Groove on the Grass

Technology

Posted

Feb 28, 2017

Maestra Dubai is supplying full technical production – lighting, audio, video, staging, rigging, special FX and power distribution - to the 2016-17 series of ‘Groove on The Grass’ dance events.

Now in its fifth edition, the five events for this season are produced by the Artists Network and being staged at the Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, each enjoyed by around 5000 dance music fans.

A sizzling line-up for the last Groove a couple of weeks ago included a host of leading international music makers like Rӧyksopp, Agents of Time, Dewalta, Marc Houle and Steve Bug …among many more who played on two stages, and kept going despite heavy rain at some points!

“We’re excited to be part of the energy and success of this great phenomenon which is known for putting production values high on the agenda,” says Maestra Dubai’s Managing Partner Tom Clements, adding, “It’s always good to be asked to supply a full technical design and equipment package and efficient to provide just one point-of-contact for the client”.

Maestra’s crew have to be super-quick on both the in and the out for the Groove events … a process that starts a day in advance of the show with the erection of a 20 metre wide ground supported stage and decking system to which lighting, video, PA towers and a complete sound system are added. This is set up below a saddlespan tent structure from Wicked.

This is completed in 24 hours and lighting and video is programmed and ready to go for sound-checks the next day and then kick-off at sundown.

The lighting design is based on an overall generic event production design which can then be modified and adapted to suit any specials and specifics as required by headlining artists.

The standard design incorporates 40 moving lights – currently a mix of Claypaky and Martin – plus 20 x Showtec Sunstrips, 24 x Atomic strobes and 12 x 4 and 8-lite blinders. All of these are run through a ChamSys MQ100 lighting console … operated for events two and three by Geno Welburn.

The idea is to make the lighting environment as dynamic as possible, with plenty of headroom to look different as the evening progresses.

For the third event, seven separate LED screen surfaces – all made up from Maestra’s 10mm outdoor LED - were arranged in a semi-circle of columns upstage which was a break from the ‘traditional’ slab of LED at the back and a lot more interesting visually. The curvature also added an architectural aspect to the performance space.

The visual content was supplied by the artists and DJs and their VJs who hooked into the Maestra system via their own playback control or media servers, a method that works well  and enables everyone to run their own bespoke content.

When it came to specifying audio, a big, bold system with plenty of power and clarity and a bit bass-tastic was needed, so working closely with Dubai sound guru Andy Jackson and his crew from Delta Sound, an L-Acoustics KARA, complete with SB28 subs was installed which produced the rich, warm and textured sound demanded by Groove in the Grass organisers.

This was supplied together with a Yamaha LS9 console, plus all the various DJ kit specified on the individual artist riders.

Being in a highly residential area, they also needed to control, direct and focus the sound to minimise unwanted pollution, all of which was catered for in the audio set up and design.

For the second stage, which is a tented arena, lighting comprised 12 moving heads and a collection of DMX-controllable mock-neon LED tubes, which were installed as a highly effective kinetic light backdrop, along with a smaller KARA sound system.

Challenges for this latest event were mainly related to the irascible weather and the short timeframe, although being the third of five shows, it is already a streamlined and efficient operation.

The aesthetic challenges are in catering for the music which is not just the average banging EDM extravaganza! The sounds are more refined and eclectic with a truly international genre-crossing DJ line up, each with their very unique sounds adding a vibey underground and less commercial feel.

Maestra had about 30 crew on site including Delta engineers and locals, and the results were another amazing looking and sounding Groove on the Grass event, with all eyes now on the next one in March!

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