HSL & Stereophonics are Kings of Cardiff Castle

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HSL supplied all lighting for the Stereophonics incendiary homecoming show at Cardiff Castle, Wales, UK last weekend - including 8 of the new Robe ROBIN 300E Beam moving lights, which made their UK show debut, specified by LD Tim Routledge.

The gig celebrated the band's forthcoming album "Keep Calm & Carry On", and Routledge was asked to light this and a warm-up gig at the Electric Ballroom in London following a TV special he designed for them last year at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, for which he won a Welsh BAFTA Award.

Blackburn-based HSL has supplied a number of Routledge's recent work, and he was very keen for them to also do this one. "The variety of kit that HSL has available is really impressive, as is their attention to detail and willingness to customise gear and accommodate non-standard requirements," he says. The project was managed for HSL by Mike Oates.

It was a daylight show, with the band onstage at 4.30 p.m., so Routledge's design was based on bright, high-impact lightsources that would register enough to make it look and feel like an evening show. He also needed to transport and project the massive energy coming from the band onstage right out into the audience. The other major technical challenge was that the saddlespan stage was tight on space and limited in weight loading capacities, so it had to be a floor based rig.

Upstage right at the back was a row of 6 A&O Falcon Beam 3K searchlights, which produced powerful, spectacular beamwork.

The Robe ROBIN 300 Beams were rigged on 7 vertical trussing towers positioned around the stage. Routledge comments, "Their beams are incredibly well defined and bright, and they had no problem being visible in daylight".

The vertical trussing towers were interconnected with 48 horizontal scaffolding bars, with 250 ChromaQ ColorBlock LED units attached, mostly configured as 4-call colour-changing blinders, all pixel mapped through the grandMA console. At certain points in the ColorBlock matrix, fixtures were removed to make a diamond shape that was infilled with Atomic strobes and 2-lite blinders.

For general lighting, 14 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs were added to the towers. The only luminaires attached to the roof structure were 2 ETC Source Fours for key lighting lead singer Kelly Jones.

By the time all the lights and structural elements had been squeezed onto the stage, there was very little space left! "It was a question of being as resourceful as possible with the space and in daylight," says Routledge, adding that the ColorBlocks were "blindingly" bright and highly effective as were all the other fixtures that combined to achieve his creative objectives.

Routledge programmed and operated the show using a grandMA2 console from his programming house – grandPA, run also for the first time on a live show.

HSL's 4 crew along with 4 students from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama worked with Routledge's gaffer Mark Mitchell. They got in on the Friday before the Saturday show and worked quickly and efficiently to get everything ready in time for programming overnight.

Mike Oates comments, "It was great to work with Tim on another high profile event following a new Welsh TV series and a large show at the O2 the other week. It was high pressure and we all collaborated closely and imaginatively to ensure he had everything needed for a very memorable show".

The gig was a rocking success! It wowed the crowds, featured a great vibe and was special in many ways as well as being the first time that the band had played at the venue since 1998. The 10,000 tickets went on sale pegged at the same prices as 11 years ago, selling out in 40 minutes!

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