In its fifth year, Godskitchen GlobalGathering dance festival–the largest in the UK–attracted more than 50,000 dance music and clubbing fans for its two-day event, July 29-30 in Stratford Upon Avon.
GlobalGathering 2005 featured entertainment tents and eight music arenas that covered the complete electronic music spectrum of dance, hip hop, drum & bass, and techno breaks. The Friday night session featured dance DJ legends and popular live acts including Underworld, The Happy Mondays, Sasha, Mylo, Paul Oakenfold, Norman Jay, Deep Dish, and Roger Sanchez. Saturday featured world renowned DJs like Tiesto, Carl Cox, John Digweed, Judge Jules, Paul Van Dyk, Plump DJs, Fergie, and Freestylers.
Lighting and visual theatrics are very important to transform the arena tents into the right clubbing atmosphere for dance, and 100 Robe moving lights and PixelDrive software with James Thomas Engineering PixelLine LEDs created a dance haven in the Godskitchen Arena, the largest tent onsite.
Neil Hunt of Zig Zag, who supplied the lighting for seven of the eight arenas, wanted to install the highest impact lighting possible for the Godskitchen Arena: "It had to be a really special atmosphere in there," he explains. The rig designed for the tent was comprised of 76 Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs and 24 ColorWash units, secured into the tent by 70 points–the work of Harry Box from Concert Lights. The fixtures were used for both stage and dancefloor lighting, and they were the main "wow"-factor of the arena. "I was hugely impressed," says Hunt.
Programmers and operators Matt Holden-Jones and Paddy Sollitt used an Avolites Diamond 4 console to control the Robes and generic lights. The 1200E proved itself to be an ideal tool for lighting large dance events where lighting, visuals, and the atmosphere are vital. According to Sollitt, the Robe 1200Es were "incredibly bright, and they can perform great effects." For Holden-Jones, it was the speed of the ColorWash units that stood out. "They move and change absolutely instantly," he says.
To create a visually exciting atmosphere in the arena, Hunt also used PixelDrive–Radical Lighting and James Thomas Engineering’s software for intuitive control of LED devices–to take control of the color mix function of the 100 Robe lights.
This was the first time the software system was used for such a function, converging video technology with the moving lights and LEDs. "PixelDrive puts a completely new dimension on programming LED fixtures of all types," says Hunt. "It’s a new approach to lighting."
The system–two PixelDrive computers (one laptop, one deskop)–was installed and programmed by Radical Lighting’s Simon Carter. The Avolites Diamond 4 lighting console triggered both computers. One PixelDrive was used to run video sources into the Robe moving lights and one to run them into 34 James Thomas PixelLine fixtures–a mix of 1044 and the new PixelLine 110 ec.
With the Robes programmed into the lighting desk, using the additional PixelDrive computer gave the lighting team the option of running lighting fixture parameters directly via the desk or handing them over to the PixelDrive.
PixelDrive can also extend what any LED fixtures in the house–in this case PixelLines–are doing to the rest of the room, so that they are fully integrated into a synchronous mix along with moving light fixtures. The fluidity and continuity of the visual elements is particularly conducive to dance music and for anyone running shows in VJ (video jockey) style. Users simply select the fixtures on the desk and then hand them over to the PixelLine to apply the effects.
At Global Gathering, the Godskitchen Arena lighting team applied PixelDrive to specific sets of moving lights–14 upstage ColorSpots on the rear truss, 18 ColorSpots on the floor, and three sets of FOH units. These were linked with the four sets of PixelLines rigged above the front truss in a crown shape, vertically at the sides framing the outside stage edge, on the stage floor, and bordering the front of the DJ riser.
Holden-Jones, who created a lot of impressive and unusual firework-type animations with the PixelLines, thinks PixelDrive is great for controlling the color function while leaving the desk to deal with the other moving light parameters. "You can create complex mixes on the fly that would take hours to do on a desk, if indeed they were achievable at all," he says. "The dynamics of the software coupled with the brightness and impact of the PixelLine fixtures is amazing. You can keep overlaying patterns on PixelDrive and the imaginative possibilities are endless."
The PixelLine fixtures were also a hit. Lighting crew chief Haydn Thomas describes the new PixelLine 110 ec fixtures as "frighteningly bright–it’s the first time I’ve been stopped in my tracks by an effect. It’s really rare to see so many lampies getting enthused about something, but we definitely all were during programming."
Programmer Sollitt was even more enthused, stating that the "PixelLines and PixelDrive are the biggest revolution in lighting since the advent of the moving yolk."
Lighting for seven of the eight arenas–plus the comedy tent–was supplied by Leeds-based Zig Zag Lighting. All the Robes were supplied to Zig Zag as a dry hire by Blackburn-based HSL Productions, along with all other lighting kit for the Godskitchen arena.