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RAMMSTEIN! Turning up the heat across Europe

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Bon Jovi In The House Wembley & The Wow Factor Tomorrowland | Marco Borsato P!nk | Muse’s Simulation Theory Mylène Farmer | Cirque du Soleil Take That’s 3D Odyssey | Wacken At 30 Swedish House Mafia | Metallica’s Return Lollapalooza Stockholm... and much more

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The Heat Is On! Welcome to a bumper edition of the Stageco news bulletin. Our latest issue features content representing our activity across a number of projects that have been out since the early spring, and it’s always fascinating to see how they evolve from the original planning stage. Creative ideas are wonderful but from our perspective it’s how they come together that is the real challenge. Stageco has constantly developed new concepts in staging since the company began in the 1980s. These concepts are usually borne out of identifying the need for a specific solution and I was delighted to see that spirit very much alive when a brand new PA tower system was designed for use on the latest Rammstein production (see pages 20-25). The European heatwave is subsiding along with a very busy outdoor season. We’ll soon be returning to our post-summer pattern of fashion shows, corporate events and indoor arena productions, while grabbing the chance to take vacations and catch up with office admin. Until next time! Hedwig De Meyer, Stageco President

Cover photograph: obs/MCT Agentur GmbH / Jens Koch

SUMMER 2019 CONTENTS

3 • TAKE THAT’S 3D ODYSSEY Outdoors with a 30th anniversary celebration | 4 • MYLÈNE FARMER 2019 Nine amazing nights at La Défense | 6 • BON JOVI IN THE HOUSE | 10 • THE PEOPLE OF TOMORROW Belgium’s premier dance festival celebrates 15 years | 14 • ARENA GRID TOURS WITH CIRQUE’S OVO | 16 • EDC AROUND THE WORLD | 16 • STONES EXTEND NO FILTER | 17 • LIFE BALL: RAINBOW OVER VIENNA | 18 • THEORISING WITH MUSE A sci-fi themed epic | 20 • COVER STORY: INTO THE FIRE! Rammstein’s ‘apocalyptic’ stadium spectacle | 26 • 30 YEARS OF PRIME METAL Wacken opens its doors | 28 • WEMBLEY & THE WOW FACTOR A month-long residency with a cast of legends | 32 • P!NK: NO TRAUMA Stageco tours with the gravity-defying wonder | 34 • EHRLICH BROTHERS PUT A SPELL ON DÜSSELDORF | 36 • MARCO BORSATO THRILLS AT DE KUIP | 38 • METALLICA’S WORLDWIRED RETURNS TO EUROPE | 40 • AFLOAT WITH SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA | 42 • ALL YOU NEED IS LIEBE Mark Forster’s upscaled arena production | 43 • LOLLA LAUNCHES IN STOCKHOLM | 44 • RECREATING THE TAJ MAHAL AT AIRBEAT ONE | 46 • A BIG “THANK YOU” FROM STAGECO

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TAKE THAT’S 3D ODYSSEY including four cantilevers for the PA system, upstage video wall support and reinforced decking for the Sphere, FOH risers and delay/ spot towers. Leapfrogging three systems, with crew headed by Bart De Wolf, Patrik Vonckx and Antonio Duarte Da Cruz, Stageco reinforced the stage decking with 18 localised bracing legs to take the 43,000kg Sphere’s load into the ground. Take That’s team included tour director Chris Vaughan, production manager Richard ‘Wez’ Wearing, creative director Kim Gavin and technical co-ordinator Nick Evans.

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takethat.com

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Photography: Ellen Cross

On May 23rd, after 29 sold-out indoor shows on their Greatest Hits Live tour, Take That headed straight into a nine-date UK stadium leg with Stageco playing a supporting role. Currently celebrating their 30th anniversary, the group’s ‘all-killer, no-filler’ live set list perfectly encapsulated their glittering journey as an 11m revolving Odyssey Sphere dominates the stage. Covered with 2,750 LED panels emitting super rich content, this orb introduced concert audiences to their first-ever truly three-dimensional video experience, according to Ray Winkler, CEO of set architecture firm Stufish. The stadium run saw the production boosted with additional structures from Stageco,


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MYLÈNE FARMER NINE AMAZING NIGHTS Quebec-born singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur Mylène Farmer can rightfully be described as a true legend of the French music industry. Since her début single in 1984, she has sold more than 18 million records in France alone and earned more chart-topping hits than any other artist in the country’s history. Her most recent No.1 album, 2018’s Désobéissance (Disobedience) laid the path for Farmer to announce a series of nine extraordinary concerts at the 30,000+ SUMMER 2019

capacity La Défense Arena in Paris between June 7th and 22nd, demonstrating that she is as much of a production visionary as a performance artist. Simply billed as Mylène Farmer 2019, the star’s first shows since taking a break after her Timeless tour six years ago, the production was notable for its numerous moving video elements and platforms, not to mention the artist’s choice of costumes made exclusively by Jean-Paul Gaultier.

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STAGECO’S BACKBONE No stranger to the Farmer camp, Stageco France played out its role as a major vendor, working with promoter TS3, production director Didier Gaume and technical director Pascal ‘George’ Meley to form the backbone behind some of the main set architecture within the two-hour show. Under the project management of Stageco France director Tom Bilsen, Stageco’s team, led at La Défense by Bart Dewolf, spent three nights (May 17th-20th) building a number of structures using five trailer loads of equipment. Measuring 54m x 23m, the stage floor was designed to withstand the loads of the moving temple structure and flying platforms, which each weighed up to three tonnes. All of the tracks

and guides for these elements were integrated in this floor system, as well as a central tunnel from where a catwalk moved in and out during the show. Stageco’s elements – which also included front of house platforms – were finally dismantled on June 23rd by a crew headed by Terry Farrell. For those not fortunate enough to be among the total audience of 235,000, Ms. Farmer’s spectacular run at La Défense was captured on camera for the silver screen. On November 7th, Dolby Laboratories and Pathé Live will team up for an immersive, one night only showing of ‘Mylène Farmer 2019: Le Film’ in selected cinemas across France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Russia.

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mylenefarmer2019.com

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BON JOVI IN THE HOUSE Photography © Ben Houdijk; Stageco Belgium; Live Nation

Borrowing its title from the band’s 2016 album, Bon Jovi’s This House Is Not For Sale world tour will have played just shy of 100 shows across five continents when the curtain falls in October. A tour notable for the introduction of bass player Hugh McDonald and guitarist Theofilos ‘Phil X’ Xenidis, a set list crammed with classic hits… and Stageco’s proud return as the New SUMMER 2019

Jersey rock icons’ regular staging partner. In the summer of 2018, Bon Jovi’s production leaders Jesse Sandler and Mike Farese, and show designer Doug ‘Spike’ Brant of Nimblist contacted Stageco’s Belgium HQ to propose their ideas and intentions for a new stage design that would go out on a 20-date European leg this summer, combining stadium shows (with STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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opening acts including Def Leppard and the Manic Street Preachers) with indoor gigs and festival slots. When, in January, it was decided to build four custom made stages to cope with all demands, Stageco’s Superroof was identified as the foundation structure for the set-up and fabrication of a brand new, curved Bon Jovi header began. Stageco project manager Roel Voeten takes up the story: “The production team’s main idea was to create an huge cantilevered roof combined with the attractive black curved header of our XXL roof, so we decided to also let the Superroof header embrace both wings and moved it as much

as possible downstage, bearing in mind that we needed a 40-tonne capacity in the grid. Our next consideration was how to build the header in a fast and easy manner because the wings and the centre grid were lifted separately. We created the 2.3m high curved header in three parts and, once connected to the dedicated grid, lifting could start. “Due to the cantilever length we were close to the maximum lifting capacity of our Super Roof winches, but calculations and in-field measuring assured us that it would all work out. To guarantee a strong roof grid and allow enough rigging capacity [PA hangs: five tonnes; centre stage: 35 tonnes; wings: Renderings by Stageco R&D and (right) Nimblist.

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Photography © Ben Houdijk; Coventry City Council

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“Nimblist and Bon Jovi’s production team created a fantastic show with a set that offered stunning audience sightlines.” 19 tonnes in total), Jelte Smets and Gert Hulsmans from our R&D department came up with an extra 1800 cross truss in the centre part and three additional 1400 up/down truss lines. Mario Dockx was responsible for all drawings and build books, and together they did a remarkable job of making it happen.” INFRASTRUCTURE May 6th saw the start of technical rehearsals opposite Stageco’s Tildonk offices where the company’s team transformed the old Trebos factory into a full test build site. Under the supervision of Mil Van Roosendael, the crew built a complete rehearsal infrastructure, providing offices, showers, toilets, catering spaces, wi-fi and power supply in under a week. “The brand new custom stage was constructed and tested by our three crew chiefs, Johan ‘Bellekes’ Van Espen, Stefaan Vandenbosch and Antonio Duarte Da Cruz,” said Voeten. “Production load-in and rehearsals then began on May 14th, and Mike Farese and his team worked day and night to program the show and bring it all to life.”

On the road, the three heads of crew each managed 13 supervisors, tipping 15 steel trucks containing a total of 275 tonnes steel and scaff. At each venue, the full Stageco set up took three days with one day for loadout. “As well as the staging system, which included more than 1,000m² of Layher sub-decking, Stageco also provided four 19m high delay towers and an extended, 11m x 6m front of house riser equipped with a retractable roof. Roel Voeten added: “Nimblist and Bon Jovi’s production team created a fantastic show with a set that offered stunning audience sightlines, and it was really fulfilling to work with the band’s own great people, including Paul Korzilius [from Bon Jovi management], as well as site co-ordinators Keith Wood, Tim Hudson and David Keighley. “A big Stageco thanks to all these guys and also to Live Nation for assisting us with local crew and machinery. It’s been a real pleasure.”

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bonjovi.com

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Belgium’s premier dance festival celebrates 15 years

THE PEOPLE OF TOMORROW S TA

From load-in to load-out, Stageco’s team is on-site at Boom’s remote De Schorre park, near Antwerp, for nearly two months every year, helping to ensure that Tomorrowland remains one of the biggest and most progressive electronic dance music festivals in the world. Honoured to be part of its colossal production for the past eight years, Stageco has successfully delivered Tomorrowland’s sprawling main stage, G

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as well as up to three other extravagantly designed stage constructions and several more site structures of varying sizes. For its 15th anniversary this year, Tomorrowland returned to The Book of Wisdom as its main stage theme, resurrecting a winning formula from seven years ago. Taking place as usual over the two consecutive weekends of July 19th-21st and 26th28th, the 2019 edition also saw the return of The Chainsmokers, Armin van Buuren and

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David Guetta, as 400,000 people from over 200 countries descended on the Belgian town for what could only be described as the party of a lifetime. This year’s project began when We Are One World, the organising body behind Tomorrowland and the the recently-introduced Tomorrowland Winter, confirmed an agreement for Stageco to build the impressive Book of Wisdom main stage and two other featured stages – the Lotus stage, previously known as

Organ of Harmony, and the steel grid structures in the 32m high Atmosphere tent. In addition, Stageco was asked to erect a number of scaffolding structures across the site, including a variety of dance decks, front of house and VIP platforms, valley towers and scaffold stairs. VISION In January, the first meetings were held with Tomorrowland’s head of production, Jurgen

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12 The Book of Wisdom main stage by day...

MAIN STAGE

Scaffolding: 132m wide x 30m deep x 26m high; 350T Layher scaffolding; 60T black steel towers & trusses; 110T ballast

LOTUS STAGE

Tomorrowland Winter scaffolding wings combined with Stageco 3-tower roof – overall size 70m wide x 18m deep x 18m high; 80T scaffolding; 60T steel for 3-tower roof; 30T ballast Photography © Tomorrowland

ATMOSPHERE STEEL GRID

12 x steel towers and pulley beams to hang 3 x oval aluminium trusses as a grid for lighting and PA; 4 x steel cantilevered towers as stage grid

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Nuytemans and his technical colleagues Bart Denies and Patrick Bellens. The event team’s own internal vision for the design concept was explained and detailed renderings of the Book of Wisdom: The Return theme were presented to a focus group. Said Stageco’s project manager Roel Voeten: “It was clear that the biggest challenge was the inclusion of three automated LED ‘books’ with motion control engineered by Frontline Rigging. The central book weighed 11 tonnes and the two either side were nine tonnes each. “Our draftsman Manolis Kassanis, who works on Tomorrowland every year, took care of all drawings and designed the custom parts and associated elements, and Gert Hulsmans and Jelte Smets, our R&D engineers, looked after all the structural calculations.” In the middle of June, no less than 60 trucks of equipment were loaded and dispatched to the Boom site. Responsible for 40 crew, three stages and the many other structures, crew chief David Van Assche worked three full weeks to complete the construction. In the meantime, Antonio Duarte Da Cruz and his team spent three days on the building of a 3-tower roof for the Lotus stage.

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“We’re very proud of everyone’s efforts!” commented Roel Voeten. “In fact, I’m delighted to report that working with our client We Are One World has been a constant for us during 2019. In between designing and drafting this year, we also travelled together to the French Alps where, in the snow and February’s freezing conditions, we built the main stage of Tomorrowland’s first winter edition. “We look forward to more exciting times when Tomorrowland Winter 2020 takes place next March [14th-21st] in Alpe d’Huez!” tomorrowland.coml

Lotus stage.

Atmosphere tent.

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ARENA GRID TOURS WITH CIRQUE’S OVO

Photography © Divulgação; Thomas Boulogne

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15 Continuing its association with Cirque du Soleil, Stageco has spent much of 2019 on the road in South America with a ‘touring circus’ production of Ovo, a enchanting show that premiered in 2009 in the entertainment company’s home city of Montréal. The tour, which is due to end in late October, has seen Stageco deploy its award-winning Arena Grid under the project management of Dirk De Decker. He explained that the programme began in the first week of January, when seven containers of equipment were shipped from Belgium to Brazil where the tour played multiple venues until mid-April. The production then transferred to Argentina before relocating to Colombia where it loaded in at the Coliseo Iván de Bedout arena in Medellin, its temporary home for three weeks. “This latest phase of Cirque du Soleil’s ongoing plans to penetrate new markets around the world with its unique artistry and showmanship has seen Ovo perform at many sports or exhibition venues where there is good height but little or no rigging capacity, and this is where the pioneering Arena Grid has fulfilled a crucial role,” commented De Decker, who liaised on the project with the Cirque’s production manager Mike Newnum and head rigger Jeff Lucas. For the first two shows, Kevin De Meyer was in charge of the Stageco site team, after which Thomas Boulogne took over as designated crew chief for the rest of the tour.

system’s compact nature provides for efficient packing and cost-effective transport, while making it possible to access small loadin bays. Since the Arena Grid’s introduction, Cirque du Soleil has been one of its most prolific users. “It can turn an impossible situation into one that is possible for show designers and promoters,” said De Decker, “and it also offers numerous safety advantages.” Ovo was written, directed and choreographed by Deborah Colker, and features a set design by Gringo Cardia and a musical score by composer Berna Ceppas. cirquedusoleil.com

FROM THE GROUND UP First used back in February 2012 when it toured with Cirque du Soleil’s European tour of Saltimbanco, the product’s hydraulic lifting system was specifically designed to raise larger ground supports with grids into venues to increase rigging capacities. Its towers are built from the ground up and the grid is pushed up, piece by piece, by a hydraulic unit at each of the four corners. On average, a team of four can load in and raise a 25m2 mother grid in 12 hours. The STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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The multiple award-winning Electric Daisy Carnival maintains to influence the international EDM festival market, and Stageco is extremely

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proud of its close partnership with organiser Insomniac Events. In 2019 so far, Stageco US has provided stages and structures at EDC Mexico (February 23th-24th), EDC Japan (May 11th-12th) and EDC Las Vegas (left, May 17th-19th). The company will also be a major contributor to EDC Korea in Seoulland on August 31st-September 1st and the Chinese edition, EDC Guangdong, on November 23rd-24th, and will return to EDC Orlando on November 8th-10th. insomniac.com

Photography © Insomniac Events; Concerts West/AEG Presents

STONES EXTEND NO FILTER The Rolling Stones made a welcome reappearance in North American stadium venues from June 21st-August 31st with the latest leg of their No Filter tour, showcasing the expertise of production manager Dale ‘Opie’ Skjerseth, Stufish set designer Ray Winkler, creative director Patrick Woodroffe and technical designer Jeremy Lloyd, with Stageco’s steel, tower and roof systems contributing to one of the veteran rockers’ most acclaimed tours. Spanning 60 metres wide, the No Filter set is notable for its four monolithic 22m high x 11m wide LED video screens, supported a black steel superstructure. Originally managed by Hedwig De Meyer, with R&D engineering provided by Tom Frederickx, Patrick Martens and Kai Eppinger, Stage-

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co US’s Mary Lou Figley took over the project for this most recent leg. rollingstones.com

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RAINBOW OVER VIENNA During the same period, Dirk Lauenstein, managing director of Stageco Deutschland since 2016, has been project managing this Vienna event, which never fails to provide an exciting technical challenge, year in and year out. Commenting on the job in hand, he said: “The creativity with which the organisers implement a new motto and new constructions each year is extraordinary. “Despite a relatively small budget, they always manage to produce a splendid setting for their charity event, during which they celebrate life on Vienna’s town hall square and inside the town hall.”

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lifeplus.org

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Photography © Harald Klemm

This year’s Life Ball charity event in Vienna ran under the slogan ‘United In Diversity’, as characterised by the 1939 Hollywood film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and its timeless Judy Garland ballad ‘Over The Rainbow’. In collaboration with Circus Roncalli, the promoter Life+ created a rainbow-coloured circus atmosphere. Simultaneously, Stageco Austria planned and provided the stage construction, designed to resemble a circus tent in all the colours of the rainbow, complete with integrated orchestra platform. Stageco Austria has been supporting the organisers of Life Ball, the Life+ association and its co-founder in the role of staging provider since 2000.


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AND Photography: Stageco Deutschland

THEORISING WITH MUSE The NME described it as “a balls-out bombastic blockbuster of musical theatre, like ‘The Greatest Showman’ reimagined by James Cameron”. Such is the impact of Muse’s latest stadium-filling epic: the Simulation Theory world tour, featuring a production heavily influenced by science fiction, simulation hypothesis and the trio’s VR-centric eighth studio album. Stageco Deutschland liaised with Muse production manager George Reeves to provide structures at all 17 of Muse’s European open air shows this summer, through to the closing date at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano on July 26th. The company gained confirmation of the tour last November, but it was not until SUMMER 2019

late March that it received the green light to begin work in earnest, leaving a relatively short period for design and the production of custom items. Initially guided by Dirk de Decker from Stageco’s Belgian office, Dirk Lauenstein then assumed the project manager role, as Manuel Billian and Stefan Miller drove the R&D and engineering efforts from Stageco Germany in Königsbrunn, where the specialised parts were manufactured ahead of the entire structure being approved by German TÜV. The tour carried two leapfrogging sets with Frank Böhme and Andreas Deubach each heading a team of 13 crew, managing 17 steel trucks with a combined load of 375 tonnes.

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SIGHTLINES Measuring 30m tall and approximately 55m wide, with 1,500m2 of decking, Stageco’s structure consisted of nine towers that supported the curved, 13.2m high x 44.5m wide LED screen and the six 14m+ cantilevers from which the PA and lighting were suspended. Hanging the 40 tonnes of PA and lighting from the long outriggers gave excellent sightlines, even from an off-centre seat. Using three mobile cranes, two boomlifts and eight forklifts at each venue, it took the crew three days to load in the steel and one for load-out.

Stageco also supplied and constructed the delay towers and FOH risers. Ensuring that the two systems reached each venue on time was Stageco’s long-time supplier Saan Trucking, which provided 17 vehicles per system. The tour returns for a European arena leg in September before concluding with a Latin American outdoor leg this autumn. London’s Metro newspaper claimed that Muse’s productions have reached a point where there is now “no space to improve”. We will see about that! muse.mu

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Photography © Jens Koch

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INTO THE FIRE! SUMMER 2019

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German icons Rammstein took their show design prowess to new ‘apocalyptic’ heights this summer as they toured Europe with Stageco. STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Photography © Jens Koch; Matthias Matties; Olaf Heine Studio

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One of the most breathtaking live productions of 2019, Rammstein’s Europe Stadium Tour is the latest and arguably greatest in a long line of the band’s projects to feature the involvement of Stageco, and one that has given the Belgian-headquartered company immense satisfaction this year. Opening to rapturous reviews at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen on May 27th, the German six-piece took their unique form of ‘industrial Gothic’ metal to 24 European cities this summer, ahead of a further leg in 2020 that is reportedly already sold out. Delivering their traditionally unforgiving sound, Rammstein’s epic spectacles have long been known for their pyrotechnic extravagance – a field of expertise mastered by Nicolai Sabottka, who skilfully maintains the roles of managing director of vendor ffp spezialeffekte and the band’s production director. On this tour, however, the sheer firepower has hit unprecedented levels of apocalyptic intensity. As Stageco’s project director Dirk De Decker explained, it was Sabottka who first alerted him to the tour plans. “Nicolai contacted us last August, but it wasn’t until November – after the show went through a redesign – that we began working on the project,” he said. “The

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band finally signed off on the design just before Christmas which didn’t leave much of a window of time to have everything ready by April. “It was always going to be a super-impressive production on a scale that Rammstein had never presented before, and that’s saying something. We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the band that harks back to their earliest arena tours, but this was the first time they were going to tour exclusively with a dedicated stage at every venue on the itinerary.” Technical rehearsals took place from April 15th in a parking lot within the grounds of a Berlin ‘music business village’ that accommodates Rammstein’s offices, ffp, Black Box Music, a steel fabrication shop and an indoor studio that hosted the band’s own music rehearsals. “Everything is in one place – it’s fantastic,” commented De Decker, “There is such a solid infrastructure behind Rammstein’s organisation that the communication between departments is as good as you’ll ever experience. We stayed in Berlin for nearly four weeks, then moved to Gelsenkirchen to build for the dress rehearsals and the opening date. It all worked like a dream.”

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DESIGN The production was designed by Florian Wieder of Wieder Design Studio, a creative force behind the Eurovision Song Contest and many other major TV events. Working in collaboration with lighting innovators Patrick Woodroffe and Roland Griel, Wieder’s aim to create a dominant architectural statement with a looming steampunk flavour was allegedly inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie ‘Metropolis’. Blending in echoes of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Tron’, Wieder devised a 36m high, 60m wide central tower structure – majoring in Stageco’s black steel – that accommodates around 45m2 of automated video screens and moving band platforms as well as flame effects. “Although the steel isn’t meant to be a feature of the design, it is incorporated in a way that is complementary,” said De Decker, “and that’s what happens when you have a lot of people working together who understand each other.”

While the casual observer may immediately assume that the 55m wide back wall is a large expanse of video tiles, it is surprisingly the home for a massive lighting display. Stageco provided and constructed the rear support structure for this as well as a printed rear scrim. On top of the back wall, a complete level at 12m high hosts large format ‘sky tracer’ lights and pyro. “I think Florian and the band wanted the show to be enjoyed as a spectacle, with the focus on the stage rather than video screens, and I think that’s a very refreshing attitude that reflects their independent approach to business,” noted De Decker.

“I think Florian wanted the show to be enjoyed as a spectacle, with the focus on the stage rather than video screens.”

TOWERING INNOVATION Based on a requirement identified by De Decker, two 23m high, 1.4m x 1.4m downstage PA towers were developed especially for the tour and are the latest additions to Stageco’s wide range of innovations. He explained: “The iconic 5m diameter lighting pods travel on a track but, in the original design, two of them were going to interfere with the PA bracket so we had to

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Photography © Hendrik Verdeyen; Jens Koch

engineer a tower solution capable of dealing with above average wind loads. After the pod is built on the ground, it is hoisted up the tower on a tracking system until it reaches its final position, allowing the track to become the PA bracket. The bracket then hinges 90° upwards and is then ready for the PA hang to be hoisted and locked.” Stageco’s work on the tour has also encompassed the supply and building of two custom designed transparent band roof, each supported on four columns that house cabling for pyro effects. In addition, Stageco has provided the four delay towers, front of house control risers and all of the stage decking. Those working with Dirk De Decker on the project have included design engineer Jelte Smets, with technical drawings handled by Mario Dockx, Bart De Kelver, Patrick Martens and Daan Gijbels. Two steel systems have been leapfrogging each other on the road. Each of those systems amounts to 20 trucks, carrying up

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25 to 400 tonnes of steel, with crew chiefs Patrick Martens and Hendrik Verdeyen each responsible for a team of 15. Together with local crew, they build the various structures within two and a half days while load-out takes a single day. COLLABORATION The entourage, which totalled 265 individuals, also included crew from Dutch company Qnetik, who built the stylish circular lighting pods and created around 30 special rigging dollies as part of an unconventional rigging collaboration with Stageco. Meanwhile, the performance stage, built by Brilliant Stages, is a grid system with lighting and pyro firing up from underneath. Jeremy Lloyd from Wonder Works was brought in to lead the technical design team, translating all of the elements into a practical reality for touring. Said De Decker: “I can’t think of a single element that has not been custom designed for this tour. The experience of this extraordinary team of vendors really paid off because this combination had to work at very high speed to reach deadlines.

The new PA tower. Below: The PA bracket.

“The long-running relationships we have with our own sub-contractors ensure that we can guarantee to deliver fabrications within short lead times, and this was really essential for this project. It was tight and very intense, with five people working simultaneously in the Belgian office at the peak of activity. And that was just Stageco. “We obviously dovetailed with similar staff from other vendors, so as one can imagine, the amount of dedication involved was immense. This has certainly been a highlight of another extremely busy summer.” rammstein.de

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AND Photography © ICS Festival Service GmbH

30 YEARS OF PRIME METAL Wacken Open Air organisers Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner of ICS Festival Service celebrated the anniversary of their festival this year in the company 75,000 metal fans. This was the 14th time that the crew from Stageco Deutschland, led by project manager Sebastian Kraas and construction managers Markus Olma and Sven ‘Jimmy’ Lange, were part of the event on the ‘Holy Ground’. The festival’s success story began in August 1990 with 800 spectators. Held in the tranquil village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, it has since become a thriving metal event running for several days and attracting visitors from all over the world. The 75,000 tickets have been selling out within days since 2010, SUMMER 2019

thanks to a history of line-ups that have included Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Motörhead. Maintaining standards at the 30th anniversary edition from August 1st to 3rd were Sabaton, Bullet For My Valentine, Slayer, Saxon, Powerwolf and Parkway Drive, along with many other popular acts. DECORATIVE For 2019, a ‘triple X’ was emblazoned beneath the striking Wacken skull between the main stages, marking the event’s three decades. The portal supporting the two decorative elements was among the constructions built by Stageco Deutschland, adding style to a site that saw the company erect the Fast

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er Stage, Harder Stage and Louder Stage, named after the festival’s motto. Stageco also delivered various entrance portals and truss towers for banners. A total of 60 trucks were deployed to transport the necessary materials to Wacken. Stageco Deutschland applauds the Wacken Open Air team on both an important milestone and their ongoing achievements, and

is delighted to note that the 2020 festival sold out within just 21 hours of going on sale. Sebastian Kraas, project manager at Stageco Deutschland, said: “Congratulations on this anniversary! We have enjoyed every minute of our 14 years of collaboration and we are all looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in the future.”

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wacken.com

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Spice Girls.

WEMBLEY &

THE WOW FACTOR Photography © Mark Cunningham; Lily Caswell; Smooth; Steve Riley

Throughout June, Stageco was in residence at London’s leading stadium...

When any venue sets a new record for concert audience numbers, it is a positive signal for the live event business – proof that turnover in the most profitable music sector continues to expand. Growth was certainly a word frequently used this year when Wembley Stadium announced that it hosted almost one million spectators during this year’s record summer season for live music events, almost all of which benefitted from Stageco’s structures, crew and expertise. London’s flagship stadium welcomed 900,000 fans through its turnstiles for 14 con-

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certs featuring 38 acts, including headliners the Spice Girls, K-Pop sensations BTS, rock legends Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, singer-songwriter icon Billy Joel and the one and only P!nk. Meeting the demands of client Live Nation UK, Stageco began a month-long residency at Wembley with two sold out shows by BTS on June 1st and 2nd, as part of the Korean wonders’ Love Yourself world tour. The first show was beamed around the world via a live stream that attracted over 140,000 viewers.

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29 BTS.

JUNE 2019 WITH STAGECO

Summertime Ball.

Bon Jovi.

Operations director and BTS project manager Tom Bilsen explained that activity at Wembley began when Stageco loaded in staging for BTS, for whom the company toured four identical systems in the five cities where the act performed outdoor shows this year. While Stageco US covered L.A., Chicago and New Jersey, the Tildonk HQ furnished the systems for Wembley and Paris. Once the BTS stage moved out of Wembley, a compressed build for Capital Radio’s Summertime Ball began, with Roel Voeten taking over the project management for the next couple of weeks.

1-2 BTS 8 SUMMERTIME BALL 13-14-15 SPICE GIRLS 16 FLEETWOOD MAC 21 BON JOVI 22 BILLY JOEL 23 EAGLES 29-30 P!NK

Fleetwood Mac.

The overall aim was to provide a foundation that would be suitably versatile to deal with the variety of requirements of each incoming production. He said: “On June 3rd, Stef Vandenbosch’s 13 crew members were still loading out BTS during the day and Kevin De Meyer’s crew of 12 arrived in the evening with Bon Jovi’s equipment. Kevin worked two overnight shifts and Stef was responsible for the two day shifts. These were very hard and long days because it was their first build with the large, cantilevered Bon Jovi header as well as the

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Photography © Simone Joyner; Jordan Curtis Hughes/The FA

Eagles. The

new angled wing extensions for the Spice Girls. We also had to build a full Layher deck at a height of 2.5m height and position all the rigging beams for the upcoming shows.” As Vandenbosch left Wembley to build another Bon Jovi roof in Nijmegen, De Meyer went to France to concentrate on the Hellfest site in Clisson. Antoin Patten then took over as crew chief and with a smaller team he was responsible for any further changeovers. “A changeover day was planned into the schedule between each new show, but most of them were actually night changeovers because the new production load-in already started the day after,” commented Voeten. “It took us several weeks and countless conversations and e-mails to understand and gather all wishes and demands of every production on the itinerary throughout the month. “Forming an overview of all necessary adaptations and movements was far from easy. SUMMER 2019

The Spice Girls and BTS needed a wider stage, so we added angled wings with an extended black header skin. Bon Jovi requested a big, curved cantilevered header and a lower sub deck at 900mm, while Fleetwood Mac, the Spice Girls and BTS preferred a full height stage deck. “Another consideration was that each production differed in regard to front of house control riser and delay tower positions, as well as their layouts, so these changes had to be factored in after every new show.” SPECIFICATIONS Around 280 tonnes of equipment – including 190 tonnes of steel for the roof and wings – was brought to the stadium on 19 trailers. A Stageco Super Roof was regarded as the most appropriate foundation product, however, the standard header was replaced with a higher and wider curved black header that also covered the wing grids.

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31 Billy Joel.

To give two examples of the differences between productions, the Spice Girls required a footprint of 63m x 20m and clearance of 15.3m, while Bon Jovi’s This House Is Not For Sale show footprint was narrower at 60m x 20m, with a clearance of 16.9m, plus 10m wings and an 8.5m cantilever. They shared a total roof height of 22.8m and a performance area size of 26m x 18m. Said Voeten: “To guarantee a strong roof grid and allow enough rigging capacity in the cantilevered portions, Jelte Smets and Gert Hulsmans from our R&D department made the relevant calculations to come up with an extra 1800 cross truss in the centre part and three additional 1400 up/down truss lines. “Mario Dockx did all drawings and updated them with endless changes to match all the configurations and rigging plots, and we’re all very thankful for the efforts and patience that helped June pass so smoothly.”

FESTIVAL ROOF FOR P!NK On the 24th, following the Eagles’ performance, load out was organised by Johan ‘Bellekes’ Van Espen and his experienced crew, making way for P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma tour production, which played to full houses on June 29th and 30th with a different Stageco stage and project management by Dirk De Decker – see pages 32-33. Reflecting on a heady season, James Taylor, Wembley’s senior commercial manager for concerts, said: “It’s been another incredible summer of music at Wembley Stadium. We are privileged to have hosted such a diverse set of artists and to have welcome thousands of fans into the national stadium. “We also thank the stadium team who have worked tirelessly to adapt the venue to suit varying needs. We look forward to another exciting summer of music next year.”

STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Photography © Ellen Crosss; Julia Bettencourt

P!NK: NO TRAUMA The release of P!nk’s seventh album, Beautiful Trauma heralded the American singer’s much anticipated return to the concert stage after a five year hiatus, and when the tour reached Europe this summer, Stageco was there to help get the party started! Known for her fearless, gravity-defying aerial stunts and dramatic stagecraft, the singer born as Alicia Beth Moore worked with a stellar team of creative experts on the production, and although the Baz Halpin-designed tour began in North America as far back as March 2018, it was not until this year’s European leg that Stageco became involved, with Dirk De

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Decker leading the project in communication with head rigger Gabriel Wood and Malcolm Weldon, P!nk’s production manager, to settle on a number of tailored solutions. Following rehearsals in Arnhem where Stageco first built its multiple structures, the European itinerary was launched on June 16th at Amsterdam’s Johan Cruyff Arena, where the company provided a layered decking system for the stage – the standard for the indoor portion of 10 shows. Aside from a festival appearance at Rock Werchter, the remainder of this leg was focused on stadium dates where Stageco provided a

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25m roof that was reinforced to cope with unusually heavy rigging. On either side of the roof, a PA wing construction was engineered to deal with a giant pair of heart-shaped IMAG screens that were taller than the roof itself.

Van Belle and Stefaan Angillis leading the teams. P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma world tour concludes in Austin, Texas on November 2nd. beautifultraumatour.com

FLYING The support mechanism for a flying act feature was engineered into these two side constructions while, at the far end, Stageco’s delay towers were also reinforced for the same purpose. While the arena shows required just three truck loads of equipment, 14 trucks were deployed for each of the two stadium systems, with René Lunenburg, Paul

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35 On June 15th, popular illusionists The Ehrlich Brothers presented Flash – The Stadium Show at Düsseldorf’s Merkur Spiel Arena, where they conjured spectacular magic tricks, delivered an impressive pyro and light show, and broke three world records with the support of Stageco Deutschland. At this high profile event, which attracted a total audience of 40,211, the duo set a new world record for the “most spectators at a magic show”, eclipsing their own achievement set in 2016 for an appearance at the Frankfurt Commerzbank Arena in front of a 38,000 crowd. Flash – The Stadium Show saw Andreas and Chris Ehrlich delight their fans with many highlights, including the world premiére of brand new illusions. At various points in the show, the magicians appeared from nowhere in a real-life helicopter and, later, before the spectators’ eyes, made a golden Lamborghini materialise and then suddenly reappear at the other end of the hall. KEY ASPECTS Event organiser S-Promotion drew on Stageco Deutschland’s expertise to execute key aspects of the presentation. The 60 metre wide and 20 metre high customised solution consisted of a tower as a supporting structure for several LED walls with an overall surface area of over 1,100m2 to give all spectators the best possible views of the magic show. The magicians also presented several of their illusions on a catwalk in the midst of the audience. The magnitude and complexity of the magic show – and the recording of the event for a DVD production and TV broadcast – called for extensive preparation and rehearsing of the show elements. The assembly phase was therefore subject to a very tight schedule. Detailed consultation and the prompt completion of each work section, from rigging, lighting, sound and set design, down to the teams that engineered special effects, pyrotechnics and technical requirements for the magic tricks, were vital to ensure a smooth overall workflow. In order to adhere to deadlines, Stageco Deutschland deployed a 30-strong crew to assemble the structure in just three days. ehrlich-brothers.com

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Photography © Floris Heuer, Ali Mousavi, Nathan Reinds & Bart Heemskerk

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BORSATO THRILLS AT DE KUIP

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Stageco Nederland was proud to be involved from the very beginning of the project planning. It took 350 tonnes of Stageco materials in 17 trailers to build the 32m high and 77.5m wide stage

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Dutch superstar singer Marco Borsato performed his anthemic back catalogue to 240,000 fans over five nights at Rotterdam’s 51,000-capacity De Kuip stadium in May. A national treasure, thanks to his many hit records, awards and a reputation for sensational live presentations over 20 years, Borsato is one of just a handful of artists able to sell out one of the Netherlands’ biggest venues.

structure that was the backbone of Carlo Zaenan’s set design by Carlo Zaenan of Q.be. Two 120 tonne cranes were used to hoist the 13 tonne, 29m x 5m x 8m top section into position. Henkjan Luesink managed the project from Stageco’s office in the Netherlands; Ronald Jonkman was appointed structural engineer and Jorrit van der Kolk led the site crew.

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WORLDWIRED’S

RETURN TO EUROPE

Photography © Stageco; MCD; Carenelydia

Featuring the concert touring industry’s first autonomous indoor drone swarm amongst its many innovations, Metallica’s WorldWired is the tour that keeps giving. Opening for business in Puerto Rico in October 2016, the tour – currently the 10th highest-grossing of all time – made its fourth visit to Europe in May for stadium shows in 25 cities, from Lisbon, Milan,

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Dublin and Brussels, to London, Copenhagen, Moscow and Mannheim, making new headlines along the way. Stageco has been with the tour from the start, keenly observing the unusual approaches instigated by Metallica’s long-time show director Dan Braun. The combination of the band’s vision and Braun’s design prowess on WorldWired was based on a desire to eliminate the generic “box” of the conventional stage, an idea that had allegedly been playing on frontman James Hetfield’s mind since 1992. The end goal was to eliminate as much separation between audience and band as possible.

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RE-ENGINEERED With Tom Bilsen steering the project from Tildonk and engaging with production manager John ‘Lug’ Zajonc, Stageco provided all of the stage decking and towers with which to deliver this reality. At Lug’s request, the company’s structures – organised into three touring systems – were re-engineered last winter to fit on 14 trailers per system, with Martin Beckers, Bart Dewolf and Patrik Vonckx each overseeing a crew of 13. “I was asking questions about the symmetry between the towers across the five bays, and the Belgian office responded by taking another look at the engineering,” said Lug. “They realised that by adding a more stout beam, we could lose the towers and that saved us a truck on each system. It also made the structure stronger and easier to build and lay out with less crane time.” Lug also commented on his “great fondness” for Stageco and specifically the company’s crew.

“They are a hard-working, non-complaining group of men and woman that I am proud to be associated with. A lot of people have it a lot better than they do. We are a team from start to finish and our initial success is based upon our site co-ordinaters and our steel guys.” By October, when the band, Stageco’s three systems and the crew visit Australasia to play eight shows in six cities, WorldWired will have been on the road for more than three years, and even more dates are to come when Metallica take their juggernaut to South America next April.

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FLOATING A MAFIA VICTORY As soon as EDM supergroup Swedish House Mafia announced their live appearances on home territory since first parting ways in 2012, fans feverishly clamoured for tickets for the three dates at Stockholm’s 45,000-capacity Tele2 Arena on May 2nd, 3rd and 4th, which featured a significant contribution from the team at Stageco Deutschland. The group – DJs Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello – became one of the biggest house acts on the planet after forming in 2008, peaking with their international No.1 single ‘Don’t You Worry Child’. SUMMER 2019

After the speculation that followed a brief appearance at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival earlier this year, the trio returned to the stage with a production that boasted a 50m x 17m video screen, a massive lighting array shaped like the act’s three-circle logo and a bewitching floating platform. UNUSUAL Project managed by Manuel Billian, Stageco’s role was to develop and manufacture a custom-designed, cantilevered stage platform. Despite the countless unusual challenges that the company has faced

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since it started in the 1980s, never before had Stageco been faced with the task of building a stage without any poles or chains to the roof, in order to achieve a ‘clean’ appearance. The structure also needed to be resistant to swinging, therefore the beams needed to be large. With the prospect of a highly compressed load-in, totalling just 18 hours, Stageco dealt with the looming deadline by organising two teams of eight crew in separate day and night shifts. Together, they tipped 70 tons of

Stageco equipment, including 10 tons of customised gear, from three trailers. The free floating effect of the 19m x 11m performance platform (19m x 5.5m was visible to the audience) was created by the widescreen video wall. These were the opening dates of the 2019 Save The World reunion tour that will take Swedish House Mafia to Mexico City, Helsinki, Berlin and Ibiza and elsewhere, through to late September.

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(and a rolling stage!) As its title might suggest, singer-songwriter Mark Forster’s Part 2 tour was literally a continuation of a previous outing that saw him perform at a number of intimate clubs. What was different this time, however, was the size of the venues and the strategic involvement of Stageco Deutschland. Forster first made a serious impact in 2006 as the frontman of the band and later signed to Four Music, releasing four best-selling albums including last year’s Liebe. This spring saw him graduate to 11 of the largest arenas in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, including Berlin’s 17,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Arena, Frankfurt’s Festhalle and Zürich’s Hallenstadion. A 17-day schedule, spanning late March through to mid-April, Forster’s latest indoor tour sold out almost everywhere and featured the artist’s largest show design to date, requiring 18 production trailers. The client, promoter Sector3 Live primarily hired StageSUMMER 2019

co to build its 220m2 custom Rolling Stage System, as well as a variety of set constructions, stairs and podia. Sector3 Live preferred this system as it can be built simultaneously with the lighting, sound and video equipment in another part of the venue. Once load-in is completed, around 60 people including local crew then push the stage into the correct position. Manfred Porschnitzer managed the project on behalf of Stageco Deutschland, working in partnership with the company’s crew chief, Markus Olma, who negotiated 25 tons of Stageco gear transported by three trailers. Forster performed a diverse two and a half hour set every night, delighting the crowds with his most successful hit singles ‘Au Revoir’and ‘Chöre’, as well as cuts from Liebe. He is now back on tour playing open air dates across German-speaking Europe until August. markforster.de

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LOLLA LAUNCHES IN SWEDEN “I think it really shows that Stockholm was ready for this kind of festival.” Anna Sjölund, President, Concerts & Festivals, Live Nation Sweden It’s unlikely that Perry Farrell knew exactly what he was creating when, in 1991, he conceived Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for his band Jane’s Addiction and soon found that his concept quickly grew into a regular annual touring festival. Revived in the early 2000s after a six-year pause, Lollapalooza first ventured outside North America came when it launched an event in Santiago, Chile in 2010. In the years since, the brand has penetrated São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Berlin and Paris. The expansion forged ahead this June (28th-30th) when more than 56,000 music fans attended the first Lollapalooza Stockholm, with Stageco taking care of the main stage. Starring Foo Fighters, Billie Eilish, The 1975, Greta Van Fleet, Lana Del Rey, Travis Scott and many more top acts, the premiére was an outright triumph for Live Nation Sweden, whose Anna Sjölund was effusive in her recent comments to Pollstar’s European editor, Gideon Gottfried. She said: “The feedback from the fans has been overwhelmingly positive, and I think it really shows that Stockholm was ready for

this kind of festival. The [Gärdet] site worked so well, and to be able to have this type of large festival basically downtown in a city like Stockholm, it’s just incredible. We can’t wait for 2020!” One of several projects to be managed for Stageco by Tom Bilsen this year, Lolla Stockholm was originally designed as a twoday event before day three was added. With Live Nation Sweden’s Fredrik Holmstedt leading the production, a team of 10 Stageco supervisors headed by Bart Dewolf built a 23m x 20m four-poster roof for the main Tower Stage. Tom Bilsen explained that this popular roof was specially reinforced to accommodate Foo Fighters’ production. “The four-poster is our most frequently used festival stage. Audiences regularly see it at events like Pinkpop and Rock am Ring, and also at Lolla Berlin and Paris, where we build four stages. “I worked with the Live Nation Sweden team last year on Metallica, and as well as being first class with their advance planning, they are great people to do business with.”

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Photography © Stageco Deutschland; Music Eggert

TAJ MAHAL Attracting 65,000 spectators on the Sunday alone, promoter Music Eggert reported record attendance figures for the 18th edition of Airbeat One, hosted at the Neustadt-Glewe airfield on July 10th-14th under the exotic tagline “Destination India”. Notably, one of Stageco Deutschland’s responsibilities this year was to erect the main stage based on the historic mausoleum, the Taj Mahal. Boasting an increase in audience figures, attendance this year totalled 195,000 with

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over 200 DJs and live acts. Among the stars were Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and Felix Jaehn. The Indian theme followed in the footsteps of previous set designs that featured landmarks of London, the USA and Tokyo. This was the fourth time that a crew from Stageco Deutschland was responsible for constructing the main stage. A complex supporting structure was needed to reproduce as accurately as possible the character of the 17th century ivory white building with its very intricate features and wealth of detail in the form of countless pillars, minarets and the characteristic dome. The construction had to bear the load of the simulated façade elements as well as many LED video walls.

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CAPABILITIES Stageco was able to draw on its wide pool of technical capabilities to create the mighty minarets and large wall surfaces, ranging from an XL Tower that the Stageco Group had designed exclusively for a German festival, down to a small customized gantry. The versatile array of construction material available and the transport of equipment from different company branches guaranteed a smooth, reliable and fast assembly, and dismantling process. As well the main stage at Airbeat One, the crew – peaking at over 80 members – erected the Q-Stage (opposite, centre) and Transmission-Stage, along with numerous ancillary structures, including and FOH and VIP platforms. airbeat-one.de

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Photography © Ben Houdijk; Katleen Rengnet; DarkRoom; TWNGhesquiere; Stageco Deutschland

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A BIG STAGECO “THANK YOU” TO ALL OUR CLIENTS AND CREW WHO ALSO WORKED ON...

ROCK WERCHTER

MAIN SQUARE FESTIVAL • ARRAS

HELLFEST • CLISSON

PINKPOP • LANDGRAAF

ELTON JOHN’S FAREWELL YELLOW BRICK ROAD

BIG FLO & OLI • STADIUM TOULOUSE

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SOUTHSIDE • TUTTLINGEN

LOUIS VUITTON AT THE LOUVRE

PAROOKAVILLE • AIRPORT WEEZE

ROCK IM PARK • NÜRNBERG

Discover the stories behind some of today’s greatest live event productions. https://issuu.com/stagecogroup

STAGECO INTERNATIONAL NEWS

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Tildonk Tildonk

Stageco Belgium NV Kapelleweg 6 3150 Tildonk Tel: +32 16 60 84 71 Fax: +32 16 60 10 61 info@stageco.com

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

Stageco Austria Gemeindeberggasse 45 A-1130 Wien Tel: +43 1 48 11 513 Fax: +43 1 48 11 513 20 info.austria@stageco.com

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

Stageco France 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 Herzbergstrasse 120 10365 Berlin Tel: +49 30 54 98 72 40 Fax: +49 30 54 98 72 44 info.berlin@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 U.S. Inc Manheim 181 E. Stiegel St. Manheim, PA 17545 Tel: +1 866 782 4326 info.us@stageco.com

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Profile for Stageco Group

STAGECO NEWS Summer 2019  

The official Stageco Staging Group news journal. stageco.com

STAGECO NEWS Summer 2019  

The official Stageco Staging Group news journal. stageco.com