WASHINGTON, DC – Only two places in the US recognize St. Patrick’s Day as an official holiday: Suffolk County, Massachusetts, (which includes Boston), and Savannah, Georgia. Still, this hasn’t stopped millions of Americans in every corner of the country from turning out to celebrate the day of Ireland’s patron saint in style. New York may have the biggest parade on this day, but it’s the nation’s capital that hosts the largest St. Patrick’s Day festival. This year, over 40,000 people (Irish and not) crowded into Washington’s RFK Stadium’s festival grounds for the 17th annual National ShamrockFest to enjoy carnival rides, food, copious amounts of beer and nonstop music from 50 acts performing on seven stages.
Like the revelers themselves, the Shamrock festival’s musical performances represented a diverse mix. Irish music dominated the festivities with groups like Dropkick Murphys and the Fighting Jamesons getting everyone on their feet, but there were also DJs like Vanilla Ice and rockers too. Lighting this eclectic lineup of talent called for a flexible rig, which is why lighting designer Zach Bunner of Show Time Sound (Frederick, MD) built his design for the festival’s two main stages around Rogue fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
“Festivals are always fun to design — this one in particular. Being that there is such a broad range of artists, I threw my whole arsenal at both stages: profiles, beams, washes and strobes,” said the LD. “I wanted a rig that was flexible and fast enough to keep up with the variety of high-energy music and dancing on stage. Aside from our own design, our stages gave the LDs for the different groups the full capability to make their shows stand out. The Chauvet Rogues were key to helping us do this. They gave us a lot of creative options on each stage, because they can do so many different things.”
Bunner used 18 Rogue R2 Washes on his main stage rigs. Output from the fixture’s 19 15-watt RGBW LEDs, which reaches up to 8,650 lux (measured at 5 meters) depending on the zoom, was bright enough to make a bold St. Patrick’s Day statement, even during the sunlight hours of the outdoor festival.
“The output from the Rogues and our entire rig was awesome day and night,” said Bunner. “Rogues have a terrific output, but what I especially liked about them was their versatility. Their zoom range (12°-49°) let me cover a lot of area, and their fast pan and tilt movements along with their color mixing increased my creative options throughout the festival.”
Bunner maximized the advantages offered by his Rogue R2 Washes by positioning them on the upstage truss and using them to add depth to the stage and captivate the audience with crossing aerial wash displays. “What I love about the Rogues is how diverse they really are,” he said. “Instead of positioning them on the downstage truss for a wash, I moved them to the upstage truss for their macro effects. As a back light, they really create some nice looks, not only for the audience, but for people videoing the performances. They also made a really awesome effect fixture with the right programming.”
With the ShamrockFest running eight straight hours (3-11 pm), Bunner needed the variety of looks he could create with his upstage mounted washes. “I wanted to give the stage a fresh look throughout the festival without repeating things,” he said. “Washing and backlighting the stage with changing colors from the Rogues, changing the zoom and using the different LED zones on the fixtures really helped give us the variety we wanted. In the end, we created the kind of lightshow that people will be talking about after they leave the festival.”