Enlightened Deploys Versatile Vari-Lite at Bath Festival

Vari-Lite lighting fixtures add rich colours and effects at Bath Festival. Photo: Sarah Rushton-Read

Enlightened Lighting deployed some of its stock of Vari-Lite VL10 BEAMWASH and VL2600 Series luminaires at Bath Festival – one of the first major music festivals to take place in the UK following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in August.

For Dave Thorpe of Enlightened this was the first time the firm’s newly purchased VL2600 PROFILE and WASH fixtures and VL10s had graced the stage of a busy festival. Therefore, he was keen to see how they performed and gauge the response from festival lighting designer Nic Ayres and McFly’s visiting lighting designer, Chris Yeomans.

“It was a delight to use the VL2600 WASH and PROFILE fixtures and the VL10 BEAMWASH luminaires on this production,” said Ayres. “The colours are great – and although the fixtures can be a bit channel hungry that does make them all the more flexible, which is crucial in a festival situation.”

The rig was designed as a traditional Spot and Wash set up with the super bright and versatile VL10 BEAMWASH luminaires taking care of backlight gobos from the rig.

“What is great about the VL10s is that they work as a beam, a wash and as a spot, which is brilliant on such a small stage and with such limited time to program,” Ayres continued. “None of the acts bring in any set, except maybe a backdrop. The atmosphere is all coming from the artist and from the lights augmenting the mood of the performance, with a bit of haze thrown in for good measure.”

He added: “The VL10s are perfect for on stage gobo or aerial beam effects through haze. To have dual overlaying prisms, an aperture wheel, rotating gobo wheel and an FX wheel in such a compact and bright fixture is a real achievement. During the day I have been using the overhead VL10s in full zoom and they still fill a gap and read well in sunny daylight, which is impressive.”

Ayres used the VL2600s as key light and spectacular effects for the audience: “Prior to this festival I had not used Vari-Lite fixtures for some time, but I have not been disappointed,” he says. “There is something that little bit ‘posher’ about the Vari-Lites. They feel richer and they look and feel expensive.”

Yeomans commented: “This is the first time I have come across the VL2600s and the VL10s in a festival rig and they are fantastic, I definitely want to use them again. The fixtures were incredibly bright, even during the morning’s programming session. The standard features, colour mixing, gobo selection, prism layering, zoom range, and overall output, far surpassed anything I’ve used so far this festival season.”

He continued: “For me, versatility is key for festival rigs, I prefer having hybrid luminaire cross-over fixture types, such as wash beams, as they make for a more interesting show by offering a range of effects from one unit. It also makes for a cleaner looking, more uniform rig. The VL10 BEAMWASH and VL2600 PROFILE offered a huge range of possibilities from two fixture types.”

Enlightened’s Dave Thorpe concluded: “When we bought the VL2600s and the VL10s it was our first foray into the larger moving light market. We looked at a lot of brands, but we wanted something that stood out above the rest. At the demo we were struck by the quality of the fixture build and the quality of light that comes out of the front. As Nic said, it doesn’t feel like an LED fixture. We were also influenced by several designers who had called up to tell us how good the VL2600 range is. The VL10s are stunning, ridiculously bright, do the job well and all have been reliable from the get-go. These are complex, heavy-duty fixtures but once you get a handle on them, there really is nothing else that compares.”