BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend

With over thirty acts across three stages, the music and festivities go on for two packed days that push LDs, operators and their equipment to the limit. So it’s lucky One Big Weekend (Moor Park, Preston, 19-20 May) featured some of the best known names in the business. Not just on stage, but behind the lighting desks, too.

Lighting designer Paul Normandale and Lite Alternative took the helm this year, controlling an impressive ship. Scissor Sisters, Groove Armada and Razorlight were just a few of the great acts to take to the stage. And hanging above them were some equally impressive performers, including some of Martin’s latest and greatest such as the MAC TW1 and two new LED fixtures; Stagebar 54 and the light curtain, LC 2140.

An exercise in balance 
Paul Normandale was the lighting designer for the entire event and put together a striking design for the three stages. His major challenge was to create a design that would look fantastic live, but would also be clean enough for broadcast as the whole weekend was televised in HD quality. It was an exercise in balance, and whether in the mosh pit or lounge room, spectators can tell you it was an exercise handsomely accomplished. 

Another challenge for Paul was ensuring the stage design was flexible enough for the many guest LDs to create their own diverse look and feel. Over the course of the weekend, an array of LDs stamped their mark on the musical merriment by lighting different acts with their own unique signatures. It’s not an easy task when you’re talking about six or seven different designers per rig, but it helps if the rig is packed with Martin fixtures. 

LC 2140 / Stagebar 54 
Matt Arthur was the main operator on stage two, which featured Martin’s new LED fixtures; LC 2140 and the Stagebar 54. “The LC units are incredibly lightweight and bright – overpowering the moving heads at times. Even during the middle of the day the screens were really bright. I had to back it off by the end of the day because my retinas were hurting. 

“I was happy with their performance. There’s a lot of flexibility in the depth and breadth of field, and the colors were all there – we could match any of the other colors on the rig.” The LC series is a semi-transparent, modular system of light weight LED panels. 

The Stagebar 54s were placed upstage just above and below the LC panels. The Stagebar 54 is a bright, high efficiency LED pixel bar with RGB, Amber and White color mixing for a broader color spectrum. “The Stagebars were also a great unit,” Matt stated. “Very bright, but compact and robust.” 

There was also a strong branded presence for the BBC this year. During breaks, customized gobos in the MAC 700’s and 2000s filled the space with various logos, while the Maxedia also seamlessly pixel mapped and scrolled images and logos through the Stagebars. 

MAC might 
The main stage was especially endowed with Martin might - packed with MAC 2000s, 700s and 250s, it also included the recently released tungsten wash, the MAC TW1. 

Glen Johnson from Lite Alternative, who was the main lighting designer on stage one, got a chance to work the TW1s for the first time. “The MAC TW1s were fantastic, I really enjoyed using them. I’ve waited a long time for a tungsten moving light. The colors were great, and I was able to match the TW1 with any color in the rig. 

“The MAC 700s were also brilliant. We had 12 on the main stage which worked faultlessly. They really got kicked the hell out of – they were the main light all day and night, with a lot of different hands on them - but we didn’t have a single problem. That’s really amazing.”

Jem of a show 
And it wasn’t just the lights getting a thorough workout. While Maxedia controlled the digital media, Jem was present on all stages and kept the show full of atmosphere. “We used the Jem 33 Hi-Mass and they were just great. We kept them running all day over the weekend and there were no problems.” 

When one LD thought they would give the new Jem Roadie Compact full throttle on stage three, he quickly realized that the only thing compact about it was its size. The stage and stadium virtually disappeared for a while, much to the amusement of everyone. 

Backing it all up was Martin UK.