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Certified Rigging Engineers and Technicians for Festivals.

Andy Robertson

The music festival sector relies on an enormous support industry of companies and experts to make events happen. One of the most specialised and essential roles is that of the rigging professional responsible for the safe installation and use of stage and light rigging used at every music festival.


In the UK there are a number of professional organisations that represent people working in the event and entertainment industries who are responsible for the supply of support technologies and services. These organisations provide training and certification for those that need them to operate safely. For the events industry the primary support body for riggers is the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (PLASA).

What is PLASA. 
PLASA was formed in 1983 and emerged from the British Association of Discothèque Equipment Manufacturers (BADEM), which dates back to 1976. PLASA exists to fully represent its members by highlighting best practice and safe working conditions and provide advisory and support services across business, technical, safety and regulatory issues. In addition, they run events and training courses with three industry-recognised certification and training programs for riggers and production technicians. PLASA members get access to a knowledgebase that includes rigging guidelines, health and safety, technical articles and other industry specific resources.

Qualifications and Certification. 
To work with the rigging used at music festivals individuals in the UK will normally obtain a National Rigging Certificate (NRC). There are two key levels of assessment, Level 2 is certification for riggers who work without direct supervision. NRC Level 3 is certification for Rigging Supervisors who can supervise other riggers. These are assessments only and not training courses. Any rigging supply company will usually insist that their riggers obtain these certifications and renew them on a regular basis. PLASA also facilitate a Trainee Rigger Scheme which is aimed at those just starting out with a career in rigging. It requires mandatory health and safety course attendance followed by a period of record keeping of work completed. Trainees keep a log book detailing the specific rigging tasks they are expected to build experience in. Trainee’s undertake work experience against these tasks, working alongside NRC qualified riggers who can sign-off experience in the trainee’s log book. Trainees work towards obtaining their NRC Level 2 assessment.

Anyone interested in pursuing a career in rigging will need to find a company that are willing to recruit apprentices or trainees and support them through to obtaining the appropriate NRC qualifications. Festival organisers may wish to insist that their rigging contractors demonstrate that those working on-site have the required NRC qualifications. This gives organisers peace on mind that all on-site rigging has been installed to the safety standards expected in this industry.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by
Joe Ambrogio via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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