September 22nd, 2020
one of the first 360º drivE In Stages
Today's read...8 minutes
From star-studded charity basketball games to virtual Bonnaroo, the live event industry continues to shine while exploring creative initiatives. We take a closer look at the future of live events, and this week we learn from Matt Mudde - the Production Manager behind Canada's first 360º drive-in stage.
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Success Down Under
Closed borders didn’t stop acting CEO James Gough and his team from putting on an uplifting Darwin Festival this year. Travel restrictions to Australia inspired producers to find local talent, instead of the international acts that usually draw their attendees, but it proved to be a huge success! 95 percent of the city’s ticketed shows sold out, and additional shows had to be scheduled to meet the high demand. The music and art festival focused heavily on pairing local artists with unique interactions to create community in an environment that also emphasized safety.
A Look Into The Future
What will events look like after 2020? That’s the question on everyone’s mind as health and safety standards change due to COVID-19. While venues are turning towards new technology to increase safety, such as releasing an army of electrostatic sprayers to clean surfaces, how will the lasting impact of COVID-19 affect the creative side of the music industry? How will song production be affected by this unprecedented year? Though the answer may not be clear, Flying Lotus has shared his thoughts for the future of music in L.A. He believes it will be an industry focused on musicianship and live experience.
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Matt Mudde is an event professional who has been working in live events for 14 years, specializing in Production and Operations Management. This week he sat down and shared how he played a part in creating Canada's first 360-degree drive-in stage.
Matt Mudde started his career like many individuals in this industry…doing something completely different. With his education originally focused on science, he quickly learned that music pulled his interest in ways environmental engineering could not. After this realization, he began working his way up from a “flyer boy” to a Production and Operations Management Specialist. With 14 years of experience under his belt, his career has allowed him the opportunity to wear many hats.
Starting in venues, he was quickly able to move to tour managing and production, and is currently working in site operations. His favorite opportunity thus far? Serving as the Operations Manager for the Rolling Stones' only Canadian Tour stop in 2019 at Burls Creek Event Grounds. Today, Matt is based out of Barre, Canada just north of Toronto. He and his amazing team recently created a 360-degree stage that is catching the eye of event professionals everywhere. Let’s dive in!
Matt was brought on to to serve as the Production Manager, and was connected to the project through Aaqil Seven with Envy Productions, the talent booker of the event. Aaqil deploys teams at all of his events, which creates partnerships between professionals. This project was built on 15 years of mutual connections which made for a strong team able to create incredible results in short turnaround times, like they were tasked with for the 360-degree stage. The team included Lawrence “Junior” Panzini (Jamco), Peter Gismondi (Superior Events), Mike Kerwin (Frontier Light and Sound), and James Spillsbury (Lighting & Video Director), and Alex Hollinger (Sound Engineer).
Matt was originally given a 3-D rendering of the stage itself and the core structure of the deck with overhead only 15 days before show day. The first question was how the team would make a stationary experience dynamic. Since this was a DJ-based show where the artist (Adventure Club) is standing in one position and facing one direction, the goal was to allow fans to experience this through three additional angles. “That’s where it got interesting,” says Matt.” Figuring out our head heights; if we could get a riser on the stage with the DJ setup; how we are going to get production from inside the stage structure itself and past the screens that are hanging as a header; is there a way that we can position our hangs to maximize our cohesion? We got in-depth. You are building a 360-degree stage in general terms, but each of those four views has 180-degrees that you need to bring into context. So if you want to build the stage on 90-degrees per side you are missing another 90-degrees of production value.” So the 360-degree stage turns into a 720-degree stage. Still with us? Have we made your brain hurt yet?
To create an immersive experience, cohesion needed to happen around all corners. This was a challenge the team spent a lot of time on. Currently missing from drive-ins is the ability for fan-artist interaction. Yet, their expertise and creativity led to an innovative model that allowed more fans the ability to interact with the artist in close proximity to the stage than ever before. The super bowl performance and other 360-degree style stages have been created on a larger scale, but this was one of the first drive-in models. “We took simple, basic things and made it work together. This is just a modified front of house deck.” Matt and his team proved that with the right group, and eager workers, anything is possible.
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September 22: Music Ally Presents Sandbox Summit, a week-long series of online conferences offering thought leadership and practical insight into how to build and engage audiences digitally.
September 23: Women In Music dives into tips and strategies for how artists can release music without a record label.
September 24: WHO Knew The Smartest People In The Room catches up with Jay Gilbert and Mike Etchart to talk about their successful careers in the major label world.
September 25: Safe Events presents a case study on the UK’s first socially-distanced venue, Virgin Money Unity Arena, covering everything from planning, challenges and takeaways.
September 28: MidWay Music Festival + Summit presents a panel on effective A&R and discovering artists.