FROM WERCHTER When, in the early summer of 1979, Hedwig De Meyer and some kindred spirits set about crafting Rock Werchter’s first open-air stage, nobody thought that 10 years later it would lead them to Australia and New Zealand to build the stage for Pink Floyd. Hedwig recalls: “There was no plan, never has been. I had a distant dream about doing something with music to earn a living, but above all we wanted to organise a decent festival, so we’d be able to do it again the next year.” It was this same spirit that made Hedwig De Meyer and Herman Schueremans put Rock Werchter on the world map. The festival would become widely known and serve as an important launching platform for future big names such as Simple Minds, Dire Straits or U2. And following in its wake was the stage. Things began to get serious when the festival’s commercial activities – including the staging activities – were placed under one company: Stageco Ltd.
Hedwig developed a standard of service that is still unrivalled. He not only designed, developed and built stages, he also improved techniques and introduced new concepts, meeting the demands of artists and designers who want to go bigger, better and be more spectacular. The world looked on in agreement. Last but not least, Hedwig and his co-workers succeeded in making the mammoth stage easily transportable, making it possible to tour the world on a tight schedule, and guaranteeing the possibility of a show every three days. Consequently, live concerts turned into money-makers, and new boundaries were pushed each time. TO THE WORLD Stageco rode through the ‘90s on these waves with projects for the biggest bands on all continents. Stageco became a reference point, a standard. The company struggled through storms as well calmer periods. It forged strong bonds with the best stage designers and production managers, whilst at the service of rock’n’roll. “In the end, it is the band, nothing but the band.” At the start of the 21st century, when the live business went through a transformation, Hedwig managed to take up these new trends and standards, as Stageco targeted new sectors such as fashion, dance and corporate events.
UNIQUE BOOK Writer Geert Vandenbon reconstructed Stageco’s history, ploughed through an immense archive of images and spoke to dozens of co-workers, clients and relations. And of course he spoke – at length – with founder Hedwig De Meyer, who is up to this day Stageco’s leader and inspiration. The book dwells on the people who wrote Stageco’s history, from its ‘70s origins to the projects of today. Attention is paid to the different episodes in time, major projects and turning points in Stageco’s evolution, as well as how the company is structured and the creative process that accompanies the stage constructions. At the heart of the book is a review of the history of stage building and the role Stageco has played throughout the journey. INFO: Large format: 305mm x 240mm, hardback, 336 pages. Containing over 400 unique photos, mostly from Stageco’s own archive..


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