Leading Irish lighting rental company, Production Services Ireland (PSI), supplied lighting equipment and crew to the hugely popular 2011 Belsonic Festival, staged at Customs House Square in Belfast.
It's the fourth year that the Belfast and Dublin based company has been the festivals' lighting contractor - since it started in fact - and this year the event was expanded massively to 10 days, showcasing a fabulous line of leading international artists including 30 Seconds To Mars, Tiesto, Primal Scream, Dizzee Rascal, Beady Eye, Elbow, Tinie Tempah and many more.
PSI was working for the event's co-producers MCD and Shine, and a production design for the stage at the 6000 capacity site was created by PSI's Sean Pagel. For the first night the rig was built to the spec of headliners 30 Seconds To Mars. It was then changed to the festival production design overnight and remained with that rig until the penultimate night, when a complete re-rig and turnaround took place to accommodate Tiesto's lighting requirements.
The stage was a 40ft SAM truck stage from the Star Events Group, which has a good load bearing roof, under which were flown 3 straight cross stage trusses and one tab truss just upstage of the mid truss. This allowed all the opening acts to have use of the front and mid truss lighting for their sets. The tabs were then opened to reveal the set and back drop - if applicable - of the headliners.
Stage space was tight, with absolutely no room for any side stage storage, so anything needing to remain onstage had to be concealed by drapes - for which PSI provided a complete, set including a full back-of-stage black.
The moving lights were all Robe, with 8 x ColorSpot 700E ATs and 8 x ColorWash 700E ATs on the back truss, together with 5 Martin Professional Atomic strobes; 12 x ColorSpot 700E ATs, 8 x ColorWashes, 6 x Atomics and 10 x 2-cell Moles on the mid; and 10 x Robe ColorWash 250E ATs as specials on the front truss, together with 4 Atomics and 6 x 8-cell Moles. Five cube 4-cell moles each side on the PA wings were used for audience illumination.
Six spare wash moving lights were available for floor specials if needed, but the basic idea was to keep the floor as clean and clear as possible in terms of the 'house' rig.
Four headline artists also brought in their own floor specials packages, of which 4 (30 Seconds To Mars, Elbow, Tiesto & Beady Eye) were supplied by PSI.
The festival lighting console was an Avolites Diamond 4 Vision, running the latest software, and all the headliners either used that or brought in their own consoles, except Tiesto, for which PSI supplied a Chamsys MagicQ 200.
Both 30 Seconds To Mars and Tiesto also had their own rear stage LED screens, which were rigged by the PSI crew.
"The key to the festival lighting design was to ensure there were enough fixtures in the right places to give a good overall stage coverage and enough variety for the wide selection of artists appearing. Also to ensure there was enough flexibility for all visiting LDs who were using the house rig," explains Pagel.
Joe Byrne was PSI's crew chief for the duration and he also oversaw FOH, together with another regular top level PSI tech, Brian Crowe. For the turnarounds, they were joined by 4 others.
Pagel further comments, "We're really proud to have been involved with this event from the start and see it grow from strength to strength, getting bigger acts, adding days and upping the production values".
PSI's challenge - apart from the notoriously changeable weather - was largely in managing the expectations of the band LDs whose specs were often taken from larger arena tours, and ensuring that they could come up with acceptable and practical solutions. "It was as much about diplomacy as it was about our technical and design skills," comments Pagel, adding that, "Everyone was very accommodating and friendly, all of which added to a unique and special vibe for Belsonic 2011".
For more press info on Production Services Ireland, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. Call PSI direct on +44 (0)2890 814858 or check www.productionireland.com