Al Laith Events Services - the new division of Dubai based Al Laith Scaffolding - supplied a stunning looking stage and bespoke roof system for Sting's show at the newly re-launched Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
This was the new division's first major event and involved several technical challenges, the first of which was that the roof had to be built over the top of a 100 metre wide by 11 metre high permanently installed Mitsubishi LED screen.
The roof was made primarily out of Serious Stages' Space truss to Atlantic Enterprises' and structural engineer Dragan Kuzamanov's method statement.
The elegant cantilevered roof elevation measured 25 metres wide and overhung the stage just in front of the screen by 19 metres, with 16 metres protruding at the back supported by a scaffolding "bird-cage", cable stays to a 7 king poles at the top and 84 tonnes of concrete ballast down below stored in 7 stillages at the bottom of the bird cage. It's a similar design to that of a tower crane.
"We needed a fabulous looking and highly space-efficient solution that ensured clear sight-lines to the screen for the 10000 people immediately in front of the stage plus all those in the VIP grandstand seats 100 metres away. A cantilever design was the only way to go," explains Jo Marshall who is heading up Al Laith Events Services.
Behind the screen are several buildings housing power and other plant facilities for the screen and this left just 14.8 metres of space in which to squeeze the 14.1 metre bird-cage support structure which was constructed from Al Laith's cup-lock system. All the buildings and plant also needed to have access routes for maintenance and in case of emergencies.
A vital part of the client's brief was that no part of the structure could touch any part of the LED screen. In some places this left just 3 inches clearance!
The roof was constructed from 7 x 34 metre lines of trussing, each with its own 12 tonnes of ballast. At the front of each truss were 3.5 tonne turfers running back to the base of the scaffolding system, allowing each truss to pick up 5 tonnes in weight. This gave more than enough weight loading for Sting's PA (supplied by Delta Sound) and lights.
The front stays between the truss and the king poles were to guard against uplifts of wind, and the entire structure was rated to safely resist winds of up to 90Km an hour, which are a constant issue in exposed spaces in Dubai.
The roof was picked up in 2 sections (17 tonnes and 12 tonnes respectively) by 2 x 100ft cranes in two tandem lifts.
A test build was completed at Al Laith's yard beforehand, and all the beams and the custom sections required to attach the roof to the bird cage were fabricated at Al Laith. The rigging and steels were supplied by Dutest, Dubai.
The structure was finished in skins that were smart black on the inside and funky silver on the outside, made out of special fire retardant webbed fabric.
The roof and stage build was project managed for Al Laith Events Services by freelance Simon Carr for part of a specialist team dispatched from Serious Stages & Atlantic which also included Justin Chadburn, Dave Fletcher, Simon Furzman, Rob Watts (fabrication) and Dragan Kuzmanov. Kuzmanov developed the original truss design on which this roof version is based in 1997.
They worked with a team of 60 Al Laith scaffolders on site crew chiefed by Akhtar Hussain and Rawal Ram, and the preparation involved about another 50 people on maintenance, engineering and manufacturing duties in the Al Laith yard.
Custom elements included the top beams and 7 special ballast palettes on which the stillages sat, each taking 12 tonnes for every roof truss.
Simon Carr comments, "It was a very enjoyable project involving a lot of great teamwork. The biggest challenge for the roof was withstanding a 3 hour lightening storm with torrential rain and vicious winds 2 days before the show". Other than a bit of skin tightening in the morning, the roof was in perfect condition.
The roof is highly space efficient and packs neatly into containers for storage. This, and it and various other Events Services stages and roofs will be in action during the coming months on The Wakestock Festival, and Il Divo concert and the Ultimate Fighting Championships - all being staged in Abu Dhabi.