Created in 2013 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of dance in The Netherlands, the Amsterdam Music Festival is the biggest electronic dance music event of Amsterdam Dance Event which takes over the city annually each October. AMF’s immense popularity in its first year saw it move from the RAI Amsterdam to the 40,000 capacity Amsterdam ArenA (now the Johan Cruiiff ArenA) where its top EDM line up attracts the most international visitors of any dance event in the city.

Lighting designer, and owner of The Art of Light, André Beekmans chose a wealth of Ayrton Cobra, Huracán Profile and Ghibli fixtures to light the 2023 edition, the line up of which consisted of EDM royalty Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Charlotte de Witte, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Headhunterz, James Hype, Purple Disco Machine and Vini Vici.

The show’s lighting and rigging were supplied by Ampco Flashlight with Light Specials providing the LED lines. The Art of Light operators – André Beekmans, Rik Verschuren, Kasper Dijksterhuis and Jaap Kamps – were responsible for programming, operating and facilitating all the guest operators for the event. Guest operators included Michael Seeverens as the touring LD for Armin van Buuren and Tom Pietermans with Afrojack whom they supported with positions, presets and any additional needs.

Beekmans chose 54 Ayrton Cobra fixtures specifically for its laser source and narrow beam to highlight magnificently the outline of the stage and to add an extra dimension to its depth. He then placed 74 Ghibli spot fixtures within the stage area, rigged in between the separate LED screens that formed the backdrop, and directly in the field of vision of the audience. 22 Huracán Profiles were used as front light, but with an additional line of 16 Huracán Profile behind the stage to emphasize the depth behind the semi-transparent stage.

“We used Ghibli and Huracán Profile fixtures together because in André’s vision they formed a great combination due to the fact they have the same features, the same gobo wheels but different light outputs,” confirms The Art of Light’s Romy van Schijndel. “We enjoy working with these Ayrton fixtures because they are widely available in high quantities and because of their specific features.

“The AMF stage concept and lighting design is based on three core colours: blue, red and white and has always been very technical,” he continues. “Within these guidelines we try to work with large numbers of lights, often with smaller wattages which allows us to use higher quantities.

“It is important, even though AMF is a dance event, to maintain a certain look and atmosphere with the lights, so it’s not just ‘flashy moving lights’. Throughout the night we work on building-up the show, starting with using just some of the lights, and only after a few hours, during the official opening of the show, revealing all lights together for the first time. The start of the opening ceremony is very theatrical, which is when the Ghiblis came into their own, but it was during the effects at the Opening Ceremony that the Cobras created the ultimate moment!”

Beekmans was extremely happy with the Ayrton fixtures which his company has used on countless occasions. “The corresponding gobo wheels of the Ghibli and Huracán Profile are a really strong feature to us,” he says, “but Ayrton’s Cobra is a one-of-a-kind fixture with all the possibilities of the laser source: not just the tight beam but also the length of the beam which was perfect for the location, in the huge Johan Cruijff ArenA. The effects we achieved were only possible because of the power of this fixture. We would definitely use them again – we have before and will continue to do so in the future.

“We are very familiar with Ayrton fixtures and enjoy working with them, but even so, all the Ayrton fixtures definitely lived up to our expectations.”

Text: Julie Harper
Photos: © Boy Hoogvorst/ALDA, © ALDA/Insomniac

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