London based production management specialists LarMac LIVE supplied local production management services to the first "Sensation" dance event ever to be staged in the UK - at London's O2 Arena.
The 9000 capacity Sensation "Ocean of White" show was presented by the Netherlands based dance organisation that has made Sensation a legendary global nightlife phenomenon. The O2 show was sponsored by Smirnoff and the venue transformed into a pure white, mega-theatrical experience of epic proportions for the evening, complete with extensive water effects surrounding the circular stage set which had two 20 metre catwalks leading off either side plus a dazzling line up of lasers, pyro, inflatables, aerial artists and a state-of-the-art lightshow.
The project was managed for LML by Anthony Norris, working with Ceire Deery as the event assistant. Norris comments, "It was really refreshing to see a large dance event based on pure live drama and spectacle as the main visual aesthetic". The concept really worked, being a complete sell out and the entire audience embracing the dress code of white. LML was working for RPM, Smirnoff's brand communication agency.
Sensations supplied all their own touring technical production elements - set, staging, lighting, sound, pyro, etc., and LML's role was to liaise between them and the venue, ensuring that all the technical and production infrastructure was in place to stage the event.
Their brief included compiling the health and safety package documentation, ensuring that the O2's thorough health and safety requirements were met, including obtaining samples of the set, props and draping materials involved for testing, seeing that the requisite risk assessments were produced and tests undertaken and co-ordinating all the associated administration.
Norris worked closely on all elements with Sensations' technical production manager Remco Hendriks, project manager Brenda Munsterman and their production manager, Joris Joosen. LML's previous experience of producing shows at the O2 was invaluable, along with their familiarity of the venue and its detailed working practices.
LML made sure the house power and rigging packages were arranged to accommodate the impressive "Ocean of White" show (this version was its smallest format!), and ensured all the water requirements were on tap. The show needed 60,000 litres of clean water, which was hooked up to the Sensations system and deployed around the set through their intricate design of hoses, jets, nozzles and fountains.
Power distribution was needed in the centre of the stage set area, entailing the O2 in boring out new holes in the floor of the arena.
Norris explains that they also helped sourced a local pyrotechnics partner - Quantum Special Effects - to work alongside the Sensations crew, and engaged Show Force for all the local crewing and stage hand services. Eat To The Beat came onboard for all crew and production catering.
LML organised and handled the logistics for the get in and out, which involved 10 trucks of Sensation production equipment alone. Pete Bell joined the LML team to manage the load out.
Additionally, they formulated a comprehensive traffic management scheme to get artists, VIPs and special guests, like competition winners, into and out of the venue and in the right places at the right times. Matt Smith was recruited specifically to deal with this aspect.
Due to the layout of the set and the amount of floor space it occupied, to get the capacity, some of the seating stands were also sold. On the night, a rigorous monitoring system was installed to ensure tight crowd control if necessary, and to make sure that there was always a balance of audience between the dancefloor and the stands. This was achieved with the aid of CCTV and automatic counting systems.
The biggest challenge recalls Norris, "Was the 30 hour shift over show night! To be honest it was a relatively painless experience as it was the 21st time Sensation had presented the show. We developed a good communication flow with the Sensation team in the run up to the event and it ran really smoothly. Overall it was a hugely positive experience - it looked absolutely stunning, featured some great music and 9000 people had a fantastic night".
They were entertained by the likes of Mr White, Erik E, Joris Voorn, Nic Fanciulli and Fredde Le Grand, Martin Solveig, Sander Van Doorn and others.