The festival model has never sat still – demand, organisers, promoters, production teams, suppliers, and technology won’t let it.
Stages have gone from serving simply as a means to lift bands up a bit for audience sightlines and supporting the bare minimum PA, to providing the framework for full-on, almost cinematic performances.
To that end, colossal combinations of infrastructure and production weights demand even the strongest stage roofs bring more muscle to the occasion.
We recorded 115 tons in the air on a specially configured VerTech roof at British Summer Time [cap. 65,000] in Hyde Park last summer. A mix of house production, Mumford and Sons’ rig and the pre-rig for Take That, it set a new record for the event, which had already hosted heavyweight shows from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and Take That.
The burgeoning smaller festival market, and live events with a music hub, want to make a mark too and staging companies interested in putting platforms into those equations need to have the kit, and the engineering, to develop and deliver the difference.
Staging/support infrastructure is a competitive market, like every element of an outdoor event, and maintaining suppliers’ investment in people, equipment and resources to deliver safer, better products and services depends on the commercial viability of the business and the ability to charge sustainable rates.
Thankfully, most of the world’s promoters recognise this and the market maintains a healthy array of suppliers. There will always be new arrivals, though, entering the market and offering unrealistic rates to inexperienced organisers who are willing to accept claims of best practice and knowledge of structures where there is none.
The risk then is they find off-the-shelf, lightweight systems re-deployed as outdoor stages that in extreme conditions could put their events, and ultimately their audience, at risk.
There’s a lot to be said for the old adage, ‘too good to be true’.
Head of Structures
Star Events Group Ltd