“Ed Sheeran Concert in Mumbai is Testimony that India is Ready” - Vinay Agarwal
by Shantanu Jain Entertainment | November 23, 2017 | Feature
Ed Sheeran BookMyShow Jio Garden
2017 has been one hell of a year for the LIVE Entertainment scene in India. The year began with the most successful edition of Viacom 18’s mammoth multi-genre music festival property Vh1 Supersonic, followed by the likes of ground-breaking Purpose World Tour in India feat. Justin Bieber, Rocking editions of Ultrafest by Percept, the heartwarming Dream Theater concert in Mumbai by Opium Events and many others.
Not only have new properties been added to the LIVE Entertainment format of events this year such as Breezer Vivid Shuffle, The Sufi Route, Viacom 18 Encore Concert with AR Rahman but also the existing players in the market such as Sunburn, Enchanted Valley Carnival, Echoes of Earth and Magnetic Fields Festival have upped their game and are ready to provide a more holistic music festival experience to their audiences this year.
One recent concert that has really elevated the design and execution levels for the LIVE events industry this year is undoubtedly the recently executed, Ed Sheeran Live in Mumbai Concert brought to India by AEG Presents and PR Worldwide in collaboration with BookMyShow at Jio Gardens, BKC, Mumbai.
What made this concert special? Well, to start off the concert didn’t seem like a show put on by one man, but rather an event that relied on the inclusion of an arena-sized group. Not to forget the stage, sound, production, security, and lighting were all top-notch.
In an exclusive interview with Vinay Agarwal-Head of Production for the Ed Sheeran Live in Mumbai Concert, we decipher what makes the concert a game changer for the Indian events industry. But before we do that let’s acknowledge the event partners who made the event, one of the most memorable evenings for over 10,000 in attendance.
1 Sound – Warren D’Souza (Sound.com)
2 Truss – Harold Fernandes (Media Pro)
3 Motors and Local Lights – Ashish Mehta (Star Dimension)
4 Head Rigger – Daniel Wiggill (Media Pro)
5 On-site Rigging – Jay Neil (Ehq Projects – Malaysia)
6 Layher – Mitlesh Kumar (Layher India)
7 Ground Execution – Vikas Menon (Production Crew)
8 Venue Build – Vicky Shah (V Ideas)
9 Power Distribution and Generators – Vaibhav Kapoor (3rd Wave)
10 Security – Navin Singh (Trigs)
“Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour setup was a production manager’s dream (Read- Worst Nightmare) because the challenges we faced and finally overcome is a tremendous achievement in itself”- says Vinay as we start off the candid conversation with him.
Vinay adds, “To start off, we needed a roof structure that was capable of bearing a load of 18 tonnes. Sadly, no roof truss in India has these capabilities and getting Stage Co. Megastructure was beyond our budget. The solution to this problem came in the form of a Cantilever Layher structure that we built which took away half the load and the other half was on the roof provided by Media Pro.”
He assures, “Security at large scale events and festivals is the most important aspect and hence, we didn’t leave anything to fate. We ensured all our plans and structures were duly certified by structural engineers.”
Was this the only challenge you faced? Answering this, Vinay chuckles and responds, “Another massive challenge we faced came from Ed Sheeran’s production manager who wanted to rig the lights and LED they brought in, on the day of the show. I will be honest, this made us rather uncomfortable as we really were battling against time to get the set-up completed. Not to forget, there was absolutely no room for error. We had to be spot on with the positioning of the motors, even a few inches off balance could lead to a massive accident and the whole thing would have to be re-rigged again.”
He recalls, “51 motors, positioned and ready, were needed for the entire rig. Jay Neil and his team (Ehq Projects) were so great. They flew down right after the Malaysia leg of the tour and, thanks to their great experience and a job well done by the local crew, we were on point with the setup.”
Another challenge that Vinay faced with the concert production was in figuring out the weight distribution on the ground. Very few people know that Jio Garden, the event venue, has two levels of parking below the turf. The production team was concerned about their slabs being able to take close to 60 tonnes of weight.
“The allowed load-bearing capacity of the venue is 1 ton per sq. meter and we were way above that”- shares Vinay. Thankfully, with the help of Daniel we came up with a solution to distribute the weight evenly and again, we ensured proper certification.”
Vinay is grateful to his event partners who ensured the concert was a staggering success. He elucidates, “Warren D’souza not only provided sound for the show but also played a very important role in coordinating with Layher. Apart from a great Audio engineer, I won’t be surprised if his next career goal is structural engineering. Also, Stage aside, we put a lot of effort to really create a memorable overall experience for the attendees. Branding was planned in a never seen before manner, with all signages visible from any corner of the ground, theme-based F&B stalls and Bars- the reviews we received post-event are truly rewarding.”
“I believe so much in India and the tremendous success garnered by the Ed Sheeran concert despite the challenges we faced only goes on to prove that nothing is impossible here. There are solutions for everything. We just have to look for them, think out of the box, come out of our set comfort zones and make it happen. I am very proud to say there was ‘ZERO JUGAD’ in this show. I would like to thank Kunal Khambati (BookMyShow) and Para (PR WorldWide) for having trust in me and giving me a free hand to make sure we raised the bar and created new standards to be met. There are miles to go before we sleep, but Ed Sheeran’s Mumbai show is testimony that India is ready to host bigger artists, create and manage gigantic stage productions and most importantly give to the Indian audiences, an experience of a lifetime.”- says Vinay as we wrap up the interview with him.
What made this concert special? Well, to start off the concert didn’t seem like a show put on by one man, but rather an event that relied on the inclusion of an arena-sized group.