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Rigging for Special Events and the Entertainment Industry

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Rigging for Special Events and the Entertainment Industry


Soon enough, you’ll be standing in a crowd with thousands of other people, bopping your head to the beat, listening to and watching your favorite performers. The return of concerts, shows and festivals is something that we can all agree is exciting. An escape from reality for just a few hours.

So why are we at Hercules SLR so thrilled about concerts, festivals and events starting back up? Not only because they’re fun, but they also keep our industry busy! Rigging equipment is involved in a lot more than just your typical construction site. Truss and rigging systems are commonly used for overhead lighting, loudspeakers, microphones, video screens, and other items during a variety of events.

Examples of events that may use rigging include:

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– Concerts
– Theatre productions
– Movie sets
– Festivals
– Trade exhibitions
– Conventions
– Outdoor events
– Private gatherings (such as weddings)

Popular rigging and truss equipment for stage setup includes:

  • Cables
  • Chains
  • Clamps
  • Chain hoists
  • Lifting towers
  • Touring trusses
  • Circular trusses


In fact, almost any type of event venue can use rigging to build its event space. But is all stage rigging the same? Not necessarily. Entertainment rigging can be categorized into distinct systems based on the various needs of different entertainment locations.


Types of Entertainment Rigging

Theatrical Rigging

There aren’t many theatre performances that aren’t using rigging in some way. Typically, theatrical rigging includes hanging lighting fixtures, sound systems, and scenery. All these features are normally linked, by rigging technicians utilizing ladders or genie lifts, directly to the theatre’s permanent flying system or the grid of the performance space in theatres.

Arena-Style and Outdoor Stage Rigging

The use of arena-style rigging isn’t limited to indoor productions. Stages and rigging are also required for outdoor events and concerts. When it comes to setting up stages, the hoist and truss rigging are the same outdoors as they are indoors. An outdoor rigging team, on the other hand, is usually responsible for a larger portion of the stage construction. To build the stage roof structure, riggers must utilize scaffolding or trusses. For larger stages, steel trusses are used, and cranes are used to set these up.



Rigging for Special Effects

Special effects rigging is an important role for a special effects crew and it’s an extremely creative form of rigging. Examples of special effects rigging in action are Lady Gaga using a performer flying system at the 2017 Super bowl and every high-flying performance by Cirque du Soleil. Because special effects rigging frequently includes rigging humans, riggers working in this industry must have specific certifications and training in addition to the standard training required of riggers.

Rigger Roles in the Entertainment Industry

Head of Rigging – responsible for the rigging design. This person ensures that the loads do not exceed the capacity of a structure.
Up-Rigger – responsible for attaching all the hardware to the structure and ensuring it is in the right position.
Ground-Rigger – responsible for assembling the hardware on the ground and sending it up to the Up-Rigger.
The Fly Person – is responsible for the flying system. This role will set all the technical equipment to the desired height and during the show, they are responsible for flying scenery.

Being in the rigging industry is cool! It does take an army to set up some of these events, but the payoff is worth it. It’s especially satisfying to see all the hard work come together for a truly spectacular performance.

If you are involved in the entertainment rigging industry and need some new gear, or to have your existing rigging equipment inspected and certified, Hercules SLR is your one-stop shop! Our team of experts is here and eager to help! Contact us today.

If you yourself would like to gain more knowledge within the rigging industry, check out our training courses. Courses that may help in this type on industry:

Advanced Rigger Technician
Fundamentals of Rigging
Rigger Slinger

To see the full list of what Hercules Training Academy has to offer, click here.