Once again, the summer season has landed in the Middle East. As the temperatures soar and outdoor venues close up shop for a few months, there is always a selection of shindigs claiming to be the official ‘season closer’. Official or not, in our humble Sound & Stage opinion, this year’s title of ‘farewell fling’ is an honour that goes to Envie Events, which brought international DJ Armin Van Buuren to Meydan for his one-night-only ‘Armin Only Embrace’ dance music extravaganza.
Ahead of the main event, Sound & Stage headed out into the heat to visit the site and see the work-in-progress for ourselves. Making the absolute most of the calm before the storm, we were also able to steal some time from the busy schedule of Barry Pavic, managing director of Envie Events.
With over 21 years of experience in the events industry, Pavic has been associated with several international event management companies throughout his career, before setting up Envie Events in Dubai back in 2014. With a back catalogue that includes massive EDM arena events like the first open-air edition of Sensation in Dubai, also held at Meydan a few months ago, the company has built a reputation for putting on spectacles enhanced by state-of-the-art lighting, pyrotechnics and sound design, large-scale art installations and theatrical performers. And Armin Only Embrace certainly wasn’t going to be the show to buck the trend, as Pavic explained: “The lighting rig is very heavy, with well over 300 automated fixtures for the stage area alone, plus additional area lighting and search lights onto the Royal Bridge. We are also installing an 18m-wide 6mm LED Screen that fills the entire back wall of the stage.”
He continues: “The technical load in started a full week in advance of show day with our rigging team in first building the ground support truss structure that created a roof for our main stage rig, in situ with Al Laith’s scaffold structures. Our lighting team then came in to install the main flown rig so the stage level, which consists of many different levels, could then be fully installed by Al Laith. Following this we continued on the area lighting and then installed the show floor package once the stage level was completed. PA hangs and LED also went in a few days prior to the show so we were ready with fully working systems for when the touring production team arrived two nights prior to show day.”
While the set-up of the temporary arena may have been pretty quick, it did leave us a little surprised here at Sound & Stage when Pavic revealed that: “We’ll have the site clear within 24 hours of the show finishing.”
Elaborating on this, he told us: “We will start directly after the music stops at 2am. All of the floor lighting will be removed as well as the LED and PA hangs. The stage level will then be removed in the morning so we can lower the entire rigging, remove all flown lighting and the ground support truss itself.”
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So with such a speedy set-up time, followed by an even quicker de-rig, surely there were some challenges along the way? According to Pavic, there was only one element that created an obstacle. He explains: “The venue has a weight load limit due to its location above a car park. We overcome this by using a carefully designed ground support truss structure to hold the main stage rig, rather than a conventional stage roof being used, which is a lot heavier. This is complimented by additional scaffold structures provided by Al Laith to support PA hangs, LED and side wing lighting elements, with ballast carefully positioned to keep within the venue weight load regulations.”
Pavic reveals: “The PA system is all L’Acoustic with K2 utilised in the main hangs and front fills, V-Dosc for out fill and SB28 subs. PRG Gearhouse have designed PA systems for previous concerts here and so our Audio Team know this venue inside out. We have prepared the system accordingly to work for both the venue layout and the rider requirements.”
The Armin Only Embrace world tour is closely related to Van Buuren’s latest album ‘Embrace’, which sees the trance maestro embracing a variety of different styles, genres, and sounds through collaborations with a wide range of internationally acclaimed artists.