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Jennifer Chiles from eps america charts some of the company’s recent success stories in the field of protective ground coverings and other crowd safety products



When event service provider eps opened an office in the USA, the goal was simple: provide the highest-quality event infrastructure equipment with exceptional customer service. After all, that same philosophy had won eps’s European office some the biggest clients in the world – the Olympic Games, The Rolling Stones, The FIFA World Cup, AC/DC.

Now in only its second year of operation, eps america has already partnered on some very large projects, providing ground cover and barrier systems to events held in sports venues across the USA. Add to that comprehensive services such as delivery, installation, and breakdown by trained eps staff, and it’s no wonder their first year has been such a success.

Ground cover: Arena Panels and Terraplas
U2 360º TourFor the last leg of U2’s record-breaking U2 360° Tour, eps america shouldered the equipment needs in the form of thousands of square feet of ground cover. Production used eps’s signature Arena Panels, a pedestrian-friendly flooring system with optimal weight distribution for the heaviest of loads.

Constructing a massive circular stage on stadium fields requires trucks, trailers, forklifts, and cranes, but first it requires ground cover to provide a firm foundation for equipment. With only a single day allotted for ground cover installation, eps crews worked diligently to lay the Arena Panels needed to bear the weight of the several hundred tonne stage and support rig known as ‘The Claw’. The light aluminum construction of these panels enables them to be laid by hand with the assistance of forklifts. Although they weigh only 385 lb per panel, the load-bearing capacity of Arena Panel is 12.9 tonnes/ft2, allowing the ground beneath to support each colossal leg of the iconic stage structure.

Right: eps was completely responsible for the ground protection and also provided all the cable protectors for the U2 tour

From the work crews to the concert-goers in the general admission area, ground cover on the 360º Tour saw an abundance of foot-traffic. For that reason, Arena Panels were selected as a result of features such as the counter-sunk bolts, which seamlessly secure the panels on all sides, creating a surface without trip hazards. The textured profile of Arena Panels provides tread for wet conditions, and special ramps join the edges of the paneled area for additional trip protection, making them ideal for pedestrians and construction equipment alike.

For those high-traffic pedestrian areas on the field that did not require heavy-duty ground cover, eps installed Terraplas to protect sensitive surfaces from lighter loads. Similarly equipped with integrated connectors, anti-slip tread and safety ramps, this ground-protection system is also perforated to allow light and air to reach the turf below – making Terraplas the kinder, gentler option for valuable stadium grass.

As no two stadiums are the same, eps worked with production and facility managers to create dozens of customized CAD ground cover layouts for each stop on the tour. A combination of Arena Panel and Terraplas were used to completely cover the fields in a unique configuration based on the stadium’s access points. Arena Panel usage varied up to 9,300m² per show, while Terraplas varied up to 8,400m².

Mile High Music Festival: The third annual Mile High Music Festival took place in August 2010, held on the soccer fields of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park just outside Denver. To build the five stages and tents that would house the weekend’s performances without harming the natural turf, festival organizers looked to eps to provide 1,400m² of heavy-duty Arena Panels during the load-in and load-out.

Left: eps provided 15,000ft2 of heavy-duty Arena Panels during the load-in and load-out at the Mile High Music Festival

Turning pristine soccer fields into a major festival site presented a challenge to grounds keepers. Access roads and platforms were crucial to protect the playing fields during Mile High festival construction. For this task, festival organizers employed eps’s Arena Panels to support tractors, lifts, cranes, and semi trucks.

“This year, we used [an] alternative floor solution, hoping it would be less complicated and less labor intensive… and we were right,” says Shawn Stokes, facility production manager for Mile High, who was pleased with the ease of Arena Panels as compared to plywood.

Under the direction of an eps site supervisor, a small crew and a forklift operator worked over a two-and-a-half-week period, from the start of festival construction through to the very end. Working closely with stage, tent and festival crews, the team built and rebuilt roads and platforms as the site progressed.

With rainy conditions more than half the time, not only did Arena Panels protect the fields, but also the safety of the crew – providing much needed traction. And bolted together on all sides, the panels made a completely even surface, free of trip-hazards, and ideal for rolling equipment cases to and from the stages.

Bon Jovi ‘The Circle Tour’: On select dates of Bon Jovi’s 2010 North American tour, eps america provided Arena Panels for the stage platform. Stops on the tour included notable football stadiums such as New Meadowlands, Solider Field, and Gillette Stadium. Home to NFL teams each fall, these stadiums could little afford damage to their precious playing fields. That’s why eps’s Arena Panels were selected to distribute the load of the stage and protect the grass from several days of coverage.

Right: Arena Panels were also used on Bon Jovi’s The Circle Tour

Stage barriers
Electric Daisy Carnival: Festival producer Insomniac has been putting together the Electric Daisy Carnival for 15 years, but the event reached new heights this summer when it premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the first time in the event’s history, it stretched over three days. Each evening, 80,000 attendees descended on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where five performance stages, carnival rides, and art installations transformed the 4km² racetrack into the largest electronic dance music festival in the USA.

At the main stage, eps america constructed a long passageway of GIGS barricade from the stage to the front of house, creating a protected space for cables and security staff. At a secondary stage, additional GIGS guarded the stage and front of house. In total, eps america supplied more than 1,500ft of black and silver crash barricade to keep spectators and festival equipment safe.

Left: eps america constructed a long passageway of GIGS barricade from the stage to the front of house, creating a protected space for cables and security staff

Work crews were especially thankful for GIGS stage barriers’ lightweight aluminum construction, particularly during festival set-up and breakdown in the hot Las Vegas climate. The modular units were bolted together and multicore access, vario corner and gate elements provided accommodation for any number of unique stage and front of house configurations.

eps also provided 240 yellow jacket cable protection units. They were used across the festival site to eliminate trip hazards.

With dispatch points located all over the USA, eps america is positioned to deliver its top-of-the-line equipment to destinations across North America. In addition to products discussed above, eps offers site materials such as flagpoles, REMOPLA rubber mats, and other crowd control barriers systems.

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