TUSCON, ARIZONA – Building on the momentum of last year’s inaugural event, the West Coast Music Festival treated fans to a star-studded line up of hip-hop, DJ and rap artists this fall. Headlining the festival at Tucson’s Mercado district was the legendary Ice Cube. Supporting the iconic artist’s performance, while also creating dynamic looks for other artists at the festival, was a punchy and flexible light show created by John Garberson and his team at Creative BackStage that featured CHAUVET Professional fixtures.
“We built our design around a large (26’ x 16’) video wall,” said Garberson. “Inter Technologies, supplied the screen and hired us to do the lighting. The wall displayed some iconic images for Ice Cube. We needed lights that would stand up to the bright wall and provide color and movement to energize the looks for Ice Cube’s show. We also needed the fixtures to be flexible enough to create distinctive looks that reflected the music of the other artists.”
Garberson and his lighting programmer Ellie Knight, relied on ten Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures to complement the video wall, flying four of the 440W moving fixtures on mid stage truss, and six on upstage truss. Drawing on the fixtures 3-facet prisms and 13° to 37° zoom range created a flow of new looks by changing coverage areas.
“The performance features of the Mavericks were important in terms of creating variety, but what really made the design work was their output,” said Garberson. “We had a lot of brightness from the video walls, so we needed fixtures that could stand out.”
Also standing out were the eight STRIKE 4 blinders in the Creative BackStage rig. Garberson and his team hung four of the units on downstage truss, as well as two each on mid and upstage truss. From these positions, the high output fixtures provided multiple levels of crowd lighting, strengthening the connection between the performers and the audience.
“All of the performers, including Ice Cube, fed off the crowd,” said Garberson. “The STRIKE 4s on the downstage truss gave us good crowd lighting. The units on the mid and upstage truss also lit the crowd, while creating a nice glow on the stage at the same time.”
Garberson also added depth to the stage by creating multiple levels of wash light. He flew 10 Rogue R2 Wash fixtures on downstage truss for front washing, while hanging eight of the RGBW units on mid-stage truss and six on upstage truss.
“The way we configured the Rogue R2 Wash fixtures gave us a lot of options for colorizing the stage,” said Garberson. “Not only could we cover the stage with a wide range of colors, we could do so from many different angles. This made it easier to create distinctive looks for every act.”
While Ice Cube was clearly, the headliner, notes Garberson, the Creative BackStage team’s goal was to give each act a look that reflected its unique persona. Drawing on the carefully planned multi-layer arrangement of fixtures in the festival rig, they were able to accomplish this feat in flying colors.