Mad March has just finished up and we’ve been going along to all these incredible events that put our state on display to the rest of the country, and even the world. But have you ever thought about the production team behind all the audio, visual and elements that pull it all together? This is where Novatech Creative Event Technology comes into the picture. We went behind the scenes with Managing Director, Leko Novakovic during their setup at WOMADelaide to get the low down on what goes into setting up an event.
It turns out that WOMAD planning starts six months before the event so it means there really is no rest for the Novatech guys. “This is in fact the tip of the iceberg with the majority of ‘setup’ period encompassing weeks and months of pre-production meetings, client meetings and artist requirement reviews,” Leko says. The actual physical preparation begins in their warehouse about four days out from the actual event. “The setup is done on a full day [in the warehouse] with a full day of testing the day prior to the event beginning…all equipment is pre-tested and made ready for the event so when we arrive on site we simply install the equipment in place with a minimum of fuss,” Leko explains.
All of this work also happens at the same time as the Adelaide Fringe, the Royal Croquet Club and this year, the Parade of Lights as well so it’s all hands on deck – plus more – to get the job done. So it’s safe to say it’s one of their busiest times of year.
“The festival is unique with so many events going for a longer period of time – such as the magnificent projections on North Terrace Instead of 1 to 3 days,” he says when we ask about the March season. “An event could be in situ for nearly 2 months which means that equipment cannot be used on other events.”
To keep on top of this Mad March demand and execute the world music festival, it requires a full team and more but Leko says it’s difficult to pinpoint how much more staff are required. “The thing we love about events is that no two are the same so comparing resources is a challenge,” Leko says. “However, during March, our labour pool is completely exhausted – with 40 FTE, 40 casuals plus a number of labour hire resources. An enormous amount of planning is required in the months leading up to this period to ensure resources are available and all goes smoothly.”
To give you an idea about what else the Novatech team work on, they are also behind some of Adelaide’s biggest events including New Year’s Eve celebrations across the state – from Glenelg to Elder Park and the Big Bash as well – music festivals like Here’s To Now at Coriole Vineyards and also Rundle Mall’s Voices of Christmas late last year.
It was also at this new Rundle Mall event that they got to showcase the content production side of the business, where their skilled designers prepared a whole vision for the opening night and the two weeks of performances. The team were also onsite at WOMAD. “[They] were onsite recording footage for a mini-documentary about our involvement in this wonderful event,” Leko says. “It’s due for release in mid-April and will be well worth watching to see what goes on behind the scenes.”
On a final note, and even though it’s like asking about a favourite child, we had to ask the man himself about what his favourite event is. “WOMAD is up there,” he laughs. “It’s rare that all our crew get to work on the same festival at once.”
As for what’s next for Novatech, Leko says he can’t quite go into details yet but one thing he does reveal is that there is an international event in the works. “…Our team are working on some exceptional events including on a global level with a major sporting event in the near future as well as an event in Japan later in the year,” he says. “The event in Japan is an extension of an exhibition that was held at the South Australian Museum in 2017 with audiovisual support assisting in the story around the Yidaki – the didjeridu.”
In the meantime, keep an eye out for a Novatech crew tee at the next music festival, awards night, fashion show or corporate function you head to.
Photography of Leko and the Novatech team by Georgina Solomon.