Under the artistic direction of show creation supremo Franco Dragone, Europe’s largest water park has opened in Turkey. Mike Clark reports on how the magic is created
Pioneering a brand-new concept, Rixos Hotels, Emaar Properties PSJC and Dragone – Franco Dragone’s show creation company and a designer of world-class experimental events – have launched the Land of Legends, the largest aqua park and sea world experience in Europe. The park, in Antalya, Turkey, features more than 70 attractions ranging from adrenaline-pumping rides such as the Typhoon Coaster, Deep Dive and Tower Falls, to more relaxing adventures including underwater tracking and 5D Cinema. It also includes a dedicated universe, performances and characters. The Waterfront Kingdom offers close-up encounters with dolphins, beluga, penguins and many other marine species.
Surrounding the Land of Legends is the Shopping Avenue, housing numerous top brands from around the world. This includes a multi-level mall, a luxury plaza and gallery with retail and dining outlets, a village park, the Legends Tower and an open-air pavilion around the fountains, with exciting activities for children.
Some key members of the Dragone technical production team at The Land of Legends give an insight on the first stage of the company’s work on this huge project, where large amounts of leading-edge technology ensure an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Dragone sound designer Corrado Campanelli explains his run-up to the Land of Legends project: “After Paris Merveilles, I worked on The Dai Show then, in 2016, went with Dragone to Moscow to prepare the show Philipp Kirkorov took round, before starting work on the Land of Legends.”
From the system design point of view, several difficulties had to be overcome to obtain the necessary results – above all, the huge dimensions, and then the timeframe, as everything had to be operational for the grand opening. Obviously, system quality and flexibility were at the basis of my thoughts and the zones needing sound coverage had very unusual requirements, such as the wonderful open-air dolphinarium hosting daily shows with dolphins, walruses and beluga whales, as well as human performers and dancers, with a lot of video and audio.”
In the huge 1,800-seat dolphin ‘stadium’, the audio rig initially installed featured two hangs of eight K-array KH2 and six KS5 subs installed at the huge LED screen, plus five pairs of KX12 delay speakers flown from the roof. Control is via QSC Q-SYS Core 110f and a DiGiCo SD11 plus D-Rack used to mix the mics. Playback is via two Mac Mini 3.0GHz Dual Core i7 16GB RAM SSD512 with wired keyboard and mouse, two QLab Pro Figure 53, M-Audio Oxygen 25 MIDI controller, two RME Audio Fireface 802, Lubell LL916 Basic System air and water sound system.
Prior to his stint with Dragone from 2014 to 2016 (during which he delivered the global production portfolio of Franco Dragone in the capacity of senior VP of production and was also production manager on the Land of Legends project), Guillaume Duflot’s 20 years in the international event industry began in 1994 with Villadalesia, one of the first companies to work on large-scale events in Europe.
He adds: “The Dolphin show features a 19m x 6m DLP PC 7.8mm LED screen, on which we have Watchout with four direct insert lines – two live cameras and two on remote.”
The entrance to the fantastic Land of Legends is an enormous gateway with fountains, water effects, video projections and lasers and daily opening and closing ceremonies.
Campanelli continues: “There we used eight K-array KP102 and four KMT218 at the four corners of the entrance courtyard. As front fills and for spot effects, we used four KP102 and eight KP52 built into the set. There are also eight KP52 round the fountain.”
Duflot describes the video system. “There are four Panasonic PT-DZ21K2 projectors installed in pairs, each covering one side of the gate. Due to local conditions (salt air and extreme heat during the summer), the projectors are protected by custom weatherproof ABS enclosures with reinforced ventilation. We have fibre running from each projector to the control room’s media servers. The Dragone Gate show, which also features two Phaenon X Pro RGB 11500 lasers, is a clock show and is used intensively during the Boat Parade. We currently use WatchPax from Watchout, but intend replacing them with two Photon 4HD servers.”
Lighting director Olivier Legendre started to work in lighting in 1987 and, as well as in France, has worked on key events such as the Paralympic Games in Athens, the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and corporate events worldwide. “I met Franco Dragone in Macau for the Taboo show, and he proposed me The Dai Show in China and the Land of Legend theme park in Turkey.”
Legendre describes the impressive array of lighting fixtures installed at the gate and the large fountain, surmounted by a huge reproduction of the park’s logo: “These underwater LED fixtures by Italian manufacturer DTS, many customised or developed specifically for the project by DTS and specialist fountain manufacturer, French firm Crystal Group of Le Blanc Mesnil.” In total, 10 Helios Bronze R/FC 12/recessed wash LED, 24 Dive 3R very narrow beams and 16 Dive 1R/FC were used, along with 32 FOS 100 Dynamic LED and eight FOS 50 were upgraded to IP68 for underwater use and 84 Crystal 12 Fullcolor underwater LED fixtures. Other fixtures deployed in the zone are: Robe BMFL wash beam, SGM G spot POI, SGM P5 POI – 21° and SGM G1 Beam.
Campanelli explains the most complex part of his work at the Land of Legends: “This was definitely the Boat Parade along the canal in the centre of the resort, between the entrance and the hotel – it’s over a mile and a half long and hosts the parade of fantastic boats shaped like musical instruments, each with on-board audio (two KP 102 and a KMT12) reproducing the instruments’ sounds. Zoning and routing is managed by a QSC Q-SYS 500i DSP, systems kept in sync via wireless timecode and transport is via a fibre optic network, with each speaker controllable individually via K-Dante.”
No less than 118 KP 102W and KMT18 subs are installed on the buildings lining the canal. The set-up (and that at the gate) plays out music composed ad hoc by Dragone’s team. For the boat parade, Legendre positioned a pair of SGM i5 POI RGBW LED wash fixtures on each of the canal’s bridges (two more are in the Horse Lake). The spectacular 111m Legends Tower stands close to the Horse Lake and in the evenings is illuminated to great effect by 30 Clay Paky Supersharpy (all with Igloo covers), 10 SGM i5 POI RGBW and 30 SGM Q7 POI RGBW 110° floodlights.
Regarding the choice of loudspeaker systems, Campanelli says: “Before the Land of Legends project I wasn’t familiar with K-array products. I visited their HQ, listened to some and was pleasantly surprised. K-array was a great discovery – as an Italian working abroad for many years, it’s a pleasure so see an Italian company that works so well from the point of view of both product quality and support.
“Another product I used at Rixos for the first time and have continued to use since is the QSC Q-Sys Core 110f module.”
As well as developing an entirely unique universe for the Land of Legends, Dragone has created a storyline, including character costumes and props. Various performances were also designed for the park: dolphin show, boat parade, gate opening and closing ceremonies, and various small street-type acts in the park and 5-Star Kingdom Hotel. The dancers, musicians, acrobats and jugglers were carefully selected and trained by Dragone and, under his artistic direction for weeks, created a unique experience that keeps crowds astonished with their incredible talent and spectacular costumes.
Regarding the launch of the park, Campanelli enthuses: “We had things up and running perfectly very quickly without compromising quality – then again, with Franco Dragone as artistic director there are no two ways about it – artistic integrity always comes first!”