Looking Back at Coachella as Summer Comes to An End

9/3/2019
Overview

Music festivals are happening year-round, worldwide. There are now more than 800 every year in the United States alone. While fall and winter months see a steady sprinkle of fests, April through August are still the prime months for Americans to experience a different, large-scale event every weekend. 

As peak festival season winds down, we took a look back at the iconic, annual kickoff event for the west coast – Coachella. PRG provided lighting and video for Coachella’s massive main stage, lighting for the nonstop party in the Yuma tent, and various disciplines for 15 different artists for both weekends of the famed music festival in Indio, CA this April.



MAINSTAGE VIDEO & LIGHTING 

The impressive Coachella main stage video walls were made of 590 LED tiles and could be seen in beautiful clarity from all the way across the Empire Polo Fields. PRG’s proprietary SpaceFrame was used to save truck space and reduce the need for additional wind bracing. 

With desert winds reaching 30 mph during the festival, the SpaceFrame advantages were definitely felt. Carbon fiber fabrication and built-in wind bracing reduced the overall weight of the walls, increasing safety. The compact, lightweight design of the frame offers an estimated 30 percent reduction of installation and dismantle time.  

Inside the PRG video truck that sat behind the Coachella stage, multiple stations for pre-vis were set up for programming. This area also housed the powerful D3 media servers and served as a haven from the harsh desert conditions and a temporary home base for the video crew. 

“The 3D interface helped us to preprogram the screens for Coachella content, while D3 made it possible for artists to preprogram their shows, come with it on a hard drive and use PRG systems to playback without needing to make large changes or reprogram,” explains Anthony Vasquez, who handled PRG Screens Control & Media Servers for Coachella. “Our systems allowed for artists to be located at FOH, on-stage, or use the house system for seamless playback across all screens.” 

PRG has a long-standing relationship providing Coachella main stage lighting by way of Vice President of Global Accounts Bobby Allen.  

This year, PRG’s proprietary Best Boy HP Spot Luminaire fixture provided everything from spots to washes for headlining sets, alongside Clay Paky Mythos IIs, B-Eye K-20s, Solaris Flare Strobes, and Chauvet Strike 4 LED lamps. A total of 254 fixtures served as the baseline setup for the main stage, all provided by PRG. 

YUMA TENT 

For the first time, PRG provided the lighting for Coachella’s techno escape from the desert heat, the Yuma tent. The Yuma tent was added to the festival in 2013 and has gained popularity and production value ever since. This year, lighting designer Steve Lieberman significantly upped the counts of Robe Pointe’s and Spiiders, adding about twice as many rows of beamy lights into the symmetrical grid of the tent’s ceiling, which lends itself well to chase patterns, AB patterns and room shifts. Another addition to 2019’s Yuma tent were 25 Sceptron squares that lined the ceiling, creating a grid of light that was triggered on a MA Lighting grandMA2 console. Forty Elation Protron 3Ks created washes of color, while also offering strobes, macros and pixel functions for added variety. 



The center divider of the triangular tent featured a line of four 3’ mirror balls with the iconic Yuma symbol, the disco shark, serving as the room’s centerpiece. LA locals and international clubbers may recognize the disco ball shark from Hollywood’s Sound Nightclub - and that’s because Sound’s owner, Kobi Danan, is also behind the curation of the Yuma tent.  

ARIANA GRANDE 

PRG provided projection, rigging, and video services for Ariana Grande’s closing set on the Coachella stage. As the video provider for her current Sweetener World Tour, PRG helped replicate LeRoy Bennett’s touring design for the festival, which featured a 28’ diameter inflatable sphere and six 30K projectors at front of house. The superstar’s set was at its most stunning during ‘NASA’, in which the stage seemed to zoom into hyperspace with galactic content and the sphere transformed into a giant moon, mimicking the full moon that hung above in the sky on Weekend 2. This account is handled by PRG Account Executives Nick Jackson and John Wiseman. 

GESAFFELSTEIN 

The brooding French producer’s team came to PRG with their concept for his tour and festival appearance. This resulted in a 40-foot-high scenic build of an automated monolith structure. Coated in the darkest substance known to man, Vantablack, on the concave side to create the illusion of infinite depth and blackness, it essentially simulated a black hole on stage. 

The structure opened to reveal an automated LED wall, which in turn revealed a blinder light wall hiding a solid column of hybrid strobes. In a unique multi-depot collaboration PRG provided scenic, rigging, automation, lights and LED for the Outdoor Stage set by way of Jeroen Hallaert, Director of PRG Projects North America. 

BILLIE EILISH 

Seventeen-year-old sensation Billie Eilish had one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend. PRG and VER provided lighting, video and rigging services for her Outdoor Stage set by way of Account Executive Anthony “Looch” Ciampa. With conceptual and vocal maturity far beyond her years, Eilish flitted in between her dreams and nightmares. A bedframe hung in midair at one point, which she performed from. Fitting, as her album was recorded mostly from her guitarist, producer, and brother, Finneas’s tiny bedroom studio. 

BAD BUNNY 

Puerto Rican rapper and reggaetón star Bad Bunny brought upbeat energy to the Coachella stage for his daytime Sunday set. PRG provided additional LED, lighting and rigging through project manager Josh Huffman. 

OTHER ARTISTS 

PRG also provided: 
Blood Orange – audio 
Childish Gambino – rigging 
DJ Snake – lighting and rigging 
Khalid - lighting 
Lizzo – lighting 
Maggie Rogers – lighting 
Project Yellow – lighting 
RÜFÜS DU SOL – video 
Sofi Tukker - lighting and video 
Tame Impala – rigging 
Weezer – lighting and rigging 

PRG PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT: 

Bobby Allen – Vice President Global Accounts  
Brooke Hershey – PRG Production Coordinator
Bryan Barry – PRG Logistics Manager 
Kevin Maloof – PRG Runner 

PRG MAINSTAGE RIGGING:  
 
Ken Flagg – PRG Mainstage Head Rigger 
Paul Armellino – PRG Mainstage Second Rigger 
Brendan Yeager – Headliner Rigger  
James Costa – Headliner Rigger  

PRG MAINSTAGE LIGHTING:  

Stephen "Dak" Harris – PRG Mainstage Lighting Crew Chief 
Chad Smith – Lighting FOH Tech 
Todd A Turner – Lighting Tech 
Randy Thomas Foote – Lighting Tech 
Madison E Gray – Lighting Tech 
Marjorie Arner – Lighting Tech 
Kurt R. Thormodsen – Lighting Tech 
Chris "Axl" Wiegel – PRG Mainstage Dimmer 
Giovanny Carvajal – Mainstage FOH Tech 
Jason Winfree – Ground Control Tech 
Michael "Zach" Matthews – Lighting Tech 

PRG MAINSTAGE VIDEO:  

Jeff Gainer – PRG Video Project Manager 
Eric Geiger – Chief LED Engineer 
Anthony Vasquez – PRG Main Stage Screens Control Media Server Manager 
Charles F. Dabezies – PRG D3 Operator 
Abril Gamez – E2 Operator / Programmer 
Sean Filstrup – E2 Operator / Programmer 
Duane Wright – E2 Operator / Programmer  
Tim Nauss – FOH Video Engineer 
Evan Cervantes – LED Crew Chief 
Maarten Deschacht – LED Engineer 
Sam Foumberg – Video Engineer 
Mauricio Villalobos Schlotterhausen – LED Tech 
Justin Welch – LED Tech 
Kenny Patterson – LED Tech 
Joseph Arreola – LED Tech 
Arturo Alonso – LED Tech  
Casey Bowen – LED Tech 
Neil Welch – LED Tech 

PRG YUMA TENT LIGHTING:  

Daniel Moore – Yuma Crew Chief 
Emin Hagopian – Yuma Dimmer Tech 
Daniel Vargas – Yuma Lighting Tech 
Stephen Jim Mecsery – Yuma Blaze Tech

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