ADJ lights Joy Parade performance stages
Friday, 1 April 2022
paradeThe 2022 edition was the biggest Black Joy Parade so far
USA - Both performance stages at this year’s Black Joy Parade celebration in California were illuminated primarily by ADJ fixtures, alongside a handful of additional units from sister company Elation Professional. IP65-rated fixtures were chosen by production company Islay Events for this outdoor event, which took place in the heart of downtown Oakland, CA.
18P HEX IP LED pars illuminated the performers on stage, while Hydro Beam X2 moving heads created piercing beam effects that shot out from the stage over the heads of the huge crowd. The mainstage rig was controlled from an ADJ LINK, while the PA system for the second stage utilised the Imperio mini line array system from ADJ’s Avante Audio brand.
The Black Joy Parade is a celebration of the black community’s influence on cultures past, present and future. This year it involved a parade that started at 13th Street in downtown Oakland just after noon and made its way down Broadway to a four block ‘Celebration Site’ around 20th and 21st Street that was filled with vendors, attractions and two performance stages. The roads of the site were closed for the day and the party ran throughout the afternoon up until the 7pm finishing time. Across the Main Stage and Diaspora Community stage, a continuous line-up of DJs and performers entertained huge crowds, building up to a headline performance from RnB singer Ashanti.
Technical production for both stages was the responsibility of Islay Events, a full-service event planning and production company based in Buellton, CA. The company, headed by industry veteran Jeremy Cable, also took care of production for the last Black Joy Parade event in 2020. Islay Events’ in-house lighting designer, Lazer Freidman, was responsible for the design, programming and running of the main stage rig, which had scaled up production for this year’s show due to the caliber of the headline artist.
The main stage rig’s staple fixture was ADJ’s 18P HEX IP, which is a robust IP65-rated LED par featuring 18 potent 12-Watt 6-in-1 RGBWA+UV colour mixing LEDs. A total of 20 of these units were deployed, serving double duty as both stage washes and audience blinders. Six fixtures were rigged to an upstage Global Truss F34 truss and six more were hung on a similar downstage truss, which together provided an even wash coverage for the stage.
In addition, eight fixtures were positioned on upright trusses at either side of the stage, four per side, to bathe the crowd in vibrant swathes of colour. Finally, six more of the fixtures were also used to wash the smaller second stage, running from an Elation Professional SDC12 compact DMX controller.
“The 18P HEX IP is perfect for large stages and outdoor use,” comments Lazer. “They are rock solid units; we’ve had them outdoors for a month straight, they’ve been kicked, had drinks spilt on them, and come back covered in dust and dirt. I clean them up in the shop using compressed air and they’re as good as new.”
Alongside the wash fixtures, eight of ADJ’s IP65-rated Hydro Beam X2 moving heads were also utilised for the main stage lighting rig. Four of these luminaires were hung, one at either side of the front truss and another pair in a similar configuration on the rear truss. The remaining four units were positioned on road cases running across the back of the stage.
“The Hydro Beam X2 is as bright as hell,” states Lazer. “It’s pretty epic, you could see the beams in the sky from literally miles away. Once it started to get darker towards the evening, I started to use the GOBOs and prisms to create some really nice effects in the air and out into the crowd. It is definitely a beam, not a spot, so the beam angle is very narrow. However, on a big rig like this, the flown fixtures were far enough away that I was able to use them to get that spot kind of effect in the middle of the stage for the headline performance.”
Completing the main stage lighting rig, the Islay Events team also utilized eight of Elation Professional’s ELED Strip 50 RGB LED batten fixtures, which – despite long since being discontinued – are still going strong. To control the main stage rig, Lazer used the ADJ LINK.
“We first used the LINK at San Francisco Pride last year, but that wasn’t really a big flashy kind of show, and there haven’t been a lot of concerts happening recently, so this is definitely the biggest show we’ve used it on,” explains Lazer. “I’m still learning everything there is to know about the LINK, but I really like it. It’s easy to generate nice effects, and the touchscreen of the iPad and the hardware controls pair really well together and make for a very useable control solution.
For the second stage, Islay Events also relied upon a sound system from ADJ’s sister company, Avante Audio. They utiliSed eight of the Imperio compact and versatile array modules, which are each loaded with a pair of small woofers alongside six high frequency inverted dome tweeters.
Coming back from its pandemic induced hiatus with a bang, the 2022 edition was the biggest Black Joy Parade so far. Upwards of 80,000 people participated in the event in some way, either by watching the parade or visiting the Celebration Site, or both.

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