Equitana is staged every two years at Melbourne Showground (photo: Katelyn Nash)
Australia - Equitana is a four-day equine extravaganza staged every two years at Melbourne Showground, celebrating the spirit and passion of Australian equestrians and the integral place that horses play in Australian hearts, minds, history, culture, and society.
The last such event was in 2018 as the 2020 one was canned due to Covid, so this year, organisers GTR Events brought it back bigger, better, and more brilliant than before!
Lighting designer and technical producer for the event Marcus Pugh specified Robe Esprites and MegaPointes as primary moving lights on his lighting scheme for the 2022 Mane Event, an entertainment spectacle staged on the Mane Stage of the Grand Pavilion venue.
This all-action night for all horse lovers showcased multiple horse-based and related skills and featured numerous breeds and equine performers!
The Mane Event was presented by Australian horseman Guy McLean, known for his magnetic wit and charismatic personality as well as his almost supernatural connection with horses which delighted the 4,260-capacity sold-out audience for Mane Event.
Marcus also lit this show in 2018 but in a different venue. The Grand Pavilion is a large 89ft high six-pole ‘big top’ style tensile membrane structure which is the Showgrounds’ centrepiece. In this case, a 70 x 30m sand arena was created inside to accommodate all the horse activities.
Rigging – with six poles – is a major challenge and creativity is a must, so Marcus and the team from Melbourne based rental specialist Harry the Hirer Productions, who provided all the lighting, audio, vision, staging and rigging equipment, responded with great enthusiasm.
They designed a custom bridling system which has been engineered to take enormous horizontal loads off the King and Queen poles which enabled the installation of trusses spanning the 36m between the poles, plus a large central four-sided LED which looked like it was suspended in space!
A diversity of lighting hardware was used including around 150 moving lights of which the 24 x Robe Esprites and 18 x MegaPointes were the ‘workhorse’ fixtures.
The Esprites were used for highlighting and texturing parts of the arena and for throwing projections onto the tent skins which looked impressive.
Four additional Esprites were deployed on the two RoboSpot systems – two per BaseStation – offering scope to follow what were often extremely fast-moving targets with horses galloping around the arena.
MegaPointes are Marcus’s first choice of beam moving light and have been for some time. “They’re fantastic for all the big accents and WOW moments!” he enthused, adding that 24 x MegaPointes is enough to create serious visual impact!
Marcus designed and managed the lighting, audio and video systems with grandMA 3 programming by Cam McKaige and Chad Spenser.

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