Hala Febrayer is Kuwait's famous music and poetry festival and one of the cultural highlights of the Gulf, attracting some of the most creative and talented musicians, singers, writers and intellectuals from across the Arab world.
Currently in its twelfth year, the series of concerts was televised by Kuwaiti TV Network Al-Watan over the course of several nights, starting 3 February 2011.
Once again, ACT Lighting Design of Brussels, Belgium were invited to design the production and given responsibility for the set design, lighting design, and video content. The challenge was how to raise the bar set high from the previous year. ACT principal Koert Vermeulen took on the role of lighting and production designer working alongside ACT set designer Marcos Vinals.
The team proposed a striking design dominated by concentric rings of video arranged in stacks across the stage. A total of seven five-layer pyramids form a backdrop to the performance, while concentric rings of video continue the theme overhead. The effect was created using Ignition FZ LED panels affixed to locally sourced steel structures, made to a design by ACT.
The design team created a library of video footage that could be played across the stage. Different themes were developed – some traditional, some contemporary – to match the various styles of music and nationalities of the performers. Content designers were Joris Corthaut and Bart Verlaak operating from Grand MA consoles.
For such a video-led show, Vermeulen required spotlights with enough punch to create the necessary contrast. A long-time user of Clay Paky, Vermeulen worked with over 150 moving lights selected from across the Alpha range but singled out the Beams for particular praise: “The Alpha Beams are exceptional. There is nothing else on the market I’d rather use than the 300 and 1500 Beams,” before adding slightly wistfully, “Well, I would have liked to have used the Sharpy, if only I’d been able to get my hands on one!”.
Colour was an important aspect of the show. In order to harmonise the lighting with the video, Vermeulen preferred to work with a range of tonalities rather than monolithic blocks of colour, and found the Clay Paky’s optical system extremely well suited to his way of working: “They really are number one in the market in terms of innovation and reliability at the moment.”
Lighting was supplied by Al Raisi Group (ARG), responsible for lighting, sound, video and set construction. ARG MD Diaa Shehadeh was ACT’s main contact as well as technical producer of the show.
Koert’s work as a lighting designer ranges from museums and churches to vast outdoor spectaculars. His recent credits include projects from across the globe: Youth Olympic Games Singapore 2010, Le Rêve at Wynn Las Vegas, and OVO at the Lyon Festival of Lights.