This is the behind-the-scenes story of how we staged a full production in Paris for 17,000 party people, in conjunction with the French broadcaster Fun Radio.

On April 14, 2017, High Scream transformed the AccorHotels Arena Paris into the Fun Radio Ibiza Experience.
Here’s how we did it, in less than three days.

2pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today’s weather will peak at a sluggish 19C. It doesn’t feel very Balearic outside but in a little over two days time, the AccorHotels Arena Paris is going to feel like high summer, on the inside at least.

At 2pm, three trucks pull up outside the concert hall on Boulevard de Bercy. The High Scream crew begin to unload the contents, into the empty venue.

The most important job

The first truck contains 9,000kg of steel rigging, fastenings, clamps, electronic cabling, steel ropes and chain motors to raise and lower the lights. Once fixed into the roof, the rigging will safely support the bulk of the production. Getting the structural engineering 100% right is vital, not only to the smooth running of the show but to the safety of the performers and crowd. This is the most important job of the day.

Truck number two contains the component parts of the giant truss, which will hold a huge, movable steel structure, weighing 7,000kg, above the stage. This structure will form the shows centrepiece, framed with lights, LED video tiles covering its vast horizontal strips and a giant screen at its centre. The third truck contains the stage, on which DJs including Afrojack and Hardwell will perform.

7km of electronic cables

Inside the venue, technical operations director Bertrand Desaintpern is in constant contact with each of his 12 teams, "160 crew in total", working on different aspects of the production, including sound, light, video, rigging, electricity. There are strict schedules to adhere to but Desaintpern knows how to make everything run smoothly; he has years of experience producing fashion shows, gigs and events across Europe.

One team assembles the rigging, fixing it securely to the roof. Steel wires are hung all the way to the floor. Another team begins to construct a huge motorized truss at ground level. Tomorrow, this will gradually be hoisted up the wires towards the ceiling, bearing the centrepiece structure for the acrobats beneath it. The structure is assembled in layers on the ground. In the middle of the arena, another team begins to build the stage. Meanwhile a handful of electricians start to connect 7km of electronic cables.

By 8pm, the working day is finished. The crew depart, the arena falls silent.

7am Thursday, April 13

Now work begins on the video screens and banks of lights for the main structure, which is slowly raised throughout the day. By far the biggest job is to meticulously position and activate 1,346 LED video tiles across the structure's horizontal lines, while the electricity cables are painstakingly connected. When the structure is finally in place, the crew uses a cherry picker to fix it into position.

Meanwhile 5,500kg of speakers are also assembled and hoisted either side of the stage. Or rather, where the stage will soon be, as it is still being built in the middle of the arena, ready to be pushed into place by the army of crew.

By 6pm, the steel structure looms behind it. Most of the crew have left by 8pm. A handful of technicians remain, performing checks and tweaking the light and video programs while everyone sleeps.

9am Friday, April 15

A quick clean of the stage, then its time to build the DJ booth. Most leading DJs now have a technical rider, a list of all the personal kit they need for their set. Not only does each DJ’s personal stash of audio tricks have to be sourced and tested, they also have to be available to them, and only them, when they play. So working out what plugs into where, and when to plug it in and out, is a whole itinerary in itself. 

The main soundcheck happens shortly after 11am. After lunch, the DJs begin to arrive for their own individual sound, light and video checks. The soundcheck is the easy part. What takes longer is adapting each DJ’s personal video and light shows to fit the centrepiece structure. There are also special effects to co-ordinate, from pyro to flames and confetti. High Scream’s technical team works with each DJ in turn to make sure everything is ready. With six DJs on tonights bill, it takes most of the afternoon.

At 7.30pm, the doors open and 17,000 people begin to flood into the arena.

From his position backstage, High Scream’s creator, Romain Pissenem, assumes the role of show director, co-ordinating the lights, video, special effects, acrobats that descend from the ceiling and fly over the heads of the enraptured crowd. The next few hours fly by in a cascade of colour, sound, light, motion and excitement. Ibiza has landed!

Midnight, Friday, April 15

The last of the party people have left, and Bertrand’s crew swing into action again. This part of the process requires more than 90 people, working flat out. They must reverse everything High Scream has done over the past two days, in just five hours.

Down come the speakers, lights, screens, LED tiles, truss, wires, bridles, motors, rigging, fastenings, fixtures, fittings, and 7km of cables. The forklifts swoop and the stage is lifted back to the middle of the arena to be disassembled. Everything is packed away into flight cases that are loaded onto a fleet of 10 waiting trucks in precise order.

By 5am, everything has been cleared. The lorries trundle away. For High Scream, it’s a wrap.

See how High Scream assembled the Fun Radio Ibiza Experience, how the party unfolded, and how we returned the venue to its original state just hours after the final track

Sébastien Joseph - FUN RADIO

"For three years, Fun Radio is proud to collaborate with High Scream for this unmissable event in France - Fun Radio Ibiza Experience. The High Scream team have the talent and expertise of entertainment. Our listeners and Fun Radio team love the creativity, imagination, availability, rigour and technical knowledge of High Scream - a must-have for the most innovative shows"