The Zero 88 team fully embraced the vibe, buzz and excitement of the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they were – again – on the ground with training and technical support for a range of their lighting consoles and control solutions!
They also embraced the sociosphere with the creation of #behindthefringe – a fun and informative forum for anyone into fringe performance and involved with a show using Zero 88 products!
Building on this success, #behindthefringe will be launched as a website later in the year as a hub and platform for comments, experiences and opinions, sharing information and connecting people through various Fringe projects linked via Zero 88.
Over 100 different Zero 88 consoles were in action site-wide at this year’s Edinburgh event, which is the largest arts festival in the world, producing nearly 60,000 new performances in over 300 venues across 25 hectic and vibrant days!
These included an ever-growing number of latest generation Zero 88 FLX lighting desks, and generally around the Fringe, Zero 88 is one of the most popular control solutions for a diversity of productions.
Zero 88’s product manager for entertainment Jon Hole believes that the fringe is a fantastic place to meet and train potential new technicians and users and get them into the Zero groove. In recent years, he and his team have maintained a strong presence through the event, ensuring that anyone using a Zero 88 product – has full access to hands-on support.
This year an impressive 89 new Zero 88 lighting desk operators were trained!
It’s paid off as Jon observes that this year, once the training sessions were completed and the shows were programmed, open and running, there was a marked fall in call-outs compared to past years!
Most of the training sessions were for between two and six people, conducted in numerous different locations around the city. “Getting out there and being face-to-face is THE best way to achieve this,” stated Jon Hole.
Having built up relationships with so many people – techs, LDs, suppliers, etc. over the course of several festivals, the concept of #behindthefringe evolved. The team asked people to answer three short questions - their favourite things: in Edinburgh, on the Fringe … and about Zero 88.
“We wanted to energise people and get them talking,” explains Jon.
This complete with some facts, photographs and other data has started a collage of interaction related to being “behind the scenes”, a lively vox-pop style communication connecting some of the people, personalities, ideas and technical kit making the Fringe happen!
#behindthefringe reflects the international flavour, spirit of adventure, diversity, creativity and innovation that embodies “fringe” performance globally.
Whist piloted at this year’s Edinburgh event – an ideal testing ground – the huge success and high engagement rates have prompted Zero 88 to take it further which will come with the launch of the web portal.
This isn’t limited to Edinburgh and can also include other arts festivals where there is a Zero 88 community.
Some of the comments include:
Alex, Maria and Rob technicians working in theSpace @ Niddry St (Venue 9) “The Fringe is a time for performers and companies worldwide to show their work in the freest and most welcoming environment possible" says Rob. Alex's favourite Edinburgh thing is "the vibrancy and culture." While Maria - from Argentina - celebrates Zero 88's "great training", with Alex highlighting "the ease of use of the kit and brilliant support". Rob also noticed how "versatile, reliable and easy to use" Zero 88 products are.
For Charlie Park-Long, a technician at the Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14), 2019 was his first Fringe, but he loves "the diversity" of the environment and was thankful for the opportunity to "learn something new" by attending Zero 88 training. The gorgeous, castle-esque "Teviot" building houses half of Gilded Balloon's 18 performance spaces and is hard to miss!
For New York-based Sarah Johnson, lighting designer of the very successful “Monsoon Season” at Underbelly’s Belly Button venue … Edinburgh highlights include Ensign Ewart pub which dates back to 1690 and also walking through the city. She thinks the Fringe is fantastic for connecting “people from all over the world united by their passion for art” and when it comes to Zero 88, she thinks the “customer service and support have been extraordinary."
Meantime, beyond #behindthefringe, Zero 88 consoles were working hard in many key areas of the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe including The Space UK, which was using FLX for the first time; the assorted and eclectic Underbelly venues and for high profile Assembly and Summerhall productions all of which featured FLX across multiple sites and venues.