UK: Avolites and Avolites Media continued their strong association with Glastonbury Festival with an impressive array of equipment and an eager team out in force to support friends and colleagues alike. This year’s festival was an eclectic and awe-inspiring celebration of music and the arts, playing host to some of the biggest names in music across its multiple iconic stages.
With no less than three headline acts on the main stages controlled by Avolites, as well as numerous other acts and stages, the festival proved an excellent opportunity to showcase the power and versatility of the range.
The first of those headliners, Arcade Fire, brought the Pyramid stage to a climactic close for day one with a set list spanning their four albums. The band put on a compelling show, performing in elaborate costumes and face paint against a myriad of moving mirrors, fireworks, and an outstanding use of lighting skilfully conducted by Chris Bushell from a Sapphire Touch.
Meanwhile, Kaiser Chiefs ended the day one festivities on the John Peel stage, with Ali Pike putting on an excellent light show using Titan Mobile, after kicking the weekend off with a secret set that morning.
Continuing their meteoric rise, Disclosure’s festival closing set on West Holts stage featured a light show from Will Potts controlled using a Tiger Touch Pro.
The threat of rain that had been prevalent in the run up to the weekend rang true on Friday when all outdoor stages were shut down, with much of the crowd running for cover during a colossal electrical storm. Fortunately the team had been on hand to offer excellent on-site support, including some last minute (and very rudimentary) fixture waterproofing on The Common’s outstanding Temple Stage with LDs Paul De Villiers and John Rogers. In any case, all the Avolites equipment defied the elements, with absolutely no backups or spares required during the festival.
Lily Allen was the first to take to the Pyramid stage after the deluge, bringing the fun and the sun back for the afternoon with a brilliant, crowd-pleasing performance against a backdrop of baby bottles. Twenty-four of these supplied by Ben Vaughan of Light Initiative made up a bespoke video screen, with media served using an Avolites Media Ai Infinity EX4 Server.
Returning for her second Glastonbury, Anna Calvi’s exciting Park Stage performance was supported by Tom Campbell, controlling lights from his Tiger Touch II.
Beautifully lit by Leela Otremba, Little Dragon delivered an energetic set to a fervent crowd spilling well beyond the confines of the John Peel tent. Leela was using her own Tiger Touch II console also employed on the band’s world tour in support of latest album Nabuma Rubberband.
“I bought my Avolites Tiger Touch II a while back and I haven't really looked back,” says Leela. “It's like any other craft, having good tools makes the work much easier. I’ve been touring my console with Little Dragon for about three months - it’s been great, I have really enjoyed myself!
“With this show, the most important feature has to be Pixel Mapper. I used it to draw simple images which I then manipulate in the pixel mapper to get bespoke effects. It is especially useful for making my own colour patterns. In general I have really got into using the Set List feature, as well.”
“The main elements for this show were the abstract fluorescent tubes,” says Leela, on the design of the show. “They were the part of this design that I inherited to a certain degree; so I took what was there and made it my own by using light initiatives custom LED wands and reworking the positioning of the strips.
“My main focus was to get certain fluorescent colour combinations and really bring the design to life. I did a lot of research into custom strips and fixtures to achieve the look I was after come together on stage in terms of dynamic, colours and practicality.
“While I think designs are ever evolving and should stay, to a certain degree, in working progress (even if only finer details) with live performances, it's nice to see it all come together.”
On the back of TPI award for Production of the Year 2013, the bigger and better Arcadia stage returned to Glastonbury for another round of rampaging euphoria. Opening each night with an enthralling ‘Landing Show’, the stage was set for a stellar electronic line-up including Disclosure, Mr. Scruff and David Rodigan MBE. Jamie Trant was controlling the lights for the stage from a Sapphire Touch, with support from Avolites’ own Greg & Pete. The video mapped content, coming from an Infinity EX8 server and Sapphire Media, controlled by Tom Wall, supported by Avolites Media’s Ciaran and Selvin. All equipment used on the stage, including the above as well as a back-up Tiger Touch II and 2x Titan Net Processors, was supplied by Tim Smith of Smash Productions, who also served as Production Manager for Arcadia.
Other areas featuring Avolites kit included Shangri La, where the Hell Stage was controlled by a Tiger Touch II from PF Events. In Shangri La’s Art Dept. area, featuring artwork from the likes of Shephard Fairey, Hayden Kays and Doug Foster, were 2x Titan Mobiles, an Expert Pro and 3x Powercubes courtesy of James Waudby, Astral Design. The Circus & Theatre area saw Avolites particularly well represented, with Sapphire Touch consoles gracing the Acoustic and Circus stages, as well as a Tiger Touch and ART 2000 dimmers on Cabaret, and an Expert & Wing on Theatre stage. All of this was provided by Fineline, with Simon Johnson and James Loudon among the names in control.
Also on site were Coloursound, supplying a range of kit including an Expert Pro to the Glade stage, and on the London Underground area of Block 9, an Expert Pro plus Powercube and an ART2000 T4 dimmer. Providing another Powercube to Block 9’s Genesis, Coloursound also controlled the lighting for the majority of the bars on site.
After another fantastic festival for the company, Avolites and Avolites Media MD Steve Warren was understandably upbeat, declaring: “It is hard to explain just how important Glastonbury is to me personally as well as to Avolites as a company. We could discuss the fantastic feedback we obtain by directly interfacing with LD’s as they actually use the lighting and video control systems. We could discuss the strengthening of existing relationships with designers, and the numerous new contacts our huge team of Avolites staff on site are able to develop. We also get direct and up to the minute input on where our industry as a whole is heading – allowing Avolites to deliver on our promise of defining the future.
“Although all of these are hugely important for Avolites, speaking personally as Steve Warren, the core issue is that Glastonbury has been life changing and one of the core reasons that I love this industry and Avolites so much! As a skint wireman at Avolites for 1 year in 1985 I went over the fence (sorry Michael) with my mates, and to think that now I and Avolites have been able to help make this iconic festival bigger and better every year has been rewarding beyond my dreams.
“This year the beautiful and amazing Arcadia, running from Sapphire Touch lighting control and Avolites Media Ai video control, has been a personal peak of pride. Adding to my joy, all Avolites installations, site wide ran without a single problem despite the occasional drop of rain, with no spares or backups used at all. But hey, what else would you expect from Avolites!”