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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival



Day 12 - Saturday August 14 - Show day 9

    Today is the last day of the Water Festival and the last show! The weather is bright and sunny with a few scattered clouds drifting through the sky. Jan, Adela, Arvid and myself gathered at Master Control at 14:00 to go off to a late lunch in Gamla Stan. Jan lead the way to an outdoor table at a restaurant on a square with an old fountain. I had a reindeer meat appetiser while the others stuck to more conventional fare. The food was delicious and served with an almost decorative flare, artfully garnished with fresh herbs.

   View from our table
View from our table.

    We chatted about our experiences in the laser business and about the Urström show and all of the challenges and problems we had encountered. I asked Jan if he would do it again and he replied "Why not? But next time I would tell the festival that the first night was a dress rehearsal that the public was welcome to watch... so we could have a chance to get all the problems sorted out... ya" After a relaxed lunch, our first one on real china with metal cutlery in some time, Jan headed off to meet with a client.
    Adela, Arvid an I took a brief stroll through the old city as Adela had not had a chance to see it yet having been absorbed with the show. Since it was still early, and we had to pack right after the show, Adela decided to go home and catch a nap while Arvid went to meet friends. I wandered off to visit the Viking village and look around the Palace.
    The Viking village turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. I had expected some sort of educational or historic display but it turned out to be vendors in Viking costume selling Viking food, clothes and jewellery although there was an artist painting a Runestone with a traditional design. I did had an opportunity to admire the Viking ship and take a few photos.

Artisans in Viking costume 1 Artisans in Viking costume 2
Artisans in Viking costume at the village.

    Next I wandered over to the palace. While I had been working in front of it, I had not had a chance to see much except the facade that overlooks the square. The front courtyard had a row of old cannons on either side with a sentry in traditional uniform in front of his pillbox at the entrance. The pillars were ornately carved and the military had a recruiting display in the street in front of the courtyard as part of the Water Festival.

Cannon and sentry stand guard over the main entrance to the Palace
Cannon and sentry stand guard over the main entrance to the Palace.

    I returned to Master Control and did a bit of pre-packing until the rest of the crew showed up. When Bo arrived, he presented me with a beautiful, autographed book of his sculptures. This was the first time I had seen some of his exquisite artworks.
    By now we had the set-up down to a routine. I prevailed upon Magnus to stand in at the controls for my smoke machines so that I could take the Opera side controls and see the show from that side. Suddenly the pre-show routine was interrupted by a frantic call from Arvid. The ground fault detectors were tripping and knocking out the power for the control system at the beam position and the basket system. After some diagnosis, it was determined that the basket system was to blame so Adela, who was already in costume at the top of the tower for her performance, had Olle haul the basket in from it's pre-show position.
    Adela discovered that it was the lights on the basket that were causing the problem. they had worked flawlessly for the entire run of the show but now had a short - probably due to rain overnight. The decision was made to disconnect them and the basket system was sent out into it's first position just seconds before the show started.

The last show
The last show.

    This was my first opportunity to see the show from the Opera side away from the chatter and bustle that surrounds master control. The view from this side was far more spectacular with the beams being more visible from this vantage point. During the Palace facade projections, there was a hush amongst the vast crowd of spectators. The music drifted across the still waters of the lake and an air of reverence seemed to envelop the site as the magnificent images unfolded. The finale with Adela appearing above the water and deflecting laser beams into the sky was stunning, even though she was not as visible as usual. The climax with the fire towers and the sky filled with laser beams of every colour was spectacular. Overall the show created a powerful and lasting impression that is hard to put into words, a sublime visual treat larger than life.

    The last notes had barely died away when the audio crew began packing their equipment. While the Water Festival remained open until 02:00 we were hard at work packing all of our equipment right after the show. Everything had to be recovered from all over the site and with only five of us, this took some time. It was full daylight by the time the truck was loaded and sent off to the studio and we went home to collapse into bed.

Next Day - Sunday August 15 >
Day 1 - Tuesday August 3 - Set-up day 1 Day 8 - Tuesday August 10 - Show Day 5
Day 2 - Wednesday August 4 - Set-up day 2 Day 9- Wednesday August 11- Show day 6
Day 3 - Thursday August 5 - Set-up day 3 Day 10- Thursday August 12 - Show day 7
Day 4 - Friday August 6 - Show day 1 Day 11- Friday August 13 - Show day 8
Day 5 - Saturday August 7 - Show day 2 Day 12 - Saturday August 14 - Show day 9
Day 6 - Sunday August 8 - Show day 3 Day 13 - Sunday August 15
Day 7 - Monday August 9 - Show day 4  

Quick Links to Report Pages

Stockholm Water Festival Report - Introduction
Sweden and Stockholm - Background and general information
The Site - Orientation to the show area and the challenges it presented
The Crew - The people who put it all together
Tech Specs - The equipment used in the presentation
The Music - An interview with the composer and MP3 file of the soundtrack
Smoke on the water - Covering a lake with smoke for beam effects
The Show - A description with many pictures
Animated Gifs - Gifs showing Palace projections and climatic beam effects
Stadshuset - Stockholm City Hall tour (very large page)
Show Diary - Day-to-day coverage of the trials and triumphs


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