Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball Tour Broken Down By Numbers
Have you ever gone to a stadium concert and wondered just how many people were responsible in putting the show on and making it run smoothly? Thanks to a new letter from Bruce Springsteen‘s tour director, we’ve learned that it’s a lot more complex than Jackson Browne described in ‘The Load Out.’
With Springsteen’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ tour finishing its European leg on Tuesday (July 31), George Travis, Springsteen’s longtime tour director, wrote to the tour crew thanking them for their work throughout the summer. He also broke down the tour in terms of the sheer manpower involved every night. The letter has been excerpted and published on Springsteen’s website.
We are heading home with 51 shows behind us; 11 states, 15 countries, 33 stadium shows and festivals and over 1,650,000 people. And now our US/Canadian outdoor stadium run is about to kick-off… This is a note of acknowledgement to all the men and women that are or have been a part of this UK/European leg of our tour.
A huge thank you to the bus and rig drivers, the caterers, the shops and offices of our vendors … you’ve gotten us everywhere on time, while feeding us incredibly delicious food and keeping us afloat. Thank you for being some of the best we’ve ever had!
We are over 100 people working and traveling together on this tour, as well as the hundreds more we deal with in venues from every city we travel to. We are all part of what may be the biggest and best group of musicians traveling on the road today, and we end each night knowing there are a lot of fans going home with memories they’ll talk about for the rest of their lives. So, thank you to Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band and to all the fans who are responsible for us to have this great job. The bar has always been set pretty high and we’re hoping to push it even higher.
Talking about what it takes to run a tour, this is what we’re made of … everyone can count how many people are up on the stage, but how many others are involved with running this tour?
Our base story starts with 22 trailers for band gear, sound, lights, video, wardrobe, dressing room needs, and our traveling stage. There is 1 catering trailer, 2 generator trailers, 1 power trailer of cabling and 12 to 17 mainstage, mix and delay tower trailers for each city. In Europe, we have 4 main systems based out of Belgium, 2 Spanish systems and 3 different systems for our Nordic region. At each stadium we have between 6 and 9 trailers of field cover, 3 trailers of barricades, and 3 to 5 trailers of temporary chain link sections, bike rack, and other panels. Adding to that is at least 3 more for golf carts, canopy tents, turnstiles, safety mats and other security items we need for the site. Not included in this is what comes in to the stadium with concessions and BEER. And, add to all this 10 to 12 trailers of Port-o-potties. A lot to wrangle during the load-in days and a mass exodus starting about 10 minutes after the show ends.
We utilize the largest video screen system on the road today. In addition to our camera positions (that everyone can see) we also have robo-cameras controlled by 2 crew personnel from our switching tent and server box. We have 21st century lighting which still enables us to have the ability to make things feel like a club setting. Our traveling mainstage is state-of-the-art utilizing a magnet system that helps make the connections quicker and safer for the team assembling with an air conditioning system placed under the stage.
Now to the actual people: we start with a core of 25 people comprising management, band, road logistics, production management, security coordination, hotel and site coordination. Now add-in 3 riggers, 4 carpenters, 2 barricade handlers, 5 for wardrobe, hair & makeup, dressing rooms and catering direction, 10 band technicians, 9 audio, 9 electricians, 9 video crew and 4 generator master electricians, and 10 catering crew to get all these people fed. Add to that the 25 plus truck drivers and 6 bus drivers!
At each venue, we interact with 30 or so promoter personnel who help with venue management, ticketing, runners and local drivers. Add to that the traveling main stage crew of 15 plus and a local crew of 100 plus to get the venue up and running for the show. We use 20 crew for “show call” which includes many of our truck drivers on spotlights and a security force of 120 plus, with 80 or more venue ushers and ticket takers. There are 50 or more venue clean-up people, over 50 local police and other authorities and over 25 EMT/medical personnel. We then add even more local crew to load-out based on venue size and distance from the trucks. Of course, a quiz will follow!
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this tour and all the fans for joining us!
After setting a personal record with a four-hour show in the tour finale in Helsinki, Finland, Springsteen will take a deserved two weeks off before beginning a stadium tour, beginning with two nights at Boston’s Fenway Park (where they could use some good news) and ending with three nights at MetLife Stadium in E. Rutherford, N.J., home of the four-time Super Bowl champions New York Giants, from Sept. 19-22. In October, he will begin an arena tour of North America that will take him through Dec. 6.