LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – For the better part of five decades, the legendary Nile Rodgers has demonstrated an uncanny ability to weave diverse musical influences together in unexpected ways. Whether it’s been as frontman for his own group Chic or as a producer for the likes of Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Pitbull and Avicii, this ageless wonder transcends musical generations and genres. Rodgers’ versatility and virtuosity were on full display recently at the FOLD Festival, outside New York City, on a star studded stage brilliantly illuminated by a collection of fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
Rodgers not only performed on stage with Chic, he hosted the two-day festival, bringing together an eclectic mix of friends and collaborators while “mashing up music cultures,” as he told the press. What a spectacular mash it was too, with sets by Pharrell Williams, Beck, Duran Duran, Chaka Kahn, Q-Tip and Keith Urban, among others, creating memories for festival goers.
“There was a sense of electricity in the air throughout the festival, and we were happy to be a part of it,” said Jason Ayala of ProSho (New York), which provided the lighting rig. “We wanted lighting that could make a bold statement at the big moments on stage with a lot of intensity and saturated color. Since the festival started at five o’clock when it’s still light out, we needed brightness too.”
Ayala and Kevin Jameson (also of ProSho) served as the festival LDs. The pair’s goal was to create a rig that was flexible enough to accommodate the diverse mix of artists on stage. “We needed the impact and eye candy for some acts, but we also wanted softer washes for others,” said Ayala. “The rig was very accommodating. Two of the bands, Duran Duran and Beck, brought in their own LDs. These LDs knew what we were bringing in and were happy with it, but they got even more excited when they got here and saw what the rig could do.”
The ProSho designers positioned fixtures on upstage and downstage truss as well as on the floor to “envelop the entire stage in light, while also reaching out to engage the crowd,” as Ayala put it. The rig included 14 Q-Wash 419Z-LED moving wash fixtures with 19 15-watt RGBW LEDs on the downstage truss and eight Rogue R1 Spot high output moving LED fixtures, as well as seven Legend 330SR Spot fixtures, on the upstage truss. The floor package included eight Rogue R1 Beams and seven Legend 330SR Spot fixtures.
The FOLD Festival also featured a second DJ Stage illuminated with Chauvet fixtures. This rig included 12 Rogue R1 Spots and 36 COLORado Batten 72 Tours outlining the perimeter of the stage. A customized DJ booth was accented with three MotionOrb décor lights, each made up of 55 individual color-changing and strobing LED orbs on strings.
“We built a lot of scenic looks on the DJ stage, giving it a club-like feel,” said Ayala. “The Rogues gave us great audience lights and aerial effects, while the other fixtures were good eye candy. We created two distinct environments on the two stages, but they worked well together during the two days.”
Blending divergent elements together into a harmonious whole has been part of Nile Rodgers genius. This gift was very evident throughout the FOLD festival, which fittingly got its name by combining the first letters of two songs associated with Rodgers. “Freak Out” a hit he had with Chic, and “Let’s Dance,” the David Bowie classic, one of many No. 1 Billboard tunes produced by Rodgers for superstars from a wide variety of genres.