Bandit Lites had the distinct honor of being a part of an historical event when the Grand Ole Opry House needed to be restored following last spring's devastating Nashville flood.. The day the rains stopped, and before the water started to recede, Opry Lighting Director Tyler Bryan and other Opry staffers were inside the Opry House in canoes. The entire stage and seating area was under several feet of water. The devastation the floodwaters left behind was unimaginable. One of the first calls Tyler made was to National Director of Sales & Installations Chris Barbee to begin the task of restoring the storied building.
Four days after the water receded, Chris and John Jenkinson toured the facility with Bryan to evaluate the damage, create a plan for the renovation and provide cost estimates for the work. The planning and decision making time were critically short as the Opry's 85th birthday celebration was slated for October 9, 2010. From the day the marching orders were given, the team had less than three months to work a miracle. Opry VP and GM Pete Fisher, Opry Executive Director of Operations Debbie Ballentine and Technical Services Manager Jon Mire, Bryan, General Contractor RC Matthews, Electrical Contractor Wolfe & Travis, Bandit Lites, and the entire Opry team vowed to make the Opry shine again.
A team of Bandits, sometimes numbering 12 or more, worked endlessly with the house staff to renovate and improve the lighting systems in the facility. The stage, the lobby, the dressing rooms and the corridors all had to be completely renovated.
Many different manufacturers were involved in the quick lighting refurbishment. On the main stage Vari Lite is the moving light of choice with a host of VL 3000 Spots, VL 2500 Spots and the new VLX LED fixtures, an exciting addition for Tyler. Chauvet Lighting provided Colorado 1's, Colorado 3's, Colorado Batten 72's, ColorDash Blocks and ColorDash Accents in addition to the lobby equipment. ETC was the dimming and control partner with Bandit and the Opry, providing an ETC Ion Console, ETC Paradigm Architectural Controls, Net 3 Network Distribution for DMX and several ETC Source 4's. Fleenor supplied five way DMX splitters, and TMB was the cable supplier of choice for the job.
During the process, Manager of Maintenance and Engineering Rex England contacted Barbee to discuss the renovation of the first floor lobby. The Opry wanted to bring the feeling of the stage lighting out to the lobby as well as update the look. Barbee developed several ideas and budgets for the work before mocking up the final choice. The decision to complete this work was made with barely six weeks before opening. The solution included a truss design utilizing Applied Electronics' Ultra Lite Box Truss and LED Lighting from Chauvet Lighting. The LED lighting included Colorado 1 TOURs, Colorado 1 VW's and ColorDash Accents. The fixtures are controlled from an ETC Paradigm Architectural Control System. The use of LED fixtures was a critical element for England as it obviously reduces the power consumption, the need for air conditioning, and greatly reduces the maintenance and lamp replacement costs.
Bandit staff including Barbee, Jenkinson, Roth Edwards, Jake Tickle, Richard Owens and Bandit President Peter Heffernan spent most every waking moment assuring the quality needs and timelines were met for the September 28 opening.
Bryan noted: “This has been the most challenging task I've ever had to deal with, but with Bandit Lites beside me the whole way, I knew we were going to make it”.
The grand opening included a fantastic line up of Opry members and a live broadcast on Great American Country network. Noted Television Lighting Designer Bob Peterson and programmer Trevor Ahlstrand joined Bryan to support the live television broadcast. Mark Carver and Steve Hoover provided design, programming and support for the Opry's grand opening reception and press conference held in and near the Opry's Studio A backstage.
Now the Bandit team continues its efforts next door at The Gaylord Opryland Resort, where they have also been at work since day one. The resort will re-open on Nov. 15.
About Bandit Lites
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. With offices in Knoxville, Nashville, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Bandit's global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you.