Texas tradition: Strait tours with HES
It's a Texas tradition. Every spring, country superstar George Strait hits
the road for his Country Music Festival Tour. And Texas-based Dallas Backup
is once again supplying an all High End Systems lighting rig for the tour.
The weekend-only, family-oriented tour kicked off March 24 and runs
to June 10 throughout the U.S. It's an all-day event that starts at noon
and ends past 10 p.m.
Mainstage acts include Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Lee Ann Womack, Brad
Paisley, Asleep at the Wheel and Sara Evans, with Strait closing the show.
More acts play in "Straitland," an area that recreates a carnival midway
atmosphere with games, food and drinks, autograph booths and contests for
special backstage passes.
Production manager Paul Rogers and LD Stacey LaBarbera set the tone
for the show with an automated lighting package that includes 48 High End
Systems Studio Color 575s wash luminaires, 34 Studio Spot 575 projection
luminaires and 20 Cyberlight Litho fixtures, supplemented with 120 PAR
cans and other conventional gear. Two crews with two sets of steel and
identical equipment packages leapfrog from show to show to make it happen.
Manning the Saturday shows are crew chief Randy Smith, and light techs
Steve Gabaldon and Gerrad Kelly. Taking over on Sunday shows are crew chief
John Beller and light techs Gary Elliott and Keith Allen. The three-person
crew is assisted by 16 stagehands, who put up the show in 12 hours. Saturday's
show goes up on Friday at 8 a.m., while Sunday's show goes up Saturday
at 8 a.m.
Dallas Backup first put High End Systems fixtures on Strait's show
in 1991, and they have continued the tradition with new HES products as
time went on. But the company's relationship with Strait goes back further
to 1982. Says Dallas Backup's Charles Belcher, "It's a rarity in this industry
to be involved with an artist like this for going on 19 years now. He's
more than a client -- it's a wonderful relationship we have with George
and his management. We appreciate that and we count our blessings every
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