RAMfest 2020 offers designer opportunities
Thursday, 2 April 2020
ethan1Ethan Benjamin with MA3 at RAMfest
South Africa - Days before lockdown, thousands of fans gathered at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria to celebrate the 2020 edition of RAMfest, South Africa’s music festival for all things alternative.
This years’ line up included some of South Africa’s most popular alternative bands, including Facing the Gallows, Peasant, Man as Machine, Newtown Knife Gang, The Valley, Stoker, and Truth & It’s Burden. Highlights of the event included a much-anticipated reunion show by South African rock legends, The Van Coke Kartel and USA-based death metal giants, The Black Dahlia Murder, who headlined the one-day festival.
Festival organisers Real Alternative Music (RAM) once again contracted Stage Effects and Blue Array Productions to provide technical services for the event. Stage Effects’ Erik de Bruin has been working with RAM on the festival for several years and he says that it is one of his favourite festivals to work on.
In the lead up to this years’ RAMfest, Erik used the opportunity to give an up-and-coming young lighting designer, Ethan Benjamin, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get behind an MA3 light console at a festival of this size.
“A few years ago, I found this young guy, Ethan Benjamin, on YouTube, who was making videos about his experience programming on the MA2 platform. I got a hold of him and discovered that, at the tender age of 16, he had taught himself how to programme an MA2 by following YouTube tutorials and online resources. I decided to allow him the opportunity to programme a few gigs over the past two years’ and have been watching him grow ever since!”
“Erik got hold of me the week before RAMfest and asked if I would be interested in doing the lighting for local alternative rock band Truth and It’s Burden’s RAMfest set,” says Ethan. “While I have never listened to metal before, I was really excited to have the opportunity to work on a show of this size and jumped in with both feet!” he says. “The band were keen to experiment with timecoding the lighting for their set, and Erik felt that I was up to the task.”
Knowing that this was a potentially career-changing opportunity for Ethan, Erik approached MA product representative at DWR Distribution, Jannie de Jager, and asked if Stage Effects could use the newly launched grandMA3 light console for the festival. “Ethan is a fantastic programmer, and I wanted to allow him to experience MA’s new console at an actual gig first-hand,” says Erik. “Jannie and the team at DWR are always happy to get behind projects that aim to empower young people in the industry, and this was no exception,” he points out.
“In my opinion, MA Lighting is light years ahead and I am very excited to see how MA3 evolves over the next year or two,” says Ethan.

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