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Justin Young designs Elation lighting rig for Mars Music Hall

Mars Music Hall, the newest venue of Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, debuted its Elation Professional lighting rig in early January 2020, an occasion that set the tone for the next eight weeks of shows before the venue went into Covid-19 hibernation.


The inaugural show on January 3rd featured Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, and  highlighted the intimate character of the venue’s design with its wrapping balcony overlooking a 50 ft wide stage. Justin Young, production supervisor at Von Braun Center (VBC) the past six years, designed the lighting system for the new space and worked with Freed Sales to secure an Elation lighting package.


The 1,575 capacity Mars Music Hall is the only space at VBC with a fully automated lighting system. “I knew from the start that I wanted to go with all LED,” says Young. “Not only did we not want to mess with lamps but we’re trying to get our power draw footprint down as far as we can and this was an obvious area to help with that.” Because the room is relatively small and with trims of only 22 feet, Young knew that LED would be fine for it. “You don’t need the biggest and brightest for every application,” he says.


One of the main challenges at Mars Music Hall was working amongst and around ducting, HVAC, existing electrical, etc. Young had to make some functional decisions based on immovable objects. “For example, in order to work around existing HVAC pipe in the ceiling, I created two front V-shaped trusses that avoid the pipe. It adds a visual difference to the three overhead horizontal trusses,” he states.


Eighteen Fuze Wash Z350 fixtures populate the downstage truss and both V-shaped trusses. As for spot fixtures, Young opted for 12 x Artiste DaVinci. Filling out the rig are 14 x Dartz 360 LED beam/spot moving heads used for aerial beam effects from overhead truss and floor positions; ten SixBar 1000 LED battens hung across the upstage truss to downlight the curtain or frame out the stage; four Cuepix Blinder WW4s providing white light from the midstage truss; and 18 x SixPar 100 populating every stick of truss as colorful truss warming effects.


On each side of the stage are LED screens running Arkaos media server content. Forty-six Colour Pendants, installed by Axis Productions of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, provide a dynamic house lighting solution above the audience. Also in use at Mars Music Hall are 3 x eNode8 Pro and one Opto Branch 8.




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