Leading UK lighting rental company HSL supplied all lighting equipment including over 200 moving lights and 12 crew for “The People’s Opening” extravaganza that launched Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year.

The spectacular event was staged last night at – and around – St George’s Hall in the city centre.

The performances involved approximately 700 people including Ringo Starr, Dave Stewart and local upcoming indie stars The Wombats, all of which took place on 8 surrounding rooftops – including the Walker Arts Gallery, St John’s Beacon, the Empire Theatre, Lime Street Station etc – as well as on top of and in front of St George’s Hall.

The site was hugely challenging on which to work. Lights had to be craned into position and rigged at all these locations, and also onto a series of scaffolding constructions around the main area.

The get-in started on the Monday for the Friday show and the HSL team, project managed by Mike Oates, battled with high winds and driving rain throughout the whole period. The hostile weather forced the cancellation of all but one night of full rehearsals before Friday night’s stunning show.

Lighting “The People’s Opening”

Lighting designer Stephen Page (a director of Manchester based DBN Lighting) was “extremely pleased” when HSL won the tender to supply the lighting kit. “They have been brilliant” he says, “The crew have all worked very hard in difficult conditions on a complex site to deliver what I needed” . He has known HSL for some years, but this was the first time he’s worked with them in this context – as his equipment supplier.

Page was involved in the creative process that has evolved into The People’s Show from an early stage, working closely with producer John Wassell, co-directors Nigel Jamieson, Jayne Casey and Mark Murphy along with production designer Dan Potra. The event was production managed by Simon Barrington.

The industrial look of the site, which integrated technical support structures constructed from freight containers, assorted scaffolding towers, cherry pickers and scissor lifts, was juxtaposed against the neoclassical elegance, pillars and arches of St George’s Hall.

Page lit the Hall beautifully with a combination of Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 1200E AT and Studio Due CityColor fixtures. Forty CityColors provided the basic wash along the 170 metre front and the south façade of the building, while the fabulous 18 metre pillars were highlighted with 30 Robe ColorSpot and 40 ColorWash 1200s.

Getting High

On top of St George’s Hall and on all the surrounding rooftops, HSL provided approximately 40 Robe ColorSpot 2500E ATs, chosen for their high power and brightness and their ability to produce searchlight type effects. About 100 JTE PixelPAR 90s were also used on the various rooftops for general illumination of the performers.

Over 70 Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 700 Series fixtures were dotted around the main stage and on the site lighting structures, used for lower level coverage and short throw applications. Page comments that these were also very bight and ideal for the task.

Seven sets of Studio Due CS4s on scissor lifts were placed in between the main run ofSt George’spillars, rising up and down during the show.

A selection of PARs, profiles. blinders and 40 Fuzz Lights were positioned around the stage on St George’s Plateau and on the scaff structures, providing stage and general areas washes and coverage plus audience illumination.

HSL also supplied 6 follow spots, four on scissor lifts in front of the building, one on top of the Empire Theatre and one on the concourse in front of the site.

The show was enjoyed live by 28,000 people and broadcast on several networks.

Mike Oates comments, “We certainly had to think on our feet on this one, and together with Star Events (structures), UK Rigging (production rigging/rooftop safety) and the Event Safety Shop (production H&S management), come up with a series of creative scaffolding solutions for lighting in all locations. Some of this was done in advance ….. but much had to be improvised on site!”

The light-show was operated by Page from his own Jands Vista console. HSL ran two Luminex radio DMX links – from the main site at St George’s Plateau to the St John’s Beacon car park, and another from there to the top of the tower. All other links were wired. All lighting kit was powered from generators supplied by Buffalo.

Good Morning America

HSL also supplied lighting equipment, LD Rob Sinclair and crew to US broadcaster CBS for their “Good Morning America” programme. This was beamed live from St George’s Hall’s famous Concert Hall and included a three number performance from Ringo Starr.

Lighting consisted of Robe 1200 Spots, i-Pix Satellites, 2K fresnels, Source Four PARs mostly rigged on a series of stands around the balcony of the attractive circular Victorian room. Sinclair also used his new suitcase-sized Jands Vista S1 console.

Date of issue : 13th January 2008.

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