The Suwanee River Jam is a popular and well known annual three-day country music festival staged in Live Oak, Florida (photo: Donna Jean)
USA - The legendary Suwannee River is enshrined in folklore and history - the wild backwater river rises in the Okefenokee Swamp emerging at Fargo, Georgia, passes through southern Georgia and northern Florida for 246 miles before flowing out into the Gulf of Mexico near the town of Suwannee.

The Suwanee River Jam is a popular and well known annual three-day country music festival staged in Live Oak, Florida and attended by around 9000 music enthusiasts. Robe Lighting Inc.'s Thommy Hall - regional sales manager for the southeastern U.S. and also an LD and programmer in his own right - has been involved with lighting both stages at this major event in his hometown ... for the last seven years.

This year, he was able to supply a variety of Robe products for use on both the Main and Amphitheater Stages in what was also a fabulous working showcase opportunity.

Thommy worked closely this year with First Street Music & Sound of Lake City, Florida, who coordinated production on the Amphitheater Stage and Pyramid Productions from Lexington, Kentucky who delivered technical production to the Main Stage.

The Main Stage featured six of Robe's super-bright BMFL Spots and six LEDWash 600s, which were used together with some other lighting by a variety of artists including Alabama, Chris Young, Josh Turner and Thompson Square. Most acts brought their own LDs.

Thommy's production lighting design for the Amphitheatre Stage comprised all Robe lights - four LEDBeam 1000s, six Pointes, eight CycFX 8s and four miniPointes, all provided by Robe, plus six of Pyramid's LEDWash 300s - which Thommy traded for the six LEDWash 600s on the main stage ... as they needed the additional power to throw to the stage in the larger space!

Thommy ran lights for all artists on the AmphitheatreStage apart from Rodney Atkins who brought his own LD Adam Grey.

The logistics and set-up of the event meant that Thommy's busy schedule first saw him visiting the main stage early during load-in where he talked to the various LDs and familiarized them with the BMFLs and LEDWash 600s. He then spun them around the park in his way-cool Polaris utility vehicle, including taking a ride down to the Suwannee River itself and touring the festival campgrounds before whizzing over to the Amphitheatre stage to run them through the fixtures installed there.

The amphitheatre stage is a wooden structure that requires a slightly "off-beat" approach to rigging, explained Thommy, which is usually solved with a bit of lateral thinking and some imaginative use of pipe - to facilitate hanging points for lights.

He designed the stage lighting based on the availability of demo fixtures from Robe's Cooper City HQ which determined the fixture counts - and changed right up until a few days before the load-in - all adding to the challenges!

He programmed the Amphitheatreon an Avolites Sapphire Touch which was supplied by Brad White from Avolites.

(Jim Evans)

Latest Issue. . .