Elvis Lives On With CHAUVET DJ…
Sightings of Elvis Presley were on the rise this summer, when CHAUVET DJ and sister company CHAUVET Professional brought glitz and glamour to the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, for the third annual ‘Europe’s Tribute to Elvis’ Fesitval!
The event, which ran from Friday the 3rd to Sunday the 5th of July, saw a huge number of visitors – including legions of Elvis fans – turn up to the elegant nineteenth-century venue, where as well as watching some of the continent’s best impersonators visitors had the chance to see a stunning CHAUVET lightshow in action. A wide range of the companies’ products was used to create an extravagant display – an appropriate tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, whose name became synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment.
“As the event is becoming one of the most popular Elvis competitions in the world, we knew that we needed to step the game up this year […] our CHAUVET fixtures didn’t let us down,” said the event’s lighting designer and engineer, Ollie Wilkinson.
In order to step things up, he incorporated three CHAUVET DJ MotionOrbs, eight PiXPar 24 par-style fixtures and four Geyser RGB LED foggers into his show design, along with a collection of Q-Wash 560Z-LED fixtures and Next NXT-1 moving LED panels from CHAUVET Professional.
“When you see Elvis tribute shows around the world, there’s usually a big upstage ELVIS sign in lights,” continued Wilkinson. “I didn’t want to go for that typical look, so we played about with the thought of using the separate letters in GOBOs on the downstage truss. After some more thought, we had the idea to use our Next NXT-1 fixtures to spell ‘ELVIS’ across the truss.”
In addition, Ollie positioned eight 560Z fixtures on a flown truss in the centre of the ballroom for a full band wash, as well as covering the 100-year-old chandelier-clad ceiling in colour. A further eight fixtures were positioned on the upstage truss to give a back wash, and also to wash the white wall at the back of the stage. He also combined the 560Zs with the three CHAUVET DJ MotionOrbs, which adorned the back wall.
“As the whole event was being filmed, I placed the MotionOrbs against the white upstage wall to give a sense of colour and depth to the stage on camera,” explained Ollie. “This provided a good amount of eye candy, while keeping intensity to a suitable level. The MotionOrbs combined with the 560Zs really created a complementary look, and looked especially impacting on camera.”
To add extra snippets of wash light at crucial moments during the set – and to illuminate various members of the band – Ollie also incorporated eight CHAUVET DJ PiXPar 24 par units into his rig. Meanwhile, complementing the ostentatious characteristics of the ballroom, his final touch involved positioning eight CHAUVET DJ Geyser RGBs alongside the catwalk, which protruded from the stage. Producing large volumes of water-based fog, illuminated by colourful LED lighting, these Geyser effects made a huge impact.
“The Geysers never fail to impress,” Ollie said. “They’re my favourite alternative to pyro, by far. Not only did they give the audience that ‘wow’ factor, but they were a worthy accompaniment to the awards, presentations and performances that were scattered throughout the event.”
These additional performances even included one from rock ‘n’ roll diva Suzi Quatro, whose set, helped by the CHAUVET lighting display, created an atmosphere the King would've been proud of. In the end, however, it was indeed Elvis who remained the true star of the show.
“With events such as this keeping his spirit alive, it’s little wonder that Elvis’ popularity refuses to wane,” said Ollie. “The CHAUVET fixtures were essential to helping me recreate the electric atmosphere synonymous with his performances; it was a fantastic production to be involved with.”
It may have been four decades since Elvis left the building for the last time, but, with legions of impersonators and an annual UK event enhanced by CHAUVET lighting, it seems he’s still very much alive…