Pres-registration for the New World Rigging Symposium is closed. You may register on-site on Tuesday March 13, 8am, in Grand Salon room (first floor) of the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina, 1881 SE 17th St. Causeway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316.


The New World Rigging Symposium presented by ESTA and

USITT will take place March 13-14, 2018 in conjunction with

the USITT Conference and Stage Expo 2018 in Ft. Lauderdale,

FL. In these ten sessions participants will be given the

opportunity to further their technical knowledge, keep up to

date with codes and standards, and learn what it’s like to

work as a rigger in other segments of the entertainment

industry. Attendees will also hear from experts in related

fields. Full session descriptions can be found here.


Sponsoring New World Rigging Symposium are Stage Rigging, platinum sponsor; PSAV, AV sponsor; J.R. Clancy and ETC, gold sponsors; Kish Rigging, Inc.; silver sponsor, and H&H SpecialtiesMotionLabs, The Light Source, and Sapsis Rigging, bronze sponsors


Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina

1881 SE 17th St. Causeway

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316





Tuesday, March 13, 2018



  • Keynote Address
    To many, Scott Fisher is the father of the modern-day automation industry. His winch system designs are in use in hundreds of venues around the world and the Navigator control system is nothing short of the industry standard. Scott will provide a backstage peek at some of the iconic effects he’s designed and, hopefully, will tell us what it’s like to race motorcycles.

  • Show Rigging on Cruise Ships.  Big ideas.  Tiny venues.
    Bob Murphy, Paul Riley, Loren Schreiber
    Rigging a show on a cruise ship comes with special and unique sets of problems. Fighting gravity is hard enough on land, but doing so in a confined space on a ship pitching about on the ocean can be extremely challenging. But that doesn’t stop show designers from attempting a wide range of effects;  performer flying, aerialist acts and fast-paced scenery moves are all part of the action. The panel will discuss the design and installation of the specialized rigging equipment that helps make magic happen on the high seas.

  • Ground Support Concert Rigs
    Mike Garl, Jeff Reder, Jose Roche, Will Todd
    A lot has happened since the Indiana State Fair concert rig collapse in 2011.  The panel will discuss new technologies, procedures and policies that help the industry avoid a repeat of that disaster.

  • ANSI Standards and ICOPER.  Paperwork that’s actually useful.
    Tiny Good, Karl Ruling, Bill Sapsis
    American industry relies on national standards to set the tone for workplace efficiency and safety. The entertainment industry, through ESTA’s Technical Standards Program, have developed a number of ANSI Standards related to rigging to help us do our jobs better and more safely. What can happen if you don’t follow them.

  • OSHA, Risk Assessments and Rigging Emergency Action Plans
     Steve Adelman, Tony Galuppi, Eddie Raymond
    A panel will discuss the assessment of rigging risk exposures, means to eliminate or reduce those risks, and the development of emergency action plans to respond to the emergencies such risks might create. The panel will cite OSHA regulations regarding those obligations.

  • Damn it, Jim.   I’m a chain hoist, not a winch.
    Rick Montgomery, Eric Rouse, Ken Tilson
    The workhorse of the industry is often misused and abused. Industry experts will talk about the right and wrong ways to use chain hoists and how riggers don’t always follow the rules.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018


  • Automation and Touring.  Because we can.
    Joe McGeough, Bob Powers, Jim Shumway
    If there is a constant in the touring world these days, it’s automation.  If there’s a show on tour it’s a safe bet that something, or someone, is going to fly.  Concert goers now expect a lot more from a show than flashy lights and a video screen.  From the Rolling Stones, Katie Perry and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the touring rig aims to meet that ever-growing expectation.  But at what cost?  Just how difficult, and expensive, is it to tour a sophisticated automation rig on a national or international tour?  The panel will provide insights into the questions everyone should ask before contemplating a touring show.

  • Structural Engineering.  For when guessing just won’t do.
    Bill Gorlin, Michael Nishball, Miriam Paschetto
    21st-century rigging effects would not be possible without the help of a structural engineer.  The size and weight of flown scenery, coupled with the speed that it moves, create some astonishing forces that mere mortals cannot comprehend.   A panel of professional engineers who specialize in entertainment rigging will provide some insights into how they do that voodoo they do so well. From the smallest pipe grid to the 100t+ rigs touring the country, the panel will attempt to demystify the process of making sure that which we hang doesn’t pull the building down.

  • Training, Certification, and Liability.  It’s a good start.
    Pete Donovan, Eddie Raymond, Drew Wending
    The panel will discuss the present status of available rigging training, the effect that the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) has had on the demand and opportunity for training. There will be an overview of the ETCP development and maintenance process and the issue of individual liability will also be addressed.

  • Young Riggers Networking Lunch
    We are inviting the future riggers of the industry to come and meet the professionals. This informal lunch setting will allow seasoned riggers to have a conversation with aspiring riggers about what it means to be in this business. Young riggers can ask questions about how to get their careers off the ground, what types of jobs are available, and what training and experience will help them become professionals.

  • Hot Button Issues
    You will receive a comment card at the beginning of the symposium to direct the conversation for this session. What's keeping you up at night about your work? What is it you’ve always wanted to see done differently? What is it that you've always wanted to see changed but hasn't?


The New World Rigging Symposium will also include multiple opportunities for attendees to network and a special lunch will include young industry members keen to learn from the professionals about how to pursue a career as a rigger.


Registration for the Symposium is now open here. Registration for the two-day symposium, including lunches, is $375 and attendees will receive a free show floor pass to the USITT Stage Expo March 15-17. Attendees wishing to attend the full USITT Conference will receive a discounted price of $675 for both events.


Session Presenters:

Bill Sapsis and Eddie Raymond are working with ESTA to help identify topics and panelists over the next few months and will moderate the New World Rigging Symposium. Both bring a wealth of industry knowledge, experience and contacts to the job. Bill serves as the chair of ESTA’s Technical Standards Program Rigging Working Group and as co-chair of the ETCP Rigging Subject Matter Experts. He has produced three North American Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conferences.

Eddie Raymond is the Vice President of IATSE Local 16 (retired) in San Francisco where he headed their acclaimed training program for many years. He is still actively involved in the industry conducting rigging inspections and providing OSHA entertainment safety training around the country. Eddie served as the President of ESTA for six years and as a co-chair of the ETCP Rigging Subject Matter Experts.

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