Past Press

widespread panic tours with bandit lites

June 11, 2013 | Category: Print

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – American rock band and road warriors Widespread Panic are back on the road with Bandit Lites, bringing their Southern rock sound to sold-out shows across the United States. The summer leg kicked of June 1 and runs until July 20.

Following an incredible New Year’s Eve performance where the stellar rig included truss running the length of the arena over the audience and two trusses encircling a video wall, lighting designer Paul Hoffman was tasked to adapt the immense rig for both the road and varying venues.

“Obviously we are not playing the Pepsi Center every single day, so we had to scale it back,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman simplified the front truss to a straight piece rather than New Year’s massive, complicated arch which was extremely time-consuming to build.

“We whittled away at it till we got it to fit in the right amount of truck space and fit the right budget,” explained Hoffman. “It was an iterative process, but we did it.”

While the front truss was simplified, the centerpiece of the design did not change. With direction from the band consisting of the words “Mayan”, “Space”, and “New Age”, Hoffman created the image of a rising sun: two circles of truss surround a huge circular video screen with psychedelic images.  

Equipment for the design included Hoffman’s workhorse, VL3000s, GLP Impressions, GRN LED Pars and GRN LED Battens from Bandit Lites, in addition to Clay Paky Sharpys (an addition Hoffman loves for their compactness), Maxedia Video Servers, Mirage Video Panels and a GrandMA2 Console.

The constant changing of styles of venues requires multiple adjustments day to day. While the original design was in a colossal open space, Hoffman worked to adapt the design to the more confined spaces of theatres, where proscenium arches tuck the design behind the stage. To that end he created varying show files to make up for the fluctuating spaces, which included both indoor and outdoor productions.

Indoor shows allow for intricacies that will get lost in outdoor productions. Where gobos may be able to be utilized inside, outdoor concerts need to be “a big, flashy rock show” as Hoffman puts it. “It is never the same thing twice.”

Having been Widespread Panic’s lighting designer since 2009, and having worked as the programmer beforehand, Hoffman is no stranger to the tour, and welcomes the return each year.

“The crew we have out here is really great- it feels like a big family. Everyone really watches out for each other, takes care of each other and likes each other,” said Hoffman, adding, “Mike Smith, the production manager, is a big part of the process in helping us make it happen all the time. It is really very enjoyable to come back to this from other projects.”

In addition to the family like atmosphere, Hoffman credits Bandit Lites, who has been supplying the band for over five years, with keeping things on the road running smoothly.

“It has been fabulous working with the Bandit crew,” said Hoffman. “Shawn Beaulieu is a fantastic crew chief, and Wayne Lotoza is just an engine; he never stops. Andy French is pretty new, but we have always had great people from Bandit. Dizzy Gosnell of course is a life saver. He handles all the engineering design, the budgeting, and solves all our problems, so it’s really been a very good arrangement, which is why we still have Bandit. It is such a strong customer service company, which is distinctly absent from some other people.”

About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace.  From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will insure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. 



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