PROJECT FOCUS: Innovative Claypaky Skylos Searchlights Light Up The Sky At UK’s 2023 Glastonbury Festival
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It was hard to beat the magnitude of the star power at the 2023 Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, but one dozen innovative Claypaky Skylos seachlights held their own against headlining acts on the Pyramid Stage, including the UK’s last live touring performance of Sir Elton John. Placed on the ground and producing super-concentrated beams of lights, the Skylos searchlights showed themselves to be extremely versatile fixtures that are more than simple searchlights, creating dense, solid beams of light and ever-greater light output.

This year Glastonbury attracted headliners Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses and Elton John, with Yusuf/Cat Stevens performing in the Legends slot. The festival delivered more than 40 hours of television coverage and more than 85 hours of live radio broadcasts.

Terry Cook, Partner and Principal Designer for Woodroffe Bassett Design, was committed as Lighting Designer in different stages of the festival. He recalls seeing Skylos for the first time in Italy and recognizing that “this was a fixture that would cut through the summer twilight sky at Glastonbury. We knew we wanted an ultra-bright, large beam fixture that would sit behind the iconic Pyramid stage creating fingers of light shining into the sky, which the extra special vortex and drone shots could capture,” Cook explains.

Remarkably lightweight and compact, Skylos features an innovative, perfectly safe white light laser source, offers low power consumption and low maintenance, features numerous effects and filters, and has an IP66 rating, which makes it suitable for use in even the most extreme conditions. Skylos goes far beyond the legacy of classic searchlights to open up exciting creative opportunities.

“When the Skylos were first turned on we were generally impressed at the beam clarity, how even and pronounced it was, and just how far it carried into the Glastonbury sky,” says Cook. “Sir Elton John’s performance was more than a band onstage; it was his last UK live touring performance, and we wanted to bring the show to the 120,000-strong audience and the millions tuning in at home. Skylos helped us deliver that.”

The complement of Skylos fixtures was joined at the festival by Claypaky Scenius Unicos and B-EYE K25s.

“Skylos at Glastonbury was a huge success,” Cook reports. “They looked thrilling and exciting to the audience and a lot of this was captured by the BBC on their television coverage, which was spectacular.

“It was a special occasion and a hugely emotional night for Elton and all of us who have worked with him for so many years. We are hugely grateful for the generous work Claypaky did to bring this project together. We will be using Skylos fixtures in the future, for sure, if we can get our hands on them! I have a feeling they will be in great  demand!”