Kinesys Flies High with Swedish House Mafia

Everyone is talking about the recent show-stopping Swedish House Mafia show staged by Live Nation Middle East at the Diriyah Festival in Riyadh. This saw a specially designed 2019 touring stage / set created by SHM show designer Samuel (Sam) Tozer working under the Vision Factory brand, recreated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) by Gabriel (Gabe) Fraboni, founder and creative director of LA-based design studio PHNTM LABS … for this landmark performance.

Full technical production – audio, video, lighting, rigging, trussing, etc – for the Diriyah Season Stage, the Festival’s headline stage and international music venue, was supplied by Dubai-headquartered mediaPro International.

This included a Kinesys automation system, used to move three 5-metre diameter signature circular trussing rings made from Alutek 40x40cm heavy duty product, each symbolizing the three artists – Steve Angello, Axwell, and Sebastian Ingrosso – making up the Swedish House Mafia.

The SHM gig concluded a whole month of high profile Diriyah Festival events including the opening round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship plus a host of weekend music events culminating in the Swedes showing the world once again how to take the concept of DJ performance into new dimensions of awesomeness.

mediaPro International’s Hugh Turner handled the pre-production and co-ordination of the technical and automation elements of the show with Gabe Fraboni and the team at PHNTM LABS, and liaised with SHM’s own Kinesys operator Giulio Ligorio and production Rigger Liam Beech and Matthew “Mattie” Evens, director of Nocturnal Touring and Rooted Productions and production / tour manager for SHM.

Kinesys was on their original spec for the rings, and MediaPro has a growing inventory of Kinesys kit.

Hugh comments that even if the automation had been an open spec, they would have specified a Kinesys system anyway based on their growing investment in the brand and its inherent safety and reliability factors. However, they were also delighted to be able to supply the SHM’s exact production requirements.

The three rings were absolutely integral to the show design and performance and were suspended above a special DJ booth which was part of the integrated set / stage, cantilevered outwards 5 metres from the edge of the stage. Upstage at the back was a massive 56-metre-wide by 15-metre-high LED screen.

The rings were flown from a special 10.5-ton mothergrid of approximately 20 metres wide by 6 metres deep, suspended from a combination of three large 120 and 130-ton Grove cranes at a height of 24 metres above the cantilevered stage.

The reach of the cranes – 60 metres – needed to extend over from behind the screen structure and suspend the mother-grid at 24m in its show position. Added to this challenge was building the entire mother-grid with Kinesys sub hangs on the ground in front of the cantilever stage, before it was lifted to its final operational height, involving a further extension in the distance away from the crane.

With safety paramount, the cranes were spec’d to never exceed 70% of their capacity in any given parameter during the lift and lock-off procedure. A special crane / lifting operation expert was commandeered from the UK to oversee this part of the operation.

Clad with black socking material, once dark the three truss circles appeared to be floating in thin air and the lighting effects coming from them seemed to come from some magical intergalactic source.

Rigged from the inner and outer bottom cords of each circle were 52 x GLP Impression X4 Bar 10 LED battens – 156 in total. On the top cords, edging the perimeter of the circles were 34 x EK Color Ranger Q27E LED wash lights – 102 in total. Also mounted from the inner top cords of the circles were 12 x ER BB4 lasers per ring – 36 in total.

All this plus associated cabling added up to around 1.8 tons in weight per circle, with the dynamic loading factor increasing this to 2.2 tons per circle.

Each circle was suspended from four 1-ton Lodestar / EXE motors each driven by a Kinesys Elevation variable speed drive unit, with three half-tonne Liftket motors also powered by Kinesys Elevations utilised as tracking cable picks for the three circles.

All 15 motors – the 12 on the three circles and their respective cable picks – were fitted with Kinesys LibraCELLs for constant and dynamic load monitoring using LibraVIEW.

A Kinesys Vector system with fully redundant backup was used for control.

All the Elevations were powered from an Array PD-ES with data distribution via an Array 485, with the LibraCELLs powered from the LibraPro power/data hub with integrated data distribution.

An Array IP8 Ethernet switch linked the entire system … ensuring that all the Kinesys elements communicated with each other, reported back and could be viewed via the Vector control interface alongside the integrated LibraVIEW live load monitoring system.

A Kinesys Mentor 4 was also used across the whole system for additional safety and SIL3 compliance, which enabled safety devices – in addition to the emergency stops – to be on foot pedals as well as hand operated switches, necessary as the rings were moving directly above the artists.

The Kinesys system was run by Giulio from stage left for the show working in conjunction with a spotter on stage right, as the rings moved and tipped and pitched in numerous directions multiple times throughout the show creating plenty of visual WOW factors in their own right.

Also closely involved in all the automation planning, load calculations, etc. with Hugh was mediaPro International’s head of rigging Colin Silvers and SHM’s head touring rigger, Liam Beech, with mediaPro International’s overall site production manager Stephan Voster.

The Cantilever Stage was built by StageCo Germany with the black steel structure in KSA constructed by Al Laith. Lasers were by ER Production and BPM SFX from the UK took care of the spectacular array of SFX.

The Show Producer was Jim Digby of Showmakers for Live Nation Middle East.

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