How Becoming a Roadie Works

Types of Roadies

Often roadies are responsible for setting up and tearing down a band's equipment.
Often roadies are responsible for setting up and tearing down a band's equipment.
© Joey Foley/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Stop and consider how many things have to go right for a typical rock concert to be successful. Aside from the music on stage, there are a myriad of factors that can decide whether fans enjoy the show and the band makes money. In most cases, the audience isn't even aware of these issues -- unless, of course, something goes wrong.

In each case, roadies have a hand in making sure everything goes right.

Like any good team, roadies play different roles, coordinating each job to ensure a smooth production. That means each roadie must be proficient in his job, whether it involves simple labor or technical prowess.

There are many different types of roadies. Some, for example, specialize in lighting and light shows. Touring bands and other shows often use an array of spotlights, colored lights and lasers to dazzle their audiences and accent their work. Lighting technician roadies must be well versed in electrical apparatus, as well as be in tune with the artists and producers using the lights for effects. In many cases, lighting roadies should be comfortable working high in the air, as many lighting booms must be installed and later disassembled high above the stage at each show.

Down below, set designer roadies set up the look and feel of the stage. Set designers might set up pyrotechnics, such as smoke pods, flash pots and the like. They may assemble risers, cables and harnesses or hydraulic-powered lifts. They also will work with sound technician roadies to place amplifiers, cables, microphones and other items in the correct places. The set designer often works with potentially dangerous items, and therefore must be well trained and alert.

Other roadies might focus on caring for musical instruments. Guitar, piano and drum technicians ensure the artists' tools are ready for action night after night and in city after city. Other roadies assist artists and music producers, making sure they're ready to take the stage a curtain time while others specialize in security or working with the bands' managers.

Now that you have an idea what roadies do, how do you become one? Read on go get some tips on how to become a roadie.