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White Light Hits All the Right Notes for Elton John at Stoke Park
UK - Music legend Sir Elton John recently partnered with UK charity SportsAid to deliver a one-of-a-kind solo concert at Stoke Park Country Club in Buckinghamshire. London based lighting specialist White Light was chosen to supply lighting solutions for the special event, which raised more than £300,000 to help young athletes in their pursuit of Paralympic or Olympic success.
White Light worked closely with production manager Mark Berry and technical manager Jon Ricketts to ensure the event’s success. Lighting designer Andy Pygott, Elton John’s regular LD, determined the lighting plan for the stage to be consistent with the look and feel of previous Elton John performances. Lighting designer Quentin Jarman looked after the design for Katherine Jenkins’ concert, held the following night, using the same lighting rig.
Planning for the project began six months ahead of the event. With Andy Pygott already on board, lighting solutions could be detailed well in advance. “Once we received the list from Andy, our first call was to White Light,” said Berry. “With this scale of an event and the quality that was expected, no other company came close. Having worked with White Light and having been to their facilities, I trusted the team completely to deliver the kit and the support that we needed.”
The large scale event, which hosted more than 5,000 guests, was the first of its kind for the venue that functions as a country club, hotel, and spa. Stoke Country Club is widely considered one of the top 100 golf courses in the world. Set amongst 300 acres of lush greenery, the stage for the concert was placed atop the club’s grass tennis courts, nestled between the trees. The unique venue, unprecedented nature of the event, and tight turn-around deadlines meant pre-planning was essential. “There were many calls back and forth to Neil [Adamson] at White Light, making sure we had the details just right and adjusting for any schedule changes,” said Ricketts who oversaw stage lighting, mains distribution, and site lighting for the project. “With White Light, I know that I can call up anytime and get a solution if I have a problem. Having that support is invaluable.”
Andy Pygott also commented on the support from White Light: “Having worked with White Light on smaller scale projects, I was interested to see their top-notch kit and service applied to a large outdoor music event. I was not disappointed. Where others lose quality at this size and speed, White Light delivered. The equipment was in exceptional condition and performed really well. When you have a rig of this size, that’s very important!”
For the weekend concerts, White Light supplied lighting fixtures, followspots, cables, mains distribution, and control for the stage as well lighting fixtures and festoon for the site. The package included Philips Vari-lite VL3000Q and VL3500 FX Washes, Clay Paky Sharpys, and Martin Professional Mac 101 fixtures overstage. Followspots were Robert Juliat Aramis units while haze came from Look Solutions Unique 2.0 hazers. The rig was controlled by a grandMA console.
Elton John performed at Stoke Park Country Club on Saturday June 28 as part of the Great British Weekend charity event at the venue, which also featured a concert from Katherine Jenkins on Sunday June 29, 2014.
photos: James MacKenzie
8th July 2014
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