PITF


Party In The Field

30th Aug - 1st Sep 2013…

The more astute (and by which I mean “so bored that you looked into my underlying markup”) of you will have noticed that I have skipped a blog entry title graphic thing number. The entry contained nothing but moaning about how unfair my life is - I’m trying to do all that here instead of on Facebook. That entry shall remain hidden until another day. Another very slow day.

I’m becoming ever more aware that I should try to refrain from talking too much about what goes on on tour. With this in mind, I shall be concentrating on the more technical aspects of my last gig. So, to business!


EAT!

I had known about the possibility of having this gig from early in the year - so by the time the client had confirmed the date of the event, I’d had a few ideas of how to implement some of my lighting stock to achieve the client’s requirements - and some other surplus ideas that the client approved of.


Ambient Lighting

Some of these ideas involved using my LED floodlights as color washes throughout the trees and bushes in the field, while using sets of LED string lights wrapped around the tree trunks for another wash effect. The plan was to use a different color for each tree (red, amber, white, pink, purple, green, blue etc).

In order to implement my plans, I first had to begin by visiting the site the day before the party to dig a shallow trench from the main stage to the first clump of bushes, and then back to each tree that required power. My next job was to feed a master cable from the stage into the first zone - a 2 core + earth cable as the LED floods required a ground connection. I used 1.00mm cable as the total load would not exceed more than 400W as the run was purely LED (and therefore low power) based. To get from the flood area onto the trees with LED strings, I only used 2 core as the LED strings were double insulated.

Stevie C setting up LED color wash floodlighting at a field for a private rave

Stevie C setting up LED flood lighting :)

I used my knowledge of electrical wiring for temporary installations to safely connect the string lights, floodlights and supply cable networks using IP55 rated junction boxes and twist-locking cable nuts. This ensured that the installation was tamper-proof and splash-proof.

Stevie C setting up LED color wash floodlighting at a field for a private rave

Stevie C setting up LED flood lighting :)

And the result…

Stevie C setting up LED color wash floodlighting at a field for a private rave

LED flood lighting in action :)


Stage Lighting

After setting up a PA system for a ‘standard Rock n Roll gig with DJ afterwards’ (with some crafty monitor amp/mixer amp patching), I used most of the remaining sets of LED strings to decorate the stage - by using different color strands twisted around the wooden support columns. Because the LEDs have a high output, it meant that they could be used to provide a reasonable amount of stage lighting as well.

Stevie C setting up a PA system, LED stage lighting and disco lighting for an outdoor party/rave

Stevie C’s Stage & Disco lighting :)

I used colorful festoon harnesses for both decorative and general site lighting. I also set up a micro-laser, a mirror ball with open white spots, a SoundLab Vorma, a SoundLab G017R Scanner, a UFO mushroom, a 900W fogger and several moonflower spots for the disco afterwards. I even provided a bubble machine for the kids.

Stevie C setting up a PA system, LED stage lighting and disco lighting for an outdoor party/rave

Stevie C’s Stage & Disco lighting in action :)

Stevie C setting up a PA system, LED stage lighting and disco lighting for an outdoor party/rave

Stevie C’s Stage & Disco lighting in action :)


Yurt Lighting

There were 2 yurts: a small one for the kids and a bigger one for the adults. Lighting up the kids’ Yurt was simple: all I had to do was wire in another conduit box from the tree ‘network’ nearby, and rig 2 sets of LED strings into another waterproof box.

Stevie C setting up an outdoor party/rave yurt with LED and Disco lighting

Yurt by Day :)

The Adult’s Yurt just involved another mirror ball and far more LEDs - in addition to a large HiFi system.

Stevie C setting up an outdoor party/rave yurt with LED and Disco lighting

Yurt by Night :)


Power!

As per, we had some power problems. When I say some, I mean a lot. That’s the problem with doing an event in the middle of nowhere. The first generator we started up to keep the PA system running throughout the day was (according to my plug-in energy meter) spitting out 340V @ 68Hz. I thought for a moment “340? That’s pretty much bang on UK mains - pity about the frequency…” - before thinking again: “WAIT, WHAT?!? That’s 100 Volts too much!” - at which point, my SurgeGuard lead went bye-bye. Up in a crack of blue-green smoke and acrid plasticky burning smell and a little flame bye-bye. Surges? Yes. Over voltages? No.
Generator two please, Virgil.

Genset 2 wouldn’t start and run for more than 5 seconds (I thought it was CRUK revisited).

Genset 3 didn’t have nearly enough transient power handling (probably a throttle-governor/stator failure) - to the effect that every time the band got just 6dB louder, the generator’s output would drop to below 170 Volts, the switchmode PSU in the desk would crap out and the console would shut off for a few seconds. The band just thought they weren’t getting enough signal in their wedges, instead of the fact that anything with a microchip was power-cycling for seconds at a time.

Genset 4 started, but produced zero voltage.

The day was saved by a certain Frenchman who turned up with a big beast of a diesel genset and later got drunk, naked and groovy - as you do.

The cool thing about this particular genny (other than the fact it produced 6kVA of power at 220V and 50Hz bang on and never wavered by more than 1 Volt) was that it “would break your wrist if you’re not careful” upon starting it - due to it having a crank-start like those old-timey cars you can see in old films.

Never ever think badly of the French, or of recoil-starters.

Stevie C and Graham tending the flock of Generators

Tending the flock of generators :/


Closing Thoughts

As I had done a few outdoor parties similar to this (though nowhere near as extravagant), I intended not to be still tinkering away with lights at 11pm. I wasn’t. I was still tinkering away at 2am. However, this does have its advantages - one such advantage is that I am still in a decent state so as to re-fuel the generator. Although it was a private party, I had been invited along to both do lights as well as have a good time. Despite the lack of time to implement all my ideas, the organizers were very impressed with what I had achieved. Needless to say, I’m very happy running the tech for an event - lights are all I need for a good time. The fact that I enabled lots of other people to have a good time is all that matters to me.

For those of you planning a field party of your own, you should probably head on over to Urban75.com or PartyVibeRadio.com or similar sites for some background information. Obviously, you should then drop me a line about your lighting requirements. :)

You can always check out my Pinterest page for more lighting ideas.


One More Thing…

Have YOU donated to the Bon Scott Statue?
Aye, but have you though?
There’s prizes to be won by donating…
Click for more info about the statue from DD8 Music.


Stevie’s Top 20

  1. Half Man Half Machine Goldie Lookin Chain
  2. Apathy Goldie Lookin Chain
  3. D’you Know What I Mean? Oasis
  4. Sweet Home Alabama Lynryd Skynyrd
  5. Bad Boys Running Wild Scorpions
  6. Strobe Lights Goldie Lookin Chain
  7. The Furor AC/DC
  8. Cover You In Oil AC/DC
  9. Ganja (feat. Rodney P) Dub Pistols
  10. Cubik 808 State
  11. Paranoid Black Sabbath
  12. Fairies Wear Boots Black Sabbath
  13. Lovely Head Goldfrapp
  14. Adagio For Strings Tiesto
  15. Arcade Robot Boys Noize
  16. Gimme Shelter Inspiral Carpets
  17. Suicide Motörhead
  18. Can You Dig It? The Mock Turtles
  19. Won’t Talk About It Beats International
  20. Alive (feat. Red Star Lion) Dub Pistols

Time to get more free party gigs?