London UK based production company LarMac LIVE (LML) co-ordinated all technical production for 16 major stages and eight smaller performance and creative areas at the 2011 Bestival event, including facilitating the installation of major festival artworks on the main stage and around the massive site in Robin Hill country park on the Isle of Wight.
It was the second year running that LML has taken on this role at Bestival, working closely with event organisers Loudsound Events, curator Rob Da Bank and creative director Josie Da Bank.
LML provided full 24 hour production services on site, necessary due to the intense scheduling and long opening hours of many of the areas, with a team led by Jo MacKay - who has worked on Bestival in different production capacities for the last 8 years - assisted by Laura Hall and Emily Keighley. They were joined by Ian Greenway and Anthony Norris to make up a full LML compliment.
In addition to all the standard technical requirements of selecting the best rental partners, co-ordinating the logistics and ensuring that all disciplines run smoothly site wide - staging, rigging, lighting, sound and video - aesthetics, and helping set the right scene and style for Bestival's unique blend of imagination, art, diversity and fun to be enjoyed is top of the agenda.
To rig the important main stage decor elements, MacKay collaborated closely with Josie da Bank and Chris Coulson from Spacial installations Ltd and organised a separate team of dedicated decor riggers led by Gavin Scott from Star Events (who also supplied the main 15 metre Vertech stage). Josie Da Bank and Coulson presented their creative concepts - this year some spectacular internally lit stars, hearts and smiley faces - while MacKay dealt with the practicalities of making it happen.
The decor rigging schedule was tight as the set pieces had to be rigged in tandem with the stage superstructure build. Says MacKay, "Getting this right was a complex task and absolutely crucial to the event. It was brilliant working with Gavin and his crew. He brought his vast experience and knowledge of rigging and of the products involved in the stage to the creative equation, and all the decor rigging crew were chosen for their attitude and understanding of how this process needed to work in conjunction with getting the gig on".
"The visuality of the whole site and all its different areas was a major element setting Bestival apart from other events, and so there was no compromise on the creative aspects and much energy went into getting it right" explains MacKay.
They also all worked together in the same context on Camp Bestival.
LML used its regular technical partners - Colour Sound Experiment for lighting, Britannia Row for sound and XL Video for screens - on the main stage.
The main stage was supplied by the Star Events Group, production managed for them by Phil Addyman. MacKay says, "Phil really understands the vibe of the festival, packing extra kit for those particular Bestival 'eventualities' and last minute requirements, and manages to pull the most amazing things out of the bag when needed".
Star Events also built the ground support structure and stage for the Big Top, and all the FOH towers and screen cradles.
The remainder of the structures on site were built by locally based Widget from Ventnor, who MacKay says "Are absolutely great, and also work with us on Camp Bestival in July".
Audile supplied sound and lighting for Stage Two (the Big Top), the Psychedelic Worm tent, the Bollywood Arena, Black Dahlia & the Come Dancing Arena, with XL Video looking after video site wide. Colour Sound also supplied lighting to the Rizla Stage and the Swamp Shack installation for Block 9.
Adding her own touch of creativity, MacKay designed a special visual scheme for the production office, which was clad in Chroma-Q Color Web 250 LED mesh, fed with pink hearts from a Hippotizer media server. These were supplied by Colour Sound, together with a sky tracker situated on the roof of the portacabin. There was a good practical reason for this as well as it looking cool - after dark the production office was easily identifiable from almost anywhere on the undulating site.
LML also oversaw a large area in which scenic artists Block 9 (Gideon Berger) created their fabulous new Swamp Shack environment, complete with two live stages and a Crew Bar. This was surrounded by a number of other set-styled attractions again designed and created by Spacial Installations Ltd with performance spaces including the Wishing Tree, Woodmakers Arms and The Saw Mill stage, also lit by Colour Sound with sound from DI Audio and locally-based Widget. Widget also supplied sound systems for eight creative stages across the site, and a system for Bjork's after show event in the artist's Yurt area.
A whole artic full of backline was delivered to site and moved around constantly to service all areas as required by a crew from Music Bank, another regular LML supplier. It was the second year that they were brought in for this major operation, which also included supplying rolling risers to the main performance areas.
The 24 hour production support ran in shifts, seeing that the numerous full overnight changeovers all ran seamlessly and efficiently during the few hours of available time between closing and opening times, co-ordinated via a hand-picked team of 15 LML stage managers.
This year, the various stage crews were sourced from three different companies. Mongo from Inverness took care of the main stage, while Rock City and Show Force supplied crew for various other areas, also running 24 hour shifts. It was the first time that LML had worked with Mongo and Show Force on Bestival with excellent results.
The Sky Arts TV broadcasts were all co-ordinated by LML working closely with multimedia production company Whizz Kid Entertainment, who filmed the main stage and Big Top action in 3D. These feeds were sent to XL Video's racks where the signal was converted to 2D and output to the IMAG screens. This broke new ground for 2011 "Which is always exciting," comments MacKay.
Fly By Night handled all the production trucking, GHB from Essex supplied lasers, plus lighting and sound for the Roller Disco and Polka Dot Arena
Bestival 2011 enjoyed fabulous weather and an audience of 55,000 as the whole phenomenon continues to grow in popularity. LarMac begins its initial work on the project in February, so the actual event saw a detailed, challenging, different and highly enjoyable work process come to a very successful fruition.
For more press information on LarMac LIVE, please contact Louise Stickland on +44 7831 329888 or +44 1865 202679 or EMail : [email protected] To contact LarMac LIVE direct, please call +44 (0)203 142 6260 or check www.larmaclive.com