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What we’ve done in Event Safety

Riverdance, UL Arena, Feb 2014

Our Managing Director, Mark, was in UL for this run of Riverdance shows as part of the City of Culture series of events. Working on behalf of City of Culture, Mark led the event team for the 7 sold out shows with 2,500 people in attendance for each show.

Riverdance is SUCH an iconic show. It's known the world over and had been performer everywhere from Europe to the Far East and LITERALLY everywhere in between.

The show came to UL to launch its 20th Anniversary World Tour and as one of the main event attractions in the early stages of Limerick being Ireland's inaugural 'City of Culture'

Mark was there as Event Controller for the 7 sold out shows over 4 days. Marian was also there for the majority of the shows too. 

From an event perspective the level of production involved and the professionalism of the team behind Riverdance is unreal. The whole operation is so impressive. They can roll into a venue and transform it so the attendees get the full Riverdance experience they'd get at any other Riverdance show anywhere around the globe.

With the Riverdance composer Bill Whelan being a Limerick native himself and with the year that's in it, this was a huge thing for Limerick and we were delighted to be involved in a small way. 

The build for the event began on Sat 11th with staging, seating and lighting going in. We were dowo on site from Wed 15th to meet with the stakeholders and Event Management Team to iron out the last details and ensure all was happening as planned. 

There was a really good team spirit on this gig. There were many stakeholders from The University Arena, City of Culture, UL, the UCH, Riverdance, the Fire Officer, the Gardaí, all the contractors and more. Everyone really worked well together to make sure this event came together and was as good as it could be. 

The general gist of it

  • 20th Anniversary World Tour
  • 1 ginormous stage
  • 17,500 people 
  • 3 matinee shows
  • LOADS of familiar faces
  • 4 days of rehearsals
  • 2 custom built ramps
  • Hundreds of barriers
  • 50+ smiling ushers
  • 1 full dress rehearsal
  • Some very special guests
  • 2 spotlight staff in the rafters

Why we loved this one

We reckon Mark has been to more Riverdance shows than most people over the years. His sister is a huge fan and he generally has to bring along at least once each year when they do a run of shows in the Gaiety in Dublin. As a result he's genuinely become a great fan of the show.

Getting to work on Riverdance back in Limerick where he went to college and started off working in events was a big deal for Mark. 

Getting to see the audience reaction to the show is immense. 

We still get our kicks from watching happy people at events we're involved in. This run of shows let Mark look out on 17,5000 happy people over the 4 days and there wasn't an unhappy face among them. 

Some of the challenges

The main challenge with this event was that the queuing and entry system for the attendees be well planned and work effectively. With 2,500 people at each show and with most, generally, arriving within a small enough time frame, the systems and staff to get them inside and to their seats needed to be 100%. 

The team working on this event were very good. Everyone recognised that this element was key to the attendees' enjoyment of the show, overall. Everyone worked hard to make sure things ran well. 

The only other challenge was the venue itself, to a degree. The UL Arena is a wonderful facility. From the point of view of using it as a venue for an event like Riverdance there are extra challenges that you might not have in more 'traditional' venues, which are designed to stage shows like this. Those challenges are surmountable and just require some extra planning and consideration.

Neither of these elements negatively impinged on the enjoyment of those in attendance and that's the important thing.