Andre Beekmans, lighting designer with The Art of Light, used Ayrton’s Ghibli LED spot fixtures to create a unique lightscape on and around the main stage at A State of Trance festival in The Netherlands this year in celebration of ASOT 900.

A State of Trance (ASOT) is the weekly radio show of award-winning ‘Trance Royalty’ Armin van Buuren, the Dutch DJ, record producer and remixer who has been ranked No1 DJ by DJ Magno less than five times. ASOT is the largest trance network in the world and the show is web-streamed and broadcast on radio stations globally. Every year the 50thepisode is celebrated with an enormous live concert in The Netherlands, with smaller satellite events in other countries around the world.

This February marked the 900thshow, which was celebrated in front of a 35,000 capacity audience at the Jaarbeurs Centre in van Buuren’s hometown of Utrecht. Themed as Lifting You Higher,the ever-popular event sold out in seven weeks. The Utrecht date is the largest of all the shows with five stages, all of which were lit, designed and operated by The Art of Light and promoted by Alda Events. The Art of Light has been working with the ASOT network for the past eight years and handles Armin van Buuren’s shows worldwide.

Lighting designerBeekmans chose 65 Ayrton Ghibli, supplied by Ampco Flashlight, as the main spot fixture for the mainstage at this huge celebration. “ASOT has a policy of working with local suppliers wherever the concerts take place,” says Beekmans, “and we are extremely lucky to work with Flashlight which, as the exclusive distributor for Ayrton in The Netherlands, has an extensive rental stock of their fixtures.”

The team at The Art of Light is very familiar with Ayrton, having used MagicPanel fixtures many times in the past, but this was their first time using Ghibli.“For A State of Trance we were looking for a great effects spot which could give us lots of scope for mid-air effects and big picture stuff, rather than key lights and the like,” says Beekmans. “Flashlight presented us with several options and so we had a shoot-out. We found that Ghibli had it all for us! We were really happy with what we found – Ghibli has a great gobo setup, and the light output was also superb and fitted the budget! It was just what we needed as the main spot for the main stage.”

The Art of Light team had a grand vision for the visual element of this special occasion: “Multiple beams are popular right now, but to create the right feel for a trance music show, we felt we needed a good strong spot with excellent gobos to create texture,” says Beekmans, “and, most importantly, a wide zoom, which is really important.

“The output needed to be bright enough to cope with the large expanse of the main stage which measured around 120m deep x 60m wide, but we also wanted to fill, not just the stage, but the whole room with light. We wanted there to be no differentiation between the lighting on stage and off.”

“We rigged the Ghibli units at all levels – on the floor, hanging over the stage area, and also in the hall where they were rigged on trusses leading out over the audience area – and used them to create wide spreads of light and texture from every angle. On stage, steps concealed a number of Ghibli which shot out beams from stage level to give depth to the design, while the Ghibli units in the grid were used for mid-air effects above the heads of the audience so we could involve them in the full experience. The main space at Jaarbeurs is very challenging being only 10m high so we needed a large number of fixtures because the lack of height makes it more difficult to fill the room with light.”

Expanding on The Art of Light’s ideas, Beekmans explains: “When we design for a show like this, we don’t like to create separate set ups for the stage and venue, but combine the two so the venue and the stage become one. Whatever we do on stage, we like to fill the room with the same look and make a smooth transition from stage to room. It must encompass everybody in the same atmosphere, so that everybody feels like they are on the stagewith the artist and very much part of the experience.

“Ghibli was very important in helping us to achieve this, using the gobos for mid-air effects and the zoom for the big looks, with enough power to draw everyone in. Several times during the evening, Armin would shout out ‘Are you in a State of Trance with me?’, and it is our job to create that exact vibe both on stage and in the wider room, so everybody feels like they are ‘on stage’ and part of the performance with him.”

Michael Seeverens, who travels the world with the Armin van Buuren shows, and Koen van Elderen were The Art of Light operators responsible for the light show at the mainstage during the performances. “The design obviously succeeded because we had to restrict access to the show during the main acts which were so popular, we quickly reached capacity!” confirms Beekmans.

Photos credit: Jorrit Lousberg

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