France - Every year since 1998, the mass choir of Les Fous Chantants (The Singing Fools), has honoured French-speaking songwriters and composers - living or deceased - with a major choral concert devoted to their works. The musical programme generally includes 25 songs, including those of the guest artist, that are sung with the choir.
This year's event, honouring Pascal Obispo, took place in the Temperas Arena in Alès, at the end of July. One thousand choristers were seated on bleachers around a 27m wide x 13m deep main stage, extending the performance area a further 35m x 20m x 8m high.
Victor Lagiewski and Guillaume Fournier, founders of lighting design company Chromatik, have managed the lighting for this event since 2017 and specified 44 Ayrton Cobra, 16 Ayrton Perseo Profiles and 12 Ayrton Khamsin S luminaires for their main rig, all of which were supplied S Group of Alès.
Fournier explained why Ayrton fixtures were chosen for this show, and how they were used: “Ayrton is one of our favourite lighting manufacturers, and because we have such complete confidence in the fixtures, we try to work with Ayrton products as much as possible. We met the founder many years ago, and have had the opportunity to try out the different models many times, even participating in the launch of the DreamPanel Shift and Dreampanel Twin a few years ago.”
The Cobra laser-sourced units were rigged on stepped trusses at the back of the arena, ranging from 16m to 18m high, from where Fournier and Lagiewski used them most frequently as a beam fixture. “The
UK - The city of Birmingham hosted the first PoliNations event, an epic installation work that took over Victoria Square with 40ft-high sculpted archi-cultural trees and thousands of varieties of plants crafted into a setting that hosted a diversity of live events, experiences, and performances. The forest celebrated the colour, existential beauty, delicacy, and adaptability of horticultural life, telling stories of different species and their global journeys, movement and transformations, a fantastic metaphor for the energy and symbiosis that cultural diversity brings to any society.
Lighting designer Matt Daw was already onboard with the project when Hampshire-based lighting rental company Liteup won a competitive tender issued by creative production company Trigger Collective – under the artistic direction of Angie Bual and Carl Robertshaw – to illuminate the project.
Daw specified 160 x Astera wireless LED fixtures to assist in this massive task, including 117 x PixelBricks, 8 x AX9 PowerPARs and 35 x AX10 SpotMAXs.
PoliNations was commissioned via the UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK initiative to produce as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, staged as the city celebrated hosting a very successful Commonwealth Games event. It was presented to the public over 17 days with the support of Birmingham City Council.
Astera was chosen for several reasons, explained Liteup’s project manager Marc Callaghan, adding that all the lighting had to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
They also needed robust reliabl
Sweden - US-based AtlasIED has appointed Intersonic AB to distribute AtlasIED products in Scandinavia. The Intersonic AB team will sell and distribute AtlasIED audio products and coordinate between AtlasIED’s U.S. headquarters and integrators, distributors and users in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Headquartered in Bromma near Stockholm, Intersonic AB is a distributor of professional audio, light and image solutions for live productions, corporate, hospitality, and retail. Founded in 1997, Intersonic represents top AV brands and has strong relationships with regional integrators and customers. Intersonic offers AV technology solutions for a range of customer needs, including large-scale and small event productions, to in-business displays and audio.
“Intersonic has an excellent track record with deep experience and relationships in the Scandinavian AV market,” said Michael Peveler, vice president of sales at AtlasIED. “With our growing customer base in the region, Intersonic is ideally suited to help meet our goals and serve our Scandinavian integration partners and customers.”
“We are extremely pleased to add AtlasIED to our portfolio of audio products and represent the company’s products to customers in Scandinavia,” said Anders Schärer, sales manager for audio at Intersonic. “AtlasIED products are known for their quality and reliability, and the Intersonic team is proud to help extend its reputation for excellence in customer service to support customers in the region.”
UK - This Autumn, Natalie Imbruglia embarked on a celebratory tour de force of her 1997 debut album Left of the Middle, the album that made her an indie-pop star.
After a 12-year hiatus from recording music and with a brand-new album in tow, fans were both expectant and suitably excited for her highly anticipated comeback tour.
With a music career spanning a quarter of a century, it would be easy to rely on past hits to carry the show's opener. Instead, fans were treated to a triumphant return with What it Feels Like, a track from Imbruglia’s latest, album, Firebird.
“Natalie gave me my first touring job back in 2015,” notes production manager Rob Jones. “Today, we have a small but exceptionally talented crew who work incredibly hard.”
Although Jones had never worked with Brit Row before, they came highly recommended from his audio team. “It was clear from our conversations just how accommodating and supportive Brit Row are,” he adds.
”It’s true - we could be in the middle of nowhere, and they’d still find a way to get the gear we need.”
With Brit Row’s services firmly in place and with a variation of genres to contend with in order to bring the live sound to life, there was only one console that fit the bill for FOH Engineer Stefano Serpagli: a DiGiCo SD12.
“The FOH mix is very dynamic, as we do get the full spectrum of her work,” he explains. “There are acoustic sections, and a few older tracks. It’s certainly fun to mix. The combination of DiGiCo’s onboard multi ba
UK - Rental and technical production company Adlib has invested in Robe Forte moving lights and RoboSpot remote follow spot systems to service their busy ongoing work schedule.
Some of the new kit went directly out on the recent Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Live Show - The Battle for Moore Street tour, with lighting designed by Mike Summerfield, who made use of two Fortes on the front truss controlled via two RoboSpot BaseStations positioned side stage by the racks.
“This is one of the best remote follow spot systems out there,” commented Adlib account manager Jordan Willis. “So far, our team has praised this system's additional flexibility. The set-up and operation are easy, so it makes sense that everyone is happy to see it on a rider or a specification.”
Mike Summerfield comments, “The Fortes remove the need for touring bulky follow spots that need carrying up to the ‘gods’, which saves so much time and hassle,” adding that several venues don’t have good ‘traditional’ follow spotting positions anyway, and if production has to rely on house spots, they are constantly an unknown quantity.
“Having this consistency and continuity for each show in exactly the right places is fantastic – the spot ops can also get into a good rhythm, and this shows up on stage.”
The Forte follow spots were used to pick up the actors as they sang, highlighting and ensuring they stood out as the rest of the set morphed into different colours and the lighting shifted from stage washes to show light scenes with varying colours and
USA - To simultaneously ensure professional key lighting while blending seamlessly with the set design, HBO’s Game Theory With Bomani Jones recently utilised Martin VDO Sceptron and MAC Encore Performance lighting fixtures deployed by lighting designer Mike Baldassari.
Produced by HBO, Game Theory with Bomani Jones features the Emmy-winning journalist sharing his satirical takes on the intersection of sports and culture through topical monologues, sketches and deep dives. Season One of is available to stream on HBO Max.
To ensure a sleek and fresh lighting design for the new series, television producer Kathy Welsh hired Mike Baldassari, who utilised Martin lighting fixtures such as the VDO Sceptron and MAC Encore Performance for their versatility, reliability and user-friendliness. MAC Encore Performance fixtures provided all the key light and additional gobo textures, while Sceptron played a key onscreen role in the production.
“The scenic designer wanted an industrial warehouse vibe, including columns with fluorescent lights,” said Baldassari. “You can’t just put fluorescent tubes on television - controlling them without flickering is next to impossible. I knew about the Martin Sceptron and thought it would be the perfect fixture for the design, especially with the wide variety of optical accessories available.
“The Martin VDO Sceptron fixtures with the tube diffuser play the role of fluorescent lights on camera, and the way the fabrication team seamlessly integrated them into the column design, you can’t tell th
USA - After a two-year, pandemic-related wait, The Weeknd’s 19-date After Hours Til Dawn Tour surpassed even the loftiest expectations. This was plain to see (and hear) from the moment the stage erupted in light, and The Weeknd appeared dressed in black and wearing a mask to begin his show with a hauntingly evocative rendition of Alone Again.
Supporting The Weeknd during his transformative two-hour set was an immersive light and video show that featured over 1,100 fixtures and a 180ft video wall supplied by Solotech.
Solotech account executive Robert Kennedy and his team accomplished this feat by drawing on global resources. The resultant lighting and video rig was a key part of a production design.
Going beyond scenery, the design created an actual ‘city’ on stage with 17 custom carved, hard coated, painted buildings in various levels of ruination. Together, these buildings created by TAIT, formed a looming post-apocalyptic skyline.
Jason Baeri, the show’s lighting designer, gave the buildings a very redolent vibe by up-lighting them in dark, brooding colours, often suggestive of smouldering ruins. Helping him accomplish this, was a collection of 84 Chauvet Professional COLORado PXL Bar 16 fixtures provided by Solotech.
“We had half of the COLORados uplighting the buildings to showcase the magnificent detail that Es Devlin (production designer) and scenic designer Jason Ardizzone-West created on these structures,” said Baeri. “The other half were used as accents on the C Stage to help carry its depth and shape.
USA - Lighting designers, programmers and operators all made their way to the Obsidian booth over the course of the three-day show to check out the NX1 lighting console, as well as other consoles in the NX line and a full line of Netron data distribution products.
The NX1 has created quite a buzz in the lighting control community since launching at the Prolight + Sound tradeshow in Frankfurt last April with LDI being the first opportunity for many in the U.S. to see and demo the console in person. The unit has been shipping worldwide since September.
The NX1 is a scalable and full-featured console that offers the complete Onyx experience in an ultra-compact package. It is expandable with the dedicated NXP motorized playback wing, and the NXK, a small USB-powered control surface. Obsidian ran a grand prize drawing at the show with one lucky winner walking away with a brand new NX1 console on the last day of the show.
“Obsidian had great response from the lighting community,” stated Elation channel sales manager John Lopez. “Along with the NX1 systems complete with the NXP and NXK, we featured the full-power DyLOS pixel composer on the NX4 featuring an upcoming release to ONYX. We also featured the NX2 with additional touch monitor and NX Touch as an additional play back wing.
“With the help of Vangelis and Visilis from Capture Sweden, we were also able to feature Capture Visualisation. Both Onyx and Capture share the same libraries provided by AtlaBase, which allows instant libraries for both your control and design software, but mor
USA - The Vari-Lite team says they are “overwhelmed” at the response to the new products showcased at LDI 2022 and by the strength of the brand within the industry.
Three major new flagship products made their US tradeshow debut at the event. A highlight was the Vari-Lite VL3600 Profile IP - a large-scale, high output production profile fixture with an IP65 rating and pitched for touring and TV productions, stadiums and arenas, and large theatres and houses of worship. The other new luminaire showstopper was the VL1600 Profile - an advanced moving head profile luminaire designed for theatrical key lighting applications.
The team also unveiled the new Neo X15 control console, which was powered up for hands-on demo at LDI 2022. The Neo X15 is Vari-Lite’s flagship, high-performance lighting console, offering 15 multifunctional motorized playbacks and backlit encoders, and can output over 50,000 channels out of the box. The intuitive hardware layout includes two built-in monitors, a soft touch control screen, and built-in audio I/O connectivity that makes it easy to integrate lighting cues with sound effects, videos, and more. A smaller 5-fader X5 console is expected out early next year, with the same processor, build quality, and 100 universes of DMX as the X15.
“LDI was incredible for us,” says Brian Friborg, Vari-Lite global sales leader at Signify. “The Vari-Lite brand is as strong as it has ever been so the hard work we have all put in during the past five years is really paying off. I got only positive feedback from designers, partne
UK - UKCA is a new product marking that will soon be required for manufactured products placed on the market in Great Britain. The UKCA marking is intended to eventually replace CE marking and requires that certification of construction products, such as voice alarm control and indicating equipment, is performed by a ‘UK based approved body’.
Baldwin Boxall confirms that all VIGIL2 and VIGIL3 voice alarm products and systems are certified to UKCA and the certificate is available to view on the company’s website (baldwinboxall.co.uk/ukca-certificate-for-vigil2-vigil3-voice-alarm).
Further guidance and information regarding the new UKCA mark can be found on the Government website (gov.uk/guidance/placing-manufactured-goods-on-the-market-in-great-britain).
South Africa - Cape Town-based Ultra Events has purchased 12 Robe Robin LEDBeam 350s from DWR Distribution which went straight to work this past weekend.
Costa Champanis, owner of Ultra Events, was one of the core people during the pandemic who would meet up to come up with plans and ideas to save the live events industry and was instrumental in the formation of #LightSAred. He has a heart for people, and a dedication towards his clients.
“Oh, what I relief!” said Costa. “After a dark period of business during COVID-19, with the events industry being shut down and our ability to work restricted, it’s a great feeling to be on site and doing what we love most with great people and nice toys to work with.”
Johnny Scholtz, DWR’s representative in Cape Town says: “I was able to spend a bit of time with Costa and his team while taking delivery of their new LEDBeam 350s. They already have work for the units this weekend and Costa says they will be properly put to the test this busy season. The team is very excited about the new kit.”
UK - New pay per view streaming platform Lounges.tv is joining forces with London music venue and bar The Lower Third, part of The Outernet, to help support the grassroots music community, providing an online space for artists to stream their performances from the venue to the widest possible audience through the Lounges.tv platform.
Lounges.tv recently launched ‘to democratise the online creator industry, focusing on supporting emerging and grassroots music talent by ensuring that any artist or creator who uses the platform is paid 80% of stream or content revenue within 24 hours’. This ambition reflects the ethos of The Outernet, which uses innovative technology to help the creative community connect with their audiences.
Focusing on The Lower Third’s grassroots performances, which since opening in September are averaging around six shows a week, Lounges.tv partnership means performances in the space will be available for people to stream into their homes through the pay per view service. Fans can therefore support their favourite new acts safe in the knowledge that 80% of the revenue from the streamed performances from the venue will go to the talent themselves.
Speaking about the partnership, Lounges.tv advisor Kiran Sharma - who has managed the careers of musicians including Prince – comments, “Breaking into the music industry is notoriously tough, but Lounges.tv helps artists by ensuring they get fair and swift payments which is so vital for people at the beginning of their career. By partnering with The Lower Third, Lounges.tv is
USA - An army of Hippotizer Media Servers has landed in Brooklyn to feed vast amounts of visual data to 63 HD projectors inside ArtsDistrict Brooklyn’s Limitless AI immersive experience, filling the 10,000sq.ft main gallery space with a 360-degree video.
Created by Istanbul-based artists Ferdi and Eylul Alici of Ouchhh Studio, Limitless AI transports audiences into a world of culture, science and nature. Artificial intelligence reimagines terabytes of data, taking in billions of brushstrokes by historical masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, physics teachings by greats including Stephen Hawking, and brainwave responses by musicians as they perform, among many other extraordinary things. The five-part, 60-minute experience is presented as five separate chapters and features a finale with live music and an opportunity to influence the video via interaction.
At the core of the real-time video data manipulation are seven Hippotizer Boreal+ MK2 Media Servers, controlled by a grandMA3 console. “We have presets in Hippo for each show chapter and the TD computers are generating live data that is being fed over NDI to the Hippo servers,” explains Sofia Claudino, video lead for Limitless AI.
“Everything is driven by our Boreal MK2+ servers and they communicate to the grandMA3 via a Multi-Controller and DMX component. Triggering then happens via the console, with the help of a very precise universal clock system that syncs both video and audio systems. It is a very complex system, and we are impressed with the ability to run a timecode-based-show that re
UK - The untimely passing of Foo Fighters’ drummer, Taylor Hawkins, left the music industry in a state of shock, with some even speculating as to whether the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees would ever perform again.
However the remaining members decided – with the blessing of Hawkins’ family – to hold two all-star concerts in tribute to their late friend, colleague and bandmate, which were held at London’s Wembley Stadium on 3 September and the Kia Forum in Los Angeles on 27 September.
Britannia Row Productions, which has supplied audio equipment and crew to the Foo Fighters global touring activities for over two decades, were trusted to deliver audio reinforcement for this pair of mammoth televised shows.
The six-hour marathon concert at Wembley Stadium was curated with a stellar line-up of artists to honour Hawkins’ life, including Liam Gallagher – who performed Oasis classics Rock 'N' Roll Star and Live Forever – Wolfgang Van Halen, Rush, the Pretenders, Supergrass, Queen, and Hawkins’ 16-year-old son, Shane, who played the drums on Foo Fighters hit, My Hero, in one of the evening’s most poignant moments.
Following weeks of careful planning and preparation from Brit Row’s dedicated team, the company provided 14 engineers and technicians for the emotionally charged show, and a large deployment of L-Acoustics speakers comprising K1, K2, KS28, Kara II, and A15s.
“Out front, our SSL FOH control package was operated by Antony King,” said Brit Row director and Foo Fighters account handl
USA/Europe - The music of Phoebe Bridgers has been captivating an ever-growing fanbase since her first album release in 2017, with lighting designer Spike Kienholz Inglis of Spike Design having been lighting the artist since those early days.
The LA-based singer / songwriter released her second album, Punisher, in 2020. With live events and touring disrupted at the time due to covid, she is now mid-way through a 2022 world tour which started in the US, before moving to Europe for a festival blast through the summer, and ultimately culminating in a UK headliner tour.
For the US leg of the tour, Spike specified a full Robe moving light rig – with 24 x MegaPointes, 24 x Spiiders, 16 x Tetra1s and six Fortes – all supplied by Gateway Studios & Production from St Louis.
Spike first encountered Robe’s products whilst touring Europe in 2014 and has been a big brand advocate ever since. Most of his tours for the last five or six years have featured either Pointes or MegaPointes.
For the Phoebe Bridgers design, five of the Fortes were positioned on the deck with the sixth used as a centre rear key spot flown on a mid-stage truss. Spike describes Robe’s current most powerful moving light as “fantastic” and appreciates the streamlined size for the brightness and power they emit.
Of the 24 x MegaPointes, 16 were in the air and eight on the floor and they were the primary workhorses of the rig. “They look great and are extremely reliable,” he noted.
Eight of the Spiiders were on floor towers as sidelight, used heav
UK - With 35 years’ experience in the corporate events sector, the people at MSP Global know all about the need to adapt. But when Covid brought the industry screaming to a halt, the Liverpool-based events services company overcame its biggest challenge yet, remaining afloat by successfully pivoting to become one of the north-west’s busiest lockdown live streaming facilities.
Now, with the events business roaring back, company founder and MD Colin Reader is ready to write the next chapter in the MSP Global story, investing in new inventory and backing a highly experienced team to build on a prestigious client list that already includes Matalan, Speedy Services, United Utilities, Santander, Monster Energy and Everton Football Club.
“We started looking to upgrade our sound equipment inventory before Covid hit, and I’d always remembered what a strong product Nexo was from my time living and working in South Africa back in the 90s” says Colin, who is also a professional musician.
“After lockdown, Andy (Simmons) and Rich (Soper) from Nexo came up to Liverpool to demo the P+ Series and, quite frankly, we were all blown away. On the strength of that, we visited the Nexo campus in France and were really impressed by what we saw and heard. There was absolutely no ‘hard sell’, just a series of conversations that made it clear to us that the Nexo team really understood our business, and what we need in terms of technology and support to drive it forward.”
Critical listening sessions were arranged, starting with the P+ point source spea
France - Internationally acclaimed Franco-Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado is showing Amazônia, his seven-years-in-the-making photographic journey into the still-unspoiled heart of the world’s greatest and most awe-inspiring wilderness.
Salgado’s work is fittingly celebrated at the Amazônia Exhibition at Palais des Papes in Avignon, which runs until 30 November. Designed by Lélia Wanick Salgado and accompanied by evocative music from Jean-Michel Jarre specifically written for the occasion, this experience features over 200 black & white photographs that reflect the striking complexity and beauty of the Amazon.
Enhancing the power of the exhibit and making it even more transformative is a balanced lighting design by RT Events that features 166 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
Subtle and discrete, their lighting manages to add to the exhibit’s immersive effect without ever distracting from the deeply personal experience visitors have losing themselves in the mesmerizing photographic images. This accomplishment was not lost on Salgado who noted: “The RT events team did a brilliant job, achieving a strong chiaroscuro that was very consistent with my photography.”
As usual, creating “magic” requires a great deal of planning and hard work. The lighting of Amazônia in the Palais des Papes was no exception. The great chapel of the revered and historic structure where the exhibit took place was completed during the pontificate of Clement VI in 1351. It is a hauntingly beautiful space with excellent acoustics,
UK - HH Electronics has announced the launch of its fully-featured SP26 and SP48 digital loudspeaker management systems.
The SP26 is a fully featured 2-IN/6-OUT digital speaker management system with two analogue inputs and six analogue outputs, each managed by a powerful DSP engine. Each input channel provides PEQ, gain control, dynamic low boost, noise gate function, RMS compressor, internal white/pink noise generator, and configurable delay. Each output offers up to 7 PEQ and crossover filters. Easy setup features intuitive front panel controls and an interactive LCD display for local setup, or a dedicated PC control interface for remote monitoring and configuration via USB or RS485.
For applications requiring more inputs and outputs, the SP48 4-IN/8-OUT offers four analogue inputs and eight analogue outputs, each managed by a powerful DSP Engine. Each input channel provides 30 PEQ, gain control, noise gate, RMS compressor and configurable delay. The SP48 supports a full matrix mixing mode where inputs may be routed/mixed in any ratio to any output.
SP26 and SP48 are counterparts to any HH loudspeaker system and are suitable for a wide range of applications including live sound reinforcement, theatres, bars and clubs, houses of worship, conferencing, and corporate events. Both units are also pre-loaded with audio pre-sets specifically for use with HH’s new TNA line array system, enabling swift and easy set up straight out of the box.
UK - Alex Barrand has been appointed sales manager EMEA at Optimal Audio. An experienced audio professional with an impressive background in audio engineering, design and installation, Alex cut his teeth on a number of large-scale festival installs before taking up the position of head of production at the Ministry of Sound.
During this period, he co-designed the main room sound system with Martin Audio and gained valuable experience in the management of technical requests and budgets. In 2011 he moved to take up a global management position with Pioneer Pro Audio.
“Opportunities to be involved in helping to develop a brand from its very early stages are few and far between and not to be missed,” says Barrand. “Optimal Audio’s approach to commercial audio places the emphasis on harnessing cutting-edge technology to help deliver solutions that are easy to operate for end users. That simplicity is essential in the field, and yet all too often seems to be overlooked. I’m excited to be on board with such a fantastic forward-thinking team.”
Bradley Scott Watson, sales director for Optimal Audio adds: “Alex is a hugely respected audio specialist whose track record speaks for itself. He combines a high level of technical expertise with a thorough understanding of the market, and we are confident that he will be instrumental in helping to establish Optimal Audio in the front rank of commercial audio across the EMEA region.”
UK - Birmingham-based event services partner Taylex Group has unveiled its new look to mark significant post-pandemic growth and expansion of its event and exhibition services.
During 15 years of continued expansion, Taylex Group’s team has been synonymous with the delivery of exhibitions and event builds for the likes of Kawasaki, Raleigh, Commonwealth Games 2022 and BST in Hyde Park. Following post-COVID reflection, the business is now primed to enter 2023 with an evolved, expanded range of services and solutions.
The all-new Taylex Group offers full in-house CAD and technical expertise, production and fabrication of state-of-the-art special projects, events, interiors, environments, design and exhibitions.
A supportive and collaborative approach is taken with all clients, reflected by the launch of Taylex located at the NEC, providing modular solutions for exhibiting brands, Expo Supplies strategically located on site to help any business overcome last-minute show hurdles, plus two Londis store fit-outs to assist with retail requirements.
Karl Clark, Taylex group managing director, explains: “I am immensely proud Taylex Group has emerged from testing economic times in its strongest position to date – ready to support a wealth of global brands returning to a once-again flourishing European event market. Working not just as a contractor but as an integrated project partner, our client-first mentality is whole-heartedly adopted by our talented, fast-growing team.
“As we all look to the year ahead, we’ll be championing new educ