With their high walls and long cavernous spaces, the sturdy buildings were ideal for constructing ships and submarines. It was a function they fulfilled proudly for over 90 years during the last century. Today, the clang of hammers and buzz of milling machines can no longer be heard at the ‘Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij’ (RDM Grounds), but the site still resonates with powerful, soul- shaking sounds as the home of the Rotterdam Rave festivals.

The same characteristics that shipbuilders prized in the RDM Grounds, make them ideal for reflecting the raw, industrial power of rave music. At the recent Rotterdam Rave festival, Berend Janssen of Powerproductions drew on this heritage to transform the entire building into one immersive and very intense panorama. Helping him to do this, RF Shows supplied Berend with 42 CHAUVET Professional fixtures, along with six Vesuvio foggers.

Jeroen Kwakernaak, who has designed Rotterdam Rave events in the past, knows the technical producer and lightning designer, Berend Janssen, very well. They’ve been working together for a while. “This is a great venue, but you have to create intensity inside this room with a great lighting plan to do it justice, while at the same time creating an intimate atmosphere,” Jeroen said. “Berend did excellent work creating layers in the plan by playing at different heights with colour mixes and, of course, bumping to the beat of the music.

“Berend wanted to be able to emphasize the height and the free space as much as possible,” continued Jeroen . “As a result, a fairly simple rigging plot was required, but this still called for quite a bit of work. The lights make the show but integrating this in the high truss pillars gave it an extra dimension.”

Key to transforming the space with light were the 24 Color STRIKE M fixtures that were hung at the edges of truss structures in groups of three. From these positions, the powerful motorized strobes turned the long narrow building into a vibrant light tunnel with intense flashes of white and colour bouncing off the ceiling and every wall.

“By directing the Strike M towards the walls and ceiling, the gigantic effect with the industrial look that you want to create during a rave was created.,” said Berend. “The space and the show become one through the union of raw intensity, depth and warm colours. Due to the reflection on the walls and ceiling, you again get that layering in the lighting concept.”

While the Color STRIKE M fixtures played a variety of roles in the design, working as blinders, strobes, highlight effects, and backlight to support the beam moving heads, other pieces in the rig performed a narrower range of functions. The 14 STRIKE 1 fixtures, for example, worked as blinders, while the four STRIKE P38 units accented the area around the DJ booth.

Complementing the light from these fixtures were six Vesuvio high output foggers. The thick ‘CO2’ effect adds to the atmosphere. This is especially true when you have such bright LEDs working with them.

With the intense output of the lighting fixtures playing off the fog, the visuals that immersed fans did evoke a slightly nautical mood inside the former shipbuilding plant; only now the journey was not one taken over the sea, but through the realm of imagination.

Photo credit: Brada Media.


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September 2023 issue

2023 A1 Buyers Guide