Now in its 31st year, Mayday has long been one of the really big European techno institutions and at the same time a modern interpretation of the traditional May dance. With the 30th anniversary last year, the time was ripe for a return to the origins of the festival and a complete redesign of the production, in which over 300 spots from GLP played the leading role.
GERDON DESIGN GmbH has been in charge of the main arena floor in Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle for many years and was again responsible for lighting and set design, as well as content design, this year.
Under the slogan “MOMENTUM”, Mayday 2023 celebrated the return to the techno culture and harder electronic genres of the early years. This, in turn, called for a straighter, more industrial design language. The overall look has become cleaner, with most of last year’s decorative elements removed.
For the designers, Thomas Gerdon and Marek Papke from GERDON DESIGN, it was a short conceptual path from the basic idea of straight lines to light curtains as a design element – and thus to the impression X4 Bar from GLP.
Along with other spots, a total of 164 impression X4 Bar 20 were installed as continuous lines of light on four long trusses that stretched from the end of the hall to the LED-framed DJ position. As an extension of the trusses in the roof, vertical trusses ran down to the stage floor, which were equipped with a total of 46 FUSION Stick FS16 Z.
“The idea was to send the light from the central DJ stage into the hall – or the other way around – to let everything from the audience flow back energetically and visually to the DJ,” explains Thomas Gerdon. “It was clear to us early on that we would want to work very intensively with light curtains this year. If you need several hundred devices for this, GLP’s X4 Bar is the right choice. On the one hand it is a question of availability; on the other hand you simply have to realise that light curtains can still be implemented best with this Bar.”
Although curtains of light were a cornerstone of the design at Mayday, a 14-hour event, the designers really pushed the full versatility of the impression X4 Bars. “In addition to fantastic light curtains, you can also use the Bars to create washes, colour and strobe effects. It’s this flexibility that makes the X4 Bar one of my favourite tools,” continues Gerdon. “I can’t imagine any production where you couldn’t use it profitably – from corporate events and concerts to trade fairs and TV.”
The trusses running diagonally and vertically onto the stage were equipped with FUSION Stick FS16 Z, because on the one hand they retained the GLP-typical continuous line characteristic, and on the other hand no tilt was required at this point of the set. “In my opinion, the FUSION Stick FS16 Z is still the only perfect LED stick on the market and that’s why I chose it here,” explains Gerdon.
“The well-known Mayday logo also inspired us and was wonderfully reflected in the shape and lines of the design,” adds Marek Papke. “The vertical and oblique lines of light from FUSION FS16 Z around the DJ position mimic the shape of the Mayday rocket.”
A similarly perfect product for the two designers is the FUSION X-PAR 12 Z, 92 of which were used as single-beam lights and blinders. They also served as truss toners to illuminate the ceiling beams that are characteristic of the Westfalenhalle.
“Everyone on our team loves the X-PAR 12 Z,” confirms Papke. “With the zoom wide open, it creates the popular star effect without any star filter. In addition, colour mixing and dimming behaviour are first class and the large lens with zoom is visibly noticeable. So it can be processed anywhere and also offered an additional effect level at the Mayday.”
The Media Resource Group was responsible for the technical implementation of Mayday 2023, while CGS Dry Hire supplied the materials.
Photo credit: Julian Huke.