ADJ lights California Plaza all summer long
Wednesday, 18 October 2023
plazaThe concerts are hosted in California Plaza Park in Downtown Los Angeles
USA - Throughout the summer, a lighting rig comprised almost exclusively of ADJ IP65-rated fixtures was used to illuminate the Grand Performances series of free concerts in Downtown LA.
California Plaza was illuminated for the weekly Saturday evening concerts by ADJ’s lime-infused Encore series of static LED wash fixtures, complemented by Hydro Wash X19 moving heads. In addition, key lighting and Gobo projections were handled by ADJ’s flagship Hydro Profile IP65-rated automated profile luminaires, which sat at the heart of lighting designer Edgar Gonzalez’s extensive rig.
Grand Performances is a non-profit organisation that provides free access to global performing arts, made possible thanks to generous support from the LA City Department of Cultural Affairs and LA County’s Department of Arts and Culture. Its mission is to inspire community, celebrate diversity, and unite Los Angeles through music, dance, poetry, theatre and more.
The organisation has presented free live concerts in downtown LA since 1986 and this year’s programme featured an eclectic line-up of global music, dance, and poetry. Concerts took place almost every Saturday evening, from 3 June through 26 August, featuring performers from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, covering a diverse mix of genres, from cumbia to hip hop, funk to jazz, and much more. As well as attracting large crowds in person, each concert was also filmed professionally and made available for online viewing through YouTube.
The concerts are hosted in California Plaza Park, a large public recreational space located in the Grand Avenue Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, at the top of the historic Angel’s Flight funicular railway. The Grand Performances organisation owns its own lighting system, which is rigged from two side-stage truss structures and two front of house truss towers. Prior to this season, the lighting featured older conventional fixtures that were due to be replaced anyway but were finished off by the very rare rainstorms that hit LA in the Spring!
Lighting designer Edgar Gonzalez had already put together a proposal for a new LED-powered, IP65-rated system using predominately ADJ fixtures. The pre-season rain expedited the purchase of the new equipment, and it was all in place ready for the first night of the summer run. Edgar was first brought in to work on Grand Performances in 2022 as a programmer/operator, the success of which led to his appointment as lighting design for this season.
The new lighting system was purchased through Latin Power Lighting & Sound, based in South Gate, CA, and installed by Edgar’s own company, Designs By Lighting, working in collaboration with Grand Performances’ in-house crew.
The new system’s key moving head fixture is ADJ’s Hydro Profile. A total of 10 units are utilised across the Grand Performances rig, with four fixtures providing key lighting - two on each of the front truss towers, and six more - split equally between the two side stage trusses, used to create textured gobo projections and aerial beam effects.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the Hydro Profiles,” comments Edgar. “They are plenty bright, pretty punchy, and have all the features I could ask for. I’ve particularly appreciated the framing system, having the ability to precisely shutter off areas of the light output is extremely useful.
“For example, for one of the performances that was DJ-based, we had a video wall in front of the DJ setup and I was able to use the framing to light the performers perfectly without hitting the screen at all. It's also great to have CMY colour mixing: sometimes I will run colour effects over both the LED fixtures and the profiles and that works really well.
“Finally, the rotating gobos, prisms and, particularly, the animation wheel, mean that I can create movement without actually moving the fixtures. Projecting on the buildings behind the stage, I was able to create some really nice looks that set the right mood for the more laid-back performances.”
The other fixture from ADJ’s Hydro Series which Edgar selected for the rig was the Hydro Wash X19. Featuring 19 40W Osram RGBW colour mixing LEDs. Six units were utilised within the Grand Performances rig, with three rigged to each of the side stage truss structures.
“I used the Hydro Wash X19s in a few different ways,” explains Edgar. “They could hit the stage as side lights, I could zoom them in to create a beam effect for ballyhooing, and I also had them in the full extended mode so could make use of their pixel control capabilities. Using the DyLOS media engine from Obsidian I ran effects across the X19s, as well as the LED panels and pars, which are particular important as these shows started before sunset. I relied on those eye candy effects for the first part of the evening and then moved more into beam effects when it became fully dark later in the evening.”
Additional eye candy effects were created using ADJ’s multifunctional Jolt Panel FX LED strobe/wash fixtures. “The Jolt Panel FX is a very bright fixture, in fact most of the time I had to dim them down,” explains Edgar. “They are also very versatile.
In addition to the moving heads and Jolt Panel FXs, Edgar also utilised multiple fixtures from ADJ’s Encore Lime Series of LED wash fixtures to illuminate both the performance space and wider plaza area. Five Encore LP32IP panel fixtures were rigged to each of the side truss structures, which provided side wash coverage for the stage as well as pixel effects visible from front of house.
In addition, Encore LP18IP LED par fixtures were mounted to the rear of the side trusses and used to point backwards and illuminate the trees and concrete planters which served as the stage’s backdrop. Finally, the smaller Encore LP12IP model was used to illuminate an amphitheatre located off to the side of the main audience space. On the concert nights these were integrated into the main rig to extend the colour washes out into the crowd, while they also provided the backbone of a standalone system used for monthly poetry nights hosted in the amphitheatre.
“Having the lime LED chip on the Encore Lime Series fixtures really does make a difference when it comes to CRI,” enthuses Edgar.
Complementing the Encore par fixtures in the amphitheatre, Edgar also specified three of ADJ’s Hydro Spot 2 feature-packed moving head spot luminaires.

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