x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Madonna concerts to be chilled, say organisers

Organisers of the superstar's two concerts next month say great pains have been taken to keep the crowd, artists and instruments chilled.

Fans cheer during a Guns and Roses concert at Yas Marina. Misting machines and a cooling dome will be set up for Madonna's concerts.
Fans cheer during a Guns and Roses concert at Yas Marina. Misting machines and a cooling dome will be set up for Madonna's concerts.

ABU DHABI // Organisers of the Madonna concerts in Abu Dhabi have reassured fans that they have taken special measures to help the crowds cope with the heat.

The events company Flash Entertainment will set up a cooling dome and misting machines at the concert venue to beat the heat of the summer, when temperatures average in the mid-40s.

The two concerts, on June 3 and 4 at Yas Island's du Arena, will have more security, ushers and first-aid staff to deal with problems relating to the high temperatures and humidity.

"The wellbeing of the public is paramount," said Lee Charteris, who runs operations at Flash. "There's no point doing anything if people don't have a good time."

Water bottles will also be sold as a two-for-one deal for Dh10, with extra water stations scattered throughout the venue. Food and beverage options have been extended to include iced lollies and other cool items.

"It's going to be warm so people should be drinking lots of water," Mr Charteris said.

He said customers had been surveyed to see how the concert experience could be improved.

Flash is expecting a total of 50,000 people for the two concerts, which Mr Charteris said Flash had catered for before.

"But obviously, because of the increased temperatures, we're taking all the precautions to make this as enjoyable as possible," he said.

Since March, the du Arena has undergone various structural changes, including an increase from one to four entrances, depending on ticket category, to "alleviate the pressure" and eliminate queues.

There will also be grassy areas to replace the gravel, and a central public plaza with shops and entertainment.

Jason Anthony, 23, from India, said he was going to the concert alone because he "loves Madonna" and he was not worried about the weather.

"I was born and brought up here, so I'm used to the heat. It's only one day so people will just have to manage it," Jason said.

He said people would be "so carried away with the concert" they would not be worried by the temperatures.

Greg Dufton, a managing partner at Think which organised the Sandance festivals at Dubai's Atlantis, The Palm, said: "People who are from the region know what it's like in June, so if they have bought a ticket thinking any different then they only have themselves to blame."

His business partner, Tim Derry, said temperatures at the last Sandance event this month passed 40°C during the day, with no cooling breeze.

Not only do the artists need to stay cool onstage to deliver their show, but the instruments are also important, Mr Derry said.

"International artists tend to feel the heat more than those who live here," he said, adding that drums and guitars can go out of tune and keyboards can melt.

"After the sound checks we use the foil blankets that marathon runners use at the end races to cover the equipment and reflect the sunlight before the performance."

Mira Sadek from Flash said there would be air-conditioning units and fans pointed at Madonna and her dancers.

The rest of the stage, including lighting and sound equipment and 120 technicians, will be flown to each destination in three Boeing 747s on Madonna's MDNA 2012 World Tour.

This will be the queen of pop's first performance in the Middle East.

molson@thenational.ae