Once again Nocturnal Wonderland owned the night when North America’s longest-running dance music festival marked its 21st anniversary in September. The festival is presented by Insomniac and Pasquale Rotella. Lighting designer Stephen Lieberman of SJ Lighting, Inc. in Westlake Village, California deployed Clay Paky Mythos and Sharpy fixtures and grandMA2 consoles on a number of Nocturnal Wonderland’s stages. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Clay Paky and MA Lighting products in North America.
Nocturnal Wonderland was held for three days at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, California. “Each stage had its own style dictated by multiple factors such as musical genre, site location, structure and the artists’ riders,” says Lieberman. “It was critical that each environment had its own unique set up. We needed to make sure that the stage was lit, the artists were lit and we had proper coverage while, at the same time, giving the stage a personality. Additionally, the overall theme of this year’s show was UV, so on every stage and throughout the festival site we installed hundreds of UV fixtures with UV paint for scenic details.”
The big, scenic Wolves’ Den stage was designed to “overwhelm” the audience, according to Lieberman. “It was monolithic; the audience felt like they were standing at the base of a mountain.” He used 50 Clay Paky Mythos and 76 Clay Paky Sharpy fixtures to highlight the expansiveness of festival’s main stage for dance music.
Lieberman used four Sharpy washes in the Sunken Garden. This stage was designed to feel “more underground, darker, moodier,” he explains. He also hung North America’s largest disco ball in the middle of the tent to create a nightclub-style vibe. “There was no video on this stage so it was really all about creating an old-school club atmosphere.”
The new 360º Labyrinth stage was built of bamboo. “Since we had to accommodate live artists as well as DJs on this stage lighting the scenery and custom signage was very important,” says Lieberman. “After the scenic elements were handled we created a big stage design to create a ‘wow’ factor for the audience – these shows are dance shows and are dependent upon audience participation so giving them lights and visual displays are critical.”
Temple Noctem, for fast, hard-style music had a “very punchy look front loaded with moving lights, strobe and video,” he adds. “This music is truly a sub-culture within a sub-culture.”
Lieberman calls the Clay Parky fixtures “the top of the food chain, the Ferrari of the lighting world. Mythos were used as our primary profile unit: They have a great zoom range, some of the best optics on the market and excellent stock gobos that worked well when texturing the audience. Sharpys are the staples of the lighting industry – truly, some of the most amazing looks that came out of a stage were anchored by massive beam focuses.”
He notes that the Clay Paky fixtures performed “fantastic” throughout the weekend under hot weather conditions. “You’ll never hear me complain when we have them on stage, and the performers and guest DJs loved them too.”
The lighting designer grandMA2 full size consoles to control a wide range of lighting fixtures on the stages. grandMA2 is Lieberman’s console of choice – and the choice of the programmers he regularly hires for shows. A long-time MA user, he finds the desk “offers maximum flexibility and programmers can customize the desk to suit their needs. We’ve been using software version 220.127.116.11 for quite a while now with nothing but fantastic results. My show file is an evolution of 15 years of MA programming, so once we merge in the specific information from the show it takes just a few hours to dial in what we need and we’re good to go.”
The lighting equipment was supplied by AG Light and Sound, Visions Lighting and Felix Lighting.
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