This year the BBC’s 6 Music Festival landed in Bristol, with lighting for two stages at vibrant nightspot Motion - one of the main venues - supplied by locally based rental company Fineline to another stunning specification and design by the event’s LD Tim Routledge, whose current clients also include Take That and E.L.O.
Motion hosted two stages for the three days of exciting and eclectic live performances – headlined (in Motion) by Primal Scream, Suede and Foals, with action from the Main Stage broadcast live on 6 Music across the weekend, and highlights available to watch via the BBC’s red button and BBC iPlayer.
Motion’s second room, the Skate Park, featured some serious raw talent and rising stars like Yeasayer, Field Music, Beirut and The Invisible.
In keeping with the BBC’s desire to utilize local rental companies, Fineline was contacted by Tim Routledge to quote on the job, and once confirmed, he designed lighting for Motion’s Main Stage based on their stock. It’s the third year that Tim has designed lighting for the event and each year the idea is to create a distinctive and defining visual aesthetic.
"We were really excited to be involved in this high profile event" stated Fineline project manager Stuart England, "and very honoured to be contacted by someone of Tim's calibre and asked to work with him and the BBC. We really enjoyed the experience – the results looked fantastic!”
Fineline also happens to be the preferred lighting and visuals supplier for Motion, and so their regular crew are familiar with the venue – a charismatic former warehouse at the back of Bristol’s Templemeads Station - and its nuances.
A bespoke 30ft wide by 16 ft. deep ground support system was installed in the Main room. Due to the roof weight loading limitations, this was anchored to the ground via its back legs with the front points picked up by motors rigged directly to the industrial crane – dating back to its days as an active marble warehouse - that runs length ways down the building. The front truss was also flown directly off the crane.
The moving lights were all Robe, with 20 x Pointes, 18 X LED Beam 100s and 10 x LED Wash 600s, joined by 6 x Atomic strobes, 18 x Miltec LED PARS, 10 x Showtec active Sunstrips, 18 x ETC Source Fours with assorted lenses, 6 x 1.2K fresnels and 16 x 4 lite Moles for audience illumination.
Of these, eight of the Pointes, all the LED PARs, and the Sunstrips were on the floor.
The LED PARs were used to highlight assorted foliage set pieces decorating the stage – one of the event’s regular visual components. The Sunstrips were used more unusually as footlight strips along the front of the stage to introduce subtle key lighting for the low angle camera shots, a technique that was very effective.
To recreate the 6 Music Festival’s signature tungsten look, 12 x 50 meter runs of festoon were strung, canopy-style, above the audience ... Fitted with an impressive total of 1680 15W clear golf-ball festoon lamps.
Along with all the stage lighting, these were run from two grandMA2 light consoles programmed and operated by Tim’s design associate, Tom Young.
Tim Williams and Will Dale from Fineline looked after all the tech'ing, with James Harrington working as rigger on the in and the out, where his intimate knowledge of the venue – he ran the house lighting and visuals for many years - was invaluable, especially when maximising the roof weight capacity to ensure Tim was offered the highest production values to accommodate his design.
In the Skate Park area - a similar size to the Main room - the raw, grubby, urban feel of the surroundings added a resonance and a vibe for all audience and artists alike.
Lighting in here was designed by Stuart England, and the rig was spread over a front truss and four 8ft high vertical truss towers onstage.
Four 6-lamp bars of PARs provided the key lighting and 12 x 2-lite Moles on the front truss worked well for blasting the audience.
The moving lights comprised 12 x Chauvet Rogue R2 Beams and 12 x R2 Washes, combined with 14 x Miltec LED battens and four Atomics.
An Avolites Arena for control (with Quartz backup) was programmed and run by Fineline's James Box, with the multi-tasking James Harrington looking after dimmers.
Tim Routledge commented, “The easy route on this might be to speak with one of the bigger national rental companies that we use regularly, however I really enjoy reaching out of our comfort zone and working with local resources … and every year it's been great! This year was no exception. Turning to Fineline for one of the main stages, we were looked after really well and the result in this idiosyncratic site-specific venue was just perfect for the vibe of the festival, and the BBC were thrilled yet again.
“Stuart's team were keen, flexible and just cracked on with it! A result!"