Pixels, Poles, And A Piano: Building The Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Stage

Once the NFL season kicks off every year, the folks at All Access start thinking about the Super Bowl Halftime Show, as they build the sets as designed by Bruce Rodgers at Tribe Inc. Produced by Roc Nation, this year's show was broadcast live from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11, with an estimated 123.7 million viewers.

“The first halftime drawing went to the floor on December 13, 2023, and we started shipping trucks on the 19th. We built everything halftime related in 37 days,” says Tommy Rose, head of special projects for All Access. They start with the “ground plans that Tribe’s CAD person puts together so they can run it around to all parties for discussions and approvals. Once that’s done, we work off of them and generate our own shop drawings for his approval,” explains All Access president and founder Erik Eastland. As he notes, this year’s set pieces were “pretty straight forward, with three circular stages connected by two ramp/runways. All video floor. LED accent lighting around full perimeter. Band riser was grated surface. We worked with another scenic company who built the throne and the piano. We provide the carts to get them out there.” Challenges includes the dancer poles,they had to be a quick deploy,” says Eastland, who notes that there were also hidden shelves for wedges, smoke machines, etc. 

“The main stage comprised 20 custom rolling field carts: 12 for the central stage, two with integrated acrobat poles on ramps, and four smaller circles for intimate stages at the ramp ends,” says Rose. “The stage design progresses from a five-foot platform near the band risers to a three-foot stage at the smaller circles. Additionally, we included a custom throne cart and six lighting carts. We also utilized multiple transfer carts for executing show moves discreetly.”


All Access stage set up

One of the most demanding tasks this year involved ensuring an impeccably smooth performance surface. “With 20 carts, each adorned with hundreds of video tiles, precision was paramount to ensure seamless alignment. As performers danced, slid, executed head spins, and even roller skated, it became even more crucial to provide a safe and conducive environment for their artistry,” Rose continues. “Another significant challenge we encountered was the inability to rehearse on the grass of the field. Throughout rehearsals, a thick protective layer blanketed the grass beneath, resulting in inconsistent conditions during our test setups. Consequently, the only instance we experienced show-like conditions was during the actual performance. We put systems in place to address any problem areas that might arise when we assembled the stage on the grass for the first time.”

One problem that popped up was quickly resolved: “During the initial stages of our rehearsals, we observed that some pixels were sustaining damage during assembly. Promptly, we convened our team to address the issue and devised a clever modification to our seam alignment method. This innovative adjustment ensured that the tiles remained untouched until the final moments, ultimately salvaging hundreds of pixels from potential harm." Rose adds, “I would really like to give a shout out to the team back at All Access headquarters for all their support.”

Read all of Live Design's exclusive Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halfime Show coverage, including light plots, gear lists, interviews, and a touchdown's worth of technical information.