Entec Lighting helped the UK’s Larmer Tree Festival celebrate its 18h birthday this past weekend, supplying lighting to the main stage, garden stage, and several other performance arenas and also illuminating some of the flora, fauna, and foliage around the site.
The Festival, run by J&J Events, is set in the heart of the beautiful Larmer Tree Gardens on the Wiltshire/Dorset borders. The Gardens were created by General Pitt Rivers in 1880 as pleasure grounds for "public enlightenment and entertainment” and are part of the outstanding landscape of Cranbourne Chase.
It’s the third year that the West London-based rental company has been involved with the event, which is limited to an intimate 5,000 person capacity and is renowned for its quality international entertainment and amazing surroundings.
Entec’s crew of Mark Jones, Doug Flude, and Phil Lee were crew chiefed by Richard Hutton, who says, “There’s something very special and magical about this festival. It’s great to get a chance to enhance the gardens at night with imaginative lighting as well as doing standard stage lighting. We all love working here, it’s a very enjoyable weekend for everyone.”
The main stage lighting was run by Mark Jones. Entec sub-hung a series of trusses below the 50-foot “stretch” Orbit roof supplied by Serious Stages, the idea being to maximize the space and provide as much flexibility to light the massive variety of bands appearing. The five-day festival was kicked off by Jools Holland on the Thursday night.
The moving lights here were 8 Martin Professional MAC 700 Profiles and 8 MAC 250 washes, joined by 8 Bars of 6 PARs, 2 sets of Studio Due CS4s, and 2 Entec custom crackers to create special haze. Jones ran the lights using a Jands Vista S3 console, its small footprint ideal for the limited FOH tower space. The only visiting LD was Simon Honnor for Jools Holland.
The original wooden Victorian Garden stage was lit with 6 i-Pix Satellite LED fixtures, which were up-lighting the intricate mural at the back and there were also 2 outdoor PARs on a manual dimmer for highlighting the performers, many of which were DJs.
The main lawn area was programmed so that as soon as a band finished on the main stage, a DJ or other performance would start on the garden stage, providing a constant stream of entertainment.
A two-poled big top tent with a front truss flown from the poles and lights rigged onto upright sections of trussing onstage featured 8 MAC 300 Washes and 8 MAC 250 Profiles, 4 PixelLines, and 650W fresnels for general stage wash and audience illumination. This was run by Phil Lee and Doug Flude on an Avolites Pearl console.
The Acoustic Roots Café (ARC), one of the most popular performance spaces at the Festival, operated between 11am and 2am. It was a small space that required simple lighting, achieved with 4 6-lamp bars. Two ETC Source Four 10 degree profiles, also run from the same Zero 88 XLS desk, lit the B stage.
The retro-rave club environment offered scope for some disco lighting, featuring Batmink LED PARs, i-Pix Satellites, Martin DCI disco wheel effects, Pulsar Maxi strobes, and a Martin Mini-Star, courtesy of Paul Jarvis from Powerline. This was all run by the DJs via switch pack and/or sound-to-light.
The “social” space, consisting of three large Tipi tents, needed some ambient lighting so the Entec team installed two large red scenic lampshades (from a Blur stage set, circa the mid 1990s), some Martin oil wheel effects, strings of blue LED Xmas lights, and a mirror ball lit with i-Pix Satellites.
The brief from organizer James Shepard was to light key elements of the gardens utilizing as many low power light sources as possible, so Entec supplied a selection of MBI and LED fixtures to meet these requirements.
They used 6 CityColor 2.5Ks, 40 400W MBIs in a random mix of white, green, blue, and sodium, approximately 30 LED PARs, 4 SGM Geneo LED bricks, and 12 UV bulkhead lights for the woods—all except the CityColors on stand-alone control. The CityColors were used to highlight the tree line around the main lawn and were hooked into Mark Jones’ Vista console.