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How Becoming a Roadie Works


Duties of a Roadie
Other than setting up equipment, roadies may help place set lists such as this one by Jada Pinkett Smith's band, Wicked Wisdom.
Other than setting up equipment, roadies may help place set lists such as this one by Jada Pinkett Smith's band, Wicked Wisdom.
© Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

So you've made it in becoming a roadie -- you're on the road with a touring band or show. You have your job and specialty -- be it lights, sound, security, et cetera -- but you may be surprised to learn there's more to the job than that.

Roadies typically have many other duties aside from the one in which they focus. One of the prime roadie duties is being a member of a team and doing whatever it takes to make the show successful. This can mean pitching in for other areas that might be struggling. It also means keeping a sense of humor in the face of crisis. You'll also need to polish those communication and people skills, as the hard work and long road can fray nerves and exhaust your reserves.

As a member of the crew, you'll be representing the artists and production company for whom you work. This means you'll be an ambassador, with your attitude and professionalism scrutinized by both the public and the other business interests with whom you interact.

Often times, roadies are the mediators between the artists and others, such as the venue owners and operators. It's the roadie's job to balance the needs and artistic vision of his employer with that of the public and venue. While the artists, for example, might want a 30-foot column of flame to launch during a certain song, the roadie must work with the venue to ensure the safety and feasibility of such an effect. It may fall to the roadie to explain why some things cannot be done.

Learning how to become a roadie, in short, can't always be taught in a classroom. Becoming a roadie and executing the duties of a roadie come with experience and maturity. Roadies have to keep their wits about them so others can have a good time.

For lots more information about roadies and related topics, check out the links on the next page.