New lighting talent spotted in Jo'burg!If you want a career in live production, it sometimes pays to start early and for six year old Jake Dunn, opportunity knocked at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, downtown Johannesburg, when he operated lighting for Senegalese star Ismaël Lô at the 2008 Africa Day Concert — the annual May commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity, which was succeeded in 2002 by the present African Union.
Young Jake used the show’s main grandMA console — which he has been learning almost since he could walk — with one hand on the buttons and the other on the faders, like a true pro.
It was a testament to Jake’s creative skills, his eye for colours and the whole stage ‘big picture’ as well as the console’s user-friendliness.
The free event was broadcast live on SABC 2, continent-wide on SABC Africa, and was attended by thousands of music lovers who braved the chilly winter night at the height of the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.
The landmark gig had additional resonance as a community uniting experience. It featured an international multi-cultural line-up that also included Zimbabwean songstress Chiwoniso Maraire, Grammy award-winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dobet Gnahore from Cote d'Ivore, Mapumba from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenyan Eric Wainaina and the Mahotella Queens from South Africa.
Set, lighting and visuals were designed by Jake’s father, Tim Dunn. Lighting and sound equipment was supplied by Gearhouse South Africa. Video came from LEDVision and staging from SDS, both companies that are also part of the Gearhouse South Africa Group.
Meanwhile, 8,000 miles away in rainswept London, Sunbaba provided over 150m2 of stage and fence branding for Trafalgar Square’s Africa Day Festival.
The UK capital’s festival is also a free annual event that celebrates the contribution of African communities to London, including arts, theatre, live music, food, stalls and crafts. This year’s event was headlined by Manu Dibango; other artists included Bassekou Kouyate, Kanda Bongo Man and Gina Yashere.
Sunbaba provided seven custom-made full colour Ultramesh panels, with keder and eyelet finishing to brand Star Events’ Morbit stage, working with an extensive library of stage specifications to ensure the branding fitted perfectly for event organiser Bliss Events Management.
Sunbaba also produced 10 full colour Ultramesh Heras fence branding panels to ensure that the Africa Day logo was clearly displayed throughout the Square, surrounding the working areas of the site.