Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (Glasto to regulars), arguably the world’s best known and highest profile festival presented another fantastically diverse melting pot of music, performance, entertainment, culture and fun from around the globe descending on the massive Worthy Farm site at Pilton in Somerset.
Bristol based lighting and visuals specialist Fineline Lighting renewed their excellent and fertile long term working relationship with the event – at least 24 years to date – and supplied lighting for the Acoustic Stage, Astrolabe Theate, Cabaret and Circus venues and also the WOW stage in the Silver Hays dance area featuring some of the best underground DJs.
Says MD Rob Sangwell, “We all love working on Glastonbury and imbibing the spirit of the festival, and are very proud of our history with the event. I have seen many changes over the years, all for the better. The excellent line-ups plus the clamour to perform and be part of the community makes it even more special”
The Acoustic Stage also yielded one of the most civilised and chilled backstage areas in a very convenient location right at the heart of the action!
Fineline has built up the décor element of this stage over the years and especially more recently to include lush red drapes, and masking around the stage and in the ceiling, which really enhances the theatricality of the space.
This year, the Fineline team designed and custom fabricated a special chandelier with 40 spiral filament lamps to complete these deco elements, which looked very cool.
With an impressive line-up of both established and breaking artists keen to show their talent in an acoustic environment, stage lighting was designed by Rob and Fineline site crew chief Stu England based on three trusses spanning the 40 x 22 ft. ground support system also installed, trimmed at a decent 9.5 meters.
This was rigged with 10 bars of PAR 64s and some ACLs, together with Martin MAC Quantum Spots on drop bars on the back and mid trusses. Quantum Wash moving lights on the mid truss were used to create the general stage washes, while MAC 101s on the back truss served as effective tab ‘warmers’, highlighting the sumptuous red drapage.
On the mid truss MAC Aura XBs and XB Plus’s provided the beam work and rear key lighting, supported by Robe LEDBeam 100s for effects.
The overall lighting reinforced the desired theatrical style ambience, although all genres of music were embraced over the weekend, from rock to blues, jazz to soul, folk to funk!
Avolites dimming and a Sapphire Touch control completed the lighting package, and joining Stu and Rob on the crew were Callum Ostell and Sam Kenyon. They also accommodated guest LDs and caught up with a lot of industry friends who passed through this popular venue.
Lighting in the Astrolabe theatre tent was co-ordinated by Hal Himsworth, resident LD for several years, with a great line-up of eclectic artists – from dance to physical theatre. With numerous specific requirements for various acts, the pace was relentless and virtually non-stop for 12 hours between performances and rehearsals.
A substantial amount of trussing was rigged in the roof to create a usable theatre grid and most of the base washes were created by static LED wash lights.
The rig incorporated all the performer specs, together with specials and extras as needed and featured about 80 fresnels, profiles, floods and PARs which were re-worked and often refocussed and re-gelled between acts – true theatrical style.
An Avo Pearl Expert with a Wing ran the lights, with Avolites dimming throughout.
Lighting designer James Loudon (Judge) is another Glasto regular who has weaved his magic in this space for close to 20 years. Another vibrant line up saw a host of aerial artists, pole, trapeze, hoop and silk acrobatics, balancing acts etc.
The idea was to make the venue almost in the round, so lighting had to fill 9 metres of headroom and a 3D space about 10 metres square.
The upstage truss was horizontally hinged at approx. 45 degrees along the sides to form an arc around the stage, supported from this truss, at the mid stage ends, and were vertical trusses for side lighting positions.
Additional lights were on the floor and rigged to the tent king poles and flown trusses suspended from the king poles and cupola. A mix of Robe 600E Spots and Chauvet Rogue R2 wash lights on the deck were combined with LED battens serving as knee kickers. These were joined by a good selection of generics – PARs, profiles and fresnels.
All the shows were rehearsed, pre-programmed and cue-stacked on the console – in another gruelling schedule - so everything triggered at the right times, with an Avo Sapphire Touch console and Avolites dimming.
James was joined by techs Charlie Denny and Johnny Westall.
Just across the field in the single king pole square shaped Cabaret tent, Fineline’s Wingnut designed lighting and was joined by Alex Shenton, Ben Desousa and Croat.
Fixtures were rigged on a 4 x 2 mere box truss built around the king pole to give FOH and audience positions, and on two trusses over the stage, with two vertical trusses on the downstage edge for booms.
Fixtures compromised about 60 PARs, 20 Source Four profiles for gobo projections plus fresnels. The moving lights were 10 x Chauvet Rogue R2 Beams and eight Rogue R2 washes.
Wingnut also created some really cool custom paper globe lanterns internally lit with special LED rods which were strung up throughout the space adding depth and a bit of visual scenery to the otherwise black void above the audience. These look set to become a regular Glasto feature! He also produced a bespoke mirror ball installation at the rear of the stage.
The Wow Stage lighting was designed by James “Chimpy” Harrington one of the creative mainstays of Motion, Bristol’s most cutting-edge clubbing experience.
He used a variety of kit including 10 x Chauvet R2 beams, six Robe LEDBeam 100s, eight 2-lites, Atomic strobes and Chauvet Nexus 7x7 panels, PARs and ACLs and also lit the exterior of HMS Wow with PARs and MBIs and ensured the funnel billowed with smoke curtesy of Gem Roadie smoker below!
Downtown Bristol was buzzing with great music and vibes at the weekend for the third‘Love Saves the Day’ Festival, a multi-stage event in Castle Park right in the heart of the city. Headliners included Annie Mac, SBTRKT, Jamie xx, Eats Everything and many more.
For the first year, lighting and visuals rental specialist Fineline – also based in Bristol - was asked to supply lighting equipment, LED screens / media server control, rigging and a visual production design for the Main Stage … which seriously upped its production values from 2013 in line with the profile of the festival which sold out its 12,000 capacity on both days.
Fineline’s MD Rob Sangwell commented, “We were delighted to be asked on-board by festival organisers, Team Love, as we are really committed to partnering on locally based shows and events. We presented two design options for the stage from which they chose the more expensive, which really underlines how much they value good presentation.
“Apart from that, there is an incredibly vibrant live music and event scene happening in Bristol right now, so it’s great to be part of that too”.
Presenting an integrated lighting and video package was right at the essence of the imaginative production design created by Fineline’s Wingnut which was customised to fit the stage - a compact 12 metre Super Nova Light from Serious- utilising virtually every centimetre of available space!
“The idea was to make an equally big impression for both audience and artists,” he explains.
He incorporated all the regular festival lighting requirements – like flexibility and ensuring that the design enhanced the stage in the daylight hours as well as after dark.
The visual design incorporated 20 panels of Lighthouse R7 LED screen which was configured as five columns - three flown upstage and two ground-staked downstage either side.
Apart from replaying funky and interesting video content, these were also used for dramatic full-on lighting effects like strobing.
An Avolites AI media server was used for all the visual control, set up and programmed by Fineline’s Stu England who also co-ordinated, formatted and ran all the guest content - some of which was submitted in advance, and some appeared literally minutes before the act was about to take to the stage – which kept him on his toes!
Four double truss pods were sub-hung from the stage superstructure to give the lighting positions. These were both raked and fanned to optimise the shape of the stage roof and maximise the available height.
An additional guest lighting truss was installed upstage but in front of the video truss holding the three LED columns, and sub-hung below the video truss was another lighting truss that could be moved in and out for the longer and more complex changeovers.
This truss effectively provided capacity for a floor specials package … but just not actually on the floor to save stage space!
Right at the back there was also a drapes truss, with another truss at the front for key lights, blinders and to help with cable management for the four double-width trusses.
The moving lights consisted of 12 x Robe Pointes, 12 x Robe LED Wash 600s, 6 x Robe 600E Spots, 10 x Martin Atomic strobes and 16 x blinders – a mix of 2, 4 and 8-cell, together with several bars of 4 and 6 PARs. The stage roof was basically rammed with lights!
Using the very versatile multi-purpose Robe Pointes vastly increased the options for everyone as well.
On the control side, Fineline supplied an Avolites Tiger Touch 2 and a Tiger Touch Pro with a Titan Mobile wing, and the AI server and media content was all triggered from the desks.
The Fineline crew were joined by apprentice Josh King and all worked extremely hard to get everything rigged, ready and programmed in the short get-in period.
Tom Paine from Team Love comments, “It was a great experience working with Fineline. They brought their vast experience to the table and did a really fantastic job with a great looking stage that helped us step everything up a few levels”.
The event was another great success bringing a bumper weekend of urban love to Bristol and establishing it firmly on the summer festival map!
Fineline Love Crew, Left to right Rob Sangwell, Stu England, Wingnut,Rachael Moule, Josh King
The Outlook Festival is staged over four days in the beautiful and slightly desolate environs of Fort Punta Christo just outside Pula, the main city on Croatia’s bustling Istrian coastline, known for its mild climate, smooth sea and unspoiled nature.
Outlook – this was the seventh edition - features the largest collection of dub step, bass music and Sound system Culture in Europe with an action-packed line up uniting some of the biggest names from these vibrant dance genres.
Each year the production values increase and become more demanding in line with the success of the event itself. This year, the 15,000 capacity Outlook saw over 400 international acts perform.
The main Harbour Stage was nestled into one of the Adriatic’s many scenic sea-side coves and could accommodate audiences of up to around 7000. The second stage was located in The Clearing, mid way across site which was accessed by a network of dirt tracks. (For the smaller capacity Dimensions Festival, The Clearing had been the main stage)
On the opposite side of the site to the Harbour was The Beach area, complete with the Beach Party stage directly on the waterfront which fired up every afternoon and ran until the main two stages and the Fort, with its seven live areas, kicked off at 8 p.m. each night. Farther along the waterfront from this was the camp site.
The late 19th century fort, Pula’s first line of defence during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, presented an eclectic collection of seven ‘pop-up’performance spaces all ensconced in and around the charismatic ruins of the extensive fort. These ranged from the 75 capacity Ballroom to the 1500 capacity Void Stage.
The most galvanising aspects of working at Fort Punta Christo were the unforgiving and difficult to negotiate topography and its own micro-climate. During the build and changeover, crews had to contend with 120 Km-an-hour winds, sudden and violent electrical storms and driving rains … as well as enjoying the late summer sunshine and warmth for which the region is renowned.
It’s also a gruelling project for all site staff and crew, with long and intense working hours, no days off or breaks between the two events and multiple music stages operating simultaneously across a large geographical area.
Treading A Fineline
It’s the third year that Fineline Lighting has been involved with supplying lighting and rigging for the Festival– and their first supplying all eight major performance stages plus all the Fort’s environmental and architectural components including trees, bushes, landscape and historical features.
Fineline’s MD Rob Sangwell this year took on an additional dual role as Production Manager for The Fort, and the company also supplied all the rigging, trussing and motors required for all areas and created lighting production designs for the eight stages.
Fineline’s crew of 10 were Chiefed by Stu England and also included Rob Watson, Nick Ayres, Wingnut, Will Dale,Sam Kenyon, Adam Morris, Johnny Westal & James Box.
Fineline asked LD Nic Ayres to design and operate lights on the main Harbour Stage, which included a live mix of reggae, dub and dance hall stars as well as a selection of DJs, so his objective was to create a fabulous, flexible and dynamic visual space, which he approached utilizing curves and spheres.
The roof structure was an 18 metre wide dome from Nüssli with plenty of capacity for flying, so several trusses were sub-hung, including a vertical circular truss with a screen stretched across the middle for projecting video & gobos, flanked by two circular sections either side and another vertically hung curved mid-truss immediately in front.
The front truss – horizontally flown - was also circular, and below this either side of stage were two curved towers, their bases on the deck. All of these structural elements brought depth to the stage design when viewed from any angle. The moving lights were nearly all Robe - 12 x Robe Spot 600Es and 12 x Wash 600Es, 12 x Pointe multi-purpose fixtures and 8 x LED Beam 100s, which were rigged all over the trussing framework, with an additional 8 Sharpies on the deck.
These were joined by 10 x 6-lamp PAR bars, eight Atomic strobes plus a splattering of single LED PARs used to tone the trusses and reveal the architecture, plus 8-lites and 2-lite blinders.
Control was an Avolites TigerTouch console and Avo dimming, and Ayres ran the stage with his Fineline LXChief, Rob Watson.
Fineline also provided all rigging and motors to fly the PA arrays.
Two straight trusses were installed underneath this Layher structure and rigged with 8 x Robe LED Wash 600s, 8 x Robe 600E Spots and four Pointes for the moving light compliment, joined by four 6-lamp bars, six Atomic strobes and eight 2-lites.
Another eight Robe Pointes were positioned on the floor and an additional package of 9 x Sharpies was available as a floor package for specific artists.
Control was more Avo dimmers and Will Dale and Adam Morris programmed and ran lights on a ChamSys MQ100 console with a SnakeSys R8 node.
The magnificent Fort building carved into the rock covers 10,000 square metres and comprises a rabbit warren of tunnels and underground rooms. Those utilized for the festival only scratch the surface of what is actually there.
The eclectic collection of Outlook spaces all needed completely bespoke lighting solutions involving a good deal of lateral thinking! “The basic brief in terms of ‘lighting ambience ’was to make it look and feel like a series of random parties happening across the fort – organised but with a raw, makeshift and exciting edge, also integrating as much of the Fort as possible, ” explains Sangwell.
Of these, The Void was the largest with a 10 x 8 metre conventional stage /roof. A scenic metal-clad stage set was created by NVS Promotions’ Art Team, and Fineline’s moving light package comprised Robe LED Wash 600s, Robe 600E Spots, High End Studio Spots, Studio Beams, Atomic Strobes and 4-lamp bars, with SGM Palco LED floods up-lighting the steel structure.
For the Mungo’s Hi Fi Soundsystem area Fineline supplied and erected a small dome stage with a stretched fabric roof which fitted into the space perfectly and neatly without involving too much exposed metal work, with Robe 600 Spots, 600LED washes, Atomic Strobes and Pars hung directly off this structure to keep everything tidy.
The Garden Stage had a small steel stage and DJ set up near the entrance to the Fort which was covered in foliage by the Art Team and illuminated by a selection of Palco LED Floods & PARs. PARs, Profiles & Effects Projectors were rigged in the trees in and around The Garden to add mood to the audience area, and several art works were also lit.
The Moat was another challenging space to light. The stage was at the end of a long narrow trench with high stone walls once part of the Fort’s original deep moat. The organisers didn’t want to see any trussing or metalwork over the moat, so long throw lights were used including 8 x Robe Pointes, four mounted on a scaffolding structure above the stage and four actually onstage, firing down the moat and into the audience.
Arena 1 featured another stretched roof and a simple truss tower structure above the DJ booth, complete with PARs and low-level lighting. In here, Fineline worked closely with projection specialists Lumen Artist from Budapest, who created a series of stunning hand painted slides that were projected all down both sides of the arena. New slides were created for each night of the festival, providing a softer and eye-catching dynamic.
The tiny Ballroom was located in a funky cylindrical space built out of rocks, with high walls, no roof and a series of trees and the skies above which also became part of the aesthetics. The lighting brought an old skool free party feel, with vintage fixtures to match including High End Trackspots, Martin Destroyers, Optikinetics Solar 250s and other classics. Some of these were rigged on a convenient shelf in the rock-face at the top of the walls. The trees above were suitably lit to complete the visual horizon.
A substantial part of Fineline’s equipment package was devoted to this task and spread over a large area.
A combination of imagination and common sense informed their approach to lighting the architecture and natural flora and fauna of the Fort and included in this detail was illuminating all the main signage and various art works installed by the organisers.
It was a long-winded task due to the physical distances that lights had to be deployed and cables had to be run, but one that brought fantastic results, adding plenty of ambience and magic to the scene.
Sangwell explains that they made as much use as possible of theatrical techniques like shadowing and silhouetting against the Fort’s stone elements, and generally lit strategic hedges, bushes and trees to make the whole Dimensions / Outlook Fort experience more immersive and have a special aura.
Over half a truck’s worth of space was taken up with the architectural lighting which was mostly PARs and Source Fours, the entire range of MBI floods, plus an assortment of flickerwheels, gobo rotators and other theatrical animation effects, including a load of colour-changing LED fixtures and two Studio Due Dominators to crown the summit of the Fort.
Sangwell comments, “We all really enjoyed working on Outlook again. It is extremely hard work, but with great people in all the production departments, some fantastic teamwork and a truly special location, I think this production is a real achievement and something we can all be extremely proud of”.