DCR Nashville and Lighting Designer Nathan Alves, a Partner in Darkroom Creative in Franklin, Tennessee, answered the Live Event & Entertainment Professionals’ call to action by bathing some of Nashville’s iconic landmarks in red light on September 1. Their contribution to the WeMakeEvents #redalertRESTART initiative was the Mobile Visual Art Platform (MVAP) outfitted with 38 Claypaky Scenius fixtures.
The MVAP rolled through Music City with surgical precision, lighting up the Tennessee State Capitol, the AT&T Building (popularly known as the Batman Building), the Ascend Amphitheatre, downtown’s Bank of America building the Shelby Street Bridge and the neo-classical Parthenon.
WeMakeEvents’ #RedAlertRESTART campaign is designed to raise awareness and support for the 77% of live events workers who have lost 100% of their incomes during the coronavirus pandemic. The September 1 event was repeated in cities across North America with more than 1,800 venues and companies participating. The call to action implored the US Congress to pass the RESTART Act offering economic relief to the live events industry and to extend PUA payments to the unemployed. Buildings, structures and residences nationwide were lit in red from 9 pm until midnight local time. The experience followed a similar event staged across the UK in August.
Nathan Alves and DCR Nashville’s Owner and President Howard Jones had been sharing news on COVID-19’s impact on the Nashville live event industry when Alves sent an email regarding #redalertRESTART. “Howard was quick to jump on the phone,” Alves recalls. “He didn’t just want to do something but do something interesting and impactful. He asked if I’d be willing to help him with this idea he had to put lights on a flatbed.” DCR Nashville offers audio, video, lighting and design solutions for live events.
Jones’s goal was to “create a mobile installation that could engage in a bit of guerrilla marketing, as it were,” says Alves. “The MVAP allowed us in one evening to paint multiple city landmarks and draw attention to the #WeMakeEvents cause.”
A mix of 38 Claypaky Scenius Spots and Profiles filled the flatbed truck. No other fixtures were featured. “Claypaky knows how to make a punchy light,” Alves declares. “We needed something that had great color and great punch to make the truck work. In some instances, we were painting buildings from across the river or over a block away. The Scenius fixtures were more than capable of answering that call to service. When the team at DCR sent over drawings of the truck with a bunch of Scenius on the back it was an easy call to sign off on.”
Alves notes that the lighting task “was about horsepower vs color trueness. It feels like we often sacrifice color definition for intensity or vice versa. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the Scenius since I first used them years ago is not having to make that choice. Need a deep saturated red with lots of punch? Scenius can do that for you.”
Alves says he’s been touring with Claypaky fixtures for more than decade and has never been disappointed with the manufacturer’s products. Given that the September 1 event called for the complement of Scenius “to live on a flatbed, be powered by a generator and get bounced around violently while we dragged them back and forth from landmark to landmark, I was more than impressed with how they held up.”
Jennifer Moore, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for DCR Nashville, notes that, “Claypaky was quick to offer their support in highlighting our efforts for this important event. It’s going to take everyone in our industry, from every facet, working together on a collective push to make a difference. We’re happy to see manufacturers like Claypaky using their platform for good as well.
John Schirmer, Shane Hamill and Christopher Wilhelm from DCR Nashville were instrumental in the management and execution of the project with many DCR volunteers contributing their own time to make the event a reality. Longtime friend Brandy Sapp handled logistics and drove the truck. Drew Lombana operated the lights on the truck from inside the cab.