With the help of Skyrock, Universal, Stade de France Prod. and, above all, thanks to the Stade de France production manager Olivier Matabon's will and energy, we invite you to experience Urban Peace 3 from the inside – from the preparatory meetings to the progress made on site up to the four and a half hour show to be held September 28, 2013.
While the lineup is still evolving with the news of Maître Gims, a member of Sexion D'Assaut, coming solo alongside I Am, La Fouine, Orelsan Youssoupha and Psy4 de la Rime, we offer you an exclusive first glimpse of the event with a technical report detailing all of the project from sound to video and from structure to lighting. We also look forward to seeing you in September as we report the day to day developments with exclusive videos and photos
A co-production and a new economic model
SLU : How was the Urban Peace 3 event conceived ?
Olivier Matabon, (production manager at the Stade de France) : This is a co-production in which all three partners, Universal, Skyrock and Stade de France Productions, are equal, and each carries out the part of the production that is most relevant to its activity. Sky and Universal are thus in charge of the artistic lineup, while we take care of logistics, marketing and technology in general. In short, Stade de France Productions is essentially the executive producer. Stade de France Productions, in turn, relies on production manager Isabelle Trapon Leggett to coordinate the entire project through her service company, ITL Production. All three entities share promotional activities.
SLU : As part of this co-production, is everyone involved in determining what UP3 will be, artistically speaking?
Olivier Matabon : Yes, except that we are the ones who need to make sure that the event is economically and technically feasible and that the overall "look" of the stage and set does not miss the mark. Universal and Skyrock rely on us for that part of the project but they are still part of the decision-making process. We regularly show them the stage plans so that they can confirm them as quickly as possible so we can finalize their technical integration. For example, it is the co-production that requested Raphael Maitrat at the FoH to work on the sound specifications with me, and it was Julien Mairesse who suggested that Julien Martin be put in charge of monitors and of taking care of the artists on stage, which is crucial for all of us. They also collaborate in the development of the audio specifications.
For lighting and video we work with Concept K, in the person of Frédérick Fayard (aka Aldo, a regular at SdF, having done events including Nuits Créoles (Creole Nights) and Kassav's 40 years - Editor's Note). Scenography and set design are being done by Julien Mairesse, who already works with two of the groups that will be on stage, Sexion d'Assaut & Psy 4, and with whom we worked on Nuit Africaine (African Night), Urban Peace 2, Excalibur, Bigard, Aida, Unighted 2, Nuit Créoles (Creole Night)...
View of the Urban Peace 2 stage, October 2008 (Photo F. AGUILHON)
SLU : Backing up a little: why is SdF Prod. the initiator and co-producer of an event such as UP3?This goes far beyond what you normally do in terms of production.
Olivier Matabon : This is more of a question for Martin D'Argenlieu, who is responsible for leading the development and programming of SdF – and who can correct me if I'm wrong – but, overall, with our two partners Universal and Skyrock, we would like to build a business model combining the artistic side and the technical side that we could export to other stadiums.
SLU : When did you start putting shows on the pitch?
Olivier Matabon : In 2001, with Aida. We were not co-producer at the time, We just bought a packaged show and took care of ticketing and local production. A multitude of tasks can hide behind this generic term, such as finding lots of sand because well, no, the production does not bring that along! I also think about Ben Hur, which earned us a month of rehearsals, half-way through which we were told about a France vs Italy football match right after unloading hundreds of tons of red soil from 120 40-cubic-meter trucks. It was just after the Zidane-Materazzi episode, so we had to win! We removed part of the soil, laid in a new pitch, removed the set that went all the way to the steps and won the game. 51 hours later rehearsals resumed as if nothing had happened.
Shows have become an integral part of the business of the SdF, which has no resident football club. They contribute to its commercial balance and to its appeal. Sport is not enough to satisfy advertisers and professionals who rent sky boxes annually. The SdF was a pioneer in this field. All the stadiums now think that their venues also need to be able to host events other than sports.