The week that was… 14 – 21st July 2017

Singapore, weekend 22-23rd July 2017

This week I have a very special guest, events lighting design specialist Frank Kelly, with whom I have struck a great professional friendship and together we are now looking at developing this relationship into a very beneficial project partnership. We can see the potential of combining our expertise of permanent architectural lighting and the dynamic world of events and content design. Frank is very well known by his peers in the events industry with an impressive track record, so I am really looking forward to develop this partnership! I asked Frank (in between his busy tour schedule) to write this week’s blog as to give a bit of insight in his life and the exciting events of a lighting designer, rigger, programmer and operator!

Frank Kelly, events lighting specialist

Over the years, I have witnessed great, unique and inspirational moments in my career as a lighting designer, technician and lighting desk operator. Starting many years ago as a technician placing 12 up lights around a marquee or hotel ball-room, it has now grown to setting up controls systems, rigging and designs for large sporting concerts, festivals and private party events which can have hundreds of moving lights and generics. Working in areas throughout the world in places such as St Barts, Azerbaijan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Europe and my home country of Republic of Ireland.

Starting my career in the London UK was great, it’s truly the home of high class private parties for the rich and famous, I was fortunate to work for a small but special event company in North London that supplied lighting, sound, set and fireworks for large private parties and events for the rich and famous. Events such as in Azerbaijan, St. Barts and Dubai will forever stay in my mind due to the adventure, hardships and issues that came along with them. Making sure the projects are successful is always my number one aim and making the impossible, possible. But knowing the moment to say NO!, is also very important in certain cases. Working with other suppliers and working a tight time line has always been a key part of the job.

Money is no object”, is a line I love to hear from clients. A great example of this is many years ago when Iceland supplied the rest of Europe with the infamous Ash-Cloud that grounded all international flights in Western Europe. I was part of a team that had a project starting in Venice, a 7 deck ship the client had chartered for a 4 day cruise down the Adriatic Sea. The client sent a car for us with a driver, took us to Paris, his private plane was waiting for us and flew us to Venice, where we took a speed boat to the ferry. But then reality hit as we realised that the 40 foot trailer on the port-side full of equipment was waiting for us to be unloaded, setup, tested for a live show within 24hours. Sister Sledge was the main act for that party.

I’ve worked with artists who refuse to let me program lights while they are doing their sound checks, as guests are about to enter the venue. That’s always a challenge. But the fact is, you have to love this job if you want to be successful. It lets you see the world, different aspects of life in all communities, learning new techniques, ideas and solutions when watching other talented lighting designers from different continents. The down sides are that at times you are working when others are already on their way home or getting up early mornings and going home late nights, working for 24hours and sleeping for 2…

But I can’t complain as for the past 3 years, it’s been non-stop for work, spending 3-4 months of the year in the Middle East working on many large & spectacular shows, events & ceremonies. 4-5 months in UK and Europe and the rest of the time in Asia and Singapore. So I’m one of the lucky LD’s that manage to hit all 3 areas in the peak season.

You will always encounter some great and talented people and meeting Martin has been one of those fortunate pleasures. Since meeting Martin we have struck a friendship and now I’m working as part of his new live event team and looking forward to translate our cooperation into a lasting success!

It’s really a strange, exciting, challenging and adventurous job, being a lighting designer, rigger, tech and programmer!

Frank Kelly

Pop concerts

Fashion shows

Ceremonies and celebrations, sporting events



Corporate events and fundraisers



Private Parties

22. July 2017 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting applications, lighting design, lighting design practice | Leave a comment

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