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Stagekings’ huge temporary venue system debuts at Perth Festival
“It was pretty amazing. You stepped into this whole other world,” Jeremy Fleming, Founder and CEO of Stagekings, reflects on the first outing of their new 55 metre clear-span temporary structure for Bjork’s Cornucopia show at Langley Park.
Stagekings, renowned across the country for their custom stages and events structures, recently invested in the largest free spanning temporary structure in the Southern Hemisphere; “There is such a lack of medium sized venues around Australia and so much going on in the live music and entertainment space we wanted to meet the need.” Jeremy explored options around the world and then Bjork came across his radar. “Bjork had played in an Irmarfer Wave structure in Brazil and asked us if we would consider sourcing something like this for the Perth Festival.”
Manufactured in Portugal, Irmarfer structures are used extensively throughout Europe and the USA and Stagekings were impressed. “The Irmarfer range stood out because of the huge rigging capacity meaning production don’t need any additional structure underneath. We can hang a lot on the roof.” They purchased the Wave 55 with a footprint of 55 metres clear- span width, up to 100 metres in length and 18 metres high. “It’s a modular format so we have twenty bays that make up the 100 metre structure, with one 20 metre section where we can put a bay every 2.5 metres, for example over the stage, meaning we can have three tonne every 2.5 metres, which will easily cover off your sound and lighting.”
The resulting capacity is impressive. “You are talking 5,500 metre squared, say 500 metres for the stage and using the rule of thumb of three people per square metre, you are looking at 12,000 to 15,000 people.”
Logistically, the Wave 55 ticked a lot of boxes too. “It is made from aluminium and fits into five forty-foot containers so is easy to move around the country. It is quick to put up and break down, taking less than two weeks. We did Perth in nine days as it was a big open space but in more confined locations, it takes about twelve.” It can be pegged down or weighted, pegs being the preferable option. “We’ve a focus on sustainability so we aim to reduce freight. If we need to weigh it down, like in Perth where the ground conditions were sandy, the ballast doesn’t need to be bespoke so we can organise something locally when required.”
The decking system can be built on unlevel ground and to multi-level specs for corporate seating, “But again it doesn’t have to be custom decking, we can use our own and so we have plenty of options available.”
The well know entertainment sector engineers Van de Meer Consulting engineered it to Australian specifications and with a wind rating of 162km/h it can take anything the weather can throw at it. “The skin is heavy duty PVC and we’ve gone for white outside but with full black out internally. You can get clear skins, or they can be printed with any type of artwork which is exciting.” The ends are capped with either flat or rounded gables. “We’ve currently got flat but we’re bringing in two round ends which will look amazing.”
Jeremy was pleased with how much sound the PVC walls cut out. “In Perth we found that there was a massive drop off outside the park, but we have also got sandwich panel walls that will stop noise transmitting at ground level.” The Stagekings team are currently putting a list together of places amenable to the temporary structure being installed, “We’ve quite a few in Sydney and some in Melbourne already.”
On costs compared to hiring a venue, a client has recently priced the Wave 55 up against an Arena for a corporate event. “The costs are not only significantly less than an existing Arena, but you have more flexibility and less production to deal with because of the Wave 55’s rigging capacity.”
“We are really excited. The Wave 55 is filling a gap in the industry and we are getting lots of booking enquiries. We are looking at bringing in a second one, with a long-term booking coming up in the next couple of months.
There’s a lot of big international events over the next few years like the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and the Olympics in Queensland 2032. Irmarfer provided ninety percent of the structures for the Rio Olympics; one was 310 metres long and 75 metres wide, housing the athlete’s mess, which is enormous. There is a lot of potential.”
Stagekings’ new temporary structures are good news for the industry, and with a focus on avoiding competing with the ubiquitous A frames, they intend to stay niche, “Next up I think we’ll look at the twenty, thirty, forty metre Igloo structures.” Keep your eyes peeled for a Stagekings temporary venue near you.
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