Backstage Pass: The Stories and Impact Behind International Shows


Backstage Pass is back with another engaging episode featuring Eric Hagström, Senior Project Manager for Alford Media. Today, we chatted with Hagström about the exciting possibilities, unique challenges and best practices for putting together an international event. It is, both literally and figuratively, a new world with different rules, languages, and infrastructure when crafting a show abroad, not to mention the actual locations can be older, which could impact logistics and structure.

“Transitioning from domestic to international is a distinct process. While working in the U.S., we’re all familiar with our surroundings and the rules. You can’t be hardline in how you come into a new environment. You have to respect that country’s process and go with it, not against it,” Hagström said.

It’s a mine field to maneuver, but one that Hagström said is always worth the investment. One of the biggest challenges an international show brings is units and values. The U.S. still uses the imperial system while almost the whole rest of the world uses the metric system.

“The best way to go about the unit conundrum is to create CAD 3D models for your setup. When I do an international show, I create one model with the imperial system for my internal team then create a second one using the metric system for the professionals on site,” Hagström said.

Language barriers can also be an issue. Hagström gave a unique perspective, recounting a show he worked in Portugal where there were many different teams there; some from France, others from Switzerland, and then Portuguese staff.

“Language is critical in setting up an event. Not everyone is going to be on the same page. It’s something you have to find solutions to so that everybody is on the same page,” he said.

He also shared that learning from others in international settings is critical.

“They know the location. They understand the fundamentals. My team has always been ready to embrace learning. From logistics to acoustics, even the most seasoned veterans have the ability to learn from others,” Hagström said.

Listen to the full podcast for some of the most engaging international AV show stories, and what professionals and clients can take away from putting together a quality show abroad.

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