Inaugural Now or Never festival with GLP and Novatech

Duncan Jacob (Duncographic)

The inaugural Now or Never i festival created by the city of Melbourne hosted several events at the iconic Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne and saw Gig Control Australia transform the heritage-listed building, designing a spectacular sound, lighting and video infrastructure.

The creative company partnered with Novatech Creative Event Technology, which was contracted to take care of technical supply for the five events held over four days.

Aside from the entrance, the visual highlight was the main zone, where a 16m-high LED structure backed the main stage. This was brought to life by 39 GLP JDC1 hybrid strobes, set in one continuous vertical 16m line to create a ‘spine’ behind the six-meter-wide, 16m-high transparent LED wall. These strobes formed part of a larger GLP inventory specified by LD Nathan Aveling from Gig Control Australia.

Novatech Managing Director Leko Novakovic noted: “They were pixel mapped and complemented the content on screen and often stood alone as an effect in the centre, or alternatively combined with the other 96 blinders behind the LED screen,” he says. “The three layers – screen, blinders and JDC1s – were used to give depth to the looks achievable on the stage.” All fixtures were configured in single pixel mode to give smooth fades and flexibility of effects for programming by Aveling.

In addition, down each side of the room and set out from the stage was a 33m-long truss that was covered, end to end, with 33 GLP impression Bar 20s in a continuous line on each side. “These truss lines also supported other lighting fixtures, with the X4 Bar 20s suspended from the bottom of the truss for spectacular effects, both front-to-back and side-to-side,” continued Novakovic, “thanks to the moving yoke.”

Highlights from the Now or Never music programme under the spectacular cathedral ceilings included an Australian exclusive by American singer, songwriter and producer Kelela, supported by genre-bending avant/R&B musician, serpentwithfeet;, co-hosted by Untitled Group, headlined by a live set from German house and techno producer Âme; a unique sensory experience by British electronic duo Autechre, (enhanced with a psychedelic 3D audio-visual experience by Max Cooper); a electronic show from Bristol duo Giant Swan; and a thumping live set by UK-based artist Actress. Finally, Orchestra Victoria’s take on US composer Steve Reich’s iconic Music for 18 Musicians was accompanied by a 16m-high commissioned video work by multimedia artist Jesse Woolston.

Novatech is a long-term supplier of a wide range of GLP solutions, and the fixtures deployed acquitted themselves flawlessly throughout the four days, confirms Leko Novakovic. “It was an absolute success,” he noted. “It was monumental to witness Melbourne’s iconic building filled with the sounds of live music for the first time in over two decades. Across all the incredible shows, the familiar walls transformed into a theatre of audio and visual sensations. It enabled stunning visuals, delivering many different looks for each of the artists.”