Elation lights inaugural Peak to Sky festival
Friday, 13 September 2019
peak-to-skyphoto-by-kene-sperry1Rock in the shadow of Lone Mountain (photo: Kene Sperry)
USA - The first annual Peak to Sky festival in Montana in early July featured Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses), Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) on the bill. Local event producers Outlaw Partners and lighting suppliers Jereco Studios were at the sharp end.
“We knew going in that we would have to put together a package that would be fitting of some of the biggest names in rock n' roll,” says Frank Douglas of Bozeman-based Jereco Studios. With at least 75% of the live production done by Jereco Studios during the summer months outdoors, Douglas says that in southwest Montana at least 75% of those shows experience some degree of inclement weather. “From sustained high winds, to hail, to rain, to snow, our most exposed fixtures need to be able to withstand that. Elation has led the way with their large selection of IP-rated fixtures.”
The 4th of July weekend Peak to Sky festival, curated by McCready, featured two days of rock music under the striking backdrop of Lone Mountain in Big Sky, Montana. Produced by award-winning media and events company Outlaw Partners, fans witnessed history as multiple hall of famers took to the stage as an ethereal sky and picture-perfect sunset played out in the background. The festival also featured multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Brandi Carlile and Seattle-based female rockers Thunderpussy.
Douglas, who served as lighting designer, programmer and lighting op with lighting design and programming assistance by Lauren Plant, says a wide, symmetrical combination of spots, hybrids, washes, and effect fixtures were chosen to populate a Stageline SL320 mobile stage provided by Rocky Mountain Rigging.
The downstage electric housed all Elation IP65 fixtures (eight Proteus Hybrid, eight Proteus Rayzor 760 and 2 DTW Blinder 700IP) with the midstage holding LED moving head effect lights. The upstage electric held eight Elation Rayzor 760s while the upstage deck housed LED moving head effects as well as 12 Elation SixPar300s, two DTW Blinder 700IPs, and a pair of ADJ Mega Flash strobes.
The IP65 rating of the Proteus Hybrids and Rayzors, along with the DTW Blinders, were key to their downstage placement and role in the rig. “The new Proteus Rayzor 760s have excellent output and zoom all the way out to 77° for total coverage at any distance, making them an ideal wash fixture in their standard mode,” says Douglas. “I normally like to put spots/hybrids on my upstage electric and deck, but the Proteus Hybrids have proven to be a versatile go-anywhere beast. In beam mode they cut through the sky, giving it that big rock show feel, yet they also thrive in spot mode, and at that distance from the cyc were used for crisp gobo projection and animation.”
The LD says the upstage Rayzor 760s wound up being a perfect choice for mirroring the large LED moving head effect lights. “I ran the upstage Rayzors in pixel mode, which were plotted in 2D to control each cell,” he says, “making for much more pleasing dimmer and color effects, as well as pixel mapping alongside the LED effect lights in their extended mode.”
Rounding out the rig were SixPar 300s, which provided upwash onto a cyc, while another pair of DTW Blinders were positioned directly behind Chad Smith and Taylor Hawkins' drum risers to create a silhouette when blacking out the rest of the rig.
With 5,500 people attending the two-day, sold out event in Big Sky, the inaugural Peak to Sky festival was a big success. McCready, who took part in a number of classic jams throughout the festival, said he hopes to make the festival an annual event.
(Jim Evans)

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