Production Services Ireland (PSI) supplied full lighting production, rigging, crew and technical support for the Vodafone (second) Stage at the 2011 Oxegen Festival at Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, Ireland.
It was the first time that the Belfast and Dublin based company has serviced a major stage at the high profile MCD promoted festival, which featured an amazing line up - including (on the Vodafone Stage) The Swedish House Mafia, The Strokes, Deadmau5, Tinie Tempah, The National and Pendulum.
The PSI team of 7 was led by Sean Pagel, who also created a production design to satisfy all acts appearing. They commenced their get in on the Thursday before the event opened on the Friday .. so time was extremely tight!
The StageCo stage/roof measured 20 metres wide by 16 deep and offered 14 metres headroom, below which PSI sub-hung three 'festival LX' trusses and an additional 'festival artist' truss, to accommodate the requests of those who were carrying specials and extras. They also flew a tab-track truss to mask changeovers and sets being built on the upstage half of the stage during the previous act, together with extra trusses for the Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5 and The Strokes' kit.
"The trick was designing something that was flexible and diverse enough to deal with everyone's needs - and a wide selection of musical styles and genres - and be able to easily accommodate artists with specials packages," explains Pagel, adding that specials packages are becoming increasingly common on the festival circuit not just for the headline acts but often for those lower down the bill.
Some of these packages were complex to rig. Friday was the most hectic day for this for the PSI crew, with both The Strokes and the Swedish House Mafia bringing in comprehensive rigs. The Strokes (LD Ed Warren) needed 6 chevrons flown accurately, along with scrims and a SoftLED backdrop. For the Swedish House Mafia (LD Ian Tomlinson), PSI installed a full cross stage truss downstage for their kabuki reveal and a 15 metre wide upstage truss to facilitate their LED screen.
The whole lighting project entailed the provision of 30 motors and points of rigging to deal with both the house system and everyone's extras.
Lighting fixtures on the upstage truss were 8 Martin Professional MAC 700 Washes, 8 Mac 700 Spots and 8 Atomic strobes. The mid truss featured 12 x Mac 700 Spots and 8 Washes, together with 7 Atomics and 10 x 2-cell Moles. The front/downstage truss had 4 x Mac 700 Washes, 6 x Robe ColorWash 250E ATs, 8 x Robe ColorSpot 700s and 6 x 8-cell Moles for audience blinders.
The front lights were used for washing and general stage lighting, the back ones for beam-work, drama, prettiness and general eye-candy looks.
Running along the top of each PA wing were 4 linear 4-cell Moles and 3 Robe ColorSpot 1200E AT moving heads, chosen for their intense brightness. The Robes were fitted with Rain Hats to protect them from the inclement weather. Oxegen usually experiences a wide range of meteorology, with rains usually on at least one day. This year, Friday delivered a classic Irish soaking! This was followed by glorious sunshine on the Saturday and a dry but overcast day on Sunday - so although the site got off to a sticky start, it dried out nicely for the rest of the weekend.
On a soggy Friday afternoon, Pagel affirmed that the Robe Rain Hats are "A brilliant design", explaining that they sit at exactly the right angle to protect the ballast, and the rubber bungs on the top ensure that they are properly watertight. The truss clamps are fitted through the Hats, and once the light is secured in place, the Hat seals are flapped over to prevent ingress. There is even a set of flaps that fully weatherise the area that the safety bonds pass through.
The production lighting design left the stage deck completely clear for the easy passage of rolling risers, sets, screens and specials packages of all descriptions.
PSI also supplied the Strokes floor package which consisted of 6 x Mac 3K Spots, 6 Atomic strobes, 6 x 8-cell Moles, 4 x 3K A&O Falcon Beams and 28 PixelLines complete with associated distro.
The production lighting console was an Avolites D4 Vision, and all the headliners and some other bands brought their own and hooked in to the house rig.
The crew of Davy McCready, Brian Crowe, Joe Byrne, Alan McGuinness, Jordan Vient and Emma Frost worked long hours and a gruelling schedule, specially with all the overnight changovers, so Pagel arranged on site accommodation in the form of a sleeper bus from Crossland based in Co Derry, driven and fabulously house-kept by George McDaid.
The timescale was easily the most challenging factor, with no fit-up day, just straight into sorting out artists on the Thursday simultaneous to getting the house rig in place, and dealing with the first band arrival at 3.30 in the afternoon. In true festival style everyone pulled together to make it all happen smoothly and efficiently.
Pagel sums up, "It was a fantastic event to be involved in, and we were very proud to be part of it. MCD really excelled themselves this year in booking some great acts and amazing talent that absolutely rocked!"
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