Tags: festival


Festival Vision 2025 releases 2nd 'Show Must Go On' report

The sustainability initiative, Festival Vision:2025, has released the second edition of its flagship Show Must Go On report, revealing the latest figures, trends and practices surrounding the festival industry’s response to the climate crisis.

The full report is available as a free download here.

Five years on from the publication of the first edition, the new 126-page report gives an insight into sector sustainability, and reflects the progress made in technologies, materials and operational practices to reduce environmental impacts. Its main chapters, authored by experts in their own fields, cover governance, resources & waste, water, food, energy, and travel & transport.

Coinciding with the release of the report is the newly launched online Knowledge Hub, a significant free-to-access resource that will feature case studies, briefings and a supplier directory.

More than 100 festivals and events have made the Vision:2025 pledge and more than 60 suppliers, including Fineline Lighting, have supported the report.

Chris Johnson, chair of Powerful Thinking and Vision:2025, stated: “After a decade of the Powerful Thinking industry steering group, this is a significant step in the journey. The industry has now come together around a vision and has crowdfunded world-leading resources to inspire meaningful action. This has been a huge collaborative effort and our thanks go out to all contributors, including our three Gamechangers: Festival Republic, Continest and Nordic Wristbands, whose financial support underpinned the process.

“The report is a call to action. Whatever people and organisations have done to date, the time to act and to tackle the climate crisis is now.

“The Show Must Go On report opens with a clear note framing the climate emergency with an optimistic message – we must act now and ‘We Can Fix It’.”

Alison Tickell, CEO and founder of Julie’s Bicycle, the charity behind Powerful Thinking and Vision 2025, said: “Living within the generous boundaries of our planet’s ecosystems is now the only job in hand. As a creative and events collective, we can bring inspiration and community to this task.”

Fineline Lights Shambala Festival

Fineline Lighting headed for some beautiful countryside and chilled vibes renewing its long term acquaintance with and commitment to the eco-conscious Shambala festival – a three-day family-friendly event staged at a secret location in Northamptonshire UK, featuring a diverse and eclectic mix of music, art, cuisine and culture.

The Bristol based lighting and visuals rental company’s association with the festival dates back 12 years, and it was the 9th year for project manager Stu England who led a large crew. Fineline also seized the occasion and the fantastic atmosphere of Shambala to celebrate a super-busy 2016 summer festival season.

Fineline supplied lighting for the main stage – a Wango’s tensile structure featuring a large central pole and a free-standing arch at the front; the 4-pole big top Kamikaze stage utilised for fun sports in the daytime and as the pumping dance tent at night; and The Playhouse, a theatre cabaret venue with a lively variety programme, which was crewed by students from Truro College on a work experience initiative.

Main Stage

A bit of ingenuity on the rigging front was required here, involving an 8 metre span of truss bridled off the saddle-span’s central pole, which supported two 16.5 metre runs of Supertruss also picked up off an 8 metre spreader truss at the front that doubled for front lighting positions. This effectively created a large ‘V’ shape and also a ‘rag’ truss at the back. A mid truss was added by resting an additional on top of the two V spans.

The basic trussing concept was originated by Fineline’s Wingnut and has been used for the last few years to optimise the non-linear space whilst respecting the elegant aesthetics of the saddle-span design.

In this configuration, it is also important to load the trusses evenly to keep the weight balanced, all adding to the challenges.

Lighting wise, the installation comprised 8 x SGM Giotto 400s, 6 x Robe 600E Spots and 12 x Robe LEDWash 1200s for the moving elements supported by eight bars-of-6 PARs, 8 x 4-lite linear Moles, four 8-lite Miles, six Source Fours and four Atomic strobes.

These were all run off an Avolites Tiger Touch II console with a fader wing.

Fineline also provided two 12 metre high V-Towers to fly the main stage PA.


Stu designed the rigging in this venue, based on a large ‘X’ truss – with the two spans of truss measuring 12.5 metres end-to-end - flown between the four tent king poles.

Over the stage, the Fineline crew rigged a 38 ft. wide by 12 ft. high goal post at the back to support a projection screen and provide lighting positions.

“We worked very closely with Anne Chapman and her company Totem-FX who designed the extensive eye-catching décor which worked hand-in-hand with the lighting towards the visual enrichment of the environment,” explained Stu.

This year they created five giant scenic ‘funnels’ which were hung from Fineline’s trussing.

The central one was hung apex up from centre X via a 1 metre diameter circle truss above and a 4.4 metre circular truss below, and each of the four tent poles had an apex-down funnel attached to a 3 metre diameter truss rigged about half way up the truss.

Sixteen Miltec LED PARS were used to internally light the funnels, rigged on the trussing circles and highly effective in boosting the visual ambience.

The stage and dancefloor lighting was designed to give a plethora of big old-skool ravey looks … utilizing eight Atomic strobes attached to the lower truss ring of the centre funnel, the main moving lights were all Chauvet - a mix of SR Beams, RH1 Hybrids and R2 washes - and these were augmented with eight 4-lamp PAR bars, eight 2-lite blinders, plus some Strand 500W codas for the daytime activities and 1K fresnels for key lighting on the stage and DJ booth.

The console was another Tiger Touch II with a wing, and two lasers supplied and operated by Martin King from X-Treme Lasers were also rigged onto the stage goal post truss.

The Playhouse

Stevie J Brown, lighting designer and lecturer from the BTEC Production Arts Extended National Diploma in Production Arts course at Truro arranged for four of his students to work as Fineline crew in the Playhouse venue, giving them a taste of what it’s like to work in a real situation, dealing with a range of production challenges and finding solutions.

They worked hard throughout the festival weekend engaging in multiple jobs from rigging lighting to programming and operating shows for an assortment of artists.

The rig consisted of three 9 metre long trusses flown between the tent king poles covering the front and two sides of the stage area, and a ground supported 10 x 4 metre goal post built at the back of the stage with a projection screen hung in the middle and lighting all around.

The entertainment line-up ranged from aerial artists to magicians and comedians so they had to take a multi-purpose approach and devise a lighting scheme that would work for everything …. with a limited amount of kit and time.

“It was definitely a learning curve and they had to think on their feet” comments Stu, adding, “which will be a constant requirement if they decide to follow a production industry career, so it was a great opportunity”.

The lighting supplied included 20 x conventional PARs, 12 x LED PARs, 12 x ETC Source Four profiles, 24 x Harmony fresnels, ten 500W fresnels, with four High End Studio Spot 250s, six Chauvet R2 washes and six GLP Impressions for moving lights, together with a third Tiger Touch console and 48 ways of dimming for control.

Fineline’s crew chief was James Harrington, Wingnut designed lighting for the main stage and on the technical team were Rachael Mule, Shoki, Ian “Cookie” Brooks, Jan Osborne, James Box, Kris Lundburg, Kevin “Chippie” Blewett and Steve Walsh.

Sam Werrett, Ophelia Sollis-Price and Katie Meeson from Truro College crewed the Playhouse stage together with lighting designer Steve Brown and dimmer tech Alan Porter, who were joined by Greg Haynes from Avolites’ technical support team.

“It was a fantastic end-of-summer event” comments Fineline’s MD Rob Sangwell, “and in the opinion of many, the best Shambala yet! Many thanks to our core crew for all their work and commitment this summer and also a big thank you to Shambala for having us back again this year, long may the adventures in utopia continue.”

Excellent weather made the secret location all the more magical for delivering another amazing Shambala.

Fineline Lights Snowboxx 2016

Fineline supplied lighting for two venues – Main Stage and Club XX - at the six day 2016 Snowboxx Festival staged in the spectacular French Alpine ski resort of Avoriaz. The event now in its fourth year, is a week of activities culminating in three days of music in an intimate 4000 capacity boutique festival for lovers of snow sports, dance music and great vibes.

It was the first year that Fineline has been involved as a technical supplier. Stu England designed the rigs for both areas, which were based on being flexible to give all the artists as many options as possible for their sets to look individual and interesting, delivering excellent ‘bang-for-buck’.

The Main Stage was outdoors on the slopes and comprised a 12 meter roof system beneath which Stu and the Fineline crew sub-hung four finger trusses running upstage / downstage.

With limited space and weight loadings, when it came to the choice of moving lights, the smallest, lightest and brightest fixtures able to produce the maximum amount of looks … were selected and rigged on the fingers.

This included 12 x Pointes, 12 x LEDWash 600s and 12 LEDBeam 100 moving lights – all Robe – plus six Martin Atomic strobes, 12 x 2-lite Moles and a string (of 8) ACLs in the air and another on the floor for a bit of retro beam technology.

There were also four 4-way bars of PARs for general stage washes.

“I went for a mathematical formula – everything was divisible by four … apart from the Atomics, but it’s always good to have a curved ball in the mix!” explained Stu.

The two sets of ACLs were diligently focused to replicate a light-beam version of the distinctive double-X Snowboxx branding, so this could be incorporated into the lighting.

Upstage was a truss on two motors that could be flown in and out to accommodate artist backdrops.

All lights were controlled via an Avolites Arena console, and only one band brought their own LD, so Fineline’s Will Dale operated for most of the rest, assisted by James Harrington on dimmers / general technical.

The idea in Club XX was to freshen up the resort’s own venue which had a basic house lighting rig, some of which was utilised.

Four of the five meters of stage width was usable … so they added six Chauvet Rogue R2 Beams, six R2 washes, 16 x Miltec LED battens, two Atomics and four 2-lite Moles, with an Avo Tiger Touch console for control.

The line-up here was all DJs so the lighting formula was to produce lots of straightforward exciting kinetic and colourful club-style lighting.

Fineline’s package also involved the design and fabrication of a set for Club XX.

A 6 meter high by 4 meter wide trussing goal post was the superstructure onto which was hung a set of inverted wooden flats cut in the shape of a mountain range with screen material in the middle. This allowed it to be lit from both front and behind giving a proper 3D impression created with the Miltec battens inserted into the gap between the two sets of flats.

The end results were highly effective in producing colour changing and other effects to make the space funky and fresh.

The front of the DJ booth was clad in a scenic XX logo, also cut out of a wooden flat and back-lit with Miltec LED PARs.

Looking after the club’s lighting from Fineline were Sam Kenyon and Jonnie Westell.

In addition to these, site wide architectural lighting strategically positioned around the extensive site included 30 x Chauvet SlimPAR 24s which are IP rated and ideal for this application, plus 20 x 400W MBI floods and six source Fours used for gobo art.

Fineline used their extensive experience of scenic festival site illumination, lighting the slopes behind the main stage with more LED PARs shooting up the piste – a surface that takes light particularly well.

“It was the architectural elements that were the real challenge both in design terms and the practicality of powering, running data and rigging them,” explained Stu. Carrying fixtures through serious snow is a lot harder work and more time-consuming than running around on a green-field site!

There was also a small sub-venue – Igloo – which ran just for one night, for which Stu and the team supplied four Robe Pointes, two fitted with custom gobos projecting the XX logo up the side of the mountain, plus four gas powered Flame jet machines ... all run from an Avo Quartz console.

Stu concludes, “It’s great to be involved with an up-and-coming event like this which is being organized by nice people with a genuine love of music and on a mission to deliver great production values to their fans”.

Fineline for BBC 6 Music Festival

This year the BBC’s 6 Music Festival landed in Bristol, with lighting for two stages at vibrant nightspot Motion - one of the main venues - supplied by locally based rental company Fineline to another stunning specification and design by the event’s LD Tim Routledge, whose current clients also include Take That and E.L.O.

Motion hosted two stages for the three days of exciting and eclectic live performances – headlined (in Motion) by Primal Scream, Suede and Foals, with action from the Main Stage broadcast live on 6 Music across the weekend, and highlights available to watch via the BBC’s red button and BBC iPlayer.

Motion’s second room, the Skate Park, featured some serious raw talent and rising stars like Yeasayer, Field Music, Beirut and The Invisible.

In keeping with the BBC’s desire to utilize local rental companies, Fineline was contacted by Tim Routledge to quote on the job, and once confirmed, he designed lighting for Motion’s Main Stage based on their stock. It’s the third year that Tim has designed lighting for the event and each year the idea is to create a distinctive and defining visual aesthetic.

"We were really excited to be involved in this high profile event" stated Fineline project manager Stuart England, "and very honoured to be contacted by someone of Tim's calibre and asked to work with him and the BBC. We really enjoyed the experience – the results looked fantastic!”

Fineline also happens to be the preferred lighting and visuals supplier for Motion, and so their regular crew are familiar with the venue – a charismatic former warehouse at the back of Bristol’s Templemeads Station - and its nuances.

A bespoke 30ft wide by 16 ft. deep ground support system was installed in the Main room. Due to the roof weight loading limitations, this was anchored to the ground via its back legs with the front points picked up by motors rigged directly to the industrial crane – dating back to its days as an active marble warehouse - that runs length ways down the building. The front truss was also flown directly off the crane.

The moving lights were all Robe, with 20 x Pointes, 18 X LED Beam 100s and 10 x LED Wash 600s, joined by 6 x Atomic strobes, 18 x Miltec LED PARS, 10 x Showtec active Sunstrips, 18 x ETC Source Fours with assorted lenses, 6 x 1.2K fresnels and 16 x 4 lite Moles for audience illumination.

Of these, eight of the Pointes, all the LED PARs, and the Sunstrips were on the floor.

The LED PARs were used to highlight assorted foliage set pieces decorating the stage – one of the event’s regular visual components. The Sunstrips were used more unusually as footlight strips along the front of the stage to introduce subtle key lighting for the low angle camera shots, a technique that was very effective.

To recreate the 6 Music Festival’s signature tungsten look, 12 x 50 meter runs of festoon were strung, canopy-style, above the audience ... Fitted with an impressive total of 1680 15W clear golf-ball festoon lamps.

Along with all the stage lighting, these were run from two grandMA2 light consoles programmed and operated by Tim’s design associate, Tom Young.

Tim Williams and Will Dale from Fineline looked after all the tech'ing, with James Harrington working as rigger on the in and the out, where his intimate knowledge of the venue – he ran the house lighting and visuals for many years - was invaluable, especially when maximising the roof weight capacity to ensure Tim was offered the highest production values to accommodate his design.

In the Skate Park area - a similar size to the Main room - the raw, grubby, urban feel of the surroundings added a resonance and a vibe for all audience and artists alike.

Lighting in here was designed by Stuart England, and the rig was spread over a front truss and four 8ft high vertical truss towers onstage.

Four 6-lamp bars of PARs provided the key lighting and 12 x 2-lite Moles on the front truss worked well for blasting the audience.

The moving lights comprised 12 x Chauvet Rogue R2 Beams and 12 x R2 Washes, combined with 14 x Miltec LED battens and four Atomics.

An Avolites Arena for control (with Quartz backup) was programmed and run by Fineline's James Box, with the multi-tasking James Harrington looking after dimmers.

Tim Routledge commented, “The easy route on this might be to speak with one of the bigger national rental companies that we use regularly, however I really enjoy reaching out of our comfort zone and working with local resources … and every year it's been great! This year was no exception. Turning to Fineline for one of the main stages, we were looked after really well and the result in this idiosyncratic site-specific venue was just perfect for the vibe of the festival, and the BBC were thrilled yet again.

“Stuart's team were keen, flexible and just cracked on with it! A result!"

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”.