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Sennheiser anticipates resurgence in live events following Breakout DXB

Sennheiser anticipates resurgence in live events following Breakout DXB

Sennheiser anticipates resurgence in live events following Breakout DXB


Following its successful involvement in this year’s Breakout DXB festival alongside what is described as commendable actions by the UAE and other Middle East governments, the Sennheiser Middle East team is confident of an uptick in live events in 2021.

In line with its #DontStopTheMusic initiative, Sennheiser extended its support, expertise and equipment to Breakout DXB, the two-day live music festival held at the Rove Downtown in Dubai in the last quarter of 2020. The brainchild of the Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency and Lobito Brigante, the event featured an impressive roster of local talent including Dubai-based R&B artist, Layla Kardan; Saudi hip-hop star, Big Hass; and Emirati artist, Hamdan Al Abri. Events production company, 3DB, provided all the AV equipment for the show, which included 32 channels of wireless mics from the Sennheiser 300 and 500 series as well as 12 channels of in-ear monitors (IEMs). The wireless nature of the system ensured all performers could conveniently follow the safety precautions that the organisers had meticulously crafted and implemented.

Special consideration was taken to ensure social distancing could be maintained throughout the festival. Key to keeping artists safe was ensuring that if they touched any equipment, they could rest assured that it was thoroughly sterilised. Microphone sanitisation was conducted through a UV sanitation process, which 3DB expects will become standard practice at future events. To this end, the company has invested in two complete UVR sanitisation systems which include flight cases, each with three draws and a timer. The 360° sanitisation of a rack can be carried out in under five minutes.

"Social distancing, mask wearing, sanitisation – things like these are all challenging to what we would normally associate with a festival and they can lead to the environment feeling a bit stale and clinical at first, because we’re not used to having to do these things,” said Bolton. “But we tried to minimise that feeling as much as possible and made sure everyone was safe and enjoying themselves at the same time. Putting on an event right in the middle of a global pandemic was not the easiest but we did it and showed people that it can be done. There are so many restrictions and so many things that people are used to seeing or doing at events that are different now or simply can no longer happen. This was definitely a nice first step. I feel that we pushed the boundaries and I hope that we have helped in some way to get things going again.”

Sennheiser’s WSM manager helped ensure that all frequencies were allocated and mapped correctly. Despite the show being held in Downtown Dubai – an area with especially high levels of noise and traffic which can potentially bleed into the RF spectrum – there reportedly wasn’t a single RF conflict through the three days of the event. “Given the high calibre of artists, there were high expectations of the equipment for the event,” commented Ryan Burr, head of technical sales and application engineering, Professional Audio at Sennheiser Middle East. “As a long-term Sennheiser partner, 3DB was well aware that our wireless microphones and IEMs could deliver on every requirement. We also extended our expertise through the set-up and testing stages. Many of these artists hadn’t performed live in several months and this diligence helped ensure everything went off without a hitch.”

“It was a good learning curve from our point of view – we had two sterilisation systems (A and B) and now going forward, every live event needs to have a sterilisation kit,” added 3DB managing director Eddie Mulrainy. “We used a ULV Fogging machine which contained sanitisation solution to sanitise everything in-between. We are very aware that if we have one outbreak at an event, then everything will have to stop and shut down.”

Crew health and safety specialist Gallowglass has been working closely with 3DB to ensure the live events it works on go off without a hitch. “It was fantastic to see an event such as this go ahead in what has been such a challenging period for the whole industry,” said Steve Kearney of Gallowglass. “It was a superb weekend and the organisers, suppliers and artists deserve a great deal of credit for that. We hope this is just the start of the industry getting back to where it needs to be. Our team strives always to be helpful, offering an extra pair of hands and ensuring that everything and everybody felt that they were in a safe and measured environment. The backup and reassurance that Gallowglass provided meant that pretty much every possible scenario had been thought about and planned for.”

Following the success of this event, Sennheiser expects a positive outlook for the live events industry in the Middle East in the coming year. “There’s no doubt that the market has experienced unprecedented challenges through 2020. But as Breakout DXB has effectively demonstrated, careful planning, coordination with key government and healthcare authorities, and the utilisation of world-class equipment can in fact provide the formula for the industry to make a comeback,” concluded Burr. “We will continue to focus on our live events business as event production companies find new and creative ways to conduct engaging live events. Given our large global presence and involvement in such events across a large number of geographies, we’re especially keen to share best-practices as this will be key to ensuring not only the quality, but as importantly the safety of events in the new normal.”

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