West London based Entec Sound & Light supplied a substantial stage, architectural and garden lighting package to the 2012 Larmer Tree Festival, staged in the picturesque environs of Larmer Tree Gardens at Tollard Royal, south Wiltshire, UK.
It's the seventh year that Entec has been involved with providing lighting the popular boutique festival, set in the unique environment originally created by prominent Victorian, Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers, and opened as the first private gardens for â€˜public enjoyment' in the UK.
The Entec crew of five was led by Richard Hutton. The equipment and designs covered five principal music stages of various sizes and a theatre / club space located in England's oldest corrugated iron building.
The Main stage was an 18 metre saddle span structure which was new for this year, bringing its own set of lighting challenges for designer Mark Jones, as overhead hanging points are scarce.
Thinking laterally, Jones used the actual roof of the tent as the major point of illumination, and Entec's new Robe LEDWash 600s proved invaluable once again with their light weight and small size, enabling six to be flown in the roof – the only fixture small and light enough for the job!
They provided key lighting and general stage washes.
Onstage, side towers facilitated additional lighting positions, rigged with Clay Paky Alpha Spot 300s and 12 active Sunstrips arranged into shapes around the stage. There were also four sets of Studio Due CS4 motorised ACL bars on stands.
Sections of striking red Lycra drape were used to dress the entrances of the stage, adding pizzazz and flare, also having a â€˜tidying' effect, These were easily detachable to allow the rolling risers to move on and offstage for changeovers.
Continuing on the improvisational path, bamboo and polythene was utilised to create a custom rain hide covering the exposed lighting fixtures in the roof. Bamboo was the only option for keeping within the 22Kg weight allowance!
Entec supplied two options on control consoles – an Avolites Pearl 2012 and a Jands Vista S1 running the latest v2 software. Visiting LDs included Simon Chandler-Honnor (Joolz Holland) and Tony Austin (Paloma Faith).
The Garden Stage was also within the boundaries of the lawn in this area, an original permanent wooden Victorian construction dating back to 1882, used here for a B stage, and architecturally lit with assorted outdoor PARs and i-Pix Satellite LED â€˜bricks'.
Jones also had control of six Studio Due CityColor 2.5K floods which were focussed on the trees around the perimeter of the stage area.
The Big Top was the second principle stage and performance area. This was lit with a mix of Clay Paky Alpha Spot 300s, Martin Professional MAC 250 Washes, Atomic strobes, moles and Source Four profiles which were divided between the stage deck and a flown front truss.
Entec also supplied a projection screen and a Barco high powered projector to provide large format video for the club nights, plus 6 metre high PA ground supports.
The console was another Pearl 2012 run jointly by Entec's Sudip Shresta and Doug Flude.
Over in the Acoustic Roots Café, a selection of PAR lamps maintained a genuinely authentic â€˜acoustic' and enhanced the intimacy of the space, which was overseen for Entec by Jonathan Cope.
The Social was a chill-out tent with a small sound stage. This was lit nicely with PAR 16 â€˜Birdies' and i-Pix Satellite LED â€˜bricks' plus a selection of Optikinetics K4 oil wheel projectors creating some very cool vibes. The Entec crew set up all the kit and the operation was handed over to the stage manager.
In the Club area, a selection of stand-alone and DJ controlled LED fixtures were provided to cover all the activities.
Once the stages were rigged, Entec moved on to The Gardens, which are substantial, labyrinthine and very charismatic.
They also contain many original features, one being the large pond surrounded by a forested area, for which a collection of art installations is provided by the promoter each year. The works, the trees and the pond were all lit for the event, plus the periphery areas of the site and a story-telling space.
The Pond was illuminated with eight MAC 300s encased in weatherised domes. These were pre-programmed with a 3.5 minute sequence via a Pearl 2010 desk which was recorded onto a DMX pen for looped playback.
The central site art installations this year had a â€˜space and time' theme, with scale models of rockets, classic aircraft and other airborne vessels flown in the trees, all of which were sculpted out of white Styrofoam, which lit fabulously well.
Entec installed quantities of exterior PAR cans, i-Pix Satellites and a variety of coloured 400W MBI floods to cover these areas, all run in stand-alone mode.
Hutton and the crew arrived on site on the Monday morning to rig for a Wednesday lunchtime kick off and five full on days of festival.
The weather – characteristic of the UK's wettest summer on record – was appalling, making the general conditions and negotiating the site extremely tough …. however all the equipment held up exceptionally well with no failures at all.
Everyone's spirits held up even better, and Hutton concludes “It was a brilliant vibe and ambience and a great pleasure to work on Larmer Tree again. It is a very special festival and long may that continue”.