NAMM Buzz, Bits, Brian, Butts and Benoit…and a Bit More

by Nook Schoenfeld • in
  • Current Issue
  • Designer Watch
  • February 2018
• Created: February 16, 2018

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Photos by Debi Moen

There was a bright buzz reverberating around this year’s NAMM show, considering this was the first year of live production panels at this musical instrument-focused event. This writer was honored to host the “Not Another ‘Women in Production’ Panel” for PLSN/FOH, featuring moderator Anne Militello, lighting panelists Susan Rose and Celine Royer, and audio guru Deanne Franklin. The discussion centered on challenges and words of wisdom for women wanting to enter this industry. The talk continued informally afterward into the hallway, with more questions from groups of aspiring young women on the verge of pursuing their dreams. Good luck to all those out there, and reach out if you need help! (For more on the Pro Production sessions, see related story, Page 6, this issue).

‡‡         Quick Cues

Sprinkled throughout this month’s column are familiar faces Designer Watch caught around the NAMM show:

Brian Jenkins of Flicker Designs kicked off 2018 with his third year of Maroon 5’s NYE show at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This was followed by designing and programming Little Big Town’s The Breakers tour, with Clare Mathison as the lighting director. He then bounces over to another couple of tours starting up, along with some large corporate clients. “And it gets crazy for a while,” he says. “We have a handful of shows with Maroon 5 before their tour starts up later this year. Hopefully there’s some time in February to go skiing!”

Mark Butts recently finished lighting the Google building at CES, a three-story, seven-room interactive experience in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center. He’s now gearing up as programmer for Kenny Chesney’s upcoming “Trip Around the Sun” stadium tour in March. Mike Swinford is production/lighting designer and Phil Ealy is the lighting director.

Travis Shirley is show/production designer for Old Dominion’s new Happy Endings world tour, which started Feb. 1 in Canada. Shirley says he will take the modern country band around the country and beyond into the next year.

LDs Trevor Burk, Zachary Matusow and Mat Stovall pooled their creative talents to light the concert scenes of the film, Pitch Perfect 3. Filmed in Atlanta in early 2017, the movie was released just this past Christmas.

LD Conor Jacob has been touring with Bon Iver, which is performing multiple nights in cities with a “relaxed schedule.”

LD Marty Postma designed and directed Evanescence’s Synthesis tour until the end of 2017. He recently turned the directing duties over to LD Dan Hardiman, who will travel with the show to Australia and Russia in February and March.

Production and lighting designers Chris Lisle and Erik Parker of CLLD LLC report in with a jammed January calendar. Parker had just finished designing/directing the Dave Koz tour, and the month kept them busy getting new tours for Sara Evans, American Idol Season 8 winner Danny Gokey (on TobyMac’s Hits Deep tour), and Judah and The Lion’s “Going to Mars” tour on the road.

Benoit Richard was involved in the special intro to open NBC’s Super Bowl broadcast on Feb. 4, featuring a collaboration of Carrie Underwood and Ludacris singing her new song, “The Champion.” Richard was proud to have played his part as lighting designer/director on the “amazing” creative team led by Tripp Dixon (director), Haley Geffen (creative director), Chuck Ozeas (director of photography) and Evan Rohde (production designer). “We shot the intro at the same time as the regular season Sunday Night Football Open back in June 2017 at Universal Studios in Los Angeles,” he says.

After accepting his Visionary Award at the Parnelli Awards at NAMM recently, LD Jonathan Smeeton says he’s buying a house in Las Vegas and starting a new chapter in his quest to, uh, retire. (But he’s been talking about retirement for the last how-many-years now?)

Let Debi Moen know of your plans this Spring. Reach her at

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