Stagefreight’s varied client list means we take on plenty of different equipment transport jobs. That’s why we’ve decided to round up some of the things we’re entrusted with—including a few you might not expect!
1. Band stage equipment
The key concern with band stage equipment transport is protecting it in transit. Lighting equipment is a big area of concern, since it can be very delicate. We also need to think carefully about when we’ll load (and unload) the equipment, as we need to set up the equipment as quickly as possible when it arrives.
You can learn more about what we transport in ourA–Z of band stage equipment. It has a detailed rundown of what ‘band stage equipment’ means in practice.
2. Specialist stage equipment
As you might expect, most stage equipment has something to do with sound or lighting. However, from time to time we need to transport something a bit more unusual.
One of our previous clients was Dance Consortium, who used a unique trampoline floor during their Mark Morris Pepperland production tour. This floor needed specialist assembly (and disassembly) and we also needed to load it strategically with the show’s costumes, lighting and audio equipment. Our organisation skills really came to the fore, as we had to drive straight to Edinburgh after the Bradford leg was completed.
You can read more about our work on Dance Consortium’s Mark Morris Pepperland tour in our exciting behind-the-scenes Pepperland case study.
3. Art exhibitions
Theatre and music events are the things we’re best known for, but we also transport goods for corporate events. A recent example comes from the Clayton Cardiff hotel, who needed help with goods for an art exhibition! The exhibition featured art pieces made from recycled items, and required careful transport as a result.
We’re always open to specialist requests for corporate events, so don’t be afraid to get in touch. We love outside-the-box ideas (though we ensure the goods stay inside the box during transport).
Yes, you read that right; LEGO sculptures are a frequent component of corporate event trucking. They’re a popular choice for marketing conferences, brand launches and a whole range of corporate events. They come in all shapes and sizes, too; we’ve seen sculptures using anywhere between 10,000 and 800,000 pieces! We’re very careful when it comes to loading and unloading these plastic masterpieces, and we keep loose bricks and bare feet far apart. We’re professional like that.
For an example of the sort of stuff we transport, check outthese amazing sculpturescreated for the Martin Mere Wetland Centre.
5. Specialist transport jobs
But LEGO isn’t even the weirdest thing we transport. As you can probably guess we’ve moved some weird and wonderful items, but one recent job took the biscuit (or rather cake, in this instance).
A previous job saw us working with Mr Kipling and Michelle Sugar Art; these two had teamed up to launch a new Roald Dahl cake range. As part of the launch, the two had created a 7-metre tall sculpture of the BFG, made from 7,500 cakes! Our job was to get the sculpture to the top of Primrose Hill in London’s Regent Park. The task took three days to complete, as well as some innovative thinking. Luckily, no cakes were harmed in the process.
Although we’re responsible for lots of different stuff, our jobs all have one thing in common—a strict focus on timing. Our transport jobs cover live events, theatre tours and corporate events and just like the entertainment industry they have to run like clockwork, since the show can’t go on without the stage equipment.
Besides planning the most efficient routes, we need to consider other challenges like unforeseen traffic problems. That’s why all our drivers get specialist training in planning routes and taking a proactive approach to solving unforeseeable travel challenges. As such, our team never misses their cue and arrives on time, every time.
We hope you’ve found this overview of our equipment transport informative! We’ve faced some interesting challenges as part of our event transport services, and we look forward to plenty more in the year ahead.
Wondering if we can help you with your own transport needs? Take a closer look at ourServices pageto get a more in-depth look at what we offer. You can also call us directly on0113 797 898.
Did you know that Ramfest turned 10 this year? Join us as we look back at the highlights of this fantastic festival.
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 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.
“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.
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
Thischildren’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 Hospitalopened 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 Sportis 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.
Founded in 1953, Sue Ryderoffers 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 charityhas 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.
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.
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
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.
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, likeUniversal Live(an event producer in Bradford) andElectric Design(a marketing agency that supported with promotional designs)
Andy Steer, for taking brilliant photos (check out hisTwitterandwebsite)
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 ourContact page, or take a closer look at ourTwitter, Facebook andInstagrampages for the latest updates. You can also call us directly on0113 797 898.
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.
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 Musikvereinis located in Viennaand 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
ThisSwedish venuefirst 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!
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.
ThisParisian venueopened 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.
Thisoutdoor music venue in Swedenis 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.
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.
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!