Award winning Blackburn based lighting rental specialist HSL supplied designer Nick Jevons of Electric Fly Productions with lighting and rigging equipment for the main stage and for site-wide architectural highlighting at the 2008 Beck’s Fusion Festival. This was held at Castlefield’s Arena in Manchester.

HSL and Electric Fly also recently collaborated to supply all production lighting and design for the 2008 Global Gathering dance festival, and Jevons states, “HSL is always my first choice for lighting rentals. Mike Oates (HSL’s project manager) and his team have been fantastic – as always – in providing great service and excellent kit”. For this event Electric Fly was working for live brand experience producers, Sevens 7.

The highlight of the 2 day music and arts event was a spectacular performance from Massive Attack and United Visual Artists (UVA) – the last show of a summer tour that HSL has also been supplying with lighting equipment. Also featured at Beck’s Fusion 2008 were just-breaking New York disco revivalists Hercules and Love Affair and fellow New Yorker Santogold, plus The Presets and Midnight Juggernauts from Australia, Das Pop from Belgium, Sonny J from Liverpool and Manchester’s own Elektrons.

Jevons – one of the most innovative of the current ‘new wave’ of UK LDs – designed a gently asymmetric festival lighting rig that would work for everyone using the stage.

It was an arts festival, so he wanted the aesthetic to be a bit of a departure from a standard rock ‘n’ roll lighting scheme. He also took a good look around the site which is in the heart of Manchester’s historic urban industrial area, criss crossed by a network of canals, roads and train lines. He selected several architectural features like railway arches, bridges, viaducts, pillars and stanchions to be illuminated.

The stage was supplied by Star Events and built straddling two canal lock basins. Lighting was based around 6 runs of 6 metre A-type trussing all raked at different heights – the lowest being 3.5 metres off the ground – across the stage, and a 70 ft wide front truss. All the fixtures were clearly visible in this design, imbibing it with a bit of a proto industrial feel to match the surrounding environment.

Moving lights were 12 Robe ColorWash 1200E ATs and 18 ColorSpot 1200E ATs – chosen for their brightness, functionality and because they are extremely weather resistant – a great asset as it rained sporadically and heavily throughout the event!

Each of the 6 metre truss sections was rigged with 2 ColorSpots, 2 ColorWashes, 2 Martin Professional Atomic strobes, 2 4-lite Moles and a bar of ACLs.

Six additional ColorSpot 1200E ATs were supplied for floor lighting, sat on their cases, and used for aerial effects and eye-candy. There were also 6 bars of 6 PARs on the rig and two R33 smoke machines and 2 Unique hazers for atmospherics.

An additional 18 Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs were supplied for the stage left and stage right wings for Massive Attack, together with four 6K A&O Falcon Beam searchlights.

The stage lighting was controlled by Jevons from an Avolites Diamond 4 console – his desk of choice for all large shows.

The Electric Fly ‘Dream Team’ were crew chief Simon “Boff” Howarth, systems tech Jake Jevons, James Cooksey and Kris Lundberg. Massive Attack brought in their own touring lighting rig (the one supplied by HSL) which was run by Robin Haddow using a Hog 3, and they also integrated the “house” system into their show.

For architecturals, Jevons wanted to create dramatic shadows and pick out industrial features that are normally shrouded in darkness, but are transformed into objects of beauty, precision engineering and technical achievement when brought to life with light.

To achieve this, he utilized 10 Coemar Supercycs, 12 Studio Due CityColor 1800s and 6 CityBeams and 24 exterior PARs. Twelve Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs in weather domes were positioned at the top of the grassy bank behind front-of-house, and used to highlight the tree line running along that edge of the arena. HSL supplied all the necessary cabling and power/data distribution, and all these environmental fixtures were controlled via Jevons’ own Avolites Pearl Expert desk.

Despite the inclement weather, the event was a massive success and also concluded a mega busy 2008 festival season for HSL which has included Gatecrasher Summer Sound System, Rockness, Creamfields, Bestival and Global Gathering.

Date of issue : 16th September 2008.

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