FRANCE – Vans Downtown Showdown 2013 Live in Paris
Having facilitated the Vans Downtown Showdown event in London in 2011 and Amsterdam in 2012, Sound By Design were appointed once again to supply the live audio and engineers to the 2013 show at La Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris. This free-of-charge, open air event never fails to attract skate boarding fans in their droves to witness some of extreme sport’s best and brightest stars. Working alongside Zero Degrees Events and Vans, Sound By Design provided the complete audio solution to this large scale event which encompassed 4 separate skating arenas, a theatre hall where fans could observe interviews with the professional skaters and the event’s after party.
The Vans Downtown Showdown is an exciting and cutting edge skateboarding competition which combines a number of cultural styles including skating, live music and DJ’s, fashion, live art and even a pop-up barbers (although sadly none of the Sound By Design team returned with a mo-hawk). In keeping with the Vans “Off The Wall” motto, the La Grande Halle de la Villette was the perfect location for this show, providing a unique juxtaposition of traditional Parisian architecture with the ultra-modern street culture emblematic of the Downtown Showdown.
The event saw 12 teams – each made up of four skaters from the highly competitive world of professional and amateur skateboarding battle it out across a number of difficult obstacles and courses. Amongst them were teams representing skating brands; Element, Drop Dead, Cliché, Flip and Palace. Designed by the skaters themselves for the first time since its inception, the four courses featured a brilliant re-imagining of some of Paris’ most iconic buildings. Including the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, the obstacles provided the perfect platform for the skaters to show off their tricks, skills and brave determination.
Having grown in size and scale every year, the pressure was certainly being piled onto the 12 teams who not just had to nail every trick, but had to put their own stamp and attitude onto the proceedings also. The pressure to perform was again ramped up as a record 15,000 skating fans buzzed around the arena creating an electric atmosphere and raising the roof with every olly, grind and kickflip.
The format of the competition saw two members of each team tackle specific obstacles in one hour sessions. The teams were judged on their individual skill, creativity and originality, however attitude and innovation were also key factors in deciding who would be crowned the 2013 Downtown Showdown champion. After a long day of fierce competition and some jaw-dropping displays, first place was awarded to the Element Team with Sweet Skateboard’s in second and Flip taking third. The individual award for best professional skater went to Luan Oliveira of Flip whilst best amateur went to Nassim Guammaz of Element.
For the after party, East Coast hip-hop veterans; Black Moon produced a stunning set alongside former professional skater turned reggae DJ; Juan Love. For the DJ setup, Sound By Design supplied a substantial system with engineer Rob Waite taking charge of FOH sound using a DiGiCo console whilst Tom Boothby took care of monitors.