It is the second year running that WI has worked on this high profile EDM event staged at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, following a successful collaboration last year when they were initially brought on-board by StageCo, with whom they are a frequent collaborator. This year the WI project team, led by Yves Vervloet, worked directly for event organisers Insomniac and Jake Berry’s technical production team led by Bryan Yablonski.
A hundred and thirty-two feathers assembled in 28 wing sections were a major part of the WI brief.
They also built a 15 metre wide ‘eye circle’ rigged behind the head of a huge inflatable Gaia; two arches positioned behind two scenic owls flanking the Gaia and four bracelets to support the Gaia’s arms - all challenges for this year edition of the festival.
All these WI items were designed and supplied with dollies so they can be practically and efficiently toured to other EDC events worldwide in the future.
Yves explains that after seeing the first designs in February “it was clear that we needed a technical concept for the wings to make them look realistic, 3D and still be tourable.” Jake Berry wanted to utilize less scenic components and more video for greater portability, so together with Jake and during load in of EDC Mexico in February, WI came up with this concept and an initial setup design was created.
The event’s design team was pleased with the idea and re-designed the setup based on this refined feather concept.
The 28 complete wing assemblies are a combination of 4 and 5-feathered versions - six of the larger 5-feather variety and 22 4-feather. Each feather measures 6 metres wide by 1.3 metres high, is 15 cm deep and weighs 90 Kgs. For each combination, the feathers were assembled on special custom hinge systems so they can slide open like a real bird wing during lifting.
A special double heavy duty truss was specified by WI for the task, with the wings hung on the front rail, counterweighted by 15 x 2 tonne video screen rigging motors hung on the back rail.
Twelve tonnes of lifting capacity were needed on each of these two 30 metre support trusses (stage left and right) to raise all the wings.
The feathers have a custom integral pivot assembly system designed by WI for ease of rigging, so the dollies were all lined up onstage alongside the supporting truss and the feathers attached to special hooks on the truss.
As the truss was raised, the feathers lifted and folded out of the dollies.
To keep the feathers in the desired positions, each is related to the previous feather using an adjustable Reutlinger steel.
Nine 2-tonne motors were used for the final lift. Four tilting motors kept the balance at the back as the truss was lifted ... making a total lifting capacity of 20 tonnes per truss.
WI designed and supplied special delta plates to combine 2 x 2 tonne motors at the heaviest lifting points. The truss and motors were sourced by video suppliers, VER.
Once the wings were at trim height, the truss was dead hung before rigging the 20 tonne video wall.
The StageCo stage structure itself was designed and built withspecial header blocks for these truss motors and StageCo, led by Tom Frederickx, supplied all the black steel support for the general stage area as well as the scenic and video elements making up the complete Gaia stage set.
In addition to the wings, WI also made the two 50m wide 'eyebrows' for the Gaia comprising two big arches that sat in front of the feathers, as well as the 15-metre diameter ‘eye’ circular piece flown behind the head.
The four bracelets - two for each arm - were an aluminium construction and served the practical purpose of securing the inflatable dolly - made by Airworks - to the StageCo structure!
The eyebrows and eye circle were made from aluminium frames, complete with front and side cladding and supplied with bespoke brackets and tubes to which moving lights were out-rigged.
The elaborate fabrics and printing applied to the set pieces were supplied and coordinated by Michiel Eijlders from Vertical Vision in the Netherlands. All the fabrics are attached onto the frames at the WI’s warehouse in Heist-op-den-Berg before shipping.
"It was great to be asked back to work on this incredible event again" stated Yves, "I really appreciate the amount of detailing that goes into the overall design and the dedication by Insomniac, Jake Berry and their team to delivering the highest possible production values and guest experiences for festival fans.
“Added to that, the synergy and collaboration between all the different individuals, companies and departments involved in making it happen is truly impressive. It unites a fantastic international team with unique skills all sharing a real passion for their work … and I think the results are amazing”.
All these eye-catching set elements have been designed and built to be tourable and have a life on the road! The next time they will appear … will be at EDC Orlando in November.
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