Protec battles the elements for Mother of the Nation
UAE: The second annual Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN) recently occupied 1km of Abu Dhabi’s corniche and spanned 10 days to honour the values of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. Having successfully delivered solutions for the event during its inaugural edition, Protec was called in once again to provide all manner of systems in The Happiness Zone and for the main stage.
The main stage was overseen by live events company Flash Entertainment, which brought in the Protec team, led by project manager James Lakin. The rental company provided the A/V and lighting solutions, as well as rigging and an array of backline systems, including drum kits and keyboards. A total of 42 performances were held on the main stage throughout the festival, ranging from jazz artists and pop groups to a 56-piece orchestra.
To meet the varied needs of the main stage in regards to audio setup, Protec flew nine L-Acoustics Kara cabinets per side. A full monitor system and festival stage patch setup was also provided along with a DiGiCo SD10 at FOH and an SD5 for the monitors.
‘Because of the wide range of acts, we had a vast array of microphones on site and consequently lots of stage multicore cabling to allow flexible changeovers,’ said Protec’s head of audio design, Ed Ross, before going on to explain the use of Kara. ‘Although the weight loading capacity was fairly low we still potentially needed to throw the sound a fair way for the bigger acts if it got busy on the beach.’
For lighting, Flash Entertainment specified a Clay Paky rig comprising Prima Mythos, Prima Super Sharpys, A.leda B-Eye K20s and K10s and controlled by MA Lighting’s grandMA2 and grandMA2 Lite desks. Scenius Profiles were also requested for front fillers, however Protec redeployed these as the stage floor package, while five Martin Atomic strobes were added to the rig for extra punch. A large projection screen was installed to serve as the stage backdrop with content provided by two Christie Roadster HD 20K-J DLP projectors.
One of a total of five individual areas that formed MOTN, The Happiness Zone was managed by HQ Worldwide Shows and offered art exhibits and a variety of activities. Here, Protec delivered uplighting for the trees and giant flower sculptures, a dome and an arts and crafts area, as well as a Jeep tour attraction.
Deployment wouldn’t come without its challenges, as wet weather and high winds provided problematic conditions. ‘There were so many wet days during the set up and the night before the opening we had wind speeds of 33m/s which provided a number of challenges site wide in the hours before the doors opened to the public,’ recalled Mr Lakin.
To combat the weather, all equipment was stowed away each night and redeployed in the morning. ‘This meant the projectors had to be realigned up every day, giving us only 20 minutes of darkness to do so before the event opened,’ said Mr Lakin. The wet weather also damaged some of the audio equipment during the night ahead of the opening day. Fortunately Protec was prepared with enough spare kit to replace the damaged gear.
In The Happiness Zone, all equipment was fully exposed and therefore needed protecting from the elements. ‘FOH and the dimming/distro area had been covered with tarps held down with stage weights and ropes,’ noted Protec lighting engineer Daniel Ivanovski. ‘The lighting fixtures that weren't under the roof were individually covered with plastic bags every night during the setup and first show days although the weather improved for the festival itself.’
‘All in all the team delivered a seamless show over some fairly difficult and unpredictable days,’ concluded Mr Lakin. ‘We managed to deliver on all fronts, which given the size of the site, and challenging weather conditions during the build-up, was no mean feat.’