For the production industry the August Bank Holiday was always going to be the big heave of the re-opening, with Leeds/Reading festival leading the way. That no bad news emerged from the three-day bacchanal means the production industry could give itself a big pat on the back. Not that it was easy, but it was a blast.
“We were all apprehensive,” says Richard Larkum, LD for Biffy Clyro, echoing the sentiments of many. “As it transpired, it was a career defining show.”
Joel Stanley, production manager for Stormzy was equally relieved: “In terms of going from nothing to full-on production it did feel very natural.”
Default sound, IMAG and lights for the main stages came from SSE, CT and Neg Earth respectively. As Stanley observed, “As with Neg Earth and Video Design in our individual production packages, we felt very comfortable and well favoured by all the vendors. Everyone wanted to put their best foot forward.”
Both acts were headliners, Liam Gallagher a worthy third. Misty Buckley designed stage sets for Stormzy and Biffy (built by Scott Fleary and All Access respectively). Distinct, unfussy but of enormous impact, both sets leaned heavily on video elements to project the energy and emotion of the performers far out into the joyous crowds. Video Design has partnered Stormzy and Biffy for some time now, so too Neg Earth for lighting, and both companies contributed heavily to their individual productions.
“Scott Fleary’s company is new to live rock and roll,” explains Stanley. “We’ve invested time in letting him know the more important demands of our world compared to the expectations of theatre which are their roots. The integration between the needs of sound, lights, and the huge contribution of what Video Design did, has all been well accommodated.”
“All Access provided a riser structure at the core of our set,” adds Larkum, “with Video Design fitting their LED modules across every square inch of it. Managing content for me was Luke Collins. Like all the techs at Video Design, I trust him implicitly. That is very enabling in itself and not to be underestimated. In simple terms I tell Luke what I’d like and he makes it happen.”
“Looking at all the vendors, they have never let me down”, concludes Stanley. “That's even more impressive when you know they are all having to contend with being understaffed.” Larkum agrees. “Considering the speed with which it all came together, all the hard work of everyone involved - Oscar Samson our new camera director; Neil Anderson who drove the content; the teams at Neg Earth and Video Design, they all put the last eighteen months behind them and that amazing thing happened.”
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