The biggest music and stage tours of 2019

2019 has been a bumper year for music and stage tours! With some of the biggest names in music making history, there were plenty of fantastic events for music fans. We’ve taken a look back at 2019’s biggest events, and a look ahead to what 2020 has to offer.

Glastonbury’s 2019 return

One of the UK’s most famous music festivals made a big comeback this year. Glastonbury didn’t actually run in 2018; this is because it was a “fallow year”, to give both the land and the organisers a break. However, it seems that to many music fans, it was definitely worth the wait.

2019 marked the first time a British rapper headlined the festival, with rap sensation Stormzy appearing on the Pyramid Stage. NME spoke about his performance in glowing terms, saying his performance was a “platform to elevate others, a statement of intent and bloody brilliant”.

2019 also saw Kylie Minogue appear at Glastonbury for the first time. The Australian star meant to appear at Glastonbury back in 2005. However, she was forced to cancel her performance due to her breast cancer diagnosis. As such, her appearance this year was highly emotional, and she took the chance to reflect on that time in her life.

Another high point of Glastonbury 2019 was its improved environment record. The festival banned single-use plastic bottles from being sold, while 99.3% of tents made it home!

What we know about Glastonbury 2020

Since 2020 marks Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary, we can expect some major stars to appear. Many of the details are still unknown, but there are rumours that Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar will appear as headline acts. We do know that Paul McCartney will headline the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night, with Diana Ross appearing on Sunday. In any case, this is definitely one music event to keep an eye on.

Northern Ballet’s Victoria

Inspired by the life of our most famous monarch, acclaimed ballet Victoria had its world première this year. It ran for 9 weeks in spring 2019 across the UK, and coincided with the 200th anniversary of the queen’s birth. The ballet also launched at the stately home Harewood House, which appeared in the ITV drama Victoria.

The ballet explores Victoria’s life through the eyes of her daughter Beatrice, who was both tasked with editing Victoria’s diaries and adversely affected by her mother’s wishes. Cathy Marston oversaw choreography, direction and the scenario, while Philip Feeney was responsible for the music.

Publications like the Independent spoke favourably of the ballet, called it “thoughtful, ambitious and vividly danced”. Stagefreight were proud to work on this show; you can read more about our work in our case study on the show.

Ed Sheeran Divide Tour

Halifax lad Ed Sheeran was 2018’s highest grossing artist, selling 4.86 million tickets over the year. His Divide tour—which wrapped up this year—was similarly impressive, with some hugely anticipated gigs amongst them.

Highlights included a two-day appearance at Leeds’ Roundhay Park, which saw 150,000 fans attend. The tour wrapped up at Ipswich, which has been Ed’s home for the last several years. His appearance in Germany also broke a record—it is now the biggest, most attended and highest grossing tour the world has ever seen. We can’t wait to see what he does next.

KISS End of the Road World Tour

American rock sensation KISS has hit seventh place in NME’s top 25 highest-grossing tours of 2019. They’ve also been featured as one of this year’s most anticipated tours by Consequence of Sound. Now the legendary band is (allegedly) bowing out for good with their ambitious End of the Road World Tour.

Running over two continents and 65 dates, KISS’ tour will take to the stage in places like San Diego, Milan and even Manchester. Their final appearance will be at New York City in 2021.

KISS aren’t the only ones to embark on a farewell tour recently. Singing sensation Joan Baez has also embarked on her own farewell tour, which you can read about in our case study.

Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Giselle

First performed in 1841, Giselle is one of the world’s most celebrated ballets. It follows a woman called Giselle, who takes her own life when she discovers Loys, her beloved, has lied to her. Later unmasked as Count Albrecht, he must count on Giselle’s love to save him from the wrath of the dead.

Birmingham Royal Ballet have brought a new production of the show to life, while staying true to the spirit of the original. David Bintley and Galina Samsova oversaw the ballet’s production, while Marius Pepita, Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and David Bintley collaborated on the choreography. The show also featured music by Adolphe Adam, designs by Hayden Griffin and lighting by Mark Jonathan. The result is a show that’s sure to linger in the memories of everyone who saw it!

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road

Farewell tours seem to be a bit of a running theme this year. Elton John joins the likes of KISS and Joan Baez with his own farewell tour, which is running until 2021.

With a career spanning decades and over half a century on the road Elton John has redefined the cultural landscape, claiming his place as a true global icon. His farewell tour comprises more than 300 shows across five continents, taking in North America, Europe, the Middle East and many other locales.

Elton is also on track to break a record of his own; NME reports he’s responsible for the highest-grossing world tour of 2019. If you’re an Elton fan, this is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss!

Dear Evan Hansen

This multi award-winning musical tells the story of a high school student riddled with anxiety. He finds himself in hot water when a lie he tells about a classmate spirals horribly out of control.

First performed in 2015, Dear Evan Hansen made its West End debut this year. WhatsOnStage praised the show, saying it was “a desperately powerful exploration of a troubled teen sacrificing the truth for a sense of comfort”. If you’d like to see it for yourself, Dear Evan Hansen is running until the end of May 2020.

P!NK Beautiful Trauma Tour

Since appearing in the mid-90s, Pink has gone from strength to strength as an artist. However, her last tour was back in 2013, making any new tour a treat for Pink fans. Her Beautiful Trauma Tour started in 2018, and came to Europe for 27 separate performances.

Pink is this year’s second highest-grossing artist; according to NME, only Elton John has been more successful. Her new tour was so popular that a raft of new dates were added to the schedule.

It also received great reviews; the Guardian’s Sophie Williams said Pink “condenses the energy of an entire tour into a single show that’s a riot of circus athleticism and crowd-pleasing hits.” The Express’ Stefan Kyriazis was similarly impressed, saying “zooming across the entire crowd on high wires at terrifying speed and heights she literally filled the stadium like no-one else AND still sounded incredible”.

Some of 2020’s music and stage tours

It’s safe to say 2019 will be a tough year for music and stage tours to beat. Still, if these early announcements are any indication, 2020 is going to give it a run for its money.

BBC’s The Upstart Crow

Hit Shakespearean sitcom Upstart Crow is appearing onstage for the first time. The TV show first appeared in 2016, and sees a fictionalised Shakespeare (played by Peep Show‘s David Mitchell) prepare to stage Romeo and Juliet for the first time. Its title comes from the works of Robert Greene, a fellow playwright and (resentful) contemporary of Shakespeare.

Now Ben Elton, the original creator, is continuing the story in a new stage production. David Mitchell returns to reprise his role as Shakespeare, as well as Game of Thrones star Gemma Whelan. Sean Foley, two-time Olivier Award winner, will be directing. Fans of the show can see it at London’s Gielgud Theatre; it’s booking until the 25th of April, 2020.

Liam Gallagher’s homecoming show

Oasis star Liam Gallagher has announced a huge homecoming show on Friday the 12th of June, 2020. Taking place in Manchester’s Heaton Park, he’ll be joined by an as-yet unknown host of special guests.

Liam is doing very well for himself; he’s hit No. 1 on the UK album chart with his new solo album Why Me?, and he’s recently completed an 11-date sold out UK tour. The release of tickets for his Heaton Park show led to “Heaton Park” trending on Twitter within the hour.

Adele’s 2020 tour

Rumours about Adele’s 2020 activity are in full swing at the moment. She’s announced a new album that we’re likely to get before Christmas. However, we haven’t received an official release date yet. We’ve also received tour dates for 2020 in the USA, though we’re still waiting on UK and Europe ones.

It’s safe to say we aren’t the only ones wondering what Adele will do next. The star has sold over 60 million albums worldwide, with her second album, 21, the biggest-selling album of the 21st century. As such, a new tour from this singing sensation will be greatly welcomed.

Opera North’s Street Scene

Opera North are kicking off 2020 with a award-winning production called Street Scene. First performed in 1947, it tells the story of a New York family pushed to breaking point by changing times, hope for a better life, and a terrible, destructive secret. Highlights of the soundtrack include ‘Lonely House’ and ‘Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed’, with the production winning Best Original Score at the original Tony Awards.

Theatre fans can see Street Scene in Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Salford Quays. A co-production with Theater Magdeburg, this show is directed by Matthew Eberhardt and choreographed by Gary Clarke. James Holmes is conducting the music, with Howard Hudson and Francis O’Connor handling lighting and set & costume design respectively. Read more about the show at the Opera North website.

Billie Eilish—Where Do We Go

Running between March and July 2020, Billie Eilish’s new music tour runs over 45 shows. Fans in Europe and the UK can see her from July; her UK shows will be the first since her appearances at Glastonbury and the Leeds & Reading Festival.

Europe and UK dates

10 July 2020 Algés, Portugal, NOS Alive (festival)

13 July 2020 Amsterdam, Netherlands, Ziggo Dome

14 July 2020 Berlin, Germany, Mercedes-Benz Arena

15 July 2020 Cologne, Germany, Lanxess Arena

17 July 2020 Milano, Italy, MIND (Area Expo) (festival)

18 July 2020 Paris, France, Lollapalooza (festival)

19 July 2020 Werchter, Belgium, Werchter Boutique (festival)

21 July 2020 Manchester Arena

22 July 2020 Manchester Arena

24 July 2020 Arena Birmingham

26 July 2020 London, The O2

27 July 2020  London, The O2

29 July 2020 London, The O2

30 July 2020 London, The O2

English National Ballet | Derek Dean’s Swan Lake In-The-Round

Running from the 17th to the 28th of June at the Royal Albert Hall, this ambitious production features 120 performers and live music by the English National Ballet Philharmonic. Since its premiere in 1997, over half a million people have enjoyed the show. Will you enjoy it next year?

Derek Deane is the creative talent behind the show’s direction and choreography, the features music by the famous Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Peter Farmer is responsible for the show’s design, and Howard Harrison is behind the lighting. Read more about the show at the official site.

The Curtain Falls

Though 2019 is coming to a close, there’s plenty in store for 2020’s fans of music and stage tours. If you’re an organiser looking for music and concert transportation, why not get in touch with one of the best music transport companies around?

Stagefreight is one event and music transport company that never misses its cue. Our experienced lead driver will oversee all trailer arrivals, and plan cost-effective, fuel-efficient routes to every venue. We can help with lighting choices and build the stage alongside your own team. We can also cater for tours of any size, from the smallest to the largest, and ensure everything arrives when it’s supposed to.

Read more about our live services (including examples of our work with clients) or give us a call on 0113 797 898.








10 years of Ramfest

Did you know that Ramfest turned 10 this year? Join us as we look back at the highlights of this fantastic festival.

What’s Ramfest?

man receiving award

Ramfest is an annual music festival hosted by Southowram Cricket Club. Since its inaugural event, Ramfest has raised several thousand pounds for a range of different charities. Its final show took place earlier this year in July.

Southowram Cricket Club

Southowram Cricket Club is a village cricket club that first launched in 1977. They welcome players and supporters of all ages and abilities, with two teams in the Spenser Wilson Halifax Cricket League.

The club can be found in the Calderdale village of Southowram, at the bottom of Ashday Lane. In addition to its picturesque location, it boasts a well-stocked bar selling Samuel Smith’s fine ales. Its ground, facilities and local engagement made it the perfect venue for Ramfest.

Stagefreight’s Involvement

man standing next to van door

Stagefreight are proud to have supported Ramfest in their fundraising efforts for the last 10 years. We’ve volunteered our time and skills in how to set up and run a live event at every single festival. There are too many memories to recall, but you can read more about last year’s festival in our 2018 summary.

During the final Ramfest our Managing Partner, Ian Uttley, told the Halifax Courier:

“To think it all started ten years ago with four pub speakers and a gazebo that blew over the roof with the first gust of wind, to be where it is now, producing such quality sound and light system in Calderdale is truly amazing.

“This couldn’t have been done without the support of the hardworking volunteers of the Ramfest Committee and the local Southowram community and businesses.”

The Ramfest Charities

Over the last decade, Ramfest has helped out a lot of different charities. We’ve rounded up some of the ones we’ve helped below.

Home-Start Calderdale

During its operation, this was a charity that worked with 1,500 families and 700 volunteers over two decades. They visited struggling families once a week, to offer a listening ear or a helping hand.

Forget Me Not Hospice

This children’s hospice supports children with life-shortening conditions, as well as their families. They help hundreds of children through their Hospice at Home service. They also have a purpose-built building at Russell House in Huddersfield.

Child Development Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital

Calderdale Royal Hospital opened in 2001. Today it provides a full range of outpatient services, as well as an A&E department and day case surgery.

The Charles Sykes Epilepsy Research Trust

This trust assisted in the care and treatment of people suffering from epilepsy.

Andy’s Man Club

Based out of Halifax, Andy’s Man Club aims to half the UK suicide rate for men under 45. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 45 in the UK. By getting them to talk about their feelings, the registered charity aims to improve quality of life for both men and their families.

Heartbeat of Sport

Heartbeat of Sport is a registered charity that raises awareness of sudden cardiac arrest. They provide training in CPR, and they also provide defibrillators to sports clubs, schools and universities.

Sue Ryder

Founded in 1953, Sue Ryder offers supports the bereaved and sufferers of terminal illnesses. They provide over two million hours of care to people every year, with over 11,000 volunteers and 1,000 medical professionals supporting their work.


This charity has been helping children with cancer (as well as their families) since 1976. They work out of Leeds in multiple different facilities, and also organise a series of family events.

Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust

The Laura Crane Trust fights cancer in young people aged 13–24. They do this by funding social and medical research, focussing on cancers that affect that particular age group.

Help For Heroes

This charity provides lifelong support for injuries, illnesses and wounds sustained in combat. They help both service personnel and military veterans serving in the British Armed Forces.

Motor Neurone Disease Association

This registered charity has been raising funds for research since 1979. Their research focuses on motor neurone disease and supports people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Overgate Hospice

Overgate Hospice is Calderdale’s only Halifax-based hospice. It cares for people with life-limiting illnesses, and has been doing so since 1981.

Leeds Cares

Formerly known as Yorkshire Cancer Centre, Leeds Cares has a range of healthcare-related goals. These include supporting healthcare staff, enabling the provision of quality healthcare and enabling groundbreaking research. Their fundraising arm, The Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal, provides specialist medical equipment, R&D and home comforts for patients.

Ravenscliffe@Spring Hall Project

This is a cafe supporting Post-16 students with personal learning. It also helps them to prepare for post-school life.

Calderdale Young Carers

The Young Carers Service works with children and young people who live with the ill and disabled. It offers a range of services including respite activities and school or family support.

Some of the Ramfest’s band highlights

musicians performing on stage
The McCarrons

Ramfest has seen some fantastic performances over the years. However, since there’s literally too many to list, we’ve brought together some of the highlights. Many are local bands, and several have been part of Ramfest for multiple years.

PsychoslinkysRoute 66Reflections
International Party DoctorsGeorgia FarrarAcoustic duo Chris McParland and Lucy Littley


In EchoesEgo StatesThe Googles
The McCarronsThe Lightning JacksMy Brother Jake
Paddy McCalionJake SmallbonesCircus Circus
My Brother JakeSons of RobinWhile The Cats Away
Mike Raffone and The BluetonesMya RickettFogfield
Vegas ElvisEye of ElenaFork Handles
To OblivionDarran JacksonRox Off
Three and a Half MenLewryDJ Ben Bottomley
Michelle Versey


One Man Population


Ade Payne and The Wild River Band

Why we loved Ramfest

musicians on stage

Ramfest was a great party, full of talent and good atmosphere. It was wonderful to see the local community supporting local causes. It also gave Halifax its own annual Glastonbury—a music festival it could call its own.

A special thanks

Since Ramfest was always a fantastic collaboration, we’d like to thank all of the fantastic people who made it happen, including:

  • The official Ramfest committee
  • Southowram Cricket Club
  • The annual Ramfest volunteers (including our own Stagefreight crew, who set up the bigger stages year on year and handled the acoustics of the event)
  • All the bands over the years
  • Our corporate partners, like Universal Live (an event producer in Bradford) and Electric Design (a marketing agency that supported with promotional designs)
  • Tube UK, for providing the sound kit
  • Andy Steer, for taking brilliant photos (check out his Twitter and website)

Share your memories of Ramfest

Did you attend one of the Ramfest festivals? Why not share some your memories with us, as we pay tribute to this fantastic fundraiser? Post your photos, videos and memories of the event online, using the #ramfest10years hashtag so we can find them.

We at Stagefreight are very proud of our involvement with Ramfest over the years. Moreover, it’s been a great chance for us to show what we’re capable of as an event transport company.

Over the years we’ve established a reputation as one of the best transport companies in the music industry. We understand how important timing is to any show, and we’ll make sure everything arrives on schedule. We’ll also plan the most fuel-efficient route, and once we arrive we can build the stage or advise on lighting choices—which we’ve done, among other things, during Ramfest’s ten years.

Get in touch today by visiting our Contact page, or take a closer look at our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest updates. You can also call us directly on 0113 797 898.

The science behind stage acoustics

At Stagefreight, we know how important stage acoustics are to a good show. The team of drivers that provide our stage transport services are happy to support backstage teams during setup, and we offer to check and sort sound during live events. We also handle setup and checks for Ramfest: this charity event has been running for about a decade, and we’re very proud to be a part of it!

To help your shows sound better than ever, we’ve put together this new guide to the basics of stage acoustics. We’ll also cover common fixes for bad sound, and which venues are famous for their exceptional acoustic build.

The general science behind stage sound

The key to a good musical performance is finding a venue that can reflect sound effectively. Soft materials absorb sound, while hard materials reflect it. If you compare how your voice sounds in a living room to how it sounds in a bathroom, you can see (well, hear) this firsthand.

As a result, modern music venues minimise the use of soft materials and prioritise hard ones. The shape of the venue is also important; according to Classic FM, music halls with a shoebox shape have very good acoustics. Their research with Professor Trevor Cox (at the University of Salford) explains that a good venue needs to facilitate clear sound, and helps the audience feel enveloped by the music they’re listening to.

It’s also important to consider the musician’s experience. When there are multiple musicians on stage at once, each one needs to be able to hear the others, and play at the same volume.

However, a good music venue doesn’t need a shoebox shape (or even walls) for great music. We’ll have a closer look at a range of venues later in the article.

Timing of reflections

Music venues don’t just need to reflect sound properly; they also need to reflect sound at the right time delay. When a sound bounces around a venue, there’s inevitably a slight delay between when a musican plays a note and when the audience hears it. Different performances, in turn, benefit from different delays.

According to Meyer and Hansen’s Acoustics and the Performance of Music, an orchestra sounds best when there’s a delay of between 17 and 35 milliseconds. Soloists benefit from a slightly longer delay; anything between 20 and 100 milliseconds is suitable. Conversely, a delay of 10 milliseconds sounds bad regardless of musical quality.

Stage acoustic orchestra layouts

Another thing that can affect sound quality is the position of individual musicians. Meyer and Hansen make the following recommendations:

Strings (like violins and basses) should be placed at the front of the orchestra.

Woodwinds (like clarinets and oboes) should sit in the middle of the orchestra.

Brass and percussion instruments (like trumpets and kettledrums) should sit at the back.

The position of the orchestra as a whole is also important. If an orchestra is too far from the back wall, for example, this can make it difficult for the conductor and audience to hear some of the musicians properly.

There are three popular orchestra layouts which reflect Meyer and Hansen’s guidelines. These are known as the European, American and Alternative American layouts respectively.

The American layout is a highly popular one and we’ve created a graphic to highlight how the orchestra is generally arranged using this layout.

american layout of an orchestra
The American layout of an orchestra

Common stage acoustics fixes

As the recent Spice Girls concerts have demonstrated, getting sound right at a concert can be difficult. This is a significant problem at outdoor events, since there are several factors that can impact the sound the musicians produce. Fortunately, there are several things we can do to mitigate this as well.

A hard back wall for the stage helps to reduce sound splashback for the microphone.

Ceiling baffles and banners can help to decrease the echoes that rigging produces.

Acoustical wall panels can nullify sound bounce back from theatre balconies.

Ceiling reflectors above the orchestra can further improve sound quality. Heavier reflectors can absorb higher-frequency sounds.

Upper walls and balconies can be adjusted to bounce sound back towards the audience.

Famous concert halls with great acoustics

Now we have a better understanding of stage acoustics, we’ll look at some concert halls that make orchestras sound amazing.


The Musikverein is located in Vienna and was constructed in 1867. The venue is famous for the organ in its Golden Hall, which was first played in 1872; in total, four different organs have been used in the Musikverein since its opening. The venue has seen over 37,000 performances in the last 75 years alone, and its annual Vienne Philharmonic New Year’s concert is a highlight of its season.


This Dutch venue was built in Amsterdam in 1886, though its grand opening came two years later thanks to poor infrastructure. Its construction was a response to the lack of quality music venues in Amsterdam at the time. Today, it is one of the world’s most famous concert halls.

Ironically its brilliant acoustics are more by luck than design; according to the official website, 19th century knowledge of acoustics was practically nonexistent. As such, the architect drew heavy inspiration from existing buildings with great acoustics; the venue’s Recital Hall and Main Hall are near-exact replicas of other venues in Amsterdam and Germany. That doesn’t stop over 700,000 people visiting the Concertgebouw each year.

Malmö Live Concert Hall

This Swedish venue first opened in 2015, and consists of three interconnected buildings. Serving as a concert hall, hotel and exhibition centre, the building has no front or back, allowing people to interact with it in many different ways. The concert hall also hosts the Malmö Symphony Orchestra; founded in 1925, the orchestra has won prizes in the Cannes Classical Awards and the Diapason d’Or!

Bridgewater Hall

Opening in 1996, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall is an international concert venue. It hosts three resident orchestras, whilst offering a diverse range of live performances. The architects Renton Howard Wood Levin—who had a reputation for buildings in the performing arts sector—was responsible for the design. However, they worked closely with professional services firm Arup, due to their experience in acoustic consulting.

The Bridgewater Hall uses solid, reinforced concrete in most of its structure. The building as a whole also sits upon hundreds of isolation bearings, meaning there’s no rigid connection between the building and the foundations. These design choices provide the building with superior acoustics, as well as protection from outside noise and vibrations.


This Parisian venue opened back in 2015, though the project was announced nine years before that. It was designed by the award-winning French architect Jean Nouve, in partnership with lead acoustician Sir Harold Marshall.

Rather than mimicking common designs from other concert halls, the PhilHarmonie’s Symphonic Hall was designed from scratch. It uses cantilevered balconies and and an outer chamber to enhance the sound quality. The hall is also soundproofed against the road traffic outside, and the stage can be adjusted to accommodate many different performance types.

Famous open-air stage designs with great acoustics

Of course, you don’t have to go indoors to enjoy great music. There are plenty of open-air venues for music fans to enjoy.


This outdoor music venue in Sweden is quite literally out of this world; the surrounding landscape was shaped by a meteorite, which hit the planet 360 million years ago. It became a lime quarry which later fell into disuse, and was rediscovered by Margareta Dellerfors—a former opera singer—in 1991. Today the venue hosts between 20 and 25 events each summer, and is famous for both its quality acoustics and stunning natural scenery.

Slane Castle

Located in the Irish town of Slane, Slane Castle has become a famous music venue thanks to the natural ampitheater formed by the castle grounds. Up to 100,000 audience members can attend a show at once! Its current design dates back to 1785, although a large part of the castle was destroyed by fire in 1991.

The first music show at Slane Castle took place in 1981, and the venue has attracted musicians like The Rolling Stones, Queen and David Bowie. U2 have also performed at Slane Castle on three separate occasions, and wrote their famous album The Unforgettable Fire whilst taking up residency at the Castle.

Hyde Park

The largest of London’s Royal Parks, Hyde Park has hosted outdoor concerts since the 1960s. Its first concert took place in 1968 and attracted the likes of Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac and Jethro Tull, as well as 15,000 fans.

Since then the park has remained a very popular music venue, hosting multiple musicians and festivals. Highlights include Party in the Park from the late 90s, Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park and (more recently) Barclaycard presents British Summer Time.

Though it’s easy for music fans to overlook, acoustics are an essential part of great music performances. Today’s music venues go to extreme lengths to get musicians sounding their very best.

We at Stagefreight know this and do our part to make your show as memorable as possible. Our drivers are experts in multiple aspects of event transport, including fast loads, strategic unloads and arriving on time, every time. Where necessary, we don’t just offer stage transport; we become an extension of the backstage team, using our expertise to ensure your shows are a success!

You can learn more about what we do by visiting the About Us page, or call us directly on 0113 797 898.


Eurovision Stage Design Highlight Reel

If you like your pop music with a hefty dose of cheese, the Eurovision Song Contest is probably on your radar. Running every year since 1956, the international music event is famous for its diverse lineup, dubious music… and the UK’s terrible success in the votes.

Since we’re the experts in music event haulage, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on Eurovision’s unsung hero—the stage! We’ll be taking a closer look at this year’s stage design, as well as how the design of Eurovision stages have evolved over the last few years.

Where is this year’s show taking place?

Following the victory of Israeli singer Netta, 2019’s contest will take place in the city of Tel Aviv, with 42 different countries competing. Netta will reprise her Eurovision performance, alongside the likes of Madonna, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and Eurovision alumni Conchita Wurst. The final will be broadcast on BBC One, on Saturday the 18th of May.

What’s this year’s stage design?

Eurovoix, who provide in-depth Eurovision coverage, have unveiled the stage design for this year’s show. Featuring a striking geometric design and a diamond-shaped stage, it’s an intriguing setting for this year’s performances.

The heavy use of triangles in the design isn’t by chance. It takes inspiration from the Star of David, which in Judaism has come to represent the reciprocal relationship between man and God. Other parts of the stage are reportedly inspired by the 12 sons of Jacob, who are key figures in Judaism.

The stage was designed by the German production designer Florian Wieder, who has designed the Eurovision stage on five previous occasions. He’s also designed stages for MTV and Britain’s Got Talent, as well as performers like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez & U2. The Israeli stage will have at least 7,500 seats, as well as a standing area for fans.

Wieder himself has a Jewish background, and has promised a stunning Eurovision show this year. He’s also said that the opening ceremony will be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Keep an eye out for it when you tune in next month!

What have the last few stages been like?

Of course, this year’s stage isn’t the only one with some creative flair to its design. Prior stages have drawn on a range of cultural ideas and pushed the technological envelope. We’ve explored Eurovision stage designs from the last four years below.


The singer Salvador Sobral won Eurovision 2017 for Portugal with his song Amar Pelos Dios. As such, 2018’s show took place in Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city.

Lisbon is located on Portugal’s coast, and Portugal as a whole has a rich maritime culture. As such, Florian Wieder—who also designed this stage—drew heavily from that history during the design process.

Four ideas shaped Lisbon’s Eurovision stage—the sea, ships, maps and navigation. The stage’s design mimics the organic shapes of a sweeping wave, as well as the ships Portugal is famous for building. The radial lines of a map were another source of inspiration, as was the armillary sphere; this is a man-made object that models celestial bodies. An armillary sphere appears on the Portuguese flag as well.

Capturing Portugal’s heritage, whilst also boasting a modern style, the 2018 stage is another great example of thoughtful design. See it in action below:


Thanks to Jamala’s politically-charged song 1944, 2017’s Eurovision took place in Ukraine’s capital Kiev. Another project of Florian Wieder, 2017’s stage drew from two sources of inspiration—the year’s theme of Celebrating Diversity, and Ukraine’s central location in Europe. The circular stage also allowed fans to be as close to the performers as possible, offering both practical and symbolic benefits.

What’s just as impressive is the amount of hardware needed to bring the show to life. 180 kilometres of cable were used for the show, with about a third of that being used on lighting alone. The stage was also surrounded by 1,000 square metres of LED screens, 56 projectors, 258 speakers, 212 microphones and 30 cameras. All the production materials were transported in a whopping 230 trucks, with 250 stage hands involved in loading and unloading it.

With seating for over 7,500 attendees, we can safely say this was an unmissable show. But don’t just take our word for it! See the stage in action here:


Thanks to the efforts of Måns Zelmerlöw, 2016’s Eurovision took place in Sweden’s capital Stockholm. Designed by Frida Arvidsson and Viktor Brattström, the stage pushed the boundaries of what viewers could expect.

Arvidsson and Brattström actually designed 2013’s stage as well, which featured a softer atmosphere without pixels or projections. For 2016’s stage, the pair took a very different approach; they created a multi-tier wall of LEDs which performers could actually move about inside. Once fully assembled, the wall used almost 5,400 pieces of scaffolding in its construction.

Lighting was an essential component of this stage’s visual appearance, and over 1,800 light fixtures were used in the final design. 45 people were involved with lighting during the broadcast, while 37 people handled video as well. Indeed, the stage design wasn’t lacking for spectacle; 30 flame units and 20 CO₂ units were installed around the stage itself.

With 10,500 spectators, 172 trucks and 168 stage hands, this is a show with some impressive manpower behind it. Enjoy the show yourself here:


The 60th Eurovision Song Contest took place in Austria’s capital, thanks to Conchita Wurst’s memorable performance of “Rise Like a Phoenix”. A crack team of designers was on hand to design the stage. Eurovision veteran Florian Wieder worked alongside lighting designer Al Gurdon (who’s worked on both American Idol and the Super Bowl halftime show) and Kurt Pongratz, who was responsible for conceptual design and visual staging.

The trio had their work cut out for them thanks to the stage’s ambitious design. 1,288 freestanding cylindrical LED pillars surrounded the stage, with large LED screens on both the floor and back wall. Measuring 44 metres wide and 14 metres high, there was plenty of room for each performance. 26 cameras captured every moment, while approximately 10,500 standing fans attended the show itself.

See the stage in action for yourself by watching the UK’s entry, “Still In Love With You”:

Whoever wins (or loses) this year’s Eurovision, we guarantee it’ll be a show stopping night. If you want to put on your own extravagant live event, get in touch with Stagefreight for an expert music event haulage service.

We know how important timing is for a live show, and our experienced lead driver will carefully plan trailer arrival to keep everything on schedule. We’ll plan the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient route to your event, and we’ll even help build the stage with your team upon our arrival.

For further details about our music event haulage, browse our services page or call us today on 0113 797 898.

The Legendary Instruments of the Music Industry

Over the years we’ve seen artists produce some incredible songs, with the instruments they use as iconic as the artists themselves.

As experts in music transport we thought we’d shine a spotlight on some of history’s most famous musicians, and the legendary instruments they used to bring their music to life.

Brian May’s Red Special Guitar

Brian May is a man with many strings to his bow. He’s most famous for his work as Queen’s lead guitarist, as well as writing the likes of “We Will Rock You“, “I Want It All” and “The Show Must Go On“. But his achievements don’t stop there. He’s earned a PhD in Astrophysics, worked as Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, and—most fittingly—built his own electric guitar from scratch.

The Red Special, also known as the Fireplace or the Old Lady, was hand-made between 1964 and 1966 by Brian and his father.

A bizarre assortment of materials went into its construction; the guitar’s neck uses mahogany from a Victorian-era fireplace mantle, while an old oak table became the centre body. The guitar also uses valve springs from a 1928 Panther motorcycle, with a bike saddlebag holder and part of a knitting needle forming the tremolo arm. May famously uses a sixpence to strum the strings, taking its homemade sensibility to new levels.

The guitar was also unique in that it was designed to feed back—something many musicians and audio engineers work to avoid.

Queen fans can hear the guitar prominently on tracks like “Procession”, “Stone Cold Crazy” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Although many replicas exist, May continues to use the original in many shows. It stands alone as a unique instrument in the rock music scene; it was lovingly restored in 1998, ensuring we’ll enjoy its unique sound for many years to come.

Paul McCartney’s Hofner Violin Bass

Rising to prominence as songwriter and bassist for The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney has won 18 Grammy awards and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.

Famously, McCartney plays the Höfner 500/1 violin bass, both during and after his time with The Beatles.

However, the instrument came to the musician thanks to a twist of fate.

McCartney didn’t plan on becoming The Beatles’ bassist. He started out on piano and guitar, and moved to bass when the original bassist, Stu Sutcliffe, left the band to pursue painting instead.

McCartney found a Höfner in a music shop in Hamburg, and the instrument became indelibly associated with his time in The Beatles.

It’s also been used in his solo material, though a Rickenbacker bass—gifted to him in 1965—was used, as well, particularly during his time with Wings.

The original Hofner bass was stolen at some point in the late 1960s, but Hofner gifted McCartney a new one in 1963; listen out for it in The Beatles’ 1969 rooftop concert, or any of McCartney’s recent performances. claims it still has the setlist from a 1966 Beatles show taped to one side.

Jonathan Davis’ Mic Stand

Most people not in the music industry or even the music transport industry don’t really think about microphone stands.

Of course, Swiss artist H.R. Giger is not most people, and he’s responsible for one of the most unusual microphone stands we’ve ever seen.

H.R. Giger is well known for his sinister artwork, which blends organic and mechanical elements in bleak, otherworldly landscapes.

He’s most famous for his work on Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien; his paintings inspired the film’s art direction, and he worked on the film as part of its award-winning design team. 

Around the year 2000 Giger was contacted by Jonathan Davis, lead singer of nu metal band Korn and a fan of Giger’s work.

He wanted Giger to create a microphone stand inspired by his artwork, whose aesthetic at the time was well established.

Davis gave Giger plenty of creative freedom on the design. He merely asked that it be fully functional as a mic stand and easy to move.

Visually, it also needed to be biomechanical. The mechanical details were created from bullets, tubes and wires, and the mic stand is still used in Korn’s performances today.

The result is something humdrum transformed into something striking, unnerving and unforgettable.

A total of five mic stands were created using Giger’s design, with the moulds used to make them destroyed shortly after. Two are in Davis’ possession, with the others kept in museums and gallery exhibitions.

If you’d like to see the mic stand in person you can see Korn live in concert, or visit the H.R. Giger Museum in Switzerland.

Tom Morello’s ‘Arm the Homeless’ Guitar

As guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello is famous for his intense, politically motivated music. He’s often seen in the company of his distinctive, graffiti’d guitar, but its relationship to his music is more complex than you might expect.

In an interview with Guitar World, Morello disputed the idea that great instruments are important for great music.

His guitar—which features four smiling hippos and the “Arm the Homeless” message—was specially constructed for him in 1986.

However, since he didn’t know much about guitars at the time, the resulting instrument didn’t sound great.

Morello would go on to replace most of the components over the next two years—the neck alone has been replaced about ten times—and today, only the body is original. 

The final version of the Arm the Homeless Guitar was established around 1990.

That instrument led to Morello writing many of Rage Against the Machine’s songs. Morello spent many of his early years chasing the perfect sound for his instrument; after a while, he decided to stop chasing perfection, and work with what he had.

The result is an impressive discography, covering songs like “Killing in the Name”, “Bulls on Parade”, “Guerrilla Radio” and many, many more.

To learn more about the band, you can visit their official website.


Harry Chamberlin’s Mellotron

First manufactured in 1963, the Mellotron is a curious instrument similar in appearance to a keyboard.

It worked as an early sampling machine; each key plays a short music sample stored on a strip of audiotape.

This allowed musicians to easily incorporate unusual sounds into their music, like church organs, mandolins and so on.

The Mellotron is actually a newer version of an old instrument called a chamberlin, named for the man who created it.

Early models of the Mellotron were prohibitively expensive; the Mk 2 Mellotron would cost about £17,000 in today’s money.

However, since each key could produce 18 different sounds, and the unit incorporated reverb options, pitch options, speakers and stereo amplifiers, it could hardly be accused of doing too little.

According to Reverb, the Mellotron thrived in an era of music hungry for innovation.

On that front the mellotron was an unqualified success; bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Oasis all incorporated it into their music.

Listen out for the Mellotron at the start of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, in the cellos of “Wonderwall” and the flutes of “Stairway to Heaven”.

Although the mellotron seems to have fallen out of favour, the spirit of sampling lives on in bands like The Avalanches and artists like DJ Shadow.


If you’re looking to make music history yourself, Stagefreight is here to help. Our team of drivers are all experts when it comes to music transport.

We know how important it is for the right trailers to arrive at the right time. That’s why our lead driver will take control of the planning of trailer arrival. Upon arrival, our drivers will help you with lighting choices, and even help build the stage with your team.

Our drivers are experts at journey planning as well. Before we set off we’ll plan the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient route to the event.

If you’re ready to go on tour with your band, give us a call on 0113 797 898.

Or if you’re after other event transport options, have a look at our service page.

The A-Z of band stage equipment transport

Last year was a huge success for music tours across the UK and Europe.

Stars like Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Pink dominated Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide Tours.

But if you’re aiming to be in this top 100 list yourself one day, you’ll want to get your first big band tour on the road.

Not sure where to start?

No worries; we’ve put together the A-Z of band stage equipment transport to help, so the first tour is stress-free for you.

A is for audio plan

Get someone experienced with acoustics and setup to help you plan your perfect audio. Microphones, PA systems, front of house systems and foldback systems aren’t cheap, so you’ll want to know that these are all in safe hands.

B is for band gear weight

How much does your band gear weigh?

For fuel-efficiency and overseas travel, you’ll need to know that. Or your music transport crew will need to know that.

Also, never underestimate the importance of securing the band equipment in proper road cases. We’ll get back to this in “L” for load-out strategy.

Drummer with drum kit

E is for extras

It’s not just the equipment that needs to go with you! Don’t forget about the stage gear, lighting and props. There are also extras like carts and casters to make load-out easier and more time-efficient.

L is for load-out

A sound load-out strategy helps you stay on schedule. Our drivers are pros at this and get fully stuck in with the production crew. It’s like having a driver and roadie in one.

Anyone having to sort the build down of the drums in a rush knows how good it is to have some back up with this.

Stagefreight truck getting loaded

M is for music

Don’t forget about the music. It’s what it’s all about. Let the transport pros worry about the route and you worry about your sound.

P is for planning

Get some tips on this early on. Talk to your equipment transport team as early as possible to get tips on what truck size you need, as well as costs and tips for making the tour as cost-effective and fuel-efficient as possible.

S is for security

This isn’t just about insurance (though Stagefreight does have a fully comprehensive insurance policy for all our trucks and warehouses, which you can find out more on here), but about ensuring a security-focused transport plan.

Knowing where your schedule will take you and what parking up options there are shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to having a stress-free tour.

R is for road cases

These are also referred to as truss cases, and they make all the difference to music transport. They’re expected in music transport and keep instruments and equipment safe.

Road cases are also great for ensuring load-out happens swiftly.

T is for Tetris and tall amps

Ever been faced with an empty trailer, a stack of road cases and an incredibly short timeframe to get things in? Our team know how to stack. They’re basically Tetris pros.

You can rest assured that we’ll take care of everything from tall amps to unique props.

tall amp and guitarrist

You’ll be amazed by how much fits into our trailers, especially our unique urban trailers.

U is for urban trailers

Through over 25 years of music transport experience, we’ve found that a trailer specifically designed to get around the tight city streets but still be able to hold the same amount of equipment is essential.

Our director, Chris, designed our unique urban trailers that are 33 foot, while having the same capacity as the 45s. Intrigued by the design? Read all about it in our urban trailers article. 

Z is for Zzzzs

The gig is over, the load-out’s complete and you’ve enjoyed the after party. It’s a job well done all round.

Time to go and catch some Zzzzs. You’ve earned it.

If you’re keen to get your music tour on the road, but don’t want to worry about the music transport details, give us a call on 0113 797 898 today.

Our team is trained in the A to Z of band equipment transport, so let us worry about the transport so you can focus on the music.

Concert Tours That Will Never Be Forgotten

For many music fans, concert tours are the best way to see their favourite bands in action. They’re perfect for hearing the latest songs, enjoying old favourites or marvelling at some cutting-edge stage design.

A few concert tours can change the course of an artist’s career, or raise it to heights nobody has seen before. We’ve rounded up some of the most memorable concert tours in recent years—the ones that took bands and fans to exciting new places.

Elton John at the Troubador

Singer and pianist Elton John has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, given us smash hits like ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘I’m Still Standing’, and contributed to works like The Lion King and Billy Elliott the Musical. But his first big break was in 1970, when a 23-year old Elton played a six-night show at LA’s Troubadour Theatre.

Before the Troubadour, Elton was struggling to make a name for himself on his home soil. He’d had some success in the UK charts, but it was in America that he really gained widespread appeal. The Troubadour show was booked on the strength of Elton’s self-titled album; Doug Weston, who owned the theatre at the time, booked Elton immediately after hearing it. The audience for the show included legendary music figures like David Crosby, Quincy Jones and Mike Love (of the Beach Boys). By the show’s end, there was another musical legend in their midst.

Why exactly was it such a hit? 

Part of it was the sheer energy Elton channeled, but another draw was the original music Elton brought to the concert. It was lauded for its sheer uniqueness, and with a career spanning five decades it’s safe to say this is one talent that’s stood the test of time.

The concert included a mix of old and new songs like “Your Song,” “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Take Me to the Pilot.” It was rapturously received by the audience; LA Times critic Robert Hilburn said Elton was “going to be one of rock’s biggest and most important stars,” while 1990’s Rolling Stone magazine declared it one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most important concerts.

More importantly, it was a stepping-stone to wider success around the world. Elton would go on to perform further tours across Europe, and never really stopped. Unfortunately this legend is  bowing out with the Elton John Yellow Brick Road Farewell Tour, which commences this September.

The Ramones’ 1977 European Tour

American punk rockers The Ramones are famous for songs like “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Judy Is a Punk”. Their music helped to establish punk rock as a unique sound. But it also stripped away the gaudy excess that defined the rock bands of the 1970s, and cemented their place in rock history.

The Ramones would go on to perform at over 2,000 concerts, and one of their most significant ones was in 1977. After playing at venues across Europe—including Switzerland, France and the Netherlands—they saw out the year in a series of shows at London’s Rainbow Theatre.

The 1977 tour lived on thanks to the 1979 album It’s Alive. Featuring audio from the London show, it was the first of seven live albums the band would produce. This album went on to be one of the most acclaimed live albums ever released. It’s not hard to see why; according to Rolling Stone Magazine, the atmosphere was so charged fans were ripping seats from the floor and throwing them at the stage.

Tina Turner’s Wildest Dreams Tour

The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner has sold more than 200 million albums and singles in her glittering career. She’s also sold more concert tickets than any other performer, and several of those were for her 1990s Wildest Dreams Tour.

The Wildest Dreams Tour ran for 16 months across 1996 and 1997. It featured pop legend Cyndi Lauper as an opening act, as well other standouts like Toto, Belinda Carlisle and The Accelerators. Performances spanned five continents, with dates in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. The Europe destinations covered most of the continent, with performances in the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey and Russia.

In short, this rock legend took workaholic to a whole new level. But fans loved her for it as she made sure as many of her fans as possible were able to attend this now legendary concert tour.

Sadly the tour was also marked by tragedy. Kenny Moore—pianist and longtime collaborator with Turner—died while the tour was in Australia. He had worked as the musical director, background vocalist and keyboard player in Turner’s band for 20 years before his death, and Turner dedicated her later performances to his memory.

Even now the Wildest Dreams Tour remains Turner’s biggest tour to date, with more than 250 performances and three million fans attending worldwide. 

U2’s 360° Tour

Irish rock band U2 has gained a “love-em-or-hate-em” reputation over their 42-year career. What’s undeniable, though, is that they know how to put on a show. One of their more recent efforts was the U2 360° Tour, which ran across two years and 110 shows from 2009 to 2011.

The tour ran in support of No Line on the Horizon, the band’s 12th studio album. However, its crowning achievements may be technical rather than musical. A key component of the show were its circular ‘Claw’ stages, which gave the audience a 360° viewing angle of the band’s performance. Following its eight-hour assembly time each of the four stages measured 165 feet high, weighed 180 tonnes, and covered more than 28,000 square feet.

The stages cost between £15 and £20 million to construct, and each one required 120 trucks to transport. Fortunately at least one of these trucks has gone to a new home; it will become a permanent installation at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Utah. (We’ve got our priorities firmly on the trucks and event transport aspect). 

Another major innovation was the stage’s expandable screen, which according to Bono inspired LED screens elsewhere. The 54-tonne screen used half a million hexagonal LED ‘pixels’ to generate its imagery. At its peak, the screen had an area of 14,000 square feet.

Today the tour remains the highest-grossing music tour in history. At its conclusion it had made £450 million in sales, and seven million people had turned out worldwide.

The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang Tour

Though band members have come and gone, The Rolling Stones have been rocking out since 1962. The English band has estimated record sales of more than 250 million, and they’ve given us four of the highest-grossing concert tours in history. Before U2 knocked it off the top spot A Bigger Bang Tour was the highest grossing tour the world had ever seen, earning over $558 million.

The band launched the tour in support of their Grammy-winning album of the same name, and it ran from 2005 to 2007. The majority of the shows took place in Europe (Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Serbia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, Finland and the UK just to name a few) and North America, though there were several performances in South America, Oceania and Asia as well.

Rolling Stones tours are famous for their unusual stage designs and A Bigger Bang was no exception. Early concepts took inspiration from opera houses in the 19th century. The final stage design featured sweeping, 15m-high balconies on the back wall of the stage, which could hold up to 400 audience members. Other features included detachable stage sections, a huge LED screen and even CG graphics representing the original Big Bang.

The tour faced some hurdles along the way though. 

Its European leg was delayed for a month by Keith Richards, who got a concussion after falling out of a coconut tree in Fiji. Two more concerts in Spain had to be pushed back when Mick Jagger contracted laryngitis. Still, the Stones have never let little things like illness get in the way of their music; their No Filter Tour concluded earlier this year in Warsaw, and we expect to hear about a new tour very soon.

Roger Waters’ Us + Them Tour

Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters made music history with politically charged The Wall Live, the highest-grossing concert tour by a solo artist. Its extravagant stage featured a 250-brick wall, which collapsed at the end of each show. The Daily Maildescribed it as ‘one of the most ambitious and complex rock shows ever staged.’ Now he’s back with the Us + Them Tour, which brings that energy and creativity to a new audience.

The European leg of the tour will perform in 23 countries including Spain, Italy, UK, Hungary, Croatia, and Bulgaria, though there have been several shows in America, Australia and New Zealand before then. The stage was designed and manufactured by TAIT, who have also worked with artists like Pink, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake. It features a main stage 74 feet wide, a bank of laser units, flying pigs (as you can never have too many flying pigs in a show) and even inflatable smokestacks.

So far the show has received positive reviews. Dave Simpson’s Guardian review praised its ‘impeccable’ sound quality, and said the mostly retrospective show ‘feels alive and relevant.’ Ella Kemp’s review in The Independent described it as ‘a thematic emporium of Pink Floyd’s greatest moments’, while Metal Wani said the show was ‘unmatched for its quadraphonic surround sound and out of this world sensory visual production.’

The tour runs until the end of August; visit the official site to learn more about it.

The Killers’ Wonderful Wonderful World Tour

Nevada rock band The Killers have gifted us hits like ‘Somebody Told Me’ and ‘Mr Brightside.’ Since their first album in 2004 they’ve remained a consistently entertaining part of the music scene. Their latest album Wonderful Wonderful received its fair share of praise, but there’s a personal edge to it too; lead singer Brandon Flowers explores sensitive topics like his wife’s PTSD in the music. Now fans have the chance to see them live in the band’s latest tour.

Mixing new songs with old classics (and some impressive dance moves), the Wonderful Wonderful World Tour is paying visits to Thailand, Canada, Japan and Hong Kong throughout September. Previously the band has been all over Europe including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg to name a few destinations. 

Reviews from last year’s shows have been typically positive. The Independent’s Jess Denham said The Killers ‘are back, bigger and bolder than ever’, while their London show ‘was pure euphoria—from sparkling start to fizzing, life-affirming finish.’ Their Sheffield show—according to The Yorkshire Post—was ‘a non-stop sonic assault of sing-along anthems and a wall of noise, eagerly lapped up by an audience keen not only to hear new material but of course the hits which have made The Killers such a popular live draw.’

If you’d like to see the band do their thing for yourself, visit the official website here.

We hope we’ve shown there’s no shortage of wonderful concert tours in music history. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the next generation of concert tours!

If you’re looking to do something similar, we at Stagefreight are concert tour trucking experts. Our team has plenty of experience with live event transport, and we know what it’s like when the pressure is on.

Our experienced lead driver takes control of the trailer schedule, ensuring you get the right trailers at the right time. When your stage materials arrive, our drivers will support you with lighting choices and even help to build the stage with your team.

We’re also experts at planning the most fuel-efficient, cost-effective route to an event.

We’ll get your event equipment to you on time, every time.

Visit our Contact Us page for more details, or call us now on 0113 797 898.

The Event Trucking Highlights of the Summer

Summer is finally here, and it’s the perfect chance to get out into the great outdoors. Fortunately there are plenty of events to choose from, and many of them rely on trucks to transport the stages, props and music equipment that make them a success.

We’ve put together a list focused on event trucking, with special occasions that need some heavy-duty transport to carry off. 

Llangollen 2018 

Tuesday 3 – Sunday 8 July 

white dove on stone ornament

Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year is the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. This day and night festival is known as one of the world’s most inspirational cultural festivals. 

Each year the team of 4,000 performers greets around 50,000 visitors to celebrate international peace through music and dance events. This year the evening concert line-ups includes big names like The Kaiser Chiefs, The Hoosiers and Toploader (who are all pretty busy this summer festival-wise) as well as West End star Alfie Boe and the Belfast Cowboy himself Van Morrison.

There are also daily competitions at the Royal International Pavilion. This is where the famous message of peace and friendship from the children of Llangdollen is sent out to the children of the world.   

The 70th anniversary festival promises to be a grand occasion and a must-see. Find out more on the official festival website here. 

Ramfest 2018

Sunday 15 July 

man holding guitar

Don’t forget you can also look forward to Ramfest 2018 on the 15th July! It’s an annual event at Southowram Cricket Club that is packed with live music. The line-up this year includes The McCarrons, In Echoes and David Barnes from The Voice to name a few. 

The event raises money for different charities every year. The supported charities this year are Heartbeat of Sport and the Andy Man Club, who have a deputing band performing. Several people from Stagefreight will also be there, so why not swing by to chat about event trucking with us all? 

Find out more including how to get tickets here.

Keep On Truckin’ at Truck Festival 

Friday 20 – Sunday 22 July 

Known as the godfather of small music festivals, the annual Truck Festival at Hill Farm in Oxfordshire once again promises to be an event to remember. Truck Festival has been going strong since 1998, and now includes some charming glamping accommodation. 

Due to popular demand Truck Festival is also trialing a new Thursday entry (19th July) for which there are only limited tickets. The Thursday line-up includes Peace, Jaws, Kanadia and Little Brother Eli. 

With six stages and over 100 bands playing, there’s plenty to see including George Ezra, Jake Bugg, Drenge, Courteneers, The Big Moon and We Are Scientists. 

Not sure what to expect? Have a look at last year’s highlights reel: 

Y Not Festival

Thursday 26 – Sunday 29 July 


As the name implies, why not go to this exciting festival in Pikehall, Derbyshire?  Y Not Festival has a wide variety of music genres, and even encourages local and unsigned music talent to get up on stage via the ‘apply to play’ feature. 

This year’s line-up on the main stage includes The Libertines, Manic Street Preachers, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kaiser Chiefs, Jamiroquai and The Wombats. There’s plenty more though as The Quarry Stage, The Giant Squid, Flamingo Jack’s and The Allotment all have their own line-up schedule. 

That’s not all at Y Not Festival though. You can also enjoy some family favourite movies like Moana and Inside Out or some suspense filled classics like The Martian and Jurassic Park. 

There’s something for everyone at Y Not Festival, so why not have a closer look at the event website here. 

The Big Cheese Festival 

Friday 27– Sunday 29 July

wheel of cheese

Caerphilly is home to one of Europe’s largest castles. For the last 21 years the people of Caerphilly have celebrated their heritage with a party called The Big Cheese Festival. It’s a free event that attracts over 80,000 visitors and offers businesses of all shapes and sizes an opportunity to exhibit. There’s also some live music, reenactments and plenty of fun at the fair. 

Unsurprisingly–but certainly worth adding to the visiting agenda–there’s a splendid cheese market for you to visit. But if you don’t fancy any cheese, don’t worry; there are over 60 food stalls to choose from too. 

Find out more about The Big Cheese Festival here. 

Edinburgh Foodies Festival

Friday 3–Sunday 5 August

cupcakes with icing

If you’ve got a sweet tooth (or a savoury one) then you need to get to Edinburgh this summer! Foodies Festival is a three-day celebration of food from around the world.

The festival is divided into several distinct areas, each one focusing on a different food type. Head to the Street Food Avenue where you can sample treats from over 30 food stalls. If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, hit the Drinks Theatre for Prosecco and Parmesan master classes, or go to the Kombucha workshops for chocolate making and cake decorating. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can also enjoy cream pie throwing, cheese stretching and chilli eating competitions as part of the event. 

Children are very welcome at the festival; they can learn to cook in the Kids Cookery Theatre, get stuck into a craft area or jump around on the bouncy castle. If you’ve got an Earlybird ticket, children can join you for free. Add headline bands The Hoosiers and Toploader into the mix, and Foodies Festival is a guaranteed gastronomic marvel!

For further details, visit the official website.

Rock at the Castle

Sunday 5 August


Past and present collide at this exciting free music event! Rock at the Castle takes place at Hertford Castle Gatehouse, a Grade I listed building that dates back to the 15th century. Boasting four music stages around the castle itself, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors to Rock at the Castle can enjoy live bands, acoustic acts and musicians in a variety of genres including folk, rock, indie and pop. Children are welcome too and can enjoy face painting, a bouncy castle and other activities. If you find yourself getting hungry, there will be food stalls and a pop-up bar onsite.

For more details on this event, click here.

Broadstairs Folk Week

Friday 10–Friday 17 August


Broadstairs Folk Week is an exploration of folk music and dance by the sea. Taking place in the Kent coastal town of Broadstairs, the festival has been running for more than fifty years, and offers a glimpse at a great swathe of music heritage.

Visit the main concert area in Pierremont Park to see headline acts such as Tim Edey, The Longest Johns and The Jim Causley Trio. You can also enjoy a variety of pub gigs; last year’s festival covered a diverse range of genres including celtic, country, Spanish jazz and- of course- traditional folk music from England, Scotland and Ireland.

If you fancy yourself the next Fred Astaire, there are several dance events to attend. Try 17th-century English country-dances, American square dancing or modern dances in old styles to really spice things up. With over 70 events running each day, there really is something for everyone.

Broadstairs Folk Week offers a mix of free and ticketed events, though you can buy an all-in-one ticket that covers all venues and events. For a full list of events, visit the Broadstairs Folk Week website.

Reading Festival

Friday 24 –Sunday 26 August

Nothing’s better in summer than a good old festival. One of the biggest is the Reading Festival, running over the August bank holiday weekend in both Reading and Leeds. It’s a must-see for all UK music fans.

This year’s lineup includes some legendary artists such as Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Kings of Leon and Panic! At the Disco. If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, head on over to the alternative stage to see the likes of Harry Hill, Chris Ramsey and Lee Nelson.

Festivalgoers also have many different camping options to choose from. Keep it simple with Pink Moon tents, or go upmarket with Podpad housing instead. You can even bring a caravan or campervan with you if you want a few more home comforts.

Get a breakdown of acts by stage here, and read more about the festival as a whole here.

Chatsworth Country Fair

Friday 31 August – Sunday 2 September 

The Chatsworth Country Fair is known to be one of the most spectacular outdoor events of the UK. 

It takes place in Chatsworth Park in Derbyshire and promises a fun-filled event for the family. You can try your hand at heritage country sports or rural country crafts. There’s also grand entertainment at the Grand Ring, where you can watch some JCB diggers dance or enjoy performance by The Household Cavalry Musical Ride. 

But there’s more! At the Stoves Cookery Demonstration Theatre you can get some cooking tips and tricks from Great British Bake Off legends Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and Nadiya Hussain. Once these guys have whetted your appetite, you can then explore the fine food village and treat yourself to something tasty. 

All information and tickets info is on the Chatsworth House website here. 

These are just some of the fantastic events that you can enjoy this summer. They’re also the kind of events we can help you make a reality, thanks to our vast experience in event trucking and transportation.

Don’t forget that Stagefreight can help with your entire event trucking needs. We have experience in many different aspects of event transport, from one-off shows and music festivals to massive trade exhibitions. Our experience lets us handle massive logistical operations with minimum stress, ensuring everything arrives on time, in perfect condition and along the most efficient route.

If you’d like to learn more about what we do, visit our services page or give us a call on 0113 797 898.

Music Events that Shaped the Music Industry

As a company specializing in music transport, we’ll never pass up the chance to talk about major music shows!

In honour of World Music Day and Make Music Day UK (which both fall on the same day –  21st of June), we’ve decided to highlight some of the music events that changed the music landscape forever.


No discussion of music and music events is complete without the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. The legendary festival ran over four days in August 1969, with more than half a million people attending. But Woodstock wasn’t just a hotbed of musical talent. It was a cultural touchstone we’re still discussing, long after other festivals have faded from our memory.

Why exactly was Woodstock so impactful?

The music

The lineup is certainly a part of it; it included amazing performers like Joan Baez (currently on her farewell tour with us helping out), Santana, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix, and boosted the careers of several musicians. But it stays in our cultural memory because of something less tangible than stages and celebrities.

The reason behind it

Woodstock was a response to contemporary issues like Nixon politics and the Vietnam War. It was an explosion of optimism and shared humanity in a bleak decade, aiming to promote values like freedom, love and basic human rights. The sheer mass of people attending created an atmosphere of acceptance and cooperation; people ate, bathed and lived together in celebration of life and music.

The brand of music

The ‘brand’ of Woodstock changed the way we marketed music; it acted as an umbrella for music we associated with mass cultural and political movements. It also catalysed the idea of ‘demographics’; distinct groups of people we could market products to, for better or worse. We continue to see Woodstock’s legacy in modern-day festivals like Glastonbury and Lollapolooza.

The legacy

Woodstock remains popular because it’s an event that could only exist at a specific moment in time, and modern-day festivals can’t truly replicate the atmosphere. It was unpredictable and unconcerned with the ideas of branding and marketing it would eventually give birth to. In an era of meticulous planning and corporate sponsorship, Woodstock’s flash-in-the-pan spontaneity has made it the most legendary of music events.

Tupac Shakur’s Hologram

Many people consider Tupac Shakur one of the world’s all-time greatest rappers. Tragically, he died in a drive-by shooting when he was just 25 years old. But the Coachella music festival put his talent back in the spotlight, if not in the way we were expecting.

Why was the Holo-Tupac so impactful?

In 2012, Snoop Dogg was joined on stage by Tupac, or more accurately, a 2D projection of him that used theatrical techniques first outlined more than 430 years ago. It was the first time an artist was projected in front of an audience of 80,000 and performed ‘live’ with a co-star.

Tupac went on to perform ‘Hail Mary’ and ‘2 of Americaz Most Wanted’ with his fellow rapper before departing the stage again.

The technology 

The hologram was created by the company Digital Domain, who had previously worked on CG marvels like Benjamin Button and X-Men: First Class. It was actually projected and staged by a company called AV Concepts, who have provided holographic visuals for artists like Madonna, the Gorillaz, Celine Dion and the Black Eyed Peas.

The technique is known as ‘Pepper’s Ghost’, which projects an image onto a piece of angled glass that is then reflected back on stage. This creates the illusion of the ghostly presence (hence the name).

The creators of Holo-Tupac had the consent of Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur (who died back in 2016). It took the Digital Domain team six weeks to truly bring back Tupac to the stage.

The response

The reaction from people at the time wasn’t all positive though.  Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz felt the hologram was unnecessary in a show packed with talented rap artists. The Atlantic was far less complimentary, describing it as ‘crass and exploitative, a mutually agreed-upon sham between performer and audience, the high-tech evolution of the Elvis impersonator.’

The future of holographic music stars?

The Tupac hologram is unlikely to rise again anytime soon; it was created as a Coachella exclusive and only Tupac’s estate has access.

It was also incredibly expensive according to Gizmodo it cost somewhere between $100,000 and $400,000 to produce. But it opened the doors more to resurrections of music legends; with enough money and willpower, we expect to see anyone from Elvis Presley to John Lennon take the stage in future shows.

It’s almost inevitable in an industry where resurrection is the order of the day.

The appeal is obvious: musicians who died before their prime can get a new lease of life for modern audiences.

But we don’t know how audiences will react to it on a mass scale, or if interest in a costly, finicky technology remains going forward. That said, the Jackson 5 are considering the use of a young Michael Jackson hologram in a future tour, with projections of the singer appearing as far back as 2009.

The idea of resurrecting (or reverse-ageing) stars isn’t unique to music. The Star Wars film Rogue One featured digital recreations of deceased actors Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher, while Jeff Bridges appeared as both his older and younger self in the Disney film TRON: Legacy. With CGI and holographic projection bound to improve, the potential they offer in music and beyond is truly endless.

Live Aid

Charitable giving has waxed and waned in popularity over the last few years, but Live Aid gave the idea a massive boost. Its repercussions were felt inside and outside the music industry, even if it wasn’t quite the success story we imagine it to be.

Why was Live Aid so impactful?

The stars and size of it 

Live Aid was a 1985 dual-venue benefit concert organised by Bob Geldof, lead singer of The Boomtown Rats. It was the first of its scale as two concerts for the same purpose took place simultaneously; one in London and one in Philadelphia.

The satellite link-up (one of the first event satellite link-ups the world had seen) ensured a global audience of an estimated 1.9 billion across 150 nations.

To put the size of the global audience into perspective that’s the equivalent of 40% of the world’s population at the time.

The live concert in Wembley Stadium drew a crowd of 70,000 people and the John K Kennedy Stadium had around 100,000 people attending.

The goal was to raise money for sufferers of the Ethiopian famine, attracting an all-star lineup in both London and Philadelphia. Performers included Queen, David Bowie, The Beach Boys and Led Zeppelin, with more than 1.5 billion people watching the concert. It raised over £110 million for its cause.

The future stars

Live Aid brought bands like U2 into the spotlight, helping them gain a foothold in the USA and establishing Bono as a top-class performer. It also gave a massive boost to other bands; Queen’s albums soared in the charts, and paved the way for a solo show at Wembley the following year. Later shows by the likes of Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones helped to transform Wembley into a top British music venue.

More generally, Live Aid aided the meteoric rise of many musicians who performed for it. As The Guardian reports, a combination of events helped boost the profile of Live Aid’s stars. Television coverage drove sales from fans with disposable income, at a time when cheap CD players were giving old music a new lease of life. This perfect mix of factors gave rise to similar music events like Concert for Diana, Nelson Mandela’s birthday concert and – of course – Live 8 in 2005.

The charity reality

Outside of the music industry Live Aid created the term ‘extreme poverty’, and arguably catalysed celebrity fundraising from Brad Pitt to Oprah Winfrey. But Live Aid itself wasn’t without its problems. American music magazine Spin published a damning article on Live Aid in 1986, which argued Live Aid’s efforts had contributed to Ethiopia’s troubles rather than fixing them. Meanwhile, Birhan Woldu, poster child for the Live Aid movement, has argued that her fame has adversely affected her, making it difficult to find employment or support her family.

For better or worse, Live Aid’s impact on the world is undeniable. It transformed the way we listen to music and donate to charity.

We will see echoes of it in concerts for years to come.

Beyonce at Coachella

Of course, industry-changing music events aren’t just in the distant past. Music is in a constant state of change, and this year one of its brightest stars revolutionised one of the world’s biggest music events.

Why did Beyonce have such an impact?  

The first and her message

Earlier this year, R&B legend Beyonce became the first black woman to headline Coachella; one of the USA’s largest, most prestigious music festivals. Her 27-song set included more than 100 dancers and marching band members, set against a whirlwind of black history and culture. Her costumes and music choices drew inspiration from many different sources including ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, the Black Panther Party of the 1960s and even her own fans (via a black bee motif to symbolize her fans who are known as the Beyhive).

The message of empowerment was rolled into the outfit choices, the stage symbolism and the performances overall.

The reaction

Needless to say, her performance has been rapturously received. Rolling Stone’s Suzy Exposito described it as 2018’s Woodstock, while Rebecca Haithcoat said ‘it might be the most inspired, singular, thoughtful and downright beast of a stage show we’ll ever see.’ DJ Khaled was similarly effusive, proclaiming the festival should be renamed Beychella in recognition of her performance.

In the long term Beyonce could inspire more diverse, innovative festivals at a time when some people think they’re too homogenous. The New York Times refused to cover Coachella altogether a couple of years ago, arguing that smaller festivals had a narrower focus on theme and music. Her 2018 performance has certainly countered that.

The future

But what does this mean for festivals going forward? In the short term, it sets an incredibly high standard for future Coachella performances. Beyonce’s show was the product of intensive rehearsal, passion and coordination; TMZ reported she was rehearsing 11 hours a day in the run-up to the festival. It will take a performer of rare talent and dedication to unseat her as the festival’s queen.

Beyonce could be just the start of a new breed of performers; ones that take festivals in a more original and meaningful direction. There’s no telling what could happen next, but now is a golden opportunity for festivals (and their stars) to stand out from the crowd.

The Reading and Leeds Festival

A little closer to our own home is the annual Reading and Leeds Festival. Like Live Aid this is a dual-venue event. It started as the National Jazz Federation Festival in Reading alone. The 70s brought on the progressive rock and hard rock line-up that the festivals are renowned for today; and it wasn’t until 1999 that Leeds actually joined the festival. Now both festivals have a mix of indie rock, Brit pop and rap.

Why was Reading Festival so impactful?  

Genre begot genre 

Although it started as a one music genre festival (namely jazz), it soon opened its doors to related genres, which then encouraged an ever-increasing expansion of acts. The 60s were jazz based, which then led to rhythm & blues acts like The Rolling Stones performing. Rhythm & blues led to progressive rock with acts like The Jam coming in the 70s which then led to Jethro Tull, Nirvana, The Stone Roses, The Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill making their mark at the festival in later years.

Amongst all the world-famous musicians, one’s band impact on the festival still shines through today. In 1991 the band Nirvana performed twice at Reading and it was their first appearance at the festival. Lead singer Kurt Cobain caused a stir by arriving on stage in a wheelchair and wearing a medical gown, which was his own parody of the rumours of his mental state within the press at the time.

Their second and last performance at Reading was released as a live album and DVD in 2009  called ‘Live at Reading’.

The album holds a universal acclaim score of 93 out of 100, further helping to boost the festival’s global appeal.

The reaction

Although the festival lured many big music names to Yorkshire, the council wasn’t always 100% behind the events. Between 1984 and 85 Reading lost council permission to use the fields for the festival and it wasn’t until 1986 that Reading Festival returned to its original location (well, the field adjacent to the original ones, but it was practically home).

The 1987 festival had a record attendance.

The future

Although there’s been some location drama at Reading and various venue changes for the Leeds based festival (originally at Temple Newsam Park before moving to Bramham Park) the Reading and Leeds Festival remains popular. It continues to attract top line-up acts with, Fallout Boy performing on the main stage this year. It’s nice to have a top music event that shaped the music industry just on our doorstep!

As you can see, music events past, present and future offer plenty of exciting lessons and opportunities. We at Stagefreight use our know-how and skills to make your next live event a smash hit.

Stagefreight’s staff brings dedication and passion to every single show. We’ll sort the most cost-effective and fuel-efficient route for your music transport plus our drivers support on-site too.

Get a team of pros to help you put on a fantastic live event.

And you never know; your next music event could well be the next to shape the music industry!

Give us a call on 0113 797 898, or visit our Contact Us page for more options.

What I love about Music Transport

We’ve been talking quite a bit about theatre transport lately. But did you know we also offer a music transport service?

Well, you might have noticed us mentioning Joan Baez every now and now.

And how could we not? As it’s her farewell tour this year and she’s such a music legend. Plus, as you can imagine Ian is well excited to be on tour with her.

(You can find out more about our Ian Lowe in our Meet The Drivers article)

Spurred on by Ian’s enthusiasm for his current tour, we’ve asked around to find out what the rest of the crew love about music transport.

The people

When friends and family find out that you’re touring with a famous musician or well-known band, they often ask what that’s like.

Exciting is definitely part of the answer!

The music celebs the Stagefreight team has worked with are really friendly, and despite being very famous are also very humble.

(Joan Baez is easy to talk to as Ian tells us.)

You’re not just interacting with the musician, though; you’re spending time with the whole tour team.

Being a people person and being willing to lend a hand with tasks outside of driving is, therefore, crucial when touring.

Being part of the team is top of the list for our drivers on music transport tours. Or during any of our transport jobs, actually.

Stagefreight team helping out
Example of some team work during Beast From the East snow

The travel and the destinations

There’s not much time for sightseeing when on tour, but travelling across the

UK and Europe is definitely a perk of the job.

paris, berlin, lisbon, budapest collage

Sharing stories of travel adventures in places like Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Barcelona, Lisbon, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest and many more is a key part of staff catch-ups.

As music tours cover so many different places and destinations, the team gets a chance to see a lot of different destinations and venues.

Ian has covered most of Europe on the first leg of the Joan Baez tour and there are still two more legs to go! As you can imagine that’s a lot of travel.

The challenge

Meeting the scheduling timings spot-on – every time – is something the lads thrive on. The planning, organising and execution on the night and day are a regular source of excitement.

No matter if you’ve got a one-truck music tour or a 16 truck fleet to coordinate, there’s a high sense of achievement when loading, unloading and route planning goes without a hitch time after time.

Music tour lengths vary, of course, but there’s a skill to coordinating music transport across venues and across countries.

Our top priority is to make sure the show’s all set, night after night.

Stagefreight truck collage with services

The stage sets

No, our lads don’t design the stage sets. (Though, there’s a thought…)

But they do help out with set-up, which gives them a peek at what the show will look like. And boy, there’s a lot of creativity out there.

The variety of stage sets, especially for music, is vast.

U2’s 360°tour is probably one of the most famous and unusual music stage sets from a build perspective.

But you can’t deny that a spectacular light show like the Muse show from back in the day by Oli Metcalfe is worth our admiration, too.

Three lighting guys hanging from the ceiling to follow the band members with spotlights takes some doing – not to mention the laser show during the iconic guitar solo.

A stage set that needs some planning, the right equipment and a well-planned load / unload sequence.

These are the most talked about reasons behind loving music transport. The lads have plenty of other stories to share, but we’ll keep these for another time.

As you can see there’s plenty to love when it comes to music transport.

If you’ve got a music tour of your own coming up and want a crew of music transport experts on your team, give us a call on 0113 797 898 today!

Or have a browse of your services to see what else we get up to.