Bandit Lites is proud to have accomplished another successful weekend of lighting one of the US’ best musical events: the Electric Forest Festival, the multi-genre musical occasion with headliners including The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Major Lazer, Adventure Club, Baauer and Beats Antique. The event has grown so popular, the festival has announced 2017’s Electric Forest will take place over two weekends.
With this being his first foray into the Electric Forest Festival, lighting designer Jeff Ravitz collaborated with the festival production manager and festival creative/artistic director to create looks that would both be stimulating and attention-grabbing while still making sense logistically for load-in and daily operations.
“Each light was added to the light plot for its own specific purpose,” said Ravitz, acknowledging the test that was matching the vision of the design to the budget of project.
“The creative meetings gave me a lot of ideas, and of course, we never get specific numbers from producers,” shared Ravitz. “Nor do we know exactly what anything will cost while we’re designing. You know how it is…we get that wind of inspiration and just go with it until there’s something to show someone. By that time, it’s inevitable that we will have gone a little over-the-top. By ‘we’, of course, I must take full blame: ‘Me.’”
Not one to back away from the challenge, Ravitz focused in on what was truly the most important elements of his design, fine-tuning it until it emerged as it was really meant to be: lean, mean and powerful.
The result was a system flexible enough to work with the multitudes of bands and DJs, and versatile enough for both day and night performances.
Bandit’s exclusive GRNLite Moving Washes and GLP Impression 90s provided an overall color wash statement and audience coverage, while VL 3000 Spots created texture on the stage deck and in the air, while also lighting the audience. Martin Mac Vipers were used as specials for band members, and Chauvet Legends created strong, tight beams from above and on the floor level. To contrast the tight looks from the Legends, VL 3500 Washes gave substantial, fat beams.
“We also had two vertical frames of lights that created an upstage wall of light,” Ravitz said. “On these, the GRN Battens were for a linear outline of the frames. The Robe Robin LED Beams created movement, color and beamage that was ‘in your face’ from that straight-on angle. The GRN PARs added more color in a fixed-focus configuration.”
Bandit also supplied several CK Color Blast TRXs to wash and highlight scenic elements on the PA towers and the main truss header, and CK ColorBlaze 72s to light the PA scrims. VL 3500 spots with framing shutters washed the main truss header, and Nitro Strobes were utilized to both give strobe looks and lock into a color to help light the audience.
Calling Bandit Lites a “great partner” in the planning process, Ravitz described Production Director Dizzy Gosnell as a “Father Confessor, design psychologist and accountant.”
“Dizzy and I talked endlessly about how to achieve my ideas in a way that fit all the criteria: good looking design, flexible enough to work for every performer appearing on that stage, and could be set up in a reasonable amount of time, while, of course, working within the producer’s budget. Then, we moved to the nitty gritty planning stage, where the Bandit production team worked closely with me and my programmer, David Mollner, to work out all the physical details, data issues, and pre-programming planning.”
“Not much can be said about Jeff Ravitz that hasn’t been said a thousand times before, but I’ll say it anyway: Such a totally professional, talented, knowledgeable, approachable, fun and flexible person to work with,” Dizzy shared. “He totally understands the limits of time, space, budget, truck and, of course, the artistic side. This was a warp speed production too; time was not our friend so decisions had to be made quickly to get things sorted. If it was a three par can or a 700 moving light rig, I’d work with Jeff any day.”
Bandit’s crew for the Electric Forest Festival consisted of Craig Richter, Charles Smith, Mark Scherer, Erich Hudgens and Daniel Rehbein.
“Onsite, the Bandit crew were terrific,” finished Ravitz. “They got the system installed and working, through a bit of rain, hot sun and chilly Michigan nights, in time for us to program before opening night and be ready for the first band lighting directors to arrive. Thanks to them.”