Rwanda Welcomes Unusual for Global Citizen gig
12th February 2024How do you put a show in a stadium that has minimal weight loading? That was the challenge facing the Unusual Rigging team when they were briefed to provide the rigging for the Global Citizen Move Afrika event at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, on 6th December.
This huge scale event, organised by Done & Dusted, was the first event in a five year large-scale effort to pioneer a first of its kind international music touring circuit throughout the African continent.
Sam Carter, senior production rigger, Unusual explained: “This event was a pretty big deal – not just as a music gig but as an initiative which hopes to help expand the industry in the region. Each year, we are pleased to work with some local people, demonstrating what we do, how we do it and hopefully, by giving some training to these guys, we’re giving them the tools to develop their own entertainment industry.”
One of the first things that Sam and the team had to deal with was a lack of engineering papers, so several conversations were needed with the engineers to get things moving.
Sam said: We knew that the building could take more weight than stated but we had to have some proof behind this. The original team of Turkish engineers pulled out of the project at the last minute, so at the eleventh hour, another company, based in South Africa was found.”
With more calculations and mountains of paperwork to get through for the engineers before any work could begin, an agreement was reached just days before the Unusual team flew out to begin load in.
Sam added: “We had 18 tonnes to hang in total from the roof – it took three days to get the rigging in and then another five days to install all the banners, scrims etc. We also had a huge quantity of lighting, audio, video, kabuki backdrops, an emergency backdrop change (which was brought in on the day of the concert itself). With a team of nine riggers, including two locals, we beat the clock and got it all done – no mean feat!”
The event, headlined by Grammy and Pulitzer winning artist Kendrick Lamar took place in front of an audience of more than 12,000 people and was a huge success. Sam concluded: “Not only did we achieve what we set out to in terms of fulfilling the brief, we hopefully made a bit of a difference in helping the local riggers too. While they have their own techniques, they are eager to learn from us and appreciate that we bring the latest and safest techniques that we have developed over 30+ years of rigging across Europe.”
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