The recent three-day Way Out West Festival (WOW), which attracted over 27,500 people to Gothenburg’s Slottsskogen Park, disappointed fans of headliner Neil Young, who cancelled at the last minute due to his guitarist breaking two fingers backstage, just hours before they were due to go on. But in every other respect was a major success.
SGM X-5 white strobes, used on two of the main stages, became one of only two major lighting brands on view, and helped to accentuate performances by Public Enemy, Alicia Keys, Håkan Hellström, The Knife, Haim, Local Natives, Bat For Lashes, Grimes, Graveyard, Ingrid, Iris Dement, GOAT, Phosphorescent, Cat Power, James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Junip and many more.
The switch to LED lights showed Way Out West’s attempts to become resource-efficient, with the promoters carefully choosing which type of energy they use — including LED lighting. Its green credentials are further demonstrated by the fact that it is the first festival in Sweden to be certified by KRAV, an organisation that develops and maintains regulations for ecological sustainable agriculture.
So where did the 30 SGM X-5’s fit into the equation? Major rental company Starlight provided the technical infrastructure and their project manager, Hakan Axlid, confirmed that "we have made the investment in 30 X-5s because of the demand from within the industry for this fixture.” He confirmed that he was more than happy with the decision.
Also singing their praises was experienced LD Calle Brattberg, who would have used the LED strobes most recently as one of the operators at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö.
"What's great about the X-5,” he says, “is that when you're in seven-channel mode, you can split the cells. This means you can have a real play around with its capabilities, make a little chase here and there, stuff like that.
“On top of that, of course, it's a tremendously efficient fixture with regard to power consumption. You can also load more strobes onto each circuit — far more than you can on a traditional strobe in my experience.”
He also highlights the incredible brightness of the X-5. “I mean, we only had 15 in use per stage here at Way Out West, but it was more than enough.
“These [X-5’s] are becoming very popular, and for good reason. We get less and less time on stages these days but our post-production time is longer — and products like this mean the industry is going in the right direction. New gear, like the X-5, is getting much more efficient, and as a result, we operators are no longer having to do the graveyard shifts. Also, the better the kit gets, of course, the more creative possibilities we will continue to have."
And so WOW recorded another successful event. Even the disappointment of Neil Young’s cancellation was mitigated by the fact that as a gesture of goodwill, the Festival turned all Thursday tickets into full weekend passes.