High winds and rains along the Atlantic coast battered the three-day event
USA - Lil Wayne, Third Eye Blind, Wu-Tang Clan, Nile Rodgers, Babyface Ray, Maren Morris…. There were plenty of stars at Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water festival on Virginia Beach, but sadly, there was plenty of water too. High winds and rains along the Atlantic coast battered the superstar’s three-day event; a tornado even touched down nearby. Things got so bad, Friday and Saturday’s shows had to be delayed, while Sunday’s was completely cancelled.
But Evan Kirkendall and his team at Harford Sound, along with their collaborator Steve Tanruther’s Rock the House, were able to handle anything Mother Nature dished out, with help from an all-weather rig anchored by 238 IP-rated Chauvet Professional fixtures.
“Thankfully, all of our Chauvet lights were ready take on the storms,” said lead light tech Gabe Odachowski. “Given the size and scope of this festival, along with the weather, it meant a lot that we were able to spend less time stressing over protecting the lights from rain, and more time relaxing in the hotel while we waited for the storms to pass. Evan took a great video during the festival of some Maverick Storm 4s getting drenched, but still performing as if nothing had happened.”
When the storms let up, the 50,000 fans were treated to some unabashedly enthusiastic performances by artists who were just as happy as they were that the wind and rain had subsided, at least for a while. Supporting the performers on stage were searing and intense light shows with aerial beams and crowd effects that turned the festival site into a glowing point of energy against the dark skies.
All of the artists brought their own LDs, except for a few of the daytime acts. They were deftly lit by the event’s board op Vanessa Arciga. Even against the ambient light that worked its way through the overcast skies, these opening acts were backed up by some intense lighting excitement thanks to the rig’s 74 Maverick Storm 4 Profile fixtures.
“Shout out to the incredibly bright output of the Storm 4 Profiles,” said Odachowski. “Nothing surprised me more than when I hit the highlight button in the middle of the day and got absolutely blinded out at FOH by those lights. I was thoroughly impressed by some of the looks we were able to produce! They were truly intense, even with the natural haze from the salty air providing a little bit of help.”
After the sun set, the visiting LDs for the main acts were able to draw on the potency of the festival’s beefy rig to create an endless range of looks. In addition to the Maverick Storm Profiles, the rig featured 96 COLORado Solo Batten units that were used to accent the contours of the truss structures, as well as 36 Rogue Outcast 2X Wash fixtures and 32 Color STRIKE M motorised strobes.
Aside from its sheer fire power, the festival rig benefited from some skilful fixture placement by the design team, which included crew chief Steve Tanruther, and light techs George Cannon, Christina Rupp, Milo Matinus and Andrew Pla.
“The key to the festival rig’s versatility was having a good team, and a well distributed balance of fixtures,” said Odachowski. “All of the lights were evenly distributed across the rig to provide great coverage on and off the stage. We also provided a healthy balance of fixture types for sick eye-candy effects and beautiful beams. This gave the LDs plenty of tools in the toolbox to convey the emotion in each of the performances throughout the festival.”

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