Enhancing the Experience
August 1, 2011
Bright Lights and Music to Bowl By
Whether it helps the game or not, sound and light effects installed in bowling centers produce mind- altering experiences in bowlers for the better, or it would not be the way the ball is rolling in bowling centers from one coast to another.
The radio is always blaring for ambiance and the laser lights are glowing at Lore’s Lanes in New Milford, Conn., because it’s always better to have music playing, said Manager Joshua Young. “The lights change the mood of the center drastically.”
The various league groups, summer camps, parks and recreation groups and pass holders that add up to between 50,000 and 90,000 bowlers annually should be pleased with the changes they will find as Young described. “We just bought black glow lights for a party mindset. A good glow light system is key for kids, especially during open play.”
Six Aggressor LED Lights were installed and six more are ready as backups. Each individual light is sound-activated and collectively stand out, said Young. “We get more life out of the actual glow lights than the previous glass bulbs.”
The sound system is in a state of flux, on its way to providing sound throughout the center. “Currently, all speakers are in the front of the center and sound flows at the bowlers, so we’re working to move speakers to the back and keep subwoofers where they are,” Young said.
It is not hard to get into the mood of rockin’ and bowlin’ at Blue Fox Rock ‘N Bowl of Simsbury, Conn., with the black strobe lights, disco lights, and during the fall months, a DJ spinning discs.
To step up the party atmosphere, Manager Mark Glanovsky is on a constant lookout for the newest and latest in sound and lighting. “We’re remodeling as we speak, updating the sound system with new amps and speakers and adding laser tag to the facility by the end of August or September.”
A sound system upgrade was recently completed at Holiday Bowl in Groton, Conn., and a laser show installed, said Assistant Manager Alberto Charles. “It used to be that the laser show displayed the same patterns and now they constantly change.”
Charles mentioned that summertime is typically a slow attendance season, yet when the new lasers were installed at the end of the winter season he saw a jump in attendance, usually at 300,000 games played. “We always have league bowlers but open bowl walk-ins increased.”
The use of sound and lighting is dependent on the various theme nights, and as such, is a hugely important part of the bowling business at Holiday Bowl, especially during the night shift when bowlers can request songs. Charles noted that the TV monitor is connected to the music system and, for example, if bowlers request a 1980s song, they can watch the group that performs the song on the monitor.
In actuality, said Charles, it’s when the lights go out that bowlers particularly enjoy the game because of the laser show that is shown at that time.
Across the country at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale, Calif., the latest change, noted Manager Michelle Sidener, are newly installed flashing lights over the lanes in a variety of colors. Bowlers enjoy Extreme Bowling on Fridays and Saturdays, a DJ spinning tunes, and as the regular lights go down, the disco, neon and laser lights go up.
The role of sound and lighting varies at Oak Tree Lanes in Diamond Bar, Calif., from use as a promotional tool to attract youth and any various other types of bowlers than the staunch league players, to parties and other events.
A satellite system attached to the sound system plays classic rock, oldies or top 40 tunes that transmit out over the lanes. Manager Jim Beauchamp said glow lights pick up the color of an additive in the actual lanes to create an affect, along with a disco ball suspended from the ceiling and fog that spreads out over the lanes from a haze machine.
Music is playing continuously at Palos Verdes Bowl in Torrance, Calif., yet it varies with the clientele, said Customer Service Manager Darren McNeill. “We might change to oldies on Friday and Saturday nights for an adult crowd, accompanied by a cosmic bowl feel by turning out the house lights and turning on the glow lights. They’re a big attraction.” McNeill went on to say that music is turned up louder for the rock generation clientele and the song selections, more mainstream.
Management researches sound and lighting for the latest improvements, whether strobe lights or something akin to Ferris Wheel lights, and the stereo system may be upgraded toward the end of the year. Currently, noted McNeill, a sound system tied in to a computer website and piped into the bowling center is satisfactory.
Sound and lighting play a major role at North Bowl in North Attleboro, Mass., according to bowling center Owner Ed Kinsley. “We have cosmic bowling on Friday and Saturday nights and on Saturdays and Sundays for birthday parties during the day, plus we play music every hour that we’re open, except for occasional leagues that request it be turned off.”
Kinsley purchased the center three years ago and installed the lights and an extensive sound and video system for bowlers who play to the tune of 45,000 games per year. –