Graduation Ball at Nottingham University is always a difficult event to provide sound and lighting solutions for. This is due to a number of reasons including unusually low noise limits and venues spread out around the site!
Making a white marquee look the part to cater for live acts can be difficult. The main venue at Graduation ball is a 20x50m marquee. In order to give the right appearance and atmosphere, it was decided that TEC would drape the entire roof of the marquee with black wool surge based Starcloth and also use black wool surge to cover the walls of the marquee. This provided a fantastic atmosphere both for the live acts and also for the 4000 partygoers attending the event.
The next challenge was to create a stage in the marquee which utilises all of the limited space restricted by the pitched roof of the marquee. To overcome this obstacle, TEC provided a revolutionary stage design as can be seen in the picture below. This was designed in house and the designs approved by the trussing manufacturer. This stage design which also incorporated a multi-level staging platform coped fantastically well catering for acts such as a 12 piece salsa dance performance, a DJ set from the Hoosiers, the Audio Bullys and entertainment provided by Joel formerly of JK and Joel.
The second venue also utilised a large 14m wide truss structure to accommodate the plethora of acts to grace the stage including a 6 piece jazz band, the Radio 1 DJ Nihal and a Rat Pack tribute act.
Now for the technical bits!
The first technical challenge is power; TEC had to provide power for each venue with backup facilities in case of difficulties. This was achieved by utilising 5 gen-sets including a twin synchronised 375KVa generator kicking out 400A per phase and a myriad of medium sized trailer sets.
Both the main venues shared over 52 intelligent lighting fixtures including Martin MAC profiles and washes, Clay Paky 575 profiles and High-End Technobeams. There were also too many Martin Atomics on site to count and lots of exciting effects such as Thomas Pixel line and Martin wizards. These were all run off a Pearl Expert and a Jands Hog machine.
The main building within the site was also lit using architectural lighting in the form of Studio Due City colours.
The biggest challenge faced at Graduation ball is the surprisingly low noise limits, allowing only 85dB outside the marquees. This problem was overcome by cleverly designing P.A systems for both venues. The main venue P.A consisted of over 20 Nexo Alpha cabinets as FOH and Alpha-E infill with Nexo PS15 monitor wedges. The P.A was distributed so as to achieve around a comfortable 110dB throughout the inside of the marquee whilst staying within the noise limits.
The P.A in the smaller venue consisted of Nexo PS15 cabinets, Nexo S2 cabinets and Nexo PS10 monitor wedges, again this system was distributed around the venue – utilising around 500m of speaker cable! Fortunately, the careful planning behind this system meant that it also achieved the goal of having a comfortable volume throughout the tent whilst staying within the noise limits.
All in all, the event was a great success and we very much look forward to working on this project again in the future!