Dream Team at the Republic of Extra Cold
Welcome to Castle Lite’s Republic of Extra Cold, Stanley Island, Plettenberg Bay. It sounds exotic, and it is! On 28 Dec 2015, three thousand hip and savvy revellers gathered to enjoy SA’s top acts and many unique and unexpected experiences in the extraordinary country which is the Republic of Extra Cold.
Stanley Island, the only private Island in South Africa, features an indigenous milkwood forest, pristine wetlands and private beaches. The task of transforming the Island into a ‘Country’ was in the hands of Set- and Technical provider Dream Sets and their project manager Riaan Jacobs, guided by their client OMAGE and the creative by Peter Blond.
Access to the island is only by ferry boat, ensuring the unique logistical challenge of moving 230 tons of gear, dealing with tides, river crossings, thick beach sand and an average daytime temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. A challenge which the crew took in their stride, working together and enjoying the unique and beautiful surroundings.
Riaan points to a picturesque photo. “This is the view of the island on beautiful Keurbooms Lagoon, Plettenberg Bay. For three weeks every day, we got to experience sunrises and sunsets in one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa.”
While the setting is spectacular, the equipment moves from the mainland to the Island in stages, made possible by two barges, four 4×4 vehicles, ten 2-ton trailers and a tractor. The load-in takes the efforts of 20 crew members and an additional 60 casual staff per day and lots of sunblock!
Riaan explains: “Every day is a fight with tides, which means you can’t necessarily load a barge with 8 tons because you can’t actually get over the sandbanks to get to the Island. “So your timing on load-in is crucial. Some days you will be able to load for four hours at a time and on others you will be able to load for just an hour depending on the tide. If there’s a riptide or ebb tide, the strong tidal flow affects the load-in. You might receive a Pantech full of gear and your plan was to get it to the Island on the same day, but then you can’t because you cannot physically get the stuff across the river. The wait then has an effect on the next day’s load in, so logistically it’s very challenging. If you can’t think on the go you shouldn’t be on this job because things change every single day.”
The equipment is loaded onto the 2-ton trailers, which are driven onto a floating barge. The barge travels for about two minutes to get to the Island. On the Island Dream Set built a wooden semi-submerged ramp in the water. “We drive 4×4’s onto the barge and pull the trailers off the ramp through soft sand up the beach and then it’s a 1km drive to where equipment needs to be set up.” The empty trailers are sent back onto the barge for the next load, rotating throughout the day. The three “bakkies” based on the Island during this period covered mileage of 1 500km’s!
Load-in began on December 11th, show day was on the 28th and the island was back to its original state by January 5th.
Day-by-day the island was transformed into the various unique event spaces consisting of 4 dance floors and 4 bars ready for the line-up of major musicians including Good Luck, Craig De Sousa & Fresh – the Republic of Extra Cold was set to be an unforgettable Plett adventure!
“It’s a party, it’s epic and it’s just such a cool gig, really it’s the highlight of the year for me.” said Robert. Dream Sets were assisted by technical partners CCPP, a Cape Town based company, and Richard Smith of Joburg’s Sound Harmonics assisting on Audio.”
Finally show day arrived and the party goers swarmed to the Island!
And as the sun set, the island’s new ‘citizens’ migrated to the Ice Cold Core area where their experience was taken to the next level with out of this world performances by some of SA’s top DJs. Lighting Designer Robert Hoey wowed on a grandMA2 full size, having access to a generous Robe lighting rig.
For Riaan, who has project managed this event for three years running, Castle Lite’s Republic of Extra Cold remains one of his most rewarding projects. “Three weeks away from home coupled with the challenges of this venue can be taxing at times, but then you sit on the beach with the sun shining down on you, and you know it’s okay because you could have been in a convention centre somewhere in the city.”
12 Clay Paky Sharpy
8 Robe BMFL Spot
18 Robin 800 LEDWash
24 Robe 100 LEDBeam
6 Robe ColorWash 700
16 Robe ColorSpot 700
6 Robe ColorBeam 700
16 ColorWash 2500
6 Robe CitySkape 48
172 LED Parcans
12 LED Longman Battons
72 Philips Selecon SPX Profile
grandMA2 full size
70 squares of LED
Other cool stuff:
4 sets of DJ gear
120 gum poles
240 stage decks
31 k flood lights to light up the surrounding foliage and forest