Rolling Loud with Robe

SJ Lighting created spectacular lighting production designs for four stages and the Main Stage VIP area at the 2021 Miami Rolling Loud Festival which took place over 3 days / nights at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens in Florida, offering 75,000 hip hop fans their first chance to see A$AP Rocky, Post Malone, Travis Scott, and many more great artists perform live since March 2020.

On three of these stages, Robe moving lights were integral to the design spec.

Ninety-two MegaPointes graced the Ciroc (Main) Stage, while the Audiomack stage featured 66 x MegaPointes and 36 x BMFL Blades, with lighting for both of these supplied by 4Wall’s Miami office.

Twenty-four Spiiders for the DRYP Stage were supplied by New York and Miami based event technology specialist, Technical Arts Group (TAG), together with the other lighting for this space.

SJ Lighting’s principal, Stephen Lieberman, well known for his fresh and innovative show and environmental visual designs for nightclubs as well as epic EDM and hip-hop events, was given an open brief from the client to design as appropriate, following some basic brand guidelines. He also ensured that each stage had the requisite production requirements for all artists to have a great show, with sufficient breadth and enough creative elements to give each area a bespoke look.

The Robe elements on each rig were chosen to help enhance and balance the lighting, picked by Stephen and informed by his great experience of using the brand over many years and multiple projects.

MegaPointes were chosen for their high impact as a ‘festival favorite’ with extreme brightness and an excellent array of features to throw looks and energy from the stage out into the crowds. BMFL Blades were also picked for their intensity, plus the accurate shuttering allowing Stephen and his team to light specific areas of the stage and very effectively key (light) artists.

Spiiders were selected as a great all-round LED wash beam light for bathing the DRYP stage and set in vibrancy and colors.

The lighting rigs were all carefully thought-through and designed with the demands of the numerous LDs using them over the weekend in mind. “Whether it was our ‘house’ LDs or a raft of guest LDs, all of them could focus fixtures efficiently and produce, big, bold, clean looks,” explained Stephen.

He commented that Robe had “many choices for high-powered stadium-style fixtures which are reliable and effective with lots of features,” and he also respects the commitment and passion of the “people behind Robe” developing the brand’s products. “Their attitude is paramount to us,” he confirms.

Some headliner acts also brought in their own specials rigs ‘underneath’ the house systems on each stage, and anyone onstage without their own LD had their lightshow looked after by Stephen and his hugely talented and experienced team of programmers and operators.

The biggest challenge for lighting the epic looking, super-wide Ciroc stage this year was accommodating and engineering for all the additional kit that would be coming and going over the festival. While the structures had high load capacities, with guest riders added, plenty of nimble and practical logistical calculations were needed.

Audiomack Stage.

Production also had to remain fully flexible as some of the information came “right down to the wire” as the event was one of the first major music festivals in the sunshine state following the ‘post’ pandemic re-opening of large-scale public gatherings.

The Audiomack Stage also featured some major league artists like Savage, Lil Dirk, and Gucci Mane, etc., so Stephen’s goal with lighting it was to make sure “they felt like they were playing on a monster!” The Stageline SAM750 structure is “a great performance box” he stated, and the lighting design was “a little more ethereal” as they didn’t have so many artist extras. A circular truss with a downstage and upstage inside video border created a seamless horizon for the audience.

The DRYP stage was set in a circus-style tent with king poles. Stephen and his team have plenty of experience working in these spaces over a myriad of festivals, so the design entailed plenty of upstage video detail and lighting on all the tent poles to create a properly immersive room. The intensity and wash beam functionality of the Robe Spiiders were perfect.

grandMA consoles were used for house lighting control, operated by Stephen’s team including Marcus Jessup (Ciroc), Maxwell Robin (Audiomack) – also SJ Lighting’s event project manager – with David Hauss (Monster Energy) and David Gonzalez on the DRYP Stage.

The overall most exciting thing about Rolling Loud 2021 Miami, said Stephen unequivocally, was “seeing all our event industry colleagues back at work, hustling and making things happen on a large live event in the way that only event production people can do to deliver shows like this!”

“After 17 months of shut down, everyone returned with HUGE energy and enthusiasm … and the end results really illustrate so much hard work and determination!”

Rolling Loud 2021 Miami production managers were Chunk Kuo and Jeff King. The Rolling Loud concept was created by Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif and first realized in 2016.

Photo: © courtesy 4Wall by Gabe Palmer