How to Tour 101- stage managers, merchandisers, roadies,techs
The world of a traveling band requires specific jobs and most importantly JOB DESCRIPTIONS. As you pull together a tour support staff, be sure you’re assigning tasks and duties in a specific way. A written job description is an easy way to keep everyone on task and the tour rolling in the proper direction.
While booking agents tell you where to be and publicists let everyone know you’ll be there, the on the ground support staff of tour managers and techs and roadies are indepensible.
A tour manger, as we’ve discussed, advances shows, books rooms, hires vehicles, books flights, and takes care of day to day management of the traveling ensemble. Guitar/drum/equipment techs and stage managers/roadies may also have a place on the bus as members of the tour team.
Some bands travel with merchandisers who set up tables for tee shirts, cds, stickers, etc. A merchandiser may help with load in and then be responsible for his own retail corner. Merchandisers are in charge of the all important mailing list and may walk around with the list at set breaks, adding names and talking up the band to individuals and groups in the audience. It’s his responsiblity to make sure all merch is clean and presented neatly. He is customer service!
A tech is just that. A person with technical expertise in specific instruments. A guitar tech should know how to do a basic set up and change strings and keep instruments clean and in good repair. If an instrument is damaged, she should know who to call for service. Techs also encompass lighting and sound engineers and some bands tour with both or with one person handling both jobs. Roadies are also an essential element in the basic organization of the tour and duties may include setting the stage (placing water and drinks and towels for artists and making sure the stage and backstage areas function efficiently and safely) , running errands and loading in.
Each person on a tour team has duties and obligations that allow the band to be artists and to focus on writing and shows. The tour team is the foundation a band is built upon.