Burna Boy connects with Mavericks in Harare
Wednesday, 7 September 2022
burnaBurna Boy at the Belgravia Sports Club (photo: Lincoln Mandengu)
UK - The sprawling Belgravia Sports Club in Harare was packed with fans this summer when Grammy winner Burna Boy stepped onto the stage a little after 10:30 as part of his Space Drift Tour. It didn’t take long, however, for the mood at the big outdoor facility to take on the intimate air of a cozy live music venue, as the Afrobeats superstar from Nigeria engaged the thousands of Zimbabwean fans in attendance with his magnetic personality and sing-alongs of hits like Last Last.
Contributing to the welcoming atmosphere at the show, which was organised by Hidden Culture, was a production and lighting design by Events Evolution. Blending light and video, the company’s design team, led by Blessing Bero and Tatenda Gaylord Rushwaya, turned the temporary outdoor stage with its high trim, into a glowing light box bathed in warm colours.
Helping them create this inviting panorama were 40 Chauvet Professional fixtures from Events Evolution’s own inventory. Featured in this mix were 11 Maverick MK2 Spot and eight COLORado 2-Quad Zoom fixtures, as well as a collection of Rogues that included seven R1 Beam, four R2 Beam, six R2 Spot and three R2 Wash fixtures.
Positioning the wash fixtures on vertically oriented structures on either side of the stage as well as on upstage overhead truss, the designers ensured that the performance area (including a runway that extended out into the crowd) could be covered in uniform blankets of colours, often monochromatic red, blues and greens. Images shown on the large video wall that ran across the back of the stage, as well as two square, vertical walls on either side, tended to match the colour scheme of the lighting.
Part of the engagement effect also involved audience lighting. The design team provided this with blinders flown in three horizontal formations, one over the stage and two over the side video walls. The rig’s Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures, which were arranged on the downstage deck and flown overhead, were also used to light the crowd, in a more subtle fashion. The designers varied the source of crowd lighting between the blinders and the spots throughout the 90-minute show to create different looks.
The contribution made by the Maverick MK2 Spot units went beyond audience lighting. Bero and Rushwaya relied on the high output 440W blinder to create intense aerial effects. They often direct light just over the crowd to engender excitement while also reinforcing the sense of intimacy that characterized the evening. Flown on two rows of overhead truss as well as on truss that bordered the main video wall, the Rogue fixtures were used for aerial effects as well as to light the stage and runway.
Enlivening the stage in this fashion, the lighting underscored the importance of this concert to the local crowd. (The Nigerian-born Burna Boy was scheduled to appear in Zimbabwe two years ago, but the concert was cancelled due to the pandemic.) This contribution was not lost on one local entertainment publication, which called the show “an epic concert” and sent out kudos to Events Evolution, “the event’s technical partner who literally set a new bar.”

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