One hundred and forty Robe Pointes were at the core of the production lighting design for the 2014 Essence Festival in New Orleans, which was created by Matt Foucheux of Solomon Group, production designers and equipment suppliers for the Main Stage in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Musical acts included Prince, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott.
The Solomon Group has worked for the vibrant and diverse “party with a purpose’ – which started in 1995 – for the last three years, and for the last two has also been responsible for producing the 60 000 capacity Main Stage at the four day event.
This was the first time that Foucheux and Solomon Group have used Pointes, and the first time they have ever worked with Robe products. The fixtures were supplied by VER, and it underlined a real confidence in the brand and its reputation to commit to so many Pointes on such a high profile show.
“We were looking for something new that would offer more than just a beam light with basic functionality,’ Foucheux explained.
Several lighting designers and programmers recommended that Foucheux and his team check out Robe’s Pointe, so a demo with VER was arranged in Las Vegas, which confirmed it was the right fixture for the job.
“You can use it as a beam, a wash, a spot or as an effects fixture … it’s massively flexible and when we were planning the Main Stage lighting this year, it seemed a great opportunity that would be appreciated by the many LDs and operators coming through the festival.’
Around 40 to 50 of the Pointes were rigged on trusses over the audience and up above on top of a social media feed ticker-tape style screen high up in the roof of the stadium. The balance was dotted all over the stage on the LX bars which included the side wings, with some on the floor.
Solomon provided a team of lighting programmers and operators for the duration of the festival led by Ryan Stumpp, who used grandMA2 consoles and also ran lighting for artists not bringing their own LDs.
Those who did bring their own LDs included Jill Scott’s Martin Thomas, an avid Robe fan already using Pointes on his touring specification.
Among other things, Thomas was also able to throw stylish texturing onto the stage and around the audience via the prism effects or easily cut through the other lights running the Pointes in beam mode for strobing and ballyhooing.
While for others it was their first experience using Pointes, either way, having fixtures on the rig was a big success.