Fineline Perfects the Somersault Techniques

Bristol UK based technical solutions company Fineline provided lighting for four main music performance areas at the 2015 Somersault festival, a five day extravaganza of music, fun, food, discussion, debate and outdoor adventure located amidst the heart of South West England, in the picturesque environs of Castle Hill country estate near the north Devon coastline.

It was the second year that Fineline has been involved as a production supplier, following their very successful introduction to the event last year via Andy Cotton of TAO Productions. This year, the scope of their work was lighting the Main Stage, The Communion Stage, the Forest Party non-stop dance experience and the Bandstand.

The Main Stage was 15 meters wide and housed in a tensile structure with no room to build a ground support system, so a grid had to be constructed between a triangular structure upstage and a big steel arch at the front.

Fineline created a V-shaped spreader truss at the back and sub-hung another large trussing V-shape from that, coming forward and secured to the front arch. Front, mid and rear cross-stage trusses were then rigged from this grid.

The production lighting rig was designed by Fineline’s Stu England, and based around the requirements of the various headliners, an eclectic and interesting line up of Bombay Bicycle Club, Laura Marlin, The Staves, Imelda May, The Shires, Passenger, Chrystal Fighters, Jimmy Cliff … plus others, as well as being able to provide dynamic and different looking shows for all the other acts.

The moving lights included 12 x Robe 600E Spots, 12 x LEDWash 600s and 12 Pointes, which provided all the main washes, specials and effects, together with base lighting from eight 4-lamp PAR bars, ACLs, 4 and 8-lites, strobes and key lighting via ETC Source Fours. This balanced combination of moving and conventional lighting offered numerous options.

The ‘house’ lighting desk was an Avolites Sapphire Touch, all the dimming was Avo and the data and power distribution was a mix of Avo and ChamSys, looked after by programmer / operator Tim Williams, rigger / crew chief Ruben Pinkney and tech Chris Randall.

Fineline also provided the two 12 meter PA towers – their own design – to facilitate flying the sound system.

Taking Communion

On the Communion Stage James Box and Sam Kenyon, James Harrington and Rob Sangwell created a great visual picture focusing on the oak framed marquee structure, emphasizing the intimate nature and energy of the space.

The idea was to retain the integrity of the carefully crafted oak features. Truss use was minimal, instead lights were rigged directly off the structure, reducing the presence of the technology and highlighting all the oak work.

Over 300 meters of festoon lighting was rigged in a fanned out pattern from the stage to the back of the arena, a fiddly and protracted exercise … which looked fantastic and again emphasized the cosines of the space. It was “a detail well worth the time and effort” commented Rob.

The lighting fixtures here composed eight Robe 600E Spots and eight Chauvet R2 Wash, chosen for their expedient size, together with assorted PARs picked for their warmth and incandescence … and various LED uplighters & PARs to highlight the structure.

Forest Party
united an underground rave environment with some great dance sounds staged in a natural forest clearing and organically lit with a miscellany of kit spread around four PA towers, two 20ft high lighting towers, erected to add some height to the clearing … and the trees.

Lights included more Chauvet R2 Beams and 12 x IP rated LED floods complete with a 2 metre mirror ball rigged in the trees which helped make some fabulously ‘au naturelle’ disco-tastic moments together with two seriously heavy fog machines and fans for strategic atmospheric engineering.

The Bandstand was an 8 metre octagonal raised stage, decorated with Pea-lites in the roof canopy and on the supports and LED PARs concealed in the roof.

Fineline also environmentally lit the ‘talkie’ spoken word and debating tents, the bars and a long table feast tent, utilizing a selection of LED PARs and battens to enhance the mood lighting, together with more festoon and ever-ubiquitous LED uplighters as appropriate. As we know, good lighting is fundamentally linked to the sensation of enjoyment!

“We were really pleased to be involved with Somersault again and in an expanded role this year” says Rob, “It was good to be able to design both traditional stage lighting as well as work in a variety of other areas which needed a different approach”.

Posted in: