Elite Multimedia delivers LED entertainment lighting rig for Music City Big Break competition

Jan. 13, 2016
Created to showcase the most talented new musical acts from across the United States, Music City Big Break recently launched its inaugural competition inside the Mercy Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee. With one of the largest prize packages ever offered in a new artist competition, Music City Big Break founder and producer David Bell worked alongside co-founder and producer John C. Davis to bring together a production that could capture the full attention of artists, managers, agents, and music fans everywhere. Needing a reliable production partner to assist them in creating a lighting and video atmosphere ready to take on such a competition, they called upon Elite Multimedia to bring in the most expansive LED entertainment lighting and video rig the Mercy Lounge has ever experienced.

“As an entertainment consultant, I am close with the management team at Mercy Lounge where they host the music series ‘8 off 8th’ which is overseen by David Bell,” began Davis. “So when David was looking at ways to re-invigorate the ‘8 off 8th’ series, we started talking about doing a whole new program that would bring all the new artist showcases in Nashville into one production. Understanding what we wanted to accomplish, we then started reaching out to all the various new artist curators, venues and festivals, and we invited everyone to take part in what would be called Music City Big Break. We really had no idea what we were going to end up with, but we ended up securing a number of the most popular new artists in Nashville and we quickly had to expand our expectations due to the tremendous response we received.”

With Music City Big Break now alive, Bell and Davis got to work bringing together a full production team that could help them transform the Mercy Lounge into a dynamic festival environment. Knowing they needed both a reliable production designer and live event production provider, Steven Dahl was brought on board as the production director, and Nashville-based Elite Multimedia was asked to participate as the production lighting and video provider.

“As the technical director for Marathon Music Works, I’ve been involved in a number of new artist productions throughout Nashville,” said Dahl. “When John and David reached out to me about taking part Music City Big Break, I was excited to join in to execute the production to the best standards possible. We really wanted to put together an event that showcased all the best features of Nashville, and we wanted to bring something into the Mercy Lounge that they had never seen before.”

Davis added, “Music City Big Break is the largest production footprint that has ever taken place inside the Mercy Lounge and when I started looking at a gear provider to help us with the production package, I knew that the team at Elite Multimedia would be our best bet. Because of some production time constraints, the stage really had to come together quickly, and I knew that Elite Multimedia could deliver all we needed to pull off this inaugural production the right way.”

With Elite Multimedia now on board as the LED entertainment lighting and video provider, Dahl began working with lighting designer Jeff Mathews and Elite Multimedia project manager Jon Chavez to create the ideal rig for Music City Big Break.

“Going through the warehouse at Elite Multimedia is like being a kid in a candy store,” continued Dahl. “They have everything that you could want in the latest technology and this was such a big production that nearly every piece of gear used came from Elite Multimedia. Within this design, we were able to build a show unlike any the Mercy Lounge has seen before, and I couldn’t have seen a better production partner for Music City Big Break.”

“When we got the call at Elite Multimedia that we had been selected as the production partner for Music City Big Break we needed to get the gear list together pretty quick,” added Chavez. “To get started we first met with the production team and then we set up a mock rig at the shop that same day. We wanted to put together a rig that we knew would look good for them and it really turned out amazing.”

"For the live audience experience, I like to keep front light not too overwhelming for the artist on stage or the crowd, but since we were also shooting for camera we had to find a good balance between the two,” explained Mathews. “I think we ultimately reached a good solution using the Chauvet COLORado Batten 72 LEDs as downstage up light and the Clay Paky B-EYE K10LEDs for side wash. This combination created some dramatic lighting and enhanced the stages depth. The production design really came together into a beautiful final product quickly thanks to everyone at Elite Multimedia who was fantastic to work with and great at helping us find exactly what we needed to make the full production a success."

As the production moved into the load-in and programming phase, it was now that the production team behind Music City Big Break really started to shine. Needing to light for both the live experience and the camera crew, the team utilized a lighting and video package from Elite Multimedia that included PixelFLEX FLEXLite PLUS 3.9mm LED video tiles with a Green Hippo Media Server, along with Ayrton MagicBlade-R LED, Clay Paky A.leda B-EYE K10 LED, Chauvet COLORado Batten 72 LED, and Elation CUEPIX Blinder WW2 LED luminaires.

Mathews explained further, “Since the event encompasses a camera crew, we had to have lighting all throughout the room to tie it into the rig on stage and ultimately make the room look bigger. In the programming phase, I went through and built a lot of different color effects and complete looks, then dedicated certain things to certain bands specifically so that they didn't get reused during the show and it kept the looks fresh throughout. I really tried to match the looks on stage with the genre and feeling of the music, and with the great selection of lighting and video gear provided by Elite Multimedia, we have exactly what we needed to pull that off.”

“When building the show, it’s all about communication between the artists and the crew,” admitted Dahl. “Through listening to their music it gives us a good idea of the general feel and content that we wish to provide, but before each show we need to communicate with them to see if there is any exclusive content that they want. It’s all about putting together the best picture for everybody involved, not only the artist on stage, but for the fans and Music City Big Break as well.”

“We definitely wanted to provide the production with fixtures that could create a wide variety of looks without overpowering the room,” agreed Chavez. “In the design, the COLORado Batton 72 fixtures created eye candy on the walls throughout the Mercy Lounge beautifully filling the room with color. The MagicBlades really brought the room to life through their continuous double rotation on both a PAN/TILT axis. The A.leda K10 B-Eye fixtures gave us cool displays behind the bands, and the CuePix Blinders brought the crowd into the show. All this added together with the FLEXLite 3.9mm LED video tiles behind the band to frame the stage and give the room an expanded feel, really created a tremendous production for not only the audience, but also for the artists performing onstage who got to experience this wildly creative production design.”

On Friday, December 11th, The Gills were announced as the first ever winners of Music City Big Break. Awarded a grand prize package valued at over $50,000, both the band and new showcase event have now branded themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Looking back on the production of Music City Big Break, the producers are in awe of both the journey that has begun and the team that helped bring it all together.

“This whole process has been unbelievably satisfying,” admitted Dahl. “Jeff Mathews and Jon Chavez are two of the utmost professionals in this business, and through the collaborative effort of everyone involved, we created a beautiful final product that none of us could have imagined in the start.”

“In addition to the overwhelmingly positive response we received from the artists themselves, we have built a strong relationship with the agents, managers, and music lovers throughout the area,” concluded Davis. “We never could have anticipated how wonderfully the music community would embrace Music City Big Break, and we owe a big part of that embrace to our talented production team and the team at Elite Multimedia who really are the production partner you want to take into battle with you. Each night the competition grew in attendance and we have blown the doors off Nashville.”

Music City Big Break is co-produced by Neoteric Presents, a subsidiary of Radius Group, Inc., a multi-award winning, live-event production services company based in Aptos, California. Radius Group event architects design & execute strategic marketing campaigns & brand activations at live events. Clients range from the largest Fortune 50 companies to smaller joint projects, including large-scale corporate theater events. Services also extend into music touring, galas, festivals, trade-shows, display booths, product launches, global road shows, arena events, private parties and themed events. For more information on Radius Group, Inc., please visit www.radiusgroupinc.com.

Based in Nashville, TN, Elite Multimedia is a privately-owned, leading supplier of the most up-to-date audio, video and lighting technologies today. With a combined 85 years of industry experience, our team of dedicated professionals knows how to pair the right technology with your vision whether partnering with you in a rental, systems installation, or sales relationship. Through an unconditional desire to make your production or project a complete success, our passion and knowledge to innovate knows no bounds. For more information on how Elite Multimedia is the right partner for you, follow us on Twitter at @EliteMultimedia or find us on Facebook.


David Venus - Elite Multimedia