One of the highlights of a visit to the famed Opryland resort is taking a cruise on the General Jackson Showboat. Visitors can enjoy dinner and a stage show while sailing along the Cumberland River in this 300-foot vessel, styled to resemble a 19th century paddlewheel riverboat.

But while it’s steeped in Old South tradition, the General Jackson has gone strictly 21st century in its theatrical lighting. A new package of intelligent fixtures from Elation Professional was recently installed in the boat’s Victorian Theatre, a majestic two-story dinner theatre where the main stage shows are held.

The room’s lighting had previously consisted primarily of conventional PAR cans and Ellipsoid fixtures, but the boat’s entertainment and design staff felt it was time to upgrade. “They wanted to move 100% into intelligent lighting,” says Peter Vaque of Springtree Media Group , which performed the installation upgrade. “They were seeking a cooler, hipper look with greater control.”

To illuminate the theatre’s large open space, the boat’s lighting designer, Han Henze, spec’d an ensemble of three 575W Elation units, consisting of: 16 Design Spot 575Es, a moving head spot/wash hybrid; 10 CMY Zoom-575s, a CMY color mixing fixture; and 18 Power Wash 575Es, a moving head wash.

The Design Spot 575E was chosen because, with a total of 12 interchangeable gobos on two wheels and a Gobo Overlay effect, it “lets them create a lot of moving gobo designs,” explains Vaque. The Power Wash 575E fixtures are used to color-wash portions of the stage, while the CMY Zoom-575s provide backlighting.

All three fixtures feature true CMY color mixing, a major reason why they were selected. “With everything being a true color, the stage directors can coordinate all the lights in the same color, and they can change colors gradually,” Vaque notes. “You get a million color variations with these intelligent fixtures, lower power consumption, and low heat generation, something that cannot be accomplished with conventional fixtures.”

Vaque says that another reason he advocated Elation products is because of their value for the dollar. “Moving head spots in the Design Spot 575E’s price range don’t typically have CMY mixing,” he noted.

The General Jackson’s entertainment staff is very please with the outcome of the project, reports Vaque. As part of the Opryland complex, the showboat is owned by Gaylord Hotels, one of the premier resort/convention center operators in the nation.

“They could have installed any brand of lighting in the General Jackson, but they chose to go with Elation,” said Vaque. “When they saw the features of the lights, they absolutely loved them. When I told them they could save money with Elation, they loved them even more.”