Warren Haynes originally organized the Christmas concert to gather musicians together in his hometown of Asheville, N.C. for a marathon of good music for a good cause. This year featured artists such as Sheryl Crow, String Cheese Incident, The Warren Haynes Band, Blind Boys of Alabama and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. The eight-hour event, which was broadcasted for the first time on AXS TV, donated the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.
“The lighting design this year for Xmas Jam 2012 was one that I could not have been more proud of,” said lighting designer Preston Hoffman. “I was able to take what I learned from last year and design a more effective show. Knowing some of the rigging limitations and such of the room played a role in the design as well. Having Dizzy Gosnell from Bandit on my side was a life saver. He knew a lot about the room and was able to make my design work and become a reality.”
Equipment utilized included VL 3000 spots, Clay Paky Sharpys and Bandits’ GRN moving washes.
“The Clay Paky Sharpys are a fixture that has been widely adored by the lighting community,” said Hoffman. “I love it for its graphic quality. They provide the ability to make a small rig look huge with little beam degradation all the way to the back of the room. For this particular design I was going for a simple hang with a lot of layers. I had a row of sharpies in the middle of the rig which allowed me to have as much effect shooting toward the stage as towards the ceiling. That’s the great thing about Sharpys,” he added, “is they cut through everything!
The rig was made of a diamond truss, which had Sharpys on the top half and VLs on the bottom half with a printed screen in the middle. Sharpys were placed above everything else, evoking images of a star on a Christmas tree.
“It’s that apex of focus that finishes off the full look,” said Hoffman. “We had a diamond screen made with the Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam logo on it to hang inside the diamond truss, which added a nice badge for the show and allowed everyone watching the live broadcast to identify with what they were watching. Channel flippers might stumble across the show and see the screen and realize immediately what they had come upon.”
In addition to branding the stage for the live broadcast, Hoffman had other logistics to keep in mind, including shots of the stage from multiple angles. To account for this, Hoffman hung a row of Lekos upstage to add some balanced backlight for reverse shots. GLP Spot Ones were also used as extra moving spots on the downstage truss for last minute changes and surprises, giving added flexibility and additional texture and light to the logo on stage.
“I had a series of GRN washes on the down stage, which we kept almost exclusively in a CTO for a full stage wash,” said Hoffman. “When I was called on headset for more stage light I could bring up the GRN washes which solved the problem without having to lose my look on stage to make it brighter.”
Bandit Lites’ general manager, Dizzy Gosnell commented, “The lead time for this show was only a couple of weeks, whereas in previous years we had a month or so, but as I had on hand detailed 2d & 3d drawings of the venue from previous Xmas Jams and Moogfests, Preston could design his show ‘into’ the building. He worked very hard to make maximum use of every light as this was a zero budget show, and the end result was superb. I really think he hit it out of the park. Our Bandit crew of Shawn Beaulieu, Wayne Lotoza and Chas Albea did a fantastic job of making it all happen, along with Project Manager Shawn Lear in Nashville, who pulled it out the bag to hit the truck deadlines. Watching it live in HD on AXS TV was great to see as well. I think this type of event is perfect for that channel as it is fast becoming a ‘go-to’ channel to watch excellent live performances of all sorts.”
“Overall the show was a huge success and everyone had a great time,” added Hoffman. “My crew from Bandit really made the weekend for me. The show could not have run smoother and I really have them to thank for that! Although I don’t get the chance to work with Bandit regularly, I'm always amazed by their work and wish every show could be that way.”
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you.