Manchester based lighting rental company DBN Lighting has enjoyed a summer of being involved in some of the top arts events of the region, including Manchester International Festival, Music & Art on the Waterfront in Liverpool, and rounding off with the Salford Proms in the Park.
Manchester International Festival
DBN supplied lighting, rigging and lighting design services to six major events at the MIF, following on from their very successful work with the first MIF in 2007. Jack Thompson, Technical Director of the Festival said “I try to use locally based companies for the Manchester International Festival and DBN were my first port of call for all lighting and power needs. They have an excellent range of top quality equipment and a highly skilled and efficient crew. They are always great to work with and have a proper can-do attitude which is vital for dealing with the constant changes and short notice requirements inherent in a major Festival like ours. DBN's talented and innovative in-house design team are perfect for working with the various artists and architects involved with the MIF. I look forward to working with them again in 2011. ”
Festival Theatre & Bar
Lighting was supplied for the Festival Bar Pavilion and the adjacent Festival Theatre.
The Festival Bar was a large tepee erected in front of the Town Hall which acted as live music/DJ bar and a general social hub for art lovers and festival goers. The tepee was internally lit with a variety of 'pretty' and imaginative fixtures, with external illuminative beautification provided by lots of LED strings draped above the extensive picnic table areas.
The nearby Festival Theatre needed a basic stage lighting rig installed to cover anything from rock 'n' roll to comedy performance, so DBN's Pete Robinson designed a rig based on a front and back truss. Fixtures included a range of ETC Source4 pars & profiles, ADB Fresnels, Chroma-Q LEDs, Clay Paky Alpha 300 HPE moving lights and a Jands Vista S1 control console.
MIF 2009's opening event at the Velodrome featured a concert by Kraftwerk and Steve Reich, for which DBN's Nick Todd was their project manager and designer.
Kraftwerk specified their own rig which was supplied and installed by DBN. They then designed and rigged a completely separate system on the same stage for Steve Reich. A large generic rig was provided to light the audience, and Clay Paky Alpha Wash 575 THs rigged from trusses running the length of the venue were utilised for lighting the cycle track for a team of cyclists appearing during Kraftwerk's rendition of "Tour de France", as well as general atmosphere and audience lighting.
Lighting the Zaha Hadid installation at the City Art Gallery provided some interesting lighting conundrums for DBN's Stephen Page. In an intriguing fusion of music and architecture, Hadid was commissioned to create a performance space in the art gallery for a series of chamber music concerts.
The result was a striking and complex curving white ribbon that wrapped around itself within a 'black box' room, creating a stage for the performers and a space for the audience. The ribbon was constructed from a translucent fabric membrane stretched over an internal steel structure suspended from the ceiling.
Page designed a rig of around 80 Source Four PARs to add depth and emphasize the shape & scale of the installation, all rigged from dead hung scaffolding pipe with cabling above the ceiling to keep the space as clean and uncluttered as possible. Scenes were programmed to reflect the different uses of the space as a gallery installation and a performance space.
The brief was to add a new dimension to the structure for the evening concerts, whilst during the day, the lighting also had to enhance the structure in its gallery space context. "Using light to emphasise the sweeping beauty of the installation without cluttering the confined space with lots of equipment was one of the most challenging elements of the festival for us," says Stephen Page .
The Great Indoors was a weekend event of some 15 newly commissioned performances for 3 - 11 year olds in various rooms, nooks & crannies of Manchester's Town Hall. DBN supplied all lighting and rigging services for the event with Pete Robinson liaising with the artists and interpreting their needs in advance and James Collingwood heading up the on-site team tasked with installing it all & making it work.
As part of the event Stephen Page was commissioned by producers Walk The Plank to design the lighting for "The Difference Engine" in the Town Hall Courtyard, featuring a giant spider puppet and the brain of mathematician/inventor/engineer Charles Babbage.
This involved nearly 100 lighting fixtures and plenty of ingenuity to rig them onto and around the internal courtyard of the grade one listed Town Hall – quite an achievement without damaging the building or denting the mayor's limousine. Page utilised everything from moving lights to LEDs, egg strobes, pars and festoons, plus overhead projectors and a space flower.
For Elbow's performance with the Halle Orchestra at the Lowry Centre's Bridgewater Hall, DBN supplied additional lighting to the band's Cate Carter in the form of SGM PALCO LED wash lights and Molefeys.
Immediately the MIF finished, the DBN team lit the Manchester Jazz Festival, which was staged in the large Pavilion tent.
Music On The waterfront, Liverpool
Just after the MIF, DBN were in action down the road in Liverpool, supplying all lighting and rigging requirements to producers Walk The Plank for the 3 day Music on the Waterfront festival. This was staged by Liverpool City Council as part of their summer “On The Waterfront” events season at Liverpool's famous Pier Head.
The action took place on a Star Events stage. The lighting design was completed by DBN's Pete Robinson, operated by Pete Isherwood and included a series of hinged trusses that curved around the roof, enabling the space and available headroom to be maximised.
The over-stage rig included 32 Clay Paky Alpha range moving lights, Studio Due CS4s, 12 bars of 6 Source 4 PARs and a selection of profiles and fresnels. The audience was illuminated with i-Pix BB4 LED wash lights chosen for their powerful output and IP rating. All lighting was controlled via an Avolites Pearl Expert desk.