If you tried to drive down Hudson Road this past Friday night, you probably had a bad time. As you may have noticed, 22,000 people were headed to the UNI Dome for country music star Luke Bryan's 3rd trip to Cedar Falls and the University of Northern Iowa. This time, Luke Bryan was the main attraction, as his previous trips he was either a warm up act or only sold out the McLeod Center; still a respectable 7,000 person crowd, but not quite on the same scale as Friday.
The show was a hit, and as Luke Bryan announced to the crowd that "It was my dream to sell out the UNI Dome!" the stands erupted with cheers. After playing a full hour over his regularly scheduled end time and thrilling the concert goers with a two song encore, he was off to Omaha, Nebraska for another show the next day. Those attending the show promptly left the building, not so much the parking lot, and went home after an evening of excitement. What the average concert goer wouldn't know is how much work went into setting up for that concert, and how much remained to be done post-show.
Here is roughly a 1 minute summation for you. (from Facebook)
If you took the one minute and fourteen seconds to watch that video, you now have an idea of how much work went into setting up the staging, lighting, and floor seating. If you didn't read the description or watch carefully, you probably missed the clock under the scoreboard. Setting up the entire stage and chairs took a total of about 42 hours, or three straight fourteen hour work days. If you counted, there were no less than twenty-five semi-loads of staging, production equipment, and sound gear moved in as well as a full sized crane. Catch all that? How about the upwards of 200 people that assisted in set up? The 5,400 individually labeled chairs on the floor? This set up makes UNI's May Graduation Commencement look like child's play.
During the concert itself, all phases of planning must come together in unison for it to go smoothly. For this particular event, a sort of command post was utilized. It operated as a dispatch center, where someone would radio in with a problem, and the command center would radio to the nearest available person able to take care of it. Workers from all platforms are instructed to watch the crowd instead of the actual concert and monitor for any problems or potential trouble makers. All of this for the safety of 22,000 strangers, most of which have been drinking, some heavily, and some that just want to take a swing at you. I know of at least one employee that left with a heavily bruised jawbone.
Post show, the stage, chairs, lighting, sound boards, video boards, and everything else took a mere twelve hours to completely tear down and loaded out. When you compare that to the monumental number of man hours that went into planning, setting up, and putting on this type of event it seems ludicrous to even consider doing such a thing. But take a second to consider how much good it has done the community. Money from outside of the community was brought in and spent here, making the university and community more profitable. It brought our university to light for those that were previously unaware of everything our university and the UNI Dome has to offer.