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Fineline Lights Shambala Festival

Fineline Lighting headed for some beautiful countryside and chilled vibes renewing its long term acquaintance with and commitment to the eco-conscious Shambala festival – a three-day family-friendly event staged at a secret location in Northamptonshire UK, featuring a diverse and eclectic mix of music, art, cuisine and culture.

The Bristol based lighting and visuals rental company’s association with the festival dates back 12 years, and it was the 9th year for project manager Stu England who led a large crew. Fineline also seized the occasion and the fantastic atmosphere of Shambala to celebrate a super-busy 2016 summer festival season.

Fineline supplied lighting for the main stage – a Wango’s tensile structure featuring a large central pole and a free-standing arch at the front; the 4-pole big top Kamikaze stage utilised for fun sports in the daytime and as the pumping dance tent at night; and The Playhouse, a theatre cabaret venue with a lively variety programme, which was crewed by students from Truro College on a work experience initiative.

Main Stage


A bit of ingenuity on the rigging front was required here, involving an 8 metre span of truss bridled off the saddle-span’s central pole, which supported two 16.5 metre runs of Supertruss also picked up off an 8 metre spreader truss at the front that doubled for front lighting positions. This effectively created a large ‘V’ shape and also a ‘rag’ truss at the back. A mid truss was added by resting an additional on top of the two V spans.

The basic trussing concept was originated by Fineline’s Wingnut and has been used for the last few years to optimise the non-linear space whilst respecting the elegant aesthetics of the saddle-span design.

In this configuration, it is also important to load the trusses evenly to keep the weight balanced, all adding to the challenges.

Lighting wise, the installation comprised 8 x SGM Giotto 400s, 6 x Robe 600E Spots and 12 x Robe LEDWash 1200s for the moving elements supported by eight bars-of-6 PARs, 8 x 4-lite linear Moles, four 8-lite Miles, six Source Fours and four Atomic strobes.

These were all run off an Avolites Tiger Touch II console with a fader wing.

Fineline also provided two 12 metre high V-Towers to fly the main stage PA.

Kamikaze


Stu designed the rigging in this venue, based on a large ‘X’ truss – with the two spans of truss measuring 12.5 metres end-to-end - flown between the four tent king poles.

Over the stage, the Fineline crew rigged a 38 ft. wide by 12 ft. high goal post at the back to support a projection screen and provide lighting positions.

“We worked very closely with Anne Chapman and her company Totem-FX who designed the extensive eye-catching décor which worked hand-in-hand with the lighting towards the visual enrichment of the environment,” explained Stu.

This year they created five giant scenic ‘funnels’ which were hung from Fineline’s trussing.

The central one was hung apex up from centre X via a 1 metre diameter circle truss above and a 4.4 metre circular truss below, and each of the four tent poles had an apex-down funnel attached to a 3 metre diameter truss rigged about half way up the truss.

Sixteen Miltec LED PARS were used to internally light the funnels, rigged on the trussing circles and highly effective in boosting the visual ambience.

The stage and dancefloor lighting was designed to give a plethora of big old-skool ravey looks … utilizing eight Atomic strobes attached to the lower truss ring of the centre funnel, the main moving lights were all Chauvet - a mix of SR Beams, RH1 Hybrids and R2 washes - and these were augmented with eight 4-lamp PAR bars, eight 2-lite blinders, plus some Strand 500W codas for the daytime activities and 1K fresnels for key lighting on the stage and DJ booth.

The console was another Tiger Touch II with a wing, and two lasers supplied and operated by Martin King from X-Treme Lasers were also rigged onto the stage goal post truss.

The Playhouse


Stevie J Brown, lighting designer and lecturer from the BTEC Production Arts Extended National Diploma in Production Arts course at Truro arranged for four of his students to work as Fineline crew in the Playhouse venue, giving them a taste of what it’s like to work in a real situation, dealing with a range of production challenges and finding solutions.


They worked hard throughout the festival weekend engaging in multiple jobs from rigging lighting to programming and operating shows for an assortment of artists.

The rig consisted of three 9 metre long trusses flown between the tent king poles covering the front and two sides of the stage area, and a ground supported 10 x 4 metre goal post built at the back of the stage with a projection screen hung in the middle and lighting all around.

The entertainment line-up ranged from aerial artists to magicians and comedians so they had to take a multi-purpose approach and devise a lighting scheme that would work for everything …. with a limited amount of kit and time.

“It was definitely a learning curve and they had to think on their feet” comments Stu, adding, “which will be a constant requirement if they decide to follow a production industry career, so it was a great opportunity”.

The lighting supplied included 20 x conventional PARs, 12 x LED PARs, 12 x ETC Source Four profiles, 24 x Harmony fresnels, ten 500W fresnels, with four High End Studio Spot 250s, six Chauvet R2 washes and six GLP Impressions for moving lights, together with a third Tiger Touch console and 48 ways of dimming for control.

Fineline’s crew chief was James Harrington, Wingnut designed lighting for the main stage and on the technical team were Rachael Mule, Shoki, Ian “Cookie” Brooks, Jan Osborne, James Box, Kris Lundburg, Kevin “Chippie” Blewett and Steve Walsh.

Sam Werrett, Ophelia Sollis-Price and Katie Meeson from Truro College crewed the Playhouse stage together with lighting designer Steve Brown and dimmer tech Alan Porter, who were joined by Greg Haynes from Avolites’ technical support team.

“It was a fantastic end-of-summer event” comments Fineline’s MD Rob Sangwell, “and in the opinion of many, the best Shambala yet! Many thanks to our core crew for all their work and commitment this summer and also a big thank you to Shambala for having us back again this year, long may the adventures in utopia continue.”

Excellent weather made the secret location all the more magical for delivering another amazing Shambala.

Fineline Lights Snowboxx 2016

Fineline supplied lighting for two venues – Main Stage and Club XX - at the six day 2016 Snowboxx Festival staged in the spectacular French Alpine ski resort of Avoriaz. The event now in its fourth year, is a week of activities culminating in three days of music in an intimate 4000 capacity boutique festival for lovers of snow sports, dance music and great vibes.

It was the first year that Fineline has been involved as a technical supplier. Stu England designed the rigs for both areas, which were based on being flexible to give all the artists as many options as possible for their sets to look individual and interesting, delivering excellent ‘bang-for-buck’.

The Main Stage was outdoors on the slopes and comprised a 12 meter roof system beneath which Stu and the Fineline crew sub-hung four finger trusses running upstage / downstage.

With limited space and weight loadings, when it came to the choice of moving lights, the smallest, lightest and brightest fixtures able to produce the maximum amount of looks … were selected and rigged on the fingers.

This included 12 x Pointes, 12 x LEDWash 600s and 12 LEDBeam 100 moving lights – all Robe – plus six Martin Atomic strobes, 12 x 2-lite Moles and a string (of 8) ACLs in the air and another on the floor for a bit of retro beam technology.


There were also four 4-way bars of PARs for general stage washes.

“I went for a mathematical formula – everything was divisible by four … apart from the Atomics, but it’s always good to have a curved ball in the mix!” explained Stu.

The two sets of ACLs were diligently focused to replicate a light-beam version of the distinctive double-X Snowboxx branding, so this could be incorporated into the lighting.

Upstage was a truss on two motors that could be flown in and out to accommodate artist backdrops.

All lights were controlled via an Avolites Arena console, and only one band brought their own LD, so Fineline’s Will Dale operated for most of the rest, assisted by James Harrington on dimmers / general technical.

The idea in Club XX was to freshen up the resort’s own venue which had a basic house lighting rig, some of which was utilised.

Four of the five meters of stage width was usable … so they added six Chauvet Rogue R2 Beams, six R2 washes, 16 x Miltec LED battens, two Atomics and four 2-lite Moles, with an Avo Tiger Touch console for control.

The line-up here was all DJs so the lighting formula was to produce lots of straightforward exciting kinetic and colourful club-style lighting.

Fineline’s package also involved the design and fabrication of a set for Club XX.

A 6 meter high by 4 meter wide trussing goal post was the superstructure onto which was hung a set of inverted wooden flats cut in the shape of a mountain range with screen material in the middle. This allowed it to be lit from both front and behind giving a proper 3D impression created with the Miltec battens inserted into the gap between the two sets of flats.

The end results were highly effective in producing colour changing and other effects to make the space funky and fresh.

The front of the DJ booth was clad in a scenic XX logo, also cut out of a wooden flat and back-lit with Miltec LED PARs.

Looking after the club’s lighting from Fineline were Sam Kenyon and Jonnie Westell.

In addition to these, site wide architectural lighting strategically positioned around the extensive site included 30 x Chauvet SlimPAR 24s which are IP rated and ideal for this application, plus 20 x 400W MBI floods and six source Fours used for gobo art.

Fineline used their extensive experience of scenic festival site illumination, lighting the slopes behind the main stage with more LED PARs shooting up the piste – a surface that takes light particularly well.

“It was the architectural elements that were the real challenge both in design terms and the practicality of powering, running data and rigging them,” explained Stu. Carrying fixtures through serious snow is a lot harder work and more time-consuming than running around on a green-field site!

There was also a small sub-venue – Igloo – which ran just for one night, for which Stu and the team supplied four Robe Pointes, two fitted with custom gobos projecting the XX logo up the side of the mountain, plus four gas powered Flame jet machines ... all run from an Avo Quartz console.

Stu concludes, “It’s great to be involved with an up-and-coming event like this which is being organized by nice people with a genuine love of music and on a mission to deliver great production values to their fans”.

Fineline Perfects the Somersault Techniques

Bristol UK based technical solutions company Fineline provided lighting for four main music performance areas at the 2015 Somersault festival, a five day extravaganza of music, fun, food, discussion, debate and outdoor adventure located amidst the heart of South West England, in the picturesque environs of Castle Hill country estate near the north Devon coastline.

It was the second year that Fineline has been involved as a production supplier, following their very successful introduction to the event last year via Andy Cotton of TAO Productions. This year, the scope of their work was lighting the Main Stage, The Communion Stage, the Forest Party non-stop dance experience and the Bandstand.


The Main Stage was 15 meters wide and housed in a tensile structure with no room to build a ground support system, so a grid had to be constructed between a triangular structure upstage and a big steel arch at the front.

Fineline created a V-shaped spreader truss at the back and sub-hung another large trussing V-shape from that, coming forward and secured to the front arch. Front, mid and rear cross-stage trusses were then rigged from this grid.

The production lighting rig was designed by Fineline’s Stu England, and based around the requirements of the various headliners, an eclectic and interesting line up of Bombay Bicycle Club, Laura Marlin, The Staves, Imelda May, The Shires, Passenger, Chrystal Fighters, Jimmy Cliff … plus others, as well as being able to provide dynamic and different looking shows for all the other acts.

The moving lights included 12 x Robe 600E Spots, 12 x LEDWash 600s and 12 Pointes, which provided all the main washes, specials and effects, together with base lighting from eight 4-lamp PAR bars, ACLs, 4 and 8-lites, strobes and key lighting via ETC Source Fours. This balanced combination of moving and conventional lighting offered numerous options.


The ‘house’ lighting desk was an Avolites Sapphire Touch, all the dimming was Avo and the data and power distribution was a mix of Avo and ChamSys, looked after by programmer / operator Tim Williams, rigger / crew chief Ruben Pinkney and tech Chris Randall.

Fineline also provided the two 12 meter PA towers – their own design – to facilitate flying the sound system.

Taking Communion

On the Communion Stage James Box and Sam Kenyon, James Harrington and Rob Sangwell created a great visual picture focusing on the oak framed marquee structure, emphasizing the intimate nature and energy of the space.

The idea was to retain the integrity of the carefully crafted oak features. Truss use was minimal, instead lights were rigged directly off the structure, reducing the presence of the technology and highlighting all the oak work.

Over 300 meters of festoon lighting was rigged in a fanned out pattern from the stage to the back of the arena, a fiddly and protracted exercise … which looked fantastic and again emphasized the cosines of the space. It was “a detail well worth the time and effort” commented Rob.

The lighting fixtures here composed eight Robe 600E Spots and eight Chauvet R2 Wash, chosen for their expedient size, together with assorted PARs picked for their warmth and incandescence … and various LED uplighters & PARs to highlight the structure.


Forest Party
united an underground rave environment with some great dance sounds staged in a natural forest clearing and organically lit with a miscellany of kit spread around four PA towers, two 20ft high lighting towers, erected to add some height to the clearing … and the trees.

Lights included more Chauvet R2 Beams and 12 x IP rated LED floods complete with a 2 metre mirror ball rigged in the trees which helped make some fabulously ‘au naturelle’ disco-tastic moments together with two seriously heavy fog machines and fans for strategic atmospheric engineering.

The Bandstand was an 8 metre octagonal raised stage, decorated with Pea-lites in the roof canopy and on the supports and LED PARs concealed in the roof.

Fineline also environmentally lit the ‘talkie’ spoken word and debating tents, the bars and a long table feast tent, utilizing a selection of LED PARs and battens to enhance the mood lighting, together with more festoon and ever-ubiquitous LED uplighters as appropriate. As we know, good lighting is fundamentally linked to the sensation of enjoyment!

“We were really pleased to be involved with Somersault again and in an expanded role this year” says Rob, “It was good to be able to design both traditional stage lighting as well as work in a variety of other areas which needed a different approach”.

Fine Time for Fineline at Glastonbury 2015

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (Glasto to regulars), arguably the world’s best known and highest profile festival presented another fantastically diverse melting pot of music, performance, entertainment, culture and fun from around the globe descending on the massive Worthy Farm site at Pilton in Somerset.

Bristol based lighting and visuals specialist Fineline Lighting renewed their excellent and fertile long term working relationship with the event – at least 24 years to date – and supplied lighting for the Acoustic Stage, Astrolabe Theate, Cabaret and Circus venues and also the WOW stage in the Silver Hays dance area featuring some of the best underground DJs.

Says MD Rob Sangwell, “We all love working on Glastonbury and imbibing the spirit of the festival, and are very proud of our history with the event. I have seen many changes over the years, all for the better. The excellent line-ups plus the clamour to perform and be part of the community makes it even more special”

The Acoustic Stage also yielded one of the most civilised and chilled backstage areas in a very convenient location right at the heart of the action!

Acoustic


Fineline has built up the décor element of this stage over the years and especially more recently to include lush red drapes, and masking around the stage and in the ceiling, which really enhances the theatricality of the space.

This year, the Fineline team designed and custom fabricated a special chandelier with 40 spiral filament lamps to complete these deco elements, which looked very cool.

With an impressive line-up of both established and breaking artists keen to show their talent in an acoustic environment, stage lighting was designed by Rob and Fineline site crew chief Stu England based on three trusses spanning the 40 x 22 ft. ground support system also installed, trimmed at a decent 9.5 meters.

This was rigged with 10 bars of PAR 64s and some ACLs, together with Martin MAC Quantum Spots on drop bars on the back and mid trusses. Quantum Wash moving lights on the mid truss were used to create the general stage washes, while MAC 101s on the back truss served as effective tab ‘warmers’, highlighting the sumptuous red drapage.

On the mid truss MAC Aura XBs and XB Plus’s provided the beam work and rear key lighting, supported by Robe LEDBeam 100s for effects.

The overall lighting reinforced the desired theatrical style ambience, although all genres of music were embraced over the weekend, from rock to blues, jazz to soul, folk to funk!

Avolites dimming and a Sapphire Touch control completed the lighting package, and joining Stu and Rob on the crew were Callum Ostell and Sam Kenyon. They also accommodated guest LDs and caught up with a lot of industry friends who passed through this popular venue.

Lighting in the Astrolabe theatre tent was co-ordinated by Hal Himsworth, resident LD for several years, with a great line-up of eclectic artists – from dance to physical theatre. With numerous specific requirements for various acts, the pace was relentless and virtually non-stop for 12 hours between performances and rehearsals.


A substantial amount of trussing was rigged in the roof to create a usable theatre grid and most of the base washes were created by static LED wash lights.

The rig incorporated all the performer specs, together with specials and extras as needed and featured about 80 fresnels, profiles, floods and PARs which were re-worked and often refocussed and re-gelled between acts – true theatrical style.

An Avo Pearl Expert with a Wing ran the lights, with Avolites dimming throughout.

Circus.


Lighting designer James Loudon (Judge) is another Glasto regular who has weaved his magic in this space for close to 20 years. Another vibrant line up saw a host of aerial artists, pole, trapeze, hoop and silk acrobatics, balancing acts etc.

The idea was to make the venue almost in the round, so lighting had to fill 9 metres of headroom and a 3D space about 10 metres square.


The upstage truss was horizontally hinged at approx. 45 degrees along the sides to form an arc around the stage, supported from this truss, at the mid stage ends, and were vertical trusses for side lighting positions.

Additional lights were on the floor and rigged to the tent king poles and flown trusses suspended from the king poles and cupola. A mix of Robe 600E Spots and Chauvet Rogue R2 wash lights on the deck were combined with LED battens serving as knee kickers. These were joined by a good selection of generics – PARs, profiles and fresnels.
All the shows were rehearsed, pre-programmed and cue-stacked on the console – in another gruelling schedule - so everything triggered at the right times, with an Avo Sapphire Touch console and Avolites dimming.

James was joined by techs Charlie Denny and Johnny Westall.

Cabaret


Just across the field in the single king pole square shaped Cabaret tent, Fineline’s Wingnut designed lighting and was joined by Alex Shenton, Ben Desousa and Croat.

Fixtures were rigged on a 4 x 2 mere box truss built around the king pole to give FOH and audience positions, and on two trusses over the stage, with two vertical trusses on the downstage edge for booms.

Fixtures compromised about 60 PARs, 20 Source Four profiles for gobo projections plus fresnels. The moving lights were 10 x Chauvet Rogue R2 Beams and eight Rogue R2 washes.

Wingnut also created some really cool custom paper globe lanterns internally lit with special LED rods which were strung up throughout the space adding depth and a bit of visual scenery to the otherwise black void above the audience. These look set to become a regular Glasto feature! He also produced a bespoke mirror ball installation at the rear of the stage.

The Wow Stage lighting was designed by James “Chimpy” Harrington one of the creative mainstays of Motion, Bristol’s most cutting-edge clubbing experience.

He used a variety of kit including 10 x Chauvet R2 beams, six Robe LEDBeam 100s, eight 2-lites, Atomic strobes and Chauvet Nexus 7x7 panels, PARs and ACLs and also lit the exterior of HMS Wow with PARs and MBIs and ensured the funnel billowed with smoke curtesy of Gem Roadie smoker below!

Fineline Feels The Love in Bristol

Downtown Bristol was buzzing with great music and vibes at the weekend for the third‘Love Saves the Day’ Festival, a multi-stage event in Castle Park right in the heart of the city. Headliners included Annie Mac, SBTRKT, Jamie xx, Eats Everything and many more.

For the first year, lighting and visuals rental specialist Fineline – also based in Bristol - was asked to supply lighting equipment, LED screens / media server control, rigging and a visual production design for the Main Stage … which seriously upped its production values from 2013 in line with the profile of the festival which sold out its 12,000 capacity on both days.

Fineline’s MD Rob Sangwell commented, “We were delighted to be asked on-board by festival organisers, Team Love, as we are really committed to partnering on locally based shows and events. We presented two design options for the stage from which they chose the more expensive, which really underlines how much they value good presentation.
“Apart from that, there is an incredibly vibrant live music and event scene happening in Bristol right now, so it’s great to be part of that too”.

Presenting an integrated lighting and video package was right at the essence of the imaginative production design created by Fineline’s Wingnut which was customised to fit the stage - a compact 12 metre Super Nova Light from Serious- utilising virtually every centimetre of available space!

“The idea was to make an equally big impression for both audience and artists,” he explains.

He incorporated all the regular festival lighting requirements – like flexibility and ensuring that the design enhanced the stage in the daylight hours as well as after dark.

The visual design incorporated 20 panels of Lighthouse R7 LED screen which was configured as five columns - three flown upstage and two ground-staked downstage either side.

Apart from replaying funky and interesting video content, these were also used for dramatic full-on lighting effects like strobing.

An Avolites AI media server was used for all the visual control, set up and programmed by Fineline’s Stu England who also co-ordinated, formatted and ran all the guest content - some of which was submitted in advance, and some appeared literally minutes before the act was about to take to the stage – which kept him on his toes!

Four double truss pods were sub-hung from the stage superstructure to give the lighting positions. These were both raked and fanned to optimise the shape of the stage roof and maximise the available height.

An additional guest lighting truss was installed upstage but in front of the video truss holding the three LED columns, and sub-hung below the video truss was another lighting truss that could be moved in and out for the longer and more complex changeovers.

This truss effectively provided capacity for a floor specials package … but just not actually on the floor to save stage space!

Right at the back there was also a drapes truss, with another truss at the front for key lights, blinders and to help with cable management for the four double-width trusses.

The moving lights consisted of 12 x Robe Pointes, 12 x Robe LED Wash 600s, 6 x Robe 600E Spots, 10 x Martin Atomic strobes and 16 x blinders – a mix of 2, 4 and 8-cell, together with several bars of 4 and 6 PARs. The stage roof was basically rammed with lights!

Using the very versatile multi-purpose Robe Pointes vastly increased the options for everyone as well.

On the control side, Fineline supplied an Avolites Tiger Touch 2 and a Tiger Touch Pro with a Titan Mobile wing, and the AI server and media content was all triggered from the desks.

The Fineline crew were joined by apprentice Josh King and all worked extremely hard to get everything rigged, ready and programmed in the short get-in period.

Tom Paine from Team Love comments, “It was a great experience working with Fineline. They brought their vast experience to the table and did a really fantastic job with a great looking stage that helped us step everything up a few levels”.

The event was another great success bringing a bumper weekend of urban love to Bristol and establishing it firmly on the summer festival map!

Fineline Love Crew, Left to right Rob Sangwell, Stu England, Wingnut,Rachael Moule, Josh King