dbn at Somme 100 Commemoration

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

dbn Lighting, working for Somme 100 and Manchester City Council, provided lighting, LED screen and rigging equipment, an enormous electric-art sun piece and crew for a major cultural concert as the finale of the ‘Somme 100 Manchester’, a massive public art and performance event in Heaton Park, Manchester marking the UK based commemoration of 100 years since the start of the First World War’s deadly Battle of the Somme.

dbn’s Pete Robinson led their team and

worked closely with lighting designer Chris Davey to realise his specification and design for lighting a main orchestra / choir stage plus a smaller dance performance stage that was built just in front.

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

The concert section of the event included Manchester’s acclaimed Hallé Orchestra playing several well-known pieces of music related to the First World War and a major physical dance piece which was staged on the forestage.  The concert also featured a range of letters, poems and diary entries depicting the lives of those affected by the Somme and soldiers songs of the time performed by a national children’s choir.

All this live stage action which balanced hope and poignancy with emotive reminders of just how all-encompassing the spectre of war was in this dark period of history, was integrated with archival news and film footage of the time, together with graphics relaying statistics related to the Battle. All of this was lit thoughtfully and appropriately in a masterpiece of precision and drama.

The main stage – built by Acorn – measured approximately 27 metres wide and 10 metres deep with 10 metres of headroom. With the 65-piece Hallé and 100-strong choir in place, every last centimetre of it was meaningfully involved!

A 16 metre wide by 4 metre high 9mm LED screen was installed mid-stage in front of the orchestra, rigged on Kinesys motors by dbn, which dropped in and out during the show, showing video content, statistics and other graphics and info.

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

A ‘path of remembrance’ was built with thousands of tiles snaking through Heaton Park as one of many creative art interventions associated with the event, and the end of this passed by the main stage connecting it to the additional 20 metre wide x 4 metre deep dance stage that was built just in front.

The dance troupe performed their piece on this forestage which included rain falling from the stage roof and mud that was piped up from below the stage, both systems installed by Water Sculptures. The piece wound to a jaw-dropping finish with a lone woman in white raised up on a scissor lift at the back of the stage.

To facilitate lighting both stages, three trusses were flown in the roof of the main stage, loaded with 8 bars-of-6 Source Four PARs on the downstage truss which were used to cross light the choir.

Forty-eight Spectral Zoom LED PARs were utilized for orchestra washes, and 11 Clay Paky a.leda K10s with B-EYE lenses provided the onstage specials.

Seven Mythos, on the front truss, were used primarily to back light the dance piece on the forestage, and these were also used to highlight action on the B-Stage, a completely different area near the FOH position, comprising a 2 metre square platform that rose on a scissor-lift to place a dancer in the middle of the audience.

The Last Post at the end of the piece was also played by a solitary bugler on top of this platform.

Also on the forestage were another 10 bars-of-six Source four PARS on truss towers downstage left and right to sweep low-level cross light across the space.

30 x SGM P5 LED floods were rigged in the gap between the stages to backlight performers through the rain curtains which looked highly effective.

On the B-stage, 12 x Clay Paky GlowUp battery powered LED uplighters proved a neat and tidy wireless solution.

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

All these stage lights were controlled with one of dbn’s Jands Vista T2s programmed and operated by Nick Buckley, and they also supplied two Robert Juliat Victor follow spots.

While there was the relative luxury of two days rehearsals, the (artificial) rain, mud, moving screen, video and presenter content were all challenges that had to receive lighting treatment … before even getting to the orchestra and choir!

There was also another piece de resistance element requiring plenty of lateral thinking from the lighting team!

Towards the end of the event, around sundown, a massive 5 metre diameter sun made out of Molefeys was raised 20 metres in the air on a crane, stage right / house left and level with the FOH position.

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

Centenary of the battle of the Somme, evening concert

dbn’s penchant for ingenuity came to the fore in its construction. The frame was built out of a 5 metre diameter LiteBeam trussing circle with MiniBeam supports and 72 circuits of Molefeys involving a combination of 8, 4 and 2-lite units to create the spherical shape.

It was a show-stopping moment that left the audience completely transfixed in the action. It also allowed there to be a blackout at the end of the piece … even though it wasn’t quite dark yet.

“It was a fantastic event in which to be involved from so many perspectives” commented Pete, “There was a lot of technical brain-teasing which we like, and the end results looked completely stunning and had a huge emotional impact”.

The evening show was part of the National Commemoration of the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme which has held in Manchester.  Project Director Sara Robinson worked with Artistic Director Alan Lane and Designer David Farley on the concept and design of the show with Pete and the dbn crew of 8 including the Kinesys operator working on site directly for Show Producer Sarah Rowland.

The 19,240 capacity of the event referred to the British soldiers who fell during the first day of the Somme conflict including 320 Mancunians, who were represented by 320 dancers in the audience. Heaton Park served as a training camp for a number of Manchester Regiment Battalions during the War.

The First World War’s most infamous Battle of the Somme started on 1st July 1916, and by its conclusion on November 18th had killed and wounded over a million people, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.

Photos : Mark Waugh

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dbn Enjoys Parklife 2016

Main Stage

Main Stage – Photo Justine Trickett

dbn Lighting were back in Heaton Park, Manchester for the 2016 Parklife Festival, where they supplied lighting, rigging and LED screen to five out of the eight main performance areas – including the Main Stage, Stage 3 (The Rotunda), Stage 5 (Elrow), Stage 6 (The Colonnade) and Stage 8 which was hosted by two pumping club nights MTA and MK.

Pete Robinson led the dbn crew of 28 who commenced the get-in on the Wednesday ahead of the opening on Saturday morning, and once again, their mission was to ensure that every stage looked individual and interesting and different from anything in the past.

The project entailed the supply of approximately 580 lighting fixtures including 224 moving lights and 75 strobes which were deployed site wide.

Main Stage

dbn’s Stephen Page designed a house lighting rig for this stage performance space that allowed for the two headliners – The Chemical Brothers and Major Lazer – to bring their own touring rigs in underneath.

This entailed the three ‘house’ overhead trusses being sub-hung as high as possible in the Serious Stages Supernova roof.

The Chemical Brothers’ production featured a large LED screen, moving robots, lasers and a mega-mix of lighting instruments on floor mounted structures.

Major Lazer also had a substantial LED screen that was flown at the back, while downstage their impressive 3-sided Periactoi-style towers – about 13ft high by 7ft wide made a huge visual impact. The first facade is a scenic speaker cabinet design trimmed with LED tape and with LED blinders hiding in the cones. The second is an LED video surface … and the third contains moving lights and three pairs of colour changing strobes positioned on each of three levels – top, mid and bottom – of the tower.

dbn installed a full blacks truss at the back, and a series of blacks were used to mask the trusses for The Chemical Brothers. A banner truss and a video truss downstage of The Chemical Brothers’ kit was flown for Ice Cube’s show on the Saturday, which was then moved to the back and used as Major Lazer’s main screen as they closed the event on Sunday.

The Chemical Brothers crew rigged during the day on Saturday behind a temporary black, while the stage was fully operational, adding another challenge for the crews.

A total of 58 motors were part of the dbn production supply for this stage – including 24 dedicated solely to The Chemical Brothers’ production – and some creative rigging that was required to accommodate everything!

Moving lights on the house rig were all Clay Paky’s with 16 Mythos, 18 x Sharpies and 20 x a.leda K10s fitted with B-EYE lenses, joined by 20 x Martin Atomic strobes, 18 x 2-lite Moles and four ARRI 2Ks … all looked after by Ed Croft using an Avolites Arena for control with a TitanNet Processor at stage.

Stage 3 The Rotunda


Stage 3 – Photo by Olivia Williams

This was an elegant new bespoke outdoor structure designed especially for Parklife by NoNonsense, comprising three enormous trussing arches bringing a real sculptural feel to the space. Each arch was around 48 metres in length from the stage to the furthest point and 18 metres tall at the highest points.

A 5 metre high DJ riser was built in the middle beneath the central arch, partially covered for  some weather protection, but apart from this, everything was open, showing off the stylish lines of the metalwork. dbn rigged their lighting directly off the structural trusses.

Pete and the team produced a video design for the front of the DJ riser which was clad in LED panels, and the lower sections of the arches were also clad with the same 9mm video product panels from Transition Video to dbn’s design.

Either side of the central arch – above and behind the DJ – four production lighting trusses, were rigged and populated with 16 x Clay Paky QWO 800 wash moving lights, 12 x a.leda K10s with B-EYE lenses, 12 Atomics, 12 x Chauvet Nexus 4×4 panels, 24 x Sunstrips and 32 x Spectral Zoom LED PARs.

Another three trusses were hung high right in the centre of the arches, loaded with 18 x IP rated SGM G-Spot moving lights which proved ideal for the erratic weather that permeated the weekend!

Pete explained that the lighting rig was selected and designed carefully to be visually appealing in daylight, dusk and darkness.

Stage 3 had previously been in a big top before, so putting in the open and surrounding it with a strongly architectural feature was a completely different aesthetic approach.

The structure – a massive hit with everyone – was tethered to three 20ft containers per side and on top of these dbn provided another 12 x CP Mythos hybrid moving lights in weather domes.

For smoke management – a serious challenge in this type of environment – four ZR44s and three DF50s and a lot of fluid delivered great atmospherics.

Chris Phillips designed the lightshow which was operated by Steve Barnett using an Avo Pearl Expert.

Stage 5 / Elrow


Stage 5 – photo Gobinder Jhitta

This area comprised a G-Stages structure with several onstage internal trusses that were quickly filled with elaborate and eclectic décor elements created by Spanish club atmospheric engineering specialists, Elrow.

dbn installed a 10 metre circular truss around the central column of the arena and added multiple curved trusses mid-stage … made up from different sized segments of circular truss. The contours of the structural arches were followed upstage with more curved trussing at the back.

The lighting was chosen for compactness and versatility and comprised 14 x Clay Paky Alpha Spot 300 HPEs, 8 x Alpha Wash 300s and 8 x Alpha Beam 300s for the moving lights. On top of these were12 x Atomics, 7 x Chauvet Nexus 4×4 panels, 8 x Showtec Sunstrips and 24 x Chroma-Q Color Force 12 LED bricks.


These were all designed to be eye-candy on the over-stage trusses, but due to the volume and density of the décor once installed, they were most effectively used for highlighting and illuminating the extensive and enthusiastic scenic elements.

Paul Crompton was the operator using another Avo Pearl Expert.

Stage 6 – The Colonnade

The Colonnade

The Colonnade – Photo Giles Smith

This was an Orbit style construction but flat at the back rather than having domed bays, so it resembled a tunnel, in which dbn hung a front and mid truss tracing the shape of the roof. Hung on this were 12 x Clay Paky Alpha Spot 575s and 12 x Alpha Wash 575 moving lights.

Below that, ground supported at the back of the stage, they built a 6-prong trussing star shape, and rigged on this were 12 Nexus 4×4 panels, 12 x Sunstrips, six Chroma-Q ColorForce 72 LED battens and 6 Atomics … creating an industrial strength lighting centrepiece!

On the PA towers were 12 x 2-lite Moles, another four Alpha Spot 575s and two more Alpha Wash 575s.

1XTRA’s production on the first night, decided, at the last minute, to add a thrust stage, so dbn provided SGM P5 LED floods on the floor in a footlights position to up-light artists as they strutted their stuff on this and got amongst the crowds.

Lighting was taken care of by Ant Owen using – once again the people’s favourite festival console – an Avolites Pearl Expert!

MTA Stage

Stage 8 was located in a big top and in a departure from past designs, dbn proposed an eye-catching integrated ground support and lighting system comprising four concentric arches of trussing, plus a 15m high front truss on ground support legs to support the downstage arch underneath it with PA hangs cantilevered to each side.

An additional ground support system at the back facilitated the upstage arch and an LED screen, and two more over-stage arches in-between gave a total of four arches creating a spectacular metal masterpiece for this DJ-led stage which also hosted some live acts.

Stage 8 – Photo Andrew Whitton

Rigged across the four arches was an eclectic mix of lighting fixtures including 8 x Clay Paky Mythos, 16 x CP Alpha Beam  700s, 12 x a.leda K10s with B-EYE lenses 12 x Ayrton Magic Dots, 12 x Atomic strobes and 6 x CP Stormy LED strobes.

Thirty-six ProLights LED Smartbats were highly effective as truss toners, and six 4-lite Moles blasted into the crowds for audience illumination.

The LED screen at the back was made up of 180 panels of dbn’s 12mm Esdlumen product arranged in an arch shape to mimic the trusses positioned in front.

The company’s own Nick Buckley looked after lighting and visuals design which included running video content via a Resolume system. A WYSIWYG model of the lighting design was also fed into the Resolume so the video content could mimic what was happening on the lighting rig further integrating the two disciplines for a more cohesive experience.

Lighting was operated by Paul Sheard using …. another Avo Pearl Expert.

The challenges were the same as they are every year including the logistics required to deal with all the incoming production needs as well as accommodating late technical requests, all of which entail an open mind and being agile enough to come up with some creative solutions at times!

The weather was a real unpredictable English mash-up this year, but of course, even the wetter moments didn’t dampen the incredible vibe and spirit making Parklife one of the UK’s most popular and sought-after festival events on the calendar.



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dbn Gets Lost in the Village Vibes


dbn lighting from Manchester supplied lighting, LED screen and crew to the main stage and four other performances spaces at the 2016 Lost Village Festival, plus site-wide scenic and environmental illumination highlighting hundreds of organic artworks made with natural materials found on the site.

It was the second year of this unique and genuinely boutique festival staged by Lost Ventures with site and production management co-ordinated by Andy George, Jay Jameson and Ben Atkins with whom dbn enjoys a great creative synergy. dbn’s Nick Buckley project managed for them, commenting, “A huge increase in production values this year underlined Andy, Jay and Ben’s commitment to the event, and making it among the best alternative festivals of the UK season”

Staged in the beautiful Lincolnshire countryside in a low key location, replete with pastures, woodland, a small lake and a properly magical feel, the event presented some great dance music, activities and positive vibes in a vibrant and fun environment.

This year’s Lost Village also upped its game with Fatboy Slim playing Friday night on the main stage, a host of other great live acts and DJ’s appearing across the three days, the massive investment in production mentioned above by Nick … and an increased audience capacity.

Main Stage

G2 built one of their striking structures in a small meadow, which featured a lighting and video production design by Nick Buckley to maximise the elegant architdbn-lost-village-festival-2016-fatboy-slim-photo-louise-stickland-los272150059ecture of the roof system.

The installed trussing included two V-shapes either side (stage left and right) with the middle and lower elements attached to ground support towers, and a three-quarter circle truss curving around the full over-stage area and going out above the audience. Another two dbn trusses were used to fly Audile’s PA arrays.

The LED elements of the set were designed to extend the stage sideways with three horizontal strips of dbn’s proprietary 12.5 mm Eastar LED. Careful positioning – and clamping to the trusses – of the panels allowed the gentle curve of the metalwork to be replicated with no gaps in the pixels.

In the centre, the Lost Village logo was reproduced using 18mm LED panels.

dbn’s design also took into account some specific requests from Fatboy Slim’s production and lighting designer Abbiss – who was “extremely accommodating” explained Nick.

The whole lighting and visuals rig stayed in for the rest of the weekend so all performers had the benefit.

The moving lights were chosen for their flexibility as workhorses and comprised 20 x Clay Paky Sharpies – 16 in the air and 4 on the floor; 20 x CP a.leda K10s fitted with B-Eye lenses, 10 on the back wall, four on the floor and the other 6 over the dancefloor; six CP Alpha Spot 575s on the back wall and another six on the dancefloor truss.

Sixteen (of 18) Martin Atomic strobes were rigged on the back wall, with the other two on the floor, and 20 x Moles were also on the back wall – a mix of 4 and 2-lite DWEs.

Four ETC Source Four profiles provided DJ booth / band key-light with two PAR 64s on the V trusses for additional keys on Fatboy Slim, while four ADB 1.2K fresnels created a solid basic stage wash.

All the video content and control was supplied by video artists and VJ Tom Bartley, and the lighting was operated and run for the weekend by dbn’s Edwin Croft.

Stage 2 : The Cabin

An elaborate scenic design was created for this – and all the other stages – by décor specialists Evolution Exhibitions  – resembling a cabin tucked away in the woods which unveiled many surprises nestled in a little glade, pumping out great Trance beats.

The lighting design took advantage of the Cabin’s structural ladder beams which were utilized as hanging points.

The Lookout

The Lookout

The fixtures were 12 x Clay Paky Mythos and 6 x Showtec Sunstrips, positioned around the DJ booth with six strobes filling up the open stage immediately to the left and right.

With the Mythos being a properly multi-functional fixture, 12 were more than enough to give a huge variety of looks.

For control programmer / operator Steve Barnett used an Avo Tiger Touch II adding his own little touch of control magic, utilizing a BPM app to synch chases being run through the desk to the BPM of the DJ.

The low hanging trees formed a natural roof canopy over the audience area, and slung around this were several strings a LED lanterns, made up using intelligent IMS festoon with each bulb dressed by a round white lamp shade. The DMX colour changing bulbs were individually mapped through the lighting desk which looked
highly effective.

Stage Three, The Chapel was another detailed scenic masterpiece ensconced in a clearing along one of the winding woodland pathways followed by guests on their enchanted journey to discovery the ‘lost village’.

This stage featured an all DJ line up and ran for Saturday and Sunday of the event, looked after for dbn by Chris Phillips (Pip).

As with the Cabin, there were limited rigging positions available, so the dbn team used a bit of invention.

Two CP Mythos moving lights were hung above the DJ booth with another two just inside the door – effectively surrounding the DJ, with four more Mythos on the two stage wings in weather domes, shooting down the audience area.dbn-lost-village-festival-2016-fatboy-slim-photo-louise-stickland-los272141140

Four Sharpy Washes – their compact size ideal for the space – were squeezed in above the DJ, with another two behind the Chapel’s two windows, also blasting out into the audience.

Four Atomic strobes were in these same positions, with two LED PARs as key light for the DJ, and another three Spectral LED PARs a side ratchet strapped into the trees to light the front of stage.

Illuminated balloons around the stage were supplied by Made Up

Pip used a Pearl Expert to control the lights and enjoyed the opportunity to adopt a creative ‘busking’ style.

Nick Buckley himself ran lighting at the fourth operated stage, Lookout, which was heavily disguised as a forest hideaway and located in Base Camp – together with a collection of funky food vendors, chill out areas, phone charging stations, etc.

This stage was considerably larger than last year and based around a full structure, supplied, together with all the other stages by G2, with Evolution doing the site-wide stage scenic dressing, which paid huge attention to the detail making each stage stand out.

A full programme of live and DJ acts ran throughout the weekend at Lookout adding to the overall loungey, relaxed vibe of this zone.

The stage structure was again utilized for lighting hanging points the four CP Alpha Beam 700s, 8 x a.leda K10s with B-Eye lenses, four Atomic strobes and half a dozen Moles for audience blinding. Twenty-four strings of fairy lights on poles formed a canopy over the audience immediately in front of stage.

Nick ran the lighting from a Pearl Expert console.

Art Work

dbn-lost-village-festival-2016-fatboy-slim-photo-louise-stickland-los272140194Ruthie Ford from Cloud Nine Décor commissioned a
nd oversaw the making and installation of literally hundreds of pieces of natural and organic art dotted around the site – hanging in the trees, attached to the bushes and hiding in the undergrowth – including mirror people and tree wrapping, all of which were lit, sometimes incidentally, by the environmental lighting for which dbn supplied around 32 x SGM P5 LED floods and 60 x Spectral LED PARs.

dbn also supplied a self-running lighting system for Lost Bureaux, a small charismatic DJ intervention underneath a huge tree en route to the Lake.

Four High End classic Trackspots were dusted off – well preserved, these quality lighting antiques are frequently in action for this type of work throughout the summer – and added to Studio Due ArchiLEDs skimming up the décor and fascias, with a collection of Squirrel Cage light-bulbs dotted around running twinkling chases around the front of a building.

Site wide power was provided by SWG and sound fo
r all areas by Audile.

The event on the first ‘official’ UK festival weekend of the year, enjoyed amazing weather and a great buzz.

Nick concludes, “It was fantastic be back at the Lost Village again this year and to see it develop without losing any of the unique and friendly vibes making it so different and special! It’s always great working with Andy, Jay and Ben – their approach to creating great entertainment environments is truly innovative”

Photos : Louise Stickkland and Lost Village Festival / Fanatic



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dbn Designs Lighting for 2016 Qasr al Hosn Festival in Abu Dhabi

DBN PEOPLE QAHF 2016 (10)The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), appointed live communication specialist People as the event management agency for the vast 2016 Qasr Al Hosn festival, which took place February 3 to 13, 2016 in Abu Dhabi. Manchester UK based dbn Lighting was commissioned by People, to provide lighting design and on-site lighting direction service.

The festival narrates the ongoing conservation of Abu Dhabi’s most historic Fort, and through a series of highly interactive elements, hosted a celebratory programme to reinstate the Qasr Al Hosn site as the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi.

Qasr Al Hosn, which has stood as the symbolic birthplace of the Emirate and home to Abu Dhabi’s ruling Al Nahyan family, is undergoing a comprehensive process of preservation, resto
ration and rehabilitation.

Based around the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Qasr Al Hosn Festival 2016 welcomed over 130,000 visitors who were able to immerse themselves in an interactive setting exploring and celebrating the culture, art and history of Emirati heritage that has formed the basis for the gleaming modernity and success of the region today.

DBN PEOPLE QAHF 2016 (2)Lead lighting designer Stephen Page and a team of seven designers and on-site LDs from dbn worked closely with Tom Ralston and Jonathan Godsmark from Eclipse Staging Services Dubai who provided all the lighting, AV, power and rigging equipment for the huge open air interactive experience.  dbn’s ambitious task was to design an overall scheme to light all the different areas of the site.
Preparations for the 11 day event started the previous year, just a few months after the hugely successful 2015 festival.
The final designs required an astonishing 3,900 separate lighting fixtures, together with around 45 kilometres of cabling and 1,200 plus metres of trussing. There were a total of 22 x Dimmer Cities across the site involving 28 lighting dimmer racks and 52 lighting power distros. 2015-02-08 02.37.40

Control for the 24 x DMX universes of lighting required for the main site was from Eclipse’s Jands Vista  T2 Console,
supported by one of dbn’s Jands D1 processors and additional PC based Vista consoles and wings, all acting as part of a single
Vista network.  This allowed operating in a tracking backup configuration, and enabled network based programming and processing, coupled with fail-safe show operation.

Stephen directed the programming and focus for the whole festival, supported by Nick Buckley and Pete Isherwood, with further assistance from Phil Woodbridge, Paul Crompton and Paul Moloney, all working with an extensive crew of lighting and electrical technicians and riggers from Eclipse.

The festival is the largest of its type in the region and includes areas representing the main settings for historic life in Abu Dhabi: Oasis, Desert, Marine, Island life and a zone dedicated to the Qasr Al Hosn Fort itself; and showcased the historic crafts and skills that Abu Dhabi culture has been built on. The event featured a Festival Stage Arena, and numerous exhibitions, installations and performances in buildings and temporary structures across the site.

Each element required specific treatment to add atmosphere and dramatic context to the vast range of activities taking place – anything from music, dance, story-telling and poetry – to cookery, agriculture, weaving and sailing – and included a petting zoo and an artificial sea complete with waves!

DBN PEOPLE QAHF 2016 (3)Lighting was absolutely crucial to the success of the whole project.

In addition to the creative goals, Stephen had to utilise equipment that was practical to install and maintain in this temporary setting.

The design had to be multi-faceted,” he explains. “The job of the production is to take visitors on a journey away from the urban bustle of the city around it, through the nation’s rich history and heritage to understand how they act as the background for the success and growth of the nation today.”
Each themed area required a discreet approach to enhance the visitor experience whilst incorporating the requirements of multiple live performances, along with practical lighting to support demonstrations and workshops showcasing extremely detailed craft work.

He added that major challenges were the scale of the project – the site covers a whole block of downtown Abu Dhabi – coupled with the diverse range of activity taking place over a protracted period each day, all in the centre of a busy well-lit urban area.

The design had to reconcile the diverse – and sometimes competing – elements of the event into one coherent integrated overall aesthetic, whilst also allowing thousands of visitors to navigate their way around the Festival and enjoy a unique experience in each setting.

With lengthy opening hours, the lighting design had to work in tandem with changes in natural lighting conditions from bright midday sunlight right through to darkness, as well as the physical movement of people from interior to exterior locations across site

A wide range of fixtures were selected from Eclipse’s stock – from a birdie to a Clay Paky Alpha Spot 1500 HPE and everything in between.

All were rigged discreetly and concealed in surrounding scenic elements where possible, as well as from the roofs of buildings and a series of over 100 vertical truss masts across the site.

Background colour washes for each area were achieved with 120 of SGM’s P5 LED floods, with further layers of texture and colour added from a range of moving lights including Clay Paky Alpha, Sharpy and A.Leda range units; and Mac Viper, Aura, 2K and 700 series fixtures.

Finally a full range of generic fixtures was used to highlight specific areas and activities within the overall scheme.

DBN PEOPLE QAHF 2016 (4)For the Oasis area, for example, the design sought to emphasise the vegetation and sensation of growth and life in the lush environment, along with the feeling of being lit by moonlight through the tree canopy after dark, so each of the 100 plus palm tree trunks was subtly up-lit with an LED PAR, while the leaves were skimmed and textured with a mix of Chauvet LED PARs and ETC Source Four profiles fitted with gobos firing through the leaf canopy to add richness and depth.

Colour and texture was also provided by moving lights programmed to alter focus on cue, creating and defining areas for larger performances of traditional dance within the space. Further fixtures were rigged in the canopy of the trees themselves as ‘specials’ to gently delineate storytelling and demonstration areas.

Qasr Al Hosn has served as a centre for protection and government within the Emirate since Abu Dhabi Island was first settled in the 18th Century and the fort is at the heart of the festival site both literally and metaphorically.  With huge historical significance, the fort is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi and currently undergoing extensive restoration works.

DBN PEOPLE QAHF 2016 (1)The exterior of the fort was floodlit to highlight the sparkle and colour of the traditional coral stone construction, with Sharpy, Sharpy Wash and Super Sharpy fixtures being used to define the towers and outline the architecture of the buildings and walls, as well as to project the outline up into the sky above the site.

The Festival Arena, where Clay Paky 1500 Wash and HPE fixtures were used as the basis of a versatile house system, played host to a number of shows produced by People, including a special version of the popular Al Ain Bird Show, and the night time Desert Safari exploring the native animal species of the vast Abu Dhabi desert.

Phil Wiffen programmed and operated lighting for all the arena shows using his preferred Hog4 Roadhog Console.

dbn also developed and installed the lighting design for a new permanent exhibition housed in the Qasr Al Hosn Visitor Centre located close by the Fort.  People designed and produced an installation telling the story of Abu Dhabi and its people through the city’s oldest building (Qasr Al Hosn) featuring displays of historic artefacts, fascinating oral testimonies and historic photographs that bring this important monument to life.DBN PEOPLE QAHF 2016 (9)

Nigel Walker, dbn’s Special Projects designer, acted as lead designer for the exhibition area and used a range of ETC and Prolights StudioCOB fixtures to complement Lumenpulse track fittings and bespoke installations of various discreet LED sources built into the structure of the exhibits.

Says Stephen, “It was brilliant to work on the Qasr Al Hosn Festival again this year, I was very proud of the whole team from dbn and the part we played in helping to make the festival such a huge success, and look so beautiful.

“Working with People was great! They are a relatively young agency made up from a hugely experienced and talented group of people, and are already establishing themselves as one of the leading agencies in the region. I’ve designed a number of jobs for them already and have really enjoyed the ingenuity and creativity of their approach, which is a refreshing working environment.

“As usual, Eclipse were extremely good – technically strong, hard-working and supportive; the quality of their service and equipment was, as always, excellent.”

2016-02-04 15.46.40

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dbn are typically fashionable in Paris

2016-01-24 14.22.562016-01-24 14.54.32We’ve just got back from Paris Fashion week, where we worked with our friends at Broadwick Live  to provide lighting, rigging and a video surface for the Y-3 Spring-Summer 2016 catwalk show.

Designed by Stephen Page, our installation used 150 LED fixtures, including SGM P5s, Prolights Studio COB CW , and our own LED tile fixtures, to light a 25m runway set in a low ceilinged, raw concrete space.
An array of twelve of our i-Pix DB1 Light Valve Video Projectors provided a bold and striking alternative to a more conventional screen arrangement.

Pete Robinson designed and oversaw the installation of a novel rigging system to hide the lights up between the concrete beams holding up the ceiling of the unusual, low roofed venue – further adding to the minimalist, stripped back aesthetic.

Here’s a link to some footage, for those of you who want to know what we’ll be wearing next season!

dbn are typically fashionable in Paris

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dbn take Manchester’s Albert Hall by Storm(y)

IMG_1354We’ve recently swapped out the strobes on our house rig at Manchester’s Albert Hall and installed 6 of our Clay Paky Stormy CC LED Colour Strobes in their place, introducing a whole new range of effects to the fantastic venue and helping to save power in the process.





(A stormy cc at dbn yesterday – unavailable for comment)

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dbn is Switched On

MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015

dbn Lighting provided full illumination for the 2015 Manchester City Centre festive lights switch on, getting the pre-Christmas party in the north-west off to a rocking start. The event was hosted by popular local radio station Key 103’s Debbie Mac with iconic long-running soap Coronation Street stars Kym Marsh and Catherine Tyldesley. Record crowds – estimated at around 20,000 – were entertained by Scouting for Girls and Lemar, the casts of Cinderella and The Sound of Music, both currently playing in the city, together with a local choir.

dbn has been involved with the fun-filled event for the last 6 years and this year Nick Buckley once again designed the lighting and co-ordinated everything on site. The stage moved to a new position on the Princes Street side of Albert Square, right in front of the imposing Victorian Gothic architecture of Manchester Town Hall, which is now juxtaposed behind a gigantic scenic Father Christmas in the run up to the holidays!

MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015

The brief this year put more emphasis on lighting the audience than in the past. This was to pull them into the action and include everyone packing the space, even those further away from the stage, so the overall lighting design encompassed both regular stage lighting plus environmental.

Audience lighting comprised 16 x SGM P5 LED floor fixtures strategically distributed around Albert Square mounted on frames that clamped to the masts of four well positioned lamp-posts. This rigging process was developed by dbn as a quick and practical solution to get lighting units exactly where needed to have the right effect.

The P5 was chosen as a lightweight yet punchy unit to produce a nice rich and even colour wash across the audience area.

These were joined by 12 x Clay Paky Mythos’, six rigged on the bases of the PA delay tower risers in the middle of the audience area at about 6 ft. high making them ideal for skimming above the audience heads. The other six were on the ledge of the Square’s central Prince Albert memorial monument approximately 5 metres high, and at an ideal angle to contrast with the other Mythos.

MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015

“The P5s and the Mythos complimented each other very well,” explained Nick, “It was important to get this element right – to bring a sense of occasion to the space and ramp up the atmosphere and vibe with lighting …. but without over-doing it!”

On the stage, another 12 Mythos were rigged, six upstage in the air and the other six on the downstage edge of the floor.

Upstage, seven CP a.LEDA K10 washes with B-Eye lenses were rigged on the truss either side of the row of Mythos’, and the mid-truss features another three K10s B-Eyes.

On the front truss were four ARRI fresnels and two profiles as key light for the presenters and the singers. Also on this truss were another eight P5s to cover the area of audience lighting immediately in front of the stage.

All of these were controlled via a Jands Vista S3 console operated by Nick.

To create some additional set eye-candy, add a bit of atmosphere onstage and avoid ‘black-hole syndrome’ for the cameras – as the event was also internet streamed – Nick created a bespoke arrangement on seven truss towers which were fitted with individually dimmable LED panels.MANCHESTER Christmas light with on 2015

Gelled in festive red and green and mounted on their diagonals, this produced a very cool and cost-effective ambient light-box backdrop.

Working alongside Nick were dbn’s crew of Moss Everhard, Andy Pole and Eddie Marriot.

“It was great to work on another switch-on,” sums up Nick. This one was reckoned to be one of the best yet according to social media chatter and kicks off the great pre-Christmas tradition of Saturday nights out in the city, helping Manchester maintain its reputation for being THE festive capital of the UK!



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dbn only have B-Eyes for you!

Yet more Clay Paky Aleda K10 B-Eyes arrive at dbn – we love them!

More dbn K10 B-Eyes

B-Eyes breaking free of their bonds!

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dbn Swings in Hull

dbn Voices of Freeedom Hull photo by Tom Arran Freedom Festival 2015 - Friday-46

dbn Lighting from Manchester recently designed and supplied lighting equipment to two innovative site-specific shows in Hull created by outdoor arts and performance specialists Walk The Plank, in their role as artistic directors of Hull Freedom festival –  a diverse mix of arts, music and cultural events staged over three days in and around the city of Hull, UK.

dbn is a regular collaborator with Walk The Plank, known for their ‘out-of-the-box’ approach and imaginative, eye-catching public art presentations which challenge, engage and appeal to wide and diverse audiences.

dbn’s Stephen Page and Nick Walton lit the two one-off shows which formed two of the main spectacular set pieces for the festival.

Voices of Freedom 

dbn Voices of Freeedom Hull photo by Tom Arran 22392112122_253d065ffa_o

Using the River Hull as the narrator, this opening night spectacular took place along its banks in between the Scale Lane Swing Bridge and Myton A63 Road Bridge which is about 120 metres south.

The award winning Scale Lane Swing Bridge was designed by architects McDowell & Beneditti and opened in 2013, linking Scale Lane and Tower Street and forging a path between the city’s historic old town and The Deep submarium. It is the only moving bridge in the UK where people can stay on it while it swings.

The Myton Bridge was opened in 1981 and is an asymmetric cable stayed box girder steel swing bridge on the A63 (Garrison Road), with spans of 55.5 and 28.5 metres.

Directed by Nick Clarke and produced by Ellie Turner for Walk The Plank, the dramatic action included a boat moving up and down the river with one of the main characters on-board standing on a tower, and Hull’s own Freedom Chorus choir performing on the bridge.

The work took the audience back to the days when Hull was built as a port to distribute wool from across Yorkshire as ransom for Richard The Lionheart.

Stephen called on his wealth of experience at lighting large scale outdoor events. He had a vast space and many specific areas to light including the two bridges, assorted buildings, the choir and the actors.

Scale Lane Bridge was illuminated with five Clay Paky Sharpies and five Sharpie Washes helping to establish the ‘voice of the river’ through the medium of light. The voice appeared during the narrated elements of the especially composed sound-track by Graeme Stewart.

Additional bridge lighting came in the form of Spectral LED PARs plus around 500 fairy lights which brought a magical glow to the space.

dbn Voices of Freeedom Hull photo by Tom Arran 22218433229_25536617c3_o

To light the river and the relevant surrounding buildings, Stephen utilised four of dbn’s brand new high powered Studio Due RGBW CityColor LED FCs – the latest ones – their intensity and excellent quality of light proving perfect for the application.

He also deployed four CP Mythos and 10 x Alpha Beam 700s in dbn custom weather domes either side of the river bank, together with some Atomic strobes, with the data signal to the far side beamed via WDMX wireless links – essential as both bridges opened during the show(power was provided on both sides of the river).

CP GlowUp battery powered LED uplighters on the boat were also controlled via WDMX.

Stephen ran all the lighting using a Jands Vista S3 console located on the east side of the river using a combination of time-coded and manually executed cues.

His big creative challenge was lighting up the black Scale Lane Bridge … but the new CityColors were so powerful that they handled it with ease.

Programming time was also restricted on site as the area is heavily residential, however Stephen was able to do a good portion of this beforehand using WYSIWYG previsualisation.

He worked on site with two dbn crew – Moss Everhard and Andy Pole – getting in on Wednesday for the Friday performance.

Over and Out

dbn Over and Out Hull photo by Glen Meskell 19Across town, on a piece of wasteland near Hull’s docks, on the Saturday night of the Freedom festival, dbn’s Nick Walton took up position behind the Avo Pearl Expert console being operated by Mike Durgan for the incendiary “Over and Out”, designed by WTP’s pyro expert Pete Finnigan to demonstrate the power and beauty of fire.

Based around a (scenic) 12 metre tall lighthouse, the show featured three key actors plus local volunteers and was directed by Carrie English for Walk The Plank, complete with a special soundtrack created by Pablo.

Nick had actually lit the show before in Newcastle when it was part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. This time it was specially adapted for the new space in Hull.

In this instance, the  role of lighting was to incorporate the structure and highlight the actors who work on three different levels of the lighthouse as well as across the floor immediately around it.

The primary factor in choosing equipment … was that it had to be durable and “As resistant as possible to fire and heat and all the hot debris and fall out from the pyro” recalls Nick, admitting that a few pieces of kit had in fact been incinerated in 2012!

The next challenge for the lighting was to ensure it was visible amidst the intense power and onslaught of the fire effects!

To achieve this, eight i-Pix BB4 LED binders were secured to the tower and 100 metres of egg-strobes were draped up and down it.

Eight Studio Due ArchiLED 150 outdoor PARs were positioned on the floor in front – chosen for their tight beam and durability in adverse weather – the second environmental consideration, and a further 24 generic flood fixtures also on the floor were used to light the actors from different angles.

Further away, to create some massive washes sweeping across the performance area, Nick used four more of dbn’s stock of the new RGBW CityColor LED FCs which were more than enough to blast the space and tower with lumens.

dbn Over and Out Hull photo by Glen Meskell 16

Behind the tower at a safe distance was a bank of 12 x Clay Paky Sharpies to give super-sharp, definitive beams of light piercing up into the night sky. They were joined in this position by a pair of Griven Sky Rose 2.5K discharge beam fixtures which panned around adding some additional interest.

At the same position from the front were four CP Alpha Spot 575s, used to apply texturing to the structure.

Nick and Mike were joined on the crew by Stefan Ospafijczuk.

“It was a hugely enjoyable show,” commented Nick. Everyone had a great time rigging and running it and the audience was fully captivated by experiencing the compelling – and dangerous – ephemeral nature of fire.

dbn Over and Out Hull photo by Glen Meskell

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dbn adds lighting magic for Wales Millennium Centre Celebrations

dbn Ar Waith Ar Daith Cardiff 50a

dbn Lighting from Manchester collaborated in another exciting, innovative and off-the-wall production with producers Walk The Plank to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the landmark Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, Wales. dbn’s Stephen Page was asked to design lighting for the spectacle, staged outside along the main concourse approach to the Centre.

Staged on Saturday September 12, the show, “Ar Waith Ar Daith” was a year in the planning and making and with over 600 participants, the largest outdoor theatre production in Wales to date. The show attracted crowds exceeding 12,000 who were enrapt as the age old tale of Welsh history, myth, allegory and magic unfolded via a series of promenade choreography, large format projections onto the side of the building, gravity-defying aerial stunts, lantern processions, choral singing, dance numbers and a truly exhilarating pyrotechnic finale.

The show was directed by Walk The Plank’s Liz Pugh, with fellow co-founder John Wasell as creative producer.  The work featured a specially-composed soundtrack by BAFTA award winner composer John Rea.

“It was a fantastic project in which to be involved, energising all the ingenuity of the Walk The Plank team, and requiring a truly lateral approach to lighting. I enjoyed the many challenges and being part of another great creative team delivering a show that was shared and appreciated by so many people,” stated Stephen.Epic outdoor spectacle Ar Waith Ar Daith is performed outside the Wales Millennium Centre, to celebrate the centre's 10th Anniversary in Cardiff tonight. A visual journey of Welsh myth and magic created by outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank has brought together over 600 participants from across the country.  Kiran Ridley/Ethos

Ar Waith Ar Daith was designed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Wales and in doing so placed the Wales Millennium Centre as a focal point for a broad spectrum of creative inspiration. The 200 metre performance space stretched from the Millennium Centre right down to the waterfront in Cardiff Bay and features a series of large concrete pillars – which could not be touched – and also included the Welsh National Assembly and the Pierhead buildings at the further end of the site.

Eleven custom combined lighting / sound towers were built and distributed around the site rigged with assorted fixtures, supported by a massive quantity of lights spread out along the floor.

A row of SGM P5 LED floods – one of Stephen’s favourite fixtures for this type of outdoor application –  were used as ‘foot lights’ running the length of the site.

The towers were loaded with a selection of fixtures including 21 x Clay Paky Mythos, 16 x Sharpy Washes, 16 x Alpha Beam 700s and 12 x Sharpies, more P5s and Studio Due City Colors – dbn has just invested in the latest 2.5K RGBW versions of these … which really rock! There were also four Alpha Beam 300s on each of the towers and around 40 x PAR cans distributed between them.2015-09-08 09.59.05

Eight of the original version City Colors were positioned on the floor adjacent to the Millennium Centre building and used to back light the performance space.

The conundrums of lighting the show – even for someone as experienced as Stephen with weaving luminescent enchantment into epic outdoor events – were many!

The columns positioned all the way down the performance space restricted the placement and focusing of equipment which had to be factored in at every juncture. As there were so many community members in the cast, the first absolutely full run through with everyone involved … was the show itself!

The main protagonist travelled up and down the full length and width of the site in a motorised scenic tree.

dbn Ar Waith Ar Daith Cardiff IMG_2741

Ar Waith Ar Daith was also broadcast live on S4C just to ramp up the pressure that bit more for everyone on the technical and creative production teams!

From a lighting perspective, having to light for television as well as the live audience required special attention to detail. A lot of the more subtle ‘live’ techniques had to be adapted to also work on TV, whist not losing any of their dramatic resonance … and as always Stephen and the dbn team rose to the occasion, producing some beautiful, vivid and theatrical results with resourceful lighting.

Working alongside Stephen from dbn were Nick Buckley who co-ordinated a lot of the prep work on site and operated lights for the show, plus Moss Everhard and Pete Isherwood. They were very ably assisted by Becky Heslop and Josh Kroon, students from the Royal Welsh College of Speech & Drama.

The dbn get-in commenced on the Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s show, described by Ken Skates, the Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism as, “the best show I have ever seen outdoors in Wales.”*



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