Vari-Lite Rocks the House
Largest Rock Music Festival Hits Ohio
Published Wednesday, July 23, 2008
by Angelia Pinaga

DALLAS, TX - July 23, 2008 - On May 17 and May 18, twenty-eight bands utilizing two stages for two days performed for 55,834 concert-goers with Vari-Lite luminaires lighting it all. The union occurred at the hottest music festival in the Midwest, ROCK ON THE RANGE.

Rock on the Range was the first stand alone major concert event at the Columbus, Ohio Columbus Crew Stadium since its recent renovation. The renovation removed 2,200 stadium seats and built an amphitheatre in place of the seats. “The response from the Rock on the Range participants was tremendous.” “At this year’s event the festival was expanded to two days because of the overwhelming response from the first annual festival,” said David Stephany, Columbus Crew Senior Director, Communications and Community Relations. “We were able to introduce our new infrastructure to this crowd. It went well.”

Vari-Lite luminaires illuminated the Crew Stadium concert-goers and some of the bands at the second annual Rock on the Range Festival. The festival featured several acts including: Kid Rock, 3 Doors Down, Disturbed, Staind, Papa Roach, Seether, Serj Tankian, Shinedown, Killswitch Engage, Finger Eleven, Alter Bridge, Filter, Theory of a Dead Man, Sevendust, Default, 10 Years, Bobaflex, Red, Airbourne, Black Tide, Revelation Theory and Drive A.

Mike Cooper, Logic Systems Sound and Lighting, Inc., Lighting Director and his counterpart, Lighting Technician, Joe Hart worked with the bands and the Vari-Lite lighting rig. Logic Systems Sound and Lighting provided all the audio and lighting equipment for the main stage. The rig consisted of 12 VL3000 Spot luminaires and two VL3500 Wash luminaires, as the centerpiece of a system consisting of over two hundred fixtures. “It was a big rock show with big lights,” said Cooper. “All the bands liked the Vari-Lite fixtures.”

Chip Self, Owner of Logic Systems Sound and Lighting, Inc. stated that the artists appreciated the VARI-LITE luminaires. “Virtually all LDs know the fixtures,” said Self. “The VARI-LITE equipment is well-built and reliable. In our business reliability is paramount. Having equipment that is rider acceptable and that we can rely on is a huge asset. The team at Vari-Lite has been very supportive and great to work with.”

The team used the Vari-Lite luminaires for the daytime and nighttime shows. “We used the luminaires in the daytime to strobe the audience,” said Cooper. “We used the VARI-BRITE™ mode of the VL3500 Wash luminaire.”  The VARI-BRITE mode offers a tight column of intense light. “These lights are insanely bright and the zoom range is killer,” said Cooper. “The lights were the first to show up as the sun was coming down.”

A Chat With ROCK ON THE RANGE Headliners

Headliner: Stone Temple Pilots
Rock on the Range was a reunion for Stone Temple Pilots marking the band’s first show in more than seven years.

The Lighting Designer for Stone Temple Pilots, Alastair Bramall-Watson, worked with his team of three for their headliner slot at the festival.

“We hung 17 VL3000 Spot luminaires that we were already using on our tour along with the house lights,” said Bramall-Watson.

“My goal was to create a big look for this band but it was not all about waving everything on the rig around,” explained Bramall-Watson. The only need was for a powerful light. “I wanted the VL3000 luminaires on this tour for their beam angle and for their brightness achieved at maximum zoom. I also like the stock gobo's in the VL3000 luminaire.”

Getting light to the back of the festival venue was important. “I had a 50’ soft LED screen at the back of the stage that provided enough background for me to throw light out of the stage with the luminaires,” said Bramall-Watson. “I also needed luminaires outside this space to frame the stage.”

“The band played with a wide variety of pace and style, so it was important for me to have versatile fixtures that could do it all,” said Bramall-Watson. “The stage drape was really bright, so I needed the punch of the VL3000 luminaire to compete with it. This was a rock show and we delivered that to the fans in large doses.”

The band plays at several venues of different shapes and sizes which is when having flexible equipment matters most. “We had to have an alternative plan,” said Bramall-Watson. “The way I designed the rig for this tour allowed the rig the ability to adjust its width and depth very easily without impacting the look and feel of the tour.” “We were assured of the Vari-Lite luminaires. For example, we requested two trusses, a middle and an upstage with 10 profiles on each truss. Some venues did not have this layout available, so I only programmed the inside six on each truss to do solo work, that way if we were missing the other fixtures the look would not be destroyed.”

“My Vari-Lite luminaires assisted me well,” said Bramall-Watson. “They woke me up every morning at 7AM with coffee. I got a tap on my curtain and there they would be; 17 of them hanging in the aisle of the bus. They are pretty bright.”

Headliner: 3 Doors Down
Matt Mills, Lighting Designer for 3 Doors Down, utilized the house rig of Vari-Lite luminaires along with six of his own VL2500 Spot luminaires. “The Vari-Lite luminaires had enough punch to stand out on an outdoor show without much haze in the air,” said Mills. “When we swung them around to the crowd, they loved them and the luminaires really got noticed.”

“We wanted the look and feel of a big, in your face rock show,” said Mills. Creating this look was easy with the right luminaire. “The VL3000 Spot and the VL3500 Wash luminaires were great.” “I didn’t have any problems with them. I think they’re great fixtures all the way around. I love how bright they are and the huge zoom range.”

“We went on just as the sun was setting,” said Mills. “It was a little bright out for the first few songs. The luminaires were bright enough to be seen as the sun was setting.”

It was really windy which created a challenge with the 3 Doors Down set. The silver scrim backdrop was blowing and wouldn’t stay in place. “We needed to project onto the scrim,” said Mills. “Since the scrim wouldn’t stay in place, we had to quickly devise another plan for the projection point. Instead we projected onto the back wall of cinder blocks. This worked well. I thought this would be a disaster but it all worked fine. These are the curveballs you get thrown when doing outdoor shows. You just have to adapt to it and make the best of it. I had a real good time with the Vari-Lite luminaires.”

“I’m a big fan of the old Vari-Lite trick of the color pops, quick iris changes and gobo pops,” said Mills. “I also like the great gobo stock,” added Mills.”

Overall the ROCK ON THE RANGE festival was a huge success as witnessed by the venue being packed with fans from all over the country. The festival presenters, Right Arm Entertainment, AEG LIVE and the Columbus Crew, have raised the bar of the festival each year. The presenters will surely continue to listen to the voice of the fans and will be able to witness an even greater event next year.

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