As events become increasingly competitive, more and more of the UK’s festivals and shows are popping up each year and the pressure is on to stand out.
Statement pieces, increased weight loadings and bespoke looks are the order of the day. Even if they don’t necessarily have the budget, events and sponsors strive to create an impact. So, their briefs are reportedly becoming more diverse and creative as festivals and events expand. The people behind the staging and production seem to have their work cut out for them.
Richard Howey Nunn, director of Steeldeck, has seen the rise in requests from events organisers. He says that the company’s workload is continually growing every year. Steeldeck have had to even source a bigger range of trucks to ship the vast amount of equipment needed.
The pressure is also on to become more innovative with design. Acorn Events Structures created a new Super Structure in 2016. With a £1.8M investment, the company built a 50m x 20m x 90m modular structure in time for its debut at Creamfields’ Steel Yard. The new structure is completely interchangeable and can be used to make pedestrian bridges, temporary venues and live music stages that are all fully waterproof.
Andy Nutter of Acorn says:” The reaction to Acorn’s new Super Structure has been phenomenal, demonstrating how the introduction of our Super Structure addresses a specific market need for temporary structures which push the boundaries and provide the foundations for great events.”
The Super Structure has already won a number of awards including the ‘Innovation Award’ at the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation conference. The NASC stated that it is an “exceptional product” which sees “innovation at its best”. The Super Structure was also recognised at the Event Production Awards as “Best Staging Supplier” as well as the “Best Stage” at the Festival Supplier Awards.
And Acorn isn’t the only staging company launching new products to keep up with the desire for practical design. The NoNonsense Group has built a 10m cantilever for its heavy-duty Atlas roof. The cantilever improves sight lines for larger events thus increasing the capacity of the venue. It has built this in addition to two more of its Apollo roof systems, which holds a weight loading of 2.5T per arch.
The NoNonsense team pride themselves on their arch building abilities. For Parklife festival, they were asked to come up with a new structure and came back with a 3 arch concept made mainly from existing equipment including large roof trusses from their Atlas roof.
Director Liz Madden says: “It was a challenging project, from the initial design through the fabrication and build process, we worked closely with the festival team to ensure they were happy with the project every step of the way and they were not disappointed. The three arches, with the largest two spanning 50m, created an imposing structure at the top of the hill above The Temple Stage. Each arch had a weight capacity of 30 tonnes and bespoke black roof sheets covered the 7m high DJ stage from which a number of world class DJs entertained the masses throughout the festival. The production on the structure this year looks incredible and we can’t wait to see the finished product.”
The group also provided the stage for Status Quo in Llanelli which involved a number of challenges due to the date landing on the start of the season and their pitch already being laid. Liz reveals, “We were also working to a compressed build schedule of 24 hours to get the trackway laid and the stage built before production load in. During this time there were a number of trackway moves to keep the time the pitch was covered to a minimum. We changed the way in which we built the stage again to minimise damage to the pitch. Specific engineering was done to establish the minimum pad size that could be used beneath the structure – a combination of 4 different sizes was used. The PA was also hung from scaffold towers to keep pitch coverage to a minimum. The end result was that the show was a huge success and future events are being planned.”
Due to the vast amount of building work, the front of stage edge production and Construction Design and Management compliance have moved to the forefront of on site requirements. According to Serious Structures, some clients ask for their stages to be designed in such a way that they don’t “look” like a normal stage.
The company has made a bespoke fabric handrail system in which to showcase advertisements while functioning safely. They have also designed and manufactured a custom-built scaffolding and truss system along with bespoke specials to accommodate the impressive Crystal Village Stage at Electric Daisy Carnival in Milton Keynes.
Director of Serious Structures, Stephen Corfield says of the stage: “To support the stage set and the three pyro platforms, our scaffolding was constructed using three heavy duty truss systems to ensure additional strength. With a surface area of 1,200m₂, in-house structural engineers carried out rigorous loading calculations to ensure the structure could withstand the wind speed and weight-loading capacities required, using over 100 tonnes of ballast. The structure was clad in EDC’s magical stage set which was shipped over from the USA.”
“Structural and engineering design was undertaken by in-house professionals, all of whom where ISO 9001 and BS EN 1090-1:2009 (CE) certified. Using as many standard components as possible, the only bespoke equipment required was for the rigging points and crystal towers, fabricated by Serious Stages’ in-house team. The senior engineer on the project was Dragan Kuzmanov, and all the main design engineering was under his control. The main CAD engineer was Julian Vowles who worked with the metal welders, and he was assisted by Edmund Knoedler.”
“From first CAD drawings, the material control, planning and fabrication was all delivered to the site within four weeks, to be constructed and signed off ahead of the scenic and production elements being installed.”
Staging companies across the world are all being pushed to design and build temporary structures at a rapid pace. The UK events market in particular is expanding. Innovation and creativity is encouraged to stand out in this saturated industry with new ideas and inventions being released every year. We can’t wait to see how the staging market takes UK events to the next level this summer.