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The P.A. People focus in big events such as the Formula 1. The P.A. People focus in big events such as the Formula 1. Featured
01 January 2018 Posted by 

HOW THE EVENT MANAGERS DO IT

Bringing big concepts to life
LIANA STILLITANO
IF you’ve ever attended a football match, seen the impressive Sydney fireworks on New Year’s Eve or witnessed an Olympics opening ceremony, chances are you’re familiar with The P.A. People but just didn’t know it.
As one of the largest suppliers of audio visual, lighting and communications systems, the team of dedicated technical and design officers, qualified tradespeople and engineering and assembly personnel are responsible for bringing major events to life.
 
And it’s all done from the company’s Rhodes factory.
 
For example, the Australian-owned company that operates locally and internationally was selected to provide the communications needs for the Baku European Games in Azerbaijan which included two-way radios, intercom, CCTV and technical services.
 
“The scale of the project was pretty remarkable,” said Chris Dodds, managing director of The P.A. People. “In many ways it was a bigger undertaking than Sochi (Olympics).”
 
The P.A. People are stalwarts when it comes to audio installations and event communications.
 
Handling communications for the spectacular ceremony was no easy feat given the scale of the event but the team succeeded.
 
“The 70,000 seat stadium in Baku was the largest communications deployment for an event ever. We had three 40-feet containers of equipment that left Rhodes, 22 staff on the ground and rehearsals over four months,” said Steve Drury, head of Development and Marketing.
 
“The stadium was full, the clock ticked to zero and everything had to work.”
 
Were there jitters in the background? 
 
“No, you have to have the ability to focus and push through, reliant on your preparation and your team, particularly in a live environment. Your reputation is certainly at stake, but it’s the success of the show you have to keep in mind.”
 
It helps that the team has had plenty of experience when it comes to live events – they supplied most of the intercom equipment and systems for many Olympic and Paralympic games, communication systems for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, pre-game entertainment at the NRL grand final and production audio for Monster Jam’s national tour.
 
And that’s just the company’s events division. They also run a service department and have an installed service systems team. The latter counts ANZ Stadium, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Airport and NSW Parliament among its clients.
 
Projects have included the new Sumatran Tiger experience at Taronga where The P.A. People installed outdoor screens that display information about the tigers and speakers for voice announcements.
 
The audio services at Barangaroo Ferry Wharf is also the work of The P.A. People and you may have seen their creative genius at work at the Australian Open – they created the bespoke A and O letters covered in LED pixels, stunning audiences with its sheer size and imagery.
 
And the team at Tennis Australia couldn’t have been happier, saying: “The P.A. People took a concept and brought it to life with an extraordinary feat of engineering.”
 
Similar praise has been heaped on the company by many of those it works with. The team behind the Sydney Olympics ceremony said without The P.A. People’s expert knowledge, the iconic event “would have been a very different beast” and the organisers of the Formula 1 recognised “there are no second chances, it has to run perfectly” and that The P.A. People “deliver every time”.
 
It’s achievements like these that fill the staff with pride.
 
“From a commercial point of view, when a project is complete there is the sense that you’ve delivered and the ends are tied but there’s also a creative sense that you helped bring it all together,” Mr Drury said.
 
The company has soared from its humble start almost 40 years ago making box PA systems for churches and school halls.
 
“That was pre the digital age when engineering was more pedestrian. Now there is greater technical sophistication, greater client and audience expectation and the bar has been raised,” Mr Drury said.
 
“Planning and relationships have been key for us. Our understanding of venues, knowing what works and what doesn’t and how to fix things gives us an enviable credential in the marketplace.”
 
Learn more at www.papeople.com.au
 
 


editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Email: info@wsba.com.au
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