SGM LED Strobes Pulse Life Into Mayday Techno Marathon

25,000 Dortmund clubbers party under Thomas Gerdon's rig

More than 25,000 clubbers attending the 15-hour Mayday techno party at Dortmund's Westfalenhalle were immersed in a lightning fast colour-change environment, created by no fewer than 90 of SGM's trailblazing new X-5 and XC-5 LED strobes. The 50 white lights and 40 RGB strobes, specified by LD Thomas Gerdon and supplied by production company, schoko pro, were in constant action throughout the marathon.

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The LD had first used these revolutionary strobes at a club event in Nuremburg. Two months later, at Prolight and Sound in Frankfurt, he was able to take a closer look and decided to use them for Mayday.

Although the festival is staged annually by major rave promoters I-Motion GmbH it was the first time Thomas Gerdon had been asked to design the lighting. He was brought in after working on another I-Motion event — the Nature One Festival, which is the largest rave festival in Germany.

“I found the idea of working with LED-based strobes very exciting,” he said. “The advantages of LEDs are obvious but I liked the fact that the strobes could be addressed with absolute precision, leaving the XC-5's available for extremely fast colour changes. This way of achieving this effect was not possible until now."

He describes the strobes as “extremely bright, fast, comfortable and cool … easy to use and smart to programme.”

Joe Wippel, production manager of schoko pro (and technical director of Mayday) could see other advantages. "Of particular benefit is the user-friendly handling, and on a production of this magnitude speed of rigging was essential. On top of that, there were no failures, which speaks volumes for the performance of the strobes.”

Since much of the lighting was suspended from a moving overhead truss the compact size and low weight mass were of real benefit, while power consumption was minimised; thus schoko pro needed to provide less cable and the load was vastly reduced.

The XC-5's were used both on the big central cylinder above the dancers, at the stage on circular trusses and the towers behind the DJ, while the X-5's were placed on the finger trusses surrounding the cylinder and at the outer truss elements. This helped to build the atmosphere for a constant stream of live acts and DJ's, including Westbam (the driving force behind Mayday), Sven Väth, Chris Liebing, Paul van Dyk and Carl Cox.

Thomas Gerdon's verdict on the SGM LED strobes is that they are vast improvement on conventional strobes. “They consume much less power yet provide nearly the same output as a xenon 3000 strobe.

“The XC-5 provides the designer with so many new options because a conventional xenon strobe with scroller is nowhere near as fast with colour changing. Since the XC-5 came along colour chases have just not been possible.” He also highlights the vast palette — with all colours registering much brighter than their xenon equivalents.”

Thomas Gerdon now has an appetite for using SGM's revolutionary strobes including an anniversary show in Algeria and the next Nature One open air dancefloor. “I can see advantages in the LED strobes and am fascinated by what might be achieved given the many creative options — both in terms of the speed of colour change and fast response to other commands.”

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