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Clay Paky Sharpys provide lighting boom at South African Music Awards
Lighting Designer
Joshua Cutts
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South Africa – It took just 12 Clay Paky Sharpys to deliver that all-important, high-impact rock and roll wow factor at the biggest live music event in South Africa – the annual South African Music Awards (SAMAs).

Well-respected and prolific lighting designer Joshua Cutts from Visual Frontier – renowned in South Africa and beyond for his imaginative and dynamic designs – used just 12 Sharpys as part of his huge 15 DMX-universe rig. Yet for such a lightweight, physically small fixture the Sharpys delivered big time; cutting through everything in the rig with laser-like precision.

Hosted in April at the Super Bowl in Sun City and broadcast on SABC1 to millions of viewers across South Africa, this year Cutts had his work cut out with 11 very different performances to light: “If your brief is to dazzle the audience with an incredible light show at one of Africa’s biggest music events, then you have to choose a luminaire capable of spectacular results,” he says. “Clay Paky Sharpys really deliver – the company’s claim of ‘unprecedented brightness’ is spot on, and the laser-like beam output definitely produces the much-needed wow factor I am looking for.”

The set for one of the biggest TV and live events in South Africa, designed by Robert Hoey and technically managed by Dream Sets, comprised a number of huge inflatable flown discs and dangling inflated legs. Each one was lit externally and Cutts used the Sharpys to provided the architecture and lighting drama that gave context to the stage in the huge venue that is the Superbowl, Sun City.

During the event Cutts described the Sharpy as the “bees knees of beam lights.” He went on to say that for the SAMAs they enabled him to, “create a big rock and roll looks that were vibrant, energetic and exciting.”

The 18th SAMAs, organised by the Recording Industry of South Africa, was the biggest set Dream Sets has ever built and used the most lighting and AV the company has hired for any project. Johannesburg-based MGG purchased the Clay Paky Sharpys from recently appointed Clay Paky distributor DWR Distribution specifically for this project. MMG in turn supplied Dream Sets with much of the lighting equipment.

Pio Nahum, chief commercial officer for Clay Paky is delighted: “We are always thrilled to see the Sharpy feature in such prestigious, large-scale world events. The fact that it takes just a few fixtures to generate something visually spectacular and that the Sharpy has such comprehensive functionality means that a lighting designer can bring exciting new creative ideas to every show. Joshua Cutts design was lively, fast paced, dynamic and fun and for the millions watching at home it bought that all important ‘live’ rock and roll atmosphere right into their living rooms.”