STAGECO NEWS Summer 2015

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INTERNATIONAL

NEWS

A WHOLE LOTTA STEEL! AC/DC Return With Rock Or Bust

Electric Daisy Carnival American Adventures

with Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Rolling Stones & more

Udo Lindenberg Mission: Impossible PremiĂŠre SUMMER 2015

Guus Meeuwis Festival Action

in Budapest, Eindhoven, Houston, Arras, Weston-Super-Mare & Ibiza

Working With Shimizu Octo W W W. S TAG E C O. C O M


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Home And Away INTERNATIONAL NEWS

IN THIS ISSUE SUMMER 2015

3 • MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED 4 • ON THE ROAD, OPEN AIR A Dutch Triple 6 • AC/DC... WE SALUTE YOU! 9 • MAIN SQUARE FESTIVAL 10 • AMERICAN ADVENTURES with Tom Frederickx 14 • BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR EDC UK 17 • ON AN ISLAND: SZIGET 18 • FLASHBACK: GENESIS 2007 20 • UDO LINDENBERG 21 • BRUSSELS SUMMER FESTIVAL 22 • EASTERN PROMISE 24 • EVOLUTION IN 11 STAGES

A lot of people in live production will agree that summer is absolutely the wrong time of the year to take a holiday. It is always the busiest period for Stageco and we particularly like the fact that traffic jams in Belgium become relatively scarce. I normally wait until the winter months to take a proper break, by which time I really need it! Summer may be coming to an end but if you saw our project diary, you might doubt it. Some of our major outdoor tours, like One Direction and AC/DC, are continuing in America way into September, with the latter going off to Australasia towards the end of the year, and the whole dance scene in the States carries on and keeps us very active. The fashion world is about to wake up again with shows in Paris that will involve our staging systems and crews. Elsewhere, it is business as usual. Our German office has enjoyed a lively season and they have a series of jobs coming up in the corporate world. Traditionally, the corporates slow down for the summer but pick up again from September onwards with a number of sophisticated events that we always look forward to servicing. September is usually a busy month for the local Belgian event market with small festivals in Brussels, while we are also getting ready to work on several indoor shows in Ghent and Antwerp at venues like the Sportpaleis. As autumn gets underway and the office starts to relax with some members of staff going away on leave, we take the opportunity to bring our admin up to date, and when the equipment returns home we will begin a maintenance program. There’s always something going on here. The exhibition season is also on the horizon and I hope to meet some of you at the PLASA Show, where I’m delighted to have been invited to deliver the keynote address at the Rigging Conference on October 5th. Tot binnenkort! Hedwig De Meyer, Stageco President

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standard Stageco materials, this job also called for special components, mainly for handrails, columns and façade elements. This project posed a special challenge in that the lead time for planning was a very short three weeks, and space in front of the Opera was extremely tight – Vienna’s Ringstrasse had to be temporarily closed. Live Nation UK, the client, was reportedly delighted with the outcome of an event that proved to be a resounding success.

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Photography © Malcolm Birkett

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is the fifth installment of the American spy movie series and so far it has grossed more than $2 billion at box offices worldwide. Principal filming began during August 2014 in Vienna where, Tom Cruise’s lead character Ethan Hunt was spotted in scenes on the roof of the city’s State Opera House. Adding context to the proceedings, it was Cruise’s wish for the world premiere of the film to be held in Vienna and the ‘red carpet date’ was set for July 23rd 2015, with Stageco’s German office hired as one of the key production contractors alongside Chromatic Productions, PRG, Faber Audiovisuals, AEP, AKB and Zeros. The ground-level red carpet in front of the Opera House ended in a circular interview platform, and the stars approached it via two staircases descending from a 60 metre long, six metre high platform that included a cantilever section measuring around 20 metres. Besides the

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Photography courtesy of Stageco Nederland

from the Netherlands. The biggest highlight of the year for Meeuwis, however, came at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven when his ‘summer carnival’ show, Groots Met Een Zachte G (Groots With A Soft G), played its 10th consecutive season over five nights in June. Stageco Nederland has been involved in all of Meeuwis’ stadium shows since 2006 when the company supplied six trucks of equipment. The star’s production values have since grown to the extent where, in 2015, Stageco NL provided 16 trucks to fulfil the requirements of the set designer and technical producer. Arjan Bettink headed the Stageco crew in Eindhoven, where much of their work was focused on constructing the roof (‘recycled’ from previous Johnny Hallyday tours) and a centre structure based on Stageco’s 1036 Super Towers with 1800 trusses, as well as a large amount of Layher scaffolding for the stage wings. Out in the field, the crew also built a pair of black steel followspot/delay towers. On June 20th, the last night of Meeu-

wis’ five-night run at the stadium, Dutch TV channel RTL4 broadcast the artist’s entire concert live to an estimated 1.2 million viewers. Meanwhile, tickets for Meeuwis’ return to the Philips Stadion in 2016 are being snapped up fast. Here’s to another successful 20 years! THE MUMFORDS RETURN Just eight days after performing underneath a Stageco roof this summer at Rock Werchter, English modern folk-rock giants Mumford & Sons played to an open-air audience of over 40,000 at Goffertpark in Nijmegen as part of the band’s latest Gentlemen Of The Road tour. The Mumfords’ current live activity follows the release of Wilder Mind, their third studio album, which was recorded after a five-month break and débuted at number one in the UK chart, becoming the second fastest-selling album of the year to date.

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Guus Meeuwis at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven.

Business during the first half of the summer has been very good in the Netherlands, according to Stageco Nederland director Eddie Slotboom. And it is partly due to the activities of one of the biggest names on the Dutch music scene, Guus Meeuwis – a regular hitmaker since he first made headlines 20 years ago with his chart-topping band Vagant. Since 2001, Meeuwis has been working as a solo artist and his live shows have consistently earned notoriety as major spectacles. Celebrating his 20th anniversary in the music business this year, Meeuwis set about making it extra special with a number of initiatives. The year began with the opening of his own pop-up restaurant, Gustaaf (his real name), in an old Tilburg factory with Michelin chef Dick Middelweerd in the kitchen. In May, 43-year-old Meeuwis fulfilled his lifelong dream to perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall, to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 5,000. Tickets to the concert sold out extremely quickly, and demand was so high that an additional flight from Eindhoven was arranged especially for fans travelling

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5 Mumford & Sons’ in Nijmegen.

For the July 4th show at Goffertpark – at the request of promoter Mojo Concerts’ production manager Thijs van Dalen – a Stageco NL crew led by Gerard Bahrt built a 4-tower roof along with copious scaffolding, entrances, lighting and set towers, amounting to 14 truckloads of equipment. Presented in association with Dutch broadcaster 3FM, the Mumford & Sons featured support from Eaves, The Vaccines and Bear’s Den.

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Photography courtesy of Stageco Nederland

SUN, SEA, SAND & SOUNDS This summer has marked Stageco Nederland’s continued involvement with Corona SunSets (right), the famous beer brand’s music festival tour of beach resorts, featuring varied line-ups of live bands and DJs, and presenting a set design by Amsterdam-based Nachtlab. Stageco NL arrived at each venue with two trucks of equipment to build a roofless scaffolding structure for the main stage – the first show being on July 11th along Marine Parade in Weston-Super-Mare, UK, where Clean Bandit (with Jess Glynne) and Groove Armada shared the bill with acts including Rob Da Bank and Eton Messy. With Stageco supplying virtually identical equipment, Corona SunSets moved

to Porto Di Rimini in Italy on July 25th, with Steve Angello and Robin Schulz heading up the main stage bill. The European leg of the tour wrapped on August 13th as Duke Dumont, Pete Tong, Claptone and other big names appeared on the Sunset main stage at Benimussa Park, San Antonio in the dance capital of the world, Ibiza. Corona SunSets’ technical production was driven by Backbone International, and Stageco’s crew chief was Jelle Hassink. Eddie Slotboom summarised: “Corona SunSets was launched in 2014 and has also appeared in Mexico, with future plans to play in China and Australia. It became an immediate hit with the audiences last year, so it was great to be asked back. “I am sure that our experience of working on so many international festivals has helped to make these events relaxed and enjoyable for the Corona team. “It’s been another great summer all round for us, although it is far from over yet with the Lowlands, Mysteryland, Burning Man and Q Base festivals in late August and September, and the celebrations of the 200-year anniversary of the Koninkrijk.”

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6 An explosive AC/DC at Wembley Stadium on July 4th 2015.

Photography: Morten Flavio

AC/DC... We Salute You! With their iconic exploding cannons and a giant inflatable woman named Rosie, AC/DC are back on their latest stadium tour – Rock Or Bust – to reinforce their enduring success as one of rock’s most instantly recognisable riff machines. After headlining the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in California in April, the band began their 28-date European leg at Arnhem GelreDome in the Netherlands on May 5th, notably calling at Wembley Stadium on July 4th for a show that was hailed by The Guardian as “rock’n’roll reduced to its purest essence”. Performing under a Stageco arched roof, topped with a pair of devilish horns, the band – 60 year old ‘schoolboy’ guitar hero Angus Young, singer Brian Johnson and bassist Cliff Williams, with returning drummer Chris Slade and rhythm guitarist Stevie Young taking his retired uncle Malcolm’s place – delivered a non-stop rollercoaster of monster anthems that have been the backbone of heavy rock for 40 years. Their Rock Or Bust stage is based on the curved roof technology that Stageco introduced as the Giant Arch for Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell tour in 1994, a copy of which is being deployed this summer in Andorra for Cirque du Soleil’s show Scalada: Storia. AC/DC’s model is a smaller variation of this arched roof and is similar to that developed for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It measures 66.3 metres wide; the central arch is 16 metres high with a width of 23 metres. SUMMER 2015

Taking care of the tour on behalf of Stageco is project manager Bert Kustermans and main R&D engineer Dirk Van De Goor who collaborated with technical consultant Jeremy Lloyd of Wonder Works. The three have worked closely with Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth, the innovative production manager who has played a pivotal role in Stageco’s history. At Wembley, Opie explained that Stageco’s contributions to the tour come under three main categories: quality, service and staff. He said: “As always, they bring everything to the table from when there’s a presentation of the design to them, to figuring out how it’s going to work and what it’s going to take. They come to all the meetings and organise the engineering to the point of making it happen in such a way that you’re not having to fight your way through the day. “Right off the bat, we all saw that their solutions would make it easy to take this around the world. Stageco go in, build the framework, then we come in with production and in eight hours we can have the show completely ready.” Working to a design by Ray Winkler of Stufish, Stageco and set fabricator Tait have pooled their individual expertise to create a set that truly embodies the heart and soul of AC/DC. Jeremy Lloyd commented: “While it would be simple to explain that Stageco have provided the steel structures and Tait have focused on the ‘rusted’ corrugated cladding that fixes to the Stageco roof, and the two horns, the partnership STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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has been more in depth. For Tait’s rolling B-stage runway, Stageco builds a subdeck underneath to ensure its foundations are level. That’s absolutely key to the moments in the show when Angus Young runs out nearer to the crowd for his famous cameo moments.”

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Photography & drawings: Stageco

STEEL AND LABOUR The relationship between AC/DC and Stageco began in 1991 with the Razors Edge tour, under Jake Berry’s production leadership. Since then, the Belgian company has been responsible for all of its large-scale staging and, for the Rock Or Bust tour, Stageco is leapfrogging three steel systems with crews headed by Stefaan Vandenbosch, Hendrik Verdeyen and Johan ‘Bellekes’ Van Espen. Verdeyen, the crew chief at Wembley Stadium, explained: “Each system travels on 14 trucks with a crew of 12, and they include a carpenter, two scaffolders, climbers and so on. The stage structure includes the nine metre wide PA/video

wings and Tait’s horns, and requires a three-day build using two cranes and eight forklifts, working from 8am to 7pm with 24 local crew [Showstars at Wembley] assisting our own guys. It’s a welloiled machine. “At this moment, one steel system is travelling from our last show at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to Imola in Italy, and another is setting up at the Festivalpark Stenehei in Dessel, Belgium. Another two trucks are reserved for four delay/ spot towers and a front-of-house control riser that are set up at each venue by a separate two-man crew. “It’s not one of our most complex builds but you approach each venue in a slightly different way, according to its specific attributes. The main thing is to finish the arch and once that is done, you can work on the rest of the detail. It’s also by far not the biggest performance area we’ve ever built but it has a very powerful appearance and because the band members are closer together, it

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gives you the impression that you’re in a more intimate venue – that’s normally quite difficult to achieve in a stadium!” Jeremy Lloyd admits that he has worked with Stageco on more projects than he can remember – The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, U2, Genesis, Robbie Williams and, of course, AC/DC being among them. Many occurred during his fouryear tenure as senior designer at Stufish. Since early 2014, he has partnered with Piers Shepperd at technical production company Wonder Works. Said Lloyd: “We have that shared experience of doing so many jobs together, it makes everything go much more smoothly. We understand how Stageco do their CAD and their engineering, and how their equipment works, but over that time we’ve also built up some very solid relationships which obviously makes for a pleasant working environment, and the results speak for themselves.”

Photography: Mark Cunningham

INCLINE In physical load-in terms, none of the venues posed a problem to date, however, AC/DC’s show at Hockenheimring in Germany on May 16th was notable for other reasons. “There’s a fairly relatively steep incline from FOH up to the stage at Hockenheim – about two metres difference,” said Opie. “Angus must have felt like he was on the end of a cliff when he was on the B-stage.

“Many of us are very familiar with Hockenheim and it was one of the big topics of our planning discussions so we had our solutions in place well before we arrived. For different reasons, Italy can be more of a challenge because their venues’ rules and regulations are very strict, but everybody has been on top of it.” Opie stressed how important AC/DC’s presentation is to the band members. “This is presentation with a capital ‘P’,” he said. “AC/DC have a seriously loyal following who know exactly what they want to see, and so the band remain heavily involved in – and very particularly about – the production. “Everyone loves the familiarity of the band’s visual trademarks and so we have the bell and the cannons, and a new version of our inflatable Rosie, not forgetting the iconic wall of Marshalls. It’s a look that has expanded in size since the last tour and the guys love it. The Marshall amplifiers are real, stressed Opie, although they’re not all turned on. “Of the 35 stacks, 24 are live, and obviously we carry a lot of spares!” The current Rock Or Bust itinerary runs until December 15th when the band finish their Australasian leg at Western Springs Stadium in Auckland. However, plans are in motion to extend the tour into 2016, said Opie. “It’s all being worked on and by the end of the European leg we should have the rest of the dates put together.”

Above, L-R: Production manager Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth, technical consultant Jeremy Lloyd and Stageco’s Ben Hommers, Mark Van Dyck, Hendrik Verdeyen, Wim Carens & Benny Sterckx. SUMMER 2015

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folding wall between the two stages that was cladded with special acoustic skins to minimise environmental noise. The project manager for Stageco was Tom Bilsen (the divisional director of Stageco France) while the company’s lead R&D contact was Luc Dardenne. RELAXED In a twist of fate, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl’s leg injury in June made for a slightly more relaxed load-in at Main Square. Part of the equipment was scheduled to be shipped in immediately after a Foos show in Edinburgh. Once the show was cancelled due to Grohl’s on-stage accident in Gothenburg, Stageco suddenly had plenty of time to ship the gear to Arras. After rearranging their touring plans, Foo Fighters will be returning to the UK in early September for shows at Milton Keynes National Bowl and Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium.

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Photography: Stageco

Since 2006, Stageco has been a key supplier to the annual Main Square Festival, which takes place ever first weekend of July in the striking historical site of Citadelle Vauban in Arras, France, just across the border from Belgium. The three-day event was created two years earlier by France Leduc Productions and currently attracts around 40,000 visitors per day. This year, with the promise of Muse, Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell Williams, George Ezra, James Bay, Kodaline, Rival Sons, The Script and Hozier, Main Square sold out for the first time in its history. Commissioned by promoter Live Nation France, a Stageco crew of 11, supervised by Patrik Vonckx, built a Boogdak XL roof for the main stage and a 3-tower roof for the ‘Green Room’ second stage. Stageco also constructed several other structures around the site – delay and PA towers, small platforms and entrance gates, etc. – along with a scaf-

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10 Kenny Chesney on his Big Revival tour.

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Photography: Robb Cohen & Stageco US

Stageco US project manager Tom Frederickx talks about the wide range of activities that have dominated this summer. Time really flies. It’s really hard to believe that nearly two and a half years have passed since I came over from Belgium to join Stageco’s Colorado Springs office, having already worked for the company as a structural engineer since 2000. Obviously, the sheer size of the country makes doing business much more of a challenge compared to Europe. If you are sending equipment out on a job that has a tight deadline, like most of our jobs, it needs to be right because the distances involved do not allow for mistakes. It’s the kind of realisation that nurtures tough self-discipline. Most of us connected with the company know the back story. Stageco US was incorporated in June 1992 after a series of events and mutual contacts brought Hedwig De Meyer and our vice-president Mary Lou Figley together. Some things haven’t changed too much; other aspects of the business have altered beyond recognition. Mary Lou, myself and the rest of our team have a lot of complementary experience and skills that slot together like jigsaw pieces. That team also includes project managers

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Casey Ross and recent recruit Jonathan Hawkins, draftsmen Nick Rivas and Patrick Herron, Beth Benson who looks after crew logistics and travel, equipment manager Keith Ray and our accountant Veronica Dix. On an average day in the office, while Mary Lou [who also works as a project manager] handles most of the client communications because of her close relationships with so many of them, I will focus on more of the technical aspects of the projects. So far, in our busiest period of 2015, we have simultaneously had eight European crews working here in America. It began to ease off a little in early August but from the third week everything was very busy once again with some more dance festivals [Nocturnal Wonderland’s 20th anniversary event and Beyond Wonderland], Made In America in Philadelphia and Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park, which will then take us through to the end of September. Our summer season started very early this year, thanks to Kenny Chesney, whose tour began for us at the end of April,

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Top row: Bird’s eye views of the Kenny Chesney and (right) Taylor Swift stages. Above: Ms Swift – on stage and pre-show. Below: Stageco US’s Mary Lou Figley and Tom Frederickx.

THE CHESNEY-SWIFT EFFECT Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival tour is a huge success [grossing in excess of $80 million over 56 shows] that launched in stadiums just before Taylor and just ended on August 29th. Mary Lou was account manager for this one and she liaised directly with production manager Ed Wannabe. It was a Mike Swinford design and our crew boss, James ‘Jimbo’ Ramacus, looked after a team of 11. The Chesney stage had a regular Stageco 4-tower roof system – 25m wide and 20m deep – with custom rotated double PA wings, video portals, spot/delay towers and a FOH riser

added to the 12-trailer package. One of the big moments in his show was a fly gag. There were cables connected between the stage and the two delay towers, and Kenny flew out on them into the middle of the audience. It’s a gag that the crowd really loved, night after night. Designed by Barry ‘Baz’ Halpin, the 1989 tour has definitely increased Taylor Swift’s star status. I’m proud to say that this is one of my own projects and I’ve been working with Arthur Kemish (production manager) and David Lanosga (Stageco crew chief) on the schedule. This current North American tour, which is set to close at the end of October, requires 13 trailers of gear and 12 crew. For almost all shows we used the same type of 4-tower roof as with Chesney, but with two extra portals to deal with rigging capacity. In the middle of the schedule. Taylor did some arena shows and then, in July, when she had more stadium shows, we needed a second system – a SuperRoof – for two dates. We have also provided two 12m wide and 5m deep PA wings. ZIPPED FOR ACTION Lasting from May 24th until July 15th, The Rolling Stones’ Zip Code tour of North America was another huge box office triumph for the band. Zip Code is a clever name that, as well as referencing the zip on the cover of Sticky Fingers, the Stones’ classic album that was recently re-released, the area zip codes that were local to each venue on the tour were featured on the video screens as part of the pre-show entertainment.

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Photography: Jill Trunnell, WB Rosenblum, Shaun Luberski & Stageco US

with Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour following in late May. Very soon afterwards, we were given very short notice that the Rolling Stones were springing back into live action with their Zip Code tour. There had been some rumours about it but you can’t plan a business schedule around gossip. When we finally got the call, we had to make it all work very quickly. It’s good to have a season begin with multiple systems out on the road for long runs with all hands on deck. While they were out there, back in the office we had some time to concentrate on the new festivals that had come our way, such as the Free Press Summer Festival in Houston, as well as planning how to meet the greater demands of our services for the flagship Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, which draws around 150,000 people, three days in a row. So, all in all, April, May and June were unusually hectic months for us, and here are some of the highlights...


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Photography: Tim Johnson, Jack Gorman & Stageco US. Rolling Stones Zip Code logo © Musidor B.V.

Fifty-three years and counting, and still no sign of stopping: The Rolling Stones. Below: FPSF 2015 in downtown Houston with Tears For Fears (Roland Orzabal pictured) amongst the artist highlights.

There wasn’t really much difference from a staging perspective compared to last year’s 14 On Fire European dates. The SuperRoof was essentially the same as the one used in 2014, but dressed differently and slightly simplified to enable a faster build. We had two 15-trailer systems leapfrogging on the road with Patrick Martens and Antonio Duarte Da Cruz each leading a European crew of 14. They also erected spot and delay towers, as well as the FOH riser. Certain similarities have also been present on One Direction’s On The Road Again tour of 22 American cities which began in San Diego on July 9th and continues through to mid-September. They are essentially touring with a design that they previously had out in Australia. It’s a tour that carries three Stageco 4-tower roof systems, custom rotated double PA wing and a pair of spot/delay towers, with each system

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built by a 10-strong team headed by a variety of crew chiefs including Bart Dewolf and Stephane Angelis. HOUSTON CALLING Launched in 2009, the annual Free Press Summer Festival (FPSF) is an annual two-day music festival held in downtown Houston, Texas at Buffalo Bayou’s Eleanor Tinsley Park. FPSF 2015, held on June 6-7, presented such leading acts as Tears For Fears, Skrillex, R Kelly, Ben Harper, Weezer and Band Of Horses amongst its extraordinary large bill. Organised by the local independent newspaper Free Press Houston in partnership with concert promoter Pegstar.net Presents, FPSF 2015 witnessed Stageco US’s first association with the festival. With Farley Gross leading a five-man crew, we took care of the main [Mars] stage and brought in six trailers

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Scenes from EDC Vegas in June. Top left: Building the structures. Top right and above: The Crystal Cathedral, Cadillac/Pyramid and Wasteland stages Below, right: Coming soon... some of the last projects of summer ‘15 for Stageco US.

to build an 18 metre wide, 14 metre deep Boogdak roof with seven metre wide PA/video wings, a front of house control platform and one spot/delay tower.

SEE OVERLEAF FOR A REPORT ON

Photography: Insomniac & Stageco US

CRYSTAL MAGIC By far, our most technically challenging project of the year has been the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas which was just immense on every level. Our work on the main stage in 2014 was a major undertaking on its own but this time we provided three of the seven stages, requiring 56 equipment trailers. Jake Berry, the EDC Vegas production manager, was constantly requesting quotes for new elements of the show, and the size of our order was growing by the day to include items like video screen portals that appeared in various parts of the site. Logistically, it was difficult because, when we were loading in, incredible amounts equipment were arriving in Vegas from four different locations – Colorado Springs, Manheim, Houston and Belgium – and then heading back out afterwards to numerous destinations. That was a real adventure! If we hadn’t been able to plan that as well as

we did, there was every chance that some projects would have been declined. There was no way we were going to risk that, so all our administration skills were very tightly focused on making everything work. The main [Crystal Cathedral] stage was a new design for 2015 and the usual plan is to shrink it down to form a touring version that go around the world for the next year. Last year’s cathedral was intended to be a shrine that presented music in a religious sense, but for 2015 the narrative behind the event was all about the Crystal Village. And, of course, the motif of the owl continued to play a prominent role. Although the festival was open to the public over the three days of June 19-21, it was a three week job for our crew. We had a good mix of US and European crew, the numbers of which grew from 14 to 25 at the peak of activity, with Farley Gross, Paul Van Belle, Johan Van Espen and Mark Van Gorp taking their turns to head the teams at various times on our three custom structures, including the one referred to as either the Pyramid or the Cadillac, because it was originally designed for a Cadillac presentation.

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Show photography: Jake West for Insomniac • Crew & technical photography: Mark Cunningham

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Building The Foundation For EDC UK

Over 35,000 revellers flocked to Milton Keynes National Bowl on Saturday 11th July to be a part of the Electric Daisy Carnival UK, the British edition of the phenomenally successful dance music event brand that has been taking America by storm since the late ‘90s. Hosted in the UK for the third time, this year’s bill featured sets from dance legends Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Hardwell, Ferry Corsten and Steve Aoki. Towering over Milton Keynes at around 28 metres tall and nearly 100 metres wide, the sheer expanse of the kineticCATHEDRAL main stage at the Electric Daisy Carnival UK (EDC UK) was enough to incite a stare of jaw-dropping disbelief from the average onlooker. But size was only one of the attributes of a dazzling scenic achievement that once again saw Stageco working alongside some of live production’s greatest innovators. The kinetic energy-themed sensory feast – with giant owls bookending the stage, largerthan-life art installations and a diverse range of special effects including around 3,000

pyrotechnic sequences – gave British ravers a flavour of the stunning panoramic scenery that American audiences have been experiencing in recent years. EDC was originated in the US by Los Angeles-based production company Insomniac, which recently announced plans to expand the Electric Daisy Carnival experience to Brazil and Japan. Insomniac’s main players on the ground at the UK show were production director Alyxzander Bear and festival experience director Conor Bowes, while production manager Neil McDonald and project manager Jen-e Jones handled the local aspects on behalf of promoter Festival Republic. McDonald observed: “With respect to the acts, this is one of the few events that you can confidently say is more about the audience and the spectacle than anything else. It’s one of the hottest events out there right now.

Right: Production manager Neil McDonald with project manager Jen-e Jones, and (bottom) Stageco’s head of technicians for the event, Paul Van Belle. SUMMER 2015

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an-based production as was feasible, although it still entailed six containers of equipment coming over from the States.” CREW Dirk De Decker managed the project for Stageco with Gert Hulsmans looking after the R&D aspects. Led on-site by Wies Baaten, Stageco’s crew of 12 arrived three days before the show to unload 17 trailers of equipment and begin the stage build, with assistance from 12 local climbers and 10 stagehands from Showstars. “Having worked on EDC’s Las Vegas edition, the Milton Keynes stage has been quite easy to build, particularly because the climate allows us to work during the day, which isn’t the case in

Las Vegas,” commented Paul Van Belle, Stageco’s head of technicians at the event. “It’s a very beautiful structure and what I particularly like is the absence of skins – it’s completely open. So it’s all about our black steel, the scaffolding and decking, although we also assist with other aspects of the set such as Jora Entertainment’s cladding, the video screens, the DJ booth with its scaffolding, PRG’s stage lighting and Britannia Row’s PA system hangs. “Our first concern is the base structure – if you don’t do it properly, especially with a stage design like this, you’ll run into serious trouble. These days, we work with a theodolite that helps us to ensure we are completely level. It’s very time consuming but essential.

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Show photography: Jake West for Insomniac • Crew & technical photography: Mark Cunningham

“EDC’s approach to creativity is more familiar to America and Europe than the UK. I don’t think the UK had previously seen a dance event with such a creative drive to it and, of course, that impacts tremendously on the design of the stages and the site, and the whole approach to the event. “Here at Milton Keynes, they’ve borrowed from a model that has been a tremendous success in America [where Insomniac presented the largest stage in the world at Las Vegas Motor Speedway]. In consultancy with Stageco’s team, Insomniac worked out how that Stageco structure would accommodate all of the scenic elements, such as the owls. What we’ve done here is to effectively mimic what they’ve achieved in America, using as much Europe-


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“The only significant issue for us is time pressure – to have the grids up in the air, ready for production after the second day, and then have the entire structure completed within three days. It’s a bit of a push but we get there. Until our structure is in place, everyone is just waiting around.” In the middle of a busy summer, Neil McDonald particularly looked forward to working at Milton Keynes Bowl this year. “From my perspective as a production manager, it’s the best green field site to work on in the UK,” he said, “but it is also great for the audience because it was purpose designed to meet all the criteria.”

Show photography: Bennett Sell-Kline for Insomniac

POST-MORTEM After the event, McDonald voiced his personal appreciation of Stageco’s vital contributions, which also included the supply

and build of the front-of-house control structure, and four delay/spot towers. “This has been the most seamless show I’ve worked on in a long time,” McDonald commented. “There was a long pre-production period of nearly a year that involved a lot of communication and detailed organisation, to the point that when we got on-site, although we expected a few nips and tucks, everything came in and went up just as it looked on paper. It’s all in the preparation and that, amongst so many other qualities, is Stageco’s strength. I’m glad to report that it was remarkably uneventful backstage!” Pasquale Rotella, the founder and CEO of Insomniac, was equally happy. He said: “This year’s EDC UK has been an amazing celebration of music, art and individuality. The festival has truly found a home across the Atlantic.”

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Photography courtesy of Stageco Germany

Held on Óbudai-sziget (Old Buda Island), a 266-acre island on the River Danube in northern Budapest, Hungary, the annual Sziget Fesztivál was originally founded in 1993 as Diáksziget (Students’ Island) by a group led by Müller Péter Sziámi and Károly Gerendai after the fall of Communism. Currently attracting over 440,000 people from 95 countries, Sziget reinforced its reputation as one of Europe’s largest and most successful summer music events with a line-up that featured Florence And The Machine, Alt-J, Kasabian, The Script, Kings Of Leon, Limp Bizkit, Ellie Goulding, Paloma Faith, Rudimental, the controversial Pussy Riot, New York post-punkers Interpol and Robbie Williams who, alone, attracted 80,000 visitors to the main stage. Stageco Germany, together with its local partner B.L. Crew KFT, was responsible for the main stage and countless other constructions. The staging material, including that for the 4-tower stage with ultra large PA wings, was delivered on 40 trucks. The 5,500m2 VIP platform on its own was quite possibly unparalleled in Europe. Sziget’s unique line-up also included several German artists such as Cro, Kraftclub and Milky Chance, along with the Bavarian brass/ska band LaBrassBanda. STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Turning It On For

The first tour by Genesis in 15 years proved to be one of the most commercially successful periods of the legendary prog rock band’s career... and Stageco was there all the way. Invisible Touch tour, providing a tower system for the stage based on crane technology and leaving behind the traditional scaffolding approach. It was as influential in the staging world as the band’s sophisticated music was to progressive rock. Twenty-one years later, that spirit of partnership was very evident when Stageco leapfrogged four stages around an intense schedule for the Turn It On Again tour of Europe and North America that was run by joint production managers Steve ‘Pud’ Jones and Howard Hopkins, with Wob Roberts and Gary Currier taking care of the advance work.

Photography © Mark Cunningham

Reunions come and go in the rock world, but few have been as potent as the one that brought Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and their sidemen Daryl Stuermer and Chester Thompson back together for a wildly successful 48-show stadium tour in 2007. It was the first time Genesis had stepped out as a single unit since their We Can’t Dance tour of 1992 – the band’s second encounter with Stageco that was notable for the company’s touring debut in the United States. Previously, in 1986, Stageco had worked on Genesis’

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The tour began on June 11 2007 in pouring rain at Helskini’s Olympic Stadium. Dominated by a 250ft wide curved LED screen, and featuring seven 110fit high steel ‘ribs’ linked by silver cargo netting, the elegant, regal-looking set was conceptualised by the late Mark Fisher, design engineered by Jeremy Lloyd and custom-built by Stageco. Back in 2007, Mark Fisher said: “Genesis wanted their stage to have an anti-industrial, organic quality that could reflect the understated Englishness of their music. At the same time, the stadium the tour was booked through Europe in blocks of three and four nights, ‘back to back’. Whilst this is normal for an arena show, it was unprecedented for a bespoke stadium tour travelling with a custom-built stage. The final design was an efficient structure that concealed the rectilinear primary structure beneath expressive curvilinear surfaces.” “The organic shapes were designed in AutoCAD and we also used a programme for structural calculations,” explained Dirk de Decker, Stageco’s project manager for the tour. “As with all our most challenging jobs, this Genesis stage was very technical and we had to draw on all our resources to deliver the service. I think everybody was pleased with the result.” Roberts, a self-confessed fan of the prog legends, said at the time that Genesis were the most rehearsed band with whom he had worked. “They like to know exactly what’s happening when they leave production rehearsals,” he said, “so for the last two weeks in Brussels, they would play a set every day, then review a video recording of that set with Patrick Woodroffe [lighting designer] and Dave Hill [lighting programmer/director], and talk to the video crew. They were very involved with every aspect of the presentation.”

The late confirmation of the tour meant that the delayed go-ahead to suppliers and crew pushed everything to the wire. Said Roberts: ”We didn’t actually commission the stage until February. It was all a bit panicky right up until we went to Tildonk in Belgium for two weeks at the end of April where the set was assembled for the first time on a patch of land adjacent to Stageco’s headquarters. “I looked after all the test building there and ran the production rehearsals for three weeks in Hall 5 at Brussels Expo. At the end of that three week period I effectively handed the project over to Pud and Howard.” The steel was manned by Stageco’s four low steel rigging teams and three for the high steel. In Europe, there were 55 steel trucks on the road and Dirk de Decker worked hard with Roberts to ensure that the right steel and crew were in the right place on time. “Jeremy Lloyd has to be congratulated for designing a stage that can go into venues within a tiny set-up window, commented Roberts. “He did all the engineering work along with Koon Peeters at Stageco to enable universal production to roll up with 22 trucks at 8.00am on show day and have everything in place for a show that evening.” Stageco’s work on the tour is briefly covered in ‘Come Rain Or Shine’, a documentary film included in the triple DVD set, When In Rome – filmed at the city’s Circo Massimo. Since the tour, Genesis have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and came together in 2014 to appear in the BBC’s career-length documentary, Genesis: Together And Apart. Sadly, despite the rekindled public interest in the band, they are not expected to return to the concert stage.

Photography © Mark Cunningham

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with special guests Eric Burdon, Jan Delay, Otto Waalkes, Clueso and Josephin Busch. A 21-truck production, Stageco Germany supplied an 11-truck custom-made stage system, which was based on Stageco’s 3-tower design with a 400m² performing area for Lindenberg’s Panikorchester (his on-stage musical ‘family’), guests, choir and dancers. The successful project also included the installation of 600m² of LED screen within the tilted PA wings and the stage header. The production manager on the tour was Pat Buhre. Stageco’s project manager was Dirk Lauenstein and the crew chiefs were Stefan Stadelmann and Sven ‘Jimmy’ Lange.

Photography © mike-auerbach.com

Forty-six years after forming his first band, German music legend Udo Lindenberg continues to pack out venues whenever he steps out to perform. The drummer-turned-singer’s last album – Live Aus Dem Hotel Atlantic, part of the MTV Unplugged series – went straight to number one in Germany and earned platinum status within a fortnight. Last year, with his profile higher than it has been in years, Lindenberg followed the album with his first-ever stadium tour, playing to more than 200,000 people over a handful of dates. Encouraged by the response, the artist returned this July to play a pair of shows at Hannover’s HDI Arena as well as the Berlin Olympiastadion and Frankfurt’s Commerzbank-Arena,

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Stageco Belgium made its debut at the 10-day cross-cultural Brussels Summer Festival this August, providing structures at two locations: the Paleizenplein/Place Des Palais stage (in front of the Royal Palace) – featuring star names including Imelda May, Flogging Molly, Basement Jaxx and Belgium’s The Subs – and the Mont Des Arts/Kunstberg stage, where Douglas Firs, Elvis Black Stars and Sarah Carlier were among the native acts. Guided by project managers Lies Rombouts and Tom Bilsen (and Bart Dekelver and Wim Dewolf who provided R&D support), crews from Stageco’s local and international divisions worked together to install both stages. A brief to provide the largest stage possible within a 27 metre space resulted in a Boogdak being chosen for the Paleizenplein, the home of the Royal Palace, although the stage’s right shed had to

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be removed to enable it to fit, with additional storage area created upstage to compensate. Two delay towers, a loading dock and a custom-made header were also part of the job. Close to the Place de l’Albertine, the Mont Des Arts/Kunstberg stage was constructed from one of Stageco’s smaller stage systems that has repeatedly proven to be very popular among smallscale festivals. A standard 25x10 stage, it came equipped with additional ramps, a loading dock and a front of house structure.

Photography © Tina Herbots & Stageco

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22 An example of one of Shimizu Octo’s SuperRoofs from Stageco.

Eastern Promise Japan has long been a highly respected part of the global event market and, thanks to a valued relationship, the land of the rising sun is benefitting from Stageco’s technology and expertise. Founded in 1932, Tokyo-based Shimizu Octo began life as the company that introduced professional baseball to Japan, and is today one of its country’s leading event production vendors, providing a 360° range of services from design and planning to audio, lighting and staging in venues of all sizes. Some years ago, after becoming acquainted through a number of international tours, Mr Takuji Shimizu, the company’s chairman, got in contact with Stageco Belgium to

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enquire about purchasing staging equipment to service the Japanese/Asian market. “That’s how the partnership began to grow between Stageco Belgium and Shimizu Octo,” says Hedwig De Meyer. “For us, Japan is a difficult market to service, but with Shimizu buying and renting out our stage systems makes it possible for touring bands like U2 and Mötley Crüe to have the same equipment when passing through Japan. “Business seems to be going well for Shimizu,

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“Even for our experienced, globetrotting crew who have seen it all, [meeting the Shimizu Octo team] is always a refreshing opportunity because the cultural differences are so huge and it always makes for a fascinating visit.” HEDWIG DE MEYER and in the last few years it has expanded its stock with three more SuperRoofs, and an assortment of spot and delay towers.” SPECIALISED Shimizu has its own specialised crew to install and dismantle stages, always within a very tight time schedule that takes into consideration the very limited availability of Japanese stadium venues that are inevitably booked up all year round. stadia in Japan. “They only need half the time for load-in as we do,” De Meyer continues, “and although they do use higher numbers of crew, they also seem to be organised more efficiently. “Every once in a while we have crew going over to Japan to help with maintenance or instruct them on technical updates. Even for our experienced, globetrotting crew who have seen it all, this is always a refreshing opportunity because the cultural differences are so huge and it always makes for a fascinating visit.” Shimzu Octo’s current portfolio of clients includes stadium rockers Mr. Children and superstar musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor and avid guitar collector Masaharu

IT’S TIME TO VOTE!

Fukuyama (above), whose recent, sold-out Big Summer Festival 2015 shows included a pair of dates at Inasayama Park in his Nagasaki hometown. Marking the 25th anniversary of Fukuyama’s debut record, the August 30th concert was also shown live in cinemas throughout Japan, Hong Kong and in Taiwan. www.shimizu-global.com

If you have witnessed any tours, festivals or other events over the last year that have featured the involvement of Stageco Staging Group and been suitably impressed by quality of the company’s stages, temporary structures and support crew, we humbly encourage you to vote for us in the Favourite Staging Company category of the 15th annual TPi Awards. The results will be announced in London on Monday 22nd February 2016. Please visit www.tpiawards.com/enter-now where voting is open until September 30th 2015. The procedure is very straightforward and we also hope to see you on the big night. THANK YOU!

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Evolution In Eleven Stages 1... EUREKA! Stageco’s first Eureka moment came at the beginning of the 1980s when, through experimenting, Hedwig De Meyer and his colleagues found that a combination of framework beams, also known as a tower, was far more convenient for building stages than a scaffolding tower, and thus became a standard part of the stage. More fundamental choices were soon made – they included building the floor and towers separately, using water as counterweight, and building the roof structure on the ground before raising it. 2... CREATING THE ‘750’ The first fully-fledged Stageco tower stage was built in 1983 on the festival grounds at Werchter. A functional black box consisting of all standard elements, it was easily built, dismantled and transported – the standard for the next 30 years. In 1983, the towers had a 1m x 1m base. From 1986 onwards, they were made of high-grade steel with a 750mm x 750mm base, hence the name ‘750 Stage’. In the design phase, the approach was purely pragmatic; the appearance was not taken into consideration. Gradually, a number of variants were developed: 3-tower, 4-tower… with widths ranging from 15 to 26 metres.

Photography © Stageco & Mark Fisher/Stufish

3... PA TOWERS The tower stage inspired Stageco to create more innovations. In the 1980s, PA wings were scaffolding towers with two to three levels upon which loudspeakers were placed. Dirk Van de Goor: “That’s the way we did it every year at the Werchter festival, yet we were the first to cast aside that principle. We suggested hanging the speakers in the scaffolding, to ‘fly’ them, as we said. We did it like this for Pink Floyd in 1988 and used towers for this on, for example, David Bowie in 1990 and Dire Straits in 1992.” The tower principle became more than a sure fire way of delivering value – ‘hanging’ is so much more efficient and safer than ‘stacking’. 4... CUSTOM SPECIALS Rock bands wanted more. Smart designers brought the robust but ‘sterile’ standard stage to life. They did it by adding elements that were specifically designed for

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the show. The objective of this approach was two-fold: maintaining a high functionality and adding a personal touch. Stageco fulfilled both wishes. Dirk De Decker: “Stageco was constantly being challenged – in 1992 by Genesis and in 1994 by both Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones. Mark Fisher came up with eye-catching stage designs. For Stageco, these were the very first ‘specials’.” 5... CANTILEVER The evolution didn’t stop there. Dirk Van de Goor: “Bon Jovi’s [These Days] 1995 tour was another pivotal moment. Jon wanted a larger roof with a bigger free span at the front of the stage so that, in larger stadiums, the band could move further forward on the stage. It made it possible for people to see them from the sides, which in turn allowed for more tickets to be sold. “To solve this on the technical side, we worked with roof trusses with a strong anchorage at the back of the stage. And later, we combined this with a pitched roof. Technically, it’s all very subtle, because you need to support the large overhanging part of the roof.” The result was called the cantilever roof. The technology was later optimised in the SuperRoof. 6... ARCHED ELEGANCE The Romans already knew it when they built aqueducts, and the Romanesque or even Gothic architecture was based on the same principle. The arch shape has a high bearing capacity and Stageco applied that shape in its Arch product line. In combination with lightweight aluminium profiles, it results in an elegant and robust stage. Although not suitable for heavy loads in the roof, it became much sought after when the aesthetic aspect of the event is important, such as at classical music concerts and daytime events in urban settings, especially when combined with transparent skins. 7... SUPERROOF / SUPER TINA At the end of the 1990s, the call for bigger and stronger stages became louder and louder. Productions grew with increased sound, lighting, video and décor. But not every artist could afford to tour with a custom-made stage.

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25 With this in mind, Stageco developed the SuperRoof: a majestic structure with more useful performance space and a roof with a higher bearing capacity. The new design had a 1,034mm x 1,034mm tower base and a roof structure with 1.80 metre high trusses, and for the first time it was lifted with winches. In early 2000, the SuperRoof was groundbreaking and rock-solid with ‘everything under one roof’. Tina Turner deployed it for her 24/7 world tour. 8... FREE-STANDING TOWERS The free-standing tower is to Stageco what the wheel is to the bicycle: simple, ingenious and vital. Its possibilities are numerous. In the late ’90s, free-standing towers were already in use, but only very occasionally for hanging PA speakers or spotlights, as was the case on the Rolling Stones’ Bridges To Babylon tour in 1997, and Céline Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love tour of 1999. But only when, in 2002, Jake Berry identified the many advantages of the free-standing tower, did Stageco focus more attention on the one-tower construction. It became prominent on the Stones’ Licks tour along with many other concerts and festivals as a delay tower, spotlight tower or an ‘eagle’s nest’ for production. 9... ENTER BOOGDAK Whilst on the subject of elegance, the Boogdak is just as functional as a tower stage, but it primarily serves an aesthetic purpose. It was originally destined for the French market, where style and appearance are very important. The first Boogdak made its début in 2004 in the waters of the Mediterranean for a special concert during the Cannes Film Festival. In 2008, it had a similar impact when it travelled around the world with Iron Maiden. Whilst not a technical wonder, the Boogdak remains an ideal brand profiler for clients who are looking for something different without necessarily requiring a custom-made stage. Hedwig: “The development of the Boogdak proves we are trendsetters.

We keep one step ahead by launching new lines and offering a better service because that global picture still is our core business.” 10... U2’s MILESTONE For U2’s record-breaking 360° tour, all existing knowledge about staging formats, construction techniques, equipment and transport had to be questioned. Hedwig: “In our world we often speak of ‘before and after U2’ – year ‘zero’ so to speak. U2’s 360° ‘Claw’ was not so much a milestone because of the shape, but mostly because of the technology used, which was new to rock’n’roll – high-quality steel, towers with a 2,200mm x 2,200mm base, new lifting techniques.” Dirk De Decker: “We turned the traditional conventions upside-down. Almost every element in the construction was brand new; designed and specially made for the tour. We reached new limits and broke new grounds.” 11... XXL STAGE The end was not yet in sight. In 2012, Stageco responded to a growing market demand for a stage that was attractive on a large scale. For the first time, the starting point was a purely architectural approach. Mark Fisher created a new look and Stageco turned it into a construction that complied with the highest comfort standards of the artists who wanted to use it. The result was the XXL stage: a revolutionary, rock solid design, with an oval roof, a 38 metre front and a clearance of 20 metres. The roof weighs 160 tons and can bear no less than 70 tons of equipment. It rests on a new generation of towers with a 2,200mm x 2,200mm base. Hedwig: “The reality is that the XXL stage makes full use of the technology that was developed for the 360° ‘Claw’. At the time, we made a 99% custom-made monster commissioned by one artist; we can now offer a standard stage to every band or festival that wants to go big as well as beautiful.”

Adapted from Geert Vandenbon’s acclaimed hardback book ‘Stageco: 30 Years – From Werchter To The World’, available now in Dutch and English versions from boek.pinguinproductions.be STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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 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 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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STAGECO CELEBRATING 30 YEARS

FROM WERCHTER TO THE WORLD

IF YOU CAN IMAGINE I T WE CAN BUILD I T Edited and designed by Mark Cunningham / Liveculture Group for and on behalf of Stageco Staging Group