Whether you work for a company, own your own, or are a freelancer, being any kind of roadie means knowing schedules and trying everything you can think of to stick to them. If you’ve ever had to shuttle bands from one venue to the next, you know things don’t always go according to plan. Here’s a few tips to make sure they do.
Take Care of Yourself
Arguably the most important part of the job is you. With all the traveling, late hours, and party invitations, it can be easy to forget that your job is a physical one and you have to stay healthy. That means applying some thought to what you eat (when you get a chance to) and resting when you’re not working so you can utilize your body as you need to when you’re on the road.
When working, there are a few things to keep in mind so you don’t overexert yourself. Getting tired on the job can disrupt your schedule and possibly invite injury later on. Simple things like being aware of a venue’s layout when laying out cable or maneuvering in the dark, driving with caution even when you’re arriving late to a location, and when picking up cases making sure you know what’s inside before lifting it. If you have to question whether or not you’re strong enough to do it on your own, make sure to make it a team lift.
Let Bands Work
It’s important for everyone to know their role. By letting bands do their thing while you and your team focus on your own duties, you can avoid being sidetracked by talent that can be a little demanding. Make sure everyone’s on the same page before a gig and is willing and ready to do their part. Routine doesn’t have to be broken to fulfill a favor, and you can meet the arranged times and venues when everyone knows what to do.
Develop a Setup/Pack-up Ritual
In addition to knowing what you’re supposed to do, it’s equally important to know when and how to do it. If you and your team develop a ritual for offloading equipment, setting it up, then getting everything (including your band) packed up again, you can limit time spent lingering and looking for missing equipment, tools, and even people. And by knowing how long you take in doing these things can determine the number of venues you’re willing to travel between since your scheduling is more exact. Make sure you have the correct equipment as well. Using containers like Allcases shipping cases can be a lot easier to maneuver than outdated boxes and trunks. Don’t be afraid to make investments in good equipment that will last you and the band for a long time.
Be Professional and Work With Professionals
Time is short, and there are many bands looking for the right people to help them get from show to show. If you don’t want to waste your own time and minimize time spent on the road, it’s best to develop working relationships with bands who operate in the same way. An unprofessional band is one that will waste time, which will cost you yours.
By making sure you protect yourself physically and foster professional attitudes among your team and with your bands, you can increase your effectiveness in transporting and become a better roadie. This not only makes you more professional at what you do, but sets you up to be hired for bigger venues and bigger bands.