Lighting Wizard Part of Massive Behind-the-Scenes Effort to Bring Coachella to Life

By Jada Montemarano | Spectrum News 1

LOS ANGELES - How does a performance at a festival like Coachella come to life? It takes months of preparation and hundreds of people to put together an illuminating experience. One part of the process is the lighting. Stephen Lieberman is the wizard behind the curtain.

Stephen has been working in night clubs since he was 15 and he loves the music.

"It’s a vibe. It’s what you feel inside your heart. So, when you hear the music you can almost close your eyes and imagine what you think it should be," said Lieberman.

He imagines what the lighting should be and translates music into light design for some of the biggest clubs in Los Angeles and beyond. A shining moment for him is designing for Coachella. He has been lighting the festival for about 15 years.

"Year after year I can’t look at the same design. So, we sketch new ideas and get inspiration to come up with a concept," said Liberman.

This year, he'll be lighting the Yuma stage, which is known for featuring house music acts.

"It’s more like a night club, so doors open to doors close. There is no space between DJs," said Lieberman.

If the DJs are going all day, so are the lighting operators. Liberman for the most part will be controlling the board for all three days during both weekends of the festival.

"You have to pace yourself. It’s a very long shift," said Lieberman.

Not only do they create designs, plan the light patterns, the colors and the vibe, they also make alterations on the fly during the actual performances. This takes skill and precision. The next time you go into a night club or you step inside the Yuma tent at Coachella, recognize the lighting and appreciate the art.

"There is nothing more important to us than the audience having an amazing experience," says Lieberman.