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Hawthorn Reap Rewards of Hay Festival

Hawthorn Reap Rewards of Hay Festival
Hawthorn Reap Rewards of Hay Festival

UK – For the fifth year running, creative technical production expert Hawthorn has provided the technical production for the annual Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts. The event, which ran between 26th May to 5th June, is held across a huge four-hectare site in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Celebrating language, art and science, the festival, which is now in its 29th year, attracts literacy fans for ten days of storytelling, creative thinking and world-class writing.

Hawthorn provided lighting, sound, AV, staging, drapes and power to the festival which is set in the beautiful Welsh borders.

The spacious site is temporarily home to eight performance spaces that play host to film and television stars, poets and writers in the day, as well as musical performances by night. Hawthorn installed theatrical lighting into each space – from the main venue, the Tata Tent, fitted with Clay Paky Alpha Spot moving lights, LED parcans, Impression GLPs and Source Fresnels – to the smallest venue, which used LED fixtures. Kitting out the venues is no small feat, with Hawthorn installing 450 lighting fixtures, 2km of cable, 300m of truss and 200m of drape over the eight-day build.

Six Christie Projectors were used to show video content in the performance spaces, with 55” LED displays acting as relay screens in the larger venues. Eight LED displays also featured around the site, displaying important information to visitors.

For audio, both of the main venues used a D&B V-Series line array this year, with smaller venues utilising a mixture of Martin Audio and D&B systems. One-hundred-and-ten smaller speakers were also installed with Hawthorn putting their latest Yamaha QL sound desks to use across the site. In the larger venues such as the Tata Tent and Telegraph, Digico SD8 and SD9 consoles were used. A radio mic frequency plot was also created to facilitate the 80 channels of radio microphone that were installed around the site.

Utilising 300 distribution units and nine kilometres of cable ranging from power lock down to 13A, Hawthorn was able to provide power distribution from both the mains and four synchronised generators to venues, catering areas and backstage areas across the entire site

As guests navigated their way through the festival, a soft and welcoming feel was created using 3km of LED festoon, lighting the walkways, covered areas and the main entrance. Internal lighting was kept to the same theme using LED globe lights, with external lighting making use of 50W LED flood units and coloured halides.

Tom Ring, senior project manager at Hawthorn said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with the team at Hay Festival to produce once of the world’s biggest literary festivals. The technical production for an event of this scale is enormous, with seven articulated lorries of kit being used across the site. All of this is installed over eight days with a crew of 15, and then removed in just three. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the festival in full swing. The site has such an amazing atmosphere and it’s a delight to be part of such an important feature in the UK’s cultural calendar.”

Paul Elkington, technical director at Hay Festival said: “Each year the project gets bigger and more complicated, but my team works so well with Hawthorn that the improvements always appear seamless. This year we had an emphasis on fuel saving with the biggest percentage of LED lighting ever, resulting in lower fuel use and decreased CO2 emissions.

“Hay is unusual in that all the equipment is turned over to a freelance crew that Hay Festival puts in place, but such is the trust between Hay and Hawthorn that all systems worked from day one until the hand back to Hawthorn at the end of the festival.

“This year, TV output played a large part in the events with Hay generating all content internally and supplying all the feeds to the BBC. Greater emphasis was placed on the lighting and sound design and Jon Turtle (LD) Richard Harris (vision) and Rob McNeil (sound) were able to achieve exactly the right result for our broadcast partners with Hawthorns help. Hay is a collaborative effort, and I look forward to a continuing relationship with Hawthorn in the years to come.”

Hawthorn Reap Rewards of Hay FestivalHawthorn Reap Rewards of Hay Festival

14th June 2016

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