RALEIGH, NC – An impressive Romanesque structure that reaches over 115’ high, the Memorial Bell Tower defines the heart of the North Carolina State University campus. After athletic victories by the school’s “Wolfpack” teams and at other major events, the tower is bathed in brilliant NCSU red. However, during one big celebration at the start of the 2015 school year, the giant tower stood by colorlessly as if in admiration of a more spectacular lighting display. The riveting lightshow that overshadowed the tower and captivated a crowd of 50,000 on the campus’ main square was created by LD Daniel “Tebo” Thibault, using a collection of LED fixtures anchored by the Rogue R2 Wash and COLORado 2-Quad Zoom Tour from CHAUVET Professional.
Working for Alpha Production Group, Thibault drew on the color and intense output of the LED fixtures to create a commanding visual aura around the 40’ x 40’ “Bell Tower Stage” at Packapalooza, an annual festival/block party for students and locals to welcome in the school year. I’ve used the COLORados and Rogues at a lot of events over the past year and I’ve come to rely on them for giving me really bright colorful looks,” said the LD. “This is a big outdoor festival that started in the afternoon and went well into the evening, so I really had to go bold with the lighting in the day and colorful at night.”
This year’s Packapalooza was built around a “Hip Hop Time Machine” theme and featured North Carolina State alum rapper Rapsody. She was joined on stage by other rappers with roots and connections to the Tar Heel State, including Southern alternative wonders Nappy Roots, who performed their hit “Good Day,” North Carolina native Petey Pablo, and Terminator X, formerly of the Grammy-nominated Public Enemy.
The CHAUVET Professional fixtures provided the visual energy to keep up with the performances on stage, said Thibault, who controlled his rig with a grandMA2 on a PC setup. Flown on back and mid-stage truss and spaced evenly, the COLORado 2-Quad Zoom Tours were used to backlight the performers. The Rogue fixtures were positioned on front truss to help fill the front wash and add color tone to the front lighting. The fast-moving LED heads were also swung out to do double duty as moving blinders.
“In some places on the rig, I subbed out a Rogue for a COLORado on the mid-stage truss to give me some movement capabilities, which allowed me to make specials and area washes,” said Thibault. “The rig was flown the day of the event and run in the daylight, so it was hard to do a focus – so what was really good was that the Rogues killed it for me by being able to fill in the holes we missed.”
Thibault also appreciated being able to match the colors between the COLORados and Rogues. “I love using the different Chauvet fixtures together,” he said. “The colors and the dimming curves match wonderfully and it makes for some great looks. It also gives me more freedom when designing, since I don’t have to worry about the lights meshing.”
After Packapalooza ended and the stage was torn down and Thibault’s lighting rig was packed and moved away, the NC State campus returned to normal and the Memorial Tower was ready be bathed in red light again, as the Wolfpack resumed another football season. For one night though, the “legend in stone,” as the big tower is often called, took a back seat to a legendary lighting design created with a dynamic LED package.