HSL Goes Wireless

HSL supplied full lighting production, rigging, and crew to stages 1 and 2 at the recent O2 Wireless Festival at Harewood House in Leeds, England and the Sony Eriksson Arenas at both Leeds and London Wireless sites.

HSL was working for Neil MacDonald’s Clockwork Productions who were appointed by promoters Live Nation to coordinate all the Leeds sites’ technical production requirements. On site, HSL’s crew of 11 was led by project manager Mike Oates assisted by Debbie Owens. They collaborated closely with main stage production manager Mick Brown.

Taking Saturday night’s main stage headliners Kaiser Chiefs as the starting point in terms of building the lighting rig, HSL brought in leading designer Andy Liddle to liaise with all the headliner LDs–Susan Sasic for the White Stripes (Friday), the Kaiser Chiefs’ Richard Larkum (Saturday), and Sunday headliners Daft Punk’s Martin Phillips. Three bands with three dramatically different lighting designs.

This resulted in a slightly unusual approach in that HSL decided to realize–as far as possible–each band’s complete lighting rig, rather than adapting one generic “festival” system and expecting each artist to rely on their “specials” for differentiation—although specials remained very much on the agenda.

The Friday and Saturday night rigs were based around the Kaiser’s design and Daft Punk brought in their famous pyramid set for Sunday

“This meant a massive amount of extra work for our crew, specially during the overnight re-rigging sessions,” explains Oates, “But it was well worth it in terms of the results.”

As with all the other departments on site–the HSL crew also had to deal with three days of torrential rain before the event opened, making working conditions extremely treacherous and unpleasant.

The White Stripes’ rig consisted of a front truss and four straight over-stage trusses, with 40 Robe ColorWash 1200E ATs, and 24 Martin MAC 2K Profiles for the moving lights. Other lighting included 41 Atomic strobes with color changers, 38 linear 4-lites, plus substantial quantities of PARs and ACLs.

The standard generic front truss contained 36K of PAR washes, 12 Robe ColorWash 1200E AT moving lights and two follow spots. There were another 4 Robert Juliat Cyrano follow spots at FOH.

Richard Larkum’s design was based around a series of five metal goalposts, which created a shrinking perspective and tunnel-like effect onstage. The White Stripes’ rig was also designed to be dropped in at the end of their set and have elements removed from their overhead trusses, allowing the HSL crew to start building the Kaiser’s rig really quickly and efficiently.

They brought in a nine-axes Kinesys automation system for the Kaiser’s four upstage most trusses, which was rigged and operated by Danny “Roy” Spratt and Peter Barber.

For FOH control, three WholeHog II consoles and two WholeHog wings were provided. Onstage, the dimming was all Avo ART 2000–including some of the £80,000 worth of new Avolites dimmers that HSL has just purchased to help get them through this phenomenally busy summer season–plus HSL’s own custom Soca and Mains distribution units.

HSL’s crew chief was Jonny Harper. He was joined by John Gallagher, Rob Starksfield, Andy Illiffe, and John Lahiffe, the two aforementioned riggers, Spratt and Barbour, plus Andy Liddle at FOH.

Over in the tented Stage 2, HSL’s Ryan Hopkins designed the rig and operated using an Avolites Diamond 4 console. This stage featured Air, The Thrills, The Bees, and many more.

Staging specialists Upstage supplied two 2-legged mini-beam ground support goalposts to make the front and back trussing positions. The moving lights were eight each of Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E ATs, joined by 28K of PARs on the front and five 4-cell Moles.

The only dry elements to the Leeds weekend proved to be the dry hires from HSL to Electric Fly Productions for the Sony Eriksson arenas at the Leeds and London Wireless sites.

This consisted (per site) of 10 Robe ColorSpot 250 ATs, 10 Robe LEDWash 136 LTs, eight JTE PixelLines, a 4-legged mini-beam ground support, and their new Avolites Pearl Expert consoles. Lighting in Leeds was operated by Jake Jevons.

With the Rockness festival in Inverness the preceding weekend and the new Knowsley Park festival the following weekend, HSL’s warehouse ramped up to meet the challenge of turning around lighting systems for three of the UK’s major festivals in just two weeks.

They brought in 20 subcontractors to help achieve this goal, plus a local crew from Gallowglass just to concentrate on loading/offloading all the trucks coming and going from HSL’s Blackburn HQ.

“The lads back in the warehouse have been absolutely brilliant–they have worked some seriously long hours and they deserve much bigging up–without them we could never have done it,” states Oates.

Mick Brown says, “HSL’s attention to detail has been most impressive and they have all worked really hard to ensure that everyone concerned has got what they wanted, rig-wise.”

Suggested Articles:

The Pollstar Live Awards including special awards for individuals who went above and beyond during 2020.

Effective immediately, Atendi will partner with Elation to represent and distribute Elation’s comprehensive line of lighting products.

Martin Audio has set up a new online Official Merchandise store to coincide with its 50th anniversary year.