Diskoportal – A Stage On Fire, Literally
Backwoods continues to blow minds with another 360 degree, fully immersed environment for yet another stage announcement “Diskoportal.”
Designed by Algorythym, and the brain child of Alan Rushlow, the Diskoportal will make it’s only appearance this year at Backwoods Music Festival. The centerpiece originally named “Diskopella” had previously been mounted to a moving vehicle for burning man, but has been integrated into the center of this design specifically commissioned by Backwoods.
The Diskoportal consists of a 3,000 pound mirrored disco ball center structure which proceeds to open like a Lotus flower and shoot 50′ flames from it’s core. Additionally, 6 towers surround the outskirts of the portal which are lined with LED panels (video screens) on the insides, with speakers that will rock your socks off, and also shoot 7-10 foot flames up into the sky everywhere else you look.
Imagine yourself completely surrounded by sound, computer synchronized fire shooting from all around you that matches the music, and your visual senses being stimulated by LED screens which surround you as well. Oh yea, I almost forgot about that giant Lotus looking disco ball in the center throwing a 50′ flame and 2,000′ light beams everywhere. Can we say extreme? I’d say so. It’s so much even to describe we can’t wait to see what it’s like in person.
When first shown the concept and video tests of a similar computer controlled fire system through a simple text message, Gerry Westby in promotions at Backwoods said, “Oh my God.” followed by a second text message of “OH MY GOD,” just a few moments later.
We didn’t feel the need to ask anyone else on the team what they thought about the concept as most others seemed to be speechless. We know this will be one of the most memorable and talked about experiences at Backwoods Music Festival this year.
We asked Alan a few questions about this half stage half art installation which will be at Backwoods Music Festival this year:
1. If you had to explain this to someone in 10 words or less, describe what the heck this thing is.
::Diskoportal:: is a “Mind altering, Audio/Visual sensory arena designed to unify crowds” – I think that is precisely 10.
2. OK, now you have free reign. Give us the details… How far do light beams shoot off this thing? How much gas does it use? How tall are the flames? How many feet of LED panels? Spill the beans.
Ladies and Gentleman… Welcome to ::Diskoportal::, what is Diskoportal? Let’s start with the centrifuge in the middle of the design. Last year Mr. Michael Freelander of Indica Vaporizers, Algorythym Designs and Mobius Creations sought out to create a mutant vehicle at Burning Man. When we started brainstorming ideas, we wanted to include an iconic symbol that could relate to everyone in the world. Considering this vehicle would feature a sound system and lighting rig that rivals most night clubs, we decided on a GIANT 3000lbs. disco ball made of cold hard steel to stand abroad on this vehicle! During the design process this disco ball grew to 14′ in diameter and consisted of 860 mirrors. The light projected from this thing reflected light 500’ in each direction. That is 1000’ in a full 360 degree spectrum! However, we knew we couldn’t stop there. That’s when we came up with the idea of making this massive disco ball spin and open like a lotus flower! Then, we said… “Why stop there!?” That is when we called our good friend from Re:Engineering, Ryan Elmendorf, and added a custom built 50′ pyrotechnic propane fire cannon into the mix. Needless to say, we ended up building all this on an 1976 M35a2 military vehicle and ::Diskopella:: was born!! We took her to Black Rock City and a legand was born. Now it is time to create something fresh and new for Backwoods Music Festival and ::Diskoportal:: was born! Just to get you up to speed, the entire effects package going into the new portal designs consists of:
- (6) – Clay Paky ‘Sharpy’ lighting fixtures
- (6) – Martin ‘Mac 301’ LED Lighting Fixtures
- (12) – 22watt NEO neON LED wash fixtures
- (208) – 1’ x 4’ 37mil LED Video Panels (Rhythm FX, Denver)
- 125,000 watts of Aspect 880 TurboSound (Faze2 TurboSound, Denver)
- (1) – 400lbs into 200lbs compressed propane fire system capable of 50’ bursts.
- (6) – 100lbs DMX controlled fire system for 360 degree blasts.
- 8,000 lbs. of custom fabricated steel
- 2,304 square feet of aluminum sheathing
3. What’s the original concept and inspiration behind Discopella and how did it make its way to a full on Disco-Portal?
Since her debut at Burning Man 2014 the disco ball centrifuge has become iconic and we felt it was time to re-purpose her and create a more engaging experience that would allow more people to gather and experience it. We really wanted to gift this piece back to the community at Burning Man until we heard of the Backwoods Music Festival falling on the same weekend. It was time for a change and it was time to bring these creative ideas to growing and inspiring markets that hit closer to home.
Algorythym Designs has worked with the largest producers in the US and with a couple sound and lighting companies that were eager to get involved. With that said, my good friend Alex Brooks from Faze2 TurboSound had purchased an Aspect 880 touring rig that blows away any sound rig I have heard in sometime. The feeling this of warm audio waves that did not hurt my ears coming from this sound system gave me, really sparked the idea.
The idea to create an arena that showcase an experience of sensory impalement (Feel free to use that one ). In the true spirit of Algorythym Designs, it couldn’t be just any arena… We needed to plus it! We contacted our good friend Zach Klassan from Rythm FX in Colorado to see if he wanted to add video to the project. We contacted Ryan Elemendorf at Re-Engineering to add 6 more fire systems and the idea was born…
4. What has been the most challenging part of designing the concept thus far?
Definitely the element of creating a stage this massive that is created in the round. Mainly because ::Diskoportal:: consists of (6) – 22’ tall metal towers. These towers are packed with fire, lighting, effects and all those elements need to receive data and power. Throw 5,000 people dancing and partying around them into the mix and you have yourself a logistical nightmare. Safety is our main focus and keeping this creation safe takes a lot of planning and strategic designing. There is something to be said when creating an interactive area that engages the community and delivers the experience of a lifetime! At the end of the day, we WORK HARD to PLAY HARD! I guess if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
5. What else are you most excited for at Backwoods?
The main thing we are looking forward to this year at Backwoods is getting involved with the community that is the bloodline of this concept. YOU! We have worked with just about every festival in the nation and our crew is more excited for this show than any other show. Reason being? It is such a warm and inviting community that is sparing NO EXPENSE to get it right. The fact that we are contributing such a visually creative concept from the ground up means that the space above us are our only limitations. We are honored to be a new part of the Backwoods family and we cannot wait to meet everyone!! See you soon, Love and Light!