Elton John World banner

Elton John World News: Behind The Scenes of The Inverness Show

Behind The Scenes of The Inverness Show-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday 13 July 2007 @ 15:40 - GMT

 A military-style operation costing hundreds of thousands of pounds stepped up a gear yesterday to prepare for the biggest concert ever staged in the city of Inverness.

Sir Eltons production team rolled up their sleeves to turn Tulloch Caledonian Thistle stadium into a venue for its largest-ever crowd.

Between 60 and 70 people arrived on site this week including many local labourers, according to the Courier.

That number will swell to around 100 people today, and then to between 120 and 130 on Sunday when the luminary's own management and promotions team arrive.

The stage itself will take round three-and-a-half days to build and will include two large towers and television screens, positioned at either side of the roofed stage.

One day has also been spent laying protective flooring and 12,000 seats, which have been driven up from the south of England after being used at last weekends British Grand Prix in Silverstone.

A production village, surrounded by fencing, has been created in the north car park of the stadium for the crew which includes temporary offices, a restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as dressing rooms for the stars.

Around 17,500 tickets have already been sold for the concert, which marks the final leg of Eltons tour and the start of InvernessFest, a two-week festival of culture.

A few hundred tickets released last week are still available although organisers are expecting these to sell out before Sunday.

Site co-ordinator Mick Kluczynski, who owns MJK Productions and is in charge of site management at Eltons outdoor events, said preparations were going to plan although last-minute improvements had to be made by the club to its north car park, which contains the production village, because the ground had been chewed up during a recent horse show.

''It is like a military operation. In fact it is better than that they would leave a mess behind!'' he joked.

''We are putting an extra 10,000 seats on the pitch which means that immediately, all facilities are in the wrong place. We have to add hundreds of toilets outside the stands and catering.''

The headliner is due off stage at the SECC in Glasgow around 9.30 p.m. on Saturday. His team will then pack his equipment, which will take around five hours, and then travel to Inverness, stealing a few hours of sleep if possible, where they will set up and begin sound checks, ready for doors opening at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Ben Martin of event promoters Marshall Arts said concertgoers would not be disappointed.

''He is an international superstar who has performed around the world for over four decades and has sold several million albums,'' he pointed out.

His fans can expect two hours of his greatest hits from the time he steps on that stage until the time he leaves, people will be dancing and singing.

Welsh band The Storys will go on stage at 6 p.m., followed by Elton, who is due on around 7.15 p.m.

Food and drink will be available throughout from catering vans at both sides of the stadium.

It is thought that Elton will fly by private jet to Inverness Airport a couple of hours before the concert and leave straight afterwards.

An after-show party will be held in a marquee near the south stand with entertainment provided by the Farr-based Drum Circles band Happyness.

Parking at the stadium will be limited to disabled people and VIP guests, and there will be no public transport to the door.

There will also be a one-way flow of traffic along Stadium Road from the Longman roundabout to the junction at Longman Drive.

''When you have a large-scale event and potentially thousands more vehicles coming into the city there is the potential for delays,'' said Inverness Area Commander, Superintendent David OConnor. ''It looks like it is going to be a showcase event for the Highlands.''

He added that attendees would be encouraged to enjoy themselves, yet also be ''responsible.''