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Racing ahead

by Davina Munro on Jan 23, 2017

Chemical Brothers
Chemical Brothers

When it comes to putting on an after-race concert that fuels the adrenaline and excitement of Formula One enthusiasts, Abu Dhabi does it like no other. As part of the wider city festival, Yasalam, which is now in its eighth edition, the 2016 Formula 1 After-Race Concerts organised by FLASH Entertainment showcased an impressive line-up of international artists who performed over the span of four days at the du Arena.

Day one saw American rapper, Pitbull, open the festivities, while on day two, EDM fans were given a dose of The Chemical Brothers. The celebrations went into top gear on day three when music legend Lionel Richie took centre stage and closing the final day of the races, Rihanna proved to be the ultimate show stopper.

“By putting on this event, the main objective was to spread the excitement of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix across the city and the UAE,” said Haidar Shukry, senior operations manager at FLASH Entertainment. “We wanted to ensure that tourists and residents alike get engaged and feel part of the biggest event in Abu Dhabi’s annual calendar. It was also about bringing the community together to celebrate and showcase the best of Abu Dhabi to the world.”

Considering that these after-race concerts are an annual feature and are scheduled back to back, FLASH Entertainment had to ensure that the event design was not only specialised but complemented the diverse line-up of artists that were due to perform at the event.

Additionally, while the design over the four days had to have a different and fresh look every night, it also had to incorporate as many of the individual requirements of the artists as possible with minimal changes between acts, and this required intense planning and coordination between FLASH Entertainment and its selected partners.


The setup for the Yasalam 2016 After-Race Concerts took six days in total which included the production load in time, the setup of the extended wing structures from Stageco GMBH, the follow spot and the delay towers.

To do this, a core crew of 120 people were involved while on show days the crew numbers doubled.

“The first night required quite a detailed riser setup which occupied majority of the performance area,” says Shukry. “This had to be struck down for the second show so as to make way for the tour provided riser setup that came with The Chemical Brothers.

“For Lionel Richie, the crew could breathe in a bit as the set up only entailed two (3.6m x 3.6m) rolling risers which carried some backline. Then for the last night, it was full force again so as to strike down the massive (15m x 9m) USC LED wall and build a stage-wide riser setup that was three layers high and covered in white Marely.”


With lighting being a key element for all the concerts, FLASH Entertainment chose to work with PRG Gearhouse, who successfully designed an overhead lighting rig that incorporated the individual requirements for all the acts whilst ensuring minimal work between shows.

In fact, two of the acts, Pitbull and Rihanna, had very specific requirements in terms of having an extensive riser setup which had to be built overnight for each of the shows.


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