One of the most eagerly anticipated and high profile tours to embark on a worldwide journey in 2017 must be Ed Sheeran.  The show’s production company, Major Tom Limited has purchased LoadGuard® hoists from LTM- Lift Turn Move to fly the entire lighting, sound and AV system.  In total LTM have supplied sixty-eight x 1t and thirty-six 2t LoadGuard® motors all running at 4 metres/per min. The motor control system is Kinesys throughout and operated by Steve Bliss from LCR.


The fan shaped mothergrid was designed by Jeremy Lloyd of Wonder Works and is lifted by thirty 2t LoadGuard® hoists. Rigged within the mothergrid are fifty 1t motors from which fly the lighting trusses and AV screens including four moving lighting pods which drop down on Electric Hoists on Kinesys control during the show.  Unusually, the 1t motors remain pre-rigged within the mothergrid (1 metre deep truss from Litec) in transit between shows. 


Alongside fellow rigger Omar Franchi, Seth Cook is responsible for hanging the production at every venue.   He explains the premise behind this strategy, “The initial brief from our Production manager Chris Marsh was a touring system that can be rigged and derigged very quickly. This is what we have achieved; on the load out, 45 min after the grid lands on the ground, the truck doors are closed. We have fifty-five motors in the grid but just thirty lifting it which cuts rigging time down by half.  The LoadGuards® have proved really robust, we weren’t sure they would cope with travelling them in situ but we needn’t have worried.’


‘Of course, the great benefit of using a mothergrid means that the lighting and AV points remain identical; for a show of this complexity this sort of consistency is vital.  Once hung, the mothergrid is taken to height using tape measures to trim and is balanced on the Load Cells before lighting and video start work.  The 1t motors have encoders and they hang the complex lighting trusses and AV fixtures.  Once they are done the rig is close to thirty-eight tons.’


‘That doesn’t include the sound of course.  For the audio arrays (four hangs each for left and right) we use two 2t and eight 1t hoists a side.  The whole system works extremely well; it really is the only way to rig a show like this. Credit should rightly go to Chris Marsh (Major Tom) and Jeremy Lloyd (Wonder Works) who did an outstanding job throughout the design process and made the choice to purchase the LoadGuards®.”


Almost all the motors are hung inside the grid body in an upright position with the chain hanging straight down but for the front Crown video and lighting units another solution was required.  “Because these units were designed to cover the grid itself in show position,” explains Cook, “We needed lift above the top chord of the grid.  This was achieved by installing the motors’ body down in the grid and running the chains over a cantilever arm through a pulley system.  The lifting point is 600mm from the downstage edge of the truss.  It’s testament to the build quality of the hoists that this has been realised without any issues.  All together, we have a great system; I wouldn’t change anything.  The single fall 2t design just makes sense, no potential for twisted chain or spun hooks, why did we ever do anything different?!”


After the production concluded Spring dates in the UK, the tour decamps to the Americas until November and from there, apart from an extra date at London’s O2 moves eastwards arriving in Australia in March 2018.  “We will be using our entire system as is,” concludes Cook. “I’m extremely impressed with the LoadGuard® it’s a well engineered motor, we have been touring for months now without an issue; it is definitely my hoist of choice.”

Previous Post Next Post

  • Alison Marshall