Dim crowd for holiday lights

Everything is sparkling at the new Holiday Road light show location except the attendance numbers.
Marie Havenga
Dec 21, 2012

Organizer Brad Boyink said he hopes that changes in the next few days — the last for the dazzling display that features 240,000 lights synchronized to music.

Holiday Road moved indoors to The Pointes Mall in Norton Shores this year after lighting up the night the past few Christmas seasons as an outdoor display in Spring Lake Township's Heather Court neighborhood.

Attendance is down about 35 percent and donations to the Special Olympics are lagging by about $8,000 compared to this time last year, according to Boyink. But he expects crowds to pick up during the show's final weekend.

“This is our ramp-up week,” Boyink said. “More and more people are showing up. Our biggest challenge has been getting people used to where we're at.”

No one should get too used to the Norton Shores location. Boyink said it is a one-time arrangement and he will need to find new digs for next year's show.

Boyink toured a possible new indoor location in the City of Grand Haven this week. He would not disclose the location.

Boyink said since plugging in at an indoor location, he's been sold on the idea.

“I don't think I would ever move back outdoors,” he said. “There are so many more things we can do indoors. There's really something nice about not standing out in the rain, snow, sleet and 15-degree wind chills. And setup is not weather-dependent.”

Boyink estimates the show will raise about $32,000 for Special Olympics this year. The 2011 display brought in $47,000.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Holiday Road light show

WHERE: Storefront in the east corner of The Pointes strip mall, northeast corner of Sternberg and Old Grand Haven roads (exit 109B from U.S. 31)

WHEN: 15-minute shows run 6-10 tonight, 1-4 and 6-10 p.m. Saturday, 1-4 and 6-9 p.m. Sunday, 6-9 p.m. Monday, and 6-9 p.m. Christmas Day.

ADMISSION: Free. Donations accepted for Special Olympics.

Comments

Tchambers

There are a couple reasons why the attendance has been down this year, and Mr. Boyink seems to be a bit bull-headed on this matter from the way the article reads.

First, all of the magic and ambience was lost by moving this event indoors especially at a strip mall. The environment did not fit the mood at all. Is the event a technological marvel? Yes. However, all the elements need to work together to make this a magical and memorable event. All the houses in the old neighborhood did this.

Secondly, the show is too 'flashy'. I understand that the Light-O-Rama controllers somewhat limit him in what can be done; they are not a true DMX-512 environment, but are compatible. However, the units are very capable of some interesting effects. Sadly, this show seems to mostly comsist of pixel-mapped video and strobe-style effects. Tone down the rapid flashing of the lights! Use more fades, or color-shifting! The programming while no doubt very time consuming, leaves a lot to be desired. It seems the programmer forgot that the light show needs to fit the mood, instead of looking like you are walking into a Skrillex concert. My wife and three children all agree that the show was too flashy, and we all left with headaches from the non-stop stone effects throughout the show.

Before someone thinks I am only a disgruntled visitor spouting off; I have seventeen years experience in the entertainment industry as a lighting director and have extensive experience with DMX dating back to when it first was introduced. If I may, I would like to make some suggestions for future locations: Mulligans Hollow, Dewey Hill - play alternating shows with the existing nativity scene, followed by Mr. Boyink's show, Grand Haven State Park - the campground loop would be perfect for this, or why not set it up on Washington Ave? With wireless DMX, it could encompass the entire downtown area, bring many more shoppers to downtown businesses, and raise more money for charity!

As a footnote, check out the Holdman Family Christmas Show to see what this local show should be. Yes there is some strobing, but it actually fits the theme instead of being a random mish-mash of strobing Christmas decorations strewn about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m...

Tchambers

Almost forgot! If you really, and I mean REALLY want to see what a Skrillex concert is like, and how it relates to the indoor Holiday Road show, here you go! Don't say I did not warn you! http://youtu.be/oxEqBXEN0xY

lovegh

In reply to your foodnote from Holdman Family Christmas Show's website:

"2010 was the last year for our large display on our home. The traffic became to much along with some neighbor complaints but for the record there were many awesome neighbors that loved it and I really appreciate their support over the years. We moved in 2012 for a variety of reasons and I started devoting all my time to my new lighting company Holdman Lighting."
http://www.holdman.com/christmas/

hmmm? sound familiar?

Maybe you could pay the crew of The Holiday Road Light Show to set up a display at your house. The Special Olympic's could benefit from the proceeds.
I must say, I enjoyed the show this year and so did my child. There were no headaches or complaints but then, we are not experts in the field of lighting or DMX, just mere observers who appreciate the hard work and dedication of others.

Light_Czar

In reading past news articles on the show and the Holiday Road Light Show Facebook page, it has been made clear that having the show outdoors was longer a viable option for several reasons. The link provided from youtub for Skrillex is extreme and does not remotely depict what the Holiday Road Light Show is like. Based on your comments it is clear that you did not enjoy the show. I’ll admit it is different but different is not always bad. Regardless, if you did or did not enjoy the show, let’s not forget that the show is put on to help raise funds for Special Olympics. To help reader better understand what the show is really like, please see the link for the Holiday Road 2012 Trailer from youtub:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6...

HolidayRoad

Tchambers, thank you for your insight and comments. As you may know it can be quite difficult to produce content that appeals to everyone. This year we tried to broaden our musical selections and produced new songs we have never done before.

You speak of every song as being too flashy. Perhaps you did not see "Do you hear what I hear", as this song has very gentle fades and color mixing. But the fact is a majority of the people consistently ask for songs from Trans-Siberian Orchestra. These songs are fast passed and require lighting effects that match that music.

I do find one thing puzzling, you go out of your way to mention that you have 17 years of experience in DMX but totally missed the fact 90% of the display is using RGB pixels driven by DMX. In fact, there are 38 DMX Universes. Native Light-O-Rama units do not do RGB color and I use very few of them now.

You also mention I should use more color shifting and fades. Um, RGB is 16.7 million colors. There is no lack of extreme color range, but you should know this. Many have commented on how vast the color is in the show. You are correct in color sets the mood, this is why I switched to RGB. I do admit that I do not do a lot of long fades, as once again the music that is most requested is faster passed music. Instead I tend to do color blending from one color to the next.

You also mentioned several locations that would be better suited. Every location has pros and cons. Although these locations may seem really good on paper they are quoted flawed when it comes to logistics. Let me give you two examples:

Mulligans Hollow. With hundreds of cars coming to see the show can you imagine how difficult it would be for people who want to go to the Y or Ski Bowl to get in? Where would you bring the traffic in from and where would they exit without disturbing neighborhoods?

Next, Dewey Hill. The average wireframe we use is 4-6 feet tall. Did you know those angels on the hill are almost 30 feet tall? They don't look it, but they are, so imagine what any of the current displays would look it. Not to mention what are we going to build on? Where are people going to view it from? The bleachers? There is very little parking down there that would have a view. How are you going to go about collecting donations? The show is for charity.

As you can see we did think about these and other locations. But in the end they just did not work. A lot more goes into picking a location than what you would think. I would love to be in Grand Haven, but we just could not work out a location. Remember we looked for months for an outdoor location.

You mention the Holdman Family Christmas display as an example of your perfect display. I personally know Richard Holdman. His display is beautiful and he has his own stye of programming. But you my find it interesting that at the International PlanetChristmas Expo in 2011 he called Holiday Road one of the best displays in the country. He was not the only one.

Programming is an art form. Not everyone likes the same type of art. My style is just that, my style. It's my interpretation of the music. I switch to RGB to give me a bigger canvas to work with. But my canvas does not have to be the only one. Knowing you have years of experience I would love for you to help with future programming. An additional interpretation would be good. I hope you take me up on my offer.

But I think the biggest thing I need to clear up is, although the show is associated with me since I started it, everyone needs to understand it took a crew of over 50 volunteer to make this show happen. I am far from the only person who works on creating this display. To build something like this, in as little time as we had, is simply amazing. Holiday Road is no longer the vision of just one person, but an entire dedicated crew. Personally, I'm very proud of that crew and we would love to have you join it.

Brad Boyink

bear3

Wow Tchamers, with all that experience, maybe you should do your own show. Good-Luck with that. All the places you mentioned to put it would not work. To move such a show in such a short time is amazing in itself, not to mention the actual show. I saw it in the neighborhood. The only thing I found amazing about that one was all the people who would sit in their cars that long for what I found to be a disappointment once I was in. By the way, I walked in. I have seen the indoor show many times now, and plan to attend a few more times. You had a headache after leaving the show? I have one just from reading your personnel attack against the founder of Holiday Road. Where else in this area can you find such a special event that the whole family can attend and enjoy? I bet all the business's in that area, appreciate the show being there too. Brad it's wonderful and wishing only the best for Holiday Road. Its idiots like Tchambers that is whats wrong with the world today.

bear3

Wow Tchamers, with all that experience, maybe you should do your own show. Good-Luck with that. All the places you mentioned to put it would not work. To move such a show in such a short time is amazing in itself, not to mention the actual show. I saw it in the neighborhood. The only thing I found amazing about that one was all the people who would sit in their cars that long for what I found to be a disappointment once I was in. By the way, I walked in. I have seen the indoor show many times now, and plan to attend a few more times. You had a headache after leaving the show? I have one just from reading your personnel attack against the founder of Holiday Road. Where else in this area can you find such a special event that the whole family can attend and enjoy? I bet all the business's in that area, appreciate the show being there too. Brad it's wonderful and wishing only the best for Holiday Road. Its idiots like Tchambers that is whats wrong with the world today.

tonyjmartin

Tchambers, you are an attention-hungry troll that has self-appointed yourself as "the expert in the room" by offering your resume with "I have seventeen years experience in the entertainment industry as a lighting director and have extensive experience with DMX dating back to when it first was introduced." Big deal. Shall I post my resume that goes back even further? What would be the point? Seems like you have an axe to grind. Commentary such as yours is more appropriate for peer-reviewed publications, and it just serves to show your self-centered arrogance as you throw around technical terms that are of little relevance to the intended audience.

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