000 during the American leg of his What Now world tour. For Hart himself, it was a genuine homecoming. Philadelphia is where he grew up and cultivated the seeds of his now world-famous talent, so this was also a chance for locals to see one of their very own make it big. Stageco US is proud to have been involved in the Hart tour. Working with a team of German and American supervisors, Stageco US crew chief Farley Gross headed up the ambitious task of providing a roof for two shows back to back. They succeeded in turning 12 trailers of material into two of the most popular events to come to Philadelphia this summer. The company provided a custom version of Stageco’s four tower roof system with angled back PA wings.

One Direction’s production came in directly on the heels of the Kevin Hart show load-out, therefore it was important that the version of the stage used by Hart worked with the one that the 1D team had been using for their 2015 On The Road Again tour. Due to the tight schedule demanded by combining outdoor staging and television, the crews all put in a valiant effort to transition from the Kevin Hart show seamlessly into the One Direction stage, and Stageco US looks forward to further opportunities to work with this group again. It is already claimed that What Now is the all-time most successful comedy tour but it’s far from over. After the completion of its American arena schedule on New Year’s Day, the tour headed off to Europe, the Far East, Australia and South Africa.

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A hat trick of highlights from Stageco Deutschland... BERLIN LAUNCHES GERMAN LOLLAPALOOZA... WITH STAGECO

Photography Š Frank Hoensch & Stephan Flad

Twenty-five years ago, Perry Farrell conceived the Lollapalooza festival as a farewell to fans from his band Jane’s Addiction. Originated in the USA, where it is still held today, the festival quickly acquired cult status and a loyal following that eventually inspired a number of international spin-offs. In 2011, Chile introduced its own Lollapalooza, followed by Argentina and Brazil, and over the weekend of September 12th-13th 2015, an audience totalling around 45,000 enjoyed the first German edition of this globally renowned festival on the former Berlin Tempelhof airfield.

Stageco was commissioned with building two 4-tower stages with ultra-wide branding portals and an array of subsidiary constructions such as PA towers, entrance portals and deco structures. Three crews worked shifts with 19 staff and around 60 helpers to assemble and install 600 tonnes of staging material. The construction work was completed just ahead of schedule, much to the delight of the highly satisfied organisers. The two-day festival, graced by artists such as Muse, James Bond theme star Sam Smith, Bastille, The Libertines, Fatboy Slim, Chvrches, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mighty Oaks, Seeed, Beatsteaks, Deichkind and FFS (the cool combination of Franz Ferdinand with Sparks) was completely sold out.

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Above: German Unity Day in Berlin and Frankfurt. Below: The pyrotechnic climax to the Sindelfingen concert.

FANTA4 ON STAGE FOR MERCEDES CENTENARY

ADDING STRUCTURE TO GERMAN UNITY DAY Stageco was proud to be involved in the festivities for German Unity Day in both Frankfurt and Berlin on October 3rd 2015, the public holiday that commemorates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990, when the goal of a united country that originated in the middle of the 19th century was fulfilled again On behalf of the Roth & Lorenz agency, Stageco erected a 53m long, 13m wide and 14m high steel construction on Frankfurt’s Untermain Bridge as a substructure for approximately 600 square metres of LED walls from Screen Visions. Emulating the Frankfurt skyline, this construction enabled visitors to relive the

chequered history of German partition and reunification. Given that festivities of this kind are not possible without a stage, Stageco built the Hit Radio FFH stage at the Alte Oper, along with an array of auxiliary structures. Here, Stageco used its Micro Arch system, the perfect solution for this location. German Unity Day was also celebrated to the full at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The idea was to achieve the most transparent effect possible for the stage construction to allow good views of the Brandenburg Gate in the background. The Micro Arch system again came into its own once again, this time in a transparent version, with two different Stageco band roofs. The detailed stage design was implemented to the full satisfaction of long-standing partner, Wohlthat Entertainment GmbH. Other parties involved were TLT-Event AG (lighting), Auvisign (sound) and AVE Verhengsten GmbH (video production).

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Photography © TLT Event AG, Wohlthat Entertainment GmbH, Pierre Johne & welcome.net

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen has been in operation for an impressive 100 years and on September 12th, the world famous brand celebrated its centenary in style. Founded in 1915 as a factory for aircraft engines, the plant currently has a workforce of around 35,000 staff, who last year alone produced approximately 370,000 cars. To celebrate this historical milestone, a jubilee open-air concert was organised on the factory premises as a means of thanking staff and the local region. Soul-pop singer Leslie Clio appeared as a special guest warm-up act. Miss Clio did a great job of getting the crowd going before local heroes Die Fantastischen Vier came on to the Stageco stage and delivered a stunning show for around 24,000 visitors.

The party ended with a grand and elaborate fireworks display – the most fitting climax for a major jubilee event of this kind.


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Twenty Years at the BRITs!

Show photography: John Marchsall / JM Enternational

Top: Coldplay at the 2016 Mastercard BRIT Awards with (insets, clockwise) Adele, James Bay, Justin Bieber & Lorde’s David Bowie tribute. Below: The Spice Girls in 1997; Luc Dardenne (centre) and colleagues celebrate 20 years with a chocolate Stageco stage!

It was all Tina Turner’s fault. As a direct result of Stageco working on her Wildest Dreams tour, the late Mick Kluczynski, a site co-ordinator on the tour, was sufficiently impressed with the company’s professionalism to hire its staging services as part of the ongoing design transition of The BRIT Awards, the event for which he had recently taken over as production director. Stageco’s début on the annual event came on February 24th 1997 at London’s Earls Court in London, when the Spice Girls – and particularly Geri Halliwell’s ‘Union Jack’ dress – stole everyone’s hearts. Kluczynski sadly died in 2009 and the BRITs moved to the O2 Arena two years later, with Stageco reporting to technical production manager Tony Wheeler and Papilo Productions, under the auspices of BRIT Awards Productions. In recent years, the core Stageco team working on the BRITs has included account manager Dirk De Decker, and Luc Dardenne and Stefaan Vandenbosch who manage the project on-site. Together, they ensure that the basic staging foundations are built, along with the front of house control

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platform, numerous risers and platforms for spotlights, cameras, jib cranes and monitoring. “Stageco undertook a little extra work this year,” informs Dardenne. “We built some extra platforms for spot lights and two for video, and because the weightloading in the O2’s roof was already very high we added a central video screen truss with towers in our signature black steel to relieve some of that stress.” He continues: “It’s generally a six to seven-day build for us and this year we brought six equipment trailers and an eightman crew who worked with local support.” To celebrate Stageco’s 20th consecutive BRIT Awards, a scale version of a BRITs stage was created in Belgian chocolate – a confection organised by Katleen De Meyer that was eagerly shared with the production team. “Of the 20 years we’ve been servicing the show, I’ve personally only missed one,” recalls Dardenne, “and it’s an event we very much look forward to every time.”

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Part of the Amsterdam Music Festival, the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), the world’s biggest club festival and conference for electronic dance music (EDM), staged its 20th anniversary gathering in the Dutch capital this October and featured 2,200 performing artists in venues of all sizes around the city, attracting over 365,000 visitors from home and abroad. Two of the venues, Heineken Music Hall (HMH) and Amsterdam ArenA benefitted from the involvement of technical prowess of Stageco Nederland, with crews led by Arjan Bettink, and accounts managed by Luke van Niekerk and Michiel Makkink, respectively. In the HMH, Stageco NL built the stage and VIP decks, and accommodated several set changes during the course of the five shows. Meanwhile, at the ArenA, just three days after it hosted the Netherlands vs. Czech Republic UEFA Championship qualifier, the Friday night witnessed the DJMag Top 100 DJ Awards, with the top honour going to Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. For the awards, Stageco constructed a stage and two large staircases for public use, along with five tonnes of rigging equipment. The stage was built in a circular shape while the DJ booth was a rolling structure with integral LEDs. The presentation of the top three positions was a dramatic affair enabled by a quartet of ribbon lifts. Stageco NL would like to show its appreciation to Alda Events and ID&T (promoters), 250K (stage and show design) and Backbone International (production). STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Red Symphony Revived When it comes to live event design, the words ‘modest’ and ‘Marco Borsato’ are rarely seen in the same sentence. Since introducing his Symphonica In Rosso show concept nearly 10 years years ago, the Dutch-born singing sensation has transformed audience expectations, and redefined the live spectacular for his countless fans. In 2015, Borsato revived Symphonica In Rosso, selling out six dates at Amsterdam’s Ziggodome in October and November ahead of another run in February 2016. And for Stageco Nederland, it has been a huge pleasure to be working for client Musica è on Borsato’s signature production once again. Boasting an elegant set design by Anne-Mari Ahola, the challenges involved in this highly anticipated revival were mainly concerned with the period of construction. “As well

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as a short lead time, we had to fit a lot of construction into relatively small space,” explained account manager Eddie Slotboom, who organised three trucks of Stageco equipment, manned by three shifts of 16 crew for the build and 28 for the load-out, led by Arjan Bettink. “In addition,” Slotboom continued. “for this production we have built balconies within the set to house the orchestra. We had very little room to play with, however, we had to provide a good stairway to enable the orchestra members to get into place. A very important factor to plan into our approach was the fact that the Ziggodome had been booked out in between the autumn dates and so to help each other, we arranged for them to use part of the Symphonica set.” Slotboom added: “We look forward with great pleasure to the next run of shows.”

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Above: The NFL Kick Off with Train’s Patrick Monahan and Ellie Goulding. Below: Nocturnal Wonderland and EDC Orlando.

transit schedule would have caused a ripple effect, reaching far across the San Francisco bay area. Stageco US was pleased to be part of the team that brought to the stage such world famous acts as San Francisco’s own rockers Train and UK chart topper Ellie Goulding. “It was our pleasure to have the opportunity to work in the historic Market Street area, by the waterfront, with the good people of the city of San Francisco,” said Stageco US project manager Jon Hawkins. “Our congratulations go out to the NFL and P.E.D.G. for their hard work in realising this event.” DANCING DUO Our US office was also busy in September and November with two of the big jewels in Insomniac’s dance festival crown. First up was Nocturnal Wonderland which celebrated its 20th anniversary with another incredible production over three days at San Manuel Amphitheatre in San Bernardino, California.

A job that was virtually all based around scaffolding structures, it required eight trailers of gear and in the absence of US crew – who were all out on other assignments – an eight-person crew headed by Andreas Deubach fulfilled all requirements. Meanwhile, in November, Farley Gross led a team of 11 at Tinker Field in Orlando where they built the touring version of the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) 2015 Crystal Village stage, complete with its signature wise owl that peers over the excitable crowd. With 15 trailers of equipment at their disposal, the crew built the stage – a downscaled version of the main stage at EDC Vegas last June – over a fourday period. Following EDC Orlando on November 5th-6th, Stageco rebuilt this stage at at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City in February and will continue at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in May and will return to Milton Keynes National Bowl, UK this July.

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Photography © Stageco US, Jon Bauer & Mike Torres

This year’s NFL Kick Off took place in San Francisco at the Justin Herman Plaza and marked the beginning of the much anticipated 2015-2016 American football season. On September 6th and 7th, Stageco teamed up with the NFL, design company Performance Environment Design Group and the local unions on an ambitious endeavour to provide a top quality performance stage within an extremely short schedule. The crew completed construction and were ready for the live broadcast on September 10th. Stageco US’s Jim Ramacus and his crew erected four custom towers, a custom-shaped deck with FOH-style tech huts, a cable bridge spanning one of Downtown’s busiest sidewalks, and the FOH area with its large lighting array. Although the equipment amounted to just five trailers, it was the access that made this project difficult. The event was in the heart of the Downtown transit area, meaning that everything had to be timed perfectly. Any disruption in the


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Keeping Antwerp Live When the days become darker and the nights grow colder, that’s when Stageco begins its residencies in venues such as Antwerp’s Sportpaleis and Lotto Arena. As the indoor concert season runs from late September until around May, these ‘temporary homes’ provide an ideal platform for Stageco’s crew skills during the so-called calm months. Wim Maes, Stageco Belgium’s project manager, explains: “Although these are not as big as some of the projects we undertake during the summer, we are still very happy to take on this work. It’s a constant flow of activity that runs

throughout the autumn, winter and early spring, and on average it keeps a crew of two to four people busy a few days each week. “Technically, it’s not as challenging as some outdoor work, but we still have to be alert as the run-up time to these jobs is a lot shorter, and we either receive information late in a schedule or discover that changes are necessary very close to an event. A lot of the actual installing and dismantling takes place at night or very early in the morning, and these irregular working times obviously require extra effort from our crew.”

In Antwerp at the 8,000 capacity Lotto Arena, the Antwerp Giants is the incumbent basketball team and shares venue time with concerts on a day-byday basis. Stageco provides the staging as well as Mojo Barriers – the stage is designed to be quickly removed and reinstalled before and after the Giants’ games. Special bumpers and wheels are added to the stage, and it is rolled out at night very easily. The wheels also make it possible to move around the stage to accommodate the load-in/out of rigging.

Top: A Lotto Arena crowd, ready for action. Above: Sharleen Spiteri of Texas, Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr and Engelbert Humperdinck. SPRING 2016

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INTERNATIONAL OFFICES 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 Above, clockwise from top left: highlights from the Sportpaleis’ recent concert schedule have included Madonna, the Night Of The Proms production, U2 and popsters K3.

SHARED RESOURCES Next door to the Lotto Arena is the larger, 20,000 audience capacity Sportpaleis at which Stageco recently worked on shows by U2 (on their iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour, Madonna (Rebel Heart tour), Florence And The Machine, Ennio Morricone and Belgian alt-pop band Oscar And The Wolf, as well as

the Night Of The Proms and the festive Sinterklaasfeest (Santa Claus Festival). The range of clients and production teams with whom Stageco works at the Sportpaleis are very similar to those at its neighbouring venue, as is the staging system, and both share the same storage boneyard. Another regular source of indoor work is Paleis 12, a 15,000 capacity venue located within the Heysel Exhibition Park in Brussels. Originally built in 1989 but redesigned and reopened in its current form during 2013, Paleis 12 has its own staging installation, however, Stageco remains active there as the provider of crowd safety barriers in co-operation with Mojo Barriers. Since last September, Stageco has worked there on around 10 concerts by the likes of Faithless, Major Lazer and The Prodigy, for Live Nation and Greenhouse Talent and production companies Step In Live and Roadrunner. Other venues that benefit from Stageco’s know-how during the ‘dark’ months include the Ancienne Belgique, Cirque Royal, Vorst Nationaal and Botanique in Brussels, Antwerp’s De Roma and the Ethias Arena in Hasselt. At these smaller venues, we mostly we take care of the barriers but occasionally we are asked to install a small stage,” says Wim Maes. “It all adds to the rich and varied range of work that we take on across the year.”

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Stageco Nederland b.v. Aalsvoort 14 7241 MA Lochem Tel: +31 573 25 63 02 Fax: +31 573 25 60 62 info.nederland@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 Deutschland GmbH Herzbergstrasse 120 10365 Berlin Tel: +49 30 54 98 72 40 Fax: +49 30 54 98 72 44 info.berlin@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 StagecoU.S. Inc Manheim 181 E. Stiegel St. Manheim, PA 17545 Tel: +1 866 782 4326 info.us@stageco.com

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Photography © Chris Weger, Geert Pieters, PSE Belgium & L.O.C.O.

Typically, the stage consists of several ‘blocks’ that are fixed together to form the stage. They are detached as soon as a show is over and rolled out one by one to an outside ‘boneyard’ until the next load-in, when the central blocks are rolled into the venue again, attached together. At that point, any necessary adjustments are then made to the existing base structure. Each stage is adjusted to the specific requirements of the client, including the addition of various side structures such as FOH risers, camera platforms and a catwalk. On average, a stage will be formed from one trailer load of scaffolding material, and will take two Stageco supervisors and a local stagehand crew a day to build. Since last autumn, Stageco has been delighted to work with Live Nation, Greenhouse Talent, PSE, Benelive, Studio 100, Step In Live, Roadrunner, Geert Delbaere and Jan De Keyser on shows ranging from Texas, Simple Minds and Engelbert Humperdinck to Ozark Henry and K3.

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


IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT, WE CAN BUILD IT.

EDITED BY MARK CUNNINGHAM / LIVECULTURE GROUP FOR AND ON BEHALF OF STAGECO STAGING GROUP