The theme for this year’s Halo event in Townsville was Life Under Water which meant AGB Events could tailor both the installations and light show to their client Townsville City Council’s local water activities and marine life. AGB designed and had manufactured five bespoke lighting installations for Queens Gardens along with the soundscape for the Gardens and the Castle Hill Show.

During the event, there was an impending cyclone warning with cyclone Kimi heading towards the site and the team were advised to remove all lighting fixture from the three scaffold towers and make the scaffold towers safe. They also had to secure and make safe all installations in Queens Gardens. On the towers, they removed the clear PVC tarps and secured the tower cladding and 124 fixtures were transferred into the back of two three-ton trucks for safekeeping … all in a day!

A couple of days later, the cyclone threat had passed so the crew reinstated the fixtures and updated the focus positions reopening to the public soon after.

Lighting designer Toby Sewell was asked to deliver a varied, new and dynamic seven-minute light show based on the Life Under Water brief for the Castle Hill show and create an underwater immersive experience for the Queens Gardens site attendees. He was also tasked with proving a better link from the Castle Hill light show to the Queens Gardens where the viewing area and sound system was located.

“Not repeating yourself visually during the seven-minute light show was paramount,” commented Toby. “Creating diverse and interesting effects on Castle Hill was also very important. I also had to light enough of the garden’s significant trees without using too many fixtures in each area. We ended up illuminated about 1.9 hectares throughout the gardens.”

Chameleon’s rig included 28 x Prolights Panorama beams which were the workhorses of the show with their narrow beam. The fixtures were split across the two lighting towers furthest away from Castle Hill, providing a punch of colour, gobo effects and all aerial movement. Eight ProLights Panorama Washes were spread around the Gardens in pairs, predominantly used to add blocks of colour to tree canopies.

Forty Ayrton Perseo were deployed with 28 on the lighting towers and 12 spread around the gardens. On the towers, they were predominately doing the animated water effects and gobo washes. The units in the Gardens had some custom gobos to continue the Marine Life feel but most importantly, they tied the visual effects from the Castle Hill show to the Gardens.

Also on the lighting towers were 22 x ROBE lighting BMFL Blades to provide a second gobo wheel choice and underlying colour enhancement. For tree uplighting, accenting their trunks, there were 77 x

CHAUVET Professional ColorDash LED Pars. Twenty ShowPRO Quad IP Bars uplit the front edge of the manicured Maze at the front of the audience viewing area. A total of 65 x ShowPRO EX 36 LED wash fixtures were used as tree canopy uplights, colour fill and accenting tree trunks.

Ninety ShowPRO DreamFest Festoon bulbs were the central component of the entrance tunnel. The 1.3km of individually addressed RGB ShowPRO LED Festoon fixtures were attached to a 25m long arched walkway, which was the first installation you walked through when entering the gardens.

“It was a pretty spectacular piece!” said Toby. “The DreamFest was great as an en masse installation and once it was up, there was a little maintenance but overall it was very successful. I am a huge fan of the Ayrton Perseo fixtures, both the output and the features that it has are fantastic and as I said earlier the Panorama Beam units are punchy and very reliable.”

Control was via an MA Lighting International MA2 with an active and a spare console.

“I had the pleasure of working with Anthony Lee from LitePix as my programmer for the show which was great, he allowed me to work on the big picture and was then able to add his accents and flair to the show as well,” added Toby. “The Castle Hill show is triggered via QLab which gives us an identical show three times an hour throughout the ten-day festival.”

Toby remarked that it was fantastic working with a team of great people again, Halo had been postponed from its original timeslot in July 2020 so it was wonderful to realize the complete event in Townsville in January 2021.

“Obviously there were some logistical issues around Covid-19 hotspots and state lockdowns which kept us nimble but we all got there,” he said. “The crews that we had from Chameleon, Jam Productions, the AGB team Josh Moore as Head of Production and Olivia Bradley Event Producer, Luke Robson on installations, Geoffrey Compton QLab & Audio and Yoshi our local Lighting Tech …. they were all great.

“I am very fortunate to have the delivery of Parrtjima festival in Alice Springs in April 2021 but after that like the rest of the industry it is very quiet for the foreseeable future.”


Photos: Townsville City Council I Toby Sewell