Reshaping stadium shows for Adele 2017VerTech Ultra puts record-breaking events in the round. Six hundred thousand tickets snapped up for Australian dates, 98,000 a night at Wembley Stadium
With commercial considerations requiring a full in-the-round set up, the single most important requirement for Adele to appear in stadiums was the sound quality.
Computer simulations and assessments by the singer’s sound designer called for 20 tons of loudspeakers to be suspended directly above the stage at a minimum height of 25m (80’). The technical challenge was increased by a want to have the audience ‘up close and personal’ – under the roof structure – which prevented the towers from being joined together in any way at ground level. Most stages use criss-crossed steel wire ropes to stabilise them against wind loads but these too could not be deployed due to the surrounding audience.
Star accelerated substantial planned upgrades to its existing VerTech modular system into an almost impossibly tight 4 months from initial designs to manufactured equipment being shipped across the world.
The end result, branded VerTech Ultra, worked brilliantly. Ninety tons of production suspended at 25m on just 4 towers that stood in independent ‘islands’ fully surrounded by the audience. The wind loads were dealt with by huge ‘knee-braces’ between the main grid and the towers, but way above sightlines for even the highest seats in stadiums.
With the client electing to carry out the initial test build and production rehearsal in Phoenix, Arizona, shortly before commencing the main tour in Australia, Star shipped 6 containers from China and 6 from UK to Phoenix in December 2016. And while rehearsals were underway, it sent a duplicate set of containers directly to Australia.
“It was a privilege to be trusted with enabling this record-breaking tour to happen. We looked hard at the few previous in-the-round stadium shows and learned from them. We were delighted with the end result. Since the tour finished we have been using the new Ultra components to upgrade our existing VerTech festival stages so that we can say yes to whatever weights our clients want to fly.”
Star Events’ Special Projects Director
The results / ROI
Adele’s 2017 stadium tour broke attendance records in both hemispheres.
Star Events’ VerTech Ultra system was the first ever event industry design to win at the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) Structural Awards.
A spokesperson for the judges said: “The Adele stage engineering took account of the vast constraints and design drivers to produce a safe, efficient, elegant and reusable structure. The adaptability in its design allows it to be used in different countries, taking account of change in environments, multiple design code requirements and variable foundation and support conditions. It is also designed to be easily transportable and reusable, and easy and fast to construct, which allows for repeat use and therefore minimises costs.”
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“Trying to create that intimate experience in a stadium is hard. We went through several incarnations of the design, but Roger Barrett and his team were flexible at every turn.
“Star Events rose to the challenge with enthusiasm and great solutions. The fact that [VerTech Ultra] was on just four legs, that weren’t not tied together, enabled us to get people as close to Adele as possible, maxing out the capacity on the floor and creating and breaking attendance records. The ultimate ground support!”
Adele Tour Production Manager