iHeart Country: Starwood Rehearsals
How artists like Blake Shelton, Kelsea Ballerini and Leon Bridges prepare for tour.
Blake Shelton, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Leon Bridges and many other powerhouse artists embark on dozens of festival and tour dates throughout the year, and spend countless hours fine-tuning the production elements to be ready to take the stage at local venues anywhere in the world.
Starwood Rehearsals, a 10,000-square-foot turnkey space that opened in June 2022, offers a blank canvas for creative artists and their teams to bring their brightest ideas to life before kicking off their headlining tours. The massive venue is located outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
Serving as a nod to a historic local venue, the Starwood was launched by PRG, the global company behind some of the most anticipated entertainment events (the Olympics and the Super Bowl — including Rihanna’s epic halftime show earlier this year — among others). With two dozen facilities worldwide, the event-production behemoth worked with genre-spanning artists including Beyoncé, Drake, Coldplay and others. Many of the artists leaving the Nashville location for tours are country artists, PRG General Manager John Schirmer said, and the space, centrally located in the U.S., “makes us a great hub for concert tours.” Schirmer met with iHeartRadio to tour the PRG facility and the innovative rehearsal space. The Starwood is located within a 155,000-square-foot PRG facility that houses tons of production equipment.
“Because Starwood is attached to PRG Nashville’s Super Depot, we have the gear you need on-site and the technicians to help advise you on anything your production may need for tour,” Randy Hutson, SVP of PRG's Music Group, noted in a statement to iHeartRadio. “We’re also temperature-controlled, making for a comfortable home base for the entire team prior to touring. We understand the need for privacy and have set our studio up in a way that ensures a secure and discreet experience. Our music group is focused on artist development and ushering in the next generation of industry professionals and touring acts. Starwood allows newer production teams access to PRG’s entire suite of services, expertise and equipment.”
Schirmer spoke about Starwood’s thoughtful design, offering vast space and an intentional blank slate for artists “to create an environment for people that is open to their imagination,” he said. Artists like Ballerini and Shelton (who used the rehearsal venue to create a virtual concert experience during the pandemic) can bring their shows from a visual conception to a true performance with full run-through rehearsals, working out any snags or technical difficulties before reaching their live audiences.
“There’s a lot of programming and a lot of time code that goes into putting these shows together, so that as an artist sings a particular verse, or moves to a particular area, or transitions into a new song, all of the technical elements are following suit,” Schirmer explained. “And so, all of that stuff has to be rehearsed to a great degree so that you can find a successful, and this particular space allows for that to be easily obtained by the artists when they come into the building with their production teams.”
Read the full article at iHeart.com.