DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – Beach partying is a universal pursuit, but almost nowhere is it practiced so fervently (or so well!) as in South Africa’s second largest city. Blessed with miles and miles of white sandy shores and a nearly perfect surf, Durban has raised beach partying to an art form. The crown jewel of the area’s surfside gatherings is Aquafest, a day-long celebration with music, partying and this year a dazzling assortment of eye candy create by lighting designer Shaniel Laloo, using the STRIKE 4 from CHAUVET Professional imported by Audiosure.
“Aquafest is big, one of the biggest beach parties in this country,” said Laloo of Sounds Ideal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. “Aside from live bands, we also had 16 DJs on stage throughout the day; many of them like Mark Stent, Roger Goode and Ryan the DJ are quite famous here. So naturally, there were a lot of eyes on the DJ booth.”
Like any good LD would, Laloo gave those thousands and thousands of eyes plenty to enjoy. He nestled the DJ booth in an arc of 10 high-output warm white STRIKE 4 fixtures, each with four independently focusable LEDs. A pair of the STRIKE fixtures was positioned at the bottom of the DJ booth, and four were arranged on each side, allowing Laloo to envelop the structure in warm white light at various points during the festival.
The STRIKE 4 is a versatile multi-format fixture, and Laloo made full use of its versatility. Throughout the festival, he called upon his 10 STRIKE 4s to serve as a wash, an audience blinder and a strobe. “I ran the STRIKE fixtures on four-channel mode without any dimming curves so I could use them as strobes and blinders,” said the LD, who controlled his rig with an Avolites Tiger Touch II console.
Changing the DJ booth helped keep the stage fresh throughout the festival. Pixel mapping effects around the DJ booth also commanded attention. “I put the STRIKEs where I did, because I could pixel map and run funky effects with them and the nearby panels simultaneously,” said Laloo. “We gave people a wide assortment of eye candy to enjoy!”
For eye candy and pixel mapping effects, Laloo ran the STRIKE 4 units at 25%, “so as not to overpower the AV and other lights,” he explained. The output of the STRIKEs was so intense, the units has no issue showing at sunlight hours during the daylong festival.
In addition to the STRIKE 4s, the Aquafest stage rig included 12 Legend 230SR Beams, which Laloo arranged in four groups of three. “I placed the Legends in groups of three to minimize cabling, and to do lots and lots of aerial work on the beach night sky,” he explained. “The beams helped us create some powerful looks that stood out in our beach setting.”
Although the beach setting did provide an idyllic environment for the thousands who flocked to the festival, it also presented some challenges for Laloo and his team. “Lights and the beach don’t go well together, so the less time out in the salt air the better,” said the LD. “Load in had to be quick and load out even quicker. This is where the STRIKEs came in really handy, because we didn’t need dimming with them and all that extra power. We went green– saving power, and we saved time too– and we created a show that was very nice to look at.”