“The power of our diversity unites us” screamed the headers emblazoning the Main Stage at Budapest’s fabulous Sziget Festival, which saw another amazing lineup including Martin Garrix, The 1975, Florence + The Machine, Foo Fighters and Ed Sheeran amongst many others thrilling up to 80,000 fans a day for 7 days … there and across the other performance stages and activities all over this beautiful island site.
Hungary’s magnificent capital again hosted this most-chilled, friendly and dynamic European music festival where the infrastructure is skillfully and seamlessly blended into the natural environment.
Robe moving lights on the Main Stage helped keep pace with the demands of an eclectic mix of music and creative presentations, each WOW’ing in their own ways.
The base Main Stage production / house rig was designed by Mark Kontra from rental company Colossal, who have supplied lighting for this stage of the event for the last several years. Mark headed up a lighting crew of 18, working day and night shifts to ensure that the overnight changeovers happened smoothly, as all the headliners brought in their own productions which had to be integrated ‘underneath’.
The production lighting incorporated 172 x Robe lighting fixtures which were a mix of BMFLs, Pointes and ColorStrobes.
It was designed to be practical, bearing in mind the amount of own kit coming in, offering all the breadth, fluidity and capabilities of a properly thought-through house lighting rig.
“We needed a powerful reliable rig with the flexibility to support all their designs, and obviously a premium brand that all these top-level designers find acceptable,” explained Mark, adding that Robe ticked all the boxes for the best quality, highest impact and smallest footprint fixtures available.
The house rig was located on four straight overhead trusses.
For the size of the Sziget main stage, they chose the power and intensity of BMFLs. With 72 on the rig – 40 x BMFL Spots and 32 x BMFL Wash XFs there was plenty of latitude, and these were joined by 64 x Pointes and 56 x Robe LED ColorStrobes, together with some Moles.
Colossal services numerous festivals with lighting each summer – including the Main Stages for Balaton Sound and Volt festivals – and their default profile / spot fixture for all of them this year … was the BMFL Spot.
They also supplied five of the incoming specials packages for main stage artists which included 52 x MegaPointes, and for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s performance, 48 x miniPointes made an outstanding impact as the floor package beam lights. These were also all chosen for their high reliability and output.
The Main Stage rig runs pretty much 24-7 … from when the daytime show program starts to the early morning dawns when the next night’s headliners finish their overnight programming sessions!
The site is also very dusty, accentuated this year by the super-hot and dry weather experienced by much of central Europe. “We have no time to repair any kit while the event is on, so tough fixtures and reliability was an absolute key,” underlines Mark.
Apart from everyone being happy to accept the Robes, they have not had a single break-down of Pointes or ColorStrobes in the last four years!
“The ColorStrobes have been excellent as well – they have worked 100% of the time,” stated Mark, who thinks that the BMFL Spot is the “best profile type product on the market right now.”
He has been working for Colossal – which has a large stock of Robe moving lights – for around 10 years, and on Sziget for the same length of time, initially as a freelancer and then for the company as lighting crew chief, and in that time he’s become a big fan of Robe generally.
“The MegaPointe is the first ‘hybrid’ luminaire that actually works equally as well in all its different modes and has a good enough zoom range and frost filters to make it a viable key light,” he commented, adding that he’s also started seeing a lot of tours coming through utilising Robe’s RoboSpot remote follow spot systems.
He feels that Robe has grown and gained a lot of respect over the last 6 or 7 years, attaining a position where most lighting professionals are happy to work with the brand and its products. In Hungary, there’s been a significant increase in the amount of Robe available on the market due to the efforts and hard work of distributor, AVL Trade.
The house console at Sziget Main Stage was a grandMA2 full size, and FOH lighting was looked after by Attila Lenzser and Aron Kovacs, with Aron operating for any artists who didn’t arrive with their own.
The challenges of covering the event were mainly logistical, being able to accommodate large and sometimes very detailed and specific specials packages in a short time window.
The 1975 brought in some elegant and distinctive video and LED elements, Martin Garrix had his cool-looking ‘Anima’ lighting and video set which is designed by his LD Gabe Fraboni … and the Foo Fighters won the competition for the most trucks of production, rocking up to the Main Stage with 10 artics!
The Martin Garrix rig was the same system that has been touring with them all year, and this included 110 x Spikies and six SuperSpikies which are built into touring frames, together with transparent LED screen making up the signature Garrix ‘plus’ sign which sits upstage of his DJ booth. These are all being supplied by Belgian rental company Splendid in collaboration with Unlimited productions who designed and fabricated the frames.
Gabe was there operating at the festival and had plenty of new lighting tricks to show off since the tour had started back in January, still finding new ways of using the Spikies together with fresh video content for their 30-date euro summer festival tour. This also includes regular Thursday nights at Ushuaia in Ibiza, where the house rig is coordinated by Hi Scream and also has Robe Spiiders, MegaPointes and Spikies.
Gabe is a big Robe fan and was delighted to be working a Robe ‘top rig’ to compliment Garrix’s truly jaw-dropping high-energy performance at the Festival. He comments that Mark and the Colossal crew were “Fantastic! We could not have asked for more – Sziget was a great all-round experience for us.”
Photos: Louise Stickland