HARMAN’s Martin MAC Axiom Hybrid Delivers a Massive Synchronized Visual Display at Eaux Claires 2016

EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin— Thousands of festival goers were treated to a weekend of incredible musical performances, breathtaking art installations and dazzling light displays at Eaux Claires 2016—the second annual music festival curated by Bon Iver front man, Justin Vernon. Held in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the festival received widespread acclaim for its eclectic lineup and an innovative lighting design that turned the festival grounds into an extension of the stage. Creative director Michael Brown created the impressive display, using new Martin MAC Axiom™ Hybrid fixtures, which were deployed onstage and across the festival grounds. 

“Eaux Claires is a music festival, but we also pride ourselves on the production and the visual experience,” Brown explains. “A big part of that is treating the festival grounds as a key component of the production process. We put a large emphasis on making sure everything is controllable from FOH, so the entire grounds can react to whatever is happening onstage. We want everyone to experience the performance, even if they’re not watching the show.”

The Eaux Claires musical lineup included Erykah Badu, James Blake, Deafheaven, Beach House, Bon Iver and many other acclaimed artists. In addition to the musical performances, art installations and sculptures were on display throughout the festival grounds. The centerpiece was a massive cuboid organ sculpture called “Baroque,” which was created in collaboration by Brown and renowned Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi. In-between sets on the main stage, classical organists would perform on a console organ housed within the sculpture, which was reinforced with its own PA system. In order to light the structure and increase the dramatic effect, Brown used 12 MAC Axiom Hybrids in weather domes surrounding the perimeter of the grounds. The domes were then placed on top of scaffolding towers, with throw distances up to 700 feet from the sculpture. 

“Not only did we want the sculpture to light up, but we wanted the entire grounds to have shafts of light that directed attention toward these Baroque performances,” said Brown. “It was a hugely dramatic effect to see the Axioms spread across the grounds, all focusing on this one moment. We used deep and saturated colors from such long distances. No other light would be able to throw that kind of saturation that far. At other times, we turned the MAC Axiom Hybrids into roaming spotlights, and it was astounding to see the beams cutting through the air without any haze. I was impressed that a light could be this bright and versatile in such a small form factor.” 

Brown’s production design for the main stage was built around Bon Iver’s performance and live premiere of their new album, “22, A Million.” The 10-track album features iconographic song titles that are made up of different symbols with artwork created by visual artist Eric Carlson. To showcase this imagery, Brown designed a layout of 10 LED panels staggered over the stage with lighting incorporated to their rigging that reflected and related to each song/symbol. The LED panels wrapped around the stage to form a pyramid layout, which was reinforced by a pyramid grid of MAC Axiom Hybrids overhead and on the floor. The CMY color performance from the MAC Viper color system in the fixtures enabled Brown to deliver deep and saturated colors with exceptional brightness. 

“As a designer, I rely heavily on color mixing as one of the tools for effects in my shows,” said Brown. “This record is a departure stylistically for Bon Iver, and I found myself gravitating to much deeper colors—from greens to blues to lavenders and magentas. All of the color palettes in this show were super saturated, which I normally wouldn’t be able to incorporate in my design unless it was from an LED source. But with the MAC Axiom Hybrids, I could dial in any color I wanted and have it punch through.” 

Milwaukee-based lighting and sound provider Clearwing Productions supplied the lighting rig for the festival and worked closely with Brown to implement his design. Clearwing supplied the rig for the first Eaux Claires festival in 2015, and they were excited to show Brown the capabilities of the MAC Axiom Hybrids for the 2016 festival. 

“Our goal is to provide our clients with the industry’s most innovative and powerful lighting solutions, which is why we were one of the first production companies in the U.S. to carry the MAC Axiom Hybrid,” said Steve Harvey, Key Accounts Executive, Clearwing Productions. “It’s really important for us to offer rider-friendly solutions, and based on their performance at Eaux Claires, we believe we’ll be using them a lot in the future.”

“I feel like we’re actively watching a revolution in lighting technology,” said Brown. “For the MAC Axiom Hybrids to have the brightness, the beam ability, a CMY color system and the ability to do multiple prism effects—it’s a dream come true scenario for me. I’ve been waiting for the moment that all of these things would coalesce into one fixture.”


HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and connected services.  With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. The Company’s software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $7.0 billion during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR. 
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