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Clay Paky lights "dance" at Mayday 2012
Lighting Designer
Thomas Gerdon
Schoko pro GmbH
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The first ever Mayday music festival in history took place on 14 December 1991 in Berlin (Halle Weissensee). The event was organized to help out the GDR radio station DT64 (today MDR Sputnik), which was on the verge of bankruptcy. From this initial aid event, the festival has gradually transformed into the largest indoor rave party in Germany, with about 20,000 to 25,000 participants each year. It has now entered its 21st year and Mayday has lost none of its appeal. Thousands of ravers were therefore again able to celebrate their music in 2012 in Dortmund (Westfalenhalle).

The lighting designer of this year’s entirely German made Mayday was Thomas Gerdon. Thomas created a spectacular show together with Rando Lorenz (lighting operator), Philipp Schauer (video operator), Wadim Wall (media server/system), Tim Franken (laser operator), Bernd Görgen (project director) and Joachim Wippel (technical director).

“We installed 32 Clay Paky Alpha Profile 1500s and 40 Clay Paky Sharpys, among other lights. An MA control system was used, consisting of 2 grandMA2 full-size consoles, 2 grandMA2 ultra-light consoles and 2 grandMA2 fader wings for the lights, 1 grandMA2 light console for the Pandora’s Box media server and 1 grandMA2 light console for the lasers. We used 3 MA Network Processing Units (NPUs) for the signal processing, and worked with grandMA 3D Visualization Software for the pre-programming.”

Gerdon continued: “In my opinion, the Clay Paky Alpha 1500 moving heads are currently the best in their class. That is why we chose Alpha Profile beam shapers for this event. The basic concept behind the lighting design was to create three-dimensional figures that moved around the hall and therefore transformed the hall itself. In this way we were able to create a variety of totally different effects. For example, it was possible to bring all the “objects” almost right over the audience during lulls. When the music exploded again, the structure was lifted once more.”

“A 4 metre tall 4 metre diameter cylinder was hung in the middle of the hall over the dance floor. Eight ‘fingers’ stuck out of this cylinder and on the tip of each one was a 5m x 6m ‘dragon’,” said Gerdon. “All the parts could be moved using a BGV C1 hoist system. Sixteen Clay Paky Sharpys were installed on the central cylinder and each ‘finger’ was fitted with 3 more Sharpys. The ‘dragons’ carried a further 4 Alpha Profile 1500s.”

The lighting equipment was provided by Schoko pro GmbH.

Clay Paky and MA Lighting products are available in Germany exclusively through Lightpower.