2 Apr 2024

Inside the Production: Fred Again’s Pop-Up Gig at The Timber Yard

by told by Cory Hoyling, Director Shadow AV; crafted by Emma Hargreaves, Shadow AV

In the fast-paced world of event management, anything can happen, and it was on Friday 1st of March when a typical day turned into an extraordinary feat of last-minute production prowess for Shadow AV.

It all began innocently enough with a routine corporate event setup at The Timber Yard. Little did we know, we were about to embark on a whirlwind adventure that would challenge the boundaries of possibility in live event production.

In the world of audio production and DJ culture, no-one is bigger than Fred Again. Named after a character from a Scooby Doo movie, Fred Again has worked with countless monster acts as a producer and songwriter, including Brian Eno (who used to be his next-door neighbour), Ed Sheeran and Eminem. These days Fred’s almost as big as any of them, winning two Grammy Awards in 2024 in the electronic/ dance category, while also being nominated for Best New Artist. Fred Again pulls monster crowds of adoring fans at the flick of a social media switch, but by mid-afternoon on this fateful day, I still had no idea our paths were about to collide in a big way.

As the day progressed, I found myself navigating multiple sites, from the corporate setup to a casual pop-in on the team at Elite Image Events at the Music Bowl for Reminisce. But it was the game-changing call to the Director of Elite and The Timber Yard from Fred Again’s management team, asking to host a Fred Again pop-up gig at The Timber Yard in 24 hours that quickly catapulted us into unchartered territory! With just 24 hours to turn a concept into reality, tensions ran high as we awaited confirmation for a site visit at The Timber Yard.

Cory Hoyling at Fred Again

At 7pm, the pivotal call came, summoning the teams from Elite and Shadow AV to The Timber Yard for a crucial site visit, with Fred Again’s Team scheduled for 8pm.

Over the next couple of hours, meticulous checks were conducted on site layout and security to ensure the venue met the event’s requirements. It was during this time that Shadow AV was enlisted to manage the production of the event.

As the Shadow AV team arrived at The Timber Yard to commence the corporate event pack down already scheduled for that evening, they remained blissfully unaware of the monumental challenge we had only moments earlier secretly undertaken. With a ticking timer counting down just 19 hours, the stakes were extremely high, yet our determination remained unwavering.

Sitting down with Fred’s team, we delved into their tech rider, deciphering the equipment needed. With the help of Will from FOHP, we assessed available gear for the event. By 1am, after several group conference calls, a comprehensive plan began to take shape.

With the framework established, a decision was made around 2am to break for the night, recharging before the final push.

Meanwhile, the FOHP team worked tirelessly, assembling pick lists for lighting and audio equipment. They prepped and loaded the trucks to ensure they were ready to depart for the site in the morning.

At 8am, I stepped onto the site to find the boys from Elite already hard at work, transforming the space from a corporate setting to pure rave. Over the next few hours, the phone was going non-stop as I scrambled to coordinate crew, arrange a custom stage, and procure all necessary resources to bring the event to life. Urgent calls were made, each demanding immediate action with inquiries ranging from “What do you have?” to “I need it NOW!” Despite the mounting pressure and curiosity surrounding the last-minute gig, confidentiality remained a priority as I rallied my network of suppliers to meet the challenge head-on.

By 11am, our crew had arrived on site to begin construction. However, negotiations regarding the stage size were still ongoing, and we were determining what we could source and construct within the given timeframe.

Ultimately, we decided to proceed with the client’s exact specifications: a custom stage with three tiers, starting at 850mm high and stretching 20 metres wide, stepping down to a 600mm tier of the same dimensions, and finally tapering to a 400mm tier.

At the centre of it all, Fred would be positioned in a three-by-three DJ booth. (This added the complexity of catering to the audience at both the front and back of the DJ booth, requiring twice the PA). Fortunately, our strong partnership with Pro Stage Victoria proved invaluable as they went above and beyond to accommodate our needs and provide the custom stage to fulfill Fred’s vision.

By 3pm, we found ourselves in a comfortable position, and the atmosphere shifted from organised chaos to confident anticipation. We were positioned to nail it.

By 5pm, both sound and lighting were fully set up, and we seamlessly transitioned to Fred’s Front of House (FOH) team. They took over to program and EQ the mammoth PA system.

At 6pm, Fred Again and Skin on Skin arrived to test the system. Fred’s reaction spoke volumes – he was over the moon with the sound and beyond grateful for what we had achieved in such a short time.

At 6:30pm, the soft doors opened to the outside area, welcoming a 600-metre line of eager punters into the outdoor space of The Timber Yard. By 7:30pm, the main doors swung open to reveal Fred Again already in action. As the show commenced, Fred Again captivated the crowd with a non-stop performance, showcasing why he’s regarded as one of the best entertainers out there. The electric and insane vibe persisted for the next few hours as Fred Again and Skin on Skin kept the crowd mesmerised.

At 11pm, the show came to a close and by 2:30am, the last door on the truck was locked shut. The venue then underwent yet another swift turnaround in preparation for the Cheese and Wine Festival, scheduled for a 6am bump- in!

A huge shout out to Elite for placing their trust in me to spearhead this monumental production mission. And what an incredible venue to be able to create this event in; The Timber Yard truly provided the perfect space for the vision to come to life. A massive thank you to our trusted suppliers who moved mountains to make this event happen.


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