The Wakarusa Music Festival is an annual grassroots festival held in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where the beauty of nature synchronizes with the euphoric sounds of live music. Since 2004, Wakarusa has celebrated music with scenic backdrops at Clinton State Park near Lawrence, Kansas. After five years of perking the interests of music fans in Kansas, it was time for a change of scenery. This marked the fourth year of Wakarusa on the marvelous Mulberry Mountain just up the road from Ozark, Arkansas.
Each year since its relocation, Wakarusa has been graced by hundreds of world-class artists as well as increasingly state-of-the-art lighting production. This year, LD Matt 'Jonezy' Jones of synaesthesiax handled the design package and crew for the Revival Tent and the Satellite Stage. Jonezy says for this year's Wakarusa, he looked forward to spicing up the show with a plethora of High End Systems' latest equipment, including their flagship DLV digital lighting fixtures.
Jonezy's vision for the Revival Tent centered around a fresh design, with new elements to make the 2012 show totally unique from previous years. In addition to employing High End Systems DLV's out in the crowd, at the FOH location, Jonezy chose some other new design elements, including High End Systems ShowPix fixtures for wash light that could cover the entire stage, Atomic 3K Strobe and ColorBlast fixtures on the top of the truss grid - aimed up the tent ceiling, and angled trussing peppered with High End System TechnoSpot and Trackspot Bolt fixtures.
Jones says that having been at Wakarusa for the previous six years, seeing the giant, white surface 'being used very little', he really wanted to make the tent 'pop'. "I've done a lot of shows lately where strobes and LEDs are pointing out in the crowd", he explains, "and I just really wanted to do something different. I wanted the stage to become a piece of the frame of view, not the whole. It ended up being a very cool effect; we turned the entire tent into a giant cyc/canvas. The truss grid was framed by a giant mushroom of color or strobes."
The five DLVs at front-of-house provided operators with yet another option for lighting the tent itself - but with video, in addition to automated lighting. Jonezy says the DLVs provided the perfect eye candy. "We could shoot strawberries at the rear of the tent for changeovers, then make the stage appear to be on fire by changing content and moving the fixtures!"
The LD also utilized the HES fixture's indigo highlighter function to great effect in the Revival Tent. "I love the Indigo Highlighter LEDs," Jonezy enthuses. "The TechnoSpots and DLVs have 'indigo' LEDs around the front of the bezels that create a very saturated color - very close to UV! They even make fluorescent T-shirts appear to be lit from within. We could light the entire tent a beautiful indigo color; the DLVs at front-of-house were crucial for this look."
In the end, the redesign of the Revival Tent was a resounding success, and Jonezy credits his working relationship with High End Systems and their products as enabling this good fortune. synaesthesiax also managed the Satellite Stage, with Kat Rodgers at the design helm. The premise of Kat's design was to further past year's 'in your face' lighting elements, which were geared primarily for electronic dance music.