‘Live music has never been more in demand’ – Live Nation’s Rik Weightman

Live Nation Production Director, Rik Weightman shares his passion for the live entertainment sector, after another successful calendar year of business.

When did you first get you start in the music industry?

“I started working for a small recording/rehearsal studio/promoter hub in Plymouth called the Plymouth Music Collective (PMC) back in 2004 after I’d finished my degree. I’d been in several bands across my teens in South Wales and in my early 20s when I moved down to Plymouth.  It was a world I was already very much a part of within the pubs and clubs around the city. However, prospects at the time were limited and I was turned down for a temporary job in a department store a few days prior to being offered the PMC role. I was very lucky indeed!”

You spent several years as a tour manager. What were some of your highlights from this time in your life?

“I remember the first tour I went on was with The Martin Harley Band. We toured around the UK in a small van with the instruments in the boot, playing pubs and clubs and sleeping in people’s spare rooms and floors or random hostels in half-built bunk beds. I loved every minute of it! It was my first introduction to being part of a ‘tour family’. I toured at this level for a couple more years with various other acts, learning the ropes and meeting a load of wonderful people who exist on that circuit. For pure entertainment, I rate those touring days at a highlight. Speak to any stadium roadie and they’ll all remember their first van tour fondly. It’s a rite of passage and an incredible way to meet a whole load of people.”

How did you end up working at Live Nation?

“After leaving Plymouth and moving to London and working as a freelancer. As well as being a tour manager, I had also had a stint as a promoter representative for a local London-based promoter. I got a gig as a stage manager for KOKO in Camden and made a lot of connections with the promoter reps who were coming through the building on their various tours. One of those reps was Bruce Saunders who worked predominantly for Live Nation, who mentioned that they were looking for people and it went from there. I started off doing tiny shows and kept going until it became my predominant source of work. In 2018 I was taken on as a full-time employee.”

What does your role entail?

“My team works alongside promoter reps who are constantly out on the road looking after the club/theatre and arena tours. In addition to supporting those guys, our production department works with touring production teams to ensure their show works within the various indoor venues as well as outdoor stadium shows during the summer. For the stadiums we set up the site, liaise with the riggers and coordinate with local crew to load the shows in and out of the building as well as ensuring the backstage is set up as needed by the artists team. Alongside this we work internally with the other departments to ensure ticket buyers have the best experience of the show possible. It takes an army of people to do this. The reward is a prepared site, production in, and the gates open to the public.”

What are your thoughts looking back on the 2023 season?

“Live music has never been more in demand. We produced a record number of shows over 2022/23 and it doesn’t look like we’ll be slowing down in 2024.”