Hellfest 2019, a French rock festival, was illuminated by nearly 300 Robe moving lights and seven RoboSpot systems were delivered by Melpomen, complete with six BMFL LTs from rental company Novelty. This claimed a ‘world first’ for the usage of these fixtures in a festival context.

Hellfest comes each year to Clisson in Loire-Atlantique, France and is visited the biggest festival audience in France, attracting around 170,000 music fans. Containing six stages of live action and over 100 artists on the line-up including Mass Hysteria, Kiss, The Sisters of Mercy, ZZ Top, Slayer, Gojira and Fu Manchu, it is one of the largest metal festivals in Europe.

Robe moving lights were prominent across the two main stages, which production designer TristanSzylobrit from Light & Day was tasked with coordinating, together with the requirements of all the visiting lighting directors. The lights provided included 126 BMFL WashBeams, 126 MegaPointes, 12 BMFL Blades and six BMFL LTs plus seven RoboSpot control systems.

Szylobrit has been an operator on main stage one for several years and is well-known for his role in designing the two so-called ‘Satanic Cathedrals’, assisted by technical director Julien Recoque and WYSIWYG operator Julien Ferreiro.

Szylobrit said of Robe: “The fixtures are powerful and lightweight and were perfect for this as the stage grids were already heavily loaded with LED screens and other scenic and décor elements brought in by various bands.”

He also added that the ‘versatility and speed’ of MegaPointes enabled ‘excellent graphical and highly-structured effects to be created’, which ‘look fabulous on video’.

BMFL WashBeams fitted the spec for their ‘clean beams and bright colours’ which worked regardless of the light level. Both MegaPointes and BMFLs were designed specifically for festival use.

Main stages one and two were built side by side so the daily running schedules could run as efficiently as possible.

Four of the six RoboSpot controlled fixtures were positioned on one of the main stage area delay towers, which was located on stage right. The other two were mounted on a structural element situated on the left side of the audience space.

Completing this arrangement were eight BMFL Blades that were also RoboSpot controlled, fixed on the front truss of each stage.

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Seven RoboSpots Base Stations controlled the 14 fixtures. These seven RoboSpot BaseStations and those operatorating them were located under the stage. From here, they were able to control of the lights’ pan, tilt, iris and zoom functions. Each RoboSpot stationwas connected via an RJ45 port on a fibre switch console.

This network of RoboSpots was partly designed by Yves Venet to ensure everything was clear and intuitive as well as to guarantee optimal running of all the elements along the chain of command.

Szylobrit said that this: “brought a significant advantage compared to traditional follow-spots. They are easy to transport, assemble and operate, and relatively straightforward to learn and use.”

One thing that made a difference was them being able to organise and coordinate training sessions and prep work in between the set changes.

Szylobrit said: “We were very happy with the results considering it was our first time using the system.”

Greg Valla was positioned front of house, and he ran a dedicated house follow spot lighting control, together with master dimming, colours and effects.

Working closely with the OB truck, the intensity of the follow spots were able to match the artists’ complexions and fine-tuned further with the addition of the BMFL’s minus green filter, as well as other features.

Vincent Murzeau from Regie Lumière fromthe B-Live Group co-ordinated the follow spots together with Valla. They communicated with the bands’ own lighting directors and constantly monitored feedback from the video team throughout the event.

The BMFL Blade controlling devices were connected via DMX to the house lighting control console, with the BMFL LTs being directly connected to a ‘regie’ switch station located at front-of-house.

All these elements were supplementary to the lighting network designed and made by Anthony Le Fur.

Two fibre optic network loops ran between allcontrol roomsand stages. Seven pairs of fibre optics were available to hosted productions for direct and independent connections from the control room to each stage as well as the existing loops dedicated to the basic equipment, RoboSpot control and video.