To serve the growing demand for large-scale rehearsal spaces and production facilities, Elevation Studios is breaking ground on a campus of soundstages, offices, conference rooms, fabrication workshops, rehearsal studios and creative spaces, equipped with everything from HD broadcast fiber connectivity to luxe amenities. The shovel-ready project checks all the boxes, uniting energy-efficient design with luxurious comfort in a serene yet convenient setting, right outside of America’s biggest music city, Nashville, TN.
The endeavor’s ambition reflects the scale of the opportunities coming with the next wave of live performance growth. The industry is poised for a boom generated by pent-up demand. Already this year, Live Nation has reportedly booked twice as many shows for 2022 than happened in 2019, according to Rolling Stone.
Eric Elwell, the driving force behind Elevation Studios, and his team are ready to meet this demand. They have witnessed all of live music’s ups and downs and have nearly a century of combined touring and production experience, working with major artists including Kanye West, One Republic, Guns n’ Roses, Backstreet Boys, Prince, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Sugarland, Sara Bareilles, Vince Gill, and Amy Grant, as well as work on Bonnaroo Fest, Austin City Limits Fest, and the CMA Awards. They have started, built, and sold companies in digital music and the live industry.
Elwell his team know firsthand the wonders that come together when a crew and talent get the space to perfect the production. With millions at stake for each night’s performance, preparation, testing, and redundancy protocols for the complex sound, lighting, and video systems are essential. Major touring productions require meticulous logistics and planning for equipment and 50 to 150 touring crew members. Engineering documents and safety procedures are required to suspend hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment over the audience’s heads.
The stakes, both financial and safety-wise, are enormous, and rehearsing in full-scale facilities are essential to safe, reliable systems that need to work flawlessly after being transported hundreds of miles overnight in 20 to 40 semi-trucks each night. Yet most large-scale arenas have a jammed schedule that includes the NBA, NHL, concerts, and other events, making it impossible to book multi-week tour rehearsals.
“Artists are earning the majority of their revenue from concert touring,” Elwell explains. “The cadence of these tours has broken away from album release cycles, as many musicians and creators put out new material constantly. Meanwhile, the design, complexity, and expense have dramatically increased.”
There’s a lot on the line creatively as well as technically. “You need the time you need, if you’re going to push the envelope of creativity,” Elwell notes. “If your artist will be flying in a harness 100 feet in the air you need a place to work this out with safety protocols for the artist, their team, and, equally important, their fans. Custom-design elements are the norm, and must be made safe and reliable[S2] before being subjected to ‘zero-fail’ conditions. Elevation will be that testing ground. Creative visionaries pushing the boundaries of art and science need a creative sandbox.”
The playground that Elevation will provide is designed to meet the burgeoning demand for a full-scale, private, geographically optimized production space. It is also ripe to capture the growing livestream market, a medium that’s gone from niche to selling hundreds of thousands of tickets in a few months. With multiple large-scale soundstages and an inspiring, green campus, Elevation’s proximity to Nashville and its legions of skilled music professionals will support the rebirth of live events and the evolution of livestreaming, bringing fans the spectacles they are aching to experience.
“In my 20+ year history of touring with Beyoncé as well as other top entertainment clients, the execution of pre-tour rehearsals was one of the largest challenges we faced due to the limited availability of large-scale facilities,” says Alan K. Floyd, veteran tour manager. “Elevation Studios will provide the scale and needed support, all in a private retreat-like setting. This is a long-overdue solution to the creative needs of hundreds of touring artists.”