The tour’s production company Major Tom Limited purchased the hoists to lift the entire lighting, sound and AV system. In total, LTM supplied 68 1t and 36 2t LoadGuard motors, all of which run at 4m a minute.

Sheeran’s album Divide became the third-fastest selling album in UK chart history when it was released earlier this year. The tour began in the UK, and will move to the Americas in November, followed by Australia in March 2018.

The fan-shaped mothergrid, designed by Jeremy Lloyd of Wonder Works, is lifted by 30 2t LoadGuard hoists. 50 1t motors are rigged within the mothergrid, which fly the lighting trusses and AV screens, including four moving lighting pods which drop down during the show.

Riggers Seth Cook and Omar Franchi are overseeing hanging the production at each venue.

“The initial brief from our production manager Chris Marsh was a touring system that can be rigged and derigged very quickly,” says Cook.  “This is what we have achieved: on the load out, 45 minutes after the grid lands on the ground, the truck doors are closed. We have 55 motors in the grid but just 30 lifting it, which cuts rigging time down by half.  The LoadGuards have proved really robust, we weren’t sure they would cope with travelling them in situ but we needn’t have worried.

“Of course, the great benefit of using a mothergrid means that the lighting and AV points remain identical; for a show of this complexity this sort of consistency is vital. Once hung, the mothergrid is taken to height using tape measures to trim and is balanced on the load cells before lighting and video start work.  The 1t motors have encoders and they hang the complex lighting trusses and AV fixtures. Once they are done the rig is close to 38t.

“That doesn’t include the sound of course. For the audio arrays—four hangs each for left and right—we use two 2t and eight 1t hoists a side. The whole system works extremely well; it really is the only way to rig a show like this.

“Almost all the motors are hung inside the grid body in an upright position with the chain hanging straight down but for the front Crown video and lighting units another solution was required.

“Because these units were designed to cover the grid itself in show position, we needed lift above the top chord of the grid. This was achieved by installing the motors’ body down in the grid and running the chains over a cantilever arm through a pulley system. The lifting point is 600mm from the downstage edge of the truss. It’s testament to the build quality of the hoists that this has been realised without any issues. Altogether, we have a great system; I wouldn’t change anything. The single fall 2t design just makes sense, no potential for twisted chain or spun hooks—why did we ever do anything different?”