Country music on The Strip
USA - If you’re looking for a place to hear live country music day or night while enjoying a meal on the Vegas Strip, Ole Red is your ticket. The recently opened restaurant, bar, and live music venue in the heart of Las Vegas features a Clair Global Integration (CGI) and an innovative lighting design by Bryant Woelk, owner/ senior lighting designer of FXLighting LLC, featuring lighting from Elation.
The Blake Shelton inspired Ole Red, operated by Opry Entertainment Group, offers patrons a full experience with live music, delectable dining, and a vibrant bar scene. The first Ole Red opened in Shelton's hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, in 2017 with Las Vegas the entertainment chain’s sixth location.
Clair Global Integration procured audio, lighting and backbone control for the new venue and handled system design, installation and programming. Bradley Cronenwett, senior lighting designer at Clair, oversaw the design phase to ensure the systems fulfilled the client’s brief and high standard. “Although Ole Red operates as a restaurant, the client wanted to capture an immersive feeling like you were sitting in a seat at a concert, but with hospitality,” Cronenwett states. “It’s a high energy, fun environment and everything about it is really a cut above.”
Ryman Hospitality Properties, who own Opry Entertainment Group, has entrusted CGI to successfully execute all of the Ole Red venues, a strong and enduring partnership that has helped to ensure unparalleled entertainment experiences across all Ole Red locations. Clair worked closely with Andy Roy, assistant director of production and technical services for Opry Entertainment Group, to ensure all the needs were met on the Las Vegas project.
Clair brought in Bryant Woelk to carry out the lighting design for the Vegas venue, the designer’s first collaboration with Clair, Ryman and Ole Red. Woelk, who brought with him experience designing for similar projects, says he had full creative freedom to create the lighting atmosphere and took much of his inspiration from frequent visits to an Ole Red near his home in Orlando, drawing on the venue's style to tailor an immersive experience for the larger Las Vegas location.
Featuring an ever-changing selection of country talent, including occasional sets by Blake Shelton himself, Ole Red Las Vegas hosts live music on a main stage from the time doors open in the late morning until they close late at night. Spread across three levels - a ground floor with two balcony levels overlooking a main stage - all are laid-back dining areas where guests can experience concert-calibre country music from their seats.
The main stage lighting features a full concert rig working from balcony rail pipe surrounded by atmospheric lighting. Woelk comments, “For our workhorse fixture we wanted a nice moving light and chose the Fuze Spot which is mainly used for front light but also gobo texture wash on the stage and for a nice moving light spot to fill the air. DARTZ 360 narrow beam moving heads, on upstage booms, were chosen for their beam effects without overwhelming the audience, a perfect balance of a nice tight beam but not blinding to the eye.”
Woelk specified the lighting but says he didn’t require fixture demos as he knew exactly what he wanted, having used the majority of the fixtures before. The exception was the Colour 5 Profile ellipsoidal, used for stage wash on the main stage and for IMAG purposes. Because it’s such a large space, IMAG is used heavily across a large 37-ft-high LED screen so the lighting design also had to be IMAG friendly, Woelk says.
The Colour 5 Profile fulfils another role as well. A signature decorative piece of Ole Red venues is a real farm tractor that hangs upside-down, about 50ft above the crowd. As a conversation piece and photo target, it needed to be properly lit, which Woelk does using three of the fixtures.
Woelk says the goal of immersing patrons in a concert-like atmosphere across a three-story venue offered its own unique challenges. “You want to be sure that everyone has a view to the stage from all three floors, but especially from the top floor that posed a challenge. It's a live concert venue and restaurant but most importantly it is an interactive space so I added several lighting positions over the tables in the house to play along with the stage lighting to make it feel immersive and allow the audience to feel like they are part of the show.”
Among the standout fixtures used are the SixPar 100 and SixPar 300 for audience wash and stage lighting, respectively, the SixPar 300s providing top light from a throw of 35 feet. Lighting is used throughout the entire venue on all three floors, from the stage all the way back to the bar, an immersive atmosphere that clearly inspires guests to dance, transforming the space into a full-blown honky-tonk.
The rooftop features a bar and small stage and because it is outside, posed a different set of challenges. Woelk explains, “Coming from Florida and understanding inclement weather and the need for IP-rated fixtures, Vegas posed a different reason for having IP-rated fixtures in the form of sand storms. Needing IP-rated fixtures for an environment that rarely gets rain may seem a bit strange but keeping sand and dust out of the fixtures was very important.”
Proteus Rayzor 760 function as a moving head wash while IP-rated SixPar Z19 IP luminaires wash the entire stage, delivering stunning visuals for the rooftop stage while withstanding the unique challenges of outdoor performances.
Providing atmospheric haze and mid-air projection canopy in both the indoor and rooftop spaces is a Magma Prime hazer from Magmatic atmospheric effects.

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