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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!

Another Glorious Glasto for Fineline

Fineline Lighting supplied lighting and rigging including ground support systems to five popular, action-packed stages at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. This included the Acoustic, Cabaret, Circus, Astrolabe Stages and HMS WOW at the world’s largest and highest profile green field music and entertainment festival … which took place last weekend in Somerset, UK.

The project this year involved over 130 moving heads and over 350 conventional lighting fixtures from Fineline – utilizing moving light products from Martin, Robe and High End Systems plus Avolites and ChamSys control and Martin LED products, together with 38 crew, who rocked up at Worthy Farm in Pilton for the week that culminated in four days of fun and nearly 200 full-scale performances lit by Fineline’s team.

Fineline has been involved with supplying lighting to Glastonbury for over 20 years, and MD Rob Sangwell says, “We all love working at Glasto. ‘It’s grown enormously in recent years but still retains a very special and unique atmosphere. While it is a challenging environment for staging the high levels of production required, as a locally based company, for us there is an additional resonance, all of which makes us very proud to be involved”.


Although the weather has even become a trending national news topic in relation to the festival, Fineline now doesn’t even look at the forecast! They are fully prepared whatever the weather and going and working whatever is the case!

Acoustic Stage

This always features an eclectic selection of bands and musicians – anything from a solo to guitarist to a full multi-instrumental band– so flexibility is the key to lighting the stage explains Fineline MD Rob Sangwell, who is also Artistic Director for the Acoustic’s technical production.

There are not actually so many purely ‘acoustic’ acts appearing there now – the name was coined as an antithesis to the synthesiser-tastic sounds that dominated the 1980s when the Acoustic concept was first launched at the Festival. So it was essentially lit as a rock ‘n roll set up, complete with a ground support system which was installed to give all the requisite lighting positions.

This year, Rob and his colleagues also brought a theatrical vibe to the stage with a set of lush red velvet drapes and décor to conceal the metal work and soften the appearance of the environment.

Lighting was designed by Stuart England. The chosen fixtures included Martin MAC Viper Profiles, MAC Aura and MAC 101 LED wash lights, together with Robe LEDBeam 100s and PARs, all controlled from an Avolites Sapphire Touch console operated by Simon Johnson. They were joined by Fineline technician Callum Ostell.

Circus

Glasto’s Circus Stage has one of the liveliest line-ups and is one of the most universally popular stages across the site, offering entertainment for everyone.

Lighting here has to be exciting, edgy and deal with a dynamic array of performances, many of them experimental – form the surreal to the bizarre and everything in between!
A general combination of wash lights and specials – Primarily Robe 600E Spots, LEDWash 600s and CycFx 8s - was installed on the deck and across four flown trusses. These were joined by a heterogeneity of PARs, ETCSource Fours and fresnels.

The many aerial acts also needed some special treatment so, specifically for this, Fineline supplied some of their new CycFX 8 fixtures from Robe. These were positioned on the floor around the stage and used as kickers,and due to the motorized tilt and zoom could also be used to light the aerial work.

LD James Loudon and Chief LX Rob Watson were joined by Will Dale and Charlie Denny.

Astrolabe

This area also features a highly acclaimed programme each year running back-to-back throughout the festival event, all needing to have the staging facilities that they might expect to find on a more traditional venue.

Fineline supplied a ‘house’ lighting rig designed by Hal Himsworth which had to meet the different technical riders and allow these performances to happen in a field just the same as they would in an arts centre or city centre theatre.

A temporary four-legged ground support structure was built inplace of a traditional black-box flying system and this was populated with amix of moving lights and conventionals.

With lightning-quick change overs between performances, a major requirement is for crew to be able to refocus and adjust lights quickly and easily.

In addition to a large selection of conventional theatrical fixtures, the kit included SGM Spot moving lights and Palco LED floods, Showtec Sunstrips and a plethora of LED PARs for specific acts.

Fineline’s rigger was Chris Randall and the techs were Bruno Carr, Lee Stone and Ben Motz.

Cabaret

Over in the cabaret stage, Fineline’s Wingnut created the lighting design and worked with Chief LX Rachael Moule and technicians Croat Henniger and Adam McNally.

Equipment included Robe LEDWash 600s, High End Spots, PARs and Source Fours, and Fineline also supplied Martin LC Plus Series video panels and a Martin Maxedia media server which ran all the video content. All Lighting and Pixel-mapped LED décorelements, also supplied by Fineline were run via an Avolites Tiger Touch console and powered by Avolites Art2000 dimmers.

WOW Stage

A raft of underground DJs and dance sounds vibed up the house for all boarding the good ship WOW for four days of seriously excellent boat parties curated by Team Love, who are also behind Bristol’s ‘Love Saves The Day’ downtown festival where Fineline lit the main stage this year.

By complete contrast, Glasto could not have been less urban!

Fineline’s kit list for this tented venue and large outdoor space featuring the massive HMS Wow ship included High End moving lights and ChamSys control, together with a bunch of the tiny Robe LED Beam 100s, High End moving-mirror lights, LED PARs Sunstrips and LED Battens, all of which were pixel mapped. WOW stage LD James Harrington of Team Love adds, “We are really happy to have had Fineline supplying the kit for the WOW Stage this year. The kit’s good and the Fineline team are great to work with.”