Painting with Light delivers Happy Belgium finale

Photo: Frederic Lepla & Nathan Awouters

Creative visual practice Painting with Light was asked by the Agoria Sports and Entertainment Technology club to design lighting for a visual spectacle which was the finale of the official 2023 Belgian National Day celebrations.

The overall event which included a two-hour music Festival was attended by 60,000 people and broadcast on major networks, titled Happy Belgium.

The 15-minute finale show was developed for the Syndicat d’Initiative-Bruxelles Promotion and staged against the Cinquantenaire Arcade in Brussels.

The PWL team was led by the company’s Founder and Creative Director Luc Peumans who collaborated closely with Creative Director Patrick Awouters and Technical Manager Nathan Awouters from Laser System Europe who provided the lighting equipment and 40 lasers for the show.

Pyro specialist Arteventia’s Edouard Grégoire designed and supplied the breathtaking fireworks together with his team.

A dynamic and highly balanced blend of these three distinctive visual media combined to produce this show-stopping finale. It was set to a special soundtrack composed by Patrick.

“The big challenge was blending these three very different disciplines in a high impact show that could catch everyone’s attention,” explained Peumans.

On the lighting side, a full set of IP rated fixtures was installed on and around the Cinquantenaire and the galleries and colonnades of its associated buildings.

Fixtures comprised a mix of beams and washes and included 60 PR Lighting AQUA 580 Beams, 18 AQUA 580 BWS, 50 AQUA LED 600 Spots, 30 FOS F7 strobe washes, 10 x Explo X2 Wave Flamers and 14 hazers to assist with atmospherics, all of which were supplied by LSE.

Peumans also utilised 18 of the music festival’s CHAUVET ColorStrike M motorised strobe wash fixtures that were part of the festival package and supplied by Splendit for DDMC.

“We needed IP rated fixtures for all the obvious reasons,” stated Peumans. “All the lights were in exposed positions, it was very much a case of having a practical and manageable number of fixtures, being imaginative and making them look good with the layers of lasers and firework effects.”

Critical to the show’s success was when the show was visualised prior, to assist this process was a simulation of the fireworks created by Arteventia that gave a realistic visual of the effects.

Lighting Programmers were Tibo Spiessens and Jeroen Opsteyn using a MA Lighting grandMA3 and the pre-programming was completed in Depence 3 in their visualisation Studio. The associate lighting designer was Sieben Vannuffelen and the Production Manager for LSE was Hans Cromheecke.

LSE’s lighting crew were Arnaud Favry, Jonathan Mulders, Fabian Fizaine, Jonathan Gault and Jules Roullet, and tec’ing the lasers were Thomas Avisse and Giovanni Laera.

The lasers were designed and programmed by Patrick’s son, Nathan and LSE’s Artistic Consultant was Marcos Vinals.

Working alongside Edouard on Team Arteventia was Technical Manager Gabriel Legrand, Project Manager Jean François Homerin and firers Anthony Poveda, Jordan Van Cappellen, Emmanuel Legrand, Amaury Vanderborght and Claudel Doucel.

The TV camera director for the festival and the finale was Hans Pannecoucke who had two close cams, one dolly, one crane, three handhelds, two PTZ remotes and a drone at his disposal to build a broadcast mix. Broadcast facilities were supplied by another NEP Belgium, with Bart Thiron as a Technical Director.

Peumans concluded: “It was a very proud and magical moment to be producing and presenting such a unique live experience on this huge scale for our own country and highlighting our heritage, history and one of the country’s landmark monuments.”