For the best part of 10 years, Mountain Productions has been working in collaboration with Ultimate Music Cruises to bring 70,000 Tons of Metal, the World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise to life. This project, designed for Royal Caribbean’s Independent of the Seas, features over 60 live bands who perform at the Port of Fort Lauderdale over a 24-hour period.

70,000 Tons of Metal is both an amazing project and extremely tedious project from beginning to end. Our internal engineering staff works to ensure the highest level of safety for a show at sea along with calculating the most efficient structural format in the restricted confines of a cruise ship.

Following pre-production, the first priority load in is to ensure a clean customs process. With seven 53’ trailers filled with an abundance of equipment, it is vital that the serial numbers and trailer numbers match up. If a single number is missing, that item will not pass customs and that is simply not an option.

Once all of the trailers have successfully passed customs, the crew must ensure that they are being unloaded in the correct order. The main reason for this being that some material must be used first in the set-up process. For example, the plywood, which is used to protect the ships flooring must be the first item to be picked by the crane. If this is not the case, the whole project could be compromised.

The most challenging aspect of the project is the tight timeframe in which the structure must be built. The project requires a team of 24 MTN crew members along with 60 hands provided by the client.  The teams are restricted to a 30-hour window to ensure the structure is built. Load-in begins at 7:00am on the Thursday, however all equipment must first pass through the customs process. Following this, the crew can begin to use the crane to put the structure together. However, if there is bad weather, the crane cannot be used so every minute counts. With the show expected to start at 9:00am the following day there is no room for delays and the load in must be managed according to the methodical plan put in place by our teams.

The total production includes four different stages in four different theatres. With all equipment located on the pool deck, the crew must then set out moving the 300 pieces of 4’x8’ decking as well as trusses and bases to their required locations. This is a lengthy process as everything must be carried by hand to ensure the safety of the ships deck.

With the extremely short build time provided for this highly complex project, Mountain Productions have successfully delivered a fantastic user experience year on year for those aboard Royal Caribbean’s Independent of the Seas.