‘We Belong Here prides itself on offering a one-of-a-kind, intimate music experience’
USA - One of the festival season’s early gatherings took place 25-26 February when Miami’s Virginia Key Beach transformed into a pop-up beach club for We Belong Here.
Datum Creative was responsible for the site, production and lighting design and turned to Elation Professional's range of IP-rated luminaires to carry the production visually and fulfill the festival organiser’s ‘no video’ brief. Technical Arts Group (TAG) served as lighting vendor.
We Belong Here prides itself on offering a one-of-a-kind, intimate music experience with Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic as the backdrop. The no video brief, while uncommon for shows of this stature, allowed for a 360-degree design that fully immersed guests in the music and gave the audience room to wrap around what was essentially an island main stage.
“The brief was to create a nightclub feel with space rather than a festival look where people are looking at video walls and the stage all the time,” explains Datum Creative principal Dave Singleton, who handled production and site design on the project. “They didn’t want to cram people into a small space so there was one and a half times the space you would normally have in a show like this. It made for an excellent atmosphere and really made it comfortable for the guests.”
Datum Creative's involvement in We Belong Here extended beyond the lighting design. They were responsible for designing the entire layout of the site and consulted on production management. Despite being contracted in December, Datum Creative swiftly executed the project and had a design proposal prepared by early January. “The client let us know that the show went on rain or shine so lighting had to be IP rated,” said Singleton. “Because there was no video on the show, lighting carried the entire production all weekend.”
The rig consisted of 68 Proteus Hybrid moving heads, 34 Proteus Rayzor 760 LED wash/beam lights, 60 SixBar 1000 IP LED battens, 60 DTW Blinder 350 IP LED 2-lite blinders, and 36 Paladin Panel LED flood and effect lights, plus other lighting.
The 360-degree design centred around shipping containers, which formed the entire circular outline of the site and helped to create the sense of space. The containers, painted purple, is where most of the production was located with additional lighting gear also working from two truss ‘palm trees’ located in the middle of the site. Singleton explains that due to the 360-degree design, it was crucial to have illumination throughout the area, not least to provide an interesting background for the multitude of posts that flooded social media.
To achieve a variety of visual aesthetics across the site, lighting was dispersed across four container locations, utilising different container heights, a straightforward strategy of delineating the space that was highly successful. In order not to lose the container concept after dark while helping to light the entire site, 20,000-lumen Paladin Panel LED floodlights were used to uplight each container, two per container. A further eight fixtures were used to uplight each palm tree (one fixture per branch).
The Proteus Hybrid moving heads were used for their powerful punch and were put at every container location, including along the stage and in each of the truss palm trees.
The Proteus Rayzor 760 LED lights were employed to create wash and visually captivating effects throughout the event space, as well as to border the stage. Moreover, the edges of the containers were lined with one-meter long SixBar 1000 LED battens, producing an alluring pixel effect.
New York and Miami-based production and rental company Technical Arts Group (TAG) served as lighting vendor on the project. TAG, formed in 2021 when several production and rental companies joined forces, holds a large inventory of Elation IP65 lighting. “TAG did such an amazing job,” Singleton remarked. “They are big enough to cope but small enough to care and carry a great inventory of Elation IP fixtures, all of which is fairly new. Great collaboration is what really makes a show and we couldn’t have been happier with the team from TAG.”

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