From July 21 to 23, 2017, the Parklands at North Byron Bay hosted the three-day music festival Splendour in the Grass, attended by 32,500 people per day, and Coates Hire was an integral part of building the infrastructure that made the festival possible. Jan Arreza reports.
During the three-day event, the 267-hectare Parklands area at Yelgun in North Byron was host to three performance stages and a DJ area, as well as a designated camping ground that was home to some 20,000 campers.
The contractors who set-up the festival faced tight time constraints, having only three weeks to construct the small “city”, which had to be fitted out with power, water, dwellings and toilets. Then, at the conclusion of the event, there were only nine days allocated to pack up the entire temporary infrastructure.
Denis Sheahan Event Management (DSEM), the agent responsible for engaging suppliers for Splendour in the Grass, has turned to Coates Hire for the past three years to provide the temporary infrastructure needs of the festival.
“We built, essentially, a small town and we had to provide everything on-site that a small town would have, and we had three weeks to build it – Coates Hire was essential in getting it right,” Zoe Aukeela, suppliers manager at DSEM, said.
“Coates Hire conducted 270 truck movements during the contract, and in the set-up phase of the festival, 137 buildings were delivered by Coates Hire, most of them in the first 11 days of the build. The pressure to have so many buildings delivered in such a short time was compounded by limits on the set-up activity to the hours of 7am to 5pm. It was very busy and every delivery had to arrive through the depot manager. It’s tightly managed and the Coates Hire team was pivotal to it working efficiently.”
Coates Hire project manager for installations events, Brendan Woods, who oversaw the influx of buildings and generators and associated equipment for the event, said in terms of infrastructure requirements, Splendor in the Grass was one of the biggest events of its kind in Australia.
“This included 137 buildings, 92 lighting towers, 71 generators, and 37 pieces of major plant, including boom lifts, scissor lifts and a 45t crane,” Woods detailed.
“The buildings were used for dressing rooms, administration offices, accommodation, security and the backstage areas – the lighting helped to create a safe environment during night events and for the campers. It’s a major project for us and we spend months in planning and preparation, and fine-tuning it with DSEM.”
Pointing to time constraints, Woods said the fleet of equipment had to be minutely planned and coordinated.
“During the installation, we managed 270 truck movements, and every truck had to be offloaded, and the buildings and generators properly located and placed,” Woods said.
“It had to be right the first time, which meant professional planning and using experienced people.”
Coates Hire refuelled the generators – 100,000 litres of diesel during the event – as well as provided 24-hour technical support for the generators, buildings and lights.
A core group of six Coates Hire operators lived on-site during this period, and while the total time allowed for packing up the festival was nine days, Coates Hire’s components were limited to four and a half days.
“DSEM works with Coates Hire because the company has the best hire equipment, efficient systems and very good people,” Aukeela said.
“When you build a small town in three weeks, inevitably small changes need to be made. The Coates Hire team is very flexible and resourceful and Brendan uses his industry contacts to get things done. He’s a real problem-solver.”