Please also visit:

Tech View: Preparing for the Papal Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium

Tech View: Preparing for the Papal Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium
Image courtesy of Khaleej Times

Tech View: Preparing for the Papal Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium

Pope Francis recently visited the UAE, culminating in a public Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi. We spoke with Delta Sound’s Al Woods about the event

Responding to an invitation from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis visited the UAE for three days in early February as part of the country’s Year of Tolerance and to spread the message of interfaith relations. This marked the first ever visit to the Arabian Peninsula by a pontiff. The Pope’s tour included official visits to the Presidential Palace and The Founder’s Memorial and concluded on 5 February with a public Papal Mass at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai-based audio and event communications rental company Delta Sound was enlisted to provide the sound solutions for the events at the Presidential Palace and The Founder’s Memorial, as well as the Papal Mass. Al Woods, director and head of engineering at Delta Sound, served as audio project manager at the Zayed Sports City Stadium event.

Al Woods was the audio project manager for the Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi
Al Woods was the audio project manager for the Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi

‘Our client was HQ Worldwide Shows (HQWS), which planned the event,’ explains Woods. ‘We are one of the leading audio suppliers in the Middle East and HQWS knows us well.’

The Pope’s visit was announced with less than two months’ notice. This meant that there were extreme time constraints in place for all involved to ensure the Papal Mass ran smoothly. ‘Delta was an obvious choice to deliver the audio and communications in such a short time,’ Woods continues. ‘I, personally, was only involved in the Papal Mass, and Delta was confirmed for this a week or so before the load in. Not giving us much time to plan our strategy.’

Zayed Sports City Stadium had also been selected to host eight games in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, including the final between Japan and Qatar on 1 February. ‘We started preparing and planning for the Papal Mass in between the final AFC matches at the stadium,’ says Woods. ‘The last match finished at 10:30pm on the first of February; the Mass walk-in started at 2am on the fifth.’

Image courtesy of Khaleej Times
Image courtesy of Khaleej Times

The stadium, which has the capacity to accommodate approximately 40,000 people, was filled to the rafters with a large contingent from the region’s Roman Catholic community, while over 100,000 more surrounded the venue to catch a glimpse of the supreme pontiff. ‘We had a stadium to cover in its entirety so our large-format L-Acoustics K1 and K2 system was the obvious choice,’ Woods adds.

When it came to forming a plan for the sound setup at the stadium, Woods worked closely with his colleague, Delta Sound managing director Andy Jackson, to design a system that met the client’s brief while also putting their prior knowledge of the venue, having been involved with several previous events there including the AFC Asian Cup, to use.

Site lines dictated the PA positions. Four arrays comprising K1 cabinets above K2 enclosures were flown from masts to cover the pitch and lower seating areas, while Arcs II covered the mid and upper bowls.

Image courtesy of Khaleej Times
Image courtesy of Khaleej Times

‘The PA positions were difficult to time align and the roof flown PA also added additional issues as the azimuth of these hangs again did not always triangulate correctly with the PA on the field,’ reveals Woods. ‘We ran K1 over K2 as main and out hangs, SB28 subs and ground-stacked rear Kara fills. Kiva front-fills were set into the stage and 20 hangs of four Arcs were flown from the roof of the stadium. The arrangement worked really well.’

While Woods notes that security measures in place were no more than normal. ‘We do a lot of high-profile events here and they all have endless accreditation,’ he continues to add that ‘the time constraints, very wide PA positions, rain and bad weather conditions’ also provided challenges during this project. With that said, ‘both HQWS and the end client, Flash, were extremely happy with the results,’ Woods confirms.



You may also like:

SSL evolves its Live range

18 Apr 2019

4K capability for Titan

17 Apr 2019

Special Report: National Day of Prayer at FNB Stadium

17 Apr 2019

Please also visit:

Information on cookies

Cookies are short reports that are sent and stored on the hard drive of the user's computer through your browser when it connects to a web. Cookies can be used to collect and store user data while connected to be able to provide you the requested services. Often cookies are getting deleted when the user leaves a site or logs out of it.

There are several types of cookies:

  • Technical cookies that facilitate user navigation and use of the various options or services offered by the web, such asas identifying a session, allowing access to certain areas, facilitating orders, purchases, filling out forms, registration, security, facilitating functionalities (videos, social networks, etc..).
  • Customization cookies that allow users to access services according to their preferences (language, browser, configuration, etc..).
  • Analytical cookies which allow anonymous analysis of the behavior of web users, measuring user activity and development of navigation profiles in order to improve websites and the experience of future visitors.

When you keep using our website, in compliance with Article 22 of Law 34/2002 of the Information Society Services, in the analytical cookies treatment, we have requested your consent to their use.
We use cookies to improve our services. For more details please refer to our Terms of Use and/or our Privacy Policy.

Please note that you can enable or disable and delete cookies in your web browser.