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End of the Festie season

Discussion in 'Gig Reports' started by USE, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. USE

    USE Primal Visions

    Well for me, anyway, i know there are a few left to be played out, but i thought I'd start a thread for mulling over the year's wins and losses in the outdoor gig world...

    My year started off very nicely playing up at Rockness right at the top of Scotland with a crew i've been working with for a a few years: http://www.beardedkitten.com/ - the site is awesome- the legendary Lock Ness is the backdrop to the main stage, which reveals itself as you come over the rolling brow of the hill from punter camping. The Scottish crowd can be a bit intense at times (last years T in the park was genuinely scary, was constantly expecting to get randomly punched in the face, yes really) but the countryside lot up here were wonderful warm souls, not sure whether it was the highland scenery or what, but there was a feeling of fraternity in the air.

    The show i was performing was a concept from bearded kitten they had asked me to produce a bespoke VJ set for; basically the show lasts 3.5 hours and takes the audience round the world, courtesy of an accomplished compere dressed as a pilot, a troupe of dancing girls dressed as air hostesses, some sound effects, DJ sets and of course the visuals. The video i produced (on a typically shoe-string, but respectable budget) was CGI clips of "bearded kitten airlines" plane taking off, flying, landing, crashing, to fit in with the compere's story of events, plus a kind-of indiana-jones "plane travelling the world" shot. That was for teh filler parts in between countries... then for each country i had to research some films to mash up.... easy for Japan, not so easy for "the balkans" although it all came together in the end.

    Once i get the footage off their cameraman i'll stick a link up to give a better idea.

    Aaaaanyway, so it's a great concept, fresh and interesting, lots of crowd participation, gags, flags and silliness. unfortunately the team in question are strangers to such complex things as a proper tech rider or tech spec, which i provided them but they didnt pass on. So the day before the show i am told by a nervous-sounding tour manager that there's now no projector in the tent we're meant to be playing and no budget for me to bail them out (even if i could, with 12 hours notice). Right. The show must go on, so i was like "look, i've worked my arse of on this set, the best i can offer you is a 3.5k beamer and cradle free of charge. but i'm not rigging it, my screen is hired to a mate, so... that's it."

    Obviously it was our only option. turned out that we projected onto the side of a tent (never thought i'd even do that at a proper festival gig) and we all had a cracking time, 16 hours on the minibus notwithstanding [ it's not so bad when you're surrounded by strippers dancers and actresses tbh]).

    Chemical Brothers' set was the best i've seen them do... ever, and i've seen em 6 times. the VJ set was truly stunning, although that's another thread.

    SO. Rockness = not the most pro setup ever, but we did it, i got paid, end of.

    On to T in the Park! ... it wasn't as sketchy as last year but i fucking hate this festival - everything a festie shouldn't be: a sprawling, corporate, soulless beer-selling exercise, with nothing remotely idiosycratic about it, using popular music to entice fuckwits to pretend they're having a good time and sick on each other: total dogshit.

    The benefit of such an event, is of course: high budget, best crew food you will find (a cheese board and a selection of exquisite cakes to go with dinner, sir? dont mind if i do!), and all very easy... so the screen was lovely, the crew professional, we had more flags and glitter cannons and general production, and we opened teh festival to 5,000 mental scots, some of whom were weeping at the end, because the last country in the show is scotland (ah, national pride, nowt quite like it).

    Finally beach break.. the student festival. this was great - rock up thursday, the Mighty AV3 had done a QUALITY job of the rigging, nice easy setup for me, along with a warm welcome and a lovely catch-up :) always a pleasure to work with tom. if you dont know, get to: https://www.facebook.com/av3visuals
    played a good show that night, fucked off friday morning, went to mates stag do friday evening. nice!

    can you tell i'm not enjoying festival VJ work any more?

    this was confirmed by Shamabala: easily the best festival UK has to offer for someone like me. http://photos.shambalafestival.org/view/?image_keywords=Highlights

    I've played the last few years for a token payment, purely because this festie is run on love, and i am more than happy to help it in any way i can. i love this festival like a brother, it does what glastonbury did for me when i was 16: show me there is still magic, hope and wonder in the world and that humans can forge another path to greatness which is built on empathy and love.

    This year due to more cut-backs (sigh) the dance tent was run by a new crew [ame]http://www.vimeo.com/21230586[/ame] who have a lovely install, but all vjing is generative graphics, so no need for the 10-15 VJs bringing a selection of vibes to the screens. it was a shame for me, as i played one of my favourite sets of the year in that tent, but hey - that's progress, and the new setup does look nice.

    Also the main stage crew had always roped a couple of us dance tent VJs over to do a bit of camera op and directing (2 cam ops on cans, one pan-tilt-zoom CCTV behind drum riser, laptop, V4), which i loved and had got to direct the sunday headliners the last two years in a row! but again, cut-backs meant there was a three man crew and that was that. THREE MAN CREW? ALL WEEKEND? WTF? Tom Syzergy claimed it was possible to run the whole setup with three men all weekend. They dd it, but tbh, the quality at times was frankly embarrassing and they were not on the best of terms by the end of the show - a real shame and a testament to what happens when you let your budget get pushed too far.

    so it was my first festival for 5 years as a punter. I loved it. Next year Shambala I'm gonna run some workshops for the kids, masks, wings, a wall of smiles and maybe some stop-frame animation. Thanks for reading x
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  2. videoswitchboard

    videoswitchboard Pointless Crew-Glasgow

    End of festie season for me too,

    some average: Glasto, Bassline Circus in the common, with a tiny screens this year and no guest VJs due to cut backs also.

    some fun ones where i wasn't doing VJing but AV playback as part of stage shows:
    - Secret Garden Party with 85A collective's "idamov and the dancing girl' (mechanical opera!! documentation online in the near future)
    - Intimo with Circolombia at the Fringe

    but the highlight of the season was for sure BOOMTOWN where i did a whole 3 days of live visuals on my own plus a full blown cube installation, in collaboration with my Glasgow mates Acid Raft and Taktal who provided their traffic cone screens and EL wire installation.
    check it out:

    I've had little online time this summer, so not much contribution to VJF but i've seen some good visuals around, keep the inspiration up!

    (yet i know to stay away from poor quality commercial Scottish festivals, T in the Park is total shite)

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2013

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