BUSC 2010 – Igoe Stage, Sound & Light

28/03/2010 – 01/04/2010

Igoe PA in association with Okoru & Shock Solutions produce another slamming week of sick parties – 2 miles in the sky!


BUSC is the British Universities snow sports Council.  Young ski and snowboard enthusiasts from many British Universities get together annually for this end of season bash. It’s a tough week as students compete at a high level by day and then party hard all night long.

This is the second year we have looked after BUSC. These events including production for the Varsity 2009 trip at Tignes have established Igoe PA as a competent production partner who can deliver world class results on budget in the most challenging of environments.

We put together an “A-Team” of the best Bristol has to offer in sound, lighting and rigging crew. Stage and sound equipment were supplied in house by Igoe PA and we are proud to team up, once again, with Shock Solutions for lighting and AV. 

Our lorry arrived in the resort on Friday morning after traversing the 20 plus hairpin bends that zig-zag up the side of the mountain. On arrival the heavens opened and over 6 inches of snow fell in under 2 hours. This set the theme for the week. At the end of March Alpe D’Huez normally receives little or no snow as the spring thaw sets in – not this year!  We suffered heavy snow and blizzard conditions throughout the week, practically unheard of for this time of year.

The event schedule for the week required an outdoor stage with sound and light for the opening night and then two further events with similar requirements inside a large sports hall. We set about unloading the truck in disbelief at the conditions, quickly realising that none of us had enough changes of clothes.

Once the lorry was unloaded we took a minute’s break and watched as our equipment gradually disappeared under a thick blanket of snow. We knew we had our work cut out, so we donned waterproofs, hats and gloves and set out through the storm to begin assembling of the skeleton of the outdoor stage.

The weather presented us with significant problems for the outdoor part of the event. Once we had three inches of snow underfoot the wheels on our flight cases jammed and became useless. We had over 75 rolling flight cases and speaker cabinets that became dead weights, each requiring a four man lift!

In the resort they have a team with heavy machinery whose full time job it is to clear away snow. The stage was situated in a large car park area. Snow clearing was impossible at the stage site as the structure itself was in the way. The snow just kept on pilling up until it was lying at 2-3 feet.  Once the stage was up and canopies attached we had to work in shifts throughout the night, dragging snow off the roof with extra long ratchet straps.

The snow was relentless during most of the build. We had big problems trying to plot lights on the night before with frozen kit and we lost several moving heads to snow damage. At one point snow drifts reached 5ft up against the speaker stacks, literally covering the speakon inputs on the back of the first row of subs. Outdoor concerts just aren’t meant to happen in Arctic conditions but I guess it will seem like a piece of cake when we do this in the UK this summer!  Stage spec: Milos self-climbing  MR1 with PA and AV wings / scrims; black and silver canopy with mesh back and side walls.

The undisputed highlights of the lighting specification were 6 stunning (1500 watt!) Clay Paki “Alphabeam” moving head spots. These looked utterly spectacular, bright as sky-roses but with colour mixing and changeable gobos. We had 18 x 575 moving spots and washes, Martin Atomics, 4 Cell Molephays, 8 Cell Howie battons, RGB LED battens, Source 4’s and other generics with Jem smoke and Unique haze. The lighting desk was the Jans Vista.

Headline act Urban Knights are VJ specialists, seamlessly mixing tunes with visuals. We supplied a video wall comprising 9 x High Definition LCD panels to go behind the DJ table and 2 x Sanyo XP57 projectors with screens either side of the stage all controlled via an Arkaos media server.

The on stage DJ table was far longer than the usual and looked like a technophile fantasy; featuring 2 x Pioneer CDJ2000 2 x Pioneer CDJ1000mk3, 2 x Technics MK5 G, Pioneer SVM1000, Pioneer DJM 800 mixer, Pioneer DJM909 mixer an Edirol V4 vision mixer with 3 preview video screens.

The PA system consisted of 8 x CV long throw folded horn subs. 8 x EAW SB850 bass bins, 4 x EAW AS422 bass/mid boxes and 4 x EAW AS490 tops. We also used 4 x Mackie s408 (passive) in fills across the stage. The main stacks were ridiculous, towering above the height of the stage roof.

In the amp rack we had 6 x Lab Gruppen fp6400, 2 x Lab Gruppen fp3400 with an Ashley Drive rack and separate delay unit.  We used a pair of EAW MK 5166 and EAW SB 330e as monitor stacks powered by Crown. Our Midas Venice 320 acted as a go between from the DJ mixers to the drive rack to ensure we could keep a lid on inevitable DJ clipping abuse.

Okoru’s DJ ASSASSIN, scratch champion DJ SWITCH and then Okoru’s VJ bad boys URBAN KNIGHTS rocked an audience that topped 4000 punters.

The second gig was indoors. Unfortunately for us this was 400 yards from the site of the outdoor stage so we had to “hand ball” everything through blizzard conditions; shovels and swearwords abounded!

Once inside our work got somewhat easier although we had issues with resort politics and were already behind schedule after our battle with the elements.

We reconfigured the stage layout to make it shallower to fit the room and used the wings for the rear of the structure instead of the front. We also flew a section of truss with curving ends half way down the room for source 4’s, movers and other generics. 

The LCD video wall was broken up and positioned across the stage in pairs attached to pre-rigged trussing and ground supports. We used one large projection at the back of the stage.

We used the same PA system but placed all subs in front of the stage and used time delays to eliminate comb filtering / phasing.

The acts in the sports hall were Okoru’s own DJ ASSASSIN, Dub Step master NERO and classic breaks act STANTON WARRIORS.

BUSC 2010 was a roaring success; DJ’s played storming sets that sent the crowds wild. The PA was insane with eyeball wobbling bass and mind shattering detail. The video looked awesome together with a jaw dropping light show this production really was as good as it gets. Our crew worked tirelessly throughout the week producing a world class event in spite of the difficulties we faced. Thanks to all the guys – you know who you are. 

It’s been a heavy winter season at Igoe PA. We’ve tapped a previously unknown market of Alpine festivities. Where most event companies shut up shop we have been busier than ever. Now we’re looking forward to a big summer calendar of parties, festivals and outdoor concerts.

Look out for us at some of the UK’s most prestigious music events.

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