Clay Paky Luminaires Reign Supreme at Coronation Festival Gala

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Celebrated LD Vince Foster recently employed a battalion of Clay Paky fixtures to honour Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne. Foster used the Clay Paky fixtures to deliver a striking, yet super flexible lighting design for the Coronation Festival Gala.

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Held in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace, the event took place over four days from 11-14 July and was the Palace’s first commercial, ticketed public event. Technical production company Hawthorn provided the full production services supplying over 150 Clay Paky fixtures including: Alpha Wash 1200, Alpha Spot HPE 1200, Alpha Profile 1500, Sharpys, Sharpy Washes 330, and Alpha Profile 700s for the main stage, while a further 16 Clay Paky Alpha Wash 700 were used to light the Palace itself.

The Gala featured an array of artists including The National Youth Orchestra, The Feeling, The English National Ballet, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and Katie Melua. The concert was watched live by an audience of 6,000 each night and filmed for a prime Saturday evening slot on BBC as Foster explains: “This was a challenging yet exciting event to be involved with. There were three main elements to consider when putting together the design – how it looked in the daytime, how it looked in the evening plus how it translated to television for the BBC.”

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Because the show went from daylight to night Foster needed fixtures that would have an impact on the TV cameras before darkness. “The Sharpy and Sharpy Washes did really well,” explains Foster. “I love the new Sharpy Wash – it’s bright, has a great zoom, and is lightweight. In fact Clay Paky’s latest range of luminaires offer excellent optics and are all fantastically bright.”

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Given the security at the event, Foster also knew he had one opportunity to get what he needed into the event, as equipment and security checks were tight. “I knew the Clay Paky luminaires would be reliable, robust, and brilliant!” says Foster.

The workhorse of the Clay Paky dominated rig was the Alpha Spot HPE effects projector. Ideal as a creative tool, they are simple to set up and programme. Clay Paky’s extraordinarily compact, lightweight, and quick 330W Sharpy Wash also made a huge impact. The luminous efficiency, graphic and optical performance of a 1000W fixture bought a super-bright, architectural feel to the show, sculpting each performance to give each its own unique identity and atmosphere.

Martin Hawthorn, founder and MD of Hawthorn, comments: “Against the challenges of tight security checks, time constraints and the sensitive locations of the Palace Gardens, everyone pulled together to create what is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular events that will ever be held in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace.”

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“We were delighted to see Clay Paky fixtures make yet another Royal event look absolutely stunning,” comments Glyn O’Donoghue, managing director of Clay Paky distributors in the UK, Ambersphere. “The full arsenal of Clay Paky fixtures from across the range have been kept extremely busy by top UK designers on numerous UK national and international events in the last year including: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies and a raft of other live and televised events throughout the year.”

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