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Hitting above its weight

by Ben Furfie on Jun 13, 2012

Often overshadowed by its larger sister venue, the Du Forum has always struggled to carve out a purpose besides catering for acts that have no chance of filling the Du Arena. Despite that, the teams at Flash and Comcast/Global Spectrum have been working hard to help the Forum establish a name for itself.

In the past two years, the venue has played host to three rock acts: 30 Seconds to Mars, Beady Eye, and Avenged Sevenfold. The latter performed at the venue last month to a crowd of around 2,000 people – around 1/20th of the capacity of the larger Du Arena.

Despite what was a disappointing turnout for the American hard rockers, the team at the forum are optimistic that the smaller size of the venue means they can hold events of that size and still make a profit.

“There are certain artists – for example DJs like Arman Van Helden, and bands like 30 Seconds to Mars – that would not fill up the arena, but can generate a full house at the Forum,” says operations manager at Flash Entertainment, Haidar Shukri.

“Its smaller size gives us more flexibility when it comes to the artists that we can choose. Sure, we would have liked a better turn out for Avenged Sevenfold, but if we didn’t have the forum, there is no way we could have taken a chance on them.”

That ability to take risks is crucial to Flash, he reveals. “We approached them when we found out they would be touring in South East Asia. We try to bring acts over whenever they are in the region, whether that is Asia, or Europe.

It’s a good stop over, and by bringing them here while they are touring anyway, it reduces the exposure from a financial side for us. Like I said before, it means we can bring a much wider selection of acts to the region than we would otherwise be able to.”
Another aspect that has bolstered the Forum’s ability to host smaller concerts while remaining profitable is the recent purchase of a fully fledged stage kit.

“We recently purchased a kit for use in the Forum,” says Shukri. “All of the staging that was used on the night of the Avenged Sevenfold concert is owned by Flash.” However, for the time being at least, the firm has no intentions of purchasing lighting and sound equipment, he reveals.

“The lighting and sound were all subcontracted. Eclipse handed the lighting on our behalf, while Delta Sound handled everything on the audio side.”
However, as Avenged Sevenfold’s concert showed, even events planned by one of the largest names in live entertainment can fail to sell out.

Admitting that there were issues with the sound on the night, Shukri says the firm is looking at ways to reduce the chance of those issues occurring in the future. However, he is quick to deny that the origin of the poor sound was to do with the sound engineering.

“There was some talk about the sound engineer boosting the volume of the audio beyond what the system was capable of,” he says. “That isn’t true.

“The system was more than capable of delivering more than 100 decibels,” he adds. “Delta Sound are by far – I feel – the best audio company in town. Their sound engineers are top-notch. They’ve done all the big concerts for us at the Arena. They’ve done Metallica, they’ve done Elton John, they’ve done everyone.”

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