PLSN — July 2015
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Stagecoach Festival Rolls with Big Beam Looks

INDIO, CA — The Stagecoach Festival keeps rolling forward. Launched in 2007 as the “country cousin” of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Stagecoach had a reported 18 percent increase in attendance this year (April 24-26), with daily ticket sales selling out at an average 70,000 per day.

In terms of the event’s “turnstile clicks,” single- weekend Stagecoach’s 225,000 might still lag behind the two-weekend total for artsy pop/rock Coachella (579,000+). But Stagecoach has clearly emerged as a major league event on the country music calendar, with more than double the daily attendance of rival events like Country Thunder in Arizona and Wisconsin.

For 2015, the Mane Stage featured Tim Mc- Graw, Jake Owens, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton and The Band Perry. The Palomino Stage featured Merle Haggard, ZZ Top and George Thorogood and the Destroyers. The festival also included an eclectic mix of classic and up-and-coming acts on the Mustang and Honkytonk stages.

Visions Lighting’s Todd Roberts provided gear for the Mane and Palomino stages along with additional gear for the festival grounds.

“We were very happy to have the opportunity to work on Stagecoach this year,” said Roberts, who also provided gear for AEG/Goldenvoice’s Coachella festival at the same Indio Polo Grounds site earlier in the month (April 10- 12/17-19).

“Country music concerts are not what they used to be,” Roberts added. “The fan base is growing and expects the production to be equal to, if not bigger, than a rock ‘n’ roll touring rig.”

Roberts used Elation’s Platinum BX and Platinum Beam 5R Extreme fixtures to create big beam looks. For the Mane Stage setup, which featured six large truss sticks with side fingers, Visions Lighting deployed 15 of the fat beam Platinum BX fixtures for long throw aerial looks.

“The BX’s thick beam looks great and they are really bright,” Roberts said, crediting the units for their ability to produce 15,000 lumens of concentrated light along a tight 3-degree beam and for their reliability.

Visions Lighting also provided 24 Platinum Beam 5R Extremes for the Mane stage from mid-stage and upstage positions to shoot ACLtype beams into the air and audience and an additional 48 Platinum Beam 5R Extremes for the Palomino stage.

The Elation fixtures worked with other fixtures on both stages, including gear from artists who came with their own foor package. Jamie Jensen was the lighting designer and Chad Smith was the programmer for the “Mane” stage rig. Roberts handled lighting design duties for the Palomino stage with programming by David Molmer. More details at

More than 30 Sponsors Step Up to Support 2015 Parnelli Awards

LAS VEGAS — By late June, more than 30 sponsoring companies announced their support for the 15th Annual Parnelli Awards, set for Oct. 24 at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will bestow Lifetime Achievement, Visionary and Audio Innovator honors to Chris Lamb, David Cunningham and Pat Quilter.

This year’s Platinum sponsor is Group One Ltd., the U.S. distributor for brands including Avolites and DiGiCo.

Gold Sponsors include A.C.T Lighting, All Access Staging & Productions, Bandit Lites, Brown United, Columbus McKinnon/ CM Hoists, Elation Professional, Gallagher Staging & Productions/TourReady, Global Trend Productions (Oracle Systems), Harman Group (AKG, BSS, Crown, dbx, JBL, Martin Professional, Soundcraft/Studer), Martin Audio, Maryland Sound International, Meyer Sound, Moo TV, Philips Entertainment, PixelFLEX, Pyrotek Special Effects, Rock-it Cargo, Solotech, Sound Image, Stageline Mobile Stage Inc., Stagemaker, Strictly FX, Tour Tech East and Ultratec Special Effects.

Silver Sponsors include Delicate Productions Inc., Hemphill Brothers, Hoist Rigging Solutions, Le Maitre and Screenworks NEP. Beachsound, Chauvet Professional, ETC, QSC and See Factor have signed on to be Cocktail Party sponsors, and Precise Corporate Staging is the 2015 After Party sponsor.

Production Partners are all returning to guarantee another great show, and they include Access Event Solutions, Atomic Design, On Stage Audio (OSA), Production Resource Group (PRG), SGA Production Services, Stage Crew and Technical Productions Inc. (TPI).

“Every year we are truly humbled by the support,” said publisher and Parnelli Awards executive producer and PLSN publisher Terry Lowe, noting that a portion of the proceeds goes to award scholarships to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ (UNLV) Entertainment Engineering & Design program. “The generous support of our sponsors allows for the education and flourishing of future Parnelli winners and innovators.”

To support the Parnelli Awards, contact Greg Gallardo at 702.454.8550 and gregg@ More info at

Close to 500 Injured at Taiwan Water Park Concert when Colored Powder Ignites

NNEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan — About half of the 1,000 revelers attending an outdoor water park concert June 27 were injured when the colored powder being thrown on them in fun by event organizers Color Play Asia ignited in an explosive flash of fame. The powder ignited at about 8:30 p.m.

Local authorities revised the initial tally of 519 injured at the Formosa Fun Coast water park event to 498 after noting that some of the injured, transferred for treatment to different hospitals, had been double-counted. Reports noted that the injured, currently being treated at 43 area hospitals, include 202 who are listed in critical condition, many with respiratory injuries as well as severe skin burns.

Initial reports had also indicated that lighting fixtures make have played a role in the conflagration of the airborne particulates, but investigators are reportedly now looking at other possible sources of ignition as well.

The colored powder, a featured attraction to previous Color Play Asia events that took place without incident, is usually made from a food starch and food-grade coloring agents, normally considered safe for use in public events.

But like many powders, food starches can become explosively flammable if high concentrations of tiny airborne particulates come into contact with both oxygenated air and a spark or open fame.

Taiwan authorities shut down the water park, banned the use of colored powders at all subsequent public events and detained five people connected with the event, including Color Play Asia event manager Lu Chung-chi. More details at

JAZZed Magazine Introduces New Site, JazzFestivals-

LAS VEGAS — JAZZed Magazine, sister publication to PLSN, launched JazzFestivalsWorldwide. com, an online database for jazz festivals around the world. Every festival has its own page on the site, and event organizers are allowed to update data and add information about their festivals free of charge. They can list performance schedules, post pictures of the festival, include their logos and display videos associated with their festivals.

“We did extensive research and found there was really no comprehensive site dedicated to jazz festivals on the web,” said JAZZed and PLSN publisher Terry Lowe. “We invested a lot of resources in aggregating in one location as many jazz festivals as we could possibly find. This allows users to search for festivals by city, state, region, country, and dates of festivals.”

Along listings jazz festivals in the U.S. (471, and counting), there are more than 1,270 international jazz festivals listings on the site, with events staged in 51 different countries. also features jazz festival news and record reviews, and site visitors can sign up for a bi-monthly newsletter.

“We’re trying to be a great resource for jazz enthusiasts to stay current on the latest concert opportunities, as well as the latest releases,” Lowe noted. More details

Jim Hutchison Takes the Reins at Social Media Site

LAS VEGAS — ProLighting-, the social networking site run by PLSN parent company Timeless Communications, has a new head honcho.

“There’s a new Sheriff in town,” confirmed PLSN’s Nook Schoenfeld, editor of the printed publication. “Jim is known worldwide for dishing out the dirt, reporting on cool trends as well as events.

“His unique brand of writing is always entertaining, and when he’s not working on his day job with Avolites, he can be seen chatting, and quite often ranting about the state of lighting these days,” Schoenfeld added.

Hutchison, known by many for his lighting industry website, joined Avolites recently (see “On the Move,” page 24). Prior to Avolites, he held key communications gigs with companies including Chauvet Professional and CAST Software while also developing, which he founded in 2007.

For more info, go to and

SHS Global Named Distributor for SBC LED Video Displays

AUSTIN, TX — SHS Global was named exclusive U.S., Australia and New Zealand distributor for LED video products made by SBC LED, including new 3.9mm cable-free video panels that drew notice at InfoComm 2015 in Orlando, FL last month.

SBC LED, founded in 2004, produces LED video screen products from its factory in Shenzhen, China. The screens, for a variety of indoor and outdoor uses, vary in resolution from 1mm to 40mm.

“We are full of joy and confidence for the future,” said Bill Liu, president of SBC LED. “SBC provides the perfect combination of innovation, quality and affordability,” added SHS Global president Leigh Anne Aiken.

SHS Global, established in 2005, also noted a separate partnership with Chicago-based Master Fog, naming that company a Smoke Factory dealer. Master Fog recently purchased a selection of Smoke Factory Tour Hazer II and Captain D foggers.

For more details go to and

iWeiss CEO David Rosenberg Announces Retirement

FAIRVIEW, NJ — After 30 years at the helm of iWeiss, CEO David Rosenberg is retiring. Rosenberg, who joined iWeiss after working as a carpenter, electrician and stage manager, will still be available to Jennifer Tankleff and Richard Parks as a consultant

“It is extremely gratifying and comforting to me to see the company under the very capable leadership of Jennifer and Richard,” Rosenberg said. “They have shown — in their combined 30-plus years with the company — that they have the knowledge and drive to maintain the values and integrity of the company while moving it ever forward.” More details at

Eric Paslay’s First Headlining Tour Lit with Elite Multimedia-Supplied Gear

NASHVILLE, TN — Having already created hit songs for Jake Owen, Rascal Flatts, and the Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay has become an artist in his own right, embarking on his first headlining tour titled “Make Every Night a Friday Night.” Tour manager Steve Bryan and LD Mike Marcario turned to Elite Multimedia for a visual assist.

“With this tour we really wanted to bring some excitement to the show with our first full lighting rig,” Bryan noted, adding “as an artist, Eric is pretty open to the design elements we present to him.”

“When I’m creating a lighting design, it all starts with the music,” said Marcario, who has a background in music himself. “I like to spend time listening to every song before I start thinking about what lights to use so that I can really identify the right fixtures to capture the right emotions.”

Elite Multimedia provided Martin MAC 101 LED wash fixtures and Atomic 3000 DMX strobes along with Clay Paky Sharpys and ÉPIX Strip 2.0 units from Chauvet Professional for the tour. The floor package is set up with two custom articulating set carts with variable heights for mobility, with an Elation Hedge Hog and ArKaos setup for control.

“We have the two set carts along with two pipes connected to a drum riser,” noted Marcario. “We can move the lighting instruments around to get the most looks out of them dependent on the venue we are playing.”

Marcario uses three Sharpys per cart for “big aerial looks” and credited the MAC 101s for “fast movement and great color saturation.” The Atomic strobes, he added, “can punch through almost any light out there to add great accents onstage,” and he was also impressed with the 20 Chauvet ÉPIX strips used for the tour.

“This is the first time I’ve used them. I was really impressed with how bright they could be and how they tied the whole rig together,” Marcario said, noting their role filling “all the gaps of our set carts and pipe/base.

“Whenever I needed to accent a drum hit with solid intensity and color, create slow movement for a ballad, or do a sweep of color across the entire rig, the ÉPIX Strips performed like champs,” Marcario added. “Paired with a media server, they were a solid choice to get big looks quickly.”

Both Marcario and Bryan also lauded Elite Multimedia’s service and support. “Elite Multimedia simply makes you as comfortable as possible and makes your production happen,” Marcario said. Bryan, meanwhile, was impressed with the company’s scalability. “We know as our needs grow, they will be able to fully support us.” More details at and

Lighting The Tragically Hip, Fully and Completely

MONTREAL — The Tragically Hip, which formed in 1993, is touring throughout North America this year in support of the Oct. 2014 re-release of their Fully Completely album.

Brent Clark is production designer for the North American tour, which kicked of in Toronto in January and has visited other major cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Montreal.

Christie Lites is the lighting provider; Solotech is supporting the tour with video and audio gear.

“The concept behind the staging and lighting was to make it look a bit ‘throwback,’” said Clark, with the middle section with songs from the 1992 album dividing the first and third portions of each show. For both modern and retro looks, Clark deployed 134 Martin MAC 101 fixtures.

“I needed lights that are really punchy that would look good for the two different sets,” he noted. “The MAC 101s were great — when I brought down the video screens, the lights then shot out between the panels and helped shrink the space. They provided the right amount of attention to the stage when I needed it.” Clark also praised the MAC Viper Profiles around the stage for their hardedged beams.

A mechanism moved video panels from overhead to the set’s backdrop to enhance the visual transition between the different parts of the show. Along with this ability to clearly communicate the “show within a show” message, Clark also added a scrim around the stage during the Fully Completely section to create a box effect, making the space feel more intimate.

To enhance the retro feel of the moving grid, Clark used Chroma-Q Color Force 72 LED strip fixtures to evoke “an old fashioned digital clock.” At one point, the strip fixtures are used to spell out the word, “HIP.” He credited the “punch of the Color Force 72s” for “a striking look. I run them in their bigger channel mode, so I can run all kinds of chases and do some really interesting effects. They can also supply a huge wash of color over the band, so they’re great for that purpose in addition to bright white effects.

“The light output of the Color Force 72s is fantastic — I can really get some nice saturated looks out of them,” Clark added. “The colors are a lot of primary looks as well as some very unique shades of green and yellow, to create a real sort of dark sick vibe.” More details at and

PRG Completes XL Video Purchase

NEW YORK — PRG noted that the previously announced acquisition of XL Video Group is now complete. XL Video’s worldwide locations will now become part of PRG’s network of over 40 locations in key cities around the world.

“Our shared values and technical expertise will allow the company to continue to innovate and grow in new and exciting ways,” said PRG chairman/ CEO Jere Harris.

Project teams representing each geography, market, and function across the combined organization are currently working together to align and integrate operations to ensure continued excellence in customer service and support. More details at

Rascal Flatts “Riot” Tour Lit with Gear from Bandit Lites

NASHVILLE — Drew Gnagey of Magneto Live Design and Raj Kapoor of Raj Kapoor Productions collaborated on the production design for Rascal Flatts’ latest tour that includes an a larger-than-usual assortment of conventional fixtures from Bandit Lites. The tour also features supporting acts Scotty McCreery and RaeLynn.

“Since the band was looking for a more intimate looking show, it really changed how we had to look at the design,” said Gnagey, who worked with the band’s LD, Andy Knighton, and served as co-production designer with Kapoor.

“Instead of being tech-y and automation driven, this years’ tour design really lends itself to the visceral experience they are looking to create,” Gnagey noted.

Much of the rig uses conventional-type fixtures including ETC Source Four Pars, Showtec Sunstrips, 2K Skypans and MR16 bulbs that are built into the set and incorporated into a vintage light bulb chandelier, adding to the sense of warmth and intimacy throughout the show.

The rig still makes use of a variety of automated fixtures, however — including VariLite VL3000 Spots, VariLite VL3500 Washes and Chauvet Rogue RH1 Hybrid fixtures.

“We have definitely given the show a new look from anywhere it has previously been,” Gnagey said.

“We get to have the best of both worlds: intimate and warm looks as well as huge, oldschool rock show imagery,” Gnagey said, crediting associate LD and lead programmer Andre Petrus for using “the full functionality of the grandMA2 system to get some unique and stunning looks” out of the rig. “Matt Mills joined us for additional programming in Nashville and did an outstanding job tying everything together,” Gnagey added.

Also crediting co-production designer Raj Kapoor with a “clear and directed vision of how the audience should view the show during the course of the tour,” Gnagey also praised Bandit Lites’ Mike Golden for providing everything needed “on-time and with a great attention to detail.” More details at

JDI Productions Updates Air Supply Rig for Boston-Area Show

LYNN, MA — Australian soft rock duo Air Supply, creators of a long string of 1980s-era hits including “Lost in Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” performed a sold-out show in the Boston area recently.

JDI Productions updated the Troy Stubby- designed lighting rig with 18 Legend 230SR Beam fixtures from Chauvet Professional in place of another brand of moving lights for the event.

“Troy’s original design called for these other fixtures to be used, but we’ve been using the Legends back-to-back on so many shows that we felt very comfortable with them,” said JDI’s Freddy Thompson, who, along with his colleague Pete Therrien, oversaw the lighting rig.

“So with Troy’s approval, we made the switch. In the past, Troy had been using the SR beams on the floor to cross shoot the backdrop with a rotating prism. It created a really great effect, and the beams cover a good portion of the 40-foot house drape, so he knew what they could do.”

Six of the Legend fixtures were flown on midstage truss and six on upstage truss. The six other Legend fixtures were used in a ground package, with two units positioned behind the keyboard riser, two on the upstage center deck and two behind the guitar riser.

“We positioned the Legends evenly spaced on the truss to deliver a powerfully emotional wall of light look,” said Thompson. “The beams on the floor sat on road cases behind the risers in a staggered height formation. Since the beams were the same height as the road cases, we minimized blind spots.”

In addition to the Legends, the Air Supply rig included an assortment of ellipsoidal fixtures, blinders and washes. The fixtures were daisy-chained with 5-pin DMX.

“Each truss system was its own universe,” said Thompson. “We used a splitter and a snake to get our data runs to Front of House. We controlled the rig with a full size Hog 4.

“The biggest challenge with this project was trying to accommodate Troy’s design into the venue, which is a theater with a working fly rail,” Thompson continued. “The downstage points share weight distribution with audio points, so we needed to be aware of our total estimated weight for that system.

“Pete and I also needed to be aware of the house electrics when hanging points for Troy’s system,” Thompson added. “It can prove to be very difficult when you are trying to hang truss systems at specific dimensions of the downstage edge and are forced to work around an entire pipe system. Not to mention, the lift gate used to get the gear to the second floor just eats up time on the load in. We worked closely with ATS (All Tech Sound), the local audio vendor for the concert, to get everything done well and on time.”

All challenges involved in setting up the rig were met, resulting in a richly textured lightshow.

“Troy programmed some excellent color palettes and position cues, which helped make the stage just pop with intense lighting effects throughout the entire show,” concluded Thompson. “Our goal was to convey Troy’s vision and do justice to these legendary performers.” More details at

At SXSW, Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel is Home to Versatile Looks, Quick Changeovers

AUSTIN, TX — Hype Machine, the MP3 blog aggregator created by Anthony Volodkin in 2005, marked 10 years by returning to host an eclectic array of up-and-coming live artists and music with its Hype Hotel venue at the 2015 SXSW music festival.

For U.K.-based LD David Wolstenholm, the pace of transitions from act to act was as hectic and crazed — and ultimately as rewarding — as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Wolstenholm said he thoroughly enjoyed his own challenging SXSW experience for the second year, where he worked with Hype Hotel production designer/manager Brian Kim along with artist LDs, with an assist from Eric Kim and intern Lila Neiswanger.

Although Hype Hotel featured two live sessions a day with five artists per session, Wolstenholm and the others on the production team were able to quickly craft individual looks for a wide range of acts ranging from Spoon to Britt Daniel, ILoveMakonnen to Rae Sremmurd, Hudson Mohawke to Best Coast, Odesza to DJ sets from Fort Romeu, Obey City, Heathered Pearls, Monster Rally, Ellie Herring and more.

On the rig were eight Robe BMFL Spots, seven Pointes, seven LEDBeam 100s, 10 LEDWash 1200s (six overhead and four for side light) plus eight CycFX 8s, which were rigged in the roof and angled back to provide a ceiling light effect.

The DJ booth was lit with four Robe miniPointes and two LEDBeam 1000s, and there were also seven MiniMes in the VIP bar area, loaded with custom Hype Hotel video content, which provided a neat and easy solution to brand the area effectively.

Wolstenholm credited the BMFLs for their output, versatility, color mixing and gobo selection, adding that “the two prisms are extremely handy.”

The design featured the Pointes arranged in an arch, following the same line as the BMFL Spots, a boon to both the live production team and TV crews.

The LEDWash 1200s were used for “flash-and-trash” looks will full control over the LED rings. Two of these also provided the principal side keylighting, and the diminutive LEDBeam 100s were placed at the back of stage tucked in between the gaps of an upstage wall of PARs. More details at

KLAD Designs “Beechwood House” for Mary J. Blige Show at Statue of Liberty Island

NEW YORK — For Mary J. Blige’s June 21 performance at the Statue of Liberty, KLAD designed The Beechwood House, a portable, temporary, two-story, 1,600 square foot structure serving the private concert’s guests and VIPs.

The Liberty Island event, attended by fewer than 1,000 invited guests, was the first in Anheuser-Busch’s Monument series of shows leading up to the Budweiser-sponsored “Made In America” festival set to take place in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend.

The Beechwood House, created by Kathleen McDonough and Kevin Allen of KLAD (Kevin Lee Allen Design) includes a serving area adjacent to the performance space on the first floor. Along with bar service, the second floor provides a bird’s eye view of the concert and surrounding area.

Designed by KLAD with entertainment engineer Jay Reichgott and architect Andrew Fethes consulting, the structure was built by Global Scenic Services.

Structural columns, encased in beechwood, support a steel tube super structure and decking. The simple post and beam style structure provides an elegant frame for a beechwood surround.

Blige’s performance at the base of the statue was mirrored via atmospheric projection at a “sister” concert featuring T-Pain, Misterwives, and Big Gigantic that took place the same night at Governors Island, also in New York Harbor. Anheuser-Busch served up burgers and Budweiser at both.

The first floor provides a generous, warm and intimate serving area right of of the performance space. The second floor, accessed through a re-purposed shipping container,

KLAD noted that working at a National Monument presents a myriad of challenges. The event must be prepped, for example, while also allowing the park staff to stay focused on their guests.

Delivery to the island was by shared barges limited to 24-foot trucks with an aisle cleared for dogs and security personnel. Trucks could not be driven directly to the Flag Pole Circle; instead, gear had to be of-loaded at the dock and rolled or forked to the site. More details at

Zac Brown Band’s Jekyll + Hyde Tour Features Multi-Level Set, Elaborate Visuals

NASHVILLE — For Zac Brown Band’s 2015 tour in support of their latest album, Jekyll + Hyde, U.K.-based production designers Louis Oliver and James Scott from Okulus came up with an elaborate multi-level stage design backed by a massive video wall and animated by a lively lighting rig.

“The band wanted to roam about the space, so we designed a multi-level set structure with stairs and ramps that enables them to vary the performance area,” said Scott, who served as production designer for Zac Brown Band last year under the banner of Times Design Ltd.

Okulus, formed by Scott and Oliver last year, have already dreamed up touring designs for a client list that includes You Me At Six, Chvrches, Passenger and Disclosure.

The LED screen that acts as a backdrop for both levels of the set measures 42 by 59 feet. It’s used for full-screen I-Mag with PIP windows and video designed by Cameron Yeary.

“It’s one big canvas, the LED clad set blends in with the up stage wall,” Scott noted. “Depth is achieved by the extensive moving truss system. Everything can be scaled and still maintain the design integrity of the production. Depending on the venue, we can lose a level of the set without affecting the band, the lighting rig can scale down, the video wall is large, but built from touring frames allowing the video department to pick and choose which wall configuration to use, venue specific.”

Special Event Services (SES), with locations in Winston-Salem, NC and Nashville, TN, provides lighting, video and audio gear and is marking its 28th year in business. SES has supported Zac Brown Band for more than five years, and for this year’s tour, the gear list sourced via North American distributor A.C.T Lighting includes Clay Paky Mythos, B-EYE K20 and Sharpy fixtures; Robert Juliat Ginger followspots; MDG theONE and ice fog Q foggers/ hazers; and grandMA2 full-size and light consoles.

Oliver and Scott opted to use Clay Paky’s new Mythos and A.leda B-EYE K20 fixtures to give a fresh look to lighting the band. The designers have mounted 25 Mythos on truss and staggered 18 more around the set, some in custom sunken cut outs around the drums and percussion area.

“Mythos is able to bridge washes, aerial fixtures and spot gobo fixtures,” said Jeff Cranfill, vice president of SES. “If you have to do a show with just one light, Mythos would be a good choice. It has a very nice bright beam of color in the wash mode, it does Sharpy-type effects for big aerials, and you can roll into a spot with gobos for a softer look.”

“Mythos does all that and more,” confirmed Scott. “Its versatility attracted us, and Louis had already used them on a U.K. Arena Tour earlier this year. So we didn’t hesitate to add them to the rig even though they’re new to the market.”

Thirty B-EYE K20s, carefully integrated with Mythos, are hung on the moving trusses where they deliver “beautiful parallel beams in saturated and pastel colors,” said Scott. “We also use beam shapers in key moments.”

“The B-EYE K20s are not just big bright LEDs,” noted Cranfill. “They have a beautiful graceful beam, and I love how well the zoom works — you can transition smoothly from a very narrow sharp beam to a wide and even wash. Their color mixing is superb: They make beautiful pastels and CTO-type tones. And their effects take the fixture to another level.”

The band’s arena rig features 28 Sharpys, but that number doubles to 56 for stadium shows. “We use them for accent and for extending the experience from the stage outward: Our 36-foot long thrust is lined with them,” noted Oliver.

“Sharpys do a very good job of modeling the venue,” echoed Cranfill. “They really frame out the set well. Sharpys are low power, small, lightweight and fast so they’re a very handy fixture for giving a beautiful huge look.”

The production designers selected a pair of Robert Juliat 2000/25000W Ginger tungsten followspots for keys for the band and as back elements for the robocams, roving and fixed IMAG cameras used for every show.

“Everybody is used to a bright white light from the air that’s always moving and may not be on the right spot,” said Scott. “But everybody loves tungsten, especially the cameras. And if they’re slightly off position it’s not obvious because they’re not overpowering.”

The tour also runs two MDG theONE foggers/ hazers plus an ice fog Q low fog generator, which creates thick, dense low-lying fog with zero residue without using dry ice. “Best hazer ever,” Oliver said. “It instantly produces a layer of haze, and you can flip from haze to fog mode in a second.”

“It’s two machines in one,” added Scott. “The only addition we’d suggest is to enable them to be wireless DMX, so all you need to find each day is local power.”

“Louis and James can use theONE as a hazer then switch to huge billowing fog when they need it without having to carry dedicated foggers,” added Cranfill. “It has a pretty amazing output and is very controllable.”

The designers deploy the ice fog Q “to give some floor texture on numbers that really rock,” Oliver noted.

Two full-size grandMA2 consoles run the lighting for the tour; two grandMA2 lights, one active and one back up, run the video system with a handful of NPUs distributing.

“Okulus is 100 percent MA,” said Scott. “We stick with one brand so the console becomes an extension of our brain path. We don’t have to think about how to create effects; we look at the stage and don’t worry about the hardware.

“Every day we unlock a new feature — it’s amazing,” he added. “And the consoles are very robust, too.”

Oliver and Scott spent three weeks doing the initial programming for the tour; lighting Operator Kevin Moore runs the grandMA2s on the road. Zac Brown Band has more than 60 original songs and dozens of potential covers rehearsed for the tour, and “they can pull out any songs for any show — they want to be amazing from start to finish,” said Scott.

“The programming Louis and James did for the tour has been masterfully done utilizing the great power and features of the MA2 consoles. The show is a lot of songs and a lot of cues but grandMA2 is very fast and efficient,” added Cranfill. SES began a big transition to grandMA2s in its inventory last year when more and more clients migrated to the console. “We have purchased quite a few grandMA2s and will probably purchase more any day now,” he noted.

The North American tour launched May 1 in Nashville and runs through mid-September, returning to the U.S. for more shows this fall after a Sept. 25 show at London’s Wembley Arena. Presented by BAI, the tour includes nine stadium shows along with venues ranging from arenas to sheds.

Oliver and Scott credited SES for being “so open to different ideas and how to better their systems,” says Scott. “Jeff is really on top of his game and very enjoyable to work with.” Scott and Cranfill also gave kudos to A.C.T Lighting for their support. More details at

UC Irvine’s Electra Project Uses Donated Hazers

IRVINE, CA —The Electra Project is Romanian director Mihai Maniutiu’s avant-garde production inspired by the tragic Electra character incorporated into ancient Greek tragedies by Sophocles and Euripides. University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Claire Trevor School of the Arts recently staged Maniutiu’s work with his minimalist style.

Faced with the challenge of creating a moving production with minimal use of scenic elements, LD Martha Carter, who worked with and scenic designer Morgan Price, paired UCI’s existing JEM Glaciator X-Stream with a JEM Ready 365 hazer. Martin loaned the gear to the student production.

The initial planning started with only a 15-page script and notes from Maniutiu to have minimal scenery. While Carter and Price had their work cut out, they kept the set simple, only creating a giant pendulum for the background.

With just one major piece of scenery, they had to look to other techniques to fill out their stage and bring the audience into a world Maniutiu described as “being everywhere and nowhere,” with an ethereal feel. The lighting needed to create shadows, but the setting still needed to be filled out. Carter decided to use low fog and haze effects to create the mood the director wanted.

“In the end, the fog and haze really came together to create another character on stage,” said Carter. “It became the anger and frustration behind Electra’s struggles.

“We used the atmospheric effects during key parts of the play where there was a feeling of depression or strength which helped emphasize the stillness we tried to create in other moments without the fog,” Carter continued. “This contrast really helped pull the audience into Electra’s world and to feel what she felt in those specific moments.”

Like other before them, the team had to learn the optimal conditions for atmospheric effects. First, the conditions within their theater caused the fog to be pulled stage right on some days and then stage left on other days. In the end, Carter and her team were able to make the best of their theater’s quirks by making the fog seem like it was originating from behind the pendulum. They also had issues with a wet deck due to the low-lying fog effect. The solution was to lower the intensity of the fog and increase the density. They also only used the fog during key moments, which added to its dramatic effect while allowing for safer conditions.

Students at UCI made up most of the team involved with the production, including the actors and designers. For them, it was an opportunity to learn tips from the Martin team on how to overcome some of the challenges that come with atmospheric effects.

They were also delighted to be able to use one of the latest Martin products, the JEM Ready 365 hazer. For Carter, being trusted with the latest equipment was something unexpected, but something she felt enhanced the production immensely.

“The addition of the JEM Hazer added depth to the stage that would have otherwise been sparse,” said Carter. “We were able to create the ethereal look the director wanted because the haze added a light and airy feeling to the production.” More details at