ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA – While the weather may have been frightful, fans and artists still turned out to give back at Warren Haynes Annual Christmas Jam. Bandit Lites was honored to donate a lighting package for the sold-out benefit for Habitat for Humanity where the lineup included Trey Anastasio and Classic Tab, The Avett Brothers, Blackberry Smoke, and Gov’t Mule with a special appearance by Ann Wilson of Heart.
Lighting designer Preston Hoffman, excited to return to the helm of the evening after two years of scheduling conflicts, looked to craft a big rig that would be more immersive. The solution: going wide and placing truss outside the PA, which served to fill the field of vision. Hoffman also developed an idea of lining the balcony rails on either side of the audience with Chauvet DJ LED festoons, giving a festive look while still providing animation control.
“The festoons worked great; we used 600’ consisting of 240 bulbs individually controlled,” said Hoffman. “Another element that we usually incorporate are convention festoons hung over the audience. This year I decided instead of hanging them in strings over the audience, I would fashion them into chandeliers which really turned out great.”
“Preston wanted to make the show look as large as possible bearing in mind truck-space, load in and programming time available, crew constraints and the fact it is a 360º sold show,” said Bandit’s Production Manager Dizzy Gosnell. “With that in mind, a low hung rear video wall was added this year which was a major upgrade to the look enabling custom backdrop looks for every act. If people look at some of the pictures on the web for this show, they’ll see what looks like lovely Austrian drapes; however, they’re digital. Much easier to deal with, and they don’t get dirty or ripped!”
“Instead of being married to the same look all night, this allowed us to switch it up depending on the artist and keep that space fresh all night,” Hoffman added. “The video wall also allowed for some of the later acts to use motion graphics to bring the energy up to match the music. For example, I used an image of old, ornate distressed wall paper for Margo Price which matched her authentic country songs, and we used an Austrian curtain for the Avett brothers that looked right at home behind them. The video medium gave us a lot of flexibility to incorporate any ideas that we thought would work.”
Bandit Lites donated the use of over 130 fixtures for the evening and Preston donated his two grand MA 2 Full consoles for control. VL 3000 Spots were spread out in a double arch over the stage hanging from eight fingers in addition to hanging off the wing trusses to continue the look outside of the PA. GLP X4’s provided various lighting aspects, including big ACL and graphic beam looks, and surrounding the band with wash from all directions, a crucial need when the evening features dozens of different acts playing from the same stage. Finally, Robe Pointes were distributed between the fingers of the upstage and downstage truss while Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite Pars provided truss toning.
“The truss design has a cohesive look to it with some nice curves that I wanted to be able to draw attention to and use the shape visually,” Hoffman said.
And as anticipated, the immersive design, effectively placed fixtures, cheerful festoons and video wall resulted in each act having a unique look of their own, while still supplying a cohesive, festive look that the Xmas Jam is known for.
“Bandit really made the process from beginning to end very pleasant,” said Hoffman. “When I work with Bandit, everything is well thought out and no detail is missed; Dizzy and Project Manager Jimmy Hatten were right on top of everything. The onsite crew was one of the best crews I have worked with. Crew chief Andy French, a veteran of Xmas Jam easily led John Houle and Craig Richter to get the rig up and down in a fast and efficient way. I attribute a lot to the success of Xmas Jam this year to them and their tireless efforts.”
“We do enjoy being part of Warren’s Habitat for Humanity drive every year,” said Gosnell. “In these tough times for some families, it is an extremely noble and worthwhile cause and we are all so proud at Bandit to be included in the mix.”
For more information about Warren Haynes Presents the 29th Annual Christmas Jam, visit http://www.xmasjam.com/.
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com