In addition to the performance stage video and lighting for the first-ever H2O Music Festival, designer Stefan Beese and his team at RE:BE Design had to outfit the entire festival scene, including towers, a Mio sponsor gear bar and seating area, VIP section, and more.
In order to achieve this atmosphere, Beese chose to emphasize scale by incorporating vertical elements such as monolithic towers, linear light installations, and large vertical format LED walls. “It was important that you walk into the Cotton Bowl Stadium and get a feeling of an 'H2O' city within the Bowl,” he explains. The towers were designed as large-scale “Swiss Army Knife”-like structures, serving multiple functions: branding for the festival promoter and sponsors, seating and shade, misting, and site lighting. These towers were built with a truss structure and wrapped with aluminum-coated Signabond and then CNC-milled with various logo cutouts. The result at night was a dynamic lighting show, as all of the towers were DMX-controlled and synced up with the main stage.
Furthermore, the designs needed to be easily replicated in two venues, Dallas and Los Angeles, where the festival goes this month. From the beginning, the idea was to design elements that can be efficiently reproduced and harnessed low shipping and labor costs. The design is based on interchangeable panels with a truss base structure. The trusses can be rented locally anywhere. That left only the custom panels for shipping.
In the harsh Dallas heat, with temperatures easily going over 100 degrees, the RE:BE design team designed the towers to have benches underneath and an overhang where people could go to cool down. The structures were 22' high diminishing down at an angle to 16' with a square footprint on the ground of 16'. Most importantly, each was designed and placed based specifically on the sun movement projections for June 9 in Dallas.
Before the idea was pitched to the clients, the team digitally modeled the entire Cotton Bowl site in 3D with the sun measurements in order to create renderings for each hour. This way, the client could easily understand how long and what type of shadow would be created by the towers. Beese explains, “Fortunately, the shadows all fell toward the main stage which gave festival attendees a place to sit and hang out on the front side of these towers while still having a view to the stage.”
RE:BE Design was also asked to create an installation for one of the main sponsors, Mio. The result was a three component installation consisting of a 360 bar, lounge/deck, and staircase tower. The 360-degree bar structure was a rectangle truss formation (30' long by 30' wide by 20' high) with a custom linear chandelier made with Mega Light Bright Stripe LED tubes. The lights were provided, installed and programmed by See Hear Productions and were also synced with the night performances of artists, such as Mana and Tiesto.
Additionally, a large 360-degree illuminated bar was placed below and applied with Mio brand graphics. The lounge portion of the pavilion ran 8' wide by 40' long and featured a second story DJ deck with stretched spandex canopy. This structure was built with trusses and wrapped with aluminum-coated Signabond. The Signabond was CNC-milled with the Mio logo, providing both a branding opportunity and ventilation through the space. Underneath, people were able to escape the sun while sampling free Mio products. A photo booth was also added on one end for attendees to get photographed in front of Mio branded back drop. The third component was a tower constructed with the same truss and Signabond panels, also with the Mio CNC cutouts. This element not only served a functional purpose by housing the staircase to the second story deck, but also tied the pavilion structure into the rest of the festival’s “city of towers.”
Installations with logo adaptations filled the Bowl as well. For example, Beese designed a pop-up park in an effort to use a more contemporary approach of branding with function. “Usually [festival go-ers] see some scrim towers over scaffolding which very quickly can become an eyesore. The idea was to create H2O logo-driven three-dimensional pop-up parks that allow for branding, seating, and illumination at night,” says Beese.
The intentionally subdued but effective branding technique of incorporating the logos into design helped to avoid a “carnival” of different colors, banners, branding that is normally seen at events where each sponsor wants to bring in all of their promotional material. Beese notes that this method tends to damage the festival’s overall identity. Going with a uniform material and keeping the branding on CNC-milled openings and lighting, a cohesive look and signature for the festival was created, and yet it still made a big impact for all brands and sponsors.
Lighting Designers: Patrick Theriot, Andrew Castile
Technical Director: Chase Kesner
Lighting Techs: Keith Kelly, Tim Rochelle
Mio Bar Gear
100 Mega-Lite Bright Stripe
8 GLP Volkslicht
8 Martin Professional MAC 250 Beam Fixture
4 Martin Professional MAC 250 Krypton
16 Elation Professional Opti Tri 30
36 Chauvet Colorado 1
1 Avolites Tiger Touch Lighting Controller
Approximately 200' of 12" GLP box Truss
56 Elation Professional Opti Tri Par LED fixtures
1 City Theatrical SHoW DMX Wireless Transmitter
4 City Theatrical SHoW DMX Wireless Receiver
4 Martin Professional MAC 700 Profile
12 Elation Professional Opti Tri PAR LED
24 Elation Professional Opti Tri 30
3 ETC Source Four Ellipsoidal w/custom glass gobos
1 Avolites Pearl Expert Console
VIP Press Box
24 Elation Professional Opti Tri PAR
24 Chauvet Well
24 PAR 38