SGM Sixpacks Go Wild at Roskilde Festival

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Denmark’s historic Roskilde Festival, which dates back to 1971, is the largest culture and music festival in Northern Europe. Each year it provides a remarkable musical fusion of up and coming artists mixed with famous international acts.

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With 195 performing bands playing on eight stages over eight consecutive days, the event was high on anticipation, with audience pitching their tents to compete for the Camp of the Year.

Renowned international names such as Rihanna, Metallica, Volbeat, Queen of the Stone Age and Kraftwerk ensured that Roskilde Festival 2013 lived up to its reputation with regards to performance, while lighting designers and suppliers ensured maximum dynamics, to bring the best out of the performances.

Three of the stages — Odeon, Pavilion and Apollo — were awash with premium LED fixtures from SGM. This initially took shape when Head of Stage Technology at Roskilde Festival, Paul Jensen, contacted SGM to test the X-5 strobe. “Shortly after the tests, we decided to go wild — adding 250 SixPacks and some other nice SGM stuff to the production,” he recalls.

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Thomas van Nord, from the company Victory Tour Production, the LD of Pavilion and supplier of the lighting production to both Pavilion and Odeon, specified 14 X-5 white LED strobes for Pavilion and 100 SixPack blinders, as well as 16 X-5 and 20 P-5 LED wash lights for Odeon. “Roskilde Festival has always been a ‘first adopter’ in respect of new technical equipment in the Danish music industry, and the festival set a high technical standard on all stages this year.” he says.

Jensen cuts in, describing Roskilde Festival 2013 as a “festival of light”. He explained, “We’ve given special attention to stage lighting this year with the help of SGM providing a large number of SixPacks.”

While Pavilion’s stage was intended to embrace a full festival setup to accommodate a versatile programme over the eight days - from soloists to hardcore metal - the Odeon stage was provided a uniquely visual appearance. LD of Odeon, Søren Peglau, designed a lighting set in which the SGM fixtures on the sidewalls all pointed towards the centre of the stage, guaranteeing that the artists were the focus of attention. At the same time, the SixPacks broadened the stage’s natural limitations creating a visual impression of a massive stage area, and a lighting impact visible from afar.

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Peglau explains, “The equipment used at Odeon comprised exclusively of LED products as a part of the sustainable strategy of Roskilde Festival. In the design phase, I emphasised a solution that embraced the entire edge of the tent visually, and for this purpose I used LED strips for the sides and a width of 100 SixPacks for the top. The SixPacks were used as a huge blinder as well as for graphics and text. We used pixel mapping as a display technique but we also drove some fixtures as normal LED cells through the effect generator of the lighting console.”

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Meanwhile, at Apollo’s stage the LD, Michael Rahr, wanted to encircle the audience in light and sound, blending together the two effects by using a multitude of bright SixPacks – a total of 150 pieces – and a very powerful sound system with focus on the bass. These SixPacks were fixed to poles, elegantly spreading out as wings to surround and welcome the audience.  

“I wanted to blow people’s minds,” he said.  “I wanted people to look and just say ‘wow’!” Rahr achieved precisely that effect and basked in the audience’s positive reaction: many came by afterwards expressing their excitement, which made all the long hours of designing, planning and execution worthwhile.

According to van Nord, SGM’s P-5, in particular, had provided the real surprise. “The P-5 was an eye-opener for me,” he admits, “and a very pleasant experience to work with. We used this wash light as a blinder and it was very bright and mixed the colours nicely.” As for the impact of the other SGM fixtures, he only had positive feedback: “The SixPack is a great lamp, providing good colour mix and it adds a fun effect with its halogen mode, while the X-5 proved extremely powerful used in four-channel mode”.

Jensen adds that from his perspective “…the SixPack was indeed the talk of the town.” Rahr agreed. “I must say that the output of the SixPacks was impressive. Prior to Roskilde Festival, I had one unit for testing and yes it was bright, but when you put up 150 SixPacks it becomes spectacular. One of the main features was their performance in bright daylight.”

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All parties involved are eager to work with SGM products again in the near future. “Finally, we have met a company that wants to work with us at the festival for mutual benefit. The SGM lighting enhanced the concerts, the bands were amazed and the audience went wild!

“I’m now looking forward to having a number of G-Spots [the new IP rated moving head from SGM] in rainy weather at Orange stage [the biggest stage at Roskilde Festival] next year and I presume that Michael Rahr already has some unique ideas for the design,” Jensen concludes.

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