Protec has provided a fully integrated technology package – including rigging, and an array of backline from drum kits to keyboards – to the Mother of the Nation Festival in Abu Dhabi, a 10-day celebration that commemorates and honours the values of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.
Flash Entertainment contracted Protec for the festival, which featured a number of activity zones, educational activities and performances, inviting families and individuals from all walks of life to help preserve the Emirati heritage.
Protec’s James Lakin project managed the festival which featured five zones – Happiness, Progress, Beach Dining, Pavilion and The Souq.
HQ Worldwide engaged Protec to illuminate the Happiness Zone, uplighting the trees and giant flower sculptures, as well as one of the domes, the arts and crafts area and the Jeep tour. It also provided sound reinforcement.
Main Stage lighting was specified by Flash International and was based largely around Clay Paky Prima Mythos, A.LEDA K20 B-EYE / A.LEDA K10 B-EYE and Prima Super Sharpy — all controlled by grandMA 2 Full Size and grandMA 2 Lite desks.
Protec provided a projection screen that filled the back of the stage, run in tandem with a pair of Christie Roadster HD 20K-J DLP projectors to deliver graphic content from logos, titles, sponsored video loops and information on what happening throughout the festival — as well as the Pokémon Orchestra, playing in sync to a video.
Protec’s audio department also fielded an L-Acoustics KARA and provided a full monitor system and festival stage patch system going to a Digico SD5 for monitors and a Digico SD10 for FOH.
Overall, 21 different artists appeared on the Main Stage over the duration of the festival, each performing twice a day — making a total of 42 performances over the period. These ranged from a 56-piece orchestra to local jazz and pop bands.
However, the weather provided another unexpected challenge. “There were so many wet days during the set-up and the night before the opening we had wind speeds of 33 metres a second, which provided a number of challenges site wide in the hours before the doors opened to the public,” explained Lakin.
To overcome the conditions they needed to bag all equipment every night and then unbag prior to the show. “This meant the projectors had to be realigned up every day, giving us only 20 minutes of darkness to do so before the event opened.”
And audio was not spared either. On the morning of the opening day some kit was damaged by water when the covering was ripped off by freak winds.
However, worst hit was the Happiness Zone as all equipment was exposed. Daniel Ivanovski, Protec’s lighting engineer, underlined the scale of the challenge in protecting the equipment from the driving rain — which penetrated far inside the roofed stage area — and buffeting winds. “Front of house and dimming/distro area had been covered with tarps held down with stage weights and ropes and the lighting fixtures that weren’t under the roof were individually covered with plastic bags every night during the setup and first show days although the weather improved for the festival itself.”
Lakin concluded: “All in all the team delivered a seamless show over some fairly difficult and unpredictable days. We managed to deliver on all fronts, which given the size of the site, and challenging weather conditions during the build-up, was no mean feat.”