Too often, events that receive a lot of accolades don’t seem to live up to their press clippings. This was most definitely not the case at the 2017 Soul Beach music festival in Aruba’s capital. Routinely included in the top 10 lists of Caribbean festivals from the likes of USA Today and Jetsetter Magazine, the five-day event exceeded even the highest expectations this year, serving up a plethora of charismatic performances from superstars like Usher, The Roots and Mary J. Blige in a paradisiacal setting. Adding extra sizzle to the proceedings was the seemingly endless variety of intensely coloured big looks that Erik van Oorsouw of Elite Productions created with help from over 100 Chauvet Professional fixtures.
“I have been the designer for the Soul Beach Festival for some years,” said van Oorsouw. “It is a wonderful festival with so much talent on stage. The challenge from a lighting design standpoint is to create different looks over the course of the festival so the stage always appears interesting, while also reflecting the music of each individual artist.”
To meet this challenge, van Oorsouw relied heavily on the flexible performance features and extensive colour rendering capabilities of the 16 Maverick MK2 Washes, 24 Maverick MK2 Spots and 19 Rogue R2 Spots in his rig. He positioned most of his washes on curved upstage truss and on three large horseshoe shaped truss structures that ran across the centre of the stage.
“The Maverick Wash fixtures provided my basic colour foundation,” explained van Oorsouw. “Changing the colours we got from the washes changed the whole look of the stage. I was very impressed with the colour rendering and huge zoom of the Maverick Washes.”
Drawing on the 7 – 49 degrees zoom range of the Maverick MK2 Wash, van Oorsouw continually changed the coverage area of his wash lighting to add greater dimensionality to stage. He also relied on the fixture’s intense output to create captivating aerial and audience washing.
Like the washes, the Maverick MK2 Spots and Rogue R2 Spots were flown throughout the rig, primarily on upstage and mid stage overhead truss as well as on risers that ran along the back of the stage. This allowed van Oorsouw to direct beams from different height levels and direction across the stage. The zoom optics and rotating gobo wheel were used to dress up the stage with distinctive looks for the different artists during their sets.
“The Maverick and Rogue spots accented the music,” said van Oorsouw. “The washes were my basics and the spots were there for the special looks that reflected the music. For me it is a lot of fun to add flourishes to the stage with these powerful spots.”
A collection of 44 COLORado 1-Tri IP fixtures were used as truss warmers on the festival’s bandstand shell style stage. “The COLORados brought the trussing into the overall design,” continues Oorsouw. “They also added a great deal of warmth to the stage and pulled the audience’s attention to the performers.”
With its intense colours and varying array of big looks, van Oorsouw’s design delivered the visual excitement that visitors have come to expect from the Soul Beach Music Festival. Given the level of international acclaim that this festival has achieved since it started 18 years ago, meeting expectations at this event is a great accomplishment indeed.