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Who Ya Gonna Call?

by Nook Schoenfeld • in
  • Event Lighting
  • March 2018
• Created: March 12, 2018

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The setup, one week after getting a phone call. Photo courtesy of The Legacy Production Group.

Hometown Hero Finalist Legacy Production Group in the Clutch during Super Bowl Festivities

In the last few years, I’ve attended some large cities during times when they were having a major event, such as the RNC in Cleveland a few years ago. I chatted with a friend of mine that lives there to see how slammed his lighting company was during the week, assuming he was out of gear. “It’s been really strange. We got a heckuva lot of calls and sent out a bunch of bids. But when it came time for people to actually lock in the gear, it didn’t happen. So here I have a half of shop full of gear, and you are in my town using gear trucked in from Virginia.”

I hear that story quite often. Minneapolis is only the 17th largest city in America, and it was home to this year’s Super Bowl. There’s a good half dozen lighting companies locally and they all had some work around town, but I didn’t hear that any of them were slammed. I had run into Tom Gorman, one of the principals behind The Legacy Production Group in Minneapolis a few weeks before the big game and he ushered similar sentiments, “Lot of people throwing their lines in the water, but nobody’s biting my hook.”

The Legacy Production Group has only been around for a couple years now. Two old friends cashed in their 401K’s and started up a mom-and-pop shop, hanging a shingle with the hopes of “Build it and they will come.” Friends around town helped them with some basic gear as they got their footing and acquired gear of their own. Nowadays, they are a full-service rental/production house with video, lighting and a little bit of audio. They have assembled the widest assortment of lighting fixtures in town, all of them in new condition with fixtures from over a dozen different manufacturers.

Kygo performed Feb. 2, after The Chainsmokers kicked things off Feb. 1.

“We had two big corporate shows going down during the week of the Super Bowl. Those two events exhausted our supply of corporate fixtures,” admits Gorman. But that didn’t mean they were out of gear. Tom used to be a touring rock LD, and he wanted his company to be able to delve into the touring market as well. Over the last year, they invested in fixtures that they knew the touring LDs wanted, but fixtures that could also be used for the corporate side. “We made a conscious decision to buy lights such as GLP’s JDC strobe. We needed scoop lights for the business meetings we light. But we don’t really want to invest in those fixtures as well as the cable and dimmers needed with them. The JDC fixtures are great rock lights, but we can use them as scoops, pointing them straight down in the house and getting amazing white light coverage.”

Enter the Mystic Lake Casino, located 20 miles outside of the downtown area. It’s two weeks prior to the big game, and the whole town is loading in shows, to get ready for a week of non-stop parties. There had been some plans for a large event to be held near the casino grounds that featured a few nights of concerts, featuring artists Gwen Stefani, the Chainsmokers and Kygo on different evenings. Tony Mahmood from Legacy explains, “I get this kind of inquisitive, weary call on the phone from our friends out at Mystic. They asked if, by some slim chance, we had any lights whatsoever in the shop they could rent for some concerts.”

As it turned out, the shop had just taken delivery of some Claypaky Mythos and Sharpy fixtures from George Masek, a friend of theirs from ACT Lighting. Mahmood sent the Mystic house LD (Will Rees) over a list of all the fixtures, truss and the two grandMA2 full size consoles left in their shop. He quickly turned it around into a lighting plot. “They took every last fixture we had and incorporated it into the design. Our next problem was that, while we had the fixtures, we didn’t have the cable and distros to power them up, and they wanted to load in fairly soon.” The phone call had come in about ten days before load-in would commence in the ballroom, as the casino’s large stage in the theater was unavailable.

Gwen Stefani’s show took place Feb. 4.

Mahmood solved the problem with one more phone call. “I reached out to Lex Products in Connecticut, who make a lot of various cables. I told them my dilemma and the rush I was in to get a pretty substantial amount of cable built with our connectors and sent to the site in zero time. They kicked some ass getting that stuff to me. We needed another 48 way 110/208 AC distro to power the lights. I think they built that one straight from scratch to bail us out. I shopped around and they were the one company that didn’t bat an eye and said they could do it. Lex Products is welcome to all of our future cable business after this event.”

Of course, last minute orders like this add to the cost of the rental, but Tom Gorman was willing to invest in the future of the company. “We try to never say no to our customers, but we have to be practical. Doing last minute business is tough, but we are all about growing the company, while at the same time making sure all of our clients have what they need here at Legacy.”

Who ya gonna call next time you need gear in the Twin Cities?

For more info on Legacy Production Group — including their phone number — go to www.legacy-pg.com.

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