MSA has designs on Suspekt in Copenhagen
Friday, 3 November 2023
msa-m-cat-launch-at-suspekt-parken-show-3-photo-by-bo-flemmingOn the runway at Parken stadium (photo: Bo Flemming)
Denmark - Motor Stage Automation (MSA) is a company that loves challenges. So Christian Vigsø and his team were delighted to be asked to design a bespoke flying runway solution for a recent massive show by popular Danish hip hop phenom Suspekt, for their only live appearance this year - at Parken stadium in Copenhagen.
In the process, MSA devised a new modular quick assembly touring product - M:CAT - which is now available exclusively from MSA, a fresh and innovative Danish enterprise working internationally and specialising in the art of designing and delivering stage and show automation and movement elements.
Christian was initially approached by Suspekt’s lighting designer and set designer Johnny Thinggaard and their production manager and show director Jonas Friis, who wanted a flying 45m walkway to enable the band to traverse between the Main and B stages throughout the carefully choreographed performance.
They also wanted to stage a ‘surprise’ opening with the band on the B-stage in the middle of their fans - with the runway nowhere in sight, and no obvious route for them to get to the main stage.
With VIGSØ Dryhire already confirmed as the event’s lighting supplier via project and crew management specialist 4K Projects, MSA - part of the Generator Group - also presented the best solution for the show’s required automation engineering.
The company has dealt with flying catwalks many times before, explained MSA project manager Jimmy Jonhson, however up to this point, there has not been a safe, easily deployable, off-the-shelf, manufactured product available to straightforwardly achieve the goal.
VIGSØ & MSA - both part of the Generator Group - decided that this was the time to change that.
Collaborating with German partners HOF Alutec, M:CAT - a new fully customisable, foldable-and-stackable flying catwalk system based on standard trussing infrastructure and perfect for touring - was born.
Dennis Klostermann, co-CEO of HOF noted: “As always, it was very exciting to be working with Christian again. He often comes to us with offbeat and interesting projects which are out of ‘normality’ and these usually require quick thinking solutions and rapid development.”
He continues, that with the basic idea from Christian already very clear, the task presented no “major challenges”, however the connection system between the different catwalk elements was a “small” brain teaser.
Normally trusses have a maximum of four connection points, and some manufacturers still struggle to make this a perfect fit, but M:CAT has eight connection points which must fit simultaneously, so HOF had to produce low tolerance parts to make joining the sections straightforward and painless.
For a super-fast load in at Parken, all the hoists were mounted in HOF MLT2 trusses which were rolled into the venue simultaneously for positioning and to get the structure into the air quickly and efficiently.
Custom lifting brackets were fabricated to align with MSA’s automation system, in this case powered by 22 500kg Kinesys Apex vari-speed hoists which can run at speeds up to 30m-a-minute, connected to a Kinesys Mentor4 safety controller, lifting - in this instance - a total weight of 3.5 tonnes to millimetre precision.
The automation system was rigged on a mothergrid installed into Parken’s roof for the gig constructed from HOF MLT Two truss, a pre-rigged product which is very flexible with a high load capacity. It was flown using two tonne Chainmaster D8+ hoists, and the catwalk was trimmed at 23m, so it completely disappeared into the roof when not in use, in true theatrical style.
Attached to its underside were 60 DVT-Light PJ-5 LED wash luminaires, easily accommodated as the base is made from trussing elements. This also enabled some cool visual trickery for the Suspekt show, as when it first started descending, everyone thought it was just a moving truss and part of the lighting rig, rather than transport for the band.
Johnny skilfully wove the runway’s movement into the show narrative. It came in several times throughout the set - each time styling the drama of the moment differently with lighting and movement speed variations.
The 45-metre system used for the Suspekt show fitted expediently into one 40ft artic.

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