Ground Breaking Ceremony in KSA
All Events Services were extremely proud to be one of the event structure suppliers for one of the biggest events in Saudi Arabia this year.
The ground-breaking ceremony for one of KSAs most ambitious giga-projects, Al Qiddiya Entertainment City, took place last month approx. 40km outside of the capital Riyadh.
The inauguration was a highly anticipated event as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz was in attendance alongside Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Guests also included a host of local and international officials and a number of decision-makers, major investors and representatives of the regional and international companies, marking the launch of the project’s formal infrastructure.
The AES events team were brought in by Duvent, a UAE based Events Management Company and part of Meraas Leisure and Entertainment group, who organised the lavish launch ceremony, which featured a live orchestra, fireworks and a dance/vocal performances.
The ceremony took place in a large Supa Dome, a temporary structure provided by Protec, which housed the bespoke stage setup and seating platform. AES built the internal tiered bleacher seating system for 500 guests, the under-stage scaffold support and scaffold structures for the pyrotechnics.
Looking back at the event, AES project manager Jacques Steyn talks about the KSA project,
"The Al Qiddiya ceremony was a great project to be a part of, as it was one of the first events of it's kind to happen in the kingdom.
We are all aware of the recent developments that are happening over there in Saudi and Al Qiddiya is one of the projects that will initiate many of these new changes for the tourism and entertainment industry.
The plans for Al Qiddiya are ambitious and exciting, I believe it will be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, covering an area over 300 sq/km. It's quite fascinating reading about the how they plan to offer local and foreign tourists recreation and sports facilities as well as things like safari experiences.
To many who live in places like Dubai, as I do, these types of entertainment are the norm but for a country like Saudi Arabia to be investing in these sectors is a sign of where they plan to be in the future.
Travelling to build in Saudi was an adventure for the experienced PM, as the AES team encountered some challenges,
"The logistical side of providing structures in KSA went as expected, we had brought 12 wagons of material over the border and so there were expected travel delays that we had always factored into the schedule.
The one thing we had not anticipated was the weather! As we know March/April can be a mixed forecast in the Middle East but I do believe on one occasion we endured all four seasons in one day.
During our build, we did have to stop due to regular sand storms that continuously swept across the desert towards our site, working outdoors in the ME we do get used to that but on one this occasion the sandstorm was followed by high winds and a heavy rain storm.
With such high winds, working on site is dangerous and so the site safety officers halted all construction, as we waited out the storm, the rain then created flooding across the site. As quickly as it came the weather disappeared and it was 38º heat with bright clear skies.
Returning to site, we did see a little bit of destruction and a few, quite heavy, pieces of equipment on their sides but as always, all teams just cleaned up and continued to build."
Seats, fit for a king,
"The seating layout we designed for this event was built out of our Layher scaffold system, which allowed us to construct tiered bleacher steps quickly and also with the flexibility to add additional structures to the platforms. Such as staircases, ramps with hand rails and a front of house deck up at the back of the tiers.
We also had the tricky task to incorporate a lift underneath the platform, which was used to raise a large model structure of the Al Qiddiya logo, which appeared from the floor directly in front of the King's seat. After the stage performance the model was raised before the King, who places the final stone in the logo, which set off the fireworks.
As the fireworks were outside, the placing of the stone, also triggered the back wall of the stage to lower and so all guests could see the display from their seats. The extravagant setup of this ceremony goes alongside the plans they have for the whole project and I look forward to seeing the progress of this project."