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Clay Paky Lights the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Concerts
Lighting Designer
Luke Bonner / Steve Shipman / Cory FitzGerald
Production Technology LLC (Protec)
Photo Credits
Steve Shipman
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Clay Paky worked alongside the royalty of the music industry at the recent Ferrari World F1™ Grand Prix concert series in Abu Dhabi. Although the event has only been held in this location for two years, it is already considered one of the premier F1 concert sites in the circuit, thanks to the top tier acts that perform on their stage. As if the excitement of the Formula 1 races weren’t enough, the 2010 city-wide events, known as “Yasalam”, concluded with three nights of after-race concerts at Ferrari World on Yas Island with the show-stopping headliners Kanye West, Linkin Park and Prince.

Flash Entertainment carried out the stage design with set design by Lee Charteris. The setting for the concerts required both flexibility as well as an adequate size for the enormous crowd. Lighting Designer Steve Shipman of Clean Edge MFZ – LLC designed the lighting for the stage and set, incorporating Charteris’ concept for an industrial looking cityscape. The result was a stage 87 metres wide (285 feet) and 17 metres high (55 feet) at its highest point. The wings were made of scaff towers at various random heights and widths. The individual lighting designers for the headlining acts would then work with the main layout and design for their specific shows.

Overall lighting design was done by Luke Bonner of Production Technology LLC (Protec), who delivered the majority of the lighting, rigging and staging. The towers had different architectural, textural and lighting treatments, which included 10 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 1500s. The front lighting fixtures consisted of 35 Clay Paky Alpha Spot HPE 1200s, 36 Alpha Wash 1200s, and 24 Alpha Beam 300s.

Bonner (who handled the job in 2009 as well) used wysiwyg to model the Clay Paky fixtures with control from 2 grandMA Series 1 full size consoles at FOH plus 4 grandMA NSP.

Bonner explains, “For years now we have been happy and satisfied with the quality and reliability of our expanding Clay Paky range. Same as in 2009, the Clay Paky luminaires were chosen because of these qualities. The F1 concerts demand large quantities of reliable luminaires – and as we believe and trust in the brand, yet again we were able to meet the demand required for an event of this calibre. Furthermore, we have also appreciated the fact that they are more than capable of working outdoors, in mostly any type of weather found in this region – heat, humidity, dust and sand. All good, all Clay Paky.”

Steve Shipman added, In the wings, Lee was keen to see ‘flower’ type effects. I looked at various searchlight options but ended up using 10 Clay Paky Alpha Beam 1500s. They worked very well, I got the ‘flower’ look we wanted using gobos and the prism wheel. And they were great for searchlight effects too. The main overhead stage fixtures were Alpha 1200 spots and washes. And also 24 Alpha Beam 300’s which I keep coming back to – they’re so punchy for their size.”

Cory FitzGerald, Lighting Designer for Kanye West said, “I had a great experience with the Clay Paky Alphas. They were fast, punchy and I was able to quickly build the looks I needed to make the show look great.”

Since using this type of setup in 2009, both Bonner and Shipman have been confident of the flexibility that Clay Paky provides. The 2011 shows were flawless and everyone involved was extremely happy with the results, including the thousands of fans fortunate enough to be there. Abu Dhabi holds the contract for the F1 races through the year 2014, so look for more exciting concerts in the coming years.