ADJ LED lights festival at historic Texas venue
Monday, 20 July 2020
cam-festProduction for the event was supplied by fledgling local company Gain Stage Productions
USA - Following many weeks of COVID-19 lockdown, the people of Athens, Texas had the opportunity to enjoy live music again last month when neighbourhood event space Common Area Market hosted a community music festival called CAM Fest. Production for the event was supplied by fledgling local company Gain Stage Productions, including a lighting rig comprised exclusively of ADJ LED-powered fixtures.
Based on the site of a 100-year-old cotton gin that serves as a local landmark in Athens but had been abandoned for decades, Common Area Market is the brainchild of Marine Corps vets and married couple Chris and Amanda Marholz. The vision for Common Area Market is a venue where the people of Athens can gather to eat, enjoy live music and celebrate big events.
Following a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, the first phase of the site’s redevelopment has been completed. This included renovating the main building as the Ol’ Gin indoor event space, creating an outdoor area called The Backyard featuring a temporary outdoor stage (there are plans to add a larger, permanent stage in the future) and opening an onsite burger bar (Athens has a claim to being the birthplace of the hamburger).
As with many in the hospitality industry, the young business was hit hard when it had to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is weathering the storm and, having opened at the end of May, organised the CAM Fest event in June to kickstart the summer season. With two acres of outdoor space, the venue was able to welcome hundreds of socially-distanced guests who enjoyed live music from six bands over the course of the eight hour event.
Production for CAM Fest, as well as all of the other in-house events hosted at Common Area Market, was provided by another new local company, Gain Stage Productions. Founded just last year by experienced production industry pro Wes Akin, the birth of this new company is closely linked to that of the venue.
For CAM Fest, Wes setup a rig based around six Global Truss floor-standing totems that were positioned around Common Area Market’s temporary outdoor stage. He stood his four ADJ Vizi CMY300 hybrid moving head fixtures on top of four of these totems, which lined the back of the stage. This allowed for projection of Gobos onto the corrugated metal side of the gin building, which forms the backdrop to the stage, as well as shooting beams out over the band into the audience.
“The full colour mixing combined with that 300W LED engine makes the Vizi CMY300 a really great fixture,” comments Wes. “I have several buddies who use them, so I had seen them in action many times before I invested in my own. They are fast moving, have great output, the colour mixing is very impressive and you can create loads of different effects with the two prisms and two GOBO wheels; I’m still learning all the different things I can make them do! I used them for CAM Fest, then for a dance recital two weeks later. Especially when I put them inside, in a room full of haze, those things just rock.”
Colour washing was provided through a combination of ADJ 18P HEX LED pars and UB 12H LED bar fixtures. Two bars were mounted to the forward truss totems to wash the stage, while two more were positioned on the stage to illuminate the drum riser. Six of the pars were rigged to the rear truss totems to provide backlight, while a further two on the forward trusses provided front light for the stage.
Just prior to this event, Wes took delivery of the latest additions to his lighting inventory, a pair of ADJ Vizi Beam Z19 moving head washes. Naturally, he was keen to try them out at CAM Fest, where they were rigged to the two central truss totems. Each of these fixtures feature 19 x 20W quad colour (RGBW) LEDs that are arranged into seven independent zones, allowing the creation of animated ‘eye candy’ effects.
Wes operated the rig from ADJ’s myDMX 3.0 software, which he finds to be a flexible control solution for a wide variety of different events and productions. Meanwhile, atmospherics were provided by an ADJ Entourage 1400W professional touring grade faze machine that is built into a durable flight case.
(Jim Evans)

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