Q&A: Brooke Hershey
In the fast-paced world of live entertainment production, PRG has been at the forefront of helping artists elevate their shows to new heights. As the summer 2023 touring season approaches, Billboard sat down with Brooke Hershey, an accomplished Account Executive at PRG, to gain insights into the company's goals and the essential details that go into creating unforgettable stage productions. With a focus on providing equipment and mentorship for developing touring artist teams, Brooke sheds light on PRG's commitment to delivering top-notch live experiences from the earliest stages of an artist's career.
BILLBOARD: PRG helps touring artists scale up. What's been the company’s No. 1 goal for a busy summer 2023 touring season?
Brooke Hershey: PRG’s primary objective is to deepen relationships with our clients as we support them in executing their visions to the highest level. My group, which focuses on nurturing artists in the beginning and mid-level stages of their careers, is instrumental in providing the expertise and resources to scale artists up from club level shows to arenas and stadiums. We use PRG’s experts, gear and experience to support and execute the best live shows possible, beginning at the earliest stage of an artist’s career.
BILLBOARD: Within all of PRG’s live industry project management, what’s one example of a major stage show production detail that not enough fans think about, but is absolutely crucial to get right?
BH: There are so many crucial details—it’s difficult to pick one! Planning a tour is like putting together a puzzle where each detail needs to fit together seamlessly. Rigging is one of the first things that needs to be accounted for, and it is often overlooked by the audience. Using engineers to calculate the exact weights and positions of heavy video walls or hanging lighting systems is necessary to ensure a safe and good-looking show.
This recently happened on Rauw Alejandro’s Saturno World Tour. His creative team came to PRG's artist development Account Executive Hanna Scherneck with an in-the-round LED spaceship concept for his 2023 arena tour, which meant a design comprised mostly of flying elements. PRG’s CAD team immediately developed preliminary concepts and completed a weight study based on the specified products they were looking to use. The original design came in at 230,000 lbs.; the final for touring, 160,000 lbs., just at the A-market arena limit. These are some of the number-crunching details that aren’t always at top of mind!
BILLBOARD: The live industry has been especially volatile over the past few years. What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to rising artists thinking about plotting future tours that might make their lives easier?
BH: You don’t have to be selling out major venues to have access to great tour production. I truly don’t think a lot of people know this. That’s why I’d say surrounding yourself with a solution-focused team is key. Partnering with people who share your vision, cater to your specific needs, but who also provide long-term support, is crucial, as it will ensure consistent quality throughout every tour. Working with a strong production manager, tour manager, and production partner, like PRG, who already has strong, enduring relationships facilitates continuous growth.
We have the global infrastructure to give up-and-coming artists access to the same top-of-the-line tech and services as some of today’s biggest acts. It is our mission to make artists and their teams’ lives easier – from engineering, CADs, truck packs, crew services and much more, we can work with almost any budget.
Leading up to Billie Eilish’s 2019 When We All Fall Asleep tour, we witnessed a remarkable surge in an incredibly brief span. The production transitioned from her father managing the lighting to a tour that involved seven fully loaded trucks of equipment within a remarkably short timeframe. PRG played a crucial role in efficiently managing the logistics during this rapid period of expansion while continuing to deliver top-notch video services for her ongoing tours.
BILLBOARD: Fill in the blank: from a technological standpoint, the biggest touring production breakthrough over the next five years will involve ___________.
BH: AI. The future collaboration between AI, creative teams, and existing touring equipment will be fascinating. AI is already being used by designers to create some of the content you are seeing displayed on video walls, and we expect to see this technology extend to lighting programming in the near future.
For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of working with PRG is being at the forefront of innovation. Through COVID, it was exhilarating to see the rapid adaptation of extended reality technology at our Virtual Production Studio – things really took off after Katy Perry’s “Daisies” performance on American Idol. The speed at which this technology became ubiquitous was breathtaking. – JL
To contact PRG's artist development team with questions or a quote, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the offering can be found here.
Article originally posted on Billboard Pro’s Trending Up.