The 2023 Zamna Festival in Tulum (photo: Jesus Arce)
Mexico - The beauty, magic and history of Mexican Caribbean indigenous cultures blended with dance beats as the rhythm and free spirit of rave sent a rush of positive energy and human experience coursing through the 2023 Zamna Festival in Tulum.
The eye-catching jungle venue surrounded by nature reserves and sacred cenotes, provided an appropriate setting for this event, and into this dreamscape reality stepped lighting designer Eran Klein, working with artist Black Coffee on the Island Stage.
Eran was asked to light Black Coffee’s performance by Oren Heknin – a long term client and underground club promoter / presenter. Eran insisted on having Robe Spiiders, MegaPointes LEDBeam 150 and Tetra2 moving lights on his rig, which involved swapping out the originally proposed moving lights for his Robe luminaires.
“I could not contemplate producing such a special show without the right tools,” he commented.
The Island Stage – one of several performance spaces across the site – is surrounded by water and an integral part of this large outdoor club environment which energises each year through January, attracting major DJs and music producers from around the world.
Behind the DJ booth and stage was a permanent ground support structure which could be utilised for lighting positions, but Eran and the Black Coffee team built their own 8m high ‘heart’ centrepiece in front of this.
This comprised custom goalposts creating four arches in a slightly abstract heart shape – open to interpretation in numerous imaginative, interesting and amusing ways!
Loaded with the Robe lights, this became the architectural hub of the Black Coffee performance, radiating energy all the way around the dancefloor, pulling people into its celestial boundaries. Black Coffee shows often have a visual feature to suit the specific performance space and place.
Eran put the 10 x Robe MegaPointes, five a side plus strobes, on the outer arches. The inner arches were used to rig the 32 x Spiiders plus 16 x 1-lite blinders. Underneath the structure, four Tetra2 moving LED battens were deployed horizontally orientated, complemented by three vertically hung Tetra2s per side, so a total of 10 x Tetra2s.
Another two Spiiders were on the downstage PA towers for artist key lighting. They “did a fantastic job,” enthused Eran.
Carefully curated ‘atmospheric engineering’ was key to the show he wanted to produce and having the Robe fixtures onboard was “fundamental” to creating the dynamics that fed this concept.
The party started at 10pm and Black Coffee was onstage at 4am – preceded by Who Made Who – so everyone was aware that come 6.30am the sun would be rising.
“I needed a design and lights that would work best with the biggest lightsource of them all rising in the morning sky … and I thought Spiiders,” commented Eran. He knew that they would be visible as the shadows of the night revealed a bright and crispy dawn through the haze.
Effectively, Eran built a three dimensional ‘temple of light’ with Spiiders, an idea “inspired by the Mayan indigenous warriors whose culture and historic legacy permeates the whole region.”
Eran programmed and ran the show on a grandMA2 console. All lighting equipment was supplied by rental company Logra Mexico, via their Cancun office.
The sound designer was Jeronimo Ignacio Sanches AKA ‘Nacho’, Island Stage Manager Borja de Torres kept everything running on time and the Heart piece was a collaboration between Pomelo and Dynamic Waves.
The Zamna Festival was produced by EBM (Entertainment Business Management). Head of production Miguel Lovera worked closely with Donald Hernandez, Lisa Bevers, and Toni Rocio.

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