Sunburn 2011 has come a long way, and in a good manner too. Right from a jaw-dropping line-up to footfalls beyond count, this year has been worthwhile for the audience, the artists and the organisers too. However, one aspect of the fest which was notable was the introduction of ‘Arena Gigs’ in the festival for the first time.
A western concept which has slowly spread to India, arena gigs have an underlined aim of allowing healthy audience interaction along with having a huge audience capacity. Huge spaces and grounds are taken up and arenas are built around them with high quality lights, production and sound being some of the biggest factors that play a major role. In huge festivals such as Sunburn where a lot of artists perform at the same time, these gigs give the entire experience an added edge with multitude stages in the tow.
Arena gigs happen all around the world and cities like London, Prague, Amsterdam; they are famous for such events. Popular EDM artists like Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyke, David Guetta are some of the biggest DJ’s who travel all around the world for such gig’s.
Conceptually, a La Carte: Arena Gigs are a format that originated for western classical concerts and slowly spread to other form of stage arts. An Arena is usually has a 5,000 and above crowd capacity, depending on structure of the Arena. It showcases the biggest names in music, comedy and sport. The versatile venue has an intimate feel where all visitors are treated to fantastic stage views allowing them to enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience.
In an Arena Gig, the performer is in the center while the viewer’s / music enthusiast are all around. This 360 degree setup takes the whole experience to the next level. Because it such a huge area it gives room for a lot of creativity production and technology wise. Lasers, lights, sound, stage give the audience the ultimate music and entertainment experience. The visuals prominently have a large impact on the audience as there are huge screens put up which enable the audience to view artist while performing.
Getting the Centerstage: Arena being a blank canvass that lends itself to a multitude of different events, concerts and entertainment it is on the artist to decide the stage plan. The depending on the type of music he/she plays and the types of gigs. This gives the artist much more prominence than otherwise.
With reference to playing in the first arena gigs in the Sunburn Festival, international DJ Avicii comments, “Well first of all playing in an enclosed place (club) is very different from playing in an open place. The whole set up is different, the area is more and the best part is the audience is huge. This gives the whole gig a crazy vibe. In terms of the technical part it gives us more liberty to play with visuals, lights and lasers that completes the whole experience of an arena gig.”
Where Lights lend the Action: The organizers at Sunburn elaborately explain the feel that lights lend to the experience that are arena gigs, “What stand out in arena gigs are the Lights , what we see are massive Platinum beams with Moving heads, LED moving heads, Bright green 10 watts laser. This makes the entire experience more rich combined with the surround and impactful sound.”
Two very important factors set arena lighting apart from other forms of traditional stage lighting. First, the ‘scale’ is much larger than usual theatre scale. This refers to the scale of everything, including performance and audience areas, scenery, lighting distances and lighting fixture types. Second, everything is temporary. Typically, all special lighting equipment must be brought into the arena, hung, cabled and focused, and then removed (struck) after the event. Arena lighting should be designed to be ‘quick and effective’ (not necessarily ‘quick and dirty’).
The Firang Standards: The Wembley Arena and O2 in Dublin are the two best arenas in the world today. O2 is a 14,000 seater which was opened in 2008 with Live Nation in charge of programme booking and operating the venue.
The O2 is the second busiest concert venue in the world, in terms of ticket sales, only behind its counterpart in London. U2 were the first band to play in the venue, when Bono and The Edge performed Van Diemen’s Land and Desire to a private audience. There are no corporate boxes inside the venue. The backstage area has a substantial loading bay for trucks. Alcohol is made available in a high-security area of the venue in an effort to curb under-age drinking. The venue is intended to stage 150 live events each year, catering to a projected target audience of one million customers annually.