Dave Hall started 10 years ago on the Telluride Bluegrass Festival (TBF) crew, and his role has since evolved into that of festival lighting designer. Currently, he also serves as staff lighting designer for the Palm Springs Follies, as well as a freelancer for CWP out of Los Angeles. His primary focus is theatrical lighting, along with programming moving lights. He says lighting for the TBF event was all about setting a particular mood.
"Moving lights aren't required for TBF," Hall explains. "We've tried to go a little more theatrical. The intent of the design was to make the stage appear as (part of) the woods, and we didn't want any lighting technology that would distract from the performers and take away from the set lighting aesthetic."
Even during the daytime at Telluride, there is a need for presentation lighting, because the stage is in the shadows most of the day.
"Around one or two in the afternoon, I come in and bring up the lights at low levels so that photographers, and most importantly, the people in the very back of the venue can still see the performers," adds Hall. "In the days prior to the festival, there's always change and variation to the set itself, so I prepared for variation with the lighting plot. The way it was designed with the floor lights was based on what they brought in for set, drapes, planter lighting, etc. I left it very open for colors so that I'd have the ability to counteract whatever they put up on stage."
Hall adds that while no moving lights were used, the lighting wasn't understated.
"It was dramatic, but not distracting so that it would steal your focus," he says. "You could look at the stage and see the painted drapes of aspen trees on the sides of the stage. Your eyes weren't pulled over to the side of the stage, but you would be aware of (the drapes) presence."
This year, Hall used 182 lights with 40-foot trusses. The console was a Leprechaun LP3000, a fairly large desk with 178 handles, 24 submasters, and a moving light palette.
"For this type of show, you need a console with a lot of handles," explains Hall. "During the show, I operate it from a live aspect as compared to cue-to-cue. That's why I prefer that console, because with many more handles it's much more accessible live."