PE’s latest live entertainment venue opens A rejuvenated Boardwalk Action Bar opened its doors at PE’s Boardwalk Casino in June.

As part of Sun International’s billion rand upgrade to the Boardwalk Casino, the old SuperSport Bar has been completely gutted and given an extreme makeover to offer patrons a state of the art live entertainment venue – suitable for anything from sporting events on a big screen to live events on stage.

Avitech Systems was contracted to provide the design, supply and installation of the sound, lighting and audiovisual systems in the venue. In a coup for Port Elizabeth, the venue features the very first Bose RoomMatch line array loudspeaker system installed in South Africa.

“The design brief was to provide a sound and AV solution that could be simply operated by day staff, but could also provide the sophistication and level of control required by live stage acts and sound engineers,” explains Lawrence Bricknell, project leader from Avitech Systems. “We have succeeded in providing this, and more, using a combination of products from Bose, Biamp, Allen & Heath and Crestron.”


An Allen & Heath iLive digital mixing desk provides control of the live sound, while a Biamp Audiaflex digital signal processor allows automatic selection of preset audio configurations, and simple iPad-based control when a sound engineer is not on duty.

According to Lawrence: “More and more visiting stage acts demand a digital mixing desk at the venues that they perform in, so we considered a digital desk a “must have”. We chose the A&H iLive system for its ability to position the patching and mix engine in a rack backstage, and connect via one CAT5 cable to the control surface in the sound booth. We also liked the ability to control the mix from an iPad.”

Front of house sound is provided by six Bose RoomMatch loudspeaker cabinets. “Past experience at action bars showed that decent front-of-house sound systems are needed to give the venue the desired punch and ‘wow’ factor. Contractor type loudspeaker systems just don’t make the grade in this type of environment, and the venue ends up hiring in loudspeakers ends to satisfy the sound engineers using the system. We were determined to provide a system that could handle anything from bingo evenings to live bands, and having heard the Bose RoomMatch system in action at the recent launch at Emperor’s Palace, we were convinced that we made the right decision,” adds Lawrence.

Driving the loudspeakers are three eight-channel Bose PowerMatch amplifiers, providing a total of 12 000 watts of audio power to the venue. “The PowerMatch amplifiers provide extreme flexibility for this type of installation – each amplifier can be configured in any combination of channel formats ranging from 1 x 4000w to 8 x 500w. The fact that each amplifier can be powered off a standard 15A mains outlet is also an advantage,” comments Lawrence


Lawrence called on the expertise of Dave Whitehouse from DWR Distribution. Dave’s lighting solution comprised a Philips Strand 200 Series 24/48 lighting console; 12 Longman F1 High Power LED parcans; 10 x Longman 002 LED parcans; 6 x Longman Stage bars; 1 x LSC DMX Splitter; and 5 x custom manufactured lighting bars.


The Action Bar features 12 LCD Samsung DE46A professional display panel TV sets, a large format Epson EB-G5650 data projector and an Elite CineTension2 150” 16:9 tab tensioned screen. With AV input facilities on stage and at the sound booth. For sport lovers, a bank of DStv decoders are fed from the Boardwalk central IPTV server.


Avitech Systems used a Crestron CP2E processor to automate operations in the venue and present a simple control interface on an Apple iPad. From this touch screen staff can: open and close stage curtains, control house lighting, select and adjust music volume, control the 12 LCD TV sets in the venue and control the projector and motorised screen.

Presets allow simple venue setup for the weekly bingo and draw events. “We want to provide a simple preset-based operation platform for the Action Bar staff – in the past, an AV company had to be brought in to assist with setting up even the simplest of events. Crestron processors combined with their iPad app provided the functionality to automate venue operation in a way that even the barmen could understand, all at a very affordable price,” says Bricknell.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the project,” comments Lawrence. “It was great fun putting it all together, from FOH sound, stage lighting, projectors and screens, to the Crestron Control operated from an iPad. It’s a fantastic venue.”

Cheslyn Botha of CB Entertainment heads the casino’s audiovisual department and runs the AV, sound and lighting in the Action Bar. “The AV solution has absolutely exceeded my expectations,” says Cheslyn. “The Bose PA system is state of the art and the Crestron integrated system and Allen & Heath Mixing Desk are WOW! I have absolutely no disappointments.”

The up-market Boardwalk Action Bar comfortably seats an audience of 200 people and is set to become the centre of live entertainment in Port Elizabeth.