CMU School of Drama

Friday, August 04, 2017

Lighting Electric Forest

Pollstar: We asked one thing of lighting designer Jeff Ravitz: tell us a little bit about how to light up a stage at Electric Forest Music Festival. Below is Ravitz’s response. Ravitz, who works with Bandit Lites, designs the lighting for the Sherwood Court Stage at Electric Forest, which recently took over two weekends (selling out both before artists were announced), in Rothbury, Mich.


DJ Lesh said...

I have always been intrigued by the technical aspect of the music festivals and have always wanted to work at one. I was always interested in how all of the technical aspects, but the lighting in particular work for a festival. If a band is touring, they have a touring rig and when they come to a new city on their tour, they take over the venue setting up their own equipment. This doesn’t work at a music festival. Each stage at a music festival can see over a dozen artists a day, it would be impossible for each artist to have their own rig. It was interesting to learn how that works and how the designer works to create a stage that all acts can use and make their own and then each artist’s designer has a couple hours the night before they go on to program their cues. I definitely want to work at a music festival at least once to see how it is.

Sammy Williams said...

When I was in my early days of middle school, I discovered electronic dance music (EDM), and thus the vibrant culture that came with it. I have since been fascinated by the large scale festivals, such as Electric Forest, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Tomorrowland, that bring together communities of fellow EDM enthusiasts. Before I joined theatre, I never realized how large the technical aspects of these festivals could become, mainly because I had never been exposed to it before. I now have a deep appreciation for designers like Jeff Ravitz, who all dig deep into their otherworldly imaginations to produce such stunning displays. Ravitz’s thought process while designing for festivals is captivating, and you can absolutely tell it gets the job done. It’s wonderful to see that he makes an effort to keep his designs simple to benefit technicians and load in crews, but still manages to produce breathtaking light shows.

GabeM said...

I think music festivals are something that most people only see on social media and either think that's really cool, or what's the point. I have always wanted to go to a large scale music festival so this was an interesting article to see the design and production aspects that go into making these festivals so spectacular. I didn't realize that there would be so many obstacles when it comes to production but it does make sense considering that these festivals usually take place in out of the ordinary places. I really liked the idea of designing a lighting rig that was versatile enough for the LD's of different bands could come in and try to replicate their original designs as much as possible. The process that goes into designing these festivals is such a larger scale than I've ever even thought about, but rightfully so, especially with EDM music, the spectacle is very much linked with the show as is the music that everyone comes to hear.

George Meltzer said...

This article really gives a large amount of insight to stage lighting for a festival. Having been to my fair share of festivals, I never really wondered how they did it, but always thought that it was very cool. I really like how Ravitz explains all of the steps that he takes and all of the budget aspects that he is faced with. I would be really interested to see all of the designs that he went though to get to the final plot. I have watched many videos on large stages being assembled and have always been fascinated by large event lighting because I feel that it is something that I may want todo when I get older. I would really like to know how big their budget was and how many lights that they accumulated for this production. I think that by walking all of us through their budget process, I really got a better understanding of how large events work.

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