John Garberson Creates Flexible Rig For Arizona Bike Week With CHAUVET Professional

Posted on June 24, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – For the past 22 years, springtime has seen motorbike aficionados migrate to the Valley of the Sun for the Arizona Bike Week. Running from April 3 – 7, this year’s event featured a star-studded musical lineup with headliners Buckcherry, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, 3 Doors Down and Godsmack.

Accounting for a combined seven Grammy nominations and over 60 million albums sold, the headline bands had a profound influence on popular music. Each had done so by perfecting its own distinct musical style and unique stage presence. John Garberson was hired by Pro Productions to put together a festival rig that allowed each band’s LD to reflect its distinctive persona. Helping him and festival programmer Elie Knight in this endeavor was a collection of CHAUVET Professional fixtures.

“The lights I chose had to have colors that were realistic and bright enough to stand up to and blend in with the ground packages that visiting LDs brought with them,” said Garberson of Creative BackStage. “This meant the fixtures in the festival rig had to be compact and lightweight.”

Using Godsmack’s lighting plot as his starting point, Garberson selected 32 Rogue R2 Washes, five STRIKE 4 blinders and 10 Maverick MK2 Spots for the Stageline 320 stage. The STRIKE 4 fixtures were flown in a straight line on downstage truss and used as blinders and for warm white audience lighting, connecting the bands to the crowds. “Each LED pod on the STRIKE 4 can be independently focused, which really amps up the audience and adds to the energy of the performances,” said Garberson.

Flying four Maverick fixtures on midstage truss and six on upstage truss, Gaberson used the fixtures for downlighting, specials, crossing patterns and audience lighting, and arranged eight of the Rogue R2 Wash fixtures on the stage deck for aerial washing. The remaining Rogue R2 Washes were flown on downstage truss for front lighting and on mid and upstage truss, where they were used to colorize the stage.

“The Mavericks are a workhorse,” said Garberson. “The fixture offers two rotating gobo wheels, so the bands can create compelling designs, and the colors are bright and punchy. When combined with the smooth color mixing of the Rogue R2 Washes, the design and color options are virtually limitless. This came in handy, as each band had their own color preferences and brought their own energy to the stage.”

Designing the festival rig for the original Arizona Bike Week was an exciting challenge for Garberson. Using Chauvet fixtures, he was able to create a flexible festival rig that easily represented the unique needs of each headliner. The thousands of fans who attended the event went away happy, having rocked out to four completely different sound and lightshows from these iconic groups.