The Absurd Logistics of Concert Tours

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Published 2022-09-22
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Writing by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation led by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

References
[1] www.tourmgmt.org/

All Comments (21)
  • BKM
    As someone who works as a head charter scheduler for a bus company one thing you forgot to mention is that on many trips, we often send a second driver ahead in a regular vehicle days prior to a trip. They can then spend the night at a roadside hotel and complete a mid-drive swap with the previous bus driver to bypass the 10 hour limit for longer trips.
  • xmartinx
    I've been a tour manager for 15 years and the importance of good pre-preduction can not be overstated. I did one tour with 28 shows in Europe where the whole pre-preduction was horrible and crew was averaging 4 or 5 hours sleep per night. Our last show was in Madrid. After rigging and showcheck was over the whole crew went to this posh white table cloth restaurant to celebrate the end of the tour. It's worth mentioning that our crew came exclusively from the punk/metal scene and where totally misplaced in the restaurant. During dinner our drum tech said "I just feel.. so tired" and started crying. And one by one we just kinda joined him. So there we sat, 11 guys crying out of fatigue together.
  • Waffle6
    i would watch this man explain the logistics of anything at this point
  • I work as a head of sound for an international arena tour playing 5000-14,000 cap venues. I just spent 12 full days at home. It was my first time home in 7 months and I won’t get home again for another 8 months. Touring is a wild time!
  • CharPaca
    As someone working on stage automation (moving elements in shows such as Ed Sheeran or Coldplay’s current tours), an interesting thing you didn’t mention in this video is that big shows will often have large parts of the stage built twice (A set and B set). Set A will be built in venue 1, while Set B is already being built in venue 2. When the show is done in venue 1, Set A will move on to venue 3 while the tour moves to venue 2 and so on.
  • Zack Pittman
    As a tour manager and production manager, living this very life, you’ve hit on a lot of really good details, probably the best breakdown I’ve seen, but even this video still can’t prepare you for the reality that is our world.
  • Kathy Clysm
    I work as local crew at a (somewhat smaller) venue and honestly, I cannot stress enough how incredible riggers are. We often put on variety acts like trapeze artists as well, and these guys and girls math like it's noone's business then climb to the fucking ceiling of a stadium and just get shit done. All while knowing full well that if they mess up, people could actually die. Riggers are - in my personal opinion - the unsung heros of the live entertainment industry!
  • OH MY GOSH YES THANK YOU
    I work for a local lighting company and we build lightshows for bands. The teardown and setup process is such an underappreciated art. Thank you for enlightening the masses of the absolute insanity that is my job lmao
  • Jason Scott
    As a documentary filmmaker, I thank you for starting the narrative exactly where it should, which is at the end of a previous show to show everything that happens overnight at the new locations. It really gives a sense of how non stop these are
  • Graph Writer
    Thank you for highlighting how crazy my industry is. I left the stage crews cause the travel and now only do studios or location rigging. It's a crazy life style and very hard to have solid interpersonal connections. From Service to Stage is literally the same life style lol
  • Aquatarkus
    I work as an audio engineer for much much smaller shows than the ones like in the video, but I've worked as a stagehand for bigger acts like the country artist Kevin Fowler and the prog rock group Trans Siberian Orchestra. The TSO show was 8 hours of incredibly grueling unloading, rigging lighting up, then putting it all back. I worked so hard I could barely stand after load out as my legs were pool noodle. To top it off, I had to drive 2 hours to get home. I was then paid 80$ for the entire thing, and swore off working as a stage hand forever. However I wouldn't go back and not participate, it was enlightening to learn how the big acts put their shows on, as my experience is mostly with smaller/medium sized bands playing in bars or small theaters.
  • Hugo Aguirre
    I was a room service manager at 5 star hotels. Riders were the bane of my existence. But it was always fun and exciting. One band thought I was the chef and we all just went with it 😝
  • dearjessie
    I've been a tour manager for 3 years and a stage manager and production manager for 10. It became such a routine that I forget that I'm part of such an insane world. Thank you for making this! It's very thorough and accurate.
  • Lorenzo Loche
    Touring Video Tech here, this has to be the most accurate video describing the logistics of our industry without sensationalizing anything. However as you’d expect from a 15 minute video this only begins to scratch the surface of the absurdity and insanity that goes on to produce these shows at a high level. Thank you for this video and shedding light on what we do!
  • Chris Park
    As a local rigger, thank you so much for this video. I’ve been dying for the day you’d upload this because I’ve always been so interested in the logistics. As a watcher for 5 years this is a perfect video 🙏
  • PlanetMars
    This video is one I've been trying to find for ages! I'm so glad someone's gone into the specific details of how touring actually works!
  • Will S
    This was a lot of fun to watch! I was a tour manager for many years and I think you did a great job summarizing the organized chaos of national touring.
  • Chris Monk
    Local stage rigger here, thanks for this! We work a very thankless job and this video really puts it into perspective. Most weekend long festivals you attend encompass between 10-19 days of hard work for us stage crew.
  • Douglas Freer
    This is pretty accurate. My father is a truck driver and has done everything from Broadway tours to car shows to concerts both big and small. Sometimes when the show was nearby my mother and I would take him for dinner and bring him back afterwards. I have been backstage before but it was usually for bands/singers I didn’t care for like Alabama and George Strait but when it was one’s I would’ve loved to go to, like Katy Perry, he didn’t have backstage access since it was very strict on how many were given out.
    One method not mentioned is sometimes a singer might request two sets of equipment. These would be Tour Group A and Tour Group B. A would get the first arena set up while B goes ahead to get the next venue set up. When the first show is done A will be sent onto the third stop to get everything rigged up there while the singer and band and others are sent onto the second stop. It’s very efficient since it gives more time for setup and takes into account any possible delays and also adds more dates and venues to the concert. A very famous example was for Taylor Swift who prefers this method.