WALLAND, TENNESSEE – Blackberry Mountain sits among The Great Smoky Mountains with eight miles of protected ridgetop and 5200 acres. Touted as an immersive experience that “seamlessly infuses wellness, outdoor adventure and hospitality into every experience,” the resort entrusted Bandit Lites to illuminate a three-day wedding that spanned multiple venues and events.
The Beall family opened Blackberry Mountain in 2018 after years of success with their visionary property Blackberry Farms. Their commitment to the highest quality of excellence is seen in every detail, down to the lighting for their events, where they called Bandit Lites, the world leader in concert lighting, to bring their expertise, preparedness and creative adaptability to their guests. Wedding coordinator Jennifer Matteo worked with Bandit to configure a lighting design that would fit the spaces and budget.
“Jennifer was a pleasure to work with, and I hope to join up again with her on future events!” said Bandit Lites General Manager Giff Swart. “The buildings of Blackberry Mountain have an aesthetic that must be seen in person to be appreciated. They are designed to complement the surrounding area through use of natural materials, so one of our goals was to enhance and showcase this beauty. Communication with the Blackberry team of Savannah Sullivan and Savannah Tyree was absolutely critical to our success. They are a delight to work with, and we understand fully our role in maintaining their clients’ comfort and enjoyment of the spaces we are tasked with lighting.”
With limited access to each of the venues for the three-day event, Bandit’s team had about two hours to get the lighting set up and working for seated dinners. Two spaces had no existing lighting to speak of.
“Our first challenge was to get some overhead lighting,” said Swart. “We used our own bistro lights specifically procured for use at Blackberry along with our grapevine chandeliers, all of which were controlled by a Road Hog and Chauvet dimmers. Our wooden supports, bistros, and chandeliers were all enhanced with foliage from the floral vendors on the team, Tailored Twig. The result transformed the event lawn into a warm and inviting space where memories could be forged.”
With no way to access the second space through the venue, Bandit’s team traversed the stone stairs leading to the stone terrace to illuminate the cocktail hour and dinner while Freedom Pars enhanced the architecture of the Lodge. The following day saw the crew ascending the top of the Blackberry Mountain property in a loaded box truck to outfit the Firetower, a restaurant built around an actual lookout tower from the 1950s.
“The ceremony was performed on the beautiful stone terrace overlooking the Smoky Mountains,” Swart shared, “which coincidentally were “smoky” from the heavy rains we had experienced earlier in the day.”
Three custom in-house built Edison bulb wooden chandeliers adorned the ceiling of the porch, and to preserve the wooden beams sparing the wood from any fasteners, Bandit rigged horizontal steel cables for support. The floral team adorned the chandeliers with greenery, and the 2100k antique bulbs were dimmed to an inviting glow. Freedom Pars up lit the wooden columns of the porch as well as the actual observation tower.
“I want to extend a monumental thank you to Chuck Hastings, Nick Brown, and Jamie Sullivan,” finished Swart. “Chuck Hastings was critical in the crew chief position. Given our severely shortened load-in times, I was able to give brief direction to Chuck and he was always able to execute without redirection. Jamie is the guy you want on the team to keep moving until the job is done, and Nick Brown has the artistic eye and programming ability to pull my vision into focus. They all put in the odd hours and hard work necessary to make this event flawless!”
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will ensure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com