In 2019, the IICON Stage debuted at Glastonbury’s Block9 as a home for large-scale audiovisual performances. Dominated by a giant, anonymised head, the stage has been described as a pseudo-religious monument to the terrifying new realities emerging in our digital, post-truth age.
The goal of the stage is to bring together incredible, diverse dance music with projection-mapped, real-time visuals from Resolume and Notch mixed with lighting and lasers to create a one-of-a-kind festival experience.
“The sculpture of the head looks incredible during the day, with no technical wizardry, but becomes a true spectacle at night when the AV content kicks in,” says Video Technical Producer, Scott Millar.
While the technical requirements for the 2023 IICON Stage were relatively straightforward, the content on stage required use of many different aspects of disguise’s end-to-end solution. The show was split into two sections, with the majority of the evening running on disguise gx 2c and vx 2 media servers as compositors taking inputs from cameras and Resolume VJ software, mixing them with a 3D Notch block and outputting them to seven projectors on the stage’s 3D head. The second part of the evening was a 15-minute AV show called IICON AV:3D, in which a video and spatial audio track played back before the headliner each night.
The show used a huge amount of NDI video streams and SDI capture for inputs. On the output side, seven Panasonic 35K lumen projectors ran at 1920 x 1200 along with a 1080p LED video screen within the Visor.
Connie Glover led Creative Technology in providing the disguise media servers and projectors, working closely with Millar to devise the infrastructure and systems for the IICON Stage. They also used equipment from Bild Studios, who provided the disguise OmniCal cameras and VJ machines.
Knowing they had well-maintained, modern equipment was key to the project. With the IICON Stage running for its third year in a row in 2023, they were able to modify their plans from the previous year to reduce kit and simplify the setup.
Due to the nature of the stage’s build, its unique shape and the time available for the projection lineup, Creative Technology successfully deployed the disguise OmniCal system with six cameras to align the projectors and mesh of the stage. The Creative Technology team declared it was “a fantastic tool” which gave them great confidence in their ability to tackle alignment tasks during the four shortest nights of the year.
All content within disguise ran on a 2880 x 2880 UV map, which was applied to the stage’s head structure as a direct map. Michael Wilson and Millar developed the workflow between the Resolume project, where the content was mapped directly to the UV map, and disguise, where it passed through Notch to allow dynamic lighting and shadows to be applied in 3D.
The biggest challenges for Glastonbury were being outdoors in a field where everything is built from scratch, including the structure. Having a reliable system, pre and post-disguise, plus the tools within disguise for solving the challenges of line-up during the short nights in summer and complex compositing setups, was key."
Scott Millar, Video Technical Producer
disguise proved itself to be a versatile end-to-end solution for the innovative content that Glastonbury fans flock to the IICON Stage to experience. The ability to play back Notch blocks within the server, then jump straight to video and audio playback plus the time-saving advantages of the OmniCal system were the reasons why disguise was the perfect choice for Block9’s creative ambition.
The IICON Stage wrapped its third successful appearance at Glastonbury this year, leaving festival-goers wondering what amazing immersive content the stage will serve up in 2024.