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The First European Festival
What began with some interesting email inquiries and a
rather simple looking internet homepage ended up in probably the best
organized and largest showlaser festival in the world up to date! I speak
about what took place in Grimaud, south of France, at the Mediterranean
The festival was organized by a private event agency based
in Grimaud, in the south of France between Frejus and San Tropez. This
agency had realized multiple laser-enhanced events (like e.g. product
launches) in the past, mainly incorporating French laser companies. Besides
the attractive location, the organizers demonstrated their will to attract
foreign laser companies through truly perfect organization and a more
than warm accommodation from the first minute.
Looking at the primary purpose of the festival (which was
to do lasershows) the schedule looked like this: the first two days prior
to the official festival (October 1st and 2nd) were reserved for technical
rehearsals at the graphics site located besides the chateau of Grimaud.
Laser images were projected on a green-greyish coloured mountain consisting
of rock and vegetation about one kilometre away. It seems quite clear
that this is all but a good projection screen for colored laser graphics.
This site was chosen to incorporate the city of Grimaud (a sponsor of
the festival) more tightly into the festival. Thus, all lasers that were
not either low-divergence or DPSS mostly vanished as soon as they reached
the mountain on the other side of the valley.
October 3rd was the first day open to the public and the start of the festival. The first two nights were reserved for graphical performances of those participants who desired to contribute in this category. The last of the three festival days was reserved for the great finale at the beach of "Port Grimaud" which was to feature mainly beamshows and volumetric performances. But, the organizers had decided to supply a watershield screen and an additional 30 channel dancing fountain installation was supplied by a French company that also included a row of water nozzles that formed a quite good screen surface in a more rectangular shape. Thus, 20% of graphical content was permitted during each company's performance. Looking at the two show categories of the festival, every company participated in the finale with a volumetrical performance but only seven of the nine participating companies supplied an entry for the graphical cathegory. So there were seven graphical performances and nine volumetrical ones to be seen by the public during the festival.
The beach location was not quite as tricky to make a good
show site of as the mountain, but still gave enough room for excitement
as there were no rehearsals planed by the organizers for the final night
at all. Thus, all participants had to start installing their systems on
the beach in the morning of the last show day. Unfortunately, this did
not leave much time for perfect technical alignment as it only became
dark as spectators started to quickly arrive. Never the less, this final
night show probably set new marks in many aspects.
The quality level of all performances was extremely high. Especially if you consider that almost nobody had been there in advance to visit the show sites. The participants showed a great amount of professionalism and flexibility that made a wonderfully huge installation like this possible. Even without rehearsal. The organisers too were very delighted and the crowds seemed pleased by what they saw. So the jury had a very hard time to decide which companies will be awarded. Prices went to Italy (2), the Netherlands (1), France (1), Germany (2) and Belgium (2). But it wasn't the prices that made this week in sunny France a wonderful experience. It was the people.
After all one can say that this festival was a huge success
both for the organizers as well as the participants. Multiple larger cities
nearby have already announced interest in hosting the festival in following
years. And this will be necessary to supply adequate space for more spectators.