Highlights include the 2015 NFL Draft and several booths for the North American Auto Show (photo: Michael Franks)
USA - At the mid-year mark, Christie Lites reports a busy and successful 2015 for its new Chicago rental office, which officially opened in January. The full-service, 50,000sq.ft warehouse in the suburb of Woodridge, Illinois, marks #13 for this North American stage lighting and rigging rental company.

Said Christie Lites CEO Huntly Christie, "I have always considered Chicago the sister city to my home town of Toronto. We both enjoy great history, architecture, water, food, sport and wonderful people. Christie Lites is pleased to complete this sibling connection with the opening of our new warehouse in Woodridge. We can now provide local service and support in the home of the largest convention centre in North America."

"The calendar has been active primarily with corporate events," said Christie Lites operations manager Eric Eaton, citing the city's large convention centres and the A-List of Fortune 1000 companies. Highlights include the 2015 NFL Draft, several booths for the North American Auto Show and a very large corporate event at McCormick Place. A handful of tours such as the electronic band Keys N Crates and the popular Electric Forest Festival sprinkled through the calendar kept the warehouse bustling with business.

Eaton, who joined Christie Lites after 16 years at Upstaging, appreciates Christie Lites' model of teamwork across all locations. "The teamwork between the offices is great. We have the support of all of the Account Reps across the country, which I find unique," he said. "All shows come through Chicago at some point, so we can support the smaller as well as larger shows, and if I send out a show from here, I know my clients will be supported when it comes through their towns. It all comes down to servicing the client, no matter where they are."

The Chicago shop provided seven semi-trucks packed end to end with lighting gear and truss for the Electric Forest Festival, 25-28 June in Rothbury, Michigan. Production designer Travis Shirley designed the Main Stage and Sherwood Court Stages as well as other areas, working with his longtime Christie Lites account rep Robert Roth.

Roth's relationship with Travis Shirley began at Christie Lites with a 30 Seconds to Mars show, followed by multiple Enrique Iglesias tours, Lollapalooza, and Keith Urban. Shirley focuses on production design and creative direction for concerts and touring, TV, high profile gatherings and fashion shows, and Roth works with him as much as possible from the small gigs to the massive festivals.

"My close working relationship with Travis Shirley produces the best overall results for the customer," Roth said. "He is the designer, and I support him in realizing his vision. He shares with me a brief of what the design hopes to accomplish, and I assist by using the versatile inventory of CL products. This brings the job in on budget for Travis while providing the impact he desires."

(Jim Evans)

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