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Updated Jan 2016

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Heavy Metal Holocaust,

Port Vale Football
Stadium, Stoke on Trent.



Ozzy Osbourne

Mahogany Rush





Photogallery : Stage Construction

The Stage under construction © Alan Johnson

The early stages of the stage roof being assembled © Alan Johnson


Early construction of the stage itself © Alan Johnson


Please find attached some photos from the port vale gig, I and my mates worked as stage hands or 'humpers' as we were known in the business, at the local gig venue in Stoke on trent, (Victoria Hall) at the time of the port vale gig, and were asked if we would like to work on the heavy metal holocaust, or course we said yes, this was our first major outdoor gig, and turned out to be a stepping stone to other gigs and festivals, we ended up working on gigs all over the country as a result of this gig, I worked as a stage hand for about 10 years, from 1979 until around 1990, chances are, if they toured in the 80s, I probably worked on one of their gigs, the highlight, for me, being Pink Floyd at Maine road Manchester, photos unfortunately.

Skinning up ! © Alan Johnson


Skinning up ! © Alan Johnson

Motorheads bomber assembled on the stage and waiting for the lighting to be rigged © Alan Johnson


Almost complete © Alan Johnson

Motorhead's sound check © Alan Johnson


Motorhead still checking ! © Alan Johnson

The end result, which makes it all worth the effort ! © Alan Johnson

Q: How do to deafen 20,000 people in one fell swoop ? A: Build a PA the size of this bastard .......© Alan Johnson

The building of the stage took us almost 3 weeks, and towards the end due to problems with the weather (we had some serious rainfall) we were lagging far behind, and as a result ended up working for up to 18 hours, and even 20 hours a day at one point, in order to get the stage finished in time.The actual stage roof itself was a brand new design and had never been assembled ( other than when manufactured) before, so we ran into several problems which caused us to fall behind, that particular design of stage went on to be used all over the world at many concerts, but port vale was the first time it was used 'in anger')

I know that by show day we were exhausted, luckily for us we didn't have to 'hump' all the band gear and PA, this time, as they brought in another crew to do this, giving us most of show day off, allowing us to just sit back and enjoy the show, but as soon as the last band left the stage, we were right back to work, as the band gear and PA was cleared WE began to strip down the stage, working until around 4 am, when we were allowed home but had to be back by 9am to continue the strip down, tearing it all down is far faster than putting it up, and after only 3 days the groundsman was very pleased to have his precious pitch back.
Hope this is of some use to you, all the best,
A Johnson (Johntoe)

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