Leading Northern Irish lighting rental company Production Services Ireland enjoyed a massively busy Bank Holiday weekend, servicing three major events in the province.
The first was a one-off gig by New York indie darlings the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in St George's Market, Belfast; the second was the 3-day Belsonic Festival staged at Customs House Square, central Belfast; and the third was “Live at the Castle”, in Carrickfergus.
The Yeah Yeah Yeah's
PSI supplied all lighting for this show, which was promoted by CDC Leisure and completely sold out. They worked to a spec from the band's lighting designer Lucas Cotterman.
The rig consisted of a front and back truss loaded with PARs used to provide all the basic stage washes, which were augmented with beams-work, effects and texturing from 14 moving lights – 6 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs and 8 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs. Eight PixelPARs were added, attached to floor booms, for low level cross stage lighting.
One of the challenges of the gig included a low ceiling height which was just 12 ft from the stage and 15 ft from the floor, so the back truss had to be installed on scissor lifts, while the front one was flown from the building's structural beams.
PSI supplied a Jands Vista T2 as control for the support acts and a WholeHog 3 for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
This event was launched last year by local club promoters Shine and was a massive success, so PSI was invited back as a technical supplier for the second year. Headliners this year included Dizzee Rascal, Vampire Weekend, 2 Many DJs, Dead Mouse, Duke Special and the Magic Numbers.
It was a hugely dynamic line-up encompassing many musical genres from dance/rap/Râ€˜n'B to indie rock. Many artists also didn't have specific lighting specs or LDs, so PSI's Sean Pagel created a generic production design which was as flexible as possible to cover all eventualities and suit different styles of operation.
This was flown on 4 overstage trusses, sub-hung from the Star Events SAM stage/roof. There were 2 additional drapes trusses, one upstage for backdrops and one mid stage for masking the front half whilst headliner's backlines were set up.
For moving lights, he utilised 18 Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs and 18 ColorWash 700E ATs. “This was more than enough to give plenty of variation,” says Pagel. On the front truss they used 6 Robe ColorSpot 250E ATs for band specials instead of profiles, which work extremely well when zoomed right down – a practice adopted by PSI for previous festivals.
The only generics on the rig were Molefeys – of which there were 5 x 4-lites a side on the two front legs of the stage; 6 x 8-lites on the front truss for blasting into the audience and 10 x 2-lites on the mid truss for a â€˜peppering' effect.
On the floor were 6 Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E ATs, which could be used â€˜as required' according to the band line up and available space, etc. The PA scrims were up-lit with 2 Studio Due CityColor 1800s.
For control they supplied an Avolites Diamond 4 Vision console, which was run by PSI's Joe Byrne for those bands not bringing their own control or LD/operators.
Live at the Castle
Ensuring that there was live music on hand to cover pretty much every taste and persuasion over the bank holiday period, CDC Leisure produced this new 2-day event headlined by Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Band and Status Quo respectively, located next to the beautiful natural backdrop of the castle.
PSI hung their lights onto the Serious Stages Orbit roof, and Sean Pagel worked closely on a design based on Status Quo's spec with their long standing LD, Patrick Marks.
It comprised 28 Robe ColorSpot 700s and 12 ColorWash 700 moving lights rigged on 4 over-stage trusses. There was also a front truss with PARs, profiles and 8 x 8-lites.
Pat Marks brought his own grandMA console for control, and Pagel ran all the other band's lighting on an Avolites Diamond 3, a vintage desk with which he has enjoyed a long and happy affinity!
Says PSI's Sean Pagel, "Our aim at these events is always obviously to keep the crowd entertained and the promoter content along with the all-important job of keeping the touring designers happy, and any hassle factors to a minimum. Patrick Marks commented that this was one of the best gigs of the whole tour!"
The weekend had serious head-wreck potential for PSI with so much kit needing to be turned around so quickly and dispatched to multiple locations simultaneously, but with detailed advance planning, good quality kit and great crew on the events, all went smoothly. It also served as a warm-up for the following weekend, which was just as busy with PSI involved in Electric Picnic and Planet Love, two greenfield site festivals running on the same dates!