Star Events: Staging for 410,000 in Hyde Park

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

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UK - Star Events Group demonstrated its versatility by designing and installing a set of staging and rigging that dealt with the radically different requirements of all the shows in Hyde Park during June and July. These consisted of the record-breaking three Red Hot Chili Peppers shows, 95.8 Capital FM's Party in the Park for The Prince's Trust and the reunion of Simon & Garfunkel.

The run of events began in June, with three shows by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Star Events Group was a key part of the production team assembled by the band's production manager, Bill Rahmy, and promoter Clear Channel Entertainments, whilst simultaneously providing huge VerTech stages for the band's other UK dates in Scotland and Wales. The stunning visual impact of the 2004 Chili Peppers show, seen by over a quarter of a million fans in Hyde Park alone, centred around superbly mixed animation, film and live camera feeds, relayed by giant video screens (from XL Video) that spanned the entire width of the 90m wide VerTech structure.

The Star Events Group team of up to 30 staging technicians and 10 Star Riggers then had to deal with all sorts of other changes between the shows. With Hyde Park being the flagship show of the Chili Pepper's tour, being recorded for a live CD and DVD, the team paid particular attention to the visual appearance of the stage. The popularity of the show also extended to a host of VIP guests who enjoyed the performances from two 4m high, 15m x 6m platforms flanking the performance area either side on the stage, and enclosed within the overall weather-proof covering.

As soon as the third Chili Peppers concert finished, the Star Events Group team began work on the modifications for the next event on the site, the 95.8 Capital FM's Party in the Park for The Prince's Trust. The event attracted 100,000 music fans to the park to enjoy more than 20 acts from the likes of Busted, McFly, Anastacia, The Corrs to Lenny Kravitz and Lionel Ritchie.

The Star Rigging team, under the leadership of Phil Broad, also had to work to accommodate the significantly different productions. From rigging the huge screens for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to the more complex Party in the Park show, and into the more subtle Simon & Garfunkle show, all the shows came with their own technical and weight problems. The Party In The Park production centred around moving and tracking screens, which Phil Broad and Mil Rakij controlled from the side of stage on Star Rigging's Ibex system. The tracking system allowed the screens to be manoeuvred from downstage to upstage moving around the corner to close in front of the main centre screen, the smaller screens also moved in the vertical plain as did the main centre screen, giving the required headroom for the revolving stage. The lighting consisted of over 50 points of rigging, which, when added to the screen rigging gave an impressive 80 plus points in the front half of the roof, but the overall effect was well worth the effort.

Following Party in the Park, alterations began immediately, with night shifts commencing to set up for the final historic gig, the return of Simon & Garfunkel to a UK stage for the first time in 22 years. The sold-out event was designed for a smaller audience than the previous Hyde Park shows, with seating for 12,500 in front of the stage, but capacity extended due to ticket demand, resulting in 45,000 standing behind the second barrier. The different feel for this show and seated audience meant that the stage floor and camera platform were lowered by 500mm and the Star Events Group team reduced the overall stage width (down to a cozy 65m!) so increasing the focus on the legendary duo's performance area. Between shows the crew also removed the royal platform, the stage revolve element, Capital FM's studio tower, the wheelchair users platform and two of the company's six V-Towers being used as PA delays.

(Lee Baldock)

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