Northern Light Events and C venues Green up their Act at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Events division of leading UK sound and lighting installer Northern Light is working with one of the biggest venue producers on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – C venues – to ‘green-up’ the latest addition to its stable of festival venues – C aquila.

Head of hire and events for Northern Light, Nick Read, has teamed up with C venues production manager Richard Williamson, artistic director (and international lighting designer) Hartley Kemp, and industry journalist Sarah Rushton-Read to collaborate on an energy-efficient lighting rig that will not compromise creative expression or practical application.

To that end, Read, Williamson and Rushton-Read trawled the aisles of PLASA Focus in Leeds and the ABTT Show in London to source the very best in low-energy entertainment technology. Read comments: “I’m delighted to say that having established the kit we required we received unfettered support from a number of top lighting manufacturers and suppliers. They include Robert Juliat with its Aledin LED profile; White Light, which is exclusive distributor for a number of low energy and LED pro lighting kit including the impressive RevEAL CW LED Washlight from Prism Projection; ETC with its Selador range of LED wash lights, dimmers, consoles and low-wattage Source Four Juniors; and Philips with its Selecon range of low-wattage Fresnels and PCs. This is fantastic as we have just 63A single phase available to run two performance spaces, catering and a bar!”

Read, Williamson, Rushton-Read and Kemp’s priority was to develop a lighting rig that would offer full creative flexibility yet be as low-energy as possible. Williamson comments: “It‘s essential that we don’t go green just for the sake of it – that can often do more damage than good! The entertainment technology products we will be using have to make sense on all fronts – creatively, practically and logistically. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe presents a number of unique challenges. Venues generally have limited power available, many hosting up to ten different shows a day, and turnaround between shows is tight – less than 15 minutes in most cases. Such a gruelling schedule demands that technical kit is robust, quick to rig, de-rig, set up, adjust and programme and, in particular, quick and simple to maintain.”

Read continues: “We’ve chosen equipment we believe will sit comfortably with the demanding schedule, fast set up and turnarounds, however Northern Light technicians will be on hand to offer incoming theatre companies any training, help or advice they may need.”

Rushton-Read will document activities, measure results and feed back information online through Northern Light Fringe Networking Site, Facebook and Twitter, she explains: “Not only will we document the all important numbers, but also the artists and technicians response to the new kit. We’ll look at how user friendly and fit for purpose it is and feedback on how quick and easy it is to programme. We aim to evaluate the wider environmental impact of C venues using British Standard BS8901 – Sustainability Management System for Events. This process will help us identify areas where the operation can be improved in a truly sustainable way – environmentally, economically and practically.”

At the end of the Festival, Northern Light Events, C venues and Sarah Rushton-Read will compile a report detailing the successes and any issues raised and look at where improvements can be made. It will also detail recommendations for next year’s event. It will be available for download from C venues, Northern Light and The Fifth Estate websites.

Hartley Kemp, artistic director for C venues concludes: “We’re deeply concerned about the environmental impact of festivals like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and we welcome the chance to play our part in improving its sustainability. However, we also believe strongly in what we do artistically. We are therefore aiming to take a realistic approach to reducing our carbon emissions and our wider impact on the environment, in order to achieve minimal environmental impact without compromising creative expression. C venues is not claiming to be the greenest of the green or anywhere near the elysian fields of carbon neutrality. What we’re doing is taking the first positive steps to reduce our CO2 emissions, waste and environmental impact. I believe this exercise will give us the context and benchmarks by which to achieve effective results year on year.”

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