The Technology Behind A Rock Concert Part 1: Overview

Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)


I got a unique tour of the technology behind the Sweden Rock Festival, Swedens largest rock festival. Thanks to production manager Urban Näsvall for the awesome tour!

This overview will be the first part in a series of articles regarding the technology used at the festival. Later we will take a more in depth look at the sound technologies, lighting, and pyrotechnics. 

Here we will take a look at just about everything else.

Safe to say it was very interesting and far exceeded my expectations. Most people probably don’t realize just how advanced technology goes into making a successful concert these days.

 




 

The first step is of course setting up a stage. Most people might already know of truck trailers that essentially fold out to create a stage. But the sheer scale of it amazed me. This enormous stage is one single truck trailer.

 

The shell folds out using hydraulics systems, then the rest of the stage is built around that.

Here you can catch a glimpse at the hydralics system that is used to ‘unfold’ the stage.

 

Planning how to build up the stage is a roughly 6 month long process. The weight capacity of the stage is carefully matched up with the lights and speakers that will be used. Potential special effects props are also taken into consideration. Such as Motorheads airplane, which required the stage to be more or less rebuilt overnight, to fit the weight capacity of the stage.

 

The video camera setup consists of more steps than you might imagine. I was told that the biggest stage has three remote controlled cameras, although most are manually controlled.

The video feed is then sent to a small hut where the video feed is edited in real-time. Lighting and such is tweaked before the feed is selected and sent to the big screens.

As you might guess, all microphones and earpieces are wireless. What you can see below are the antennas for them.

Certainly more massive than I imagined, but that makes sense when any slight disturbance can affect the quality of an entire concert.

 

 

Powering a rock concert takes quite a bit of power. This becomes blatantly evident when you take a look at the power hub under one of the stages. To the top of the hubs we can see regular sized three phase connectors, which can actually handle a whole lot. However for the more heavy duty equipment even those don’t cut it.

The smaller connectors you can see towards the bottom are actually the really big ones. Each single of those connectors is one of the three phases found inside one of the regular cables.

 

Lastly, I’m fairly certain a couple of tanks fits in the category of ‘other’. So shout-out to Sabaton for that.

 

Stay tuned for the next part where we’ll take a look at sound technologies.

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Part two on sound tech is now live! Check it out here.

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