x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Flash Entertainment has plans to scale back

The events promotion company says Abu Dhabi has reached 'saturation point' for large outdoor events.

Aerosmith, which performed during the Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit, was just one of several major acts brought to Abu Dhabi last year by Flash Entertainment.
Aerosmith, which performed during the Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit, was just one of several major acts brought to Abu Dhabi last year by Flash Entertainment.

ABU DHABI // The company that brought the global acts Coldplay, Aerosmith and The Killers to the capital in 2009 says the city is nearing saturation for large outdoor events and will instead concentrate on smaller-scale attractions in 2010. "We are coming close to the city's saturation point with the amount of things that are happening," said John Lickrish, the managing director of Flash Entertainment. "It's a lot for people to digest."

In the past month alone, the company staged four major events: The Killers, the Creamfields outdoor dance festival, Rihanna's New Year's Eve concert and the Capitala World Tennis Championship. Flash staff have been stretched to capacity, Mr Lickrish said. "We won't do four major events in one month again," he said. "We may still do three or four events in a month but they will be targeted at different demographics, and we'd cut down on their scale. It's easier for us to do rather than big grandiose projects that are quite draining on manpower."

The company would continue to bring big name entertainers to Abu Dhabi, he said, but was planning more diverse events aimed at a wider audience. These shows he said, would be for "a couple of thousand" people. The company has an event planned for late February or early March, and two on the books for the Corniche in the spring: one "purely sporting event" and one "youth-orientated sport-music festival".

"We also have a few very high-profile family events planned for the end of 2010," he said. "That's our plan really. We want to do stuff that brings entertainment to the entire community, from very adult contemporary pop acts to alternative acts, sport and family and kids events." He said that organising a large-scale concert in Abu Dhabi was much more labour-intensive than elsewhere, because facilities must be built from scratch.

Flash has said it planned to double its staff from the current 20 to about 40 by March. The company has also looked at expanding into theatre and comedy, but Mr Lickrish said there were logistical problems with bringing in large Broadway shows, for example. There are few suitable venues for such a production, which also needs a long run to be viable. There are also other companies involved in that sort of entertainment, and Flash does not "want to interfere", he said.

Founded two years ago by the Abu Dhabi Government's Executive Affairs Authority, Flash has also produced shows by Andrea Bocelli, Kings of Leon, Beyoncé and Jamiroquai. lmorris@thenational.ae