Coca-Cola Arena: New season, new kit

As Coca-Cola Arena purchases a range of high-end audio control equipment, General Manager Mark Jan Kar details the investment and explains what incoming productions can expect this season…

Since it opened in 2019, Coca-Cola Arena has provided a much-needed elite indoor facility in Dubai, catering to numerous incoming A-list artists and world-class productions. Ahead of the new events season, the venue took delivery of a state-of-the-art audio control package, overseen by Director of Technical and Production Malcolm Giles, to further enhance the event experience for incoming productions and audiences alike.

General Manager Mark Jan Kar detailed the new investment. “We have purchased a fully packaged control package to compliment the Arena’s JBL PA System,” he began. “It consists of DiGiCo Quantum 5 and 338 consoles, Shure PSM 1000 IEM system, 96 channels of Stage Split, Shure Axient RF Mics and a full festival microphone package with Shure, Sennheiser, and DPA mics, as well as Radio DIs.” The investment also in L-Acoustics X15 and X12 monitors as well as KS21s with A15s for side fills.

The purpose of the investment is to offer a “full sound package suitable for 80% of the shows”. Kar added: “Due to our ROI being a different model to the average rental house, we can package the audio into more affordable options for the promoters. Purchasing the package from Solotech in the UK has allowed for the system to be put together in the highest level possible and ready to go out the box.”

With the package designed around a typical touring setup, it should provide quicker setup and dismantle times, and since it is not being exposed to the harsher outdoor environment, Kar hopes that it will prove to be more reliable in the long run.

“We believe the new package will help the bottom line for promoters – especially the smaller shows where budget is tight,” he stated, adding that some artists may still require a higher spec system, which when rented in from local suppliers is often too high relative to the show’s capacity and expected revenue.

With a busy events season in the offing, the Coca-Cola Arena technical team continues to grow, with four new technicians joining the team. “With the new investment in equipment and a busy Q4 ahead, we want to be able to offer all our clients the best international-level service that they would get anywhere else in the world,” Kar commented. “With the increase in back-to-back shows, we want to ensure that as a venue we can meet these demands for the promoters. We are always looking for ways to improve and continue to push for further investment into the department to meet the demanding challenges both our clients and the region continue to put on us as a first-class international destination.”

The Coca-Cola Arena team have developed their services to offer a smooth transition from sports event to concerts – sometimes even on the same day. “We did this on the World Tennis League in Q4 last year and the World Paddle League events earlier this year where we turned over from sports to concerts in under an hour,” Kar recalled. “By using the venue to its max with dividing drapes and the easy rigging, we have been able to have almost three shows set up at one time and then each day peeled back each show until we finished with the larger setup. This has been achieved by out-of-the-box thinking, planning and an amazing support team in the department.”

With strong team dynamics, the venue can go from a sports event into a 15,000-capacity concert, then back to a sports event or gala dinner. “Our goal is to facilitate as many event days as we can in a year – that maybe be midweek sports events followed by a corporate event and then a weekend of concerts then back to sports.”

With a dynamic range of events already confirmed from now until the end of the year and into 2024, Coca-Cola Arena is set to continue its position as Dubai’s premier large-scale events venue. “Since the turn of the year, Dubai has seen a very strong appetite for live events in both quantity and ticket sales,” Kar concluded. “The dynamic capability of the Arena allows for quick transformation between different configurations allowing speed and efficiency in hosting the maximum number of shows, evident as we now add live shows midweek to our corporate calendar. The rest of the year will see some exciting acts with new announcements every five to seven days. Exciting times are ahead!”

Photos: Coca-Cola Arena