Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank of South Africa recently held their annual general meeting in Sun City, South Africa and used the event as a platform to re-launch the division under the generic Standard Bank brand. And they planned for a show to fit the occasion.

"It has been our biggest job to date," says Mark Gaylard of rental company MGG Productions who coordinated the event. "Clients invariably prefer dealing with one person who coordinates the entire event. With something of this magnitude, however, it makes sense to subcontract parts of it to other players in the industry whose work we know and trust."

Bringing in the Big Guns

The meeting began with an impressive, but low-key walk-in design. Festoons were brought around the periphery of Sun City's Superbowl, hiding the food stalls that encircled the conference area, and the stage was closed off with a curtain.

"When the CEO announced the name change, we used gobo effects and stirring music, but we were saving the big guns for later," Gaylard explains. "An hour's break– during which time the delegates left the Superbowl–followed the daytime formalities. The seating had to be replaced with cocktail tables, and we had to fly floor screens, lift six Martin MAC 300s onto the stage, raise the festoons hiding the food stands–the activity was intense!"

Gaylard and his team saved the "big guns" for the musical performer Johnny Clegg, hugely popular in South Africa for his collaboration with groups Juluka and Savuka that mix traditional Zulu beats with Western rock. "When Johnny Clegg appeared, the excitement was electric. That's when we pulled out all the stops with the lighting. We're talking eight Martin MAC 250 Entour moving head spots, eight MAC 2000s, six MAC 300s, three Martin Atomic 3000 strobes, eight MAC 250+ moving head spots, four Jem ZR 24/7 hazers, twelve Martin RoboScan 1220 moving mirrors, and 16 High End Studio Color moving head washes. MGG Productions supplied the Martin gear distributed in South Africa by Electrosonic.

General Meeting at the Sun City Superbowl

Maxxyz Makes for Quick Learning

Upstage's Kurt Du Preez looked after the lighting, using a Martin Maxxyz console that had arrived only a few days earlier. "The thing about Kurt is that he knows what he wants to see and he can translate it into the controller," Gaylard says. "Kurt had very little experience with [the Maxxyz], but you'd never have known!"

Other gear included six AV screens–two linked to Barcos that Sun City had brought in–and four on the floor, linked to Sanyos that MGG provided. Sound Corporation's Jonathan Green handled conference sound, and Johnny Clegg's sound was handled by Johan Griesel. A tricky satellite video link was also a part of the show.

The event was a roaring success, thanks to the experience that Mark and his subcontractors brought to the party. "But," Gaylard adds, eager to spread the credit, "let's not forget that the Superbowl is a great venue, and the Sun City people are incredibly helpful."