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Music Festivals: Practical and Ambient Lighting

Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean performing at the Breakwater Barge in Victoria. Courtesy of Darren Ho Media.
Moby closing down Rifflandia 2017 in Victoria. Courtesy of Rocktographers.

Moby closing down Rifflandia 2017 in Victoria. Courtesy of Rocktographers.

Music festivals: they are the perfect combination of outdoor fun, sound for the soul, good food and drink, and good hangs. While most music festivals have daytime programming, almost every multi-day festival runs late into the evening. The stage lights are highly engineered, bright, and hard to take your eyes away from, but what about all the other areas of a festival that need lighting? Pathways, camping areas, food vendor areas, backstage… all of these places require lighting that is practical while also still contributing to the ambiance of the festival.

Below are a few lighting options for different areas of a music festival. Whether the event is built for 500 people or 500,000 people, the following ideas can be scaled up or down to work for the venue.

Camping 

It is important to make sure that campers have light on the way back to their tents. The average music festival goer is not going to take their headlamp or flashlight into the stage area, so for liability’s sake, it is important to make sure there is enough light for them make their way home safely. Lining a walkway with overhead string lighting is great, but a more simple option is to place re-bar stakes in the ground and run lights between them at waist height to create the illusion of a railing that also shines light on the ground illuminating the path. We suggest using 5mm mini lights in any colour, however “pure white” will give off the most light.

At a large festival such as Pemberton Music Festival (RIP), where thousands of tents are lined up in the form of a makeshift city, it is important to have lighting for the main “roadways” that crisscross throughout the site. At Pemberton, this was done with Edison style bulbs that were hung high above the roadways in a zig zag format. They were held up with log beams the size of power poles. Our Edison bulbs (T50 or S14) are bright enough that they would be able to provide enough light to clearly illuminate an area, even hung 25 ft off the ground.

Edison bulbs illuminating the main "roadways" at Pemberton Music Festival. Edison bulbs illuminating the main “roadways” at Pemberton Music Festival.

Social Spots: Beer Gardens and Food Vendor Areas

Other areas that are important to light properly are food vendor areas and beer gardens. Food trucks act as perfect connection point for lights, to create a really clear perimeter around the food truck area and to provide some extra ambiance. Our suggestion in this scenario is to use our G30 “super bright globe lights”, which sit on flat wire making them uniform and perfect for hanging in mid air.

As a way to hang lights over an area, we suggest using a series of poles that are either mounted into the ground, or a series of portable poles, which you can rent from us here and can be seen in the photo below.

G30 "super bright globe lights" backstage at Rock the Shores in 2016.

G30 “super bright globe lights” hung between portable posts backstage at Rock the Shores in 2016.

Interactive Display

While most time at a music festival is spent watching music, it’s important to provide other things for attendees to do as well. Providing social media friendly interactive activities for people is important (hashtags for the win!), and we suggest the world’s first sound interactive lighting platform called Aurora. This product is extraordinary, and provides fun and awe for people of any age. The orbs in the video below are being triggered in real time by music, but they are triggered by any sound around them (clapping, singing, etc) making them perfect for the music festival scenario.

 

 

Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean performing at the Breakwater Barge in Victoria. Courtesy of Darren Ho Media.

Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean performing at the Breakwater Barge in Victoria. Courtesy of Darren Ho Media.

On Stage

And finally, not all festival stages are home to the likes of Beyoncé or Post Malone… some are more intimate, and call for the delicate look of string lights. We suggest using Edison bulbs over the stage as can be seen below, or G30 “super bright globe lights” as seen above.

Sam Song and Surf

Sam Weber performing at Song and Surf Music Festival in Port Renfrew, BC. Photo courtesy of Rocktographers.

These are only a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. If you work for any type of festival and are interested in anything above, or if you’d like to discuss other options, give us a call – we’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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