2017 may have only been the event’s first year celebrating the nightlife of Bucharest, but this didn’t stop TimeShift Festival attracting a plethora of headline acts. Household names including David Guetta, Bloc Party, Above and Beyond and DJ Snake took to the stage, situated right in the heart of the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The festival followed the ethos of bringing together technology and music, to create a truly immersive experience designed to transport audience members to “another dimension”. If all this was to be achieved, the festival needed to feature dynamic and exciting sound and lighting design, all of which would need to be supported by a stage that was anything but conventional.
Held from 20th to 23rd July, the festival span across four stages, with A.S.C. Systems Sound & Light acting as client for the project. For the main stage, the company chose to utilise a MILOS MR5 roof to provide coverage. In fact, this agreement would result in the largest roof ever engineered and sold by MILOS being deployed, one that measured in at 31 x 18 metres in size. The Heavy-Duty pitched roof, which covered a 1.8 metre high Layher Allround Stage, was supported by a total of six MILOS M390-QTKT towers on the main stage, with two M390-QTKT towers supporting each side house.
In light of such an impressive feat of engineering, LightSoundJournal took the opportunity to speak with Norbert Tripp, Area Four Industries’ Technical Director, on what it took to design and implement the largest roof ever engineered by MILOS.
LightSoundJournal: This installation sees the largest roof engineered by MILOS. How did the contract, and subsequent contract, come about with TIMESHIFT festival?
Nortbert Tripp: Our client, ASC, is long time customer of Alur, and later, of Milos. We had been keeping a very good relationship with management and they were planning to purchase a bigger roof for large events in Romania. In January 2017, ASC concluded a contract for a big event in Bucharest and this opened a door to create a spectacular roof system. It took 1 month from our first design of the roof until signing off on the contract. Competition for this project was very intense and we are very happy that ASC chose the solution from MILOS.
LightSoundJournal: Speaking about the MILOS MR5 roof that covered the main stage of the festival, what were the main criteria specified by the customer that the roof structure needed to meet?
Nortbert Tripp: Considering the dimensions of the roof, a free span of 20 meters and a clearance height of 11 meters were required. The customer also wanted to implement side houses, which would serve as side storage or back storage for accommodating technical equipment and artists. The minimum payload was defined as 20,000 kg of distributed load plus 2,000 kg for PA on 2m front cantilevers. In the end, we achieved a total of 38,000 kg instead of the requested 24,000 kg.
LightSoundJournal: Please talk us through the process of engineering the design. Were there any specific considerations that you had to take into account for this particular location?
Nortbert Tripp: From the beginning, it was clear that the stage must be made of scaffolding and serve as an integrated substructure in order for the entire structure to require as little ballast weight as possible. We discussed several options on how to combine the main roof structure with the storage areas, with all pros and cons concerning user friendliness, truck space, loading capacity and the size and weight of relevant components. After discussing these options, we agreed on a structure that represented a good compromise on everything that was wanted.
LightSoundJournal: The structure was able to handle a total load of around 38,000kg, which included sound and lighting equipment. Was the plot for this equipment decided first, and the stage structured accordingly, or did the lighting and sound designers work around the design of the roof and structure?
Nortbert Tripp: Since the required payloads for the show were smaller than the capacity of the roof, the rigging plot of the festival was never an issue. The only request that could not be met was an 8000 kg, and approx. 15x8m, LED wall, which should hang from the roof. The roof would have had the required capacity in terms of payload, but there were practical reasons against implementing it. Since such a large LED wall could not be dismantled quickly in case of an approaching storm, it would have had to be taken into account even after the removal of the wall panels as a surface exposed to wind. However, this would have brought far-reaching changes in the construction of the roof, which were not desired by the customer.
LightSoundJournal: What systems did the install utilise for load measurement and monitoring?
Nortbert Tripp: During lifting, there were no load measurements because the roof structure was lifted without any additional rigging. The equipment for the show was not even close to reaching the maximum load capacity of the roof, which is why it was not monitored at all.
LightSoundJournal: The concert saw excellent weather conditions for the duration, however what particular considerations had to be made to meet the Romanian Wind Standards? How do these standards differ to the European Standards?
Norbert Tripp: The roof was required to conform to the national standards. The Romanian standard for wind effects required higher wind load requirements in Bucharest and most areas in Romania than the European standard for temporary demountable structures. So I had to consider a maximum wind speed that was 7.2 km/h faster, which resulted in 15% higher wind pressures.
LightSoundJournal: How many people did it take to construct the entire structure, and how long was this process?
Norbert Tripp: Assembly of the scaffold substructure took the entire first day. Assembly of the roof structure took three more days with approximately 12-14 people. However, it must be mentioned that initial construction required the assembly of some components that remained permanently mounted, even after disassembly. In addition, the customer was trained on construction of the structure during the initial setup. The next construction of the whole structure will probably be done in only two and a half days.
LightSoundJournal: What in particular about this MILOS system makes it easier and quicker to install? How does this compare to other types of stage roofing that are provided by competitors?
Norbert Tripp: We found an easy way for positioning the keder profiles on the rooftop and walls without the need for time consuming measurements. In addition, the keder profiles of the walls can be vertically suspended without having to pre-assemble them on the floor in advance, as is required with other competitors. Thus, less surface area is required when building the roof.
LightSoundJournal: Do you think that there will be an even bigger MILOS installation in the near future, and what do you see as being the limiting factors to the maximum size of installation?
Norbert Tripp: The general trend in the market is for bigger and bigger events, with bigger payloads. Accordingly, the need for ever larger stage roofs is constantly growing. In order to meet this demand, we have developed a range of high load-bearing steel trusses that makes much larger roof structures possible. This new range of steel truss has recently been launched and you will soon see it on big festivals and concerts.
LightSoundJournal: With the process now completed for this installation, what has the feedback from the client been like?
Norbert Tripp: The customer has confirmed that his new roof fulfils all required and desired properties with a good price-performance ratio. And the praise given by the head rigger for the ease of use and handling was especially pleasing for us to hear. These positive comments were confirmation that our design skills and long time experience contributed to us producing a superior product.
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