Where Do Big Stars Get Their Concert Sound Equipment? From a Tiny Town in Pennsylvania.

How did a town of 9,400 people in Pennsylvania Dutch country become one of the most important centres in the concert business?  By providing awesome sound systems for the biggest artists in the world.  From the Wall Street Journal:

LITITZ, Pa.—This town of 9,400 people in Amish country tells the story of the modern concert industry.In 1968, when Frankie Valli and his group rolled in for a show, two young brothers who did sound for local dances turned the Four Seasons into one of the first music acts to tour with its own speaker system. The brothers built a reputation on the road, but they never moved out of Lititz. Their company became an anchor for a cluster of businesses that now supply the sound and spectacle for many of the world’s biggest acts.

The effect that lets pop-star Katy Perry soar over her audience while clutching a bunch of balloons. The battalion of speakers blasting Paul McCartney’s voice in stadiums designed for sports, not music. The sliding catwalk that takes a singing, dancing Justin Timberlake from the stage to the rear of an arena. All this gear, currently crisscrossing America in tractor-trailers, was engineered and built in Lititz, along with the apparatus for blockbuster tours of the past by U2, the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Michael Jackson. The place has an air of secrecy: Because entertainers want a surprise when the curtain goes up, much of the work here is done in secret by companies that don’t put their names on their buildings.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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