Bandit Lends A Hand In Farm Aid

Bandit Lites is privileged to be involved with Farm Aid again in 2007. The event took place on September 9, 2007 at Randall’s Island, a 480-acre island located in New York City’s East River between East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Astoria, Queens.

Farm Aid 2007 hosted a unique musical collaboration: Gregg Allman performed a special acoustic set with Willie Nelson and Dave Matthews. Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds, and The Allman Brothers Band all played full festival sets. Other performers included Counting Crows, Guster, and Montgomery Gentry.

The first Farm Aid concert was organized by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp in 1985. They wanted to increase awareness about the loss of family farms and raise funds to keep family farms in business. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million dollars to promote family farm systems of agriculture to date.

Lighting Designer, Brad Mackie used 24 Martin MAC 2000 Profiles and 58 Martin MAC 2000 Washes, 38 MAC 600s, 200 MAC 300s, 22 Coemar Halos, and 22 Coemar LED Pars and 4 Lycian 1271 Starklites to light the event.

Mackie said that the lighting design and overall production design worked hand-in hand. The production team sat down with Mackie several weeks prior to discuss the look of both the staging and lighting since they were shooting this event in high definition for television and there were many variables to deal with. Mackie said there was a very fine line between keeping the perspective of a concert and lighting it for television that he needed to balance.

Another challenge was incorporating lighting that worked well both during the day and evening, as the show started at noon and didn’t wrap up until midnight. In retrospect, Mackie said that the biggest obstacle was keeping the work hours to a minimum so that the organization could keep their bottom line down (hence, they would raise more money).

“To stay within budget, we put together a rig that would go up quick and cover all the needs that could be thrown at us,” Mackie explains. “Avolites built the theatre into their visualizer program for me so when we got onsite we only needed a couple of hours to set our preset positions.”

Mackie said that working alongside the artists alleviated some of the other design challenges as it allowed them (artists, production team, etc.) to all to be on the same page. It was apparent that the talent and production had the same goal: to create a visually exciting show.

“Working with John Lucksinger and JR Sander from Bandit Lites was quite helpful since they worked on Farm Aid before,” adds Mackie. “I would also like to thank my team: programmer, Jimmy Bonkowsky and Gaffer, Doug "No worries" Mackie as well as the guys at Jab labor, local one, Phil G and his crew at Live Nation, Ron, Lyle, and Keith at Farm Aid.

Bandit CEO, Michael Strickland, was thankful to be part of this great cause once again, saying, “It is always an honor and a pleasure to work with the staff at Farm Aid. Glenda Yoder, Carol Mugar, Ron Stern, Lyle Centola, and the rest of the staff are the most amazing people and we at Bandit are very honored to be involved each year.”

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