Sam Takes Over TAIT for Phish New Years Eve 2016

It’s episode 3 of TAIT Take Over! On this episode, we’re celebrating the New Year with kinetic umbrellas, crystal rain, balloons, dancers and Phish! Sam Hillyer, one of our Controls Integrators, will take you behind the scenes for one of the most talked about surprise shows. Enjoy!

Hi, I’m Sam Hillyer, I am a controls integrator with TAIT working on the Phish, New Year’s Eve show.

As a controls integrator, we take all of the equipment and all of the stock tools that we built, pair it with Navigator and put it all together for the client. We figure out how to program, commission and set up a system that fulfills the artistic needs of the show.

So, the cool thing with Phish, is every year they do this NYE show and every year they put something special into it for their fans. They have really dedicated fans and they never share what they are going to do. It’s always a big surprise. So, there is a lot of secrecy and there’s a lot of gossip about what they are going to do for New Year’s Eve. Not only is it cool to be a part of that, but we get to do a lot of neat things because they like to come up with a lot of these really crazy, wacky, surreal, off-the-wall ideas.

In this case, this year, we did a bunch of floating, flying umbrellas. We used 16 of our TAIT Nano Winches, and not only did we program pretty movements and all these artistic looks, but we actually choreographed dancers with these flying umbrellas that move above their heads. The dancers reach and grab for them but the umbrellas float away just above their fingertips. They get to do really cool interactive moves with it and it becomes part of the dance number.

Leading up to the countdown to the New Year, they start to incorporate more of these elements. These umbrellas start floating, and it’s smokey, it’s dark and there is rain; it just looks like they’re floating there. You can’t tell they are supported by anything. The umbrellas come down and the dancers reach up towards them and they actually have LED’s in them. So not only can we light them up, we can change colors, we can move them and we can do all sorts of things with them. So, thirty minutes before the New Year, the dancers begin dancing and interacting with the umbrellas. The umbrellas start moving into different patterns and shapes. It looks really cool.

3…2…1…Happy New Year Everybody!


  • 2016 New Year’s Eve Footage – Phish
  • Behind the Scenes Footage – Sam Hillyer

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