USC Events is recognized for nationally acclaimed annual festivals, and as the leading group of Harm Reduction practitioners in the Pacific Northwest. With a “care for one another” mentality, USC Events held the Inaugural 2016 Magnifique Festival. The one-day dance and music festival was hosted at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington State on September 17th. LMG provided LED, lighting, audio, and technical support for Magnifique.
Kaskade, Chromeo, Gramatik, Duke Dumont, Netsky, and Mija were among some of the various acts headlining this year’s show. Production Designer Erik Mahowald’s mission was to create a stage design that was multi-functional for various types of performers. “For this event we had to encompass a design that was fit for full piece bands, single act DJs, and live stage performers,” explained Mahowald.
The inspiration for this design came from several areas, the first being the theme of the event. USC Events wanted to ensure that Magnifique’s design and content looked elegant and composed, while incorporating flexibility that allowed access for changeovers and design integrity. “Often times we design very aggressive staging with the intentions of creating a sensory overload,” Mohawald states. “To achieve this, we paint with very broad strokes giving the stage its necessary elements, while implementing bold design features such as down and mid-stage video trusses. We chose to add in the extra video trusses because it gave us an opportunity to get more creative with video content, and to assist in the scale of the stage.”
Given the size of the stage, lighting fixtures including LMG’s Martin Viper Profiles, Robe Pointes, Robin 600 Washs, Colorforce 48s and Showline Nitro Strobes were placed on the wings of the stage to fill any dead space. “When looking at the fixtures we used on this rig, we started off with our standard "Spot, Beam, Wash" to populate the design accordingly, and then added the detail after,” states Mahowald. “For Magnifique we needed to be able to capture every performer on stage in a unique way to keep the integrity of the event sustainable throughout each act. To do this we took a considerable amount of time focusing fixtures to make sure we achieved the goal of keeping the event "alive" during the entire performance.”
The second reason for inspiration was to create scenic elements that would maintain a safe environment for the Gorge’s notorious high speed winds. “When designing in a space that often times has high wind speeds causing atmospheric effects to be minimal, we wanted to make sure we used high powered instruments to help give that high impact light show we know and love,” explained Mahowald. To do so, a combination of LMG’s 18MM hybrid and 8MM LED tiles were incorporated as key visual elements. “LMG’s Hybrid LED tiles have key elements that traditional video walls do not. The tile’s two layers consisting of high resolution LED video display and an LED spotlight layer gave the stage a new depth that our patrons have not seen before,” explains Mohawald.
“The two design challenges gave us an opportunity to think and execute our show in a way we hadn't before. Being able to work with the natural elements of an outdoor event such as Magnifique rather than against them gave us the opportunity to create an event that was visually and efficiently put together,” explains Mohawald.