Dubai Arena in the spotlight as Prolight + Sound Middle East conference gets underway

A senior executive at the Dubai Arena has told future visitors to expect ‘the next level’ in fan experience when the purpose-built 17,000-seat live entertainment indoor venue opens doors to the public for the very first time in 2019.
Fans to Dubai Arena can expect ‘next level’ in live entertainment options says Chief Programming Officer
Fans to Dubai Arena can expect ‘next level’ in live entertainment options says Chief Programming Officer

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A senior executive at the Dubai Arena has told future visitors to expect ‘the next level’ in fan experience, when the purpose-built 17,000-seat live entertainment indoor venue opens doors to the public in 2019.

Thomas Ovesen, Dubai Arena’s Chief Programming Officer, said the soon-to-open venue will change the face of the Middle East’s live entertainment sector, where for the first time ever fans can enjoy their favourite act all-year-round, thanks to the 500,000 square feet fully air-conditioned indoor facility located in the heart of the Emirate’s City Walk.

“Visitors to the Dubai Arena can expect the next level in fan experience, including for the first time ever the ability to see the best music artists, sporting events, and comedy shows in an indoor, air conditioned, and purpose built environment,” said Ovesen.

“From the get go, there’ll be no need to consider climate or weather issues, and even very complex and challenging show productions can move in and out of the new facility with only little time required for build-up and break down.”

He said the Dubai live events season from 2019 onwards will be all year round rather than seasonal and the new arena will enable more quality shows to play more often in the market.

“This is a unique opportunity for regional event organisers and show producers to optimise the feasibility of staging events here and we cannot wait to support them with their Dubai Arena event promotions.”

Ovesen was speaking as part of a panel discussion at the 2nd Events, Technology and Entertainment Development Forum, about Live Events versus Virtual Reality and the where the region’s event industry is heading to. He said the Middle East has come a long way in recent years with regards hosting live events.

“We might still be an emerging market but in the UAE, and Dubai in particular, with the introduction of more entertainment venues, parks and theme parks and indeed purpose-built live entertainment venues like the Opera House and now Dubai Arena, we’re already becoming a natural stop over for most touring shows and artists - and going forward also during the hot summer months,” added Ovesen. 

The 2nd Events, Technology and Entertainment Development Forum at Prolight + Sound Middle East 2018 opened on Sunday and will feature more than 35 speakers, and brings together leading government stakeholders and experts to discuss trends and strategies in developing iconic attractions and industry partnerships that drive long-term success.Other speakers at the engaging forum include Elie Khairallah, Technical Director of UAE-based Venuetech, who oversaw the installation of a new complete sound system for Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Khairallah said installing a state-of-the-art sound system customised for 24/7 continuous operability had some unique challenges: “In such an iconic project like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where the walls are in special marble covered in gold and precious materials, we had to take extra precautions to avoid any damage,” said Khairallah.

“The other challenge was working after 10 pm since the Mosque remains operational during the day with visitors from all over the world. In the end though, our greatest satisfaction was in providing the highest performance and exceeding our expected simulation, and to handover the project within the timeline.”

Tim Routledge, Director at Tim Routledge Lighting Design, is another featured speaker at the 2nd Events, Technology and Entertainment Development Forum. With a career in lighting design that spans more than 25 years, Routledge is most well-known for his work on major tours for Beyonce, Sam Smith, ELO, Take That, Florence and the Machine and Rita Ora.

Speaking of the need for concert lighting and stage designers to push the creative envelope, Routledge said: “Productions more than ever are taking their inspiration from architecture, and vice versa, as well as fashion and art more and more. So we should challenge the spaces that we perform in.  Arena shows can become stale and there are many ways we can explore and use the spaces.

“There’s a bit of an arms race with artistes to have unique shows, no one wants the same old style of show so we are being asked to look at all possibilities of where and how to stage a show. Breaking the rules on lighting doesn’t just apply to a whole show. 

“Look at one individual song in a show and look how you can break convention. Concert lighting is not just about a moving light rig anymore, you can create a rig using anything. Wiggling moving lights around feels cheap and old now - it’s more about detail and concept.”

Jonathan Tulip, AV Specialist for Venav Technology Consultants, hosts a Tech Talk on AV schematics in the Application Age.  Tulip said the progress in AV technology has set the stage for an exciting future: “The current approach to AV schematics has been overtaken by technology and we’ve moved from analogue and digital signals travelling along discrete wires to multiple signal streams travelling along dynamically assigned network paths.”

“The traditional AV schematic no longer has the capacity to describe today’s network and application based systems. When everything is networked, all points are interconnected and the humble wiring diagram loses its meaning.

“While the rules are the same only the language has changed,” added Tulip. “Audio Visual has the same aims and goals; the evolution is in the tools we use to deliver those goals, whatever the user experience, be that entertainment, presentation, remote collaboration, advertising or education.”

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Prolight + Sound Middle East, said:  “It’s important for venue operators and event developers to capitalise on the Middle East’s enormous potential. “The 2nd Events Creation and Entertainment Development Forum – with its specialised focus on the latest trends and developments in the field – will provide vital learning opportunities for regional industry representatives, while also presenting an important interactive platform to network with leading experts in the field.”

Now in its 3rd edition, Prolight + Sound Middle East 2018 will feature more than 40 exhibitors from 11 countries representing 120-plus brands, including Claypake, Robe, Bose, FBT, Monacor International, Venuetech, and Stageline.

The three-day event, from 23-25 September 2018, returns with its successful Dante training workshop by Audinate, where AV professionals can gather more in-depth knowledge about key design concepts and common technologies deployed in typical medium-sized Dante networks.

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