ADJ Fixtures Shine At UK’s Lakefest

90 ADJ fixtures were utilized last year to illuminate the main stage at Lakefest, a rapidly growing family-friendly music festival held in the picturesque grounds of Eastnor Castle Deer Park in Hereford, England. Featuring headline sets from Johnny Marr (of the Smiths), electronic music outfit Clean Bandit, indie rockers Embrace, and pop-punk band McFly, each with full supporting line-ups, the four-day festival attracted a sell-out crowd of 20,000. Lighting for the main stage was supplied by up-and-coming production company ProLX Productions, which utilized its stock of Focus Spot 6Z, Focus Spot 4Z and Vizi Beam RXONE automated fixtures, as well as static 32 HEX Panel IP and 12P HEX IP LED wash luminaires, to create a bold and versatile rig capable of adapting to a varied musical lineup.

Established in 2012, Lakefest has grown rapidly to become firmly established within the UK’s boutique festival scene. With a clear family focus, it features artists performing a wide variety of musical genres, with a particular focus on indie rock, dance, and folk music. 2023’s supporting lineup included bands such as The Zutons, Inspiral Carpets, and The Hoosiers, as well as DJ sets from Sister Bliss (Faithless), Judge Jules, and Jeremy Healy.

ProLX Productions specializes in supplying lighting for concerts, festivals, theatre productions, conferences, and private events. It was founded six years ago by Rhys Maule, a young lighting professional who has spent his entire working career in the events industry. From humble beginnings, starting the business from a garden shed in rural Gloucestershire, the company has grown exponentially and now operates from 4,000 sq. ft. premises in South Wales. Based on the ethos of cultivating strong relationships with clients, freelancers and suppliers, the company was able to weather the testing times of the pandemic and is now thriving both by servicing existing clients and taking on new projects.

A flagship event for the company, demonstrating the potential for a small outfit to successfully deliver a large main stage production, ProLX took on Lakefest in 2022. After a series of unfortunate events, the festival’s organizers contracted Mark Whitehouse (Production Manager) at short notice, which meant there was little time for working out a brief and discussing options. Despite being brought in at the last moment, the ProLX team exceeded the organizers’ expectations, which meant they were more than happy to give free reign for them to take the production to the next level in 2023. They achieved this by adding more fixtures and creating a new rig design that played to the strengths and worked with the limitations of the festival’s curved stage structure with its low trim height.

Utilizing black DT 34 trussing from ADJ’s sister company DuraTruss, Rhys’ rig design featured main upstage and downstage trusses together with four additional angled trusses. These ran from front to back, with the middle two filling the apex of the stage roof space and the outer pair rigged at a lower trim height. In addition, wheeled tank traps were deployed that could be easily moved around the stage to accommodate the different DJ and live band stage layouts. Serving as the main automated fixture in the rig, 28 of ADJ’s best-selling compact yet powerful Vizi Beam RXONE luminaires were spread across the rear and mid-stage trusses, in groups of threes and fours, as well as positioned on each of the tank traps. A versatile fixture, capable of generating piercing aerial effects, the RXONE was not only the key fixture in the Lakefest rig, but one which has been central to ProLX Productions’ success.

“There is nothing not to like about the RXONE!” enthuses Rhys. “I bought my first fixtures six or seven years ago, not long after they’d been released and before ProLX Productions was even officially formed as a company, and they have been rock solid. As a small company, we’re looking to maximize the lighting rigs we can create while minimizing trucking costs. So that means weight and size are really important. We’re not going into arenas every day, we’re more likely to be working on stages like the one at Lakefest, which had quite a low trim height and limited loading capacity. We’re also working in lots of smaller conference venues and theaters, which means a compact fixture that packs a punch is essential. And while it clearly isn’t a hybrid, the RXONE is still extremely versatile. It has a very narrow beam but can also serve as a wash with the frost filter engaged and can create a spot style effect using the prism. Being able to fit four into the size of case that would normally only hold two fixtures, and on top of that having them be affordable and bulletproof, makes them ideal for our business. In terms of return on investment, I think I can safely say they are the best fixtures we’ve ever bought!”

The other particularly prominent fixture utilized within the rig was ADJ’s 32 HEX Panel IP LED-powered wash / strobe / blinder. Four were hung from each of the upstage and downstage trusses, while additional single units were positioned at the end of each mid-stage truss. In addition, twelve further units were deployed as part of the ground package – utilized in different configurations for each act, sometimes providing band backlight and at other times lining the front of the stage to create eye candy effects. Twelve of the 12P HEX IP par fixtures, which feature the same 6-in-1 HEX color mixing LEDs as the panels, were also rigged to the top edge of the downstage truss to provide a full stage wash.

“The 32 HEX Panel IP and 12P HEX IP are definitely two of the other real workhorses of our company,” states Rhys. “Between those two units there is very little we need when it comes to having IP fixtures that can do everything from tree uplighting to audience blinding, front wash to pixel LED color effects. The housings are extremely solid, the color mixing is great, and the output is fantastic, but the sizes aren’t too big. And, again, they are super dependable. We’ve used them everywhere – in every weather – and they always do their job of smashing out light. They really have been wicked for us, and we really can’t fault them.”

Both the 200W Focus Spot 4Z and 300W Focus Spot 6Z LED-powered automated spot fixtures were utilized for the stage. Ten of the compact Focus Spot 4Z units were positioned on road cases at the back of the stage to shoot beam effects up behind the performers and create vibrant punchy silhouettes. Meanwhile, the Focus Spot 6Z units were rigged to the main downstage truss. This allowed them to be used as front light, utilizing their integrated frost filter and wide zoom range, to highlight specific performers on stage. Alternatively, especially for DJ sets, they could be spun around to face out into the crowd and be used to create aerial effects.

“The Focus Spot 6Zs were our most recent ADJ investment,” explains Rhys, “and they have already proved themselves to be a great choice. The fixtures’ size versus output ratio is very impressive. They are whisper quiet, so can be used for theater or conference applications, but also chuck out some serious light for big rock and roll shows. I also particularly like the fact that there are two rotating GOBO wheels, which adds a level of creativity that I don’t believe can be found from any other fixture of this size and price point. The battery-powered screen is also super useful, as we’re finding load-ins are becoming tighter and tighter, so the more prep we can do easily at our warehouse, the better. In my opinion, the 6Z is hands down the best moving head spot on the market for price, size, and output, before you take the next step up to framing and CMY.”

In addition to the lighting, the ProLX team also utilized a pair of ADJ’s Entour Venue atmospheric generators, one positioned at either side of the stage, to accentuate the beam effects. Using regular water-based fog fluid, this powerful yet portable 1500W machine generates 15,000 cubic ft. per minute of fine mist that is ideal for concerts and entertainment venues. For Lakefest, this was the final piece of the puzzle that allowed Rhys and his team to deliver an impressive and versatile rig that could be used to enhance both the daytime sets and after dark headliners as well as the festival’s diverse mix of live bands and DJ sets.

“Our clients were blown away by the lighting we were able to deliver,” concludes Rhys, “which we couldn’t have done without the skill and dedication of our team. However, I’ll admit that some of the touring LDs coming in with the headliners initially would have preferred the bigger name brands they were used to working with instead of the predominantly ADJ rig we supplied. Fortunately, the fixtures speak for themselves, and we found that by the end of the gig the visiting designers had been won over and were impressed by what the ADJ fixtures had to offer. As a small company, it’s not always cost effective to invest in household names and because we’ve been successful so far, there’s no reason to change course. Our ADJ fixtures are completely reliable – we’ve not had a single failure in six years – and are more than capable of delivering exactly what is needed for a stage of this size and caliber. We need to make business decisions based around functionality, reliability, and return on investment – and ADJ checks all those boxes for us!”

Lakefest 2023

Production Supplier
ProLX Productions

Production Manager
Mark Whitehouse 

Programmer & Operator
Rhys Maule 

Lighting Team
Lewis Hounsell, Tyler Vaughan & Chris Silk 

Louis Phillips

ADJ Gear List
28 x Vizi Beam RXONE
24 x 32 Hex Panel IP
16 x 12P Hex IP
10 x Focus Spot 6Z
10 x Focus Spot 4Z
2 x Entour Venue
20 x Duratruss DT 34/2 Black 2M
10 x Duratruss DT 34/2 Black 1M