Managing Partner: How Sara Full Helped Tour Manage The Lumineers To Stadiums
When Pollstar caught up with Sara Full, The Lumineers’ estimable tour manager, a few days after the group’s four-month “Brightside World Tour” wrapped, she was at a mountain house re-grouping. While the run may have been more gratifying than any other previous tour, especially with two major stadium plays, it wasn’t a cake walk. Here, Full discusses the ins and outs of the tour, including the trek’s most gratifying moment, as well as her experience with the Stones and AC/DC.
Pollstar: How are you doing now that The Lumineers’ tour is over?
Sara Full: Pretty well, just a little, R&R and email triage after a long tour. The run started May 12 in Jacksonville and ended Sept. 3 at Wrigley Field. I’m now at a mountain house just getting away from it all. I know a lot of folks are eager to get home as quickly as possible, but I usually try and have an in between stop-over where you don’t have to worry about the mail and what happened to the corner of the garage while you were gone. I’ve found that it makes it more manageable and happier to be a little kind to yourself for a couple days and then ease back into things.
How long have you been a tour manager?
I started tour managing in 2007 with friends when I was in college. I started working with The Lumineers in 2013 doing production and became the tour manager 2016.
Have you worked on previous stadium shows?
I did a few tours with The Rolling Stones and AC/DC. I was a production coordinator, in charge of getting the crew from place to place, transportation and logistics.
That must have been an education.
Absolutely. I got to learn from so many smart people and see how they handled it. Most of the years they were the No. 1 Tour on Pollstar. It was absolutely an experience seeing how the very biggest and best bands and operations in this business are managed. It was like graduate school in touring.
What were the first shows you did with The Lumineers?
When I started they’d just been nominated for a couple Grammys and did “Saturday Night Live.” They did House of Blues in Boston.
What’s it been like moving up the venue ladder?
It’s been a step-by-step process. I feel very lucky because Wesley and Jeremiah are really hard workers focused on how to make the shows great and a memorable experience. That goes from 1,000 people to 10,000 to 40,000. It’s a very different challenge making that engaging and impactful for all those people. They’re willing to experiment and try different things. It kind of feels like a nine-year experiment together on figuring things that make the Lumineers shows and translating that for fans.
The production was really impressive with the catwalk and how they interact with the audience.
It stems from their earliest shows when they were busking or playing open mics. They would go into the crowd and play songs to get people’s attention. When I started in 2013, the venues were small enough that they’d go in the middle of the crowd and get the crowd singing and involved. Obviously at Wrigley Field you can’t sing acoustically in the crowd, but it was an element that Wesley and I talked about when we were designing the show.
At the same time, there’s big production packing a powerful punch.
Something Wesley’s brought up many times when we’re designing shows, whether it’s the visuals or talking through a set list, he always wants there to be as many “moments” as possible. A moment is where somebody in the crowd is going to leave and say, “That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” or “I couldn’t believe that video” or “they performed out on the catwalk.”
How much did your team expand when you went to stadiums?
We added around 24 people and like five or six additional trucks. We’d be looking at about 80 Lumineers crew members, with drivers over 100.
What was your most gratifying moment?
When they finished their last song at Wrigley Field and everything had gone more or less according to plan. I could see the smiles on everyone’s faces in the band and everyone in the crowd. That show was the culmination of so many things.
When Stars Align: The Lumineers Step Up To Stadiums