Mojo Barriers Download Triple

Mojo_Barriers_Download_2017_6Mojo Barriers was contracted to install over 2,000m of front of stage barriers and bar barriers at three Download Festivals in the UK, France and Spain, June 2017.

Each country’s Live Nation division were the promoters and clients, bringing in Mojo to keep rock fans safe through three days of performances by the world’s top rock bands.

It was a welcome return to Donington Park’s Download weekend, June 9th to 11th, in the UK for Mojo with Jim Gaffney, heralding Jim’s return to the company as a senior account  manager.  Jim explained:

“I have managed the design and installation of the stage barriers at Download Festival since it began in 2003, where Mojo Barriers has always been the system of choice. I enjoy a great relationship with the Festival Republic team supporting Live Nation, it’s always been a high priority for Melvin Benn and John Probyn to deliver a safe festival. We have a lot of planning discussions to look at the crowd dynamics and create the best barrier design.

“We have developed a very particular barrier configuration for the main stage, accounting in particular for the sloping ground stage right, the very wide sight line, along with the need for the incoming productions to get easy access to the front of house. While very good natured, we also considered this is a very boisterous audience who like to get their mosh pits and circles going, all of which led us to a unique lay-out. Our primary front of stage curved barrier has a central thrust back to front of house, and two secondary “arms” that allow the security improved access to the audience. The layout also allows the audience a choice of areas and a safe event without being too restrictive.

“This year we also had to accommodate Aerosmith’s 15m thrust coming off the front of the mainstage, which meant looking at the downstage edge curves very carefully to avoid any pinch points, while retaining the original width of the thrust. This is where experience becomes invaluable. The pit for security personnel was also slightly deeper, because of the thrust, but the fact that the festival management had invested in putting down hard standing in front of the stage since the previous years’ festival meant our load in and out were much easier, with less ground damage from plant to deal with.”

Also joining the Mojo Barriers UK team at Download was Costa Chaparov as crew chief. Jim and Costa have worked together for many years and, with Mojo this summer, they have already managed barrier installations at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull and the Old Trafford Manchester One Love memorial concert at very short notice.

SeriousStages Download 2017 (14 of 42)Over 1,200m of aluminium stage barrier was deployed in unique layouts at all five stages and around front of house towers, camera platforms and assisted viewing platforms. Mojo also supplied over 200 meters of Bar barrier to the various bars and concessions around the whole site giving their staff a secure working environment.

Simultaneously on mainland Europe it was the first time Mojo Barriers had supplied 750m of barriers and 400m of plastic bar barriers to the Paris festival. Stanley Jilesen project managed the planning and delivery of six trucks of equipment across five stages with two Mojo supervisors completing installation in just a day and a half, with the assistance of local crew.

Igor Dawidowicz, from Live Nation SAS France comments: “Everything went very well and your team is just great! Honestly, we all feel the difference between your work and other companies.”

Stanley will also project manage the 400m of Mojo stage barriers to the new Spanish edition of Download two weeks later.

Mojo Barriers at Download Festival 2013

Download (3)Mojo Barriers was entrusted to supply all of Download festival’s stage barriers. Jim Gaffney was project director, with crew chief Chris Kordek managing six crew to install over 1,100metres of Mojo aluminium barrier, 14-16 June 2013.

Download had five music stages this year, each with its own barrier design and supplementary front of house and delay towers to be surrounded. 

Gaffney commented: “Working with Live Nation and Showsec we look at each stage to plan the optimum barrier configuration, building on our previous years’ experiences of how this audience behaves. The smaller stages are relatively straightforward, although we introduced a curve onto the Jagermeistter Stage in line with its increased profile. The main stage, main arena and second stage are the areas that attract the highest intensity of crowds, so we opted to install secondary barriers on both, and in the case of the main arena a third crowd break sits higher up the hill. We know the audience appreciate the positive effect these have on their safety.
Download (1)
“On the main stage we have observed greatly improved safety in reducing the potentially dangerous lateral motion of the crowds with the central thrust that extends through to the mixer position. This affords the security improved access to the audience, the sound and lighting technicians have easy access to front of house as a lot of the artists like to jump off stage and get close to their fans.

“We are always very mindful of factors such as ground conditions, slopes, audience size and profile in the design and installation of the barriers; so Download has evolved to a sophisticated design. Live Nation want open sides on the secondary barriers so we look at the crowd movements between stages and during ingress /egress, and can tweak angles of corners once we’re on site and actually see it.

“This year the crowd for Slipknot on the Friday night was very lively. There was a lot of movement within the mosh pits with over 3,000 crowd surfers coming over the main stage barrier during their set, showing the kind of pressures were under. Showsec and the production team called two show-stops in the interests of audience safety during their set, which Slipknot’s frontman Corey Taylor helped coordinate very well. I was in the pit and the barriers performed as they should have, in conjunction with effective communications from the production team through to the band stopping the show.” 

June 2012 Mojo Barriers support Metallica across international festivals

Mojo Barriers at Download Festival June 2012 (7)Mojo Barriers is supplying its extensive in-house barrier inventory for Metallica’s summer festival tour. Prior to moving into US shows, the European run of outdoor shows began in Paris on 12th May and finished at Download Festival with a historic Black Album set, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the gig. Mojo is continuing its support across the band’s Mexico and Canada dates.

Mojo Barriers’ European office negotiated with European festival organisers and supplied front of stage systems suited to their requirements, ever mindful of the stringent high standards Metallica’s touring party demand when it comes to a robust barrier system.

The Download Story

The Metallica entourage arrived at Download’s Donington Park site amidst pouring rain in what was the festival’s wettest year to date, with an audience just shy of 100,000. 

Mojo Barriers UK director Jim Gaffney liaised with the event’s key management team including Metallica’s production co-ordinator Dan Brown, festival director John Probyn, production manager Hannah Farnham, Live Nation health and safety director Paul Crooke, to review the ground conditions on the main stage after Friday night’s headline performance (by Prodigy)

Jim comments: “It was a tough call as to whether swapping the barrier configuration after day one was safe. There were several things to consider – the difficulty of extracting Friday’s FOS (front of stage) barrier from sticky mud, the challenging installation of the new configuration on slippery conditions and the integrity of that barrier once installed on the muddy surface. Discussions with Metallica’s production team before they arrived left us in no uncertainty that they were very keen to have their “snakepit”, but the safety of crew and the audience was everyone’s primary consideration.”

Hannah Fanham adds: ” We were surprised with how well the ground had stood up when we surveyed it after The Prodigy, so the decision to go for the changeover was made. Achieving it was a testament to Jim, Chris (Kordec) and the rest of the Mojo crew who worked thorough the night into the morning (in rain) to replace the straight FOS barrier with the snakepit configuration.”

Jim concurs: “Ground conditions meant no heavy plant could be used as would normally be the case to move barriers, and with the soft, compacted ground the system was very difficult to remove. This led to considerable extra work from he crew to integrate the FOS snakepit into Download’s central thrust barrier running back to the FOH tower.” 

At Download Jim also introduced a new FOS thrust design for the second stage and a 60m ‘break barrier’ to manage crowd movement between the main two stages. 

On to the USA

Mojo Barriers continued its work with the Metallica team in the USA, providing a traditional festival stage FOS barrier system at The Orion Music + More festival in Atlantic City for Metallica’s first US shows, June 23 and 24, 2012

Since working with festival organisers C3 Presents in 2011, Mojo Barriers was attentive to the crowd dynamics attracted by the 37 bands and artists from a wide variety of genres, ranging from thrash metal to punk, indie, and experimental rock.  Mojo Barriers ensured a safe event providing the barricade to all four stages along with rolling risers, cable ramps and Gatekeeper turnstiles on site. .

Mojo Barriers will also provide an “In the round” configuration, which encompasses Metallica’s performance stage for eight live concerts in Mexico City and four live shows in Canada split between Edmonton and Vancouver. The later concert “In the round” barrier layout will be filmed as part of a 3D production, a long-planned project to capture Metallica’s legacy.

The stage set for this will include elements from past tours including the famous collapsing towers, with the barrier system including several curves in unique layouts incorporating a gate on each side.

Mojo Barriers’ US President, JB Dolphin explains; “Building the “In the round” system brings its own challenges as the band have to come through the audience to get to the stage, so the integrity of the barricade is paramount.

“We collaborated with Metallica’s Dan Braun and tour security extensively who have particular requirements for the safety of the band and everyone working within the stage area on the Arena floor surrounded by the 150m long barricade.

“When I joined the company seven years ago, there was already a strong relationship with Metallica’s production team. They were one of the first to learn about Mojo’s barriers and bring them to the US before the company had a US office. Patrick (Jordan) designed the aluminium barricade under the behest of Metallica, who were keen to have a safe, lighter weight touring system than the traditional steel barriers.”