Drawing mixed reviews from his headlining Glastonbury set this summer, Kanye West made sure he made the headlines either way, at one point deciding that he was ‘the greatest living rock star on the planet’.

Opting for a minimalist set design, just Kanye, his ego and at one point a stage-invader (quickly removed) were all to take the stage that night.

Providing the theatrics for the stripped back stage show was a visually impressive 792-strong par can rig controlled by 16 Avolites ART2000 48 way 16A dimmers and 2 Avolites Power Cubes.                  

Lighting experts, Elstree Light & Power (ELP) supplied the rig and the dimmers for the huge rectangular array of par cans, which moved up and down during West’s set as 135,000 revellers watched in awe at the Pyramid Stage. 

ELP’s Chris Rand oversaw the delivery of the kit, reporting directly to Kanye West’s ‘people’.

“Avolites is the preferred dimmer supplier for ELP, and we’ve been a long time fan of Avolites kit with a large stock of Avolites ART2000 dimmers and Power Cubes,” commented Chris. “We came in rather late on this project and immediately turned to in-house Avolites dimmers – we regard them as the industry standard for robust, reliable Rock and Roll dimming, and so did the client.”

“It looks like the retro lighting theme is back – Kanye may have started a revolution in old school rock lighting!”

“Kanye decided to scale up the amount of dimmers to power his huge rig, so Neg Earth had a huge request for Avolites dimming in a short space of time,” adds Avolites’ Koy Neminathan. “We supplied on short notice and we were proud to have our world renown dimmers on the headline act on Saturday night.

“Avolites have been involved with Glastonbury festival for over 20 years and despite our lighting consoles being present on the majority of stages, the dimmers stole the show this year,” he continues.

“The Art 2000 dimmers are widely used by all reputable rental companies throughout the UK but never get the exposure as lighting consoles do. They serve a simple purpose on every gig but are forgotten easily as they sit there working 15 hour shifts quietly by the stage.”

The rapper took to the Pyramid Stage at 10.15pm for an hour and a half set, which became the top trending topic on Twitter during the performance.

“It looks like the retro lighting theme is back – Kanye may have started a revolution in old school rock lighting!” Chris notes. “Of course, this is something ELP is absolutely no stranger to: 800 par cans is what we were totally used to 30 years ago on some large rock and roll shows!”

The ART2000 dimmers provide a complete solution to dimming, moving light power and data distribution.

There’s no need for separate mains distribution or DMX splitters making set up times faster and lowering the number of individual components needed to put a show together. 

The ART2000 controls up to 48 individual channels using four plug in modules of 12 channels each.

The two compact Avolites Power Cubes offer quick setup and boast 12 dimmer circuits at 10A each, six combined dimmer/fixed mains at 10A each, six fixed mains at 16A each and two utility CEE16 outlets at 16A each. 

“When Kanye came on to do his set, the lighting looked awesome and we immediately knew we’d hit the nail on the head,” Chris enthuses. “Avolites has always given us the support we need and we know their dimmers are built to withstand the festival environment.”

Check out the video below of the retro lighting in action (which can be watched on mute, FYI).

Meanwhile, the last slide in the slideshow to the right looks back to a Kanye gig in 2013 where he stopped the show mid-song to hurl abuse at the lighting crew for “f***ing up’ his show.”

The video shows Kanye become frustrated with a pillar of light that isn’t doing what he wants, shouting into the mic: “turn off both lights now! Does someone want to talk to me and tell me why they are f***ing up the show?” – then promptly flouncing off the stage.

YouTube user N17771 commented on the video “As a lighting director, I would turn on the house lights and quit after that.  Let’s see how good your show looks with no lights.”

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