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Slewing bearings used in stage production for Kylie Minogue's Glastonbury stage set

R. A. Rodriguez Turntable Bearings Keep Kylie Spinning Around

R.A. Rodriguez (U.K.) Limited has supplied large, high-quality turntable bearings for periaktoi used by Kylie Minogue as part of her headline performance on the Pyramid Stage at the recent world-famous Glastonbury Festival. Periaktoi are devices used for displaying different theatrical effects as they rotate. At Glastonbury, Kylie stood in the centre of one periaktos as the big ‘reveal’ at the start of her set. As a result, there was no margin for error when it came to the turntable bearing, although selecting R.A. Rodriguez as the supplier ensured everything went to plan.

The Next Stage is a Bedfordshire-based specialist in the provision of bespoke staging products for the live events industry. With a combined total of over 100 years of industry experience, the company’s employees are equipped with in-depth knowledge.

In recent years, staff at The Next Stage have watched the industry change and worked hard to keep up with set designers as they continue to push boundaries by creating more innovative, immersive and exciting live experiences. So, when a new customer specialising in live events management contacted The Next Stage to help with a short lead-time project, the company had to act fast.

“We were given an artist’s impression of the periaktoi with some rough dimensions – enough for us to work with,” explains Luke Johnson, Director at The Next Stage. “In short, they had a concept of the show and asked us to design and build a prototype against a tight lead time.”

The periaktoi were to feature triangular towers that spin on a turntable bearing. In essence, the idea was that a gold mirror on the outside of the back frame would slowly turn out of sight to reveal Kylie as she stood on the inside at the start of the set, while a disco ball effect on the interior edge would add to the visually stunning effect.

“We’ve been a customer of R.A. Rodriguez for around a year now, so they were our obvious first port of call for the turntable bearings,” explains Mr Johnson. “In fact, R.A. Rodriguez supplied us with a turntable bearing last August, which worked very well for a project being progressed at the time.”

For Kylie’s prototype periaktos the turntable bearing would need to be much larger. Indeed, at 850 mm diameter, The Next Stage wanted the largest such bearing available.

“R.A. Rodriguez specified the turntable bearing according to our requirements and delivered it in just seven days, which was ideal for the project,” says Mr Johnson. “It allowed us to finish the prototype build on time, after which it was signed off by the customer and we could proceed to production build.”

With four periaktoi planned for Kylie’s Glastonbury stage set, each periaktos housed its own KDL.U.0744.00.10 turntable bearing from R.A. Rodriguez.

KDL bearings are made from high-grade carbon steel or stainless steel, and shipped pre-lubricated ready for use. All KDL bearings are of a proven, four-point contact design, which allows them to support axial, radial and tilting moment loads. The bearings consist of a single row of balls with a ‘gothic arch’ raceway, and either spacer or spacer balls to ensure smooth running, or one-piece separators for low frictional torque.

“The client was very happy with the end result,” concludes Mr Johnson. “This praise justified the confidence we had in R.A. Rodriguez from the start, both in their ability to deliver quickly and the quality of product specified. In the end, Kylie used the periaktoi for all of her UK shows in the summer of 2019, including the Brighton Pride Festival in August.”


Images credit Nick Sheperdson

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