MDG has partnered with Arcadia Spectacular for this year’s Glastonbury Festival by supplying two of its fog-producing behemoths, Me8, for Arcadia’s fantastic new, five-year permanent installation, Pangea.
Arcadia’s head of communications, Cyrus Bozorgmehr, commented: “We wanted to explore possibilities with more scope for upward expansion into three-dimensional space, and investigate how to take over the area above people’s heads to make a fully immersible experience across the whole arena.”
To achieve this, a massive multi-level central structure was designed and sourced entirely from repurposed scrap material gleaned from a worldwide search.The centrepiece is a giant 50m dock crane from nearby Avonmouth Docks, rigged with lighting and pyrotechnics, the machine house of which serves as an operational space for control equipment.
The crane is set upon a spherical ex-military ‘radome’ which is used as a projection surface and sited above a mesh-floored DJ booth on a 360° rotating table above the audience that gives fully immersive directionality across the whole site.
“We have different visuals on each level with an intense, ‘rave’ like atmosphere and warm tungsten-style lighting at the bottom around the DJ booth,” said Arcadia’s technical production manager, Dorian Cameron-Marlow. “The ‘radome’ sphere and upper levels add strong visual elements as projection surfaces, while the crane gives us access to the sky in a completely different way allowing us to play with the space. The jib arm lighting provides dramatic architectural looks and strong beam light effects and is perhaps the most important area for the MDG Me8 fog generators.
“We have a structure that we can fully interact with that gives us massive scope across a 50m rolling sphere of three-dimensional space, that needs to reach out across a crowd numbering tens of thousands, past the core 80m arena space, into the outfield and way beyond. The lighting and effects must be visible on a grand scale, and to do this, you must have great haze to show them to full effect. You can have the most powerful lights in the world but if you don’t have a really good haze distribution plan, the lights will be ineffective.”
Incredibly, Cameron-Marlow and the team were able to achieve this using just two of MDG’s Me8 fog generators, each of which has an 8-nozzle output and is capable of producing 800m3 (28,252ft3) of fine, pure white fog per minute. These were sited at opposite sides of the arena from where the fog was ducted through a complex manifold system to six tree/lamppost sculptures. Each Me8 generator was connected via ducting to three of the tree sculptures then, from the central point of each tree, the fog was ducted up each of the little branches to exit at the tips.
Cameron-Marlow explained: “Environmentally, this is the ideal place from which to distribute haze, and the organic nature of the design is enhanced by not having giant fans to distribute it.”
Cameron-Marlow also noted they were ‘pushing the boundaries’ when ducting the fog along runs of up to 50m. “Generally speaking, fog or haze doesn’t like to be ducted that far because it can change states, condense and end up not producing the effect you want. But we spent some time configuring how we would use them and designing the ducting systems to suit and, with the overall system design in place, they worked an absolute treat.”
As with all outdoor events, wind and weather always present a challenge but the team were able to mitigate the effects by balancing the output of the MDG generators: “Having a well distributed system, particularly for the medium level constant output, means that, whichever way the wind decides to blow, we can always combat it by controlling the output of the Me8s remotely.”