Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures and numerous grandMA2 lighting consoles were on hand throughout Budweiser's Made in America Festival, which entertained crowds on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Labor Day Weekend. Jay-Z and Pearl Jam headlined main stage concerts on Saturday and Sunday, respectively; punk rockers, up-and-coming rappers and native Philly artists packed the other stages across the venue. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor for both Clay Paky and grandMA in North America.
Nick Whitehouse, the lighting designer for the main stage, was tasked with creating a rig "that pleased everyone and looked different for the two headline acts. It had to be efficient to meet both Jay-Z's and Pearl Jam's wishes for their shows and incorporate the needs of the other performers. The overall design fit the stage/set design based on a huge eagle formed from LED-panels that fitted the Americana theme" and evoked the iconic Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) eagle logo.
Whitehouse used 68 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures, arrayed in groups of four, to mimic the look of Par64 ACL bars. "They did that very successfully," he reports. "A lot of the looks used the frost to help make this happen, and they very rarely moved while lit."
He notes that the Sharpys "really show up on outdoor semi-daylight shows like no other fixtures, and they give background to the camera shots, which was very important since the whole festival was streamed live on YouTube. The Sharpys performed perfectly as always."
A grandMA2 deployed for the main stage handled "everything we threw at it," he reports. "It really showed how powerful a system it is." Whitehouse extensively used the partial show read and clone feature to merge incoming acts into the festival show. He also divided the console into worlds so the incoming lighting designer could control the background of the rig and the TV gaffer (with a second online console and separate user) could run the broadcast key lights and ride inhibits of the whole rig without getting in the way. grandMA3d was also used extensively for daylight programming and fixes when required.
"A number of the lighting designers who were used to the grandMA1 became converts to grandMA2 after the festival because [the new console] showed how easy it was to pull such a large show together quickly and easily," Whitehouse notes.
"As always, the A.C.T guys made supporting their users their top priority. A.C.T is a really great company to deal with, and we thank them for their MA programming support," he adds.
But that's not all.
John Duncan, Jr. of Pinpoint Lighting was the lighting designer and equipment supplier for Made in America's B stage and electronic dance music pad. "Both stages had grandMA2 full size units and grandMA2 Lights," he reports. "All of the 24 chrome Sharpys were spread out over the electronic tent with eight on the stage and 16 around the house."
Duncan says he "loves" the Sharpy fixtures for "their nice beam and how it cuts through no matter how much fog or haze there is. It just punches."
The grandMAs also performed "great," he notes. "We had them slaved together on the B stage and had two users since we were running TV lighting at the same time. They performed very well."