Environmentally friendly wood and stretch fabric stages

Festival Client – Tommy Lyle, Wood of a Kind

We first chatted to Tommy Lyle of Wood of a Kind from Boulder Colorado back in January, 2016. We instantly resonated with his philosophy and approach to his craft. He is a rustic wood worker and festival stages are just one of the ways he expresses himself.

Wood of a Kind Stage and BedouinFlex fabric
Wood Stage and BedouinFlex fabric (Tommy Lyle, Wood of a Kind)

For his first project working with us, he chose Bedouinflex Premium stretch fabric for the canopy of the stage in order to insulate and waterproof the wooden structure. He was pleased with how easy it was to work with the fabric. The concept: the stage needed to be permanent, but the waterproof canopy would be assembled and disassembled according to the up-coming event.

Wood of a Kind Stage and BedouinFlex fabric - men at work
Wood Stage and BedouinFlex fabric – Men at Work (Tommy Lyle, Wood of a Kind)

This was a particularly large structure (90” x 50”; 27m x 15m) but the fabric is so lightweight that he was able to wash it himself and only needed the assistance of one other colleague to put it up.

He added, ‘It has just the right amount of stretch to make the job come out perfect in every way, even if there are imperfections in the structure I put it on.

Through further conversation, we found out that the main challenge in the marketplace is trying to convince people to build environmentally friendly stages – there’s no reason to burden the earth for a weekend festival. ‘I source my wood from the property of the festival or nearby and the Bedouinflex fabric allowed me to reduce the amount of wood used – it’s an amazing combination.‘ 

#Starmind stage installation at Unifier Festival - photo credits Parallaxedpanda
Starmind stage breakdown at the Unifier Festival 2016 (photo credits Parallaxedpanda)

I hope to change the market by building bigger, more affordable, carbon neutral stages that inspire people to abandon the ugly metal stages while implementing proper forestry techniques, leaving the woods healthier than we found them.

Even the way he disposes of the bark and scrap improves the woods.  He has a degree in Environmental Biology which drives him to be better than a commercial builder.

So what’s next for Tommy Lyle? ‘I’ll be building for Oregon Eclipse, which is a world class festival. It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, so Bedouinflex Premium fabric will be part of my toolkit to make sure my build is world class.

Music festivals are a catalyst for change. Tommy hopes to inspire and influence the art festival scene by raising the standard of quality. ‘I hope to influence festivals that claim to adopt the permaculture design system to switch over and put that money into the pockets of their community and we all come together to build environmentally friendly, locally sourced wooden stages.

I do this for fun.

Parting shot:

Q: What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

A: ‘Never do business with someone that gives you the creeps from day one and don’t let them talk you out of a contract because that’s the kind of person you NEED to sign a contract with.

#StarMind Stage at Unifier Festival - photo credits Zebbler Studios
StarMind stage at the Unifier Festival 2016 (photo credits Zebbler Studios)

**StarMind** Stage at the Unifier Festival
Stage design and artwork by The Reliquarium
Projections and photo credit to Zebbler Studios
Raw timber post, beam and fabric stage creation by Tommy Lyle and Ashton Blair
Lighting by Justin Jannone
Live performance by Incus

Wood of a Kind Stage and BedouinFlex fabric - Front of House at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Wood and BedouinFlex fabric – Front of House at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom (Tommy Lyle, Wood of a Kind)

Article credits: Tommy Lyle, Wood of a Kind, Boulder Colorado.