Posted in music on April 18, 2011

the inside of the ball (via Paul Tao, thx Hiro!)
Arcade Fire


Ok, first of all, the correct term for them is "ball" and not "balloon" as I earlier referred to them, and this is how it happened, as described by a member of the Creators Project team...

"I never expected to be watching Arcade Fire play from backstage, but when the production team called for "all hands on deck," no one could argue. There to assist with the grand finale--launching some 2,000 LED-enhanced blow-up beach balls into the crowd--we were all giddy at the prospect of taking part in their performance. The idea for the visual spectacle, developed by director Chris Milk (who the band previously worked with on "The Wilderness Downtown"), was to release these balls in time for Arcade Fire's encore and use the embedded LEDs and IR transmitters to light paint all over the audience.

A crane positioned at the top of the stage was set up to let the balls drop during the band's last song, "Wake Up," and our job was to throw them into the crowd and make sure they stayed there. There was also a giant cage to the right of the stage filled with hundreds more that we were responsible for tossing into the audience, which proved to be no easy task given that they were an unwieldy two or three feet in diameter. When the the balls finally did drop, the entire place turned into an epic ball pit, with these giant balls flying all over the place, changing colors all the while from red to blue to orange to pink. (My apologies to the people in the front who may have been pummeled in the face with a beach ball or two--my bad!). Standing on stage and taking it all in, it certainly was a sight to behold.

The interactive visual performance, entitled Summer Into Dust continues online. Those lucky few who managed to catch a ball can log on to the accompanying website and continue the experience. Each ball comes with a URL where fans can locate a user manual online and connect their ball to a greater community"

Did you get one (and not rip it open)? What's your URL? A short video about the project featuring Chris Milk, and video of "Wake Up" when the balls all dropped, below...

it wasn't really their last song...

More pictures HERE and HERE.

and two by Peter Sutherland....




Comments (26)

you know what would've been better than those balls dropping, regine giving win a bj on stage

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 1:22 AM

so i guess this is what it takes to make arcade fire interesting?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 1:28 AM

wouldnt this have cost a fortune? a/f couldnt have donated the money to unicef is they cared sooo much about saving the world?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 3:04 AM

The evolution of how these items are refered to is as follows...
1-Balloons 2-Balls 3-Electric Chickpeas.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 3:24 AM

alls i knows is.... they gotta lotta balls.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 7:18 AM

Number 1 - rip off of the Flaming Lips

Number 2 - you actually attended this fest, and WANTED to see AF?

Number 3 - you still get excited about a Wake Up encore?


Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 8:22 AM

"Number 3 - you still get excited about a Wake Up encore?"

wake up closed the set, not part of the encore

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 9:52 AM

terrific idea putting anything of value in something dropped en masse into a rabid crowd


hahahahaha amirite?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 10:19 AM

balls dropped.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 10:31 AM

Generic smug insult, there is nothing BrooklynVegan\mainstream music festivals\the world can do to impress me.

Posted by Stephen Whitfield | April 18, 2011 10:35 AM

i like the "ladybugs" reference 7:18.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 11:06 AM


Posted by The Real Real Yup. PERIOD | April 18, 2011 11:27 AM

'Oh the cokes!'
- from the 1992 smash hit Ladybugs.

Posted by The Real Real Yup. PERIOD | April 18, 2011 11:33 AM

@3:04 Your humanitarian concern is touching. Don't worry though. As part of The Creator's Project was an Intel/ Vice collaboration by/ for/ funded by the festival itself.

Be careful trying to get on a horse that high, you could fall on your ass real easy.

Arcade Fire themselves have already generated well in excess of 2 million dollars - rather than the 1 million figure that's usually quoted - for Haiti alone.

It's not an either/or scenario, you joyless fucks. Rest easy in the knowledge that at no point did somebody take a note out of Win Butler's wallet at gunpoint and force him to choose between spending it on either a water purification system for a hungry child or an innovative IR LED system.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 1:04 PM

your all a bunch of fucking twats.

Posted by jmon | April 18, 2011 1:18 PM

Win Bulter stole my LED enhanced beach ball.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 1:29 PM

this was done similarly at phish's festival 8 at indio two years ago. i would imagine, it's the same people. take a look:

Posted by jag | April 18, 2011 1:42 PM

Wow, big shiny balls. Wow, so kewl.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 1:53 PM

i remember when music was, you know, music

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 4:56 PM

1:04 - nice of arcade fires publicist to drop by, but give me a fucking break. if it was funded by the show why didnt any of the other 200 artists get magic blinking baloons? And 2 million dollars? I don't believe that for a second. You're hopelessly naive if you think this Bono-esque altruistic posturing is even the slightest bit genuine. this is a band more concerned with playing corporate stadiums, sucking up to the Grammy comitee and spending $400 dollars on their hitler-youth haircuts.

And you say I need to get off my high horse?

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 5:34 PM

Jeeez. They wanted to do something cool. So what? It IS a show...

Posted by Anon | April 18, 2011 7:23 PM


a) Do more homework on Coachella.

b) Do more homework on Arcade Fire.

But I'll do your homework on the two million dollars for you.

The first million dollars comes from their donation matching pledge, where the band donated one dollar to PIH/ Kanpe for every dollar donated by a fan. This is well documented, and it's thrown around all the time because it's a nice and round figure. For the sake of this post, I'm not counting the *other* corresponding million dollars of fan donations generated by this arrangement.

The rest comes from the donated Superbowl fee use of Wake Up, the ringfenced dollar/pound/euro from every ticket to every show they've played since 2007, the PIH merch at every venue, the single sales (since Neon Bible almost all benefited PIH), charity autograph auctions eg. the Miroir Noir special edition, or the other one off stuff - a chunk of their Reading fee went directly to PIH, for instance.

So yeah. 2 Million easy. Plus the other million the fans donated, if you want.

I'm not counting any of the stuff before 2007, or the stuff they've done for (RED), Red Hot or Japanese earthquake relief because I don't know the figures. I'm not Arcade Fire's publicist, but I do have an internet connection and a fully functional search engine.

It's easy to be cynical because you get to be right a lot, but you're wrong this time. I'm sorry. I'm sorry not everybody is a dick, and I'm sorry this is so impossible to believe.

If you'd like to know more about whether or not Arcade Fire are for real about this shit, please forward your enquiries to somebody from Partners in Health, who cited Arcade Fire as one of their primary donors up until very recently. Partners in Health won't care. They have shit to do. If you'd like to know in painfully researched detail exactly what that is, ask one of Arcade Fire. They'll know.

Posted by Anonymous | April 18, 2011 7:39 PM

Put out the fire

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2011 8:13 AM

Boring comments from boring people (much more boring than Arcade Fire). Me included.

Posted by Anonymous | April 19, 2011 5:58 PM

this was hands down THE best outdoor gig i've ever been to. and i've seen hundreds. hate and complain all you want. arcade fire is incredible live. under a full moon in the desert....even better.

Posted by Anonymous | April 21, 2011 12:40 AM

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