Lighting designer Sven Kučinić was asked to create a spectacular look for the brand-new Fusion World Music Festival in Split, Croatia, a brand new 2-day event which featured 12 leading SouthEast European acts over two nights, utilising the same site as ULTRA Europe in central Split.
The first fixtures that Sven drew on the lighting plot were 100 Robe MegaPointes!
This is his favourite fixture and a popular festival choice, especially for wide-stage designs like this which used the same impressive 72-metre-wide stage that had also featured as the centrepiece of ULTRA Europe 2022 in July.
Sven was offered the gig after the organisers saw his show for Croatian superstar Petar Grašo a few months earlier, which was one of the first major post-Covid concerts in the country and consequently was a major news story and talking point. He had also used a lot of Robe moving lights on that design.
For the Fusion World Music Festival, he was given carte blanche to deliver a fantastic looking lighting and visuals production design, which is always a great brief to have!
Leading Croatian rental company Promo Logistika were already involved. They have a large stock of Robe kit onboard and had also supplied lighting and video for the ULTRA main stage in collaboration with Event Lighting from Slovenia, another company that has a substantial Robe inventory. With these two premium rental partners involved, it was possible to source the numbers needed.
Promo Logistika had also worked on the Petar Grašo gig with Sven, so he had the same video crew led by Kristina Bengez, and “we made a great visuals team,” he commented. Sven drew up the initial stage design including all the striking diamond-shaped LED screen configurations and placement in addition to the lighting, taking a highly architectural approach with the screens bordered and flanked by zig-zagging trusses.
He and Kristina discussed the look and feel for each artist, and she created appropriate visual content and made sure it appeared on the right screens including an IMAG mix, so lighting and video were an integrated entity.
For most of the artists, the show visuals were improvised and created fully live, as opposed to pre-programmed, bringing an edge to the process that Sven really enjoys.
Joining the 100 x MegaPointes, which were scattered all over the multiple trusses, were 24 x Robe BMFL Spots, 8 x BMFL Blades, 48 x LEDBeam 150s, 24 x MMX WashBeams and 12 x LEDWash 1200s, making over 200 Robes in total.
Other lights on the rig included around 200 LED strobes, some 8-lite blinders and a bunch of LED strips secured around the screens and on the fragmented zig-zag trusses.
The MegaPointes – chosen for their brightness, reliability and myriad of features and effects possibilities – were dotted all over the trusses and stage area and were the main show look lights.
The BMFLs and MMX WashBeams were used for layered key lighting.
Sven admits that even he was surprised by the enormity and scale of the stage when he walked on site and stood in the midst of it for the first time! “It was a bit of a WOW moment,” he stated. “I certainly needed all of those effects lights and key lights to cover this huge piece of real estate!”
However, this was still an expedient amount of lighting for a stage this massive, and Sven, who uses Robe products frequently in his work, highlights the multifunctionality of the luminaires in enabling him to achieve the requisite dynamics with less fixtures.
The LEDBeam 150s – small but super-punchy – were rigged around the perimeter trussing of the three largest diamond LED screens, ideally positioned for doing back washes and augmenting effects.
Sven programmed and operated the show himself – all colleagues from his design practice Lumilas LLC were busy with other shows during this exceptionally busy peak show season. He used a grandMA3 console and his biggest challenge was to keep alert for three long days and two nights, having arrived to site straight from a flying shift, slipping out of his pilot’s uniform en route!
He had completed a reasonable amount of pre-vis, but a relentless pace and intensity of programming was needed on site to get the rig ready for all the artists.
He noted that working with Promo Logistika and Event Lighting made the event, “very straightforward technically” adding that they both “need a big shout out, together with their kit which was in great condition in spite of working non-stop for the whole summer!” All the rental companies have also been slammed trying to deal with the sheer volume of shows during this first full post-pandemic season.
Show day temperatures soared to 45 degrees, but not a single fixture malfunctioned!
Event Lighting’s chief system tech was Benjamin Česen, and Promo Logistika’s CEO Zoran Biškupić “definitely also deserves a mention,” commented Sven. “He was on site in the heat and the dust with his crew for two weeks overseeing everything from the logistics to helping move kit on and offstage!”
For Sven, it was invigorating and exciting to work on an emerging festival with a blank page for designing an enormous show with a large audience. The pressure was on to set the bar high, but everything was a resounding success, and the 2023 dates have already been announced!
Photos: By LumiLas LLC