HSL at Bestival 2008

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Award winning lighting rental company HSL once again supplied lighting for the main stage at Bestival on the Isle of Wight which muddily concluded the 2008 UK festival season, as Britain was lashed by storms, high winds and torrential rain causing widespread chaos throughout the UK.

HSL has been involved with Bestival since its inception in 2004. Once again their team, led on site by Rory MacKay and in the office by Mike Oates, worked closely with site and event production managers John Gray and Lee Charteris, and producer Loudsound Events' Jim King.

The main stage production lighting design was created by Steven Abbiss. He looked at the principal headlining band's spec' and created a “house” design that would work for them, along with their assorted specials packages, plus the raft of other performers taking to the stage over the weekend. As always with a festival situation, flexibility and adaptability was the key to the design, which involved some intense overnight re-rigs on Friday and Saturday.

The Main stage was a 20 metre Star Events orbit style roof, under which HSL sub hung their own trusses, fitted to the shape of the ceiling and maximising the available space. In the centre they installed an ‘H' shaped truss, flanked on both sides by upstage/downstage trusses providing side lighting positions. At the back were 2 additional cross stage trusses, one for visiting artists' screens and/or backcloths, and the other for lights. This year, to optimise headroom and keep everything looking neat, the front truss was flown in three sections from the stage's cantilevered pros arch, measuring 10.5 metres in total. Rory MacKay was also HSL's rigger for the event.

The moving lights were all Robe. They used 12 Robe ColorSpot 2500E ATs and 12 ColorWash 2500E ATs, chosen for their additional power and punch for daytime as well as after-dark use, explains Abbiss. Robe is also one of the most robust and weather resistant fixtures on the market, which proved a real asset on this occasion! There were also 12 Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 700E ATs, 20 Martin Professional Atomic strobes, 3 strings of ACLs, 11 ETC Source Four profiles on the front truss for key lighting and a selection of 4-lite and 2-lite blinders.

For control, HSL supplied Avolites Diamond 4 and Hog 3 consoles. Some headline LDs brought in their own desks, including Mark Wynne Edwards, who LDs Grace Jones and also happened to be part of HSL's main stage Bestival crew.

The HSL main stage site crew was completed with Andy “Paris” Hilton and Paul “Fluff” Clarke.

Despite the appalling weather conditions, Bestival partied on. The main stage was hosted by naked break-dancing troupe The Cuban Brothers, and witnessed some stonking sets by the likes of Pendulum, My Bloody Valentine, Grace Jones, Amy Winehouse, Underworld and many more.

In addition to this, HSL also supplied a club lighting rig to Club Dada, a tented venue in the thick of the mud at the other end of the site. Whilst the weather certainly increased everyone's sense of the absurd, Club Dada hosted some seriously bonkers cabaret and band performances from 12pm – 5am daily, curated by the Continental Drifts, with assistance from Last Man Standing, Rob da Bank, Strummerville, Global Local, the Arts Council and more.

Eccentric lighting to match consisted of 12 Robe ColorWash and ColorSpot 575E ATs, 20 i-Pix Satellite LED ‘bricks', Dataflash strobes and assorted PARs. The console was a Hog II and a wing which was run by Dan Tiley, hung off a small ground support system.

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