HSL designed and built two special stage sets including DJ booths - complete with inbuilt digital and conventional lighting - for DJs Steve Angello (from the Swedish House Mafia) and Eric Prydz, who played the main stage at the 2009 Global Gathering event on Saturday the 25th July.
HSL was approached by Duncan Holmes from BPM Special Effects just 10 days before the event staged at Long Marsden Airfield in Warwickshire, UK, and asked if they could create and build a unique visual concept for both artists. They wanted something to add impact, excitement and atmosphere to both their performances - which took place in bright daylight and touching dusk.
HSL's Mike Docksey project managed the mission. Overnight, he came up with a design for Angello, whilst HSL's Mike Oates produced one for Prydz. These were drawn up, presented to the artists and given the green light - with now just a week to go.
Docksey based this design on Angello's "Size" logo, and the set filled the whole stage width. Apart from bringing architecture and form, it also ensured that Angello was prominent centre stage.
On the outer edges were two floor-standing octagonal truss pods. On the front of each of these were 6 MR16 SunStrips recreating the lines of the “Size” logo. The spaces in between the logo were filled in with i-Pix BB7 LED wash fixtures. A battery of 2-lite Moles was then offset from the back of the pods, positioned to blast big shafts of light through the whole structure.
Onstage from these were two vertical banks of 15 PixelLines each, built into portable frames, and used for block-graphics and text generation.
Centre stage was the DJ booth, designed with a commanding truss outline. Four BB7s were attached to the front, pointing forward, with a zig-jagged row of Moles along the top.
Oates' design looked completely different from Docksey's but had similar visual effect. Again, it took elements of his ident and logos as it's starting points.
Nine vertical Litec pre-rigged trussing towers were positioned behind the DJ booth, with 4 vertically orientated PixelLines in each, topped with an Atomic strobe.
At the outer edges were the banks of PixelLines, and the front of the DJ box was infilled with 12 vertical LED strips.
Being the later show brought the benefit of fading light, so they also positioned 4 A&O 3K Falcon Flower effects behind the trussing towers for additional visual eye-candy as he closed his pumping set.
All the digital light sources were pixel mapped through a Hippotizer digital media server and fed video content which was programmed and run by lighting designer Dave “Bickie” Lee, using a Road Hog console.
Both artists' sets were additionally complimented by the house visuals, run on the 7 columns of LC Plus screen right at the back of the main stage. This was part of the event's overall show and production design by Nick Jevons of Electric Fly, and he operated these using his own Maxedia server.
The HSL site team also included Ian Stevens who crew chiefed, and lighting techs Charlotte Stevens and Ben Mansfield, together with Simon Dyer who assisted with the changeovers.
They met exceptionally quick turnaround deadlines - 10 minutes to get Angello's set positioned, wired up and running, 15 minutes changeover between the two, and another 10 minutes to clear the stage of Prydz.
The sets - both DJ and scenic - were a massive success. The lively visuals and lighting really helped vibe up the packed audience on what would have otherwise been an 'empty' stage given that these were both daylight performances. "This simple idea enabled the space to come alive with colour and movement and aesthetically distinguish both performers," says Docksey.
As the drive for upping production values for DJs at dance events is greater than ever before, it's a model that could become increasingly popular.