Making energy go further at France’s friendly festival

26 March 2014

Les Vieilles Charrues music festival in western France attracts over 250,000 revellers over four days. It is saving energy by installing LED lighting from the New Lighting Company, designed with support from Arrow, explains Stephane Rosa, Arrow Electronics.

As one of Europe’s largest cultural events, the festival takes place just outside the small city of Carhaix in Brittany, western France, in July.

Before the crowds arrive - coming to see 75 acts on the bill for 2013 including headliners such as Neil Young, Elton John, Carlos Santana, and The Hives - the open-air site at Kerampuilh is the scene of four weeks’ intensive preparation. The set-up crews must not only build the all-important performance stages but also have to construct many other vital aspects of the venue such as administrative offices and facilities for accommodation and catering – with services such as water and electricity supply for heating and lighting.

White light/white heat

To meet safety and security requirements, suitable lighting must be provided in places such as the main entrance, walkways, and other locations like cafes and restaurants. Setting up and taking down the lighting in these areas is a task that requires great care so as to avoid breakage of the lamps.

Perhaps a greater challenge is to ensure the electricity supply can keep the lights on across the vast 80-hectare site. The energy supplier EDF provides six power outlets for the festival, which supply the four performance stages, the area lighting and all other electrical demands throughout the festival site. Each outlet is supported by a large back-up generator in case of power failure.

Keeping the performance stages running at all times is vital to the success of the event, as is maintaining good relations with the city of Carhaix, as the local government provides the main investment to the festival organisers. For this reason, managing power consumption to prevent overloads, which can result in outages, is a top priority for the organisers. In 2012, peaks in electricity consumption reached close to the maximum capacity, potentially jeopardising the festival and its reputation.

Things were rather different last year, thanks to advanced, energy-efficient LED-based area lighting created by the New Light Company (NLCO). The company has a branch office in France, a design and manufacturing facility in Ryazan, Russia, offices in Turkey and Germany and a factory in Foshan, China. The company offers lighting products for industrial, outdoor, retail, residential and decorative lighting applications.

Sound and vision

At Les Vieilles Charrues 2013, visitors using the main entrance, VIP zone and restaurant zones found their way illuminated by NLCO’s latest OCR100-02, OCR200-01 and OSF100-11 outdoor LED lamps. According to the festival organisers, illuminating the main entrance area this year drew just one-sixth of the energy consumed in 2012.

“Changing to NLCO’s highly efficient LED lamps delivered the significant reduction in power consumption we had been seeking, which allowed us to stay comfortably within our maximum limit. At the same time, we were able to increase the power allocated to the stages to permit even more exciting performances, and we hope to continue reducing the power consumed by non-stage lighting at future events,” says Jacques Simon, head power engineering specialist for Les Vieilles Charrues.

The site construction teams are also pleased as the lamp units are significantly more robust than the conventional units used at previous festivals. Being less vulnerable to breakage, crews can work faster during setting up and dismantling.

NLCO’s advanced OCR lamp units for area lighting applications.


The NLCO OCR lamp units now used in place of conventional lighting at Les Vieilles Charrues are designed specifically for area lighting applications. NLCO’s distribution partner, Arrow Electronics Russia, assisted with the design of the new lamps by reviewing the application requirements and draft specifications with NLCO engineers to help select key components such as the LED emitters and optics.

Arrow Electronics supplies and supports technology for LED lighting through its dedicated lighting division. The division’s portfolio of leading products from top global brands includes high-power emitters, driver electronics, power-conversion devices, optics including lenses and reflectors, and connectors. One-to-one technical support ensures electronic, optical and mechanical design assistance is readily available, and the Arrow Lighting Designer online tool can help with all aspects including heatsink calculations. Moreover, the lighting division can also configure innovative supply-chain solutions where needed, to ensure successful delivery of the finished product to the customer’s target markets.

For NLCO’s OCR lamps, Arrow recommended Osram Oslon SSL80 emitters to achieve the best combination of efficacy and price, meeting the desired performance, quality and reliability targets. The Oslon SSL80 is a small light source, with a footprint of just 3x3mm allowing its use in slim and compact lighting designs. It features an 80° viewing angle that provides exceptional control over directionality, allowing high optical efficiency from an extremely small chip size. The emitter can be driven at up to 0.8A, producing high luminous flux, and is offered in Osram’s fine bin system based on a three-step MacAdams ellipse, to ensure colour consistency in all lighting applications.

Designers of solid-state lighting know that the design of optics such as reflectors and lenses have a critical role in maximising the performance of the LEDs in any given design. “In addition to helping with LED selection, we were able to guide NLCO to identify the optical components best suited to the chosen emitters,” says Paul Drosihn, marketing manager, Lighting EMEA for Arrow Electronics. “We recommended lenses from Ledil, which are made from optical grade polycarbonate to give high performance over a long useful lifetime.”

Ledil’s Iris OSL lens is designed specifically for use with Osram Oslon SSL LEDs, and achieves high optical efficiency of 92% while also providing locating pins to ensure optimal positioning of the lens relative to the emitter. Medium and oval sub lenses are also available, and the lenses can be specified with double-sided adhesive tape to assist assembly or in a screw version that can be assembled from the bottom of the circuit board. The optical grade lens material resists temperatures up to 105°C, and has high resistance to ultraviolet which minimises performance degradation over time. The separate holder is also able to withstand high temperatures, allowing the use of high LED drive currents for maximum optical flux output.

Hunky dory

All the lamp units proposed by NLCO for Les Vieilles Charrues were thoroughly measured and tested under representative operating conditions. The engineers responsible for the festival were impressed by the quality and the performance of the NLCO products, both during this evaluation stage as well as throughout the duration of the festival.  “I have been really impressed by the quality and performance of the NLCO lighting we chose this year. I am quite confident that we will be working with NLCO on a long-term basis going forward,” concludes Jacques Simon of Les Vieilles Charrues.

Figure 1: Power-saving site lighting allows the festival to allocate more energy for the four concert arenas.

Figure 2: NLCO’s advanced OCR lamp units for area lighting applications.

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