Poupet Festival on the right tracks thanks to Naostage

K SYSTEM, the world’s first automatic, beaconless 3D tracking system for live experiences, earned rave reviews from performers, technical staff and visitors alike this summer at various festivals, and the popular Poupet Festival, with its 100,000 punters over 14 days was no exception.

Taking place in the idyllic surroundings of the Vallée de Poupet (in western France’s Vendée), Festival de Poupet launched in 1987 and has grown into one of France’s best-loved boutique festivals. The 2023 edition took place over June and July and featured performances from leading French and international acts, including American singer-songwriter and two-time Grammy Award winner Ben Harper, jazz trumpet prodigy Ibrahim Maalouf, and rap royalty Orelsan.

Thomas Maindron, director and programmer of Festival de Poupet, explains that he was first introduced to K SYSTEM, developed by French start-up Naostage, by Donovane Amelin, the festival’s lighting director, earlier this year. “We heard about Naostage when going over the technical specifications for this year’s festival,” he recalls, noting the highly demanding tracking requirements, particularly compared to previous years.

By seamlessly identifying and following artists, performers and visitors wherever they are in a defined tracking area, Naostage’s K SYSTEM allows for the automation of an endless array of lighting, audio, video and media effects in real time in perfect sync with the show or fixed installation.

Maindron says the festival was able to achieve a significant reduction in costs by adopting Naostage’s patented, industry-first technology. “One of the main advantages is that it’s making real savings in terms of follow spots and operator requirements,” he continues. “For example, on our first day, we would have normally needed seven operators.” With K SYSTEM, however, “we had only one technician overseeing the whole system, and the result was perfect.”

“The advantage of K SYSTEM is that we can remove a whole bunch of spotlight operators and allocate them to other tasks, while saving space in space restricted set ups” confirms Amelin, who used K SYSTEM for the first time at Festival de Poupet 2023. “For the main stage, we needed four spotlights on the back of the stage and three more on the front, and it was simply impossible to get technicians for each lighting fixture. We could have got around this issue by using remote followspots, but that would have meant technical complications and it would have been significantly more expensive. Naostage’s K SYSTEM helped us solve all these challenges quite easily.”

K SYSTEM’s starring role at Festival de Poupet came amid a busy festival summer for Naostage, with its technology also gracing the stages of Les Vieilles Charrues (13–17 July), the biggest music festival in France, the second edition of Rave Park (6–7 October) in Rennes and a major festival in Turkey, among other events.

In Vendée, Naostage equipped the Poupet stage with one Kapta sensor and one Kore server. The ‘eyes’ of K SYSTEM, Kapta is a plug-and-play sensor which delivers a stereoscopic, 3D view of the performance area (up to 20m × 12m with a single device when rigged at 10m height). Kore, a 4RU server that uses AI to detect and track performers, is complemented by Naostage’s Kratos software, which handles the patching to external devices such as consoles and media servers.

From an artistic perspective, using K SYSTEM to automatically track multiple performers on stage was a “great experience”, according to Vincent Lerisson, who has worked with major artists including Justice, Jay-Z, DJ Snake and Charlie Winston, and is the lighting designer for Poupet headliners Louise Attaque. “It was great to be able to fine tune the follow lights for the three main band members and the other musicians throughout the show.”

Similarly, both Maindron and Amelin report receiving praise for the tracking system from performing artists and their teams. “We’re convinced about the system because the artists’ productions are convinced. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from them as well as our own tech team, BLive. They’re all enthusiastic, and everyone thinks the Naostage system is the future.”
“Those who used it really loved it – for example, we had really positive feedback from the Queen tribute band [God Save the Queen],” echoes Amelin.

For the Festival de Poupet team, it’s this ability to expand the artistic possibilities available to lighting and AV technicians while delivering cost savings for organisers that mean it’s a “done deal” that K SYSTEM will be at Poupet next year.

“As soon as Donovane introduced us to the technology and explained how it would work, we couldn’t wait to see what it could do for our festival,” Maindron concludes. We were keeping our fingers crossed that it would work – and it didn’t take long before we were convinced. [K SYSTEM] is just extraordinary.”

“The more we can integrate this kind of system into our set-up, the more we can maximise our efforts and reduce budgets,” concludes Maindron. “And the more we can reduce budgets, the happier everyone is!”

Pictures courtesy of ©JacquesPinault

Info: www.naostage.com

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