BANDIT LITES: THE STORY OF A TRULY GLOBAL LIGHTING COMPANY
September 2008 Issue 109
“We’d do a show one night for the Beach Boys, and they’d ask us to go the next night to another city. The first time they asked, I had to say no. I was 12 years old. I couldn’t drive. I had no way of getting there. But I was ready the next time — I hired a friend with a car and a U-Haul trailer...”
THE EARLY YEARS...
Bandit Lites is celebrating 40 years of excellence in 2008. The story behind this now-global lighting company — with offices in Nashville, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Taiwan and its headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee — is littered with many significant milestones, many of which have helped to shape today’s live performance industry.
The story began 40 years ago, when a touring band stopped in Bandit CEO, Michael T. Strickland’s hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee to perform a concert. In the late ’60s, most acts
were just beginning to use lighting of any type. However, having been involved in community theatre since the age of five, Strickland knew that theatrical lighting existed and could
be applied to the live music industry.
“After a Beach Boys concert, I approached the promoter and asked him if he would like to use lighting for his next concert,” he explains. The promoter asked the young Strickland to name his price, and he quoted a modest $25, which seemed like a huge amount of money to a 12 year old in 1968. They agreed to the price, and the next month when another band came, he did the same thing.
“The next month, we took all the lights from the school theatre, hung them in the gymnasium around the stage, and lit Paul Revere and The Raiders. I didn’t have any knowledge back then,” Strickland admits, “but neither did the people I was working for, so anything and everything I did was correct. The colour I used was right. The mood I set was right. There was no wrong for these people, nor was there any wrong for me.”
Word of Strickland’s success spread and soon other touring bands began requesting Bandit to light their concerts. “We’d do a show one night for the Beach Boys, and they’d ask us to go the next night to another city. The first time they asked, I had to say no. I was 12 years old,” he says. “I couldn’t drive. I had no way of getting there. But I was ready the next time. I hired a friend with a car and a U-Haul trailer.
“When they asked if we could do a show the next night in Asheville, I said sure. I didn’t think that after Asheville, he was going to say, ‘Can you go to Charlotte?’ I had to go to school the next day, and had to pass on Charlotte. After that experience I hired two people, with two cars, so one could drive me home on Sunday night while the other stayed on the road.”
Juggling the demands of adolescence and a budding company proved to be a bit challenging at times, but determined to succeed, Strickland pressed on while in junior high and high school while also playing football and basketball.
“We worked most of the major rock concerts within 300 miles of Kingsport in the early years... doing it mainly to see free concerts and meet girls. Making money was never really part of the equation at that point. Most of the shows took place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays so we were able to travel to them. At that time, all the equipment we used was borrowed from the local schools and theatres, hence the name Bandit!”
From 1968 to 1971, Bandit had the pleasure of working with a large number of homegrown U.S. acts, including The Monkees, The Grassroots, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons,
Dennis Yost & The Classics Four, B.J. Thomas, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, The Beach Boys, Kris Kristofferson... and many others. This was the beginning of a firm foundation for what would eventually become one of the world’s leading lighting companies.
The 1970s saw an explosive growth at Bandit Lites as the company transitioned from high school to college to the real world. Michael Strickland and his colleagues built a solid client base of current acts of the day while in they were still in high school, working with artists when they visited the Southeastern United States.
When it was time to attend college, Strickland chose the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to continue his education and took the firm there with him. The rest of the young men chose to go other directions, leaving Strickland alone in the endeavour. This led to hiring several new people in the Knoxville area and a rebuilding of the company.
Even through college and law school, Strickland pressed on and ran Bandit Lites from his dorm room at university while earning a degree in Business and then Law. Bandit was working with the biggest names in the touring world — among them Black Oak Arkansas, The James Gang, Blue Oyster Cult, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Goose Creek Symphony, Dr. Hook, Parliament and Funkadelic — and all the while, few people knew that the owner of the company was actually a college student.
“While going to undergraduate and law school, the company experienced phenomenal growth,” says Strickland. “All of the funding came from operations, and we never used outside financing. I am not sure anyone would have loaned us money even if we had asked.
“I was on the road more than in class during that time. During law school I was lighting director and production manager for Kenny Rogers and this was during his breakout period.”
Kenny Rogers’ Gambler tour of 1977-78 was Bandit’s biggest tour of the period and it gained the company a tremendous amount of national exposure since it was one of the highest profile tours on the road. Bandit’s early relationship with Rogers was so successful that he remains a client today.
In addition to Rogers and other established clients, several new names joined Bandit’s roster during the ’70s, including Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Blackfoot, The Outlaws, Charlie Rich, Ronnie Milsap, Dolly Parton and Pure Prairie League. Bandit also became one of the first dealers for Genie Industries and EDI; both relationships would serve Bandit well for many years to come.
Overall, the ’70s was a period of substantial growth for Bandit, with one brief but significant glitch. After already establishing a very firm footing in the entertainment lighting industry, Bandit suffered a tragedy that nearly ended the company. In July 1979, the warehouse burned to the ground and with no insurance, Bandit was left with only two lighting systems that were on the road at the time. Thankfully, Bandit leaned how to make two systems do the work of four, and also learned the value of having insurance!
As the ’70s came to an end, Bandit added several key people to its staff. Brent Barrett, now the director of business development, would start at Bandit while in college with Strickland.
Current Bandit VP Michael Golden and president/COO Pete Heffernan also joined the Bandit family around that time and they have been with the company ever since. Likewise, Kent and Eric ‘Eroc’ Shafferman began with Bandit in 1979 and Eric is still at Bandit today. Kent was an employee for 26 years before he retired a couple of years ago. Steve ‘Moose’ Strickland, Michael’s brother, was at Bandit for 27 years before he, too, retired.
Heading into the ’80s, Bandit was a small company with a very close, very dedicated group of 30+ people, mostly from the Kingsport, Tennessee area. The business practices of paying people salaries as well as providing health insurance and retirement were established.
Bandit was also the first company in entertainment lighting to treat employees more like a permanent staff as opposed to easily replaceable freelancers. This led to a fierce and proud company loyalty. “We had grown and developed so much in the ’70s. We had no idea what explosive growth and what new adventures faced us in the exciting and wonderful ‘hair band’ ’80s, but we were ready for the challenge,” Strickland adds.
As the ’80s unfurled, the music scene was changing. Country star Kenny Rogers had become one of the biggest artists in the business, and the movie ‘Urban Cowboy’ put country music squarely on the front page in America. John Travolta and Debra Winger started an explosion of the genre and Bandit Lites lit almost 100% of the industry at that time. This led to substantial growth within the company.
Bandit clients Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Eddie Rabbitt, Crystal Gayle, Mickey Gilley, Charlie Rich, Ronnie Milsap and others from the era topped the pop and country charts. But country was not the only sensation of the ’80s, as the phenomenon known as ‘hair bands’ came and went, and Bandit was in the thick of it all.
Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Krokus, Ratt and many other heavy metal bands came calling on Bandit for extensive lighting services. The brief from the late Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot on their 1985 world tour was “bigger than Van Halen”, and it was! Avolites custom-built the world’s largest (and only) 120-way console. It was a staggering 10 feet from end to end.
The southern rock genre was still in full bloom in the early ’80s with The Outlaws, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, the Johnny Van Zandt Band and others in the Bandit stable. At that time, the line between country and rock was blurred by one of the biggest acts in U.S. music history, Alabama.
Bandit and Alabama linked up in the band’s infancy and together rose to the top of the industry in the mid-’80s. Alabama was the first country act to take a huge, rock’n’roll lighting system on the road, a trend many acts would follow in the future.
Bandit continued to build momentum and, in 1982, Bandit opened the first office in Nashville to better service the local market. In that same year, Bandit set up a partnership in the UK with Meteorlites in order to provide a global lighting service for Bandit artists.
Most of the metal bands and rock acts Bandit worked with toured Europe, so it was imperative that Bandit added a European presence. Strickland met Graham Thomas and John Walters from James Thomas Engineering (JTE) in the UK and was immediately attracted to their ‘spun aluminum’ PAR can. English firms had begun using this new aluminum PAR can, but no American firm had embraced it.
Bandit placed an order for several hundred PAR cans and introduced the Thomas PAR to the U.S. market in full force. In the process, Strickland, Thomas and Walters struck a deal to have Bandit represent JTE in the States. Upon returning home, Strickland employed Mike Garl to run JTE in the U.S.
Over time, the company grew from a 2,000ft2 facility into over 20,000ft2. The company is still in business today (though Strickland sold it in the ’90s). In his ownership of Thomas, Strickland and the staff at Bandit played a part in the development of many standard products on the market today.
Elements of the revolutionary Thomas Pre-Rigged Truss came from Bandit, as did the Thomas (and later Tomcat) roof system. In fact, the first version of this roof system to be erected was done in the Bandit car park, as Bandit’s team assembled a box of PRT on four Thomas Towers and then literally “put a skin on it”.
Photos of the device were sent to the Thomas staff in the UK, and the world was forever changed! The 36 Lamp Pod and many other devices were also a result of the Bandit staff working with Thomas to meet the needs of the market.
Around the same time, Strickland was introduced to the good people at Avolites and he adopted the Avo dimming and control for the American market. By the mid-1980s, Bandit used all Thomas truss and PARs, all Avo dimming and control and Socapex cable. Bandit introduced these standards to the U.S., and by the end of the ’80s, most major hire companies had deserted their own style of truss, PARs and dimming and followed suit.
English companies that opened in the U.S. already used this technology, but thanks to Bandit’s contribution, these companies became household names in America.
One of the many bands that Bandit began working with in the ’80s included a little band from Athens, Georgia known as R.E.M. Together, Bandit and R.E.M. would tour the world for the next 25+ years. The late ’80s also brought Bandit another little act: Jimmy Buffett. The Buffett-Bandit relationship continues to this day and the party is showing no signs of letting up.
Several ’80s mainstays such as Adam Ant, The Pretenders, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean and Cameo all had their heyday with Bandit. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young would begin a relationship with Bandit that continues to this day. The late Dan Fogelberg was a Bandit client from 1984 up until his untimely passing in 2007.
The Christian music market also saw substantial growth during this time, led by Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and heavy metal band, Stryper. All of these acts as well as many other Christian acts turned to Bandit for their visual needs as the genre developed.
As the ’80s wound down, a strange new phenomenon called ‘e-mail’ began to emerge and Bandit embraced it. At that same time, Bandit discovered that being a trucking company and a lighting company was not something they enjoyed, and like most other companies, they got out of trucking. There was a two-year relationship with Morpheus and East Coast Pan Command that eventually ended as Bandit began to purchase new moving mirror lights.
The ‘Bandit Standard’ continued to develop in the ’80s. Already known for fully pre-building its systems, for silver aluminum flight cases and for attention to detail, Bandit added personalised case labels, P-Touch and Bandit Tour Books as well as extensive training of staff, full-time pay, health insurance and retirement programmes.
One of the biggest leaps forward was the Bandit Custom Motor Controller. The added safety of having the motor control switches laid out on a graphic of the lighting system makes it all but impossible to select the incorrect hoist for movement. This would lead eventually to a bigger motor control device in the ’90s.
Eighties history would not be complete without mention of the Bandit Lites Christmas parties. Attendance was in the thousands each year and the infamous events often lasted all night. In addition to socialising with friends, the parties started a Bandit tradition of taking care of underprivileged children each Christmas.
Attendees were asked to bring a toy to gain admission, and each year it required a 24’ truck to carry the wonderful gifts to the needy. Many manufacturers simply sent in gifts just to be part of the giving. The tradition of giving continues to this day at all Bandit Lites offices.
As the ’80s came to an end, Bandit moved into a 30,000ft2 facility in Knoxville and purchased a good-sized lighting company in Nashville to expand the presence in that market. The company was fully booked heading into the ’90s with a great mix of all types of musical clients, corporate work and a new, growing sales division.
Lee Anne Donaldson joined the family and is today the global business manager. Dizzy Gosnell was introduced to Bandit on the road with Iron Maiden and joined the firm later in the ’90s.
Little did the Bandit family know as the ’90s began, that the decade would bring inventions, massive superstars, phenomenal growth, moving lights and awards beyond belief! It was a journey for Bandit that began with an unknown man named Garth, and ended with a well-known event called Woodstock. Everything in between was as diversified and interesting as the decade in which these events took place.
Bandit had the great fortune to hook up with what would become the largest selling artist in the history of the business, Mr. Garth Brooks. From 1990 onwards, Bandit and Brooks became fast friends and continue to work together on projects today.
Brooks set a standard that the industry would follow for years to come — his productions carried bigger lighting systems than any heavy metal act ever dreamed of, and today holds the record for a single show attendance (with over 1m people in Central Park in 1997).
At that same time, Bandit delved heavily into film and television work, as well as into ownership of the early moving lights offered for sale. Bandit worked on over 200 feature
films in the ’90s, including ‘What About Bob’, ‘Delta Force 2’, ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’, ‘Hellraiser 3’, ‘Wayne’s World 2’, ‘Hoffa’, ‘Pet Semitary’ and ‘Earnest Scared Stupid’.
On the TV front, Bandit worked with regularity on HBO Boxing, HBO Comedy, MTV Spring Break, The Dove Awards, Fox On Ice, CBS Ice Wars, Larry King Live, Clinton’s Economic Summit, CNN, Hot Ice, Garth Brooks Live, Paul Simon in Central Park and hundreds of other shows. One of the biggest events Bandit was proud to illuminate was the Super Bowl XXIX Half-Time Show in Miami.
The biggest breakthrough in entertainment lighting at that time occurred in the early ’90s as a number of companies developed moving mirrored lights to compete with the
dominance Vari*Lite had in the industry. Bandit Lites surveyed the landscape and decided to partner with Austin, Texas-based High End Systems.
Within no time at all, Bandit and High End had hundreds of the new Intellabeam on acts all over the globe. Soon, other firms joined Bandit and High End, and eventually other manufacturers joined the game at a high level, thus altering the fate of the Vari*Lite monopoly.
Bandit became the world’s largest High End rental company for many years and together with High End, Bandit placed the I-Beam, the Studio Color, Studio Spot, F 100, Data Flash and other High End products into mainstream touring.
In the early ’90s, Aerosmith approached Bandit to become their lighting vendor, and Bandit took the challenge in its stride. Both Aerosmith and Garth Brooks required a sophisticated computer motor control system unlike anything in the marketplace.
After six months and US$2,000,000, the patented Moto Data system was created. This evolutionary control system worked in conjunction with the custom Bandit Motor
Controllers and allowed for operation of chain hoist from a touch screen with a graphic representation of the lighting trusses on the screen. The simplicity, safety and brilliance of the system made it an immediate success. Bandit continues to use the system today and has offered up Moto Data 2.
In the same period of the early ’90s, world leader Avolites was spun off by its parent company and Strickland purchased the U.S. portion, moving it from New Jersey to Knoxville. The company relocated to Bandit’s Dutchtown offices and development of what would become the Diamond Console and a new 72-way dimmer rack began.
Sales and service for Avo were brisk and the company reorganised itself on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK side was purchased by the directors, who eventually also purchased the U.S. business from Bandit.
Chris Cronin left James Thomas Engineering in the early ’90s and eventually set up Tomcat — and then Total Fabrications. Along the way, Cronin and Strickland collaborated on stage sets
(which Cronin built) and in the process, the pair were nominated for Stage Set of the Year for Amy Grant and Quiet Riot. As Cronin expanded Tomcat into the U.S., he collaborated with Strickland to establish Tomcat’s U.S. operations.
After helping set up the firm, Strickland stepped away and eventually sold his interest in JTE in the mid-’90s to spend maximum time on the Bandit growth.
The ’90s also saw Bandit continue the process of giving back in the form of charity work. Farm Aid has been a Bandit project since 1991. In addition, Bandit began a corporate giving campaign that includes over 60 charities today and involves hundreds of thousand of dollars each year. Bandit supports the United Way, The American Heart Association, Boys and Girls Clubs and many other worthy causes each year.
It was also in the ’90s that Bandit coined the term ‘Humanomics’ — business planning based on concern for people. This principle is what guides the firm to this day.
Bandit set up an educational department to train and educate people both inside and outside the company. This educational reinforcement insures the quality of both Bandit service and of the industry as a whole. Seminars are held every year all around the world for the sole purpose of education.
The Bandit Lites sales team grew to staggering heights in the ’90s, due in large part to the great educational system. The combination of a qualified, caring sales team backed by this emphasis on education made the sales growth a natural progression.
As Bandit continued to expand, Strickland saw a need in Asia and quickly set up offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Asian market additions were followed by recognising the
need for greater control in Europe, and buying out the partner in the UK. As a result, Bandit’s UK office was able to better monitor the product quality.
Dizzy Gosnell joined Bandit in the Nashville office in the early ’90s when the assets of the firm he worked with was acquired by Bandit. Today, Gosnell is the general manager of Bandit San Francisco, which he set up in the late ’90s. New Zealander Richard Willis returned to Bandit and assumed an office position that he still holds today, as VP. Mike Golden continued as VP in Nashville and the Bandit Global Management team was shaping up.
Bandit entered the ring of WCW, and then into WWF (now WWE) to provide the ‘Bandit Standard’ to the fast-paced world of sports entertainment. The partnership between Bandit and the WWE is now over 15 years old. Bandit and WWE continue to set the standard for live television events and set the bar higher every year. WWE is the world leader in sports entertainment and Bandit is proud to be its partner.
From this modest beginning, Jason Robinson has become one of the senior staff members within WWE and a world-renowned production designer for his absolute brilliance.
Production manager Mikey Weiss opened the eyes of Bandit in 1994 regarding fall protection, and from that day to this, Bandit has led the initiative to put OSHA and HSE compliant fall protection equipment on all lighting systems. The use of the equipment was a huge challenge in the early days but Bandit moved on. Today, thanks to Bandit and others that joined in, the industry is a much safer place to work.
As the world of moving lights continued to change, Martin Professional from Denmark emerged as a new player and Bandit quickly became a believer. Soon, Bandit became the world’s largest Martin rental house and helped Martin gain a large market share globally. The MAC 500, 600 and 2000 quickly became the industry favourites. Martin rolled out many successful products in the ’90s and Bandit was a partner in them all.
Bandit started to earn a lot of recognition in the industry in the ’90s. CMA named Bandit the Production Company of the Year in 1993 — Bandit would win this three times before the award ceased to exist. Both Knoxville and Nashville would name Bandit as a winner of their ‘Future 50’, five times in each city, leading Bandit to go into the Business Hall of Fame in both locations.
In 1996, Performance magazine named Bandit Lighting Company of the Year, the first of what is now 16 such awards, more than any other firm. Mass Mutual named Bandit Lites as one of the top 50 firms in the U.S. with its Mass Mutual Blue Chip Award in 1996. That same year Bandit was awarded Entrepreneurial Company of the Year in Knoxville by the city.
The pinnacle of the awards in the ’90s occurred when CNN/USA Today named Michael Strickland ‘Entrepreneur of The Year’ for 1999, a distinction held by Bill Gates, Michael Dell and other such notables, and a very proud moment in Bandit history.
Many new and old clients joined Bandit in the ’90s. The Judds, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Jethro Tull, Damn Yankees, Ted Nugent, The Moody Blues, Blondie, The Go-Gos, Donny Osmond, Yes, Alice Cooper, Barry Manilow, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Hall & Oates, Aerosmith, R.E.M., Offspring, Jewel, and hundreds of others all performed live with Bandit’s support.
Knoxville purchased a new 90,000ft2 facility, Nashville custom-built a 30,000ft2 facility with the industry’s first hanging room, and a new 25,000ft2 facility was purchased in the UK. Real estate was fast becoming a part of the Bandit business plan. The hanging room, now known as Venue One, is 100 x 40 x 40 and holds 80,000lbs. This was the first and only hanging facility in the industry that Bandit clients could use free of charge to hang and program their show. Bandit had once again set the standard.
As the world looked towards Y2K, Bandit lit the infamous Woodstock ’99. While it was a huge event and a technical achievement, it signalled the true end of what we had all known as the Woodstock Generation. It is an event Bandit was proud to have been involved in, but the tragic, violent ending will long be remembered.
“From the ashes of Woodstock ’99, we all looked forward to the new millennium with eager anticipation of what the next century would hold,” Strickland commented. “In light of where we had been in the last 30 years, where could we possibly go in 2000 and beyond?”
THE NEW CENTURY:
TODAY & TOMORROW...
Not even the successes of its previous years could have prepared Bandit for the astonishing increase in projects and additions to its client roster as the 21st century got underway.
Westlife, Christina Aguilera, Keith Urban, Linkin Park, Savage Garden, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Pink, Pussycat Dolls, Girls Aloud, Shayne Ward, Travis and The White Stripes are amongst the new generation of stars who have toured with Bandit over the last few years.
Many high-profile events came to Bandit, starting with the Presidential Inaugural Balls and the beginning of an ongoing relationship with NASCAR.
In Europe, as the Lord Of The Dance brand continued to grow, Michael Flatley turned to Bandit and rolled out Celtic Tiger and Feet Of Flames, whose swansong performance in London’s Hyde Park enthralled over 100,000 fans. In fact, Hyde Park would see plenty of Bandit lighting in this decade, with notable events by R.E.M. and the reunited Queen with Free/Bad Company legend Paul Rodgers.
Today, chief executive Lester Cobrin, general manager James Harden, Roger Grybowicz, Mick Freer, Emma Russell, Stuart Christie and others from the UK team continue to provide tour support for many outstanding acts.
The ‘noughties’ has indeed been the decade for monster reunions — in 2004, LD Steve Cohen engaged Bandit for Van Halen’s comeback, complete with a massive rig of more than 300 moving lights and miles of truss.
As well as winning the very first Total Production Award for Lighting Rental Company of the Year (in 2002), the early part of the decade saw Bandit become more heavily involved in major TV specials and event lighting.
Bandit also began a relationship with several festivals during the 2000s. Radio One’s One Big Weekend became a Bandit client in 2003, and others that followed suit included the Blenheim Palace Festival, the Cork Festival in Ireland, the CMA Music Festival and Bonnaroo.
The demand on Bandit in the U.S. pushed all of the facilities and staff beyond the limit and in 2002, Bandit purchased a 150,000ft2 building in Nashville, giving the company the much-needed space to deliver even more quality jobs and make life better for both staff and clients.
The new facility serves as a storage and preparation area, which allowed the original facility to become the full-time Venue One rehearsal operation.
Available to Bandit clients at no additional charge, lighting designers are able to use Venue One to hang their systems for base programming. The additional space became an invaluable tool for Bandit clients as the lighting systems now show up fully prepped, labelled, tested and programmed.
Going from strength to strength, 2008 has seen a major appointment with company veteran Pete Heffernan taking up the role of president, as well as retaining his COO position.
Meanwhile, the Bandit installation sales team has grown. Led by senior sales director John Rolison, with Richard Owens, Roth Edwards, Chris Barbee, John Jenkinson and an invaluable support staff, Bandit has multiple installations ongoing — from the CNN Studios to Ripley’s Aquarium and The Superdome in New Orleans.
Corporate firms have also come to trust Bandit with their image presentation. When the mighty Harley Davidson celebrated its 100th anniversary in Milwaukee, Bandit was there to light Sir Elton John, Tim McGraw and many other world class artists.
The iconic Fender Stratocaster guitar turned 50 in 2005 and the landmark was celebrated at Wembley Arena with The Miller Strat Pack — a star-studded concert including Brian May, Joe Walsh, David Gilmour, Ronnie Wood, Gary Moore and Mike Rutherford. Bandit provided a 50’ Strat, formed from truss and lights, as part of a massive Baz Halpin-designed rig.
Bandit has continued to diversify. For several years, Bandit has worked with designer Simon Tutchener on London Fashion Week. The wildly popular X-Factor, Wrestlemania and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have also hit the road with Bandit’s support.
As Bandit grows, it continues to develop, manufacture and invest in products to meet market demand. Bandit proudly uses its own PowerPro power distribution system in the U.S. and System 125 in Europe. And as soon as Vari*Lite’s products were made available to purchase, Bandit took one look and bought in big.... just as it has with the latest media servers, consoles, digital and LED lighting products.
Education is constantly high on Bandit’s agenda and in the UK it works with Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts to present a special Lighting Designer of the Year award at LIPA’s graduation ceremony.
Bandit’s future includes building expansions in Nashville and London. A new 50,000ft2 facility is being readied in London to better serve the needs of the European market, while Nashville will see improvements to Venue One including an upgrade of the in-house programming suites and a new hang room.
Regardless of Bandit’s immense achievements since a precocious 12 year old boy named Michael T. Strickland first dared to ponder on the power of lighting, the company will always ask the question: “How can we make it better?”... and promise to continue to raise the bar, increase the quality, and guarantee customer satisfaction that always exceeds expectations.
“If one were to sum up the last 40 years of Bandit Lites’ success it would be simply put: Humility, Humanomics and The Bandit Standard,” says Strickland in closing. “As long as Bandit delivers these three things with grace and passion, the sky will be the limit.”
Photography courtesy of Bandit Lites,
Louise Stickland, Mark Cunningham
and the TPi Archive