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August 7, 2008

Wikinews interviews Flame about special effects at New Zealand\’s Rock2Wgtn festival

Wikinews interviews Flame about special effects at New Zealand’s Rock2Wgtn festival

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

File photo of KISS, who headlined night one.
Image: Wok.

Across Easter weekend Wellington, New Zealand was host to Rock2Wgtn, an international two-day hard rock festival. Large crowds showed up at Westpac Stadium to see the various acts. The world has never seen an event of this kind before, and New Zealand has never had any kind of major rock festival or multi-day music festival.

Day one featured three theatrical acts. Finnish band Lordi, known for their monster costumes, opened the night. They were followed by the US shock rocker Alice Cooper, whose themed set included the horror theatrics regularly associated with him and a hanging stunt he recently restarted after a gallows collapse nearly killed him two decades ago. The night was headlined by the distinctively costumed band KISS, complete with their famed black-and-white makeup.

The first major act on the stage on day two was the American hard rock/glam metal band Poison. After Poison, British act Whitesnake took to the stage and performed their set to the crowd. British-born American rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who, as well as a solo career, fronts the world-famous Black Sabbath, was the second night’s headline act.

The festival’s entertainment did not stop at the six main acts. There was also support performances from three New Zealand bands – The Symphony of Screams, The Valves and Sonic Altar. Their sets were accompanied by a special effects package from award-winning studio Weta Workshops, who are known for their work on movies such as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. This came in the form of ‘Drusila the Dragon’, which rose up to a height of six foot and wigspan and moved for the audience, shining lasers from its eyes and breathing red smoke. Flame Fire Productions were hired to put on a fire show featuring several dancers alongside the performers. Also performing were six local guitarists and a group of ‘zombie’ cheerleaders.

Wikinews was able to secure two exclusive interviews with those responsible behind the scenes for putting on such a show. Weta Workshop’s Philip Sharpe, who supervised the project and Milly Bea, current manageress of Flame Fire Productions, discussed their roles. In the first installment, Milly Bea tells us about “a definite highlight” for Flame and lets us know everything from her thoughts on Gene Simmons’s tongue to just how much kerosene it takes to put on a fire show at a rock fest.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngHow did you come to be involved with Rock2Wgtn?

Milly Bea: We came to be involved thru a recommendation from one of the stunt guys, unfortunately I am not sure who? Someone Holly Wademan had met in past years. Then Rok2Wtgn contacted us and we began liaising from about December.
In total Flame travelled 6 fire dancers, including Flames choreographer, producer and creative directors, along with 2 safety crew from Queenstown, where we are based, to Wellington.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngThis was a very unique event. How did it differ from your previous experience?

Milly Bea: It was a great event to be involved in because the bands were such big names and legends, one way or another!!! And of course the thousands of people to perform to over 2 nights… to Rock music!!
In these ways it was a unique experience, definitely performing to original kiwi rock music…we often fire dance to the likes of Fat Boy Slim & prodigy…
We have performed throughout New Zealand with our biggest audience probably being the Qtn Winter Fest openings in 2005 & 2006 but I think the Rock2Wgtn was bigger than that…. And it was different to feel part of a whole production, with the stunt guys and zombie girls and the NZ bands and the big time bands and the dragon!!?… Often we’ve been a stand alone performance so it felt good to have a role, alongside others, in creating a rocking experience for the rock enthusiasts.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngWas it hard to choreograph a show around the rock music that was on offer?

Milly Bea: Our fire dance performances are usually fully choreographed routines, from start to finish of one track, with an assortment of fire spinning devices… for this gig we requested the bands set list, in order of their play. We familiarised ourselves with their music and used combinations of toys that would work best with each song, according to rhythms, tempo and feel. For example, the up beat rock songs were great for the fire hula hoop or staff or poi, where as the more tragic rock ballads leaned towards a slow seductive fire whip. We skipped the songs that didn’t inspire us and went for it, having heaps of fun, with those songs that did.
The combining improvised fire dance with tight choreography on the chorus seemed to work best for us. It flowed naturally and looked effective in performance. We discovered rock music, at times, had quite complex beats, making some songs harder to choreograph than others, in such instances we avoided choreography and let the improvised fire dance roll!! Our aim was to use toys that had the biggest fire for the hottest most blazing effect. We had well over a month of rehersing[sic] two nights a week, to get to know the songs, the choreography and practise[sic] improvised rock dance moves.
So while still being flexible for any last minute changes we were ready to rock with prepared toys, routines and dancers specifically for each song.

Performers Anna and Milly onstage with fire umbrellas

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngWhat was the audience reaction to your show like?

Milly Bea: As we were performing on 2 small stages simultaneously, in the terracing, behind and to the either side of the main stage, we were quite a distance from the audience, so couldn’t really gauge their general reaction…Those faces I could see down below, of the roadies backstage, were all smiles and waving fists of rock…. We did hear back from a few people in the audience that we looked great from the distance and on the screen when we appeared on occasion. They noted the massive fire and our choreography.
The stunt guys enjoyed our show and apparently Ozzy stopped to whatch[sic] us briefly as he moved towards the mainstage!!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngJust how much fuel did you get through, and at what cost?

Milly Bea: We had over estimated our fuel usage… better to have more than not enough I suppose. We probably ended up using 8 litres of kerosene for each 15-20minute burn set.
So for 2 burns sets on 2 stages for 2 nights plus 1 rehersal each…Making that a grand total of 10 burns of 8L =80L at $4 L…approx..$320
About that..I didn’t do the figures or pay too much attention to how much we were burning..but think that’s a pretty good guess.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngHow has this event changed things at Flame Fire Productions?

Milly Bea: Flame Fire Productions hasn’t really changed all that much as a result…by the fame I mean.. tahaha hasn’t really been any major influx of gigs as a result..!!? But now, as a result of needing to invest in more & in quality gear for Rock2Wtgn, we have a mass of new and gorgeous fire toys and red hot pvc costumes…that do truly rock! And some great photos and an awesome experience.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngDo you anticipate a repeat of Rock2Wgtn? If so, do you feel you would get involved with that or a similar event again?

Milly Bea: It would be great to be involved in the same or similar event. I love the idea of combining big Music gigs with other performing arts and dance… in one night events as well as music festivals. Its awesome to work with other artists and organisers in creating events that surround, immerse the audience so they are embraced by the experience being communicated and received through all the senses, visual, sound etc…. whether Rock or whatever!!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngWhat was your personal opinion of the bands performing?

Milly Bea: I find my personal opinion of the bands performing quite entertaining really…I never really realized or experienced the art of Rock theatre and I did find it both disturbing and comical as well as rocking.. KISS were outrageous!! Their outfits?! The studs!! The boots!! What are they on? And that man’s Gene Simmons’] tongue is outrageous.. and what he does with it!! I was ooooeing and laughing and rocking my fist in the air.. definately[sic] entertaining.. Alice Cooper was also a little disturbing especially when it came to the hitting the lady dancer routine.. didn’t dig it… and the baby in the push chair?.. a clash of psycho & comic…? althou[sic] I did like some of his lyrics…
I enjoyed Poison.. they seemed way more down to earth and genuine Californian rocker dudes… with one hit and thankfully their hairstyles were more natural and relaxed.. liked them.
But my fave has to be Ozzy!! He’s great!! Relaxed natural genuine rocker… he’s not trying to rock he just is and he’s not all hard arse and showy and I like his melodies and he’s got a cool band… so yeah got into Ozzy the most.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinews (Blood Red Sandman)Wikinews waves Right.pngSo all in all?

Milly Bea: We had fun playing with the Rock theme… with costume design and rock dance moves, all at one time having flash backs to the teen years when we did most of our rocking!!



Related news

  • “Wikinews interviews organiser of New Zealand’s Rock2Wgtn festival Phil Sprey” — Wikinews, March 26, 2008
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Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

July 13, 2008

Two found dead at Norway Rock Festival

Two found dead at Norway Rock Festival – Wikinews, the free news source

Two found dead at Norway Rock Festival

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Location of Vest-Agder, Norway, county containing Kvinesdal.

Two people have been found dead by police at Norway Rock Festival in Kvinesdal. They were on or near a bus that six to eight others were found outside and hospitalized. It is thought that the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We do not know exactly how they died, but we assume they suffocated on fumes while they were on the bus,” said a police spokesperson. The deceased are believed to have been an unmarried couple with three children, and all the victims are thought to be Norwegians aged in the 20s and 30s. No names have been released.

“It seems they all inhaled what could have been exhaust fumes,” commented Enoksen. He added that the lives of the others are thought to be safe.

The festival, established in 2006, continued as normal. Alice Cooper, Motörhead and The Quireboys were all performing at the event.



Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

March 26, 2008

Wikinews interviews organiser of New Zealand\’s Rock2Wgtn festival Phil Sprey

Wikinews interviews organiser of New Zealand’s Rock2Wgtn festival Phil Sprey

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

File photo of KISS, who headlined night one.
Image: Wok.

Across Easter weekend Wellington, New Zealand was host to Rock2Wgtn, an international two-day hard rock festival. Large crowds showed up at Westpac Stadium to see the various acts. The world has never seen an event of this kind before.

Day one featured three theatrical acts. Finnish band Lordi, known for their monster costumes, opened the night. They were followed by the US shock rocker Alice Cooper, whose themed set included the horror theatrics regularly associated with him and a hanging stunt he recently restarted after a gallows collapse nearly killed him two decades ago. The night was headlined by the distinctively costumed band KISS, complete with their famed black-and-white makeup.

The first major act on the stage on day two was the American hard rock/glam metal band Poison. After Poison, British act Whitesnake took to the stage and performed their set to the crowd. British-born American rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who, as well as a solo career, fronts the world-famous Black Sabbath, was the second night’s headline act.

The festival’s entertainment did not stop at the six main acts. There was also support performances from three New Zealand bands – The Symphony of Screams, The Valves and Sonic Altar. Their sets were accompanied by a special effects package from award-winning studio Weta Workshops, who are known for their work on movies such as The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. This came in the form of ‘Drusila the Dragon’, which rose up to a height of six foot and wigspan and moved for the audience, shining lasers from its eyes and breathing red smoke. Flame Fire Productions were hired to put on a fire show featuring several dancers alongside the performers. Also performing were six local guitarists and a group of ‘zombie’ cheerleaders.

Despite the crowds that flocked to the event, however, it has recently become apparent that financial trouble has hit the festival. Although figures remain to be confirmed, an estimated NZ$750,000 has been lost.

Wikinews secured an exclusive interview with Phil Sprey of Capital C Concerts, who organised the festival. The entire interview is now available below.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.pngWhat initially gave you the idea to stage New Zealand’s first rock festival?

Phil: Easter in Wellington is normally a quieter place and as we are resident here we were working to not only present a phenomenal experience but to drive short range international tourism and domestic tourism. To do this we needed an impressive line-up and a format that was as much theatrical as it was festival. On a company level we were demonstrating that NZ has the ability to stage big events and have the planning, equipment services etc to deliver. We did this well beyond expectation and every artist management was more than satisfied with the production. We also wanted to brand our name to agents and management around the world – we have done this as well.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow did you select the acts that would be performing and the other entertainment on offer? What are your personal opinions on the artists present?

Phil:Originally we were looking at a KISS concert in November. To assist an Australian promoter we moved this act to the Easter slot and then to make it a festival format added Ozzy on a second day. It then grew from there based largely on availability and the genre. Originally we planned a format with 2 ‘younger’ bands and 4 more mature performers so we were close to where we needed to be. Have absolutely no issues with the artists and all performed up to expectation or beyond.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs it true that Ozzy demanded the set be repainted from KISS colours to his own?

Phil:Ozzy made no demands on repainting the Guitar set we had. We in consultation with their production chief did so as it was better ‘form’ not to embarrass the artist on the second night and retain the very happy production of the weekend.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat kind of reaction has there been from fans and the media to the festival?

Phil:HUGE! We have been bombarded with emails from around the world and from NZ fans. Media too have been very active and other than a few who ‘picked’ at individual performances most enjoyed the experience for what it was.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThree-quarters of a million dollars is a huge loss. Why is the quantity so large if ticket sales were still relatively high, even if they were below anticipated levels? How much did it cost to hire each of the acts present, anyway?

Phil:The loss figure is only an estimate at this point but yes we sustained a loss. The ratio of ticket sales who bought the discounted two-day package was 30% higher than expected, accommodation in Wellington was at maximum partly due to a conference and another entertainment event booked after our concert that also swallowed up capacity. The fact that no major concert has ever been held in Wellington over Easter was always going to be experimental and risky. We contained other costs very well with the only blowout coming from additional costs of international freight which was doubled on us by airlines who had been supportive then decided to charge premium when demand increased. (That war is still to be fought.)

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWho is going to pay the price now?

Phil:Everyone of our contractors, Artist and suppliers are paid. We are concert promoters and will go onto the next concerts. It is what we do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYou believe Easter trading restrictions are responsible for low sales. Might we then see a future Rock2Wgtn at a different time of the year? If so, what can we expect from it?

Phil:When archaic trading hours for bars and retail exist in a secular society and ‘tourist’ towns like Rotorua and Queenstown can trade openly then things need to change. NZ is highly reliant on Tourism….. we can’t be closed. Over zealous Police and Liquor licensing people who interpret laws made public comments in advance of the weekend which did deter people from coming. While we can’t quantify the numbers we have had considerable comment to this effect.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhy were Easter restrictions not factored into plans before the festival?

Phil:They were. We discussed this with City Council and Authorities, but these authorities only came back with the detail 2-3 weeks before the event and took a very negative approach to the work many of us and the hospitality industry had taken. Had they made the calls in 2007 when we announced the concert plans a totally different course would have been taken.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThere were also 20 related arrests for minor offences. What are your comments on this? Do you feel negative media attention from this may be an issue for Capital C Concerts?

Phil:We talked to police and the arrests were very very minor. 20 people in 50,000 is not worth the mention. Most were for over exuberant young guys who had a drink to many and climber over mojo barriers. None were for violence etc.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat other events are you planning for the future?

Phil:We like the adventurous projects and will continue to bring the artists the public want into NZ. We understand showbiz in NZ better than most and this is what we do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat would you like to say to any fans reading this now?

Phil:To fans that were in Wellington we thank them for being part of rock history: The Trilogy of Evil (KISS, Ozzy and Alice) have never played in one event like R2W before EVER! So an accolade for us and a long memory to savour for all who were there. We know from the images we have that the enjoyment factor was way , way up there. That’s entertainment and that’s what we do. Well.

Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.


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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 2, 2007

Alice Cooper says reality show \’The Osbournes\’ ruined Ozzy Osbourne\’s career

Alice Cooper says reality show ‘The Osbournes’ ruined Ozzy Osbourne’s career

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Friday, November 2, 2007

Alice Cooper pictured without his famous stage makeup in 2006.
Image: Thomas Brodbeck.

Solo American hard shock rock artist Alice Cooper has commented that The Osbournes, a reality TV show starring heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, ruined the career of the Black Sabbath frontman.

Cooper said he felt that by allowing daily life in his house to be broadcast to the world, he destroyed the mystery that had previously surrounded him.

“Most fans thought he lived in a big, dark castle with skeletons in the cellar.” said Cooper.

“When that show aired they knew he was just some guy who potters around his Beverly Hills mansion.

“It was meant to be some kind of comedy but the audience was laughing at Ozzy, not with him. And as a close friend, that made me very sad.”

Ozzy Osbourne performing live in 2007.
Image: joxeankoret.

Meanwhile, both artists have related news this week. Finnish solo symphonic power metal soprano Tarja Turunen, most famous as the former Nightwish frontwoman, has released a 30-second preview of her cover version of Alice Cooper’s top ten hit Poison, which will feature on her upcoming album My Winter Storm.

Cooper himself has stated that during an upcoming tour he will replicate a mock hanging for the first time after a near-fatal accident performing the same stunt in 1988, only this time he will also be wearing a straightjacket.

Meanwhile, Ozzy has blamed illegal music downloads for poor sales of his latest album Black Rain, saying that the low sales have forced him into a 90-gig world tour that he has admitted he can barely cope with.



Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

August 19, 2007

Alice Cooper sets up Christian at-risk youth center in Phoenix, US

Alice Cooper sets up Christian at-risk youth center in Phoenix, US

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Alice Cooper, a founder of the shock rock genre, and infamous for his gory stage shows, is setting up a Christian center for at-risk youths in Phoenix.

Cooper, who has been a born again Christian for over 20 years, has already raised US$2 million for the center via his charity, the Solid Rock Foundation, founded by Cooper in 1995. “The Rock”, as the center will be called, is expected to cost $7.3 million, and Cooper hopes that construction work will begin on the site, currently a grassy area near the Grand Canyon University, by November.

The land was donated by the university, which is Christian-based. The structure will cover about 29,000 square feet.

The center will aim to get teens in Phoenix off the streets. Alice explained the problem in an interview with Reuters: “Some of these kids just don’t have a chance. All their environment does for them is teach them how to dodge bullets and be really good criminals.”

The center will also attempt to make the youths interested in a music career as an alternative to crime, and will feature a recording studio and sound room, a concert hall, and a coffee house with a stage for performers. Cooper spoke of his confidence in the scheme’s potential, saying “If you get a kid that’s just as addicted to that guitar as he would be addicted to selling crack, it will change his life right then and there. I’m sure of that,”.

Sources

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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