Architectural lighting specialists i-Vision supplied equipment, crew, and expertise to lighting designer Lee Forde to illuminate a spectacular urban backdrop to the Liverpool section of the BBC's Proms in the Park broadcast. A Prom is a “Promenade Concert,” where part of the audience stands in the “promenade” area of the hall. Part of the audience has always stood in the promenade area at the front of the hall and today there are still up to 1,000 standing places available at each Prom. The BBC aired four Proms in the Park broadcasts (in four different regional locations including outside the Royal Albert Hall in London) on the last Saturday night as well as the “Last Night” in the Royal Albert Hall on the Sunday.
Liverpool's event — part of a quartet of shows also staged in London, St. Austell, and Gateshead — was located in William Brown Street near St. George's Hall in the heart of Liverpool's Cultural Quarter. The concert was promoted by the Liverpool City Council, the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), and the Capital of Culture, and was attended by a crowd of over 4,000, entertained by the LPO conducted by Gerard Schwartz.
The buildings to the right of the audience as they looked stageward are the majestic NMGM Museum and the Liverpool City Council Central Library. After the first Liverpool Proms event last year, the BBC realized that they were missing some incredible optical “wow” opportunities by leaving these buildings — the ultimate auditorium wallpaper — in the dark. This year it was requested that they be architecturally lit.
Lee Forde, who heads Liverpool City Council's Cultural Events office, is also at the core of Liverpool Vision, an ongoing scheme to permanently architecturally light the city's famous landmarks — the first part of which was the lighting of St. George's Hall itself.
For the Liverpool Proms, i-Vision provided various lighting fixtures and equipment including six Space Cannon Ireos Pros, Coemar Panorama Cycs, Studio Due City Colors, two Studio Due Dominators, over 60 HQI 400 architectural fixtures with blue and green color, a Jands Hog 600 for control, and a 40W YAG laser with its own Magnum controller.
The Space Cannons flanked the stage, and the laser was rigged at the rear. The LPO's own LD Pete Murphy used a separate over-stage lighting system supplied by Concert Lights. Sound was by Audiocom. In addition to lighting the buildings, the trees and foliage of St. John's Gardens, audience left, were also lit.
Lighting the buildings and trees proved a huge success and boosted the interest and public perceptions of the event. “It looked absolutely gorgeous and was a definite boost to this year's show,” comments Kirsty Blakeman of the LCC Cultural Affairs Department.