A rig comprised exclusively of ADJ’s IP-rated professional lighting fixtures was used to illuminate one of the stages at the inaugural Wonderfront festival in San Diego, CA. Hydro Series moving head beams and washes, alongside Encore Burst 200 LED blinders, formed the rig for a line-up of performances headlined by iconic punk rockers Pennywise and The Vandals.
Featuring three days of music from 70+ bands, performing across 7 stages, Wonderfront is a new urban festival that debuted in San Diego last November. Taking place at various locations across the city’s downtown waterfront area, with RFID wristbands allowing ticket holders to move between them throughout the weekend, the festival offered an eclectic selection of live music. This included both mainstream and emerging breakthrough artists covering rock, indie, EDM, hip hop, alternative, country and Americana. Visitors also had the opportunity to sample a variety of culinary delights and immersive arts experiences, and, with boats carrying festival goers between the stages spread around the area’s parks and piers, the festival truly had a unique atmosphere.
The SDG&E “It’s On” San Diego 250 stage was located in Ruocco Park and its Friday evening, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoon, line-up was open to the public as part of the San Diego 250 celebrations. The culmination of a yearlong series of events, San Diego 250 commemorated the founding of the city 250 years ago, the first in the whole state of California. The park also featured a ramp showcasing skateboard and BMX demonstrations hosted by local celebrity Tony Hawk, which tied in with the classic punk music theme. Alongside a variety of local and emerging talents, the line-up for the stage included Los Crecidos, Jesse Baez, Suicidal Tendencies, The Vandals and Pennywise.
Located right on the waterfront, the stage boasted fantastic views, although it was also a harsh environment for the equipment used on the stage. That was why Larry Ashburn from Audio Design Rentals, the company responsible for supplying the audio and lighting to multiple stages across the festival, decided to deploy only IP-rated fixtures on this stage.
“We provided equipment for a number of stages at Wonderfront,” explains Larry, “but this particular one was right next to the water, and it’s salt water down there, so we thought it was a good idea to use IP-rated fixtures. And it’s a good job we did, as it absolutely poured with rain during setup – that does happen from time to time even in Southern California! We lost some audio equipment because of the downpour, but had no problems with the lights at all. We do quite a lot of waterfront and oceanfront events in San Diego and, although rain isn’t usually a factor, dust and moist air from the ocean can get into our equipment, causing it to rust and fail, which is what attracted us to the Hydro Series in the first place.”
Audio Design Rentals rigged 10 of ADJ’s IP65-rated Hydro Wash X7 moving head wash luminaires to a truss hanging in front of the stage. Each of these compact and agile fixtures pack in seven potent 40W Osram RGBW (4-in-1) LEDs to allow seamless mixing of a wide gamut of vibrant colors. The units also feature motorized zoom allowing for a variable beam angle of between 6 and 40-degrees, which means that they can be used to generate both wide washes and tight beams.
“We used the Hydro Wash X7s for a downstage wash and they did a good job of illuminating the bands,” continues Larry. “However, as this was an all-day event, the LD would also flip them round and use them for eye candy effects during the day. They are perfect fixtures for that, since each LED can be controlled individually. This meant that the client could benefit from the lighting package throughout the whole event, not just when it started to get dark in the evening.”
For beams, a mixture of ADJ’s Hydro Beam X1 and X2 fixtures were used, with six of each rigged to a second downstage truss with a lower trim height. The Hydro Beam X1 is a compact IP65-rated moving head powered by a 100W Osram Sirius HRI LL discharge lamp. With a sharp 3-degree beam angle it boasts a variety of features including 15 metal GOBOs (including 4 beam reducers), 14 vibrant colors (including CTB & UV), a frost filter and a rotating 16-facet prism. Meanwhile, its bigger brother unit, the Hydro Beam X2, is also IP65-rated and has a 3-degree beam angle, while utilizing a tremendously powerful 370W Osram Sirius HRI LL discharge lamp to generate an immensely potent beam. It also boasts a rich feature set including motorized focus, two 8-facet prisms (liner and circular), 11 rotatable and replaceable GOBOs, a 14-position color wheel (including a four-way split color filter) and a frost filter.
“The LD would put the prism on the X1s and use them kind of like profile fixtures,” explains Brad. “The beams were very sharp and would punch right through down to the stage. Then the X2s are incredibly bright, you could see the beam literally right across the bay, they hit the side of the midway aircraft carrier at night. I have to say, they proved to be even more powerful than we anticipated.”
As well as providing all of the equipment for this stage, along with others across the Wonderfront festival, Audio Design Rentals also provided engineers to run the stages. For the SDG&E “It’s On” San Diego 250 stage they brought in experienced lighting designer Brad Billions, both as the programmer and operator for the whole weekend.
“We hired Brad specifically for this stage, based on experience we’d had with him working on other shows, as we knew he’d be a good fit for this stage and these bands,” explains Larry. “We try to pair the LD up with the music format if possible and on this occasion that was particularly important as even the headline bands didn’t bring their own LDs, so it was even more critical that Brad was familiar with this style of music.”
From Brad’s perspective, it was his first experience of working with ADJ fixtures, let alone the new Hydro Series of IP65-rated units. However, throughout his overnight programming session and three days running the rig for a variety of supporting and headlining bands, Wonderfront gave him ample opportunity to put the fixtures well and truly through their paces.
“This was the first time I had used ADJ fixtures,” confirms Brad, “and I have to say that I was impressed. In the industry ADJ has been known as more of a DJ lighting brand, but these Hydro Series fixtures show that has really changed. I think they exceed what other companies are doing in this mid-market space. The color mixing on the Hydro Wash X7s was just as good as the fixtures that I’m using on the rider-driven tours and shows that I am working with on a week-to-week basis. The brightness of the beams was also great and, in terms of movement, they performed just as well as the industry-standard fixtures I’m used to working with.”
The lighting rig was completed by six of ADJ’s Encore Burst 200 LED-powered blinder fixtures, with two mounted to the top of the upstage truss and a further four units lined across the top of the downstage truss. This IPX4-rated unit harnesses the power of two 110W warm white (2700K) CREE COB LEDs to generate intense audience blinder effects. It also features a ‘Tungsten Mode’ which automatically introduces an amber LED source at lower dimmer settings to emulate the look of classic filament lamp blinders but with the power saving and long lamp life advantages of LED.
“The Encore Burst 200 blinders were perfect for crowd warming and I also used the individual cell control to run chases across all six units,” comments Brad. “To be perfectly honest, I would be happy to run those on any of my rigs; they are great, they are absolutely great.”
The use of this 100% ADJ, 100% IP-rated rig not only demonstrated the potential of ADJ fixtures to singlehandedly take on a mainstream festival rig, but also put their weatherproof abilities to the test when the heavens opened during setup for the event. Featuring vibrant washes, powerful audience blinding effects, sharp GOBO projections and powerful midair beams, the rig provided the perfect accompaniment to the stage’s raucous musical line-up!
SDG&E “It’s On” San Diego 250
Ruocco Park, San Diego
Audio Design Rentals
10 x ADJ Hydro Wash X7
6 x ADJ Hydro Beam X2
6 x ADJ Hydro Beam X1
6 x ADJ Encore Burst 200