Edwin Shirley Trucking : The Rock N Roll Life 

Edwin Shirley Trucking : The Rock N Roll Life 

EST featured in T&L issue 261. Click to read

Specialising in logistics and transportation for music and live entertainment events, Edwin Shirley Trucking (EST) boasts an impressive client roster that reads like a who’s who of the music industry.

“It’s a lifestyle,” enthuses industry veteran Ollie Kite who runs EST, arguably the UK’s biggest name in live music event transportation. The company’s existence is the result of a love of live performance and since the 1970s it has worked with many legendary stars of rock n roll. Indeed, having been established in the 1970s, touring with Bruce Springsteen on his first visit to the UK in 1975, EST will once again join the American to provide transportation for the UK and European legs of his world tour in 2024. 

It’s more than simply understanding the industry, says Ollie, who has been involved with EST almost since its inception. It is about living it. Still as enthusiastic, now 71, he has no plan to retire. It’s an affection that is shared by everyone within EST, from its drivers to the workshop and the office staff. 

“We’re a transportation company that runs trucks but we’re very different from a typical haulage company. We run to strict schedules which may be over six or eight weeks in duration. The drivers are professional, well-trained, and experienced. But they also have a passion for the industry, particularly music and events where we generate much of our business. Many of our drivers are musicians themselves. Everyone within the company is passionate about the events business; we love what we do. For us, it’s a lifestyle. That’s why we’re good at it. Why we’ve been able to establish and maintain such a strong reputation that has seen us work with some of the world’s biggest music stars for decades.”

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the firm that Edwin Shirley, Roy Lamb and Del Roll started in 1974 as Edwin Shirley Trucking Ltd. It holds the distinction of being Europe’s first dedicated rock transportation company. The firm’s iconic yellow and purple trucks have become synonymous with major events across Europe, supporting a diverse array of artists. From legendary acts such as The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, The Who, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Deep Purple and Bryan Adams, to contemporary stars like The Lumineers, Editors, The Offspring, Norah Jones, and Michael Bublé, EST has been there every step of the way.

While music concerts are its forte, EST has widened its market reach into other types of live events such as theatre productions, comedy tours, conventions, and trade shows. Clients get access to its cohort of professional drivers, its fleet of modern Euro 6 DAF trucks, and 31’, 45’, and 52’ low-ride, straight-frame trailers. from, mainly, Lawrence David. 

In 2011, the company became part of the Transam Trucking family, creating an industry behemoth operating across the UK and continental Europe. Together, the individual brands operate a fleet of around 140 trucks today, of which 40 boast the iconic EST logo and colours. It has invested in a new yard and workshop in Eye, Suffolk. This has helped it optimise operations. Trucks can be out for weeks at a time. The workshop and yard have streamlined maintenance operations where servicing can be carried out on the trucks as and when required in a timely and efficient manner.

Recent additions to the fleet include brand-new DAF XG’s. The company has had an affiliation with the HGV manufacturer for over three decades. It began because of DAF’s unrivalled breakdown and recovery service. It has continued because of the trucks’ continued reliability, and the strength of DAF’s fleet support. It’s no surprise that, within the live event transportation industry, DAF is the most popular truck to use. 

The trucks have also enabled EST to run its fleet as efficiently as possible. All vehicles are Euro 6 and each can operate on HVO fuel. While the company has made gains in reducing its carbon emissions, it would like to leverage HVO more. However, with infrastructure limitations, it’s currently not possible to do so. 

For EST, the future is bright. Having weathered the storm caused by Brexit – which saw the company having to invest significant amounts of money in new bases in Ireland and the Netherlands – it is keen to build upon exciting new opportunities with clients outside music. That said, its lifeblood is still in rock n roll where it will continue to work with the industry’s best-known artists as well as its emerging stars. 

Transport & Logistics – Driving the Industry Forward

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