Production News Headlines
L-Acoustics Puts the Punch in Punchline for Adam Sandler’s 100% Fresher Tour
USA & Canada – Lee Pepper has enjoyed years of success as the owner and operator of RRS Audio Productions Inc. in Las Vegas, Nevada, providing live sound production and recording services for some of the biggest names in the entertainment and corporate worlds at venues throughout the city. After re-evaluating his pro audio gear inventories last year, he chose to invest in an L-Acoustics K2 line source array system to deliver better audio fidelity for his clients and branch out more into the touring sound market.
“I was doing steady corporate work and also doing multi-track recording for a bunch of the bands that came through Las Vegas,” says Pepper, who established RRS Audio Productions nearly 12 years ago. Over that time, the list of prestigious artists that that RRS has worked with in the city has grown to include the likes of Adam Sandler, Slash, Joe Perry, Billy Idol, Eddy Money, Joan Jett, Michel Legrand, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mary Wilson, Tony Orlando, Andy Williams, REO Speedwagon, and many others.
L-Acoustics regional sales manager David Kuhner reached out to Pepper and suggested that K2 would be the ideal system to take his business to the next level while providing maximum return on investment. “I told him that I didn’t know if I could afford it,” Pepper recalls. “But we looked at the ROI and total cost of ownership of K2 and worked out the funding through L-Acoustics’ financing program. It made complete sense and I bought my first two dozen K2 enclosures along with 16 SB28 subwoofers and 12 LA12X amplified controllers in four LA-RAK II racks.”
Soon after, the new rig enabled RRS Audio to handle sound for the $25 million wedding of billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate Frank Fertitta’s daughter, Kelley. The September extravaganza, held at Fertitta’s Red Rock Resorts with 450 guests in attendance, featured performances by John Mayer, Bruno Mars and Seal. Following that, Pepper says, “I started a nice relationship with The Palms Casino Resort and now I’m their exclusive provider. I do all of their outdoor events and pool parties. Every week there’s something going on there.”
More recently, Pepper completed a nationwide tour with comedian and musician Adam Sandler, with whom he has worked for three years. “This is the first time that Adam took gear on tour,” reveals Pepper, who has expanded his complement of L-Acoustics speakers during the past year to also include Kara, Kiva II and Syva, while also adding eight more K2 and 14 more LA12X to his inventory.
Sandler’s 100% Fresher Tour played arenas, amphitheatres and music centres from coast to coast, including shows in Montreal and Toronto, beginning in late May and extending through the end of June. Pepper also recorded every performance using his RML Labs SAW Studio multitrack rig, having previously recorded and mixed Sandler’s critically-acclaimed 2018 Netflix comedy special, 100% Fresh.
For Sandler’s tour, he says: “We had left and right main hangs of 32 total K2 with an outer hang of 12 Kara on each side, plus eight Kiva II for frontfill.” Additional Kara boxes provided sidefill for Sandler and his musicians, with short throw X12 wedges for vocal monitoring. Two LA-RAK II per side each loaded three LA12X amplified controllers powered the main system with a separate rack driving the monitors.
As an owner/operator, Pepper was also on the 100% Fresher Tour as its front of house engineer, and he reports that Sandler takes a keen interest in the sound. “He said to me, ‘When you do sound, it’s much cleaner and clearer. Is it the way you EQ?’ I basically take out most of the low-end frequencies, as the show is primarily spoken word. On the very first few tour dates where we didn’t use our K2 rig, Adam noticed the difference and said, ‘It sounded a little off. What was going on?’ He could totally tell. These days, most rider-friendly systems can sound pretty decent if you spend enough time tuning, tweaking, and phasing. But I think with L-Acoustics speakers there’s just something more honest and natural sounding. K2 always sounds great and it’s been perfect for Adam; it’s the best.”
Pepper originally grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, in a showbiz family – his mother managed many artists – and became involved in the sound business at age 14. Since that time, he has never seen such an explosion in his business as he has since acquiring L-Acoustics speakers. “I was in a 1,300-square-foot building, and now I’m in 5,800 square feet and getting ready to pounce on another building. With L-Acoustics, RRS Audio went from a six-figure yearly revenue to a seven-figure one. I can’t keep the boxes in stock, and every month I’m buying more. It’s really been a terrific investment for me.”
15th July 2019
Sammy Hagar Tour Gets Varied Looks from Chauvet Professional Strike 4
USA – There’s Only One Way To Rock, so declares Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar in one of the many hits he recorded over the course of his storied career. That “way,” at least as practised by the irrepressible Red Rocker himself, involves slamming the pedal not only to, but also through, the metal and embracing the moment with the ferocity of a wild tiger.
Matt Mills of Touch Light & Media enjoyed this kind of exhilarating ride recently when running the lighting and video for the USA tour by Hagar and his band The Circle in support of their current Top Ten album, Space Between. With him at every turn of this wild journey was a collection of Chauvet Professional Strike 4 fixtures, supplied by Felix Lighting.
“This was the first tour I’ve done in over five years (since Avenged Sevenfold) that was not locked into time code,” said Mills, who co-designed the two-hour show with production manager Alastair Watson and also served as its lighting director, as well as lighting and video programmer. “It was a blast rocking the show live. The guys changed things up every night, so they kept me on my toes.”
Helping Mills keep pace were the eight Strike 4 fixtures he flew on downstage truss. The high-output fixtures were positioned at different angles, so the warm white light from their 100W COB LEDs covered a wide section of the audience at the tour’s amphitheatre stops.
Mills relied on the fixtures for audience lighting throughout the show. This not only immersed entire venues in the performance, it also underscored the connection between the legendary superstar and his fans. Beyond their role in illuminating the crowd, the versatile fixtures were also used to change up looks during the show.
“I started out using the Strike units as normal four-light blinders early in the show, then once we got a few songs in I brought them to life by using their strobe functions,” said Mills who had 25 songs programmed, in addition to maintaining an extensive punt page. “These fixtures gave me a lot of great opportunities to accent different moments on the fly with sudden bursts of light.”
The warm white light of the Strike 4 fixtures also helped Mills create a mellow look for Hagar’s softer songs, as well as the more classic numbers from the superstar’s four-decade catalogue of hits. Evoking images of incandescent fades, the Strike 4 fixture’s smooth dimming curve added another timeless element to the show.
Also helping to make things click on the tour, which ended in June, was the compact size of the Strike 4 relative to its output. This allowed fewer fixtures to be included in the rig, saving precious trailer space. “We had only two trucks,” said Mills. “So, we had to be very space conscious.”
The tour may have “travelled light,” but like all things involving Sammy Hagar, it was packed full of energy and great music, which on this go-round was supported by an equally exuberant light show.
photo: Steve Jennings
15th July 2019
Squeek Lights and Elation DARTZ for Chon Summer Tour
USA – Squeek Lights has had their busiest summer ever supplying state-of-the-art lighting packages for tours across the US. An especially busy June had the New York-based rental house hopping as they supplied and serviced several acts, including an outing by rock instrumentalists Chon, who toured with a rig of Elation DARTZ 360 LED moving heads and SixBar 1000 LED battens.
“We’ve had an insane number of tours going out this summer, which of course is a good thing,” enthused Steve Kosiba of Squeek Lights. “We actually had two tours out in June with rigs that featured Elation lights and just bought more DARTZ so we’ve upped our inventory of those.” Kosiba programmed both those June outings with the Chon rig running off an M2GO lighting console running ONYX software and operated on tour by Colin Bennet.
Squeek Lights has been working with Chon on the California quartet’s last few tours. The band is unique and plays an appealing style of instrumental rock, a blend of interlacing guitar and rhythm that, when complemented with a dynamic light show, is richly captivating.
From looking at the band’s visual vocabulary of the past, Kosiba noted a good deal of pastel colours: cyan, magenta, yellow, lighter lavender. “A lot of fixtures with colour wheels don’t give you a lot of pastels to work with but with the DARTZ you can mix any colour you want, which was really useful when reaching for those lighter pastel colours, which I did fairly often,” Kosiba explains. “Just having a colour mixing fixture that small with that tight of a beam is fantastic.” He adds that he generally turned to more saturated colours with the SixBars to provide more contrast and offset the pastels coming from the DARTZ.
The compact DARTZ moving heads lined the upstage on 2½ ft pipe and base to peek out from behind the bassist and drummer with other DARTZ fixtures working from atop road cases. “They provided a line of beams upstage and continued to impress me as far as brightness,” Kosiba said of the narrow-beam LED moving head. “The fact that it gets all that output just from a 50W LED engine is impressive. It’s a great little fixture that you can get cool looks with.”
The LED beam/spot DARTZ projects a tight three-degree beam and has gobos, dual prisms and unlimited rotation on pan and tilt for a stage filling effect. “I used the prisms a lot,” Kosiba said. “The dual prisms and being able to throw both prisms in at the same time is a really cool look but in particular I really like its big fat circular prism.” The programmer used the continuous 360-degree tilt in a couple cues. He explains, “I’d offset them tilt wise and then start the continuous tilt so it was like two of them at the same angle at any given time rotating through the whole line. It looked really cool.”
Working unobtrusively from the front as foot lighting onto performers were full colour SixBar 1000s, three foot long LED battens with 6-color multi-chip and discreet, narrow profile. More SixBars worked from the side of the stage. “It’s a bright fixture so I usually ran them at 30-50 percent to avoid blinding the band too much,” Kosiba says, adding that he had the included frost on them to spread and soften the beam. Four SixBars were used to light the downstage guitars with two pushed back to light the drummer and bassist. “Especially when you go into venues that don’t have great front light and side light to have something repeatable like that is great.”
photos: Sarah Hess
12th July 2019
The Who Moves on with Astera
UK – Lighting designer Tom Kenny specified 42 Astera Titan Tubes to be an integral part of the lighting rig for legendary rockers The Who. Their critically acclaimed Moving On! tour has just finished the first leg and will play 31 dates in the US, Canada and England accompanied by a local orchestra in each venue conducted by Keith Levinson, plus special guests including violinist Katie Jacoby and cellist Audrey Snyder.
This unique arrangement brings a new energy and vibe to the distinctive mad, bad, raw uncompromising powerhouse sound that characterises one of the most iconic bands and has defined generations of rock & roll since the 1960s.
The tour is also promoting The Who’s first new album in 13 years, and Tom is loving being back on the road with the band for whom he’s worked since the 1980s.
The orchestral presentation demanded a completely new style and approach to creating a visuality on stage. Roger Daltry specifically didn’t want a large video wall at the back or in fact any onstage video elements. There was a clear directive to strip back, encouraging audiences to concentrate on the show and focus on the human side of the music.
But he did want luminescence in the area, and something more elegant and architectural that could help build the energy of the music.
The backdrop is made up from a silver threaded laser fabric which presents an interesting and beautifully textured surface that also takes the lighting very well.
There is also a curved mid-stage drape made from Bule and supplied by Atomic Design which flies in and out on some TAIT winches for the sections of the show just featuring The Who in full-on bellicose rock mode without the orchestra.
“Basically, lighting-wise, I wanted something new, innovative and different that could help create plenty of drama,” and that’s what is happening with the Asteras.
The Tubes are run wirelessly and are dotted along the orchestra risers in three rows in between the musicians, which can be between 40 and 50 people each day according to the orchestra.
There is no smoke or haze during the shows, so ‘standard’ beam lighting looks are also not very visible, meaning there is a lot of emphasis on the Titan effects punctuating and accenting the music.
Mounted on their neat small-footprint floor stands and needing no cabling, they are quick and easy to deploy in a busy space and perfect for the creative task that Tom anticipated.
This is a mix of slow and subtle fluid movements through to manic strobing chases which Tom uses to highlight specific breakdowns and parts of songs as the band blast through the set delighting fans with a pick of their greatest hits together with teasers of the new music.
They have performed in some baseball and football stadiums “and the tubes have stayed solid and never fallen over in strong wind” commented Tom, impressed.
Pete Townsend himself even mentions the tubes on his Insta, Yaggerdang.
Critics, fans and the media have been lit up and raving with positive feedback about the show.
Tom started using Astera products – the AX1 and now the Titan Tubes in particular – for his various video and television work over the last couple of years. The first time was on the 2017 Latin Grammy’s in Las Vegas with large quantities of AX1s in the show following a demo by US distributors ICD.
He immediately noticed how well engineered the products were in addition to the “great range of effects”.
He loves the Titan Tubes for their power, intensity, colours, versatility and ease of use, so “pretty much everything about them including the fact they look modern and contemporary” he enthuses, having also recently used them on a big launch for the Genesis Mint Concept car at Hudson Yards in New York.
He mentioned that when he first started designing lights in the 1980s: “We all dreamed about having products like this at our disposal: light, reliable and battery powered that you can just put in place and control from 150 metres or more away and now they are here!”
The Titan Tubes are being supplied to the Moving On! tour via PRG, VER and Showcat. In fact, it was Gary Mass, Nick Freed and Noel Duncan from Showcat who first introduced him to Astera tubes.
They are run via the grandMA2 console running all the show lighting, which was programmed by Fuji and is being operated by Jim Mustapha on the road. The lighting crew chiefs was Iestyn Thomas and Looch Ciampara from PRG.
The six spares they carried were used backstage for interviews and photo opportunities, with two set up permanently for this purpose, controlled locally via the Smartphone App. “They work fantastically in this context as well as on stage,” says Tom.
The Who’s Moving On! tour resumes in the UK at Wembley Arena on 6th July, then goes back to the US and Canada September and beyond.
Tom, proudly Irish and now living in Miami, is a prolific, respected and very successful production and lighting designer working for a dynamic mix of music, TV, video, broadcast and corporate clients and events worldwide. Apart from The Who, other ‘greats’ gracing his CV include the late David Bowie with whom he was close, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and David Byrne to name a few. Tom also is regularly commissioned by MTV, the BBC and other premium broadcasters to create lighting, visuals and sets for a cornucopia of high profile international awards and music shows.
photos: William Snyder
12th July 2019
Let There Be Cello and Robe
USA - Robe moving lights were top lighting designer Crt Birsa’s spec for the recent 2CELLOS US which thrilled fans with a mega-mix of raucous rock, perfect pop, cool classical and melodic movie music as they worked their way across the country.
Luka Šulić from Slovenia and Stjepan Hauser from Croatia and their unique crossover style has put the often-underrated cello right in the spotlight.
Crt, from picturesque Slovenia, has been lighting the band since 2014, when he was working as the production LD for Schengenfest, one of Slovenia’s largest music festivals. They liked what they saw and asked him on board, which has opened the door to large scale international touring and some massive one-off shows in incredible places all around the globe.
“There is always massive scope for lighting 2CELLOs and being visually imaginative due to the vast range of the music” he commented. “Lighting is also an active way in which we like to help draw all the fans into the performance.”
The main moving lights on the US tour were 34 Robe MegaPointes, 24 Spiider wash beams, with five BMFL Spots for key lighting, all supplied together with other lighting kit by Upstaging, who have been a steady investor in the brand in recent years.
“Let There Be Cello” was a new tour but for continuity and some practicalities like a tight time schedule between the start of it and the end of the last tour, they used the previous touring lighting rig as a base design, freshening up with some new lighting and video elements.
The US tour was split into two segments covering mostly arenas in major cities and including some famous venues like Radio City Music Hall in New York, The Shrine in Los Angeles and Fox Theatres in St Louis, Detroit and Atlanta.
The technical design stayed straightforward and very versatile, leaving the stage space clean and uncluttered with Luka, Stjepan and Dušan Kranjc. the band’s drummer, as the focus.
They opted for long straight trusses with a series of drop-down bars to give some variation while keeping quick and easy to load ins / outs in mind, and new for this tour were 18 thin towers, nine each side of the drum riser loaded with LED battens which merged into the LED screens upstage.
The back LED screens were on an automation system and could move position for variations and, in the lower position, to create some nice silhouetting effects.
Robe has been Crt’s moving light brand of choice for some time.
The brand is very popular in Slovenia, taking a large chunk of the moving light market thanks to a very proactive distributor in MK Light & Sound, and he appreciates the multi-functionality of the latest Robe luminaires like MegaPointe and Spiider and has always found them to be reliable.
Twenty of the MegaPointes were rigged on the three 18 metre wide upstage trusses, six on the drop pipes with the other eight units on the floor behind the band.
The Spiiders were also positioned in a similar configuration, with six upstage on the floor.
The BMFL Spots were on the advance truss and were the only keylights in the show. Due to their extreme brightness, he could use them in color which worked perfectly for specific parts of the show.
Crt relied on MegaPointes for all the main lighting effects because: “It’s basically a rock show that requires really good spot luminaires and MegaPointes can absolutely deliver this.”
He narrowed them down to work as beams for two or three numbers, but their fundamental function was as a spot fixture, and with so many options in spot mode, he didn’t need any additional units.
The Spiiders’ role was to fill and colour the stage and the air and provide a good background ambience for the MegaPointes.
In addition to these, he used the LED battens and strobes on the three upstage trusses which worked well with the MegaPointes during the rock section of the show as they energetically belted out a string of hits from AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and others on cello and drums to the delight of fans!
As a tribute to all those legendary retro rock lighting designs, there were 16 x 2-lite Moles and six 8-lite Moles on the floor and in all the flown trusses.
Crt controlled all of this via his ChamSys MQ80 console, using an MQ100 Pro as backup.
During programming and operating, he works in tandem with video designer Zaor Kolar who is also mixing five cameras and the playback video. This ensures that all their energy gets off stage and out into the audience who receive the full and extended 2CELLOS experience
Crt worked with two “fantastic” Upstaging crew chiefs, Ron Schilling on the first leg and Jim Fredrickson on the second. “Both have done so many much larger tours than mine, so I am very honoured to have worked with them,” he concluded.
photos: Crt Birsa
12th July 2019
S+H Minces Large with Julian Clary
UK – ‘Commodore of Camp’ Julian Clary is back on the road sharing plenty of hilarious good filth across the UK on his ‘Born to Mince’ tour which has just finished its first leg. The acclaimed, seriously funny and popular comedian, actor, writer and TV presenter thrilled audiences nationwide delivering dollops of his unique close-to-the-bone banter, action-packed with innuendo and fun.
Visuals are important to comedy performance, helping to develop the mood and deliver the punchlines, and with a one-person stand-up routine, these need to be eye-catching but not distracting. The spectacular backdrop upstage of Julian was custom made and delivered by S+H Technical Support.
The colourful pink and purple 7 x 5 metre silk-lined printed ShowLED starcloth contains 1,100 warm-white LEDs that outline large pink letters making up the artist’s name and swoosh up in fan-like lines from these in the centre to the outside edges.
There is a conduit pocket in the bottom for weighting and eradicating wrinkles, and it folds down elegantly into a neat trunk for transportation in the back of an SUV.
The design was based on the tour’s poster and promotional artwork and visuals, and it also matches beautifully with Julian’s impressive array of flamboyant costumes designed by Hugh Durrant.
The idea of touring a scenic backdrop which would also take on the role of a straightforward but striking set was initiated by Bex Cliff who stage manages and co-ordinates all things technical for Julian on the road, including operating the lighting.
She’s worked with starcloths on various other shows and hit on the idea of combining a scenic piece with twinkling elements – adding that all-important hint of glamour – as a perfect touch for this tour.
Bex in turn was recommended by several people to drapes and starcloth experts S+H. She contacted Terry Murtha and the team in Ilfracombe, Devon, and was impressed by their work on various other specialist projects, as well as their friendly and accessible approach. They started looking at fabrics, the printing process, the LEDs, etc. to get started, and then chose the spacing of the LEDs which are at 75mm centres to one another.
Bex reckons that working with S+H and the end results exceeded her expectations.
Terry Murtha says: “Julian Clary has made us all laugh for many years, so we were very honoured to be involved in creating this elegant visual solution, which looks fantastic, for the tour.”
The artist is also delighted. “I was very excited as it was the last piece of the jigsaw to arrive at rehearsals and complete the stage presentation. It’s really attractive and sets the right tone as well as fitting into pretty much any space we are playing and being quick and efficient for Bex to rig each day,” stated Julian.
He adds that they have had some great feedback from the public, lots of positive interaction on socials and they have also seen some impressive photos.
The tour played numerous one-offs and back-to-backs throughout the UK from March to June so getting in and out and rigging time was a major consideration.
Bex also likes the flexibility it brings to the show: “The combination of the different colours and the LEDs give it a proper 3D appearance.” Usually, she will use some of the venue’s front washlights for its general illumination. Aware that starcloths themselves can sometimes be tiring to look at from an audience perspective if they are too full-on, with this, the intensities of the LEDs can be pulled right down. “You can still get the 'wow effect' without it being overpowering.”
The DMX controlled LEDs were running through the lighting console operated by Bex standing stage left in the wings. A myriad of effects were possible, from just outlining the letters to having rays of LEDs pulsating up or down the cloth plus many others relevant to what was happening onstage. “We were finding new possibilities all the time; it is incredibly versatile,” she concluded.
photos: Lindsay Cave
12th July 2019
Karen O and Danger Mouse Rely on Meyer Sound for Total Immersion in “An Encounter with Lux Prima”
USA – For four days in late April, more than 3,500 visitors experienced a 35-minute art installation called “An Encounter with Lux Prima.” Conceived by Karen O and Danger Mouse as an immersive introduction to their new album collaboration, the audacious event, sixteen sessions in all, was held at the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles. Audiences were fully enveloped by a custom-built spatial sound system from Meyer Sound, experiencing both music and effects ‘to the bone’ with infrasonic waves emanating from three VLFC very low frequency control elements.
The formative concept behind “An Encounter with Lux Prima” was put forth by the artists as a means to involve the audience in the sensory and emotional content of the music in an environment that transcended the limitations of a stage performance. To carry their concept to fruition they enlisted a core team of collaborators that included, among others, creative director Barnaby Clay, producer Mungo Maclagan, sound designer Ren Klyce of Skywalker Sound (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Fight Club), lighting designer Tobias Rylander, visual artist Davy Evans, as well as executive producers Like Mgmt.
“One thing we all had in mind going into this was that the music had to be the hero,” says Maclagan. “We absolutely did not want noodly ambience in the background that you get with some art installations. That meant we had to complement the music with imagery that was not dictatorial, so the power of the music would carry the story.”
To expand the stereo album music into a fully immersive experience, Ren Klyce was given the multitrack master files from which he created a 7.1 mix, augmented by additional object-oriented spatial sound elements. To extend the overall experience, Klyce created his own sound design elements as segues between songs.
Meyer Sound loudspeakers were employed during the creative process from the outset, first at Klyce’s own post-production facility, and again for the final pre-mixes at Skywalker Sound.
“Meyer Sound loudspeakers are very musical, which is what I personally like about them,” remarks Klyce. “In addition to their natural musical quality, they can get very loud but still feel pleasant. They are also emotional in the low frequencies with the VLFCs. When you want to have that soulful feeling in your chest, those speakers literally make you feel in with your whole body.”
In parallel with Klyce’s sound design, the visual arts side of the team had sketched out an elemental design centred on a massive, irregular stone monolith sitting atop a triangular base. The audience would be seated around it on sections of real lawn, with dynamic lighting and mapped projections illuminating both the monolith and surrounding walls.
To design and configure the on-site audio system, Klyce enlisted the assistance of Skywalker Sound engineer Brian Long.
“As soon as I came on board I insisted this had to be a turnkey Meyer Sound solution,” emphasises Long. “Meyer is the only company that could handle this kind of project with a fully integrated approach.”
Working in consultation with Meyer Sound’s director of strategic applications Michael Maxson and director of system optimisation Bob McCarthy, Long devised a tightly-packed LCR layout for each side of the triangular base. Twelve UPQ-1P loudspeakers supplied the full-range LCR programme (one each for R and L and two for C per side), with an additional UPQ-1P overhead. Also packed inside were six 900-LFC low frequency control elements for deep bass plus the elemental infrasonic force of three VLFC very low frequency control elements. The four surround channels each employed two UPQ-2P loudspeakers.
Because the main scoring stage at Skywalker Sound is nearly as large as the event space booked at the Marciano Art Foundation, an identical system was set up there for the final pre-mix. Mungo Maclagan, Karen O and Danger Mouse were on hand for the sessions.
“We had listened to some of the other technologies when we’d visited Meyer Sound headquarters earlier,” recalls Maclagan, “but we didn’t hear the VLFCs until Skywalker. That was literally an earth-shaking experience. When Karen O and Danger Mouse first got their ears on the system, they were like kids in a candy store. The overall quality and fidelity really was mind-blowing.”
The music was then synced to the video and lighting effects, with the spatial sound movements and visual show control all directed by a D-Mitri digital audio platform as programmed by Martin Carrillo of Los Angeles-based Heardrum.
The final step was to set up all the audio and video technology at the Marciano Art Foundation, make some minor audio tweaks to adjust for differences in acoustics and room size, and finalise the show control by linking the entire “encounter” to three buttons on an iPad: Preshow, Show Go and Emergency Stop. The latter was never needed.
“The reaction was resoundingly positive every time,” says Maclagan. “Everybody was absolutely spellbound by the experience. The audiences were totally engaged throughout the entire 35 minutes. David Lynch came down for one show and said, ‘Wow, you’ve blown my mind.’ That was a high accolade indeed!”
In addition to the main system, a small pre-show system was deployed in the lobby area with four UPJ-1P loudspeakers. Prior to opening, an invitation-only live performance by Karen O and Danger Mouse for 400 celebrity guests was reinforced by eight MINA line array loudspeakers plus four 750-LFC low frequency control elements.
12th July 2019
Sinclair & Co unleash the power of 300 GLP fixtures at Coachella
USA – Australian psychedelic band Tame Impala’s incredible year reached its zenith at the Coachella Festival recently. held annually at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
Headlining on the Saturday night, at the annual extravaganza, the big occasion gave innovative lighting designer Rob Sinclair and his technical team full rein to unleash over 300 fixtures from GLP, supplied by Christie Lites on the set.
The LD had been brought into the Tame Impala family back in 2017 by creative director, Willo Perron. “The band wanted a super precise show,” he remembers, describing the set today as “a modern take on 60s' psychedelia, which hopefully really messes with people’s heads.”
Among the GLP fixtures were no fewer than 250 impression X4 Bars (in a mix of Bar 10s and longer Bar 20 battens), a deployment that really enhanced the psychedelic mood.
The design was: “An adaptation of the touring rig, but with some iconic statement pieces purpose designed for Coachella,” he explained, “It’s all about gradients, swirling colours and complex intensity chases. We needed to be able to make these gradients with everything available so the colour depth was important. The locking together of the X Bars was also essential, and I don’t think we could have used anything else [other than the Bars].”
The X4 Bar 20s were positioned on the floor and in towers and the Bar 10s are situated inside the ring, in order to make the segments of the overhead ring smaller.
Rob Sinclair’s production design also included 60 JDC1 hybrid strobes for a specific reason. “We needed a huge bank of colour behind the band and the JDC1 gave us that, within budget. We tried pixel mapping but ultimately got better effects from programming them as lights.
“I really love both the X4 Bars and JDC1, and we’ve used them on a lot of shows.”
The production easily reverted back to its touring mode once Coachella was behind them. “The show exists as a series of elements which can be added and taken away. Therefore, it can function with or without the ring, the screen can grow and we can add and subtract lasers. The programming is done in such a way that the show always makes sense.”
At the operational end, his sentiments were supported by touring LD Jon Derrington, who was working off two Hog 4 consoles, with two Playback Wings. He confirmed that the X-Bars had played a key role in delivering the gradient colours required and the shapes they were making on the stage. “Having them perfectly straight was vitally important,” he said.
“Once I figured out the fastest way to programme the Bar 20s, it was easy. With a lot of complex chases and colour gradients in this show, having an easy way to grab fixtures is a must.” In order to make the colour gradients and chases, these were run in 88ch mode to utilise the individual pixels.
To give an idea of the degree of prep work that went into Coachella, Jon Derrington was one of three programmers working in shifts for 24 hours a day, the others being Van Bridges and Stefan Didizan. “This was needed to get the show right,” he said.
As for the JDC1 there were several moments in the show where only the LED blinder, the tube flash (or both) required. “So I put them in aggressive mode for extra face melting!”
Derrington clearly knows his way around the hybrid strobe, having been using them as far back as 2017 when they first launched. “We had the older demo versions on our first show, and we run them in 23 channel mode.”
The beauty of a touring LD is that the relationship with his gear changes as the tour evolves. And this has been to GLP’s advantage. “For instance, along the way I learned how to swap the pixel direction from the desk and that was a huge help when we had over 300 units to tech!”
But the final word came from Rob Sinclair, who paid generous praise to Christie Lites. “They have been looking after us on both sides of the Atlantic, and the gear, support and people are all second to none.”
12th July 2019
LD Systems Illuminates RodeoHouston with Over 150 Chauvet Professional Fixtures
USA – For 87 years, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, also known as RodeoHouston, has reigned as the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world. From the rodeo and livestock exhibits, to the mouth-watering food, thrilling rides and star-studded entertainment, the 20-day-long event at NRG Stadium offers a plethora of attractions for the 2.5 million people who visit every year.
Providing eye-popping visual support for this multi-faceted event in 2019 was an immense and very versatile lighting rig from LD Systems that featured over 150 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
“When putting together the lighting rig, we really needed to be flexible,” said Nathan Brittain of LD Systems. “Our lighting had to offer full production looks for the wide range of artists that appeared on our stage night after night. At the same time, we also needed lights that could contribute to the atmosphere throughout the event grounds. The key challenge was managing a project of this scale, which is something we did very well, thanks in large measure to the way our team pulled together to make things happen.”
The magnitude of the challenge facing the LD Systems team was plain to see from looking at RodeoHouston’s massive stage, which was configured in the shape of the Texas star. Each point of the star was accessible to the performers to engender their connection to the audience. Throughout shows by stars like George Strait and Kacey Musgraves, the massive stage slowly rotated 360°.
Rigged high overhead, so as not to obstruct views from fans sitting in the stadium’s upper deck, the fixtures followed the stage’s star shape. The sheer scale of the arena and the height of the rigging above the stage required high-output fixtures, which led to the selection of 66 intensely bright Strike 1 units to play a key role in the stage rig.
“All of the Strike 1s were in the overhead system, positioned on multiple levels,” said Brittain. “They were used mainly as audience blinders, but could also be used for strobes and as a wide area floodlight. The Strike 1 fixtures provided a unique look because of the face size, and they work really well in large venues like NRG Stadium. The dimming curve for these is really smooth, and the ‘amber shift’ mimics the dimming of incandescent lights perfectly, adding an extra dimension to the fixture.”
Providing an added visual element to the stadium were the 60 ÉPIX Strip IP linear fixtures around the announcer’s booth. The one-meter long fixtures feature 100 RGB LEDs in a row, all of which can be pixel mapped for video and motion graphics. “We were looking to do something unique that would draw people’s attention to the announcer’s booth,” said Brittain. “The idea was to define where the booth was to those in attendance, because it’s sort of buried in the middle of a sea of seats. The ÉPIX Strips gave us a standout look while also providing a surface to feed video content to, giving us motion to draw the eye.”
For other lighting components throughout the exhibition grounds, Brittain and his team relied on Chauvet Professional Ovation E-260WW IP fixtures and COLORado Solo Battens. “We used ten Ovation fixtures outside to light a very large 3D RodeoHouston logo,” said Brittain. “This is a photo opportunity for guests, so we lit the logo and the area for people to stand for their picture. The Ovation fixtures fit the bill because power was limited, so we wanted to go with an LED source, but they were also going to be outside for nearly 30 days so we needed the IP rating.”
A second outdoor display with graphic banners was lit by six COLORado Solo Battens. “These were a great fixture, extremely bright, and their colour mixing is incredibly smooth,” said Brittain. “With the special lens projecting a single homogenised wash, the pixel look of the bar is eliminated, even close to the banners. When their IP rating was factored in, they were an easy choice for this outdoor position.”
For a project the size and scope of RodeoHouston, every aspect of the event has to cater to the attendees. “There are countless challenges,” said Brittain. “Just the sheer scale and schedule of the event can be daunting, and it’s a lot to do and maintain over such a long period of time. Our crew of Jim Brace, Lance Williamson, Wade Henry, William Diven, Fred Deci, Brian Stephenson and Will Anglin deserve all the credit in the world. This event was a big undertaking, but they were more than up to the challenge.”
photos: Ryan Paulin
12th July 2019
Compact, quiet and feature-packed: VL2600 Profiles impress at Cleveland Orchestra
USA – The compact, feature-rich VL2600 Profile luminaire from Vari-Lite, a Signify entertainment lighting brand, met some crucial needs for lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols in his design for a production of Richard Strauss’s comic opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, by the renowned Cleveland Orchestra.
As one of the USA’s older concert halls, Cleveland’s Severance Hall presents certain challenges to lighting designers. Limited space for hanging luminaires and a lively acoustic which accentuates the noise from cooling fans and electronics mean that lighting fixture choices must be carefully made.
“The main features I was looking for,” says Nichols, “were low noise output and a compact size, to allow for more fixtures to fit in the limited space. I also needed an adequate lumen output, a good zoom range and framing shutters.”
Through his contacts at supplier Vincent Lighting Systems (VLS), Nichols was introduced to the compact, quiet, LED-based VL2600 Profile. He says: “I’ve always been a big fan of Vari-Lite products.
The VL2600 attracted me because of its small size, low noise, and relatively high lumen output. In past designs at Severance Hall, I’ve used VL1100AS units, because they are also fairly low-noise fixtures. The VL2600s were a natural step up from those.”
Nichols specified 17 of the new luminaires in his rig, all of which were positioned above the stage on overhead truss. “All the VL2600s were dedicated to performer lighting,” he says, “which concentrated on colour and texture washes in combination with very sharp, bright geometric squares and polygons of light to etch out performance areas. While the units provided nice colour and texture washes, the ones used for these ‘boxes of light’ were clean and clear, which helped them cut through the washes very well.”
The new generation of LED Vari-Lites has more than lived up to Nichols’ respect for the brand. He says: “I was impressed by how many features were packed into this small unit. They have a good array of gobo options, framing shutters and fast, quiet movement. I will certainly be using the VL2600 again.”
Christopher Shick, VLS production manager, says: “VLS chose to invest heavily in the VL2600, as they offer a high-quality, flexible, automated fixture to our customers. They produce a brilliant beam oflight, vivid and saturated colours, with fast adjustment between beam sizes and different effects. They are quickly becoming a favourite of our customers, as they continue to perform flawlessly and produce beautiful results.”
11th July 2019
Daniel Romero Adds Power to Carlos Rivera’s Guerra Tour with Chauvet Professional
Mexico – Fifteen years after winning the Mexican reality/talent show “La Academia”, Carlos Rivera is still finding new ways to connect to audiences and stir passions. The award-winning singer and actor is demonstrating this on his current tour of South America, Mexico and the United States in support of his latest album, Guerra.
Rivera’s heartfelt performances of hits like "Regrésame Mi Corazón" and “Bendita Tu Vida" resonate with deep emotive power as they explore issues of love and life. At his tour’s recent stops in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico, lighting designer Daniel Romero underscored this emotional force with a richly textured light show that featured Chauvet Professional fixtures, supplied by Pro Audio Solutions.
Romero chose 12 Maverick MK1 Hybrids, 12 Maverick MK3 Wash luminaires, 14 Maverick MK2 Spots, and 24 Rogue R2 Washes to amp up his tour design. The Maverick fixtures anchored his show, creating lush, bold colours, crisp evocative gobos and smooth, even fields of light.
Drawing on the overlapping eigth- and four-facet prisms, as well as the versatile gobo package of the Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures, Romero created an array of captivating looks that reflected the different transcendent moods conveyed by his client’s music. The Maverick MK2 Spot units contributed exciting aerial effects and specials to the show, while the Maverick MK3 Washes bathed the stage in captivating colours.
“With the Chauvet Professional Maverick fixtures, the pixels were fundamental during the design,” said Romero. “I used them in extended mode to take advantage of their flexibility, and because of the precision they offer with their pixel effects and chases.”
At the Ciudad Juárez venue, Romero faced the challenge of working a room with a 15-metre high ceiling. This required fixtures with wide beam angles to cover the space. The Maverick and Rogue fixtures easily met this challenge, ensuring that the entire area was endowed with even fields of light.
With the emotional scope and depth of his music, Carlos Rivera possesses an uncanny ability to move people. Thanks to the balanced, multi-faceted and deeply engaging light show created by this gifted designer in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, audiences had a beautiful visual accompaniment to savour on their journey.
11th July 2019
Xi’an Strawberry Festival Tastes Sweeter with Martin Audio W8LC
The event included multiple stages, many top Chinese acts and unique indie foreign acts over the two days. The festival included Chinese rock legends New Pants, well known R&B singer and producer Fang Datong, creative singer Wang Shi’an, Tizzy T & Man Shuk, the young generation’s leading female rapper Wan Nida, and avant-garde Japanese act Yahyel.
Modern Sky, the company behind the Strawberry Festival and a number of other large music festivals, has a long-term relationship with Beijing Pacific Budee and Martin Audio that dates back to 2012. Since then, the Strawberry Festival has been held over 75 times in 27 different cities and Martin Audio’s line arrays have always played a key role. In Xi’an, it was the classic W8LC that helped to unite the audience, and production deployed 24 W8LC elements a side, with 16 WS218X subs.
“Modern Sky have been big fans of Martin Audio for many years and regularly use it at their indoor and outdoor venues. For Budee, we are happy to supply them with all their needs and have worked well together,” stated Brandon Chemers, Budee’s strategic alliance manager.
The festival brought a new youth spirit to China’s old capital and started off the season on a rocking note.
11th July 2019
Papa Roach on Tour with GLP impression and JDC1 Strobes
Europe – As so often happens in the industry it was a coincidence that the paths of Papa Roach and lighting designer Mathias Kuhn should cross. "About two months ago a lighting man was looking for a few shows in Russia and a festival gig in Germany,“ recalls Mathias Kuhn. “Three months later it became Papa Roach’s European tour, while another colleague took care of the gigs in the USA.”
For Mathias the band made their decision in his favour after a festival tour of Europe last year. “It just feels good when the lighting is turned on,” said front man and band leader Jacoby Shaddix, speaking for himself and his band mates. “It’s a lot of fun for me too,” retorted Mathias. “Performing live, this band is simply full of energy, and meanwhile I‘ve practically become a member of the family.”
Currently Kuhn and Papa Roach are more or less constantly on the move. After a support tour with Shinedown in the USA, playing mainly arenas, in the Spring they embarked on a UK tour, with shows in front of audiences of up to 4,000 people.
Most recently, prior to the festival season, Papa Roach has been touring Russia and the old Eastern bloc, where up to 6,000 flock into the venues night after night. “It’s never boring,” says Kuhn, who has faced challenges in virtually every location. “In the UK for instance, the doors are too low and you have to think twice about how to get the set on stage.“ And since Kuhn was solely responsible for the lighting, only resorting to helpers and crew in the festival season, this was crucial. “In such situations you learn to appreciate fixtures that are compact, flexible and yet still powerful,” he continues. These characteristics he finds again and again in GLP’s portfolio. “When you are working in the lighting industry, somehow GLP is always on the radar. The impression X4 is the perfect example of what I needed, as they are light, compact, super bright and have great colours.”
Kuhn often develops his design ideas in close cooperation with the band and creative director, Darren Craig. “Tobin Esperance, bassist with the band, along with Darren and I sit together and throw wild ideas around. Later I’ll start working on it and try to transfer all this input into a tour- and budget-friendly format,” says Kuhn, describing the journey from the idea stage to the finished design. “Last year was a ‘Wall of Light’ theme, and the JDC1’s functioned like clockwork. The pixel mode produces incredible effects, and we enjoyed the full benefit.
Finally, with the band’s new record and new tour we also wanted a new look which should be more compact, more intimate,” the designer continues. “Immediately the impression X4 Bars came to mind, which we originally wanted to hang in triangular arrangements in the stage background. But that would have been too time-consuming and so we built five dollies instead on which the 36 impression X4 Bars, and also a lot of JDC1 strobes were installed. Arranged accordingly on the stage, the triangles have again been and in general this version is much more flexible than the original idea, with the fixed triangles,” he says with satisfaction.
“The impression X4 Bars are wonderfully flexible. I use them as washlights, as razor-sharp blades that cut through the room or in pixel mode as a beamlight. On top of that there are the 18 JDC1, which I use equally as a strobe as well as a washlight, because the output and the colours of this hybrid are just great.” The flexible structure with the dollies provides another advantage for the designer. “We also gain so much space and depth in small venues because we can easily work in several levels in a row.”
Finally, some impression X4 XL are also used on the sides of the stage. “The band does not like front lights so much as they don’t want to be blinded. But somehow I have to keep them in the spotlight and this works perfectly with the eight side-mounted X4 XL,” says a delighted Mathias Kuhn, who is at FOH every night, piloting the show from a ChamSys MQ80.
Of course, the band is more than satisfied with this set-up. “At the rehearsals in London there were big ‘oohs’ and aahs’,” he smiles. “After that everyone started playing with the looks and loved being able to pierce the beams or cut the blades. Everyone found the effects just really cool,” says the designer.
This summer will see the band playing seven festivals. In Germany for instance they played at Hurricane in Scheeßel and Southside in Neuhausen op Eck, while in Switzerland and Austria Papa Rocha have already played Greenfield in Interlaken and Nova Rock in Nickelsdorf respectively.
10th July 2019
Martin by Harman goes Atomic with The Shop Ibiza at IMS Finale
Ibiza - The Dalt Vila show which brings the curtain down on the International Music Summit (IMS) Ibiza is a flagship spectacular, which for a number of years has also signalled the official start of summer on the White Isle. The closing event features the best and most well-known DJs on the planet and takes place within the walls of a 2500 year old former fortress, now a protected UNESCO world heritage site, which provides a jaw-dropping location for those lucky enough to attend.
The Shop Ibiza, has been a trusted supplier to IMS since its first edition in 2007, providing an ever-increasing inventory of production support as the scale and scope of the event has grown. With complete production responsibility for proceedings at Dalt Vila and an annual brief to surpass what has gone before, this year The Shop reached out to Martin by Harman to provide a full lighting solution for the seven-hour extravaganza.
Martin has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with The Shop that stretches back many years. In 2011, The Shop was instrumental in supporting the highly successful launch of Martin’s RUSH range of club lighting and since then, the two companies have collaborated on numerous projects. When the first discussions took place about Dalt Vila 2019, both parties felt that the participation of a top lighting designer was a pre-requisite to delivering the kind of show they had in mind and engaged highly skilled and vastly experienced LD, Nick Jevons, to take the hot seat. Nick has worked on many creative projects with both Martin and The Shop and was regarded by both to be the perfect choice for such a prestigious event.
Martin supplied a full rig, including MAC Quantum, Viper and Aura products and gave a major live-show debut to its new, recently launched Atomic Strobe Dot. The light show was hailed by the organisers of IMS as the best in the 11 years it has presented the Dalt Vila finale. Martin’s Spanish distributor, SeeSound, supplied logistical and technical support on site to help ensure that things ran smoothly. From The Shop’s perspective, Dalt Vila involved a challenging five-day build. Access to the fortress is restricted to narrow lanes, requiring that all equipment be cross-loaded onto small vehicles, whilst the heritage designation of the site demanded extreme sensitivity. The Shop installed a brand new Prolyte ground support system and its team worked tirelessly in the face of initial adverse weather conditions to keep everything on schedule.
Mike Walker, senior sales director at Martin by Harman reflects on a very successful venture: “Ibiza has a long reach into the wider live entertainment industry and its influence cannot be underestimated, so to have Martin Lighting associated with IMS is really important for our brand. Showcasing our products at the leading edge of the electronic music sector puts us front and centre with clubs, festivals, artists and promoters as well as the wider industry audience.
“The industry is constantly growing and changing and we need to be close to what’s happening in order to keep pace, remain relevant and provide the innovative products that help creatives to deliver bigger and better shows. Dalt Vila at IMS was a testament to exactly that and to see our lights amplifying the energy and music from the DJs on stage, with the crowd going crazy, was what it’s all about.
“It’s always a pleasure working with The Shop, Simeon and Jesse are very good at what they do and always deliver, whatever the circumstances or difficulties. The show was at some risk due to some unseasonal weather but the team dealt with the situation in a calm and professional way and were rewarded by the rain stopping shortly after the show began.”
Simeon Friend, managing director of The Shop Ibiza gives an upbeat summary: “The show was, without doubt, one of the best Dalt Vila events we’ve ever been involved in staging. The support from Martin was exemplary and Nick Jevons created a truly stunning spectacle. There were plenty of big names on the stage but Martin’s awesome new Atomic Strobe Dot has to be mentioned for its own stellar performance! Our team, as always, stayed cool under pressure, assisted on this occasion by some pretty heavy rain, and dealt efficiently with the elements until the skies cleared. IMS couldn’t have been happier and the reaction of the crowd said it all!”
9th July 2019
EM Acoustics Raises the Roof with Fiddler in London’s West End
UK – Following a completely sold-old run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Trevor Nunn’s exuberant revival of the classic Broadway musical, Fiddler on the Roof, has taken up residence in the West End at London’s Playhouse Theatre to give theatregoers another chance to experience this magnificent production. Renowned sound designer, Gregory Clarke was approached by Nunn to design both productions. Clarke chose to use EM Acoustics equipment throughout, based on a main HALO-C line array system supplemented by EM Acoustics’ ubiquitous EMS Series for the wider vocal and orchestra systems.
Clarke explains that the design brief for this highly acclaimed version of Fiddler was to create an immersive experience for the audience: “A great deal of work was done to modify the auditorium in order to transform it from a familiar West End venue into a plausible Russian village. It looks and feels wonderful but inevitably loudspeaker positions were severely limited. HALO-C was instrumental in mitigating this and the sheer headroom in the smaller EMS Series boxes meant that even where space was almost impossibly tight, audio delivery was not compromised.”
The main proscenium arrays comprise L/R hangs of five cabinets each and a centre array of ten for a total of 20 HALO-C elements. “I specified HALO-C because I simply adore the way it sounds,” declares Clarke. “In fact, it is fair to say I fell in love the first time I heard it, not least because finally I knew I would be able to use a line array with full confidence that the audio performance had not been compromised. The AMT high frequency drivers were a revelation and a genuine game changer. I had already used the system on UK and Broadway shows and so was familiar with its capabilities in a wide variety of contexts.”
While there are many today who maintain that a line array is not an ideal solution for proscenium systems, Clarke is entirely comfortable with his choice. “There are some entirely valid arguments against line array on theatre prosceniums. Of course, the validity of those arguments depends largely on which line arrays are used. The HALO-C system behaves and sounds like a bent point source but delivers prodigious energy and excitement across an extended vertical plane that point sources simply cannot. It’s also true to say that there is no point source box on the face of the planet that sounds the same as a slab of Cs.”
Clarke has supplemented the main arrays with a panoply of EMS Series cabinets to ensure smooth and even coverage across every seat in the theatre. “Consistency in system voicing is critical to me as a designer and the entire EMS range has an almost supernatural uniformity of personality. Naturally, the larger boxes have more in the tank than the smaller ones but the DNA is very clearly the same. The wider vocal and orchestral system consists of EMS-81s, 129s, 61s, 51s, and 41s and 112 subs. Of the smaller boxes, I continue to be staggered by the sheer ability of the 51s and 61s in vocal systems, and the 41s are a very welcome addition to the stable. I used EM Acoustics’ DQ10 and DQ20 amplifiers which sound amazing, so it it really is a full EM system from top to bottom.”
Tom Aspley is head of sound at the Playhouse Theatre, and he is very pleased with the results, particularly as EM Acoustics was a new discovery for him. “This is the first time I’ve used EM Acoustics speakers on a show and it’s always a welcome opportunity to try out different equipment,” he says. “I like the small speakers such as the EMS-51s and 61s which we use for delays and fills; they perform just as well as a similar speaker from some of the bigger manufacturers.”
“The show is very natural sounding, and although the dialogue is amplified subtly and the intimate songs retain this intimate feeling by restraint in volume, there are moments where the show gets loud. Greg’s EM Acoustics sound design handles this large dynamic range of the show perfectly which gives the loud moments even more impact.”
9th July 2019
CPL Enjoys the Arcadia Pangea Vibes at Glastonbury
UK – While 200,000 festival goers enjoyed glorious weather, sizzling temperatures and another stellar line-up of music and art at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, the buzzword on everyone’s lips was ‘Pangea’.
“A primordial world of infinite possibility” promised the latest immersive AV, lighting, sonic and pyro fuelled adventure created by Arcadia Spectacular under the artistic direction of Pip Rush and Bert Cole, and the spectacle produced around the magnificent 50 metre crane structure towering above the Arcadia area didn’t disappoint!
Technical production specialist CPL was delighted to continue its working relationship with Arcadia by supplying six Barco UDX-4K32 projectors with fibre optic signal and control infrastructure for 360-degree projections that were integral to the show based around the magnificent 140 tonne centrepiece of Pangea.
Arcadia celebrated its tenth year at Glastonbury, having previously implanted their giant 50 tonne spider stage in the hearts and minds of fans for the best part of a decade in an ongoing quest to offer a totally different festival going experience. Pangea is the next stage of that journey.
Arcadia’s structures are built entirely in scrapped and repurposed materials. The crane, a graceful artefact of industrial architecture, was transplanted from Avonmouth Docks in Bristol, just 30 miles down the road, sourced after Pip, Bertie and the team scoured scrapyards worldwide for suitable materials.
Constructed in Somerset, it had resided and worked at Avonmouth since its installation in 1975, more recently rendered obsolete by larger capacity lifting kit. The ley lines of Worthy Farm will be its new home for at least the next four years.
Below the crane control room which moves the jib, a reconditioned radar dome has been added to the massive steel legs of the structure, and the DJ booth is below that, about 10ft above crowd level.
The projectors were positioned on six 10-metre high purpose-built towers located 40 metres away from the radar dome in weatherised hides.
All the video content for the Pangea shows was created by Joe Crossley from digital art collective Astral Projekt alongside Heckler, and programmed into Arcadia’s own AI media server by Ciaran Abrams.
CPL also supplied an array of its 1.2 metre Roe pixel Strips for internally lighting the DJ booth, and dispatched crew members Mike Radford, Robin Emery and Anthony Condon for the weekend to ensure that everything ran smoothly and to enjoy the vibrancy and colour of the largest greenfield festival in the world. On site, they worked closely with Arcadia’s production manager Dorian Cameron-Marlow.
CPL’s Dickie Burrow commented: “It was fantastic working on this new Arcadia project. We all loved the spider and this next phase is another great testament to their imagination, craziness and huge inspiration. The ideas are always awesomely ambitious but totally cool, and it was amazing to be part of this show and another great Glastonbury!”
photos: Lukonic Photography
9th July 2019
Rock in the Budapest Park with Vad Fruttik
Hungary – Hungarian alt-rock band Vad Fruttik (Wild Fruits) headlined a special concert to celebrate the eighth season opening of Budapest Park, one of the largest outdoor venues in Europe.
Lighting designer Peter Pálocska from rental company Lajter Light (also based in the Hungarian capital) designed a production lighting scheme to ensure the band and their 8,500 fans rocking up for the show enjoyed a memorable night out.
Part of his very distinctive luminescent styling for this show was a back wall of 72 Robe Spiider LED wash beam fixtures, which added drama and excitement to the visual picture and looked totally cool!
Peter has worked for the band for eight years after initially introducing himself after a show he’d attended because he was into their music. Having the audacity to introduce himself as their “future lighting designer” which they found hilarious at the time, it proved to be a good prediction and the start of a fabulous friendship which then turned into a professional working relationship, as his wish to design their lights came true!
Peter has also lit many other concerts in Budapest Park, which is a very special venue; comprising a 24m width by 12m deep stage, also with 12 metres of headroom, and a landmark gig which any Hungarian band is extremely proud to play. Each show he designs there he ensures is unique, different and imaginatively ambitious.
Vad Fruttik trusted him to produce something awesome for this show, utilising a combination of the house lighting fixtures and gave him a budget for specials which were the grid of Spiiders, a recent purchase by Lajter Light from Robe’s Hungarian distributors AVL Trade.
Rigging in the venue was the biggest challenge, and, to accommodate his Spiider wall, a combination of flown and ground-based trusses were installed to support the gird.
Spiiders were chosen because he really likes the fixtures as well as for their spectacular colours, amazing central LED ‘flower’ and other effects. On the practical side, it was because they are light in weight and quick and easy to handle and rig.
He ran them in standard mode for the show which gave more than enough functionality on this occasion.
With the back wall he could create high impact silhouettes. “Spiiders were the only fixtures capable of giving me the precise looks and the right energy for the set,” he stated.
With no on stage video elements, all the emphasis was on lighting for visual effects and the Spiiders effectively created a large-scale low-resolution pixel surface upstage that was completely different in texture and appearance. Not having any conventional video onstage was a refreshing change and also helped focus everyone’s concentration on the band.
Peter visualised the light show utilising MA3D and ran it on a grandMA2 full size on the night.
He most enjoyed the incredible reactions and feedback from the fans and audience, and the first beer after the show!
Lajter Light was founded in 1993 as a family run business and in the early years specialised in lighting fashion shows and music concerts. Peter has been working with them since 1996.
They are one of a growing number of rental companies in Hungary investing in Robe products thanks to the hard work of AVL Trade.
photos: Marton Nagy
9th July 2019
Ayrton Ghibli shines again for Las Palmas Carnival spectacular
Canary Islands – The Canary Islands boasts one of the most spectacular and outstanding annual carnivals in the world, where the streets explode with colourful parades, outdoor parties and music events on every island. This year was no exception with around 600,000 people coming to enjoy the exuberant display of colour and light. One major highlight was “Una noche en Río”, a show directed by Israel Reyes with set designed by Carlos Santos, and lighting design and technical direction by Jonay Díaz, partner of RGB Canarias S.Coop. Díaz’s lighting for this glorious show, which ran for 21 performances, was bolstered by 40 Ayrton Ghibli LED moving heads, supplied by GAM Eventos.
The Carnival has gained a global audience and Díaz is very aware of how the eye-catching event transcends the borders of Spain: “The Drag Queen Gala is seen everywhere in the world with spectacular audience shares,” he says. “For this reason, our choice of lighting equipment must be done carefully.”
Díaz decided to rely heavily on LED technology for his design, and chose to use the versatile Ghibli as both back and front lighting. "I have deeply researched the products offered by the market in 2019 to light a show like this and it is indisputable that LED currently outperforms conventional equipment," assures the show’s lighting designer and technical director.
Ayrton’s Ghibli has many advantages in addition to reduced energy consumption and greater creative possibilities. "The projection of gobos is much more homogeneous,” he continues, “they offer unprecedented qualities in colour reproduction, and have a better image quality, especially for TV, by almost completely eliminating annoying hotspots.”
Ayrton’s quality and reliability were also deciding factors when choosing fixtures for a show of such a magnitude as “Una noche en Río”. "As a designer I look for fixtures that are very versatile and as compact as possible since we do not always have a lot of space in the scenery,” says Díaz. “As an operator and programmer, I look for fixtures that are 100% reliable. I want everything to be seen throughout the show as it appeared when I programmed it.”
In the midst of the technological revolution that the lighting sector is experiencing, some brands are beginning to make a difference, and Díaz is convinced from his professional experience that Ayrton is going to have a lot to say in this whole process.
“I could count on the 40 Ayrton Ghibli we had in our rig,” he says, emphasising the confidence he feels working with equipment of Ayrton’s quality. “They offered the greatest versatility and the best light output. We used 30 from the back of the stage and ten at the front. They are the best spotlights I've ever used and I think we're going to see them a lot in all the big events.”
Ayrton’s official distributor in Spain is Stonex, a national benchmark in professional lighting, stage engineering and emergency lighting, with over 39 years of experience offering comprehensive solutions for the show, entertainment and architectural sectors.
photos: Tony Hernández
9th July 2019
Bandit Lights Peter Frampton’s Farewell Tour
USA – Bandit Lites is honoured to be providing the lighting for the Peter Frampton Finale, The Farewell Tour presented by SiriusXM, a nearly 50-date run this summer and fall produced by Live Nation. The guitar legend has announced he will retire from regular vigorous touring at the end of this year due to his diagnosis of Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), and with a career spanning over more than half a century, Frampton has a massive body of work to draw from for his legion of fans.
“Peter Frampton helped shape the sound of the 70s and it is an incredible honour to be a part of this historic farewell tour,” said Bandit Lites vice president Mike Golden.
This tour reunited lighting designer Chris Lisle and Frampton, who had worked together seven years ago.
“To be a part of this final tour of his career was truly an honour,” said Lisle. “He is such a great person both on and off stage that we all wanted to work together to give him everything that he wanted show wise.
Bandit Lites provided Claypaky Mythos, VL 3500 Spots, GLP X4, Elation SixPar 100, Claypaky B-EYE K20, Claypaky Sharpys, Chromas Q Color Force 72, 4 Lites and a dozen Circa Scoops LED fixtures.
By playing with video screen sizes and truss configurations, Lisle designed a rig that would evoke a classic rock look while still centring around a centre LED screen, and the wide variety of fixtures afforded lighting director Jared Rarick the opportunity to craft a dynamic show.
The GLP X4 fixtures supply a general stage and the 3500 Spots are used as band key light/specials. To create old school ACL beam looks, Lisle used Sharpys. The ColorForce 72s uplight the backdrop while the Mythos provided back light, colours and gobos.
“We really enjoyed playing with the Circa Scoops,” said Lisle, “they provided some of the old school look I was going for, along with some modern technology fun.”
“Chris put together a beautiful show,” added Golden. “Earl Neal makes the daily operation seamless and we have the pleasure of working with lighting director Jared Rarick who brings a refreshing level of enthusiasm.”
“Mike Golden, Matt King, and the whole Bandit team were great from start to finish,” said Lisle. “The Bandit crew out there is doing a fantastic job as well. A super huge thanks to Earl Neal (PM), Donnie Lewis (TM), Lisa Jenkins (manager), and Jared Rarick (programmer and LD) for being so great to work with.”
9th July 2019
RG Jones Deploys Martin Audio Across Four Major Stages of Glastonbury
UK – RG Jones Sound Engineering returned to Worthy Farm following its fallow year to deploy Martin Audio systems across four major stages of the Glastonbury Festival. While Martin Audio’s premiere sound system, MLA, once again graced the Pyramid main stage as well as West Holts and the Genosys stage of Block9, Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision Longbow (WPL) made its festival debut on the stunning new IICON stage featuring an immersive 6.1 channel surround sound system designed by Simon Honywill.
The Pyramid stage bustled with electrifying performances throughout the three-day festival with Stormzy delivering an impassioned and historic headline set on the Friday, followed up by a barnstorming, hit filled, performance by The Killers on the Saturday and rounded off with a nostalgic tour de force by The Cure to close out Sunday night. In-between, the acts were their usual eclectic self with everyone from Sheryl Crow to Liam Gallagher, Janet Jackson to Bastille, as well as an emotional return for Kylie in the ‘legend’ Sunday afternoon slot.
The system deployed on the Pyramid Stage was impressive in every respect, designed to maximise SPL levels and even coverage for the 150,000 strong audience while respecting off site limits. A total of 72 MLA comprised the four main hangs with a further four MLA Compact arrays for infill flown from the proscenium arch. Eight delay positions in an inner and out ring consisted of MLA and MLA Compact arrays to optimise coverage across the expansive field. A massive broadside cardioid array of 38 MLX subwoofers stretched across the entire width of the stage to provide sub-bass support and control to the entire system.
Despite the glorious sunshine that bathed the festival this year, the site is susceptible to windy conditions and this year was no different with the wind changing from all points of the compass. But again this was something the PA system was able to confine with ease.
Davy Ogilvy, FOH engineer for Tom Odell, said: “I thought it was great, I expected the sound to get blown away in the wind but all the power stayed there, I’m very happy.” This was further endorsed by Mike Timm, FOH engineer for George Ezra: “I was really impressed with how it held up in the wind, it sounded great and the low end was good.” Yet more praise came from Paul David Hagar, FOH engineer for Miley Cyrus: “The rig sounded great, even with the wind. Everyone on the crew was so nice and professional but you guys always are. Had a great time mixing on the system.”
Martin Audio’s unique MLA technology enables very fine control of how each array covers its designated audience area. Acoustic cells housed within each cabinet are independently controlled by their own amplifier and DSP channel, a total of six in each MLA. This control allowed RG Jones to specify exactly what SPL and frequency response was required across the audience, with the intelligent software automatically controlling the array to produce that result. As Ben Milton, system tech, commented, “This amounted to just a 3dB drop off over the 200m-plus long audience area, with incredibly even frequency response.”
The results overall were stunning, and for headliners The Killers, in particular, it was a resounding triumph. Kenny Kaiser, FOH engineer for The Killers, had nothing but praise. “I’ve been touring with MLA for the last five years, but I’ve not had much experience with it outdoors and I was a little scared. But this system was phenomenal, everything was there, and MLA still has a very long lifespan in my opinion.”
Meanwhile, West Holts enjoyed some equally stellar performances from the likes of Lizzo, Janelle Monae, Jorja Smith, Wu Tang Clan and Jeff Goldblum, and thanks to an upgraded audio deployment those performances connected perfectly to the audience. This year, West Holts had 14 MLA per side, an out hang on house left of six MLA Compact and a house right outfill of eight MLA Compact which helped to extend coverage out to the Pathway to extend arena space. Twenty-one MLX subwoofers deployed in a cardioid pattern kept noise on stage to a minimum but chest pumping energy to the audience. Two hangs of 16 MLA Compact delays were positioned 95 metres from the stage and extended coverage for another 75 metres before tapering off sharply using Martin Audio’s unique Hard Avoid feature to prevent sound spilling into market stalls. As system technician, Jack Bowcher, commented: “This was a massive improvement from two years ago, with better quality audio through the field and better containment as well.
This audio quality was further endorsed by Andrew Lorenzo, FOH engineer for Hollie Cook. “MLA sounded really crisp to me, I didn’t do anything to the graphic, it’s been really well tuned by RG Jones on site and I found it really full in both the bottom and high top end which is what I need for reggae. But it wasn’t harsh which is the other thing I noticed and really like. A thumbs-up from me.”
Over on Block9, a collection of EDM stages, MLA Compact was once again deployed on the Genosys stage, a massive, 70ft-high post-industrial piece of architecture draped with exotic plants and steaming tubes, at the centre of which was a DJ booth. Sean Hatton, system technician, described the set up: “We’ve got 10 MLA Compact aside with six DSX subs either side of stage. Some of the issues of the site this year has been massive changes in temperature, from searing heat in the day to then very cold at night, but the snapshots that are easily uploaded in an instant without artefacts has meant we have been able to keep the coverage patterns we need. It’s been great.”
The real highlight of Block9 this year, however, was the breath-taking new IICONIC stage featuring a huge human head wrapped in a VR headset evoking the pervasive nature of technology on the human spirit.
Described by Block9 co-founder Gideon Berger as: "A sinister monument to the terrifying realities of this digital, post-truth age that we find ourselves in," IICON is a mammoth 65ft sculpture of a head "anonymised by a giant block that contains an LED wall entranced by the image of itself, and by the screens". The visual spectacular was matched by an audio spectacular with Martin Audio’s WPL making its festival debut in a stunning immersive surround sound system designed by RG’s Simon Honywill, consultant sound engineer for the festival. WPL is Martin Audio’s new large format optimised passive line array from the bestselling Wavefront Precision series. WPL offers an adaptable approach to optimisation of line arrays through scalaeble resolution where the user decides upon the number of enclosures with dedicated amplifier channels that are required for the coverage, consistency and control of the space.
“I thought that rather than just having this incredible structure and then just straight forward left right standard deployment, let’s go a bit crazy and do it in surround sound,” said Honywill. “So we had six hangs of ten WPL all pointing inwards with optimisation of the sound fields to maximise the experience through the space for a 15,000 crowd. A single 23-metre long SHX218 sub array in a broadside cardioid pattern provided the thumping bass, but also control too. Each night there was a specially-commissioned presentation where the stage structure is projection mapped combined with 6.1 surround audio which worked highly effectively. Then for the DJ sets we used a Trinnov Altitude 32 system to effectively up mix the stereo output to the 6.1 surround system and the results of that, were frankly outstanding.”
This was endorsed by Gideon Berger. “This was an experimental design brief but we’ve been really helped by Martin Audio, RG and Simon who gave us demo suites to mix in, engineers on the ground to support, and the whole thing has been a pleasure to work with them.”
Summing up, John Carroll, managing director of RG Jones Sound Engineering, said: “It’s an honour and privilege for RG Jones to once again be at the forefront of the Glastonbury Festival. From headliners to all-night dance music this was a triumphant year and we are so pleased with the feedback from audiences, engineers and organisers to what we were able to deliver. My thanks also to Martin Audio who provided such unwavering support in the planning and execution this year and we can’t wait for next year and the 50th Anniversary of Glastonbury Festival.”
In closing, Dom Harter, managing director of Martin Audio added: “What sets Martin Audio apart is its signature sound that can faithfully reinforce the eclectic artists and musical genres that Glastonbury Festival offers. Combine this with our unique technology that optimises sound coverage, consistency and control and we are able to unite massive audiences while respecting other stages and surrounding local residents. We are grateful to RG Jones for their continued faith and faultless deployment of our systems.”
9th July 2019
Martin Audio Deployed on John Peel stage, The Park and Left Field at Glastonbury
UK – Beyond the four Glastonbury Festival stages on which RG Jones Engineering fielded Martin Audio systems, there was also a strong Martin Audio PA presence on the John Peel stage, The Park and Left Field, courtesy of SWG Events (SWG), which has supplied numerous stages with sound and lighting infrastructure since 1995
For the John Peel stage SWG again sub-contracted elements of the audio supply to Martin Audio MLA partner, Stage Audio Services (SAS). The latter’s MD, Kevin Mobberley confirmed that having fielded MLA Compact previously they upgraded to the full-size MLA this time around for enhanced control, coverage and consistency.
With design assistance from Simon Honywill, the main PA hangs comprised 20 MLA cabinets (ten elements flown each side) with 12 MLX subwoofers providing LF extension. Four of the popular DD12’s, positioned on the stage, focused the sound on the nearfield while further outfills were provided by six MLA Compact.
SWG project manager Mark Bott explained that being a televised stage, concessions had to be made to the BBC TV crew with regard to the sub positions, necessitating the MLXs to be divided into two stacks instead of being presented as a cardioid array across the front, a recommendation made by Honywill.
“It’s really important the barrier line is as close to the stage as it can be to ensure a connection between the audience and the artist remains. It’s this connection that the BBC is trying to capture and its as important for those inside the tent,” said Bott “Using all of the tools MLA offers ensures we get even venue coverage”
The reason for choosing MLA had to do with containment, to avoid encroaching onto the main Pyramid stage, he said. “One of the considerations for MLA is that it meets the remit for noise control and we can deliver sufficient power inside the tent without breaching off site constraints. The system also has to be rider compliant and this is a system that people want to mix on.”
This large circus-like tent with a capacity of around 7,000 saw standout sets from the likes of Tom Walker, Freya Ridings, Bugzy Malone, Rosalia, Gerry Cinnamon, Interpol, Sean Paul as well as Mike Skinner’s The Streets.
Stated SAS MD Kevin Mobberley afterwards: “The reports we had back from visiting sound engineers was that everyone loved working with MLA.”
Sitting high on the hill above Arcadia’s Pangea looking down towards the Tor, The Park, conceived by top TV and event production designer Misty Buckley, is a treasure trove of welcoming, boundary-challenging venues and bustling bars, with a main stage hosting everything from breaking pop and indie acts to RnB and electronica, watched over by its very own rainbow-clad Ribbon Tower. What makes The Park unique is that it is curated by Emily Eavis each year.
SWG has provided PA for The Park every year since its inception 11 years ago and having had a year off in 2018, The Park team has come back with many changes, new creations and locations. According to Mark Bott, owing to the number of surprise ‘TBA’ acts that appear unannounced on the stage – this year including the Foals and Vampire Weekend – audience capacities can range “from anything between 200-20,000, but we aim for between 4,000-6,000.”
This year, The Park stage featured a stellar line up, which also included the currently hot IDLES, who brought their huge fan base, Hot Chip, Cat Power, the Good, the Bad & the Queen, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real emboldened the audience to record levels.
Mark Bott’s team, including Ian Williams, who looked after FOH and system design supported by Tim Mitchell, deployed SWG’s Martin Audio W8LC system, flying 12 elements a side, with two W8LCD Downfill boxes on each hang. These were reinforced with 16 WS218X subs similarly left/right stacked to comply with BBC TV requirements. Martin Audio Blackline X8s were used as lip-fills.
Bott said he had no misgivings about deploying Martin Audio’s classic W8LC. “Although it is an older system, like many older systems it is still very well received and well recognised. We received a lot of positive comments about The Park. There were no issues with any of the visiting sound engineers and [the W8LC] continues to impress.”
Because of the political nature of Left Field, speech intelligibility is of paramount importance “and that’s why we use W8LM as it handles speech perfectly,” continues SWG’s project manager.
For headliners, KT Tunstall, Sam Fender and ever-present host Billy Bragg, they provided 16 W8LM (eight cabinets a side) with six WS218X subs (three a side) and Blackline X8 infill.
Summarising the weekend overall, Mark Bott said: “SWG Events has had a really good year. Everything went smoothly and we had a lot of positive comments about the PAs. In fact we never have any issues with rider delivery and performance with any of the systems we deploy from Martin Audio.”
In closing, Dom Harter, managing director of Martin Audio added: “It’s such a pleasure to see the pervasive nature of Martin Audio at this prestigious festival and I’m grateful to SWG Events and Stage Audio Services for delivering our signature sound, coverage, consistency and control for these three important stages.”
9th July 2019
John & Jane Set the Robe Style
Belgium – John & Jane is a premium event design and production company based in Ruiselede in the western Flanders region of Belgium. Founded in 2009, it is run by Nico Laniere and Katrien Vermeire (pictured) who provide the very best boutique live event and brand related experiences, both large and small, from concept to completion.
In addition to the healthy crop of ongoing corporate events and brand activation, John & Jane also supplies technical production to a selection of more alternative and unique summer festivals, and this work prompted the most recent purchases of 36 Robe MegaPointes, 48 LEDBeam 150s and then another 22 MegaPointes.
The operation includes a technical production and scenic company, Delta Rent, which works alongside and independent from John & Jane as required. They have been a steady investor in Robe moving lights right from the start, in tune with their aspirations of supplying the very best and most innovative technology and services for their clients.
A first impression of the John & Jane credo can be gleaned from the immaculately crafted ampersand logo which connects the two interlocking Js. It is a good indicator of the flair, style, quality and detail of the service that the company strives to deliver to its varied client base, both across Benelux and internationally.
All technical disciplines are offered: lighting, sound and video, rigging, set staging and decor as well as project management and design.
Nico has always loved lights and lighting and this was one of his many motivations for founding the company a decade ago, for the way lighting can change, enhance and make an environment and get people engaged.
He was initially drawn to Robe when the LEDWash series was launched in 2010. While it wasn’t the first LED wash lighting on the market, this hugely successful product was substantially more advanced than any of the other ‘first generation’ LED wash options.
Nico liked the fixture as well as Robe’s ‘smaller, brighter, lighter’ philosophy which has been applied to their product development for at least a decade, long before it became a ‘bandwagon’ item.
He also commented that the service and support he enjoys from Robe’s Benelux distributor Controllux is “excellent”.
The new MegaPointes and LEDBeam 150s have been in use constantly since arriving.
This included a series of summer beach festivals for which they will be used again this year including WECANDANCE, a food and fashion extravaganza with different music across four stages on the beach at Zeebrugge. John & Jane provided the full production for all these stages.
“Robe is a premium brand, however I was happy to pay the price for the quality and reliability, and it’s a decision that has proved a smart investment over the years,” states Nico, adding that he means this for the creativity Robe brings to the equation and being in keeping with John & Jane’s specific brand image and commitment to excellence.
He adds that: “The fixtures are all very bright and versatile,” and that Robe is now a universally popular choice of moving lights with the LDs.
Apart from that, the low power consumption – another feature in which Robe has invested time and R&D for some years – has been another winner in as events are under pressure to be as carbon-conscious as possible.
The LEDBeam 150s are used for all sorts of applications including for lighting tables at gala dinners, a big task their crews can now do quicker, more effectively and with a lot less fuss using a mix of LEDBeams and LEDWashes.
The Pointes and MegaPointes are great for lighting stages for bands, DJs and other live entertainment.
Having seen Robe grow over time, Nico is very positive about how the brand has developed and its position as a market leader today.
8th July 2019
Chauvet Professional Enjoys High-Profile Glastonbury Festival
UK – From the Pyramid Stage, where Tim Routledge used the COLORado Solo Batten to accent a stirring performance by headliner Stormzy, to the magical Flying Bus Stage and Greenpeace Field, to the jam-packed Acoustic Stage, Chauvet Professional sprinkled the 36th edition of the Glastonbury Festival with vivid colours and dazzlingly bright light.
The company’s fixtures enlivened some of the festival’s biggest acts and most popular attractions. On the main Pyramid Stage, a massive collection of COLORado Solo Batten fixtures helped outline the architecture of the set and provided immersive colour washes from multiple directions.
At the Unfairgrounds, the GLX Productions team, led by managing director and lighting designer Glenn Gridley, used an extensive array of Maverick fixtures to create transformative moments. This was most notable on the Flying Bus Stage, where they conjured up an engaging and surreal effect with help from 12 Maverick MK Pyxis, 12 Maverick MK1 Spot and three Maverick MK1 Hybrid units. Positioning these fixtures inside and under the bus, they endowed it with a glowing other-worldly vibe.
Maverick fixtures also had a transformative effect on the festival’s Greenpeace Field, where the Bailes+Light team relied on the IP65-rated Maverick Storm 1 Wash to create an eco-friendly forest of light. Adding to the wondrous outdoor panorama were COLORado Solo Batten, ÉPIX Strip IP, COLORado Panel Q40, STRIKE 1 and STRIKE P38 fixtures, along with F4IP video panels.
Rob Sangwell and Simon Johnson of Fineline Lighting added a powerful punch to the Acoustic Stage for artists like The Mavericks and Keane with a festival rig that featured 16 Maverick MK3 Spot and 18 Maverick MK3 Wash fixtures. The quality of the color and the intense brightness of the Maverick fixtures made Fineline excited to include these lights as an essential part of their Glastonbury plans.
Apparently visiting LDs shared this enthusiasm. When Landon Bloss, lighting director for the Grammy-winning country band The Mavericks, first saw the Maverick MK3 Spot on the Acoustic Stage, his reaction was: “What on earth are those?” He says that he thought that the brilliantly bright fixtures “must be lamps” and never expected they were really LED units. But Glastonbury has a tradition of serving up great surprises, and on this stage that didn’t just happen for fans, but visiting LDs too.
8th July 2019
Proteus Helps Guinness Storehouse Celebrate 20 Millionth Customer
Ireland – A New Yorker visiting the Dublin St. James’s Gate Guinness brewery with her Irish fiancé helped celebrate a momentous milestone recently when she became the 20 millionth visitor to Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. The occasion was highlighted with an event that included an indoor concert for 500 guests along with an outdoor lighting spectacle in which Elation Proteus Hybrid weatherproof moving heads helped draw attention to the brewery.
Dublin-based lighting designer Conor Biddle was brought in by events and branding agency Archetype as creative director for the event, which took place on 25th April. “The brief was to have the whole city looking in one direction – toward the brewery – so I knew I needed a powerful beam,” stated LD Biddle, who adds he had seen the arc-source Proteus Hybrid used on the New Year’s Eve light show on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and was impressed with their performance and durability.
Biddle also handled creative direction on the project and tapped into an element of Guinness’ storied brand, the iconic Guinness harp. “We took the idea of the Guinness harp and created a light harp in the sky with beams from the Proteus Hybrid,” he says. “It was really attention-getting. We wanted to create a lot of social media talk with people wondering what the light beams were all about. The furthest away we had a report that the light beams could be seen was 70km so that was pretty impressive.”
Guinness Storehouse is part of the brewery itself and tells the tale of Ireland's famous beer, with tastings and a rooftop Gravity Bar with 360-degree views of Dublin. It was atop the bar that Biddle placed the Proteus to emulate the strings of the Guinness harp. “The main harp look was just the creative starting point,” Biddle says. “We also had three other locations around the Guinness site with banks of Proteus fanned out to create a 360-degree look. Each location was approximately 100 metres from each other and no matter where you were in the city you could see the beams in the sky.”
Entertainment technology provider Entedi Ltd, who began to distribute Elation Professional products earlier this year, suggested the Proteus Hybrid fixtures to Biddle. “Some other fixtures I looked at didn’t have the nice sharp beam I wanted but the Proteus gave the nice sharp beam all the way up to the top,” he says. “You could actually focus them on a cloud to a sharp gobo which was very impressive. The optics are great and the power and punch was outstanding. I don’t think there is anything that can match it.”
As this was Ireland, rain was perhaps inevitable yet the Proteus fixtures didn’t seem to miss a beat. “The fixtures had a lot to deal with, especially the night before the event when there were high winds and torrential rain. They definitely had a work out and we didn’t have a single problem,” Biddle concludes.
8th July 2019
Tons of fun with Biffy Clyro at Isle of Wight Festival
UK – “The thing with this band is they always put a lot into it.” So says LD Richard Larkum talking of Biffy Clyro’s sanguinary performance at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival. “They are very humble so when they were asked to top the bill on the last night, they really went for it.”
Even by the standards of Biffy Clyro, a band that sheds more sweat than the London Marathon, going for it is what they did. “The main feature of the show came from Misty Buckley.” It is true that Buckley has provided production design to this band for several years, but this show had its own unique set of challenges, as she explains.
"When a band are billed to headline a major festival and are not currently in their touring cycle then a design house like ours has to recognise there are sensible limits to what you can do to make the show special, unique, and true to the artist.” Typical of Buckley, she managed to square the circle between spectacle and sober budgeting: a magical balancing act between stage set, lighting and video.
“We chose to use building blocks of IBCs, and they proved ideal.” IBCs are those metal caged, approximately one metre cubed, palletised industrial containers for fluids. “Structurally interesting and relatively inexpensive to acquire, they are strong and flexible. They also provide an ideal surface for video projection and are a great diffusion box in which to place a light source. Both Neg Earth and Video Design saw immediately the potential we had imagined and worked very hard to maximise their impact."
Larkum described Buckley’s vision as: “A three dimensional backdrop, almost a cityscape of stacked IBCs; something that immediately had a big impact. In fact, lighting and video wise an even bigger impact, thanks to the shadow and texture they brought to the stage. I’d used them before years ago and knew I could cut a hole in the back to fit a lamp; in this instance we used JDCs from GLP. That took care of the first half of the set when we knew it would be pretty much daylight throughout. But shortly after 10pm we had glorious darkness. Richie Shipman, our veteran camera director, provided an excellent cut of the band which was then projected onto the IBCs.” Larkum controls video from his trusty Hog4 console, his familiarity with the band’s music providing a frenetic fusion of lighting and video interplay. “As Misty wanted, it completely transformed the look of the IOW mainstage.”
Not all was plain sailing, strong winds the night of the set-up at IOW forced the tallest elements of Buckley’s cityscape to be reduced in height by two cubes. “Thank goodness she’d anticipated that need for flexibility,” said Larkum. “However, although we set-up overnight as you do, it still meant the Video Design guys having to pull off projector realignment at 6am, already broad daylight. I don’t know how they did it, but when we fired up in the second half of the show it looked amazing. The depth and shadow of the IBCs brought a real change in the complexion of the show; between light and video it really gave us a lift. Negs, Video Design and Quantum for special effects, everyone really pulled together for this one and made it something special.”
photos: Mark Davies