PRG continued its involvement with the Barclaycard Presents BST Hyde Park festival, working with Operations Director, Dan Craig of LoudSound Events, and Production Director, Mark Ward of Proper Productions, PRG supplied a comprehensive system of lighting and rigging for this year’s run of shows in Hyde Park.
With BST Hyde Park spanning two weekends and with six headline acts, Production Director, Mark Ward of Proper Productions explains some of the challenges of staging the event: “The logistics of moving vast quantities of infrastructure in and out of a Royal Park to build and strike the site has significant challenges in terms of scheduling and traffic management.
“As we run across two weekends, as well as pulling off myriad mid-week events that AEG bring to the park, that means the entire event team have to keep functioning at a very high level for a long-period. Stamina and intelligent time management become mission critical.”
With different audiences arriving and leaving each day, Barclaycard Presents BST Hyde Park is unlike other festivals with camping. Mark explains: “Running a full audience ingress and egress every day, with vastly differing audience profiles, is a major added operational challenge.”
With all of these considerations and challenges, Mark relies on technical suppliers to be well-prepared. He clarifies: “What we need on this show is no different from most others – attention to detail in the run-up to the show, enthusiastic positive crew on site, well prepared gear in great condition, and all at sane prices!”
PRG supplied lighting and rigging for the main, second and third stages, as well as additional support for touring headliners including: Justin Bieber, Green Day, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Kings of Leon and The Killers. PRG supplied their new GroundControl Followspot System Long Throw followspot, as well as Vari*Lite VL3500 wash moving lights, GLP Impression X4 LED lights, SGM P5 LED lights and a selection of two, four, and eight light molefays; all of which were controlled by a network of GrandMA2 consoles at front of house.
Main stage Lighting Crew Chief Luke Jackson explained the logistics of lighting a major festival like BST Hyde Park: “There’s a lot of work that takes place before you see the band on stage. The headline acts load in and out overnight, with the smaller ones either utilising the ‘house’ rig, or adding their lighting/video requirements supplementary to the headliners. Obviously, the current night’s main act needs to load out of the stage before the next one can load in, so our teams are literally working all through the night. Even when the lighting and video hardware is hung, the data needs to be flashed through, and tweaks to existing programming made. The night shift will then hand over to a team of lighting technicians covering the daytime, until they clock back on in the evening for another changeover, so it’s a twenty-four-hour operation to put the acts on stage.”
Barclaycard Presents BST Hyde Park is the first event where the followspotting for every act was done with the new Long Throw GroundControl Followspot System, which replaced traditional followspots on the front of house towers.
PRG Event Services Coordinator and Crew Chief for the second stage at BST, Alex Peters explained why using the Long Throw GroundControl followspots were perfect for BST Hyde Park: “Previously, we’ve used either the Bad Boy or Best Boy versions of the GroundControl as truss spotlights over the stage, but there hasn’t been a remote followspot which can compete with either a 2.5K Lycian or 4K Robert Juliat Lancelot to use at front of house. With the addition of the GroundControl Long Throw to the inventory at PRG, it’s given us a new level of flexibility when deciding which units to use.
“The advantage of a remote followspot system is we don’t need to rig anywhere near as much steel because it’s simply a moving light on the tower, with no need for a platform. The operators are based in a Portacabin behind the main stage, so there’s no climbing involved; plus, there’s the additional benefit of the lighting operator being able to control many of the luminaire’s functions directly from the console, with only the positioning handled by the followspot operator, thus meaning all spots are of equal intensity and colour temperature.”
Mark Ward explains that the use of GroundControl Followspot System is a carefully considered choice: “The benefits in terms of reduced footprint, with more compact structures at front of house, and better sightlines for the audience are obvious. The benefit in terms of a safer working environment for the operators is less obvious, but no less relevant to how a world class production should be thinking through its equipment choices.”
Director of Music, Lighting, Yvonne Donnelly Smith commented: “It was a pleasure working on this event with Dan and Mark. This world class festival warrants close attention to the artists touring requirements, and we always work to supply the latest technology for BST Hyde Park. The design never stands still and continues to evolve.”
Green Day photos: William Gallegos
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers photos: Matt Rakowski