STAGECO NEWS Summer 2016

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

BEYONCÉ The Formation World Tour

Coldplay’s Steel Adventures The Return Of Guns N’Roses ParookaVille UEFA EURO 2016 Download’s Paris Début Springsteen: The River Revival SUMMER 2016

Autostadt’s Circus David Gilmour In Europe Rihanna: Anti World Tour One On One With McCartney W W W. S TAG E C O. C O M


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Is This A Record Breaker? INTERNATIONAL NEWS

IN THIS ISSUE SUMMER 2016

3 • THE BOSS TOURS THE RIVER 4 • COLDPLAY’S STEEL ADVENTURES 6 • FOOTBALL CRAZY IN PARIS 9 • ANCHORED IN AUTOSTADT 10 • BEYONCE’S MONOLITHIC ACHIEVEMENT 14 • DEFQON.1 15 • DESTINATION TOULOUSE 16 • KINETIC PHENOMENON: EDC VEGAS 19 • RIHANNA’S ANTI WORLD TOUR 20 • EUROPEAN ATHLETIC CHAMPIONSHIPS 21 • AIRBEAT ONE 22 • DOUR FESTIVAL 24 • FLASH BACK 2006 Robbie Williams’ Close Encounters 27 • PAROOKAVILLE 28 • GUNS N’ROSES & KENNY CHESNEY 30 • ONE ON ONE WITH McCARTNEY 31 • DOWNLOAD’S PARIS DÉBUT 32 • LEUVEN’S SUMMER HOLIDAYS 33 • DAVID GILMOUR IN EUROPE 34 • THE JÄGERMEISTER PLATZHIRSCH Cover image © Frank Micelotta

I think we may have redefined the word ‘busy’. Without doubt, this summer has been one of the busiest that Stageco has ever seen and no one has been more surprised that myself. To be honest, I had been quite worried that last November’s tragedy at Le Bataclan in Paris would discourage artists from touring, particularly American artists, but that doesn’t appear to have been the case at all. To a certain extent we have a finite set of resources – materials, crew, transport, office support – and how we manage those resources in periods of heavy workload is the trick to survival. However, when the diary appears full and we receive a call to cover half a dozen shows that have just been booked out of the blue, that’s when it becomes difficult. This happened on multiple occasions this summer and all our offices in Europe and America were at full stretch, not just with all the large stages everyone knows about but with many smaller jobs as well. When you are under such pressure, the only thing that saves you from letting down a lot of very valuable clients is experience, pure and simple. We have learned to juggle our resources and meticulously plan the deployment of our manpower from city to city, continent to continent, always leaving room for the last-minute surprises that, this year, have been in abundance. It is arguable that Stageco’s extensive workload this year mirrors what is going on generally in the live music industry, especially on the touring side where so many of our regular clients have been active of late. We don’t take this for granted, of course, but 2016 has served as a healthy reminder of what Stageco can achieve when it is pushed to extremes and I am very proud of our team’s resilience. Hedwig De Meyer, Stageco President

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The Boss Tours The River

Headed by crew chiefs Stef Angillis, Patrick Vonckx, Martin Beckers and Andreas Deubach, four teams from Stageco were assigned the task of building four identical staging systems for 14 of the shows on the European leg of The River Tour ’16 by long-time client Bruce Springsteen. The tour comes 36 years after the original album release of The River. With R&D management from Manolis Kassanis, in all cases, the 49.3m wide x 20.7m deep x 21.7m high stage has been a regular Stageco 4-Tower model with double truss wings added from which to hang video screens. Measuring 23m x 20m, the roof has a clearance of 16.7m and supports 23.4 tonnes of the total rigging load of 38 tonnes. A pair of delay/spot towers, two camera platforms and the front of house mix riser have also been included in the package. “It’s essentially the same stage that we provided for Bruce’s last tour in Europe, the Wrecking Ball tour in 2012-13,” said Stageco’s Operations Director Tom Bilsen, who has managed the project. “But there are always elements that are a little different but you would be hard pressed to notice them. The

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stages we build for Springsteen are very straightforward, solid constructions – very much like the music itself!” USER-FRIENDLY Head rigger William ‘Stoney’ Stonecypher explained that the advantage of having the consistency of the Stageco roof is that the hang steel lives in the motor box. He said: “Before we headed out on the road, we were able to sit down with the guys from Stageco and they gave us spreader beams so that I don’t have to bridle and lose trim. Everything in the roof is dead hang which makes it incredibly user-friendly.” Stoney added: “The guys that Stageco have in their office are second to none and they know what I expect. If I have a problem and I call them on the radio, their crew will come running.” When the tour returns to North America in August, Stageco US will be providing a similar staging system for shows at the MetLife Stadium in Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey and at Foxborough’s Gillette Stadium.

Photography © Stageco & Mfoto

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Steel Adventures

Coldplay tour A Head Full Of Dreams around the world with extensive support from Stageco... The seventh full-length tour of their incredible 20-year career, Coldplay’s A Head Full Of Dreams boasts one of the year’s most acclaimed productions and marks the third time the band has hit the road with Stageco. Designed by the celebrated Misty Buckley, following her work on Coldplay’s appearance at the NFL Super Bowl 50’s halftime show in February, the latest stadium tour sees a lavish explosion of colour accompanying the crowd-pleasing performances by the Chris Martin-fronted fivesome. This time around, Stageco is building the sub-structure for the 65m wide x 25m deep main stage, the 30m long B-stage runway and a C-stage on which the band play a short, intimate set amongst the audience at the rear of the stadium. The company is also responsible for the steel structures that support the central video wall and side screens, the rigging points, PA and spot towers, front of house risers and camera platforms. SUMMER 2016

Although the tour began in Latin America at the end of March, it has had a long gestation according to Stageco President Hedwig De Meyer who heads the project for the company along with Dirk De Decker, International Projects Director, while Wim Dewolf led the R&D department. “My first meeting about the production was in June 2015 and because the band are also involved in many creative decisions, a lot of options were left open for a significant amount of time,” says De Meyer. “Consequently, some aspects of the design were still being finalised just a few weeks before the tour so this has been a long process. “Obviously that kind of thing affects our planning but it’s nothing that we haven’t dealt with before and our experience and flexibility enables us to respond well under pressure.” Built in two and a half to three days, the Coldplay stage is a roofless creation – a relatively unusual prospect for Stageco, given the inconsistent EuroSTAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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Set up and show mode at Wembley Stadium. Below: Stageco crew chief Koen Daems (l) and colleague Marc Melotte.

pean weather. “It’s completely open to the elements,” comments Bill Leabody, the band’s production manager, who first worked with Stageco on an early ’90s Simple Minds tour. “The band like to have a close connection with the audience and if it rains and the crowd get wet, so do they!” “One of the downsides is that they get through a lot of damp electric pianos!” says Stageco crew chief Koen ‘Koekie’ Daems.

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Photography © Mark Cunningham & Steven Cleveland

BUNKER Daems continues: “Being as there are no moving parts and therefore an absence of motors, it’s a much more predictable,

straightforward job for us although it has involved a considerable amount of decking. “What is new for Stageco, however, is the backstage bunker – a 15m x 7m blacked-out area in which all the production elements are hidden from the audience.” Throughout the European leg (May 24-July 6), Stageco ‘leapfrogged’ two systems, each requiring 12 trucks of steel and a crew of 12. When Coldplay crossed the Atlantic for their first full stadium tour of North America in mid-July, a third system was added with Mary Lou Figley at Stageco US managing the project.

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Football Crazy! Creating the largest-ever UEFA EURO Fan Zone in the French capital The UEFA EURO 2016 European football championship attracted an unprecedented amount of media attention throughout the early summer with France hosting the group and knockout phase games in 10 cities nationwide. For those not fortunate enough to secure tickets, the ultimate destination was one of the official Fan Zones located outside stadiums, where supporters of ‘the beautiful game’ could gather, free of charge, to watch live broadcasts of matches on a large LED video screen and enjoy other related activities as part of a communal experience. Stageco France was delighted to be approached by screen provider Supervision to construct the video portal struc-

ture at the largest of these sites on the Champ de Mars in Paris, where around 92,000 fans congregated in front of the Eiffel Tower throughout the tournament, from June 10 to July 10. “In all senses, it was a quite a technical achievement,” commented Stageco project manager Thierry Nataf. “It wasn’t so much because of the very large video screen that weighed almost 18 tonnes and was 19m high by 33m wide [HD ratio], but because we built a screen support that had to sit directly in front of a stage built by another company that has a pre-existing agreement with the organisers.” The stage was intended for an unrelated event: the city’s annual July 14th Bastille Day concert. “But the EURO 2016

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lated events over the years, including earlier Euro Fan Zones and Olympic Games. They looked at other suppliers for this year’s Paris Fan Zone but when you are dealing with this scale of structure and the load-bearing requirements, you quickly run out of options, leaving only Stageco. “What we built was essentially a tower and truss structure, and it was great that you could still see the Eiffel Tower behind it which added to the sense of occasion.” Stageco’s most active team member was Dirk Van Der Goor who was responsible for the technical drawings. For the crane work, the crew was led by Kevin De Meyer for the load-in and Rene Lunenburg for the load-out.

Photography © Peter Hutchins

Final [between the host nation and winners Portugal] was on July 10th, so somehow as there were only four days in between, both elements had to match up,” explained Nataf. “So we ended up with the video screen portal contract while the other supplier concentrated on the stage. “Our brief was to ensure that everything was timed correctly; to make it work between the two parties and move our structure in and out of the location multiple times because between the football matches, there were another three concerts including a David Guetta show at the beginning of the tournament. “We have previously worked with Supervision on many sport-re-

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Anchored in Autostadt Stageco Deutschland builds a circus stage in Wolfsburg days mounting the circus stage on to the 50m x 30m pontoon on the Mittelland Canal next to the Volkswagen power plant, before moving it to the eventual venue by barge. The stage construction – 33m high with a performance area of 1000m² – was fixed to the pontoon by means of 150 connecting links welded to the pontoon itself. IDEAL A structural analysis showed the need for 400mm diameter steel cable anchoring, which could only be installed by crane. These cables were attached to 13.5 tonne clevis fasteners. A Sioen Type 3 polyester fabric coated on both sides proved ideal for the roof construction, given its size and geometry. The 3,500m membrane weighed four tonnes. The stage is set to be disassembled in August after first being returned by barge to the dismantlement site. This was an out-of-the-ordinary project for Stageco Deutschland and the team extends its thanks to all those involved in its success.

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Photography: Matthias Leitzke & Mario Westphal

A demanding project from the outset, this year’s Autostadt (Automobile City) Summer Festival in Wolfsburg, Germany, featured the Cirque Nouveau Mobile where professional acrobats, actors, trapeze artists and musicians from all over the world performed on several stages from June 23 until July 31. The organisers tasked Stageco Deutschland GmbH with the construction of a very specific stage – one that combined the look of a circus marquee with the technical requirements of a large-scale stage, especially with regard to rigging capacity. Furthermore, this construct was to be built on a floating pontoon. Together with IF Group, engineers for plane load-bearing structures, Stageco’s team developed a suitable concept, and planned and built the special components all within the space of 10 weeks. Manuel Billian from Stageco’s Koenigsbrunn office looked after all things R&D. The final venue was not accessible for assembly and disassembly. This meant that 20 riggers had to spend 10

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Photography © Paulo Pettigiani & Stageco

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Monolithic Achievement For Beyoncé ‘Lemonade’ Star Sets New Design Standard With Help From Stageco For many show designers, it can be frustrating to see countless audience members gazing at I-Mag screens for prolonged spells, rather than concentrate on what really matters: the stage action. In conjuring her set design magic for Beyoncé’s eagerly anticipated Formation world tour, however, Es Devlin (Take That, U2, Adele, Lady Gaga, Muse, London 2012

Olympics) has ensured that all eyes remain on the star’s performance by creating an enormous, rotating video screen box. Widely referred to as the ‘Monolith’, it relies heavily on customised equipment and R&D know-how from Stageco’s international offices. From the moment the audience enters the stadium, well before showtime, it is aware of the central, dominating Monolith. Measuring 22m high x 16m wide x 9m deep, the crucial elements at its core have been custom-manufactured and supplied by Stageco in partnership with Belgian motion con-

Photography: Frank Micelotta & Stageco Belgium

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team that was dedicated to the initial building work. Dirk De Decker (inset), Stageco’s International Projects Director, and Mary Lou Figley, Vice-President of Stageco US, began working together on the project at the end of December 2015, leading to the eventual first build of the structure from April 1st at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, where production rehearsals, programming and adjustments to the stage also took place before moving to Marlins Park in Miami where the tour kicked off on April 27. Four steel systems leapfrog each other on the road, with each requiring 23 trucks and a dedicated team combining Belgian, American and German crew, led by Jim Ramacus, David ‘Cinch’ Lanosga, Frank Boehme and Antonio Duarte Da Cruz. Meanwhile, three two-man teams travel with the Monolith structure between the four systems. The

Photography: Stageco Belgium

trol systems provider WIcreations. The Monolith is embedded in a 62m wide x 35m deep stage. On the North American leg, Beyoncé remained a Stageco US account, while the company’s Belgian HQ has been heavily involved in the technical design, working with production managers Chris Vaughan, Jake Berry and Malcolm Weldon, and Devlin’s technical design partner Malcolm Birkett. Stageco’s Belgian design team – Dirk De Decker, Tom Frederickx and Wouter Declercq (engineering) with Wim Dewolf and Gert Hulsmans (drawings) – conceived the idea of a gigantic, revolving video structure. They partnered with the Colorado Springs-based US team who collaborated on the staging and field structure elements, whilst managing the overall logistics of the North American leg. Mark Van Gorp led a special tour start-up

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

systems provided by Stageco also include sliding grids on top of the video box and a circular track on which the structure travels 360° in around four minutes. “At 22 metres high, this incredible video box is similar in size to a small apartment building but it also needs to completely revolve and within it, the video screen has to split into two halves at certain moments during the show, leaving a gap of around seven metres. It has been a fascinating process and another technical challenge we have been proud to be a part of,” said De Decker. Throughout the tour, Stageco is also supplying towers for the main and side PA hangs, the rear lighting, spot and delay towers, and the front of house risers.

••••••• The 17-date European section of Beyoncé’s Formation world tour began at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on June 28th. Dropping to three steel systems, this was the point at which US crew chiefs Jim Ramacus and David Lanosga were replaced by Patrik Vonckx. STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Defqon.1 Makes An Impact Launched in 2003 by leading Dutch event organiser Q-Dance, Defqon.1 has an intriguing history with Stageco Nederland at the heart of its development as the exclusive supplier of the festival’s DJ stages, VIP decks, signing towers, public bridges, PA towers and special FX constructions amongst many more of its structures. Its latest edition – June 24-26 2016 – saw Stageco NL build more than 125 temporary constructions over the festival’s site at the Evenemententerrein in the Dutch village of Biddinghuizen where some of the biggest names in dance music gathered to thrill in excess of 55,000 ‘weekend warriors’. Every year, the main stage construction is nominated as the ‘RED’ area and ‘Dragonblood’ was the theme that inspired the design for 2016’s event. The 150m wide x 30m high RED main stage, which featured two dragons ‘fighting’ around the central Defqon.1 logo, was created using 125,000kg of Stageco scaffolding secured with 125,000kg of concrete ballast. Also amongst the festival’s 13 separate areas was ‘UV’, the other large outdoor sector, whose design was based on dragon wings. The total weight of Stageco’s materials this year was more than 600,000kg and it required around 500 man days to build and dismantle everything. In charge of Stageco’s R&D for this project were Jelle Lubbert and Michel Saarloos, while Paul Schijfsma headed the engineering effort. SUMMER 2016

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Destination Toulouse

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Photography © Stageco France & TFR

On June 21, French-speaking communities in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and other parts of the world including France itself engage in a special day of inter-connected music events. Last year, Stageco France worked on one of the smaller productions in Paris, however, for 2016 the company was re-hired to service the main event in Toulouse’s Capitol Square for a live audience of around 16,000 while French TV station TFR broadcast live to millions of viewers. “The original plan was for the organisers to host the main event on the Avenue des ChampsÉlysées in Paris this year,” explained Tom Bilsen, “but as it coincided with the UEFA EURO 2016 championship, the police advised that with the heightened threat of terrorism in the capital during the busy summer months, it should be held elsewhere, hence it being re-routed to Toulouse.” Working with technical drawings by Bart Dekelver, the set design for the free to attend Tous à Toulouse (All in Toulouse) event required Stageco’s standard three-tower roof to be heavily modified in terms of its size, the position of the towers themselves and finishing, with additional scaffolding walls and structures included within the package. Two satellite sheds were also provided to house production as well as a backstage platform for the changeovers between 25 acts, including Kendji Girac (pictured opposite), Jain, Slimane, Jean-Pierre Mader and co-host Garou. Stageco’s crew chief was Wilfried Celen and, for load-out, Bart Nys.

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Kinetic Phenomenon

Photography © Insomniac Events

Photography © EC Athletics

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

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An immersive world for the imagination with roaming performers, interactive art and mind-blowing stage designs and production… in its 20th year, Insomniac Events’ Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) really pushed the boat out for its flagship annual event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, creating magical memories for the 130,000+ attendees who partied ‘under the electric sky’ over the three days and nights of June 17-19. Once again, Stageco US was in the thick of the EDC action, marshalling the on-site arrival of no less than 55 trailers of equipment from numerous locations. For around four weeks, Las Vegas Motor Speedway was home to a crew of eight Americans, seven Irish and a Belgian who, under Farley Gross’ leadership, pulled together to build three impressive stages from the ground up. The most demanding of the three stages is always the main kineticFIELD stage which, although maintaining a basic width of around 110m, presents a brand new set design each year that references the festival’s owl motif.

Stageco US project manager Tom Frederickx explained how he came to partner with Dirk De Decker on EDC Las Vegas this year. He said: “Jake Berry [production manager] wanted Stageco to take responsibility for some elements of the production this year, other than our usual staging brief. “Dirk and I decided between ourselves that we should split our duties, which meant that at the same time I took care of the black steel supporting structures, he would handle the additional production items in collaboration with Hans Willems at WiCreations. I’m pleased to say that this arrangement went very well.” Nick Rivas and Patrick Herron from Stageco US and Gert Hulsmans in Belgium worked together on the R&D drawings. Frederickx: “It was the first time I worked all of this out with our US draftsmen and logistics team without being in the same office. I couldn’t tell you how many conference calls and emails we went through. EDC in Vegas is always a big challenge to make it work especially

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Photography © Jordan Lloyd & Stageco Staging Group

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because it happens right in the middle of the busiest time of the year for Stageco.” A 700 tonne amalgamation of scenery, structure and ballast, the kineticFIELD stage contained a 28m high LED encrusted ‘Tree of Imagination’, custom fountains, 26 lasers, 33 pyro cannons, 1,400 lighting fixtures and an ‘Owl House’ standing guard at each side. At the backbone of all this splendour was Stageco’s famous black steel. “We provided and built the big, black steel arches, and with WiCreations’ assistance we added framed printed fascias with light boxes,” commented Frederickx. “To the rear, there was a set of what was referred to as the Owl Wings. These were custom-made constructions using standard Stageco back wall and bespoke profiles, bearing a two-layered ‘honeycomb’ look skin, all lifted into place by motors.” The Irish crew contingent came from Event Services Ireland, with whom Stageco has enjoyed a long-time working part-

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nership on major outdoor staging construction projects in Ireland, the UK and Europe. One of their most challenging tasks was to use a 250 tonne crane to lift and position the towering Tree of Imagination. Frederickx said: “It’s a huge undertaking, especially at the beginning of a build like this, to put crews together that have never worked with each other before.” Stageco also built Stage 6 – another different design for 2016 that was influenced by San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, the pyramid structure for Stage 4 (the Pyramid or Cadillac stage) was built by a specialist European team organised by Stageco’s Hendrik Verdeyen. “It was an exceptionally fast load-out this year,” said Frederickx. “We were given four days for our 55 trailers to completely vanish from the site. It was tough but we made it work.” The latest kineticFIELD design will spend the rest of the year touring the world’s EDC circuit.

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‘Anti’ Rihanna Woos Crowds Stageco’s biggest European tour project of the year is the 31-date leg of Rihanna’s Anti World Tour which, after its opening North American section, began on June 17th in Amsterdam and is set to close at the V Festival in Chelmsford, Essex, on August 21st. With a 30-song set list that brims with her latest work alongside past glories such as ‘Umbrella’, ‘Diamonds’, ‘We Found Love’ and ‘Rude Boy’, Rihanna’s tour is an interesting example of Stageco reacting quickly to the changing demands of production.

bottom and side walls, that juts out over the centre of the audience. Engineered by Tait, the bridge is connected to the stage and the delay towers that are also supplied and built by Stageco in addition to various platforms. “We have to counterbalance all of that to make sure everything is stable and correctly engineered,” explained Bilsen. Previously on AC/DC’s Rock Or Bust world tour, Hendrik Verdeyen, Johan ‘Bellekes’ Van Espen and Stefaan Vandenbosch are the three crew chiefs who have each been in charge of the individual 14 trailer systems.

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Photography © Irene Chirita & Lexiou Wescudi

Bart Dekelver and Gert Hulsmans handled the technical R&D aspects of the project which began with a tailor-made design that included many Stageco custom elements. This design, however, was dispensed with in order to deal with the unforgiving outdoor environment. The tour was then back on track with three 33m wide (55m wide at the edges of the wings) x 22m deep (with a clearance of 17m) x 21m high SuperRoof systems leapfrogging across Europe. “The whole thing came together very late,” commented Tom Bilsen, Stageco’s project manager for the tour, “and while we were working on the first show at Amsterdam ArenA [an indoor stadium], that’s when we found out what they really wanted, so it was all changed by the time we reached the outdoors at Dublin’s Croke Park.” For fans of fashion, Rihanna’s multiple wardrobe changes have been a hit although, arguably, the most thrilling aspect of her show is the ‘fly gag’ that appears early in the performance for the song ‘Woo’. The Bajan star is revealed on a bridge, featuring a glass


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Athletic Feats In Amsterdam nical planning for an extensive role that included the building of two large scale (22m x 8m) video screen support structures to aid the audience, as well as a 50 tonne cable bridge to enable the distribution of 80km of cable into the stadium. Working in conjunction with the broadcasters, Stageco assisted with the installation of three 20m high SuperTowers – built from three trailer loads of black steel – in order to accommodate a range of attractive shots from a pair of fly cams. Another big hit was the honouring of the medal winners outside the stadium at Medalplaza. For this, Stageco used 340 tonnes of Layher scaffolding to build a 75m x 8m wall, integrating ‘finger’ constructions previously seen on a Johnny Hallyday tour, while the floor borrowed the outline of the tournament’s medal design. In total, Stageco Nederland contributed no less than 70 constructions to this highlight of its summer calendar.

Photography © EC Athletics

Nearly 1,500 athletes from 50 nations participated in the 2016 European Athletics Championships, held in Amsterdam from July 6th to the 10th, with Stageco Nederland fully involved as a key production supplier at the city’s Olympic Stadium and Museumplein where 35 international broadcasters transmitted the action to a global audience of 160 million viewers. Being an old venue (opened in 1928), the Olympic Stadium does not have its own modern broadcast facilities and this presented Stageco with the task of creating stable support structures for the TV cameras present in the field, the grandstands and elsewhere around the stadium, ensuring the best and most reliable vantage points for the 23rd edition of the Championships. A large amount of flooring was also provided in the stands for the broadcasters’ control cabins. A major operation, Stageco’s Dave Roodink (R&D) and engineers Paul Schijfsma and Wouter Declercq took on the tech-

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Making Airbeat One Roar The Airbeat One festival has been taking place at the Neustadt-Glewe airfield since 2002 and, with its regular attendance of approximately 40,000 visitors, it is the largest EDM festival in northern Germany. Every year it runs under a different motto, which provides the visual framework for the event as a whole. The 2016 theme was ‘A Trip to Asia’.

Stageco Deutschland was responsible for the substructure and for implementing the design of the Q-Dance stage, referred to this year as the ‘Lion Stage’. The 40m wide x 13.5m deep supporting frame was 21m high at its highest point, and a real eye-catcher at the event. Additional structures came in the form of two double-storey food and VIP platforms measuring 60m x 7m.

Originated with drawings by Kai Eppinger from Stageco’s Berlin office, it took five days for a team of 33 to assemble everything. Within three days of the four-day event ending, the 270 tonnes of steel had been dismantled and taken away on 14 trucks. The German office is looking forward to 2017 when Airbeat One’s motto will be ‘A Trip to the USA’.

Photography © Airbeat One & Tilo Röpcke

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Founded in 1989 by Carlo Di Antonio, Dour Festival is the largest event in the French-speaking part of Belgium for music fans and a big hit with tourists. Since its very first festival, Dour has grown from a one-day event for 2,000 people with only French language bands on a single stage, to a massive, wonderfully organised five-day affair with an impressive, eclectic bill of major international stars sharing nine stages with local acts and playing to an audience totalling around 230,000. Now one of the most important festivals in Europe, Dour Festival has invested time and money to make improvements each year to its infrastructure, the variety and quality of the artist line-up, the safety of its environment, the comfort of the camping site and, last but not least, the different indoor and outdoor stages that have earned praise from all kinds of visitors.

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stage (to give its full title) had a seven trailer black steel installation comprising a huge video and lighting portal with a DJ stage, a pair of ‘video/light spiders’ and a FOH tower. A further 12 trailers of equipment were used for the indoor stages and across the site. CONSTRUCTIONS Lies Rombouts managed the project for Stageco Belgium, with R&D expertise from Manolis Kassanis and Bart Dekelver. For the indoor stages and site constructions, a Belgian crew was led by Bert Van Humbeeck, while Bart Dewolf was the crew chief for the Last Arena and Balzaal stages. Overall, the building time amounted to two weeks and five crane days. Dour Festival’s line-up this July boasted such names as Pixies, Rudimental, the Prodigy, Roni Size, The Vaccines, Sigur Rós and Underworld.

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Photography © Loïc Warin, Julie Rommelaere, Rémy Golinelli & Stageco Belgium

For the staging aspects, the festival’s organisers work in partnership with Stageco Belgium. Naturally, to deal with the requirements of two outdoor stages (the main Last Arena stage and Balzaal) and six indoor stages (Cannibal, Jupiler Dance Hall, Boombox, La Petite Maison dans la Prairie, Le Labo and the new ‘Cubanisto’), an extraordinary amount of planning is necessary each year. In addition to the stages, Stageco also constructs a number of key site structures, such as the entrance, a bridge, camping towers, watch towers and signing towers. For 2016’s edition (July 13th-17th), the Last Arena main stage was Stageco’s standard Boogdak model with an upstage extension, video portals and large front of house tower, equating to nine trailer loads of equipment. The Red Bull Elektropedia Balzaal

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A Classic Close Encounter

Photography © Mark Cunningham

In this edition, we travel back 10 years to one of Robbie Williams’ most successful tours as a solo performer, when a sci-fi influenced architectural wonder was brought to fruition with the help of “the Belgians”.

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Within his first 10 years as a solo artist after leaving Take That, Robbie Williams had secured his place in pop history as an extraordinary live performer with string of sell-out tours and No.1 singles and albums. His multi-faceted showmanship was in a league of its own – had an innate ability to turn any venue into his own playground. And with the arrival of his sixth consecutive chart-topping album Intensive Care, Williams was ready to take his next tour to a new level of design sophistication. The Close Encounters world tour began in South Africa and Dubai in April 2006 with its smaller scale ‘B version’ configuration before the main drag of the 57-show schedule kicked off in Ireland at the start of the European leg. Wob Roberts, Williams’ production maestro since the dawn of the star’s solo career, said at the time: “When I look at the specifications, my eyes pop out — at last the UK’s young generation of fans has a ‘super tour’ act to rival the Stones. We booked Litestructures Rehearsal Arena [now LS-Live] in Wakefield as the base for our ‘A version’ European production rehearsals. Although it was fine for certain aspects of the preparation, including lighting and video programming, it couldn’t accommodate the set’s unusual 26 metre height. “We had to come up with an alternative fairly quickly and, with assistance from our friends at Stageco, we found the Expo in Brussels, next door to the Atomium, which could take the whole show. So we finished up doing a full week’s production rehearsal there in Hall 5 before loading into Croke Park in

Dublin for our first gig... and then returned to Brussels for the next show.” The main architectural theme of the production was the twin yellow ‘scorpion tails’ that rose from the deck to dominate the set. Stageco built the sub-deck (up to 1.4m off the ground), fabricated the scorpion tails and all the towers supporting the video screens and lighting. The company also provided the PA and follow spot delay towers. These scorpion tails were 20 metres high and faced each other at an angle of eight degrees. They were designed to withstand winds of 130km per hour (72km during the show) and carry a rigging load of nine tonnes. In his interview with Geert Vandenbon for the Stageco history book, ‘From Werchter To The World’, Tom Frederickx said: “It still is one of the most beautiful designs. The eye is drawn to the central area, where the action is. And those elegant yellow scorpions remain a public favourite, precisely because they’re not symmetrical. That is also creativity, adding elements to existing concepts and making them innovative once again.” Stageco’s deadline for the delivery of its part of the production was the beginning of May 2006. The criteria was that the structures needed to be built within 24 working hours, then dismantled and loaded on to its 14 trucks in 12 hours. To ensure that the tight schedule could be met and enable the swift installation of decoration, lights and video screens, the tour leapfrogged two Stageco steel systems from venue to venue, with site co-ordinators Tom Armstrong and Steve Iredale presiding over each, along with advance generator

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26 cables, catering and safety equipment. The remaining universal production package then loaded into each show. Roberts was full of praise for ‘the Belgians’. “There is no staging company in the world like Stageco,” he said. “ They’re very good at their jobs and highly efficient – the best in their field.” The Close Encounters tag and its loose creative brief originated from Williams’ discussion with creative director Lee Lodge about his interest in accounts of alien visitations, crop circles and other sci-fi related themes. Lodge always wanted Close Encounters to be an integrated visual collaboration and a fusion of creative energies from a dynamic design team who sparked off each other. It was no surprise to learn that architecture and form were powerful influences, or that everything on the tour was customised and bespoke – there was nothing offthe-shelf about it at all. “Certain buildings are memorable for their amazing shapes,” said Lodge, “and I think the shape of a stage should create a sense of excitement and drama whereby people remember the show.” Ray Winkler from Stufish came onboard as set designer, and while Lodge was developing the show in terms of signatures and shapes, Winkler started working on how to make a practical construction out of their evolving ideas. Everyone engaged in the process with complete passion, energy and enthusiasm, with the end results speaking for themselves. Winkler finalised a very strong conceptual model that was handed over to the tour’s technical director, Jeremy Lloyd, who then co-ordinated all the necessary interaction between contractors to ensure that they bonded with the aesthetics, and that the set could become a workable touring object.

Photography © Diana Scrimgeour, Mark Cunningham & Louise Stickland

ELEVATION At every show, Robbie Williams could be seen appearing on top of one of the scorpion tails, as Koen Peeters explained, once again in Vandenbon’s book. “In one of the scorpions, there was an elevator to take Robbie Williams down during the show. But to get to the elevator, he first had to climb over the scorpion’s back,” he said. “I had designed a construction with staircases and catwalks, but the production thought it was not safe and wanted us to create a system with a permanent fall protection. Robbie had to be able to ‘secure’ himself, literally. “So we went back to our drawing board until we came up with a system in curved stainless steel, with a safety certificate. Expensive, but as safe as it could get. And then Robbie came to the set. The production wanted to secure him before he went over the bridge, but he just frowned and said, ‘F**k it all!’, and without even batting an eyelid he walked over the bridge towards the lift. During the show, he was standing there, too, 20m high, singing. A good railing did the job. And that expensive system, it’s still lying here.” The stage and its equipment were designed to fit 40ft sea containers, allowing it to be shipped to Australia in mid-September 2006 when the tour finally came to an end, having played to over three million spectators and earned over $60 million. SUMMER 2016

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A two-day electronic dance music (EDM) festival that preaches “madness, love and pure happiness”, ParookaVille’s successful début in 2015 led to even greater acclaim this year, and Stageco Nederland was proud to be a part of it. Held at a former British Royal Air Force Base in the town of Weeze, in the Niederrhein region of Germany, ParookaVille attracted 50,000 EDM fans and sold 25,000 camping tickets for this year’s festival in mid-July – double the attendance of 2015. ParookaVille’s 65,000m² space, which is also used for the Bizarre-Festival and Q-Base-Festival, accommodated one

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large outdoor ‘Main Stage’ and four smaller indoor stages, as well as a covered, 600m² VIP area – all built by Stageco NL, whose team constructed 29 8m scaffolding towers across the whole site, as well as sets of 10m wide x 4m high stairs to assist audience movement. Engineered by Paul Schijfsma and Thorsten Weimar, with technical drawings made by Bart Goodin, the project required 250 tons of ballast and 200 tons of scaffolding from Stageco, along with black steel PA towers, SuperTowers for delays and a transparent truss roof for the Main Stage DJs who included Tiësto, Bassjackers and Steve Aoki.

Photography © Urlaubsguru & calumia.com

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The company provided a single 25m 4-Tower roof system on 13 trailers with a US crew led by Ray Mangum who has made his début as a crew chief on this tour.

’Sweet Child O’Mine’, ‘Mr. Brownstone’, ‘Civil War, ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and the hit cover of Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ have all been present amongst a two and a half hour, 23-song set that has consistently shown the band to be a rock powerhouse on their opening North American leg. Stageco US is supporting Guns N’Roses throughout this 21-city campaign (June 23-August 22) with an all-American crew that had additional German assistance at the beginning when the

Photography © James D. Baker

AXL’S BACK Famed for their outrageous rock’n’roll excess and fraternal squabbling, Guns N’Roses have returned with their Not In This Lifetime… tour, marking the first time since 1993 that frontman Axl Rose, guitar hero Slash and bassist Duff McKagan have performed together.

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Promoting the forthcoming release of his 16th studio album, Cosmic Hallelujah, Kenny Chesney is coming to the end of another successful tour that kicked off at the end of April and has slowly been making its way through the United States and Canada ever since, selling out everywhere. Featuring opening acts Miranda Lambert, Big & Rich, Sam Hunt and Old Dominion, Chesney’s Spread The Love tour presented another opportunity for Stageco US to work with one of country music’s biggest box office sensations.

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dates coincided with Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. A SuperRoof system was employed at some of the venues during this early period, however, once the EDC load-out was complete in Las Vegas, Guns N’Roses production reverted to three 25m 4-Tower roof systems that leapfrogged through North America with Jim Ramacus, Farley Gross and David Lanosga heading the respective crews. ON THE WAY Kenny Chesney plays his last date at Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium on August 27th and

Guns N’Roses’ tour begins another leg in Latin America in October. Meanwhile, Stageco US’s workload shows no sign of slowing down as Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé are about to return to America for further stadium dates. “We have a big Phish show lined up in Chicago,” reported Mary Lou Figley, Stageco US vice-president, “as well as work for Luke Bryan, Metallica, the annual Made In America show in Philadelphia and a number of dance festivals including EDC Orlando in November.” Both the GN’R and Chesney tours benefitted from the technical R&D prowess of Nick Rivas and Patrick Herron.

Photography © Hugh Cullimore, Hobie Wan & Tim Putala

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Photography © Roberto Jung Drebes & Joseph Donnelly

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One On One With McCartney

For many years, Stageco has been honoured to supply stages and other structures to Sir Paul McCartney for his regular tours as well as significant one-off shows. And when the most successful songwriter in history hit the road with One On One, his 19th tour since the break up of The Beatles, Stageco was there once again when it mattered. The ex-Beatle’s touring pattern of recent years has meant that that projects tend to come to Stageco at relatively short notice, leaving the company to accommodate production requirements during a heavily booked-out summer season, as Tom Bilsen explained: “We have to look very closely at our crew movements and inventory during the period that McCartney is on the road, and then combine the available manpower with other tours and festivals. “For example, the shows at Munich’s Olympiastadion by McCartney and Bruce Springsteen were just seven days apart, so the best way to maximise resources was to use the same stage and carry vital extras in one set.” The stage used for the One On One dates was a Stageco 4-tower design with double truss wings from which the vertical side video screens were hung. Overall, it measured 49.3m wide x 20.7m deep x 21.7m high; the roof was 23m x 20m with a clearance of 15.5m. The sub deck was at a height of 2.15m. Four delay towers, the FOH riser and various platforms were also part of the package as normal. There were two Stageco crews – one headed by Stef Angillis and the other by Bart Dewolf who presided over an indoor system with a higher structure, minus a roof. “Once we worked out how best to spread our resources, we were then faced with solving the technical problem of SUMMER 2016

an extra heavy rigging load of 85 tonnes, of which 65 tonnes was to hang under the roof,” said Bilsen. “It’s not a world record but it is still unusually heavy, not least due to the amount of video screens. To make it all work, we upgraded the 4-tower roof, reinforcing it with a different truss type, our 1800 version, and some towers that are brand new for this season, so that we were able to increase the rigging capacity by a long way. From the front, it physically looked like it has always been but if you got close up, you would notice the more robust materials, but this is becoming a standard for us that cannot be matched by our competitors.” McCartney also played a number of European festivals that benefitted from Stageco stages, such as PinkPop and Rock Werchter (below) where, in both cases, the crew pre-reinforced the stages to cope with the additional loads.

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Download’s Paris Début

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The Main Stage. Below (L-R): Stage 2; Rammstein; Iron Maiden.

The UK’s world-famous Download festival has spread its wings and after 13 years it introduced a French twin, Download Paris, for the 2016 season. Held across the same weekend as the Donington Park-based original (June 10-12), the new Parisian edition was staged at Hippodrome de Longchamp, the legendary French racecourse with a shared rotating bill of artists between the two sites. Featuring major heavy rock acts Iron Maiden, Rammstein, Korn, Megadeth and Jane’s Addiction, Download Paris saw Stageco France hired by Live Nation France to build all three stages from 30 trailers of equipment. With Bart Dewolf leading the crew after Bart Dekelver’s initial R&D planning, Stageco built a Boogdak XL arch-roofed stage for the Main Stage and Stage 2, at opposite ends of the park. They both measured 51m wide (a 26m roof span plus the wings), 21m high and 20m deep, and another 20m of platform was built behind each stage to accommodate technical areas, load-in docks and artist preparation.

Tom Bilsen, who managed the project for Stageco France, said: “Rammstein are touring with a very heavy rigging load this summer, so we had to get creative and reinforce our Main Stage roof to compensate for it. “We also dressed the two outdoor stages, had the skins printed and hung them. That is something we are asked to do from time to time as a basic add-on to our services, and we are very happy to assist. In addition, we built the VIP and camera platforms, front of house risers and delay towers.” Stage 3, built by Stageco inside a marquee tent, was a 20m wide x 16m deep scaffold structure with truss towers and a platform. “Download Paris was a very welcome addition to the festival calendar this year,” summarised Bilsen. “Both sites had a lot of rain but Paris fared much better. I hope it continues there because the French love heavy metal – as evidenced by Hellfest, another big Stageco contract – and I think they enjoyed having such a great brand brought over to them.” Photography © Gennaro Di Marino & Herve Franks

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Status Quo.

Photography © Jeroen Schortemeijer & Stageco Belgium

Leuven’s Summer Holidays Consisting of live music, dance, street theatre, gastronomy, pop-up bars and picnics, Het Groot Verlof is the name of an exciting, new summer programme of events hosted in the Belgian city of Leuven during July and August. The Leuven festival scene is no stranger to Stageco, as witnessed by the Eighties and Nineties peaks of Marktrock when the company provided most of its staging. Sadly, with the reduction in size and eventual disappearance of that iconic festival, many of the old guard have also disappeared, and Stageco made its exit some years ago. However, enthusiasm began to raise its head from another direction. When the city of Leuven decided to revamp its summer festivities in co-operation with the non-profit organisation Leuvenement, Stageco was more than happy to see some of the old and familiar faces being brought in again to take care of the festivities on the Oude Markt (Old Market) as part of Het Groot Verlof – Flemish slang for ‘Summer Holidays’. The talent bookings for this stage were once again on an ambitious scale and this meant that the associated technical requirements were perfectly matched to Stageco’s services. This year saw international stars Status Quo (above) perform their very last full electric show in Belgium, while other top names The Human League and Fischer-Z graced the bill along with local acts such as soul queen Selah Sue, The Kids and dance duo Magnus. SUMMER 2016

After some negotiation by Stageco Belgium project manager Lies Rombouts, the company was finally awarded the contract for the main stage and Luc Dardenne was assigned the R&D task. Despite not being the cheapest option, Stageco was chosen for its consistent quality of equipment and experienced personnel. The team built a 25m x 10m stage with a 22m x 4m upstage covered backstage extension as well as access ramps, a front of house control tower and six delay towers. An eight-strong Belgian crew led by Bart Bleys built the various structures from four trailer loads of equipment over a three-day period. Stageco Belgium also provided a multi-storey open summer terrace (below right), built on different levels around a statue on the Hogeschoolplein. Its purpose was to create an outdoor location for social evenings and workshops, as well as being a place for people to relax on sunny days. The terrace was built in just one day with Gilles Bosque heading an eight person crew.

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Grote Markt, Tienen; July 27 2016

Beckers leading the crew and Tom Bilsen managing the project. In Tienen’s Grote Markt (Great Market Square or Grand Place), Gilmour performed in the same location occupied each year by Suikerrock, one of Belgium’s largest festivals and an event that for some time has featured a Stageco stage – a 4-Tower model minus its wings, due to the square not being wide enough to accommodate them. With the stage in place, it worked out perfectly to host a pair of sold-out shows ahead of Suikerrock’s three-day programme at the end of July. There was one major consideration: the roof was raised by four metres to allow for Gilmour’s circular video screen and a Stageco team was on-site immediately after the second show to rebuild the stage overnight to restore its festival set-up. Hedwig De Meyer invited several staff from Stageco’s Tildonk office to the first of the two Tienen shows on July 27th. He commented: “What a fantastic night! Working with Pink Floyd marked a major transition for Stageco and it was an absolute pleasure being able to see David play live with his current band. It was a trip down memory lane for many of our long-time employees and a fascinating encounter with Stageco history for our younger members. Our thanks go out to Suikerrock for making it possible for the Stageco family to share this concert experience together.” David Gilmour completes his Rattle That Lock world tour in September with five shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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Photography © Tom Notarangelo & Stageco Belgium

Nearly a year since releasing his fourth solo studio album, Rattle That Lock, and launching his five-leg tour of the same name, David Gilmour spent around a month this summer in Europe, mostly performing in locations of historical interest where the beauty of the architecture presented a unique backdrop to the stately grace of the Pink Floyd guitarist’s music. Accompanied by a stunning Marc Brickman lighting design and trademark visual media, at each concert Gilmour’s set presented equal measures of his work as both a solo artist and long-time member of the Floyd, with songs ranging from ‘On An Island’, ‘Faces Of Stone’ and ‘The Blue’ to ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and the inevitable finale ‘Comfortably Numb’ thrilling fans old and new. It was in four of the grand locations – Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz, Château de Chantilly to the north of Paris, the Arc et Senans Saline Royale (Royal Saltworks) in Besançon and, finally, the Grote Markt in the Belgian city of Tienen – that Stageco lent its support with various staging solutions, and reminded a visiting group of its staff of the company’s pioneering work with the Floyd during the 1980s and ‘90s. REQUIREMENTS The shows benefitted from the involvement of three Stageco offices. A stage already supplied by the German team for the week-long JazzOpen festival in Stuttgart was ‘borrowed’ by Gilmour’s production for the July 14th date. Perhaps not surprisingly, Stageco France took care of requirements in Chantilly and Arc et Senans, providing a 3-Tower roof with Martin ‘Tinus’


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Building The Jägermeister Platzhirsch

Photography © Jägermeister, Martin W. Maier & Stageco Deutschland GmbH

This was a construction with an exacting task. When agency Die Silbermöven enquired about a steel sub-structure for a multi-storey container building to travel as part of a Jägermeister roadshow, the brief given to Stageco Deutschland was to design it along the lines of a Trojan horse… but as a stag. This structure was subsequently deployed over the next few years at various festivals such as Sputnik Springbreak, Rock am Ring, Southside, Deichbrand, Wacken Open Air and SonneMondSterne. Stageco planned, designed, conducted static analysis and ultimately built the edifice within the relatively tight time frame of around four months. The three-storey container unit called for a height-adjustable steel beam grid, consisting of nine individual elements that were capable of being hauled by crane. The sub-structure for the wood panelling totalled 826 individually lasered units, made from 653 linear metres of steel pipe. PROVEN With Sebastian Kraas as Stageco’s project panager, the structure was planned by Marcus Dittrich from the Berlin R&D department before being subjected to static analysis and then structurally proven by in-house structural engineers Thorsten Weymar and Thorsten Knauf. SUMMER 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 Stageco Deutschland GmbH Schäfflerstrasse 13 86343 Königsbrunn Tel: +49 821 440 22 0 Fax: +49 821 440 22 22 info.deutschland@stageco.com

The Stageco statistics department also took overall responsibility for co-ordinating preparation of the data sheet by technical specification agency TÜV Rheinland. In close collaboration with the Die Holzköpfe joiners’ workshop, the container manufacturer and Metallbau Tiedt, Stageco implemented the overall structure and carried out a trial assembly at its Berlin premises. The result? A three-storey roaring stag standing at over 17m high, complete with a bar, lounge and club area, in which visitors can experience exclusive intimate concerts and parties. The structure has already proved its worth at several festivals and will also be a common sight this summer. A highly satisfied client expressed its gratitude to Stageco Deutschland GmbH for this excellent piece of work.

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

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IF YOU CAN IMAGINE IT, WE CAN BUILD IT.

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