eclipse battles the weather at RedFestDXB

eclipse battles the weather at RedFestDXB

UAE: Among the impressive line-up of world-class performers, eclipse Staging Services and Stage FX supplied an equally impressive line-up of technical equipment fit for the fourth edition of RedFestDXB, one of the city’s annual outdoor music festivals.

Taking place at the home of RedFestDXB, Dubai Media City’s Amphitheatre, eclipse began their load-in unusually early for a festival.With so much going on in terms of stage set-up for multiple acts and the weather forecast, the technical team wanted to ensure everything was in place to allow the entire build to continue without obstruction. In addition to the precautions made for the build schedule, eclipse’s HSE Manager Manu Abraham and Tom Warneke, the Project Manager for the event created a comprehensive wind management plan, specific to the event, its equipment and personnel. In the event of turbulent wind and rain, the plan detailed the absolute maximum conditions the entire set-up could withstand and what to do in the case of an emergency. The plan was communicated to all organisers and suppliers so everyone was well prepared for any incidents.

eclipse’s power department provided three 350kva synchronised generators for the stage power, two 200kvas and one 500kva for the site power which powered the F&B stands, the VIP grandstand and the various activations around the venue.

Lighting was a major element of this event, and due to there being such a variety of performers from all different music genres, it was a difficult task to design a rig which would suit everyone’s needs. “we needed to take a more logical approach to this festival”, commented Head of Lighting, Craig Ralph. The lighting team went for a rig more commonly seen at European festivals with main spot and wash beam elements and plenty of eye candy for the incoming lighting designers. Utilizing the WYSIWYG suite and having pre-addressed and pre-loomed all the equipment to the correct length, the whole lighting rig took three hours to get into the air. Knowing the high risk for bad weather, the lighting crew made some extra precautions including strapping the lighting towers to the roof of the structure while being held in place on the ground by a large ‘X’ base, designed to withstand large forces. Additionally, the department received a number of new weather proof covers for their Dimmer Dollys, which allow the crew to keep the entire control and power system under one roof, as well as being a time saver, they allow just one person to move the entire rack in seconds.

After a successful, yet rainy Thursday, the organisers announced that Friday, the second day of the festival was to be postponed until Saturday due to severe winds. During the afternoon of what was to be the final day of the event, the entire site was evacuated with no injury to any personnel, although the venue and stage had succumbed to numerous setbacks, eclipse Project Manager Tom Warneke explains, “Arriving at 7am, it was apparent that our workload was immense, alongside a large amount of unknowns; would the PA work? How many fixtures were damaged? Was the rigging secure? However, thanks to a truly incredible effort by the entire eclipse team, we were able to go from a destroyed stage and event site to an event showing zero signs of incidents within 4-5 hours. This could only be achieved with the dedication, skill and expertise of over 100 of our staff and the extensive resources of the eclipse Group, alongside a steadfast desire to put on the best show we could. I could not be prouder or more thankful of our world-class team.

Once the outcome of the storm had been calculated, it became apparent that the LED screen had been damaged beyond repair. eclipse sent an emergency video crew back to the warehouses to prepare any 9mm LED screen that was left in stock, from there the crew designed two new IMAG screens and re-routed all the video and playback control to the new configuration. In addition to the emergency screens, eclipse’s video department supplied a USC made up of 5 x 4.2 x 7.2m hangs with a 1.2 x 13.8m banner behind the backline, all made of 9mm LED screen. The USC was driven by a main and backup Green Hippo TAIGA V4 media server using the video mapper component to deal with the separate hangs. eclipse also provided a five-camera production unit including a Jib Cam for a live feed to the IMAGs. “I cannot praise the eclipse team and the rest of the technical festival production suppliers enough for their efforts in getting a show of this caliber up and running after the storm.” Complimented eclipse’s Head of Video, Lee Worthington.

eclipse’s audio crew deployed an impressive sound system made up of 32 J-Series for the main system, 16 J-Subs and six J-Infras for the ground based sub array, eight V-Series for the side fill, six D80 touring racks and six D80 individual amps, with three Lake LM44 processors, two Cisco switches and two d&b DS10 network bridges for AES digital PA feeds. The addition of the flown V-Subs behind the main arrays was to enable an extra amount of low end control in the arena, which “worked superbly”, says the set-up designer and eclipse’s Head of Audio, John Parkhouse.

It was approximately 90 minutes between when the crew was ready to do a sound check for Demi Lovato to the complete site evacuation, within those 90 minutes, the audio crew went through their safety process of landing the PA and covering up what equipment they could. After returning to the site post storm, checking through the systems, rectifying some minor breakages, re-flying the PA, re-patching any areas which had been covered and re-building the FOH, the team were able to deliver the high standard show promised to the concert goers. “We took our time in order to ensure everything we turned on appeared safe, from flashing the PA before 8am, we were fully ready for touring productions by 10:30am. The tours had been pre-warned that it could be as late as midday but we managed to make it earlier, which was very pleasing.” Recalled John. He continues, “It was a particularly tough day for the guys working on stage but they performed above and beyond the call of duty to deliver a flawless show. A number of the visiting productions commented on how impressed they were that we had even been able to deliver the show, as they saw for themselves what happened on site the previous day. Many commented how much they appreciated that even in such circumstances, we still rolled out the red carpet and gave them a very easy day. I think I’m really safe to say a number of them were totally blown away, if you’ll pardon the pun!”

Adding to the excitement of the festival, Stage FX provided a range of their special effects equipment, including several of their MagicFX Co2 Jets and flame machines, with all of their ques being controlled from a Chamsys MagicQ MQ80 desk. Following the wind management procedure, the SFX crew were able to cover and protect their kit before the storm hit, preserving their equipment and allowing them to support the remainder of the festival.

Despite the turbulent weekend weather that wreaked havoc across the country which had forced a communal decision to push back the festival’s second day, the eclipse team really shone through, highlighting the fact that we can provide an entire technical setup for large scale events to the highest standards. I am extremely proud of the entire team, grateful that there was no one hurt and that we were able to end the weekend by delivering an incredible show.” Concluded eclipse General Manager, Martin Lubach.  

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