dbn Lights 2015 Ramsbottom Festival

dbn Ramsbottom 2015 Magic Numbers ram181954576
dbn Lighting from Manchester were delighted to return to the picturesque town of Ramsbottom in the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Greater Manchester, UK, a deep valley steeped in history nestling amidst the stunning scenery of the west Pennine moors – for the annual Ramsbottom Festival.

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The 5000 capacity truly ‘boutique’ music event is action-packed with fun, adventure, good vibes and great music for all the family. It’s the fifth year that dbn has lit the event’s main stage in which time the production has grown steadily under the direction of Roy Fernley of ETS, with whom dbn regularly works on other shows in and around Manchester.

dbn’s project manager Nick Buckley also created the production design for the main stage which this year included headliners The Wonderstuff, The Magic Numbers, Idlewild and The Proclaimers, together with a host of other performances throughout the three days which basked in the early autumn sunshine.

The stage – supplied by Acorn in Leeds – was 12 metres wide, 8 metres deep and had a decent 7 metres of headroom. Nick and the production team divided it up to facilitate 2 metres depth of backstage space behind the backdrop for changeovers, leaving 6 metres of active depth for the performance area.

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Three trusses were sub-hung from the roof structure for lighting positions. Normally, as with any festival, they look at the touring designs and rider requests from all the headliners and design a rig based on incorporating as many of these as possible, but this year explains Nick, there were no specific lighting requests, so he had a free rein and also operated for most of the acts.

“I wanted to make it as universal, multi-purpose and flexible as possible to cater for the various different artists and genres of music” he explains, “So everyone could have their own lighting treatment”.

In addition to that, he also wanted to use some of dbn’s latest technology, so included Clay Paky Mythos moving lights as the primary spot moving light. The versatility and brightness of these gave massive scope to a relatively compact rig.


In past years, they have installed different trussing designs, but this year, Nick opted for three straight trusses with four drop-frames sub-hung at the ends of the upstage one to give some additional depth for the lighting positions.

On this back truss were eight Mythos, six CP Stormy RGB LED strobes, six 2-lite moles and a fly bar to accommodate incoming band’s backdrops – of which there were several.dbn Ramsbottom 2015 Wonderstuff ram182039388

The mid truss was rigged with six Mythos and six Sharpy Washes, used for general stage coverage and break-up effects.

On the front truss were another four Mythos, six Sharpy Washes, four Atomics, another six 2-lite Moles and a selection of fresnels doing a generic front wash – especially useful for the artists playing during daylight – and some profile units for specials and key lighting.

Because of the slightly upstage position of the front truss, for extra lighting across the forestage and as downstage edge fillers, fresnels and profiles were rigged on the PA wings shooting directly across the front line of the stage.

On the floor were six Mythos – at the back standing on flightcases – which looked highly dramatic blasting through the various backline set ups.

The colourful Ramsbottom side banners were highlighted with four Strand SL profiles rigged either side of the FOH mixing platform.

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All lighting was controlled via an Avo Pearl Expert console operated mostly by Nick. Some guest LDs and operators rocked-up on the day including Lucy Babington, LD for the Magic Numbers and production manager Chris Holding, who stepped in and operated lights for the Wonderstuff.

Nick worked alongside a dbn crew of Stef Ostafijzuck Moss Everhard and Andy Pole on the in and the out. A fantastic audio system was supplied by Manchester based Tube UK.

“It was another great year of Ramsbottom” commented Nick, “It is a very enjoyable event – and we love the chilled vibe, and along with that, the dedication to real production values and presenting a great looking and sounding show for everyone performing and attending”.

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dbn lights 10×10 event at Manchester International Festival

dbn 10x10 photo by Decoy Media 6603-Edit

Manchester based lighting and visual specialists dbn, working for two of their regular clients – the Warehouse Project (WHP) and the biennial Manchester International festival (MIF) – supplied lighting and visuals to ‘10×10′ Day & Night’, two special nights energised with 12 hours of non-stop pumping music, great DJs and live music plus the very best dance vibes to mark 10 years in the city for both MIF and WHP!

dbn 10x10 photo by Decoy Media 8831

Staged in the historic Mayfield Depot, a charismatic ‘found space’ and site of the former Manchester Mayfield railway station, active as a passenger terminal from 1910 to the 1960s after which it became a warehouse and parcels depot. Since the 1980s it’s been completely closed and derelict … until resurrection as an entertainment venue for the 2013 MIF.

WHP – whose regular venue is just the other side of the railway tracks in a car park beneath Piccadilly Station – took over the whole ground floor of the Mayfield Depot and asked dbn – their regular lighting providers – to create a production lighting design for two rooms.

dbn’s Pete Robinson project managed and commented, “We were really excited to be working in the venue and for the landmark occasion. There were plenty of challenges associated with working in a disused building and turning it into the must-go destination of the weekend … BUT we set out to compliment the unique location with plenty of visual magic!”dbn 10x10 photo by Decoy Media 7219

A big part of that ‘visual magic’ was the chance to show off the amazing new i-Pix db1 fixtures, used for the first time in this context as a high–impact special effect”.

The db1 – i-Pix incredible new and completely different hybrid lightsource that combines elements of video and lighting – was the special effect for the second evening .. But more about these later!

A stage was set up at one end of the cavernous main space with a 4-legged ground support above, cantilevered at the front to provide PA wings – as there was no flying. A number of vertical truss sections were strapped to the pillars down the room and smaller ground supports were erected over the bar areas.  The void above a row of old offices and the ceiling was utilized for additional lighting positions.

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Five short truss sections were sub-hung from the back of the ground support forming a cross shape, and between these and the front truss, the dbn team deployed 24 of their new Clay Paky Mythos moving lights and 24 x CP a.leda K10s fitted with B-EYE lenses, 20 x active Showtec Sunstrips, 18 x Atomic strobes, 12 x CP Alpha Wash 700 and 24 x 2-lite Moles.

These made a highly effective upstage wall of light effect.

The first night was headlined by Four Tet, who brought in his own innovative visual element in the form of a grid of golf-ball LED pixels on strings, suspended over the stage on 24 catenaries … giving 4192 DMX controlled pixels run from a laptop … which looked fantastic!

dbn supplied the scaff towers and catenaries so digital art specialists Squidsoup could install this immersive environment.

The second night was headlined by Carl Craig and Mike Banks, and for this … dbn added the 24 x i-Pix db1s as the WOW factor, which were arranged in four pyramid shaped stacks of 6 units.

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These were fed video content from an Avolites AI Infinity server controlled via an Avo Tiger Touch, run by Chris Ewington – the fixtures’ inventor. The LED light cells in the db1’s were mapped and activated by dbn’s Edwin Croft’s Avo Pearl Expert, with which he was also controlling all the other fixtures in the room. Working closely together the two of them created some truly awesome visual moments which really put the units through their paces.

“The db1s looked incredible” declares Pete, “They presented something completely different, their vibrancy and power was really striking … they were the highlight of the event!”

To light the dancefloor and make sure everyone felt involved in the energy and atmosphere of the music, dbn strapped  8 short truss sections to the room pillars and rigged these with a total of 16 x CP Alpha Spot QWOs, 16 x Spectral LED Zoom PARs and 16 Atomics.

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For décor lighting, clamped onto the pillars were another 20 Spectral LED PARs and 12 x SGM P5 LED floods. Along one side of the room above the old office rooms seven City Color LED RGBW units were ensconced, illuminating the arches of the room. Towards the end of the night they were also used as a super-intense strobe effect which everyone loved!

A serious amount of strategic smoke and haze generation helped fill the large room, with 14 machines dotted around.

Room 2 featured a smaller stage with an equally sizzling selection of DJs in a long and interesting space which had the glass windows at one end painstakingly blacked out by dbn’s Nick Todd resulting in a proper sense of underground clubbing.

Lighting was designed by dbn’s Nick Walton who brought a flourish of gritty idiosyncrasy starting with a trussing structure wrapping the stage, with columns made up from 36 x Chauvet Nexus 4×4 panels for a very low resolution screen, and moving lights and strobes rigged in rows in between the columns.

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Six truss towers running down the room were each loaded with Sharpie Washes, Alpha Beam 700s and Alpha Spot 300 HPEs, while more Beam 700s and 300 HPEs made up the beam factor onstage. Zooming LED PARs were positioned on top of the room towers for illuminating the vaulted ceiling, accentuating the height of the space.


Lighting in Room two was run by Anthony Owen who regularly operates for the WHP’s autumn season, using an Avo Tiger Touch.

The entire dbn crew took their spirited ‘can-do’ attitude to the event and relished the challenges presented by the building, all helping the organisers achieve their end goal of presenting two great evenings of a distinctive, memorable and inclusive dance experience.

dbn 10x10 photo by Decoy Media 7786

Photos – Decoy Media –

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Dbn Lights Parklife 2015

Rudimental / Parklife 2015

dbn Lighting returned to Heaton Park in Manchester to supply lighting to five out of the eight stages and video to two of those – for the popular Parklife Weekender music festival with which they have been involved since its inception in 2010.

The crew – which peaked at 24 technicians, programmers and operators – was led by dbn’s Pete Robinson, and they started their various get-ins across the site on the Wednesday. There were a few logistical curved balls thrown into the mix for good measure, including a Friday night concert by the Courteeners which was slotted in by promoters SJM on Stage 4. While dbn were not lighting this … the licensing restricted access to other areas which therefore had to be ready ahead of time.

Stage 1

The main stage this year was up-scaled to a 24 metre Space roof from Serious three weeks before the event to accommodate the two headliners – Disclosure and Rudimental.

As both artists were bringing in substantial lighting and video packages, dbn’s ‘house’ lighting design was kept straightforward and based around accommodating this. Disclosure’s requirement was also that the entire house rig be gridded out so their complete show could be rigged ‘underneath’.

dbn installed three straight trusses which could be flown out into the roof for Disclosure, and then back in again to provide lighting for the rest of the two day line-up. These were accompanied by drapes, masking and a full cable management system, all designed to make the process, safe, smooth, sensible and streamlined.

For moving lights 12 of dbn’s brand new Clay Paky Mythos took centre stage – having been delivered just in time. Joining them were four CP Super Sharpies, 16 x Robe Pointes, 16 x Sharpy Washes and 12 brand new Stormy LED strobes from CP, plus the usual array of festival must haves like 2, 4 and 8 lite blinders and Atomic strobes.George Ezra / Parklife 2015

As soon as Disclosure’s set finished on Saturday, dbn and the Rudimental advance crew rigged as much as possible of their production, including three circular trusses and an upstage projection screen, with two projectors hung on the front truss which was also clad with a scenic London railway bridge covered in graffiti art and CCTV cams. The scenic elements all arrived from the new Wild Life sister festival in Brighton at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, so it was a gruelling session for all involved. Rudimental also used the house rig as part of their show.


dbn added their own daytime floor package for certain artists comprising 12 x ColorForce 72 LED battens horizontally rigged on upright trussing sections, together with six Patten 2013s which was really effective in plugging the black holes upstage!

The house lighting console was a Pearl Expert Pro with Touch Wing.

 Stage 2

Fatboy Slim // Parklife 2015

The stages were numbered clockwise from the main stage and this one wa
s a 54 x 74 metre 6 king pole big top primarily with a DJ line up, and headlined by Fatboy Slim.

dbn built a four legged ground support system cantilevered out from the stage at the front which provided all the lighting positions and rigging points for the two main PA hangs.

The design was inspired by Fatboy Slim’s lighting scheme, and the moving lights comprised another 8 x Mythos, four CP Alpha 1200 HPEs, 16 x Sharpies and 16 x Alpha Wash 575s.

The generics included 16 x Atomics and 24 x ColorForce 12s which were used as audience blinders, together with more 2 and 4-lite Moles.

Control was an Avo Pearl Expert run by Nick Buckley and Paul Sheard. Pete Robinson completed all the truss layout and fixture placement, with the overhead lights arranged across six ‘finger’ trusses.

dbn also supplied LED screen with 45 square metres of their standard 12.5 mm E-Star product configured in one big block.


Stage 3

James Blake

This was a slightly smaller big top, with dimensions of 48 x 70 metres and six king poles. All the production again stayed at the stage end, where dbn installed a six legged ground supported box truss structure over the stage and PA wings.

Three trusses were hung underneath each another at the back, and a grid of lights was rigged to these, spaced out according to a precise plan prepared by Stephen Barnett.

This involved 16 x Alpha Spot QWOs, 16 x Alpha Wash 700s, 12 x A.leda K10s fitted with B-eye lenses, 20 active Showtec Sunstrips, 8 x Atomics and 28 x Showtec Spectral Zoom PARs.

These were all mapped by Stephen onto an Avo Tiger Touch II with a playback wing. He spent several weeks pre-programming so he could get to know the console, and the results looked amazing! He was joined by dbn’s Chris Phillips on operating duties.


Stage 5Wilkinson // Parklife 2015

A tri-span structure was created by three saddlespan structures arranged in a little cluster with the three mouths facing one another, which on the site plan resembled a large set of genitalia.

A ground supported circular truss was rigged in the middle to provide front lighting positions, together with a straight truss hung in each of the three stage mouths, plus a selection of loose fixtures made available for the stage. The kit included 16 x CP Alpha HPE 300s, 8 x Alpha Beam 300s, 8 x Alpha Wash 300s – all picked for their compact sizes – along with 12 Atomics, and 10 x 5 way Chroma-Q db4 battens rigged vertically across the back of the stage for general eye candy.

A new Avolites Quartz controlled everything operated by Paul Crompton.





Stage 6Kaytranada / Parklife 2015

A custom Serious Stages structure was erected in front of Heaton Park’s famous Colonnade (once part of the old Manchester Town Hall) structure and was a small stage with just 4 metres of headroom, yielding an intimate 8 metre wide playing space with a small arched roof.

Another late change of spec here added a reasonable amount of production.

Onstage, the lighting comprised 12 x MAC 250s, eight Alpha Wash 575s and six Atomics.

A ground stacked 9mm LED video wall was put in at the back – supplied by dbn via YSLV – in one block, complete with a smaller section of the same screen used to face the front of the DJ booth.

On each of the two PA delay tower structures – also added – six Alpha Beam 700s were positioned, and another clutch of lights and effects were positioned behind the stage on the scaffolding structure built around the Colonnade to protect it. This amounted to 12 x Alpha Beam 700s, 30 x Chauvet Nexus 4×4 panels, 12 x active Sunstrips and six Atomic strobes.

Control was another Pearl Expert Pro – as with all these smaller Avolites consoles – an absolute favourite for festivals. The Nexus panels and the Sunstrips were mapped on the desk by operator Anthony Owen which allowed him to create some great funky and mesmeric effects to wow the crowds.


All the stages were equipped with a full atmospheric package – a mix of Jem smoke generators, DF 50 foggers and Look Solutions’ Unique hazers.

Richie Ahmed b2b Patrick Topping / Parklife 2015

Some of the boutique stages were also supplied with effects lighting, including The Smallest Club in the World which is in a garden shed, and the Africa Stage which was visually enhanced with an assortment of disco effects and LED PARs.

The main challenges were incorporating all the late changes. “We know from our past experience that being flexible and prepared to be adaptable is a key to this event running smoothly for lighting,” comments Pete, adding that this year they incorporated a full 40 ft. artic’s worth of extra gear which was loaded up at the warehouse and dispatched after they were all working on site. “You have to be really organised with your logistics, but once again, it was an excellent event that everyone enjoyed working on as well

as doing a great job in delivering to the characteristically enthusiastic audiences”.

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dbn solves another Rigging Puzzle in Istanbul


Mdbn Solves Rigging Puzzle Istanbul IMG_2244anchester based lighting and rigging specialist dbn was presented with another brain-teasing rigging challenge by production company WRG for a large corporate event staged in the Crystal Ballroom at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Centre in Istanbul.

The design for the conference – hosted by a leading pharmaceutical brand – involved a fully immersive curved scenic set running around three sides of the room, featuring projection screens and a myriad of 3 mm LED video panels.

With no flying in the ballroom, a ground support structure was the obvious answer but the creative producers were adamant that no truss legs were allowed within the environment ensuring everyone would receive the full visual experience.

This meant that a 26m span needed to be bridged by a structure with the ability to support over three tonnes of equipment.

Further to these challenges, another conference was taking place in part of the room during the daytdbn Solves Rigging Puzzle Istanbul DSC_0029ime of the build period, which severely restricted the available rigging installation time and space for the dbn team led by Nick Todd!

Normally this alone would be enough to contend with … but there was more!

The room has five spectacular crystal chandeliers in the ceiling, the largest at 6 metres in diameter with elements dropping over three metres!

A massive Slick Super Beam truss was the answer, but installing the 26m long, 900mm deep front truss (usually seen spanning the king poles of large festival stages) in a hotel ballroom millimetres from the ceiling would be interesting!

The four legged Super Beam and Maxi Beam structure was easily capable of supporting all the requisite lighting, projection, AV and PA which was rigged from sub-hung Mini Beam trusses directly over the stage in the centre of the room.

The precision design left just 20mm of space between the top rail of the truss and the ceiling which ensured that all 6.5 metres of available headroom could be used as practical working space for the production.

Four Slick GS self-climbing tower systems were used to lift the top structure, fully rigged with all technical equipment which weighed close dbn Solves Rigging Puzzle Istanbul DSC_0045to 4 tonnes. Once at height, fixed Mini Beam legs were fitted and the GS towers removed and re-used at the other end of the room for surround sound speaker positions.

dbn also supplied the event’s lighting which included substantial quantities of Chroma-Q ColorForce 12, 48 and 72 LED battens and ADB F101 fresnels, together with Clay Paky Alpha Spot and Alpha Wash movindbn Solves Rigging Puzzle Istanbul DSC_0036g lights complete with a Jands Vista console for control.

In preparation for the event, Nick used WYSIWYG to combine the truss, technical and set design into a single fully detailed 3D model which helped avoid many issues on site.

Nick and six other dbn crew were in Istanbul for nine days – with the majority of the work completed in a series of intense spurts of activity. Nick comments, “I had an excellent crew, top quality equipment and we’d put in the pre-production time … but it’s always a relief, on a project like this, to actually see the end product in place!”

dbn Solves Rigging Puzzle Istanbul Pan2


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dbn Rigs Cornelia Parker Art Exhibition at Manchester’s Whitworth gallery


dbn Whitworth Art Gallery Opening night Panorama1

Everyone loves invention in this industry, and Manchester based lighting and rigging specialist dbn had great opportunity to show some real rigging finesse at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery – just re-opened in a blaze of glory after a £15 million revamp that includes a brand new wing and some completely unique new gallery spaces reimagined from previously enclosed areas of the building.

dbn has worked on various projects at the Whitworth over the years. dbn’s Nick Todd joined the Gallery’s own installations team to mastermind the rigging of four specific elements of the current permanent exhibition by sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker into the fabulous newly refurbished Gallery 6, 7 and 8 spaces.

The works include her acclaimed “Cold Dark Matter : An Exploded View” – suspended fragments of a garden shed that was exploded by the British Army, installed with a lightsource in the centre projecting dramatic shadows all around the gallery.

Also the new intricate, precise and slightly unnerving “War Room”.

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Occupying the whole of Gallery 6 one of the newly ‘found’ spaces, this was the most complex of Cornelia Parker’s four enigmatic creations to rig.

The 20 metre long piece resembles an apex roofed marquee in shape with the walls and ceiling constructed out of long drops of blood red paper made from recycled waste from the factory that manufactures the 45 million Remembrance Day poppies sold each year. It is lit by four stark hanging light bulbs,

dbn’s brief was to devise a system whereby the gallery staff could work on constructing this piece at ground level, which could then be raised up.

The lines of fabric had to sit with 12 mm spacings between the outside edges and the next layer in, and all be perfectly lined up so they are seamless with only one layer of fabric visible to viewers.

The simple but elegant solution was to dead hang a Slick litebeam trussing grid in the roof utilising the new house rigging points, allowing a ‘ridge’ truss to be suspended on motors below. The gallery technicians could then attach all the drops of material at working height – while safely standing on the ground.

When this task was completed, the ridge truss was flown out to the desired height, deaded off, and the motors removed. The gallery crew then diligently lifted the material and secured each of the material drops on the side positions forming the swagged apex shape running along the centreline of the work.

Cold Dark Matter

This iconic work created by Parker in 1991 and comes complete with its own grid to which the thousands of fishing line wires are attacheddbn Cornelia Parker Whitworth Cold Dark Matter DSC_0547 to suspend the shed fragments in the requisite positions.

The challenge here was for this grid to be suspended subtly in the barrel celling of gallery 8 imperceotable to those enjoying this powerfully emotive work where the forces of chaos and control work simultaneously

It weighs half a tonne, so dbn designed a mini-grid from Litebeam truss and a discreet steel wire suspension system. Once again, the grid was moved into position on motors allowing connection at ground level, and once in place, deaded off and the motors removed.

“Our equipment was always going to be visible on this one but its simple, functional design was appreciated” comments Nick, who loves working in the Whitworth and feels a real affinity with the environment and the whole vibe that exists there … making some incredible and through-provoking art highly accessible.

Having A Crush

The other two worksdbn Cornelia Parker Whitworth Composition with Horns + Accidental I DSC_0540 testing dbn’s rigging skills are both suspended in Gallery 7 and required a similar approach.

“Composition With Horns (double flat)’” is created from 16 old brass band instruments, squashed flat in an industrial press and hung from wires close to the floor, while “Accidental I” features 52 silver objects crushed in a heavy steam press, also suspended on separate metal wires in a similar fashion.

The artefacts are suspended from two white panels containing a set of screw eyes to hold the wires, and these needed to be hung tight to the 7 metre curved ceiling so the wires could run neatly down to the floor.

The difficulty was that the installation panels were made from steel, were quite heavy and inconveniently positioned for the house rigging points.

The solution this time was another Litebeam grid – connected directly to and spanning the two panels – effectively making them a single element. Wind-up stands with temporary lifting arms were used to achieve maximum height where the panels ‘disappear’ into the ceiling.


For the high profile re-opening show, dbn provided exterior illumination for the Gallery’s new extension utilising SGM P5 LED floods and Studio Due CityColor LED floods. The Halle Youth Choir’s performance was lit with Spectral Zoom LED Pars and Clay Paky GlowUp battery powered LED units.

Inside, the South Gallery was transformed into a clubland setting for Dave Haslam’s rocking DJ set, and the newly restored Grand Hall became a live venue presenting a variety of contemporary music acts.

With the lack of power, strict no-haze policy and incredibly short turn around windows for the indoor spaces (both of which were public galleries until an hour before the opening event), lightweight, low powered fixtures with a punchy output were required.

CP A.leda K10 B-Eye wash LED fixtures were used in both areas for their massive versatility and ‘eye candy’ effects plus CP Sharpy washes for stage washes, where the UV colour filter was ideal for the full room’s immersive projection set. More SGM P-5s, CP Glow ups and Spectral PARs were used to highlight the new architectural beauty of the Gallery, while Clay Paky Alpha Spot HPEs provided breakup effects across some of the walls.

Nick really enjoyed working on this project, I was immensely proud to be a small part of this event, especially having watched the building transform over the months into something really special. It’s been a great challenge for everyone involved trying to organise and plan while it was still a building site, but 18,000 people through the doors over the opening weekend is testament to the exceptional nature and value of this Manchester treasure!”



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dbn Co-operates In Gala Event

dbn CRTG Gala dinner CRTG14 7533Manchester, UK based lighting specialist dbn was once again involved in the ambitious production at the heart of the Co-Operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG)’s annual Supporters Awards and gala dinner event, staged at the city’s Manchester Central venue.

Project managed by Pete Robinson, dbn supplied rigging, lighting equipment and design. The company has been involved in the event for the last seven years  and collaborates closely with both overall technical production management providers A To V and the client to interpret their brief and bring the venue alive as an exciting and invigorating entertainment space for the evening.

This year’s theme took some popular elements of last year’s ‘circus’ in terms of the physical layout and developed a special ‘carnival’ vibe for this year. The venue was divided into two areas – with a fully operational fairground in one half and the dinner for 1000 people in the other.dbn CRTG Gala dinner CRTG14 8033

The dinner room was created by draping off a large (55 x 40 metre) perimeter in white with the trusses trimmed at 8 metres high. The idea was that this could be lit and textured beautifully with a variety of mood-changing colours that shifted throughout the evening. The side of this soft-wall that faced into the fairground area was also finished in white draping.

Around 350 x Chroma-Q ColorBlock units were rigged on the perimeter trusses pointing downwards and focused to skim the white drapes very effectively.

Central to the dinner and Awards action was an in-the-round stage – an integral part of the overall set designed by dbn’s Pete Robinson and A to V’s Production Manager, Mark Whitehead.

In the ceiling, a series of concentric trusses were installed, starting with an 8 metre box truss above the stage, from which was hung a cube structure with 8 metre wide by 4.5 metre high screens stretched across all four of its sides.

Inside the screen cube was an internal truss flown so the fixtures rigged on it were neatly concealed with only their noses visible.

dbn CRTG Gala dinner CRTG14 7534

On this were 12 x Clay Paky Sharpies, 16 x Sharpy Washes and 16 x 2K fresnels.

On the stage floor were another eight Sharpies and eight CP A.Leda B-Eye K10s utilized for creating attractive beams across the stage in all directions shooting out into the room.

A box truss was flown further out in the room and used for positioning all the table and general lighting. An impressive 64 ft long, complete with extensions to maximize lamp throw and general coverage – on this were 16 x Clay Paky QWO 800 washes and 16 x Alpha Wash 575s, the latter specifically used to light a series of large scenic carnival masks attached to the truss.

Twenty-four SGM P5 LED floods were spread out and used for the audience / room washes, while 32 x ETC Source Four profiles, fitted with a variety of lenses, were the stage washes and specials. Robinson said of the P5s, ‘This was my first use of SGM’s powerful LED wash light and I was impressed by the vibrant colours and evenness of the wash. By using them I was able to drop 96 sour ce4 pars and associated dimming, as well as reducing the power spec by 100 amps per phase, not to mention the saving in cable, labour and focusing time!’

Also on this truss were 24 glitter cartridges that created a great surprise effect when fired at the end of the Awards, energizing the carnival vibes!

All lighting in this area was controlled via Jands Vista S3 and S1 consoles programmed and operated by Mark Jones.

In the fairground, dbn flew two 50 metre trusses, each of which was rigged with nine bars-of-six Source Four PARs and another nine Source Four profiles for adding breakup effects across the floor and surroundings.

A temporary performance stage was lit with eight CP Alpha Wash 700s and  the white soft-wall area was enhanced with 20 x Chroma-Q ColorForce 72 LED battens spread out on the trusses above with some ColorSplits filling in the smaller gaps … resulting in a nice smooth, even wash.dbn CRTG Gala dinner CRTG14 7858

The entertainment lighting in the fairground was run by Stephen Walker Jones using an Avolites Pearl Expert.

Robinson oversaw a dbn crew that peaked at 14, and the major on-site challenge was the timescale which due to various venue curfews meant the majority of the work had to be completed during two intense overnight sessions.

The proximity of the final confirmation and the actual event also entailed some nifty logistical juggling, an efficient workflow being activated in a short space of time, and late requests – like the installation of a ground support system for one of the fairground artists – were also accommodated by dbn with their usual slick operational flair and style.

dbn CRTG Gala dinner CRTG14 7566

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Dbn Lights ‘Sound To Sea’ for Cryptic

dbn Sound To Sea - Treacherous Orchestra (Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)Lighting and rigging specialists dbn were asked by Glasgow-based arts organization Cryptic to collaborate on creating ‘Sound To Sea’, a very special night-time nautical extravaganza presented in partnership with Glasgow Science Centre, and in association with Walk The Plank, All Or Nothing and The Royal Navy, staged at the Canting Basin on the River Clyde in Glasgow.

This vibrant and ambitious site specific work, directed by Cathie Boyd, celebrated Cryptic’s 20th anniversary and was part of the arts programme accompanying the 2014 XX Commonwealth Games in the city, which culminated the same weekend.

dbn’s Stephen Page was commissioned to design and develop a lighting scheme for the show, due to the company’s extensive experience working on dynamic outdoor multi-faceted performances like this.dbn Sound To Sea - Miaoux Miaoux (Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

The performance encompassed several live artists and bands, aerialists, pyro effects, around 140 performers and no less than fourteen ships which were part of a magical kinetic set, some moving around the dock during the performance.

The scale of the site was huge – from the top of the Science Centre roof, where the aerialists performed, to the boats maneuvering in the dock, reaching right along to Glasgow Tower at the end of the Science Centre, which became a striking end-stop to the action, with carefully choreographed pyro sequences fired in and around it.

It was the expansive and varied nature of this temporary theatre environment that was the biggest challenge for Page when lighting the show. The solution was to position lights in just about every conceivable position around the space!

At the top and bottom of the Science Centre roof were eight strategically deployed SGM P5s – 16 in total – with two Studio Due City Color LED also shooting up from the floor either side.

Either side, and to the front of the building were four Clay Paky Alpha Wash 700s and level with the middle of the audience positions, in front of the roof and to the sides, were two Alpha Wash QWO 800s each side.

The large dock basin and hub of the performance was directly in front of the Science Centre which had 16 x Alpha Beam 700s positioned around its perimeter, used for creating an eye-catching backdrop to the boats and performers. They also doubled up as reinforcement for illuminating the Science Centre roof.

The shape and makeup of the Science Centre roof was another galvanizing element with its distinctive titanium-clad crescent shaped structure acting as a backdrop to the event, so throwing sufficient light up there without it being reflected up into the night sky was extremely tricky.

Around the FOH position were another eight P5s shooting into the basin together with another two QWO 800s, four CP Sharpie Washes, four Martin Atomic strobes and two Robert Juliat Victor followspots.

The Glasgow Tower was lit with six Sharpie Beams and four Sharpie Washes.dbn Sound To Sea - Glasgow Science Centre (Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

Page operated all the shore-based lighting from his trusty Jands Vista T2 console.

Six vessels had lighting systems installed on them, to support performers playing on deck.

Glasgow electro outfit, Miaoux Miaoux, and Model Aeroplanes from Dundee were special guests aboard auxiliary support vessel ‘SD Omagh,’ and they were lit from behind with Clay Paky A.leda K10 B-Eye wash lights and a grid of Chauvet Nexus 4×4 panels, all operated locally via a Jands S3 console.

The Treacherous Orchestra made waves aboard Royal Navy minesweeper, HMS Bangor, with their set being lit with a variety of kit including six Sharpies rigged on a scaffolding goalpost creating a high impact fan effect, Showtec Sunstrips upstage for eye-candy and Showtec Spectral Zoom LED PARs for general washing, controlled with another Jands Vista S3.

dbn’s intrepid Nick Buckley literally had to ‘jump ship’ via the dockside to be in place in time to operate lighting on both boats!

Further kit was installed on the four other boats that were active in the show – the ‘Orcuan’, a 9 metre long Birlinn fishing vessel; the 33 ft long Baldie ‘White Wing’ popular for fishing on the East Coast of Scotland; the ‘Wee Spark’ a third scale Cylde ‘puffer’ and the ‘Maybe’, an elegant traditional Dutch sailing Ketch launched in 1933 and built for round-the-world cruising.

The on-board lighting kit included a single CP GlowUp battery powered wireless LED up-lighter rigged on  the ‘Orcuan’ to a slightly more sophisticated set up on the ‘White Wing’ comprising 30 metres of LED tape and two GlowUps, controlled locally by an ETC SmartFade 1224.

The ‘Wee Spark’ was fired up with four iPix BB4 LED battens and two GlowUps controlled via wireless link to the FOH console on the shore, and the ‘Maybe’ was graced with 600 metres of Warm White fairy lights in her rigging – which provided a fantastic backdrop to an additional solo aerial dancer.dbn Sound To Sea - James Johnson's Zorbs (Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

Page recalls that after getting sufficient illumination up to the top of the Science Centre, rigging these fairy lights was definitely the next most challenging lighting detail of the project to get right!

Also on the ‘Maybe’ were three CP A.leda K10 B-Eyes and six Spectral Zoom 2500 LED pars, all controlled by an ultra-compact Jands Vista M1.

Glasgow beatboxer Bigg Taj freestyled aboard the ‘Wee Spark,’ folk singer Rachel Sermanni sang from the prow of the ‘White Wing,’ and soprano Marie Claire Breen, in full voice, was rowed into the performance space aboard the ‘Orcuan’ accompanied by the Glasgow Phoenix Choir singing from the dock side.

Page and Buckley were joined by three other dbn crew – Moss Everhard, Col Emmerson and Steve Barnet, and they were assisted by rigger Pete Isherwood on the first day, and on the de-rig by Lucas Athienetes.

Page sums up, “It was a really exhilarating project to be involved in, brought to fruition by a lot of hard work and some touches of pure ingenuity to overcome many challenges and idiosyncratic scenarios – which is what we like. There was a great team spirit and vibe between everyone working on site, the shows were both fully attended (by around 4,000 people) and it was a great success”.dbn Sound To Sea - Model Aeroplanes (Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

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dbn Supplies Lighting, Design and LED for Parklife 2014

Manchester UK based dbn Lighting supplied lighting production and rigging for five out of the eight primary stages at the 2014 Parklife Weekender festival in the city’s Heaton Park and LED screens for one of these five plus one other arena.

dbn has been the lighting supplier for the festival organised by Ground Control since it started five years ago, since when it has grown in stature, popularity and physical size. Last year, it moved from the original site in Platt Fields to Heaton Park to allow for expansion and this year the capacity was increased to 70,000.

dbn’s Project Manager Pete Robinson created an individual production design for each area, all of which served as eye-catching backdrops for the heterogeneity of acts appearing over the two days.

He comments, “It was great to be involved again! We are all really excited to see the festival develop and to be able to help stage a world class music event like this in Manchester”.dbn Parklife 2014 STAGE 1 - FOALS Photo by MATT EACHUS

Main Stage (Stage 1)

This was the biggest performance space on site with a 22 metre Serious Structures Stratosphere stage, under which the dbn crew sub-hung several trusses including a drapes truss upstage and seven lighting trusses. The design was flexible and included the accommodation of specials for headliners Rudimental, Snoop Dog, Bastille and The Foals plus points for the IMAG screens – adding up to 34 points and motors in the roof!

The four main lighting trusses were rigged on diagonals, raked upstage / downstage making two V’s, with ladders dropping down at the ends to maximise the height and produce very dynamic looks.

The moving lights were chosen and positioned for greatest versatility.

Sixteen Clay Paky QWO 800s, 24 x CP Sharpies and 16 x Sharpy Washes were at the core of the design, together with 10 Atomic strobes with scrollers, 12 x CP Alpha Beam 700s and eight x A. leda 20 B-Eyes which looked cool as always!

The B-Eyes and Alpha Beams were used as part of a highly effective ‘house’ floor specials package for bands that didn’t bring their own.

There was also a splattering of 4-lite blinders, 2K fresnels and ETC Source Four Profiles, together with Reel EFX DF50 and Jem ZR44 hazers and smoke, plus two Robert Juliat Victor follow spots.

For control, dbn offered an Avo Pearl Expert for the house rig which was looked after and operated by Edwin Croft for those bands not bringing their own LD or FOH set up.

Stage 3

Photo by Jack Kirwin  -JK Photography-This had a dancey vibe and was mainly DJ orientated making some serious noise in a 6 pole big top into which dbn installed a 6-legged ground support structure to match, comprising a box around the stage and two PA wings, from which they also sub-hung secondary trusses.

The design concept was multiple lighting fixtures hung on the legs and across the back of the ground support and on the stage floor to accentuate the width.

On Day One, video was hung on an additional truss for one of the acts, and for the second night this was stripped out and the truss re-hung with a selection of LED battens and lights in a grid design emulating a low res pixel effect.

The moving lights were 24 x CP A.leda K10 B-Eyes newly purchased by dbn – a major Clay Paky investor, and these were in fact the first K10s in the UK with the rotating front lens – as well as being out on their first job for dbn. “They looked fantastic and we love the eye catching dynamic effects,” declares Robinson!

Augmenting the B-Eyes were 12 x Alpha Spot 575s, 16 x Alpha Wash 700s, four Alpha Beam 700s, 20 x Atomic strobes plus smoke and haze together with an array of 12 Chroma-Q Color Block db4s.

The console was a Pearl Expert run by Chris Phillips and Steve Barnett who worked in shifts to cover the 12 hours of non-stop operation required.

Stage 3 was one of the most popular arenas on site – rammed full from the first act up on the first day … and remaining that way throughout the weekend.

Stage 4

dbn Parklife 2014 STAGE 4 Photo by LUKE DYSONThis saw another ground support solution for facilitating the lighting rig and it was also another big top environment. In here the front and back ground support trusses differed in height by 3.5m so that the five fingers of truss over the stage were dramatically raked front to back and angled out as well to enhance the depth and feeling of space.

The moving lights were 24 x Sharpies, nine Alpha Spot 1200 HPEs, eight Alpha Spot 575 HPEs, eight Alpha Wash 575s and 15 x Q-Wash LED fixtures together with 20 x Showtec Sunstrips rigged to the fingers and individually mapped to produce more simulated low res LED effects.

Smoke and haze were integral to the package together with a sprinkling of generics and an Avolites Pearl Expert for control, expertly operated by Nick Buckley and Edd Marriott.

dbn also provided the screen elements here – 50 square metres of their proprietary EAStar 12.5 mm LED – configured in three horizontal strips 14 metres wide and 1 metre deep. Two of these were hung upstage and the third level of LED wrapped around the DJ riser, all of which looked fabulous.

In between these layers of 12.5 mm LED was a 3.5 metre diamond of screen, vertically spun through 45 degrees giving an interesting layout for the incoming VJs to play with.

Stage 7

dbn Parklife 2014 STAGE 7 Photo By GEMMA PARKERThis was a G2 structure with six large arches on the outside going up to a central apex and mast. The lighting design followed the flow of the structure with a circular truss installed around the mast and radial trusses running from this towards the outer arches.

CP’s 300 series moving lights were chosen as the primary sources for their compact size and light weight, with 15 x Alpha Spot HPE 300s, eight Alpha Beam 300s and eight Alpha Wash 300s, together with 12 Atomics.

Studio Due LED CityColors back lit the grills and risers onstage and three Look Solutions hazers helped ramp up the atmosphere.

All of this was controlled by Paul Crompton running an Avolites Pearl 2010

Stage 8

Photo by Jack Kirwin  -JK Photography-This 12 metre Orbit stage was located in front of the impressive stone Town Hall Colonnade which is one of Heaton Park’s many permanent architectural features.

Two trusses were hung underneath the orbit and angled to fit to the contours of the roof, with vertical trusses on the stage deck at the back used as rigging points for a ‘visual lighting’ scheme comprising five diamonds created from dbn’s Chauvet Nexus 4×4 LED panels.

A two metre diamond in the centre was flanked by four one metre diamonds with each diamond edged in Sunstrips – four around the smaller ones and eight around the two metre one – which looked super-cool!

“It was essential for all these stages – and especially the outdoor ones – to have impact and look interesting in daylight as well as during the limited after dark time at the end of the day,” explains Robinson, who put a lot of advanced effort into perfecting the designs.

Also on this stage were 12 x Martin MAC 250 Entours, eight CP Alpha Wash 575s, six Atomics and a couple of Jem ZR33 smokers along with 24 x Showtec Spectral LED pars used for front light and to light the colonnade behind the stage. Control was an Avo Tiger Touch looked after by Anthony Owen.

In addition to these five arenas, dbn also supped three other performance spaces.

One of the most fun was The Smallest Club in The World, a 12 x 8 ft garden shed with DJ set up which was also one of the most popular places on site. This miniscule environment was packed from start to finish with people – the audience had to work out their own rota system to share the experience around! It was lit with Datamoons, egg Strobes, smoke and imagination!

The Tree House was another idiosyncratic concept with DJs performing several metres up on an artificial tree, also illuminated by dbn, and finally Robinson and his team also lit the VIP area.

In addition to all this, 60 panels of dbn’s Hartwell Media 18 mm pitch LED screen product was supplied to Stage 6, The Temple, a massive structure built around one of Serious’s Stratosphere stages.

The video panels were embedded into the scenic cladding on the front of the Temple which worked superbly, allowing them to be harmoniously integrated with the lighting.

dbn’s crew peaked at 20 people during the setup which was accomplished very efficiently in three days. The ground support structures were all constructed first on the Wednesday, with the lighting load in started on the Thursday (before going live for the Saturday & Sunday) and when the main areas were nearing completion, they commenced rigging everything for the smaller stages on the Friday.

The challenges this year included moving the whole lighting aesthetic up several levels and paying a lot of attention at the design stage to wanting all the stages to have a clear and unique identity, rather than allowing any of them to become just another generic black box A or B!

It was a goal that was achieved with finesse and style by the dbn team who were very proud to be part of Parklife 2014.

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dbn Lights Up ‘new’ Everyman Theatre

LIVERPOOL, UK, 1st March, 2014. The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool celebrated re-opening with a procession of lanterns, musicians and every day people from its sister theatre The Playhouse to the newly rebuilt theatre on Hope Street.When Liverpool’s famous Everyman Theatre re-opened recently, Lights Up opening celebration producers Walk the Plank asked Manchester based dbn Lighting’s Stephen Page to design a spectacular lighting scheme fitting for the occasion.

The theatre is known for its dedication to radical theatre and new works. The refurbishment has been 10 years in the planning and seen nearly 3 years of construction with a spend of £28 million.

dbn and outdoor arts experts Walk The Plank are frequent collaborators and all their shows require an imaginative and lateral approach explains Stephen Page, and this was also the brief when it came to Lights Up.

The event commenced with an illuminated procession, courtesy of Liverpool’s Lantern Company, featuring 300 lanterns, created by the Theatre’s community partners and groups and bands along with members of Young Everyman Playhouse.

Three huge lantern puppets led the way, bearing keys to the new theatre.  The parade travelled through the heart of the city centre and up Mount Pleasant towards the Everyman, collecting crowds of people as it progressed. Participants and audiences gathered at the top of Mount Pleasant between the Everyman Theatre and the Catholic Cathedral, where a small stage was set up for a series of performances including Liverpool based Sense of Sound and the screening of a specially commissioned Dear Everyman film.

Page lit the circular Liverpool Medical Institution building behind the stage with SGM Palco LED wash fixtures bringing more depth and an additional dimension to the picture.LIVERPOOL, UK, 1st March, 2014. The Everyman Theatre in Liverpool celebrated re-opening with a procession of lanterns, musicians and every day people from its sister theatre The Playhouse to the newly rebuilt theatre on Hope Street.

At the culmination of the performance, the three illuminated lantern puppets then inserted a large, glowing red key into the ‘Y’ of the Everyman’s sign and turned it – this was the cue to re-light the iconic sign itself and trigger a lighting and pyro extravaganza, bringing the building to life and declaring the ‘new’ Everyman open.

Page’s lighting design was a combination of style and idiosyncrasy. The dbn crew rigged LED PARs on specially designed brackets to the rear of the steel framework supporting the new, iconic ‘Portrait Wall’ that covers the upper two floors of the refurbished building – a grid of 105 steel stencilled figures acting as louvres to shield the offices from the sun. Silhouetted in colours and animated by fast chases, these took on a completely new dimension which brought them to life as they appeared to move in the flickering lights.

In addition, the façade was further lit from the front with four Studio Due CityColor LED washes on the ground, positioned in a row on the opposite side of the street.

There was a cluster of four Sharpies and three Sharpy Washes behind the Everyman sign, and this Sharpy configuration was repeated on the roof, together with more SGM Palcos all of which crowned the building at the top level.

Page operated the 20 minute show’s lighting from a doorway across the street using a Jands Vista S2 for control.

Challenges included fixing the PARs back-lighting the steel figures on the building without damaging or scratching the gleaming new metalwork.

“It was a fantastic project in which to be involved,” says Page, “Some great teamwork between us and Walk the Plank was really enjoyable and yielded excellent results, with the whole event looking fabulous, reopening a Liverpool institution, and really engaging people – there was a real sense of celebration”.LIVERPOOL, UK, 1st March, 2014. Fireworks signal that the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool is now fully open bring a close to an evening of celebrations.

The new Everyman Theatre, designed by Haworth Tompkins includes a new 400-seat theatre and technical facilities to support the venue’s proactive and highly respected programme of work.

It provides a welcoming, inspiring building and a ‘creative hub’ which can be enjoyed by all, plus a dedicated youth and community space to facilitate the theatres’ work with schools, community groups and the YEP (Young Everyman Playhouse).There’s also a brand new version of the much loved Everyman Bistro; new front-of-house catering and bar facilities, rehearsal space and production workshops. The building ticks several environmental sustainability boxes including natural ventilation.

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dbn Designs and Installs Dynamic Lighting at Albert Hall

Photography by Jack Kirwin based lighting and rigging specialist dbn has designed, supplied and installed a highly effective production lighting rig for the Albert Hall in Manchester … a fabulous new 2000 capacity venue in a charismatic former Methodist meeting hall dating back to 1910 in the heart of the city.

The stunning space – original features including double height windows with stained glass detail and a magnificent organ fully renovated with pipes left exposed –  has been lovingly restored to its former splendour and opened as Manchester’s newest and coolest live music and event space by independent owners Trof.

Trof have a penchant for discovering found spaces and turning them into  buzzing entertainment hubs, and the Albert Hall is no exception as it gears up for full operation with promoters and private clients clamouring to book it for bands, comedy and cabaret shows, club nights, parties and corporate events.

Photography by Jack Kirwin’s Stephen Page has worked on other Trof projects and was delighted to be asked to create a house lighting design for the Albert Hall.

“Having the chance to work in such a fabulous space was incredible enough,’ he declares, “Trof always put production values at the top of the agenda, and my challenge was to come up with a design that  compliments the amazing architecture and is harmonious with the environment as well as working well for the wide variety of events that the Hall will be hosting”.

The weight loading in the roof of the historic building is restricted, so dbn specified and installed a series of Slick OV40 spreader trusses with a particular strength to weight ratio, to create a more flexible rigging arrangement and maximise usable capacity.

Lift-Turn-Move’s LoadGuard hoists are used throughout. These Category A motors are certified to operate without needing additional safeties, essential as roof access is difficult given the height and construction of the Hall. The motors are top hung and LTM have down-rated the clutches to further protect against overloading of the roof structure.

There are two lighting trusses above the stage, a 12 metre one at the front and a 9 metre one further back upstage .. leaving the organ pipes as the backdrop.

Photography by Jack Kirwin back truss is rigged with six Clay Paky Sharpies, four Robe ROBIN LEDWash 600s, six Martin Atomic strobes and 12 x Showtec Sunstrips. These are all hung on six drop bars at three different lengths, longest offstage and the shortest onstage in a mirrored configuration.

This flourish of ingenuity with the positioning adds an enormous amount of depth to the whole space, it amplifies the size of the lighting rig and also increases the scope of where the different fixtures can be focused.

On the front truss are another four LEDWash 600s and four CP Alpha Wash 575s which provide for further effects, front and key lighting.

For control, Page specified an Avolites Tiger Touch, and dbn also supply any extras or specials as required by the different artists.

The less-is-more approach brings real clarity to the rig and more than enough lighting dynamics for the event in hand – be it a band, a stand-up comedian or a banging club night. The units have been thoughtfully selected to offer both the house lighting operators from dbn and also any touring / guest LDs plenty of options, and the whole system has been carefully installed so as to maximise impact whilst working with the space and structure of the building.

Currently dbn’s Chris Phillips is overseeing everything day-to-day on site.

A small lighting system has also been integrated into the bar / restaurant and smaller performance space downstairs.

dbn looked out six of their original 1990s High End Trackspots – they still have a closely guarded stash, treated with reverential amounts of TLC  – and they are still going strong after nearly 20 years of active service. These are hooked in to a special analogue controller plus there are a couple of strobes for general use,  but the system can easily be reconfigured with a console added when operators are required

“They are still a great fixture with a proper choreographed sound to light function which has never been bettered!” states Page, adding that the lamp also gives the trackspot a unique colour rendition compared to more modern discharge or LED fixtures.

Their high vintage value also hits the aesthetic button for blending classic and contemporary elements which permeates the renovated Albert Hall – a venue with a past looking to the very bright future.

Photography by Jack Kirwin

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