A Proficient Team: Partnering For Production Success In The Netherlands

Catching up with Dutch event production company Jurlights as it celebrates 20 years of steady growth under company founder Jurjen "Jur" Hesseling.

There’s a saying that the best things come to those who wait. Dutch event production company Jurlights has taken nearly 20 years of steady growth to be at the point that company founder Jurjen “Jur” Hesseling has been aiming for.

Now established as a major presence in the European event market, recent investments in Alcons Audio’s LR18 and LR28 mid-size and large format pro-ribbon line array systems have seen both companies benefit. A milestone for both Jurlights and Alcons Audio was reached earlier this year, when the Main Stage of Dance Valley (a.k.a., the “Woodstock of Dance”) at Spaarnwoude, Netherlands, was outfitted with a sound reinforcement system that included 48 Alcons LR28s for the mains and delays, joined by 40 BC543 cardioid subwoofers.

Sixty LR18s were deployed for front fill, out fill and additional delays, with VR12 mid-size monitors and BQ211 compact, high-output subs serving the VIP area. All loudspeakers were driven by 55-plus Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

Motivating Factors

(L-R) Maurice Laarhoven (Alcons co-founder and CFO), Niels Koomen (Jurlights system tech), Philip “Dr. Phil” de Haan (Alcons co-founder and head of R&D), Tom Back (Alcons co-founder and managing director), and Jurgen Hesseling (Jurlights CEO and founder/owner) together at Dance Valley.

Celebrating two decades (and counting), it’s been an interesting journey for Jurlights. Based in Badhoevedorp, Netherlands, the company was founded in 1997 with Hesseling determined to share his love of high-quality production values by creating, as he puts it, “beautiful settings that work really well for our clients.”

Since then Jurlights has grown to a core team of more than 30 permanent employees and a network of specialized freelancers working on about 350 gigs annually. Suffice it to say that maintaining those production values has paid off, with the company regularly servicing major events as well as smaller “bread and butter” gigs.

“I believe in our ideas, and we continually improve the company around them,” Hesseling states. “We like the best people and the best equipment because of the talent, passion and dedication that drives them. Only great, well-executed ideas really make a difference. Those ideas comes from people who love what they do and, if they really put their heart into it, magic happens.”

He also notes that of late, it seems as if many have misplaced that passion for creativity and instead are more concerned with keeping up with the latest technical developments: “People want to be ‘in the know,’ they approach things factually and technically rather than from the heart. It’s only when you make both approaches work together that you can deliver events that reach the next level.”

That outlook is at the heart of Jurlights’ relationship with Alcons Audio, and in fact, they were the first production company in the Netherlands to invest in Alcons gear. “There are a lot of similarities between us,” Hesseling notes. “We put our heart and soul into production and they do the same in sound.”

Alcons was recommended to him by an audio consultant, who suggested that he check out the VR12, a 2-way compact multi-purpose loudspeaker equipped with the company’s patented RBN601 pro-ribbon driver. “My immediate reaction was that it was different, and very good,” he states. “The relationship between the two companies clicked straight away, because we were both looking to deliver the best, with no compromise.”

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Tom Back of Alcons (left) together with Jur Hesseling, with the Dance Valley staging serving as a backdrop.

Jurlights went on to invest in Alcons’ first line array, the LR16, and has continued to add systems for all sizes and types of productions. The inventory now includes LR14, LR16, LR18 and LR28 systems, BF151, BF181, BF362 and BC543 subs, and a large stock of Sentinel amplified loudspeaker controllers.

Milestone Deployment

As the largest Dutch partner in the Alcons Pro-Ribbon Network, Hesseling was involved with the development of the LR28, testing the early “LR24” version in rental situations for several years. This year saw the LR28 reach the point of development to make Dance Valley the right event to give the company’s latest investment its first outing.

“Historically, many have believed that pro-ribbon technology is not suitable for large live events and festivals,” explains Alcons co-founder Tom Back. “We designed the LR28 from the ground up, using the ‘LR24’ concept product to get feedback from engineers, which we used to further the development. In terms of both our readiness and the challenging dynamic range and SPL levels of the music, Dance Valley was the ideal event where we could prove the doubters wrong.”

“I believe that no other system has the mid- and high-frequency handling power and potential as the LR28,” Hesseling posits, adding that Dance Valley was followed by Dutch Valley and Latin Village festivals on the same site, meaning they were able to show how the same system is a solution for three different large-scale events that attract an average of 30,000 visitors on hand for live performances by national and international bands as well as DJs.

Members of the Jurlights team assembling an Alcons Audio LR28 array for the main stage of Dance Valley.

“The promoters of Dance Valley have always been willing to take an early lead in using new systems and they were so impressed with the LR28/LR18 system at the early sound checks that they immediately booked it for 2018,” he adds. “We also invited a number of sound engineers and clients to hear the system, and all made very positive comments about it.”

Guido van den Berk of Dance Valley, Dutch Valley and Latin Village production company The Good Guyz says, “Jurlights is a professional, enthusiastic, passionate company, and we liked the sound quality of the Alcons system very much. The exceptional rear rejection was also very noticeable. This is a very important feature for events in urban areas or with many stages close together, especially as the social debate about noise from festivals and events is becoming an increasingly important aspect in license applications.”

Jurlights’ values combined with sensibly-paced growth are now reaping real dividends, attracting larger clients and earning a deserved reputation for going “the extra mile” at every event it serves.

“Sometimes to get the best things you have to wait a while,” Hesseling concludes. “It took us until two years ago to be totally confident that we were a ‘one stop shop’ at the very highest level, but whatever you want, we will make it happen and we will do it well.”