Supplying and operating AV equipment for a large-scale, major outdoor event like the Royal Adelaide Show, takes precision planning, months of preparation and a team of highly skilled pros willing to go above and beyond to deliver a stellar result.
The Royal Adelaide Show is South Australia’s largest event, with more than 29% of the State’s population visiting the Show each year. By bringing together urban and country Australia, the Show aims to educate the community about the importance of Primary Industry to the economy and their everyday lives. Over 10 days, on average half a million people visit the show, generating a mammoth gross economic contribution of $183.7 million to the city of Adelaide.
For over a decade, the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of South Australia has partnered with Staging Connections to provide audio visual, lighting and staging for the mega outdoor event. With so many spectators in attendance, it is crucial for a show of this magnitude and importance within the community, to be delivered without a hitch.
The Staging Connections team has been involved in this event for more than 20 years, with 2016 being the second year as the venue partner and the fourth year as the main arena and various area supplier. The experienced team gathered to finesse the event details, secure the best equipment and install, run and pack down a mammoth project.
Pulling it all together to deliver the outdoor event
Within an area covering 26 hectares (64 acres), there are numerous stages for the hundreds of entertainment acts journeying from all over the country to perform. In the main arena, the team supplied all audio and vision services to support the commentary of both day and night events. As well as cameras and slow motion replay facilities, follow spots and operators in lighting towers, LED lighting for the drone races, ute races and crowd engagement, vision to feed massive LED screens, and wireless links to show live to screen images from the racing drones.
With a variety of entertainment acts including comedians, the South Australia Police Band, Channel 7 television stars, a tap group, talent show and acrobatic troupe; the Coca Cola stage had it all! A major outdoor audio system was installed to suit the wide variety of acts, with stage monitors, microphones and audio mixers. Lighting, music and vision for the LED screens were all installed and operated seamlessly over the 10 day event.
Pictured: Coca Cola Stage at the Royal Adelaide Show 2016.
Produced by Shane International, the Goyder Pavilion’s stage was the place to see theatrical and magic shows with 7 main sessions running each day and additional children’s acts during the week. A large scale audio system, theatrical lighting and LED screens were used for the stage set that comprised of LED star cloth, custom patterned panels and tab track drape reveals. Adding some magic to the acts, low lying fog, flutter and haze effects were used as well as live audio mixing of the entertainment. This year's performance in the Goyder Pavilion took on an international flavour, Post-Cards from Around the World, showcased the spirit and diversity of major travel destinations across the globe with a mix of dance, music and popular culture reflective of each destination.
Pictured: Performance 'Post Cards from Around the World' at Goyder Pavilion.
Technical Director, Tim Bormann, had significant creative input, working together with the award-winning stage producer, Shane Wilson from Shane International, on the look of the stage set and lighting cues.
Pictured: All audio, vision, staging and lighting in the Goyder Pavilion by Staging Connections.
Last year’s performance, Magical Gift of Mother Earth, won Shane Best Achievement in Entertainment for the 2016 Australian Event Awards. In addition to AV, staging and lighting for the main stage, the team installed and ran audio and vision systems for this year’s Kids Corner and numerous other stages within the pavilion.
Challenges of drone racing
Adding another level of complexity to the outdoor event was the desire of the organiser to host drone racing in the main arena. The Staging Connections team had to figure out how best to capture the action and ensure the entire crowd was engaged in the activity.
Specialist camera receivers were purchased that linked each drone back to the Staging Connections operators, which let the crowd see the drone from the pilots’ perspective. Outdoor LED lighting was mounted by talented engineers and rigging specialists high in the air, strong enough to withstand high wind and total exposure to the elements. These lights were used as “Traffic lights” and “team colour prompts” for the audience. They were positioned in each corner of the arena on the lighting towers with wireless DMX systems being used to cope with the large distances involved.
The result was a highly engaging series of drone races that showcased the new sport in its best light. Drone pilots, fans and organisers were all impressed with the technical support provided by the Staging Connections team.
Weather proofing and safety procedures
Events that take place outdoors pose challenges for every event organiser, and whilst many event organisers take to crossing their fingers and hoping for the sun to come out for their morning or evening event, that’s simply not feasible when your event runs over 10 days!
But the Show organisers needn’t have feared, because for the Staging Connections team, safety is a major focus and the reason they weather proof all equipment that will be exposed to the weather. They create contingency plans in case of storms and ensure that all staff are educated on the best-practice weather management plans.
It takes an army of techies to operate all the equipment needed for the Royal Adelaide Show. At least 20 members of the Staging Connections team were onsite each day, running the AV for more than 40 performances at the Goyder Pavilion and more than 120 acts at the Coca Cola stage.
Multiple parts of the AV and theatrical effects were automated to ensure consistency of showcraft across all performances and stages. A fatigue management plan was also put in place to support crew members who were working hard for long hours outdoors.
This major outdoor, public event took hundreds of hours to prepare, 10 days of hard work and a whole load of enthusiasm. The result contributed to a stellar event of which the client and the whole of South Australia could be proud.
Ashley Gabriel, Regional General Manager for Staging Connections commented,
"The team looks forward to this event every year. The Adelaide team are specialists in outdoor events having regular events such as the Clipsal 500 Supercar race and the Santos Tour Down Under. The Royal Adelaide Show gives the team the challenge of remaining focused for 10 days and ensuring every performance is delivered at the highest standard every time.”
Ashley continued to say,
"Staging Connections offered and created several key add-ons to greatly improve the presentation of our event. The vision, experience and support of their staff was greatly appreciated.”
Brad Ward, Manager - Special Projects, Royal Adelaide Show