When the Factory Festival team contacted us back in August 2020, one of the darkest times our industry had ever seen, to provide pricing for an extended duration music festival, we were needless to say instantly excited to be involved.
This was the beginning of a relationship that was to go on to become a wonderful example of suppliers and event teams all working together with the one goal of getting the show open. Bearing in mind, the ‘show’ was a three-week-long festival with the intention of opening its doors as many of those days as it could get both artists and health approval. Given the scale of the event and number of hoops that needed to be jumped through, it all took quite a bit of time and correspondence before we were put on standby for an outdoor event for around 10,000 pax socially distanced at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
Over the space of the next couple of weeks, through the changing of various border closures and restriction twisting and turning, the Factory team came to the very difficult decision to postpone the event, while this was kept on the down-low for 24 hours or so, their announcement was a half-hour off going live when the QLD Premier announced an easing of restrictions and all importantly, the opening of the borders. All of sudden there was again a glimmer of hope which was all that was needed to give it a red-hot crack, and game on.
The team at Factory along with the awesome site and production team worked around the clock, scrambling their key staff into 14 days isolation in Brisbane, and working with all suppliers, venue, artists and stakeholders to rebuild from the ground up.
NW Group helped to re-scale the production and assist with designing a site that essentially operated as a multistage layout but also needed to be fully integrated to allow for the organizers to use every inch of space and production infrastructure across the site, for the headliners to ensure the maximum number of festival-goers could feel like they were part of the main event. In other words, multiple delay speakers that were used as completely separate chill-out zones with their own artists and content needed to be able to be re-purposed as required during each show to allow additional capacity to assist with crowd movement and restrictions. This threw up some programming and delay time issues which we worked through carefully to ensure the ability to transition in and out of each mode at the request of the promoters.
Audio for the main stage was handled easily with our L’Acoustics system. As most of the original headliners remained in play, the original lighting design pretty much stayed the same although tweaked slightly for the smaller stage with some reduction to audience lighting. We added additional lighting to create more dance zones across the multiple barriers to again assist with keeping the crowd as distanced as possible. The biggest hurdle with lighting being to keep it from hitting any of the extremely close residential hi-rise buildings that surround the showgrounds, but it all went off without a hitch!
While the organizers arm-wrestled with the red tape of opening under a COVID Checklist or the increased capacity an approved COVID Safe plan offered, NW Group got on with yet again delivering seamless and world-class production to the accolades of the entire event team, visiting artists, and paying public who all enjoyed dipping their toes back into the festival world.
Images by Claudia Ciapocha, Bobby Rein, Curdin, Zennieshia Butts and Mitch Lowe Photography