A world-class event in Maputo


The Government of Mozambique partnered with the Global Wildlife Program and the World Bank team in Mozambique to put together the 2018 International Conference on Nature-Based Tourism in Conservation Areas in Maputo, Mozambique on 7-9 June 2018. One of the pre-requisites of the event turned out to be the need for a dark, climate controlled event space that could accommodate 500 people as well as high resolution LED Screen.

Invent Audio Visuals, their local technical supplier, immediately thought of Gearhouse In2Structures portable Dome structures and LEDVision’s 3mm screen and approached Gearhouse Group in South Africa to supplement the technicals. The two companies had worked alongside one another on a previous conference for the Italian National Gas Company on which Gearhouse provided the video mapping elements. “We got to know Invent on that event and were impressed by their sound and lighting capabilities” says Gearhouse Operations Manager, Stuart Andrews, who Project managed the event from a Gearhouse perspective. “Since then there has been a good reciprocal work relationship, so once we had confirmed the Dome venue, we were asked to provide AV control, Rigging and Lighting as well as Set which was contracted through Johannesburg-based, Dream Sets.”

“Cross border work often comes with its own pitfalls, so we were prepared with contingency plans” explains Andrews, “but this one was a particularly smooth set-up, all things considered. From the date of confirmation to the installation of Dome took just one week and thanks to our on-the-ball trucking and clearing agents the three Interlinks for the Dome structures and three pantechs for Set, Lighting, LED and AV arrived a full day ahead of schedule.”

The conference took place in the gardens of the Serena Polana Hotel, “jewel in the crown” of Maputo’s hospitality industry. Gearhouse In2structures provided a Maxi Lite 4-bay Dome which at 45 m long x 24 m wide, “fitted the space like the venue had been built for it” says the company’s Otto Wijnberger. “It was an unusual and beautiful space for the conference, but posed some technical challenges as the area was set away from the main access which meant that some elements had to be craned into position over a wall and some trees. We had great support from the Invent team however, the generators all arrived on time and the get-in was really very smooth.”

Although the technical brief was as simple as “ 'everything you need for a high-level Government conference,’ the organisers had a very clear vision of what the look and feel should be and we needed to realise that vision technically” says Andrews. “Of course, if your audience is sitting for 3 days at a conference, in the same venue, your setup has to look really good to keep your audience engaged.”

LEDVision provided a 12 m wide x 3.5 m high LED Black Pearl 3 mm screen in the Dome which ran off Watchout using Vista Spiider as switcher. “The AV and LED screen and content really made the event” says Andrews,“The entire conference revolved around the screen and the content. The Soico Group, of which Invent is a subsidiary, created all the content in-house - so it was really great. Everything was formatted correctly, made the screen look amazing and worked fantastically. As good as any we’ve seen anywhere!”

The whole technical set-up was hung off 22 points in the roof of the Dome and wherever possible, the lighting team chose LED fixtures to minimise power consumption in keeping with the conservationist focus. A rig of Phillips LED Nitros served as house lighting and the new Mac Quantum Washes, Mac Viper profiles and SGM were used to light the stage and Dome exterior. “We used tried and tested multipurpose fixtures with significant light output and great colour mixing for ease of use and everything was run off an MA 2 full size console” says Andrews.

Land, Environment and Rural Development Minister, Celso Correia, was the Conference Host and a high-level audience of 500 included Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, former president of Botswana, Sir Ian Khama, Carvalho Muária, Mozambican Minister of Tourism, Heads of various NGO’s like Fauna and Flora International and Peace Parks as well as policy makers, tourism professionals, local opinion makers, entrepreneurs, academia, investors/donors and conservationists from across Africa, Indian and Asia. The first day’s activities included the Ceremonial Conference Opening, Presidential Address and signing of the Accords and in the evening a Gala Dinner with a rehearsed choreographed ensemble. Days two and three were dedicated to conferencing with Mozambique's Prime Minister, Carlos Agostinho doRosário, conducting the Closing Ceremony.

"Greg Carr, President of the Carr Foundation which manages Gorongosa National Park was one of the most noteworthy speakers for me personally” says Andrews “In my line of work I attend many conferences but this one stood out for me as a genuinely heart-warming event. What a fantastic thing to see a whole nation and government caring about their environment. This was a noble conference which was really quite unique and inspirational.”



Story Robyn D'Alessandro, Photo Stuart Andrews

Jun 21, 2018

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