Audio Engineering Students Work as Hard Rock Stage Crew - Western Iowa Tech Community College
Western Iowa Tech Community College

Audio Engineering Students Work as Hard Rock Stage Crew

By: Owen Ziliak, Sioux City Journal

When people attend Saturday's Little Big Town concert, they probably won't realize how much work it takes to put together a stage like the one at Hard Rock's Battery Park.

The truth? It's a lot. More than 20 people worked from 8 a.m. until well after 6 p.m. July 14 to construct the stage for the next day's show starring Trace Adkins.

"Truly the greatest asset of both venues (Battery Park and Anthem) is the amazing stage team," said Hard Rock Events Coordinator Missy Rarrat. "They work countless hours in every element. They set the tone for our long show days."

Temperatures on the 14th reached 97 degrees Fahrenheit, with a heat index of 101. Workers kept cool with towels soaked in cool water, a mist tent and water guns. But between unloading semis, driving heavy machinery and building the stage itself, the crew took few breaks in order to have the job done in a timely manner. Despite harsh elements, Rarrat says that the crew's camaraderie remained strong.

"No matter how long or arduous show days can get, we are a true family," she said. "Without a doubt we are a team driven by a devotion to all things live music."

While being a part of the stage crew means that you have the opportunity to rub shoulders with Grammy winners and all-time great musicians, Rarrat says that there is much more to the job than what outsiders may perceive.

"What most don't see is the heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, building and sometimes cranky road crews they encounter and power through on show days," said Rarrat.

Oklahoma City-based production company Toucan Productions provided the stage, lighting, audio, video and other production elements. Toucan also directed construction of the stage, which will be in place through the final show, Rockzilla on August 12.

The main portion of the platform came from a single trailer, which unfolds to form the main frame of the stage you see at Battery Park today. Once the stage was fully extended, support beams were added, speakers were raised and LED screens were pieced together.

Many members of the stage crew are working toward a two-year associates degree from Western Iowa Tech's audio engineering and video media program.

"One of their instructors, Tucker Long, is also the production lead at Hard Rock," said Rarrat. "It tends to be a tight crew from school, all the way through daily production at Hard Rock."

The Hard Rock Outdoor Concert series at Battery Park will run through September 18. Saturday, while audiences listen to Little Big Town sing "Girl Crush" and "Boondocks," they probably won't see what came before. But members of the crew will know they had a part in the show's success.

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