Colours of Ostrava (COO / Colours), the largest and most popular music festival in the Czech Republic is also now ranked among one of the ‘majors’ in Europe, with 20 performance stages offering over 350 live music acts and plenty of other creative engagement across four days, attracting a population of 50,000 fans from all over Europe. Each year, the Robe moving light count on this landmark event rises, and 2018 saw the most Robe on site to date! The organisers also invested heavily in the production and the basic festival infrastructure this year, upping the ante on every level and every stage, reflecting the importance of Colours on the European summer events calendar!
Site-wide technical production was co-ordinated and delivered by Josef ‘Pepa’ Zenisek and his team from SMART Production, a massive logistical exercise which involved several rental partners for sound, lighting and video, more for rigging and staging, plus numerous dry hires many from other countries. SMART also provided comprehensive site management and stage management for all the main performance spaces. The dramatic, stark industrial location of the former Dolni Vitkovice ironworks in Ostrava, Czech Republic’s third largest city, still towering majestically across the skyline, adds further resonance to the scene. Once essential to the local economy, now re-oxidised and appropriated for a new world of creative endeavours.
The main stage for Robe again this year – in terms of numbers and concentration of fixtures – was the action-packed ArcelorMittal Stage, where an outstanding production lighting design was completed by Kamil Kruzik. The lights were supplied by RENTAL PRO, part of the oneAVteam group which also includes YVENTECH, the LED screen provider for Colours. Kamil’s design had to be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of all the artists playing, around 60% of which brought their own LDs / lighting operators, and that was a primary reason that Robe was THE choice of moving light.
Around 160 Robe fixtures were incorporated into the design, which broke down to 24 x BMFL Blades, 12 x MegaPointes, 24 x Pointes, 62 x Spiiders, 32 x LEDBeam 150s and three BMFL WashBeams which were on the FOH tower. The Spiiders were spread out all over the overhead trusses with 12 on the floor. The back truss was also loaded with LEDBeam 150s and BMFL Blades; the two mid trusses were rigged with MegaPointes and BMFL Blades, while the front truss featured 13 of the Pointes in addition to 16 x Spiiders. The floor package included LEDBeam 150s, Spiiders, MegaPointes and BMFL Blades … which could be re-positioned for each act, and the rig was designed for full flexibility as well as being straightforward for the guest LDs. Even with minimal time available between changeovers, the aim was to offer everyone the chance to get the best possible shows and have their full technical requirements available.
The ArcelorMittal Stage was increased in size this year, so there was more demand on the kit, the way it was rigged and how it could be used to cover the whole area. With all the Robe moving lights at his fingertips, Kamil and the various guest LDs were able to produce stunning and breath-taking looks throughout the whole event. Kamil and his FOH colleague Jan Suskleb lit all the bands who didn’t have an operator – and they certainly didn’t run out of choices whether the call was for completely minimalist, highly atmospheric or full rock-out lighting. “The MegaPointe is a really fantastic light” stated Kamil who loves the power, the precise movement and the smooth colour mixing. “MegaPointes can dominate a huge stage like ArcelorMittal! The gobo effects are also excellent, and in general having them on the rig this year just brought a new dimension of lighting to the mix”.
They also utilized the Spiiders in numerous ways – the rich and detailed colour ranges available were a great creative boost, together with the hard-edged beam effects and the smooth homogenised wash. RENTAL PRO has started buying a lot of Robe in the last two years. They believe it’s the best choice for a busy rental enterprise as the lights are extremely easy to use and all the band LDs love them and respect the brand, so they are always happy to see Robe on the specs. Lighting on ArcelorMittal was controlled via a Road Hog 4 run by Kamil and a grandMA2 light run by Jan. These consoles were available for guests, and those bringing their own desks were happily accommodated in an extremely friendly and efficient FOH experience.
While ArcelorMittal was the main showcase for Robe products this year, there were lights in plenty more areas! The Main Stage (sponsored by leading bank Ceska Sporitelna) featured 11 x MegaPointes on the rig, together with seven BMFL WashBeams and 22 x ColorStrobes LED / wash strobes. The Electro stage lighting crew WOWED the crowds with 16 x Pointes, 16 x LEDWash 600s, 24 x LEDBeam 100s and 42 x PixelPATTs, while the Fresh Stage was energised by 16 Spiiders … among other fixtures. Pepa thinks it’s great to see Robe’s brand presence increase on Colours recently. He’s been the technical director for the last eight years, and says, “The range of Robe products is now ideal for a festival like this, and we can pick, choose and use different fixtures everywhere including for the architectural elements”.
Industrial Art & History
In addition to all the stages, illuminating the fantastic overall environment and magnificent industrial relics of the Dolní Vítkovice ironworks at night is also a crucial part of making Colours of Ostrava an even more unique and stand-out event. This year, this specific task fell to Pepa and one of his colleagues taking on the ‘masters of atmosphere’ role! They used more Robe in the form of 8 x Pointes rigged on top of the Bolt Tower and above the entrance structure, plus 38 x CitySkape Xtremes and four CitySource 96s LED floods. The CitySkape Xtremes and CitySource 96s were dotted around in safe places and used to imaginatively highlight vast silos, long runs of pipework, blast furnaces, ore chambers and many other eye-catching features from the plant’s former life, giving it a new and vital contemporary twist as a large scale – super kool – industrial art installation.
In the Planning
Pepa typically starts work on the next year’s Colours event the previous September, having initial meetings with the promoter and the internal team.The challenge for him is in the sheer scale of the festival now, and the organisational logistics, number-crunching, and levels of communication needed for everything to run smoothly and safely for the four days of live action, and ensure that the public has the best possible time. The multiple rental sound and light and video companies he dealt with in 2018 included High Lite Touring who supplied technical services for Main and Drive Stages, and the ArcelorMittal Stage construction. As we know, RENTAL PRO took care of lighting and audio for ArcelorMittal Stage and T-Servis did the complete tech production for the Fresh and Kofola Czech stages. Edward-Sound & Light Agency from Prague ensured the Electronic and Europe stages had all the required production elements.For the second year, StageCo was contracted to build the main stage, which was again a great success, and reflects the general rise in profile of Colours. The collective goal is to help establish Colours of Ostrava as a key festival with stunning production values, superlative backdrops and one of the best and most interesting musical line-ups. They want to continue attracting hardcore music fans as well as a wider community who can enjoy lots of other pop-up activities like discussions and debates, theatre productions, films and workshops, making it a lively, creative, cosmopolitan and dynamic environment.
Photos : Petr Klapper & Zdenko Hanout