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Fairground Festival with grandMA3

On the main floor of the two-day techno event, Tobias Reinartz is exploring the scope for creativity provided by the grandMA3 software

A world away from the classical festival season, the second edition of the Fairground Festival on 1 and 2 December 2023 made the hearts of some 20,000 fans of electro and techno music beat faster. After the previous year’s one-day indoor festival was sold out in no time, the organisers decided to extend the 2023 programme to two days. Apart from EDM superstar Paul Kalkbrenner, further big names of the scene, such as Ben Böhmer, Stephan Bodin, Klangphonics and Jan Blomqvist, had announced their participation. Design studio visualprime (www.visualprime.de) from Cologne was commissioned to provide the production design for all three floors in exhibition halls 2 and 3 of the Hannover Messe venue. At the premiere the previous year, the team around creative director Uwe Schröder and lighting designer Tobias Reinartz had already taken charge of operations. In 2023 too, visualprime provided all FoH crews as well as handling the content management on all floors. 

grandMA3 system on the main floor

Lighting designer Tobias Reinartz decided to go with the grandMA3 software on the main floor. As there is often a lot of coming and going at the FoH equipment during a festival, the decision was made to adapt to the situation, as Reinartz reported: “On Friday, we had a lot of guest lighting designers operating the FoH equipment, which is why we decided to run the grandMA3 with grandMA2 software that evening. On Saturday, though, I was manning the console myself the entire night and therefore operated the system in grandMA3 mode, which I prefer.” Switching between the two modes worked without a hitch. “I only made a few minor spec adjustments and then had a marvellous time with the grandMA3,” the lighting designer added.

Lighting system

The lighting system of the main floor FoH consisted of two grandMA3 full-size, with one system operated by the light operator, the other by a laser operator. In addition, a Resolume system was integrated into the control setup via an Art-Net merge. Two grandMA3 processing units provided additional parameters and output.

Festival premiere on grandMA3

For lighting designer and operator Tobias Reinartz, Fairground Festival 2023 was the first major festival engagement where he used a grandMA3 – and expectations were high. “Clearly, the festival was too large and too important to allow for any compromises. At an electro festival, you work with changeover times of two, three minutes. Everything needs to happen fast and work perfectly. It was crucial to ensure that we were able to realise everything that we had envisaged. And it worked.” After some grandMA3 software training, Reinartz took a great deal of time to familiarise himself comprehensively with the system – and discovered a multitude of functions that would facilitate faster and better workflows.

Working more creatively than ever before

“First and foremost, I’d like to mention recipes in this context. A fantastic solution. Whenever the number or configuration of lights changes on site, you can simply adjust the group and the system will immediately reflect the current reality. The selection grid is amazing as well, as it enables totally different types of effects compared to the grandMA2. I have also found that working with MVR reduces my stress levels a lot.” As music, lighting and video content are all intimately linked in the case of electronic music in particular, Reinartz enthused some more: “I found the possibility of the NDI integration with the system extremely helpful and stimulating to my creativity. It meant that I could keep a constant eye on what the VJ was presenting at any moment in time and adapt to it perfectly with the lighting.”

Overall, the designer praised the creative possibilities of the grandMA3 system: “Once you have become familiar with the system, you need to spend much less time thinking about the processes than before and you can allow your creativity to flow. Said another way: I’m investing much less energy into the How and can focus totally on the product and its wonderful possibilities. Working on a grandMA3 system is simply WOW!”

 

Photos: ©Maximilian Steinke

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