MELBOURNE, FL — There is no better cure for adversity than ingenuity and hard work. The Events United team, and production manager Kevin Hart demonstrated this in convincing fashion the first weekend in March at the Space Coast City Fest.
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For Events United, the two-day evangelical conference represented its first large-scale live event (with the exception of a few smaller outdoor projects) since the pandemic started. As if putting together a stage for Dove Award winners Casting Crowns, Zach Williams, Social Club Misfits, Andy Mineo and other praise music stars while dealing with COVID-19 safety protocols wasn’t enough, they also had to contend with problematic weather throughout the two-day event.
“The winds got pretty intense at some points. The gusts ended up peaking around 35 mph.” said Jon Martell, who made up the Events United team along with Donald Van Slyke, Chase Clark, Ryan Lane, and Joel Pelletier.
As a result of the wind, the festival had to shut down for most of Sunday, putting time pressure on the crew. “Our headliner couldn’t load in until later that afternoon and we ended up building a “C” stage out in the audience so we could have some of the program happen without being on the main stage,” said Martell. “The PA was landed, the lighting rig was high and tight, and the LED walls were lowered, but the show was able to go on without any danger.”
At dusk, the winds died down, and the festival moved forward as planned. Events United supported the stars on stage with an immersive light and video show that featured CHAUVET Professional Maverick and STRIKE fixtures as well as X6IP and F4IP video panels.
A collection of 72 X6IP panels was arranged in a vertical configuration to serve as the upstage video wall, while 112 F4IP panels were used to create stage left and right walls that were hung from cranes. There were an additional two delay screens hung to cover the massive area.
“We made the side walls large and positioned them as high as possible, because we wanted to make them visible to the entire crowd , which was very spread out,” said Clark, who served as A1 and monitor tech for the event. “This venue was a giant open field and the intention was to have everybody spread apart for social distancing. The center screen on the stage was hung for lyrics and effect.”
The big side walls were used to display IMAG or pre-produced videos. Content was fed to them from a broadcast truck that handled all of the video feeds. The center wall was fed content from the bands as well as festival branding graphics. All video content was fired through Resolume on their servers.
Complementing the video images was intense, colorful and fast-moving light from the 24 Maverick MK2 Spot and 8 Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures in the rig. The design team positioned 16 of the spot units across four truss fingers so they could better deliver dynamic aerial crossing patterns and lend texture to the stage.
The remaining 8 spots were arranged on cases in a straight line along the upstage deck and were used to create silhouettes as well as aerial effects. Hung on upstage truss, the Maverick MK1 Hybrid fixtures filled a variety of roles from providing stage lighting, to creating gobos and specials. For washing, the team relied on 12 Maverick Storm 1 Wash fixtures flown on downstage truss.
“We worked to design the lighting rig to look a little bit more exciting than a straight upstage, down stage and mid-stage design,” said Lane. “At the same time, we wanted a design that would make it easy for the headliners’ LDs to clone without too much trouble.”
The rig setup also made it easy for LDs to engage the crowd, thanks to the 8 STRIKE 4 and 6 STRIKE 1 fixtures in the rig. “We definitely wanted to reach the crowd with light,” noted Van Slyke.
Looking at the festival in the context of the past year with its lockdowns, Events United owner Tim Messina said: “ We had to decide if doing an in-person event of this size was a good idea at this time. We had turned down other opportunities earlier in the year because of safety concerns, but now with the vaccine being distributed faster than we anticipated we decided it was time to move forward. The Space Coast team was really great to work with. After a year of lockdowns, everyone involved was determined to make this event special.
Thanks to their resourcefulness and determination of all involved, that’s exactly what this crew did, despite some iffy weather conditions and a host of other challenges!