Manchester based lighting rental company DBN supplied the city's new Parklife live music festival for the second year running - this time co-ordinating equipment for all 4 stages within the main arena. DBN was working for their regular client, Ear To The Ground, who also production manage regular, locally based dance party phenomena, Warehouse Project.
Parklife was again staged in PlattFields Park Manchester, and this year, the main headliners were Two Door Cinema Club on Saturday and Chase & Status on Sunday, plus an impressive array of others including Mark Ronson (DJ set), Annie Mac, Kelis, Katie B and numerous others.
The project was managed for DBN by Nick Walton, who also created a production design for all the stages with which DBN was involved, based around accommodating the specific requirements of headliners and visiting LDs.
Both headline bands brought in substantial floor packages to augment the 'house' rig, so with this knowledge to the fore, Walton's design kept the floor clear. Two Door Cinema Club also hung some of their extras in the roof and stipulated that they wanted straight trusses, rather than a curved system to fit the shape of the Orbit roof, so this is what DBN supplied.
Thirty-two moving lights were in use, comprising Clay Paky Alpha Beam and Alpha Spot 700s and Alpha Wash 575s. These were dotted all over the truss and on 4 drop arms, each with 2 moving lights attached to give different levels of lightsources and break up the overall picture, rather than having them all rigged at the same height in the roof.
Some of DBN's trusty Diversitronic strobes were installed along with 4-lite blinders to 'warm' the audience and 6 x i-Pix BB7 LED wash lights, which were used for eye candy with their distinct petal shape. Both headline artists also brought in i-Pix BB4s, and DBN completed the picture with four bars of 4 x PARs to provide a basic wash, along with some ARRI 2Ks.
The console was a Jands Vista S3, operated by Walton for all the supporting artists, while Two Door Cinema Club and Chase & Status's LDs both brought in their own Chamsys MagicQs.
Stage 2 - Chibuku/Parklife Big Top
This was located in a 4 king-poled tent, so the DBN crew took full advantage of being able to rig off these and fly for the FOH and front of stage elements of the lighting rigs, as well as building a ground support across the stage.
Lighting was operated by Phil Woodbridge using an Avolites Pearl Expert console.
Once again the rig was designed to be flexible and take into account requests from the headliners which were Boys Noise on Saturday and 2manydjs on Sunday.
The stage was about 14 metres wide by 8 deep, and lit with a host of Clay Paky Alpha Beams - both 300s and 600s and Alpha Wash 700s, together with i-Pix BB4s in a 2x2 configuration and some i-Pix BB16s for powerful side washes, plus 2-lite Moles and Atomic strobes.
A large upstage LED screen was supplied by Pictureworks for Saturday's show, and then swapped over to a rear projection screen for the second day.
Stage 3 - Cross Town & Friends/Thrasher
This was set in a 2-king pole tent with a big stage dominating the space. DBN's look for the space included a 4-legged ground support system around the back and sides and utilising the king poles to fly front and over-audience lighting.
More Clay Paky products were in abundance, including Alpha Spot 575s and Alpha Wash 300s.
DBN has large quantities of Clay Paky in its hire stock ..... apart from the fact that CP offers a wide and dynamic range of moving lights, Walton comments, "They are excellent for this type of application. CP is a premium brand, so visiting LDs are always happy to use them, and they give all the imaginative scope we need to light an interesting and diverse selection of other artists".
There were also more Atomic Strobes, more BB4s - again in 2x2 format - and 10 Sunstrips running along the top edge of the ground support, plus some PARs and other generics.
These were all operated by Edward Marriot, a regular and long term DBN freelancer, using an Avolites pearl.
Horse Meat Disco
This was based in another 2 king-pole tented structure and this time, to vary the design from the other areas, 4 upright truss towers were installed, each with 2 moving lights on the sides and one on the top.
Twelve Martin Professional MAC 250 Entours and 8 x CP Alpha Wash 575s made up the moving lights, and other fixtures used included Atomic strobes and Chroma-Q Color Split LED units.
The console, an Avolites Pearl Tiger, was operated by Steve Barnett, another regular DBN freelancer and crew member.
The main challenge, explains Walton, "Was getting the equipment positioned perfectly" on Stage Two with the change in screen, and "To ensure that the rig was fully optimised for both days."
This involved the 8 DBN in/out crew doing over-nighters on Stages 1 and 2 on Saturday/Sunday to ensure that everything was ready in time to allow the incoming LDs as much time as possible for programming - so everyone had to work very tightly, brightly and efficiently.
The weather proved to be predictably erratic ... delivering a glorious sunny day on Saturday and torrential rain on the Sunday, which didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm for a great weekend of music and fun.
For more press info on DBN Lighting, please contact louise Stickland on +44 7831 329888, +44 1865 202679 or EMail me :firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact DBN direct, please call +44 161 273 4297 or check www.dbn.co.uk.
Please credit images to Magnus Blikeng