Erik Mahowald & Color STRIKE M Accent EDC bassPOD Architecture

Posted on June 27, 2024

Spanning across 250 feet and rising 65 feet in the air, this year’s bassPOD stage was massive by any measure, but the most stunning feature of the metallic structure designed by Stufish Studios can be seen in the myriad shapes and forms that extend in every direction on multiple levels, creating endless visual paths for all who let their imaginations run wild as they take in one of the most impressive spectacles on offer at this year’s Electric Daisy Festival.

Tasked with making its labrynthine architecture come alive by accenting all its compelling power with light, LD Erik Mahowald, head of Bending Lite Productions, spent countless hours delving into every nuance of this captivating stage design long before it was ever constructed: “Once we received the architectural design from Stufish Studios, my team and I closely evaluated the size and material of the structure. Since the structure is built out of metal, it presents lots of unique opportunities when it comes to lighting. One of our biggest goals with lighting bassPOD was letting the architecture be seen clearly.”

Along with his team (programmers Josh Gregoire, Trevor Weidenbacher, Alex Vanroon, and Aaron Attarzadeh) and stage manager, Lawrence Barcello, Mahowald made the most of those opportunities, dramatizing its nuanced features with combinations of shadows and light, creating stunning reflective effects off the stage’s metal structure, while also ensuring that their show flowed in sync with the video content from Wolves Visuals. Mahowald describes the method behind their mission:

“We did not want to detract from the brilliance this structure has to offer. Lighting from multiple angles is key in lighting a giant metal structure, using fixtures to uplight, front light, back light, and sidelight played an integral role in the success of illuminating bassPOD. The variety in placement also gave us multiple options to light such a reflective structure. Since this is a three day show, we wanted as many tools as possible to vary the lighting of the structure. We also used a variety of fixture types to ensure BASSPOD was lit properly, while also keeping in mind operation for such a fast paced style of music.”

Helping Mahowald achieve this key goal were his rig’s 120 CHAUVET Professional Color STRIKE M motorized strobe washes, supplied by 4Wall Entertainment. The IP65-rated fixture with two white light tubes surrounded by a pixel mappable face was positioned throughout the rig, filling a variety of roles in his design over the course of the three-day festival, as Mahowald explains:

Color STRIKE Ms were used as a multi-purpose fixture. At times they were used as a wash to light the structure, while at other times they worked as a strobe to accent the sounds of bassPOD.”

Mahowald stayed away from looks with multiple colors, opting instead to cover the production with vivid monochromatic palettes and stark whites to create dramatic effects, in keeping with his goal to not distract from the stage, as he explains: “Due to the reflective nature of the structure and overall design, the use of multiple colors and textures at the same time can diminish the overall look of the structure.”

Shadows and dark space were also key to creating the kinds of dramatic effects that the intense stage performances demanded. “Darkness is one of the most important parts of any design, especially when you want to create moments and drama,” he observes. “Within bass music there is a significant opportunity to go full bright all the time, however when it comes to creating special moments, darkness is key. We placed many fixtures behind the structure to create brilliant shadows in breakdowns of songs. This is one of my all-time favorite looks, as it changes the entire look of the stage instantly. Lighting a structure like this one is all about moments.”

The interplay between light and darkness in Mahowald’s design created many such memorable moments at bassPOD 2024.