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Don’t Ignore The Rider

A True Story:  David Lee Roth of the iconic rock band Van Halen had a rider which asked for “No Brown M&M’s” … Why?  Because he was testing the person in charge of providing the rider to see if they actually read it thoroughly and did their job correctly.  If there were Brown M&M’s in the bowl, chances are the person in charge of providing the rider missed some of the more important things.

Live Music Entertainment companies always have a list of Basic Rider Requirements on their contract.  What is a Rider?  It is a list of basic Provisions / NEEDS that must be provided in order for the performance and production to run smoothly with no hiccups.  When the client signs that contract for a Live Corporate Band they have agreed to provide the Live Entertainment with all their needs.  The list is then given to the event coordinator whose job it is to be sure that these needs are met … whether by the venue or an outside source.

Band Managers and Event Planners have 2 of the biggest jobs in putting an event together.  Both are managing many people and moving parts in order to produce a great end result.  Working with each other has to be a smooth effortless dance to achieve the most important goal:  A Happy Client and An Amazing Event.

When the Rider is ignored, many problems can occur.  You can bet on that!  So DON’T IGNORE THE RIDER!  The client signed the contract and ignoring parts of that contract will put the client in breach of that contract and nobody wants that.

Today we are going to walk you through a BASIC RIDER step by step and the importance of each NEED.

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Power Drop: a Minimum of four (4) 20 amp circuits

FOUR  20-Amp Circuits … No LESS!  It’s necessary to have enough power to run all the equipment to prevent any power outages and destruction of equipment.  It is the responsibility of the venue / planner to provide a power drop near the stage by any means necessary. Even if you have to bring in an outside AV/Production company.  Musicians are not electricians.

How you distribute power and the configuration of your equipment into said power is important for all the gear to function properly. We’ve worked and consulted with some of the top sound engineers in the business who know and understand how much power is needed for a live corporate band of a significant size.

Bands / Sound Companies are usually running Subwoofers, Speakers, Monitors, Mixing Board, Amplifiers, Keyboards, Pedal Boards … And the drummer’s Drink Fridge … ha ha!  You want separation of power to avoid interference.  You don’t want amps interfering with house sound.

For more nerdy info on watts, voltage, and amps and the conversions, here are some links for you:  Sound on Sound & B and H

Drummer Alex Van Halen's Drink Refrigerator in the shape of a bass drum

Staging: A stable stage = A great performance!

Safety first!  A performer needs to perform without having to worry about twisting an ankle and falling onto the drum set.  A sturdy, level, secure stage with no gaps in the panels make for a safe performance!  Protecting the gear:  When the singer jumps up and down at the front of the stage it shouldn’t affect the stability of the instruments and amps at the back of the stage.  An unstable stage will cause the tube amps to crackle or even blow a fuse.  When performers feel safe in their environment they will put on an amazing show. Sturdy Level Gapless Stage Please!!!

Design your stage too!  You’ve spent all this time designing the room beautifully.  How about throwing some sweet looking rugs on the stage for your live corporate band?  Just a thought.

Lighting:  If you can’t see us, are we really there?

Could you imagine your favorite band playing a concert with no lights?  No!  You must light the band for your client’s event. You are short-changing the event when you cut corners on lighting.  Lighting design is just as important as all the other design elements. Perhaps even the most important of all.  Whatever you shine light on, you will be drawing attention to.  If you light the bar, people will go to the bar.  If you light the band, people will dance more.  The band will have more of a connection and a stronger communication with party guests.  Light everything!  Pin spot and up light the heck out of your room … and don’t forget to highlight the band.

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Break Room (Green Room):  A place to rest between sets

Musicians have a super physical job.  From Loading the car, driving, unloading the car, setting up all the gear for sound check.  They have put in a days work before the performance.  Whether at a wedding or corporate event, they need a place to freshen up and to relax before putting on a show.  A small space with a mirror, a garment rack, table/chairs, hot meals w/protein, water and soft drinks.  They are not asking for the moon and the stars here.  Just for a few necessities.  Feed them before the event, so they don’t have indigestion while performing.  Also, if you feed them before they event, they will be on stage longer and you’ll get more bang for your buck.   Give them a place to go and rest their ears and bodies for a few minutes before they get back on stage and continue to give their heart and soul.  By they way, most entertainers are cool with sharing the break space with other vendors too!  The break room is for the the whole TEAM.

Parking validations for band and crew

Simple … Pay for their parking.

Protection from the Elements

If the event is outdoors, the performers will need to be protected from heat / sun and the cold. If it’s bloody hot out there, please provide shade over the stage and some cold water to drink.  If it’s cold out, please have some heaters on the stage so that the instrumentalist can feel their fingers and can play their instruments … along with some hot tea.

Travel Rider … On the road again.

Flights, Hotel, Per Diem, Gas Reimbursement.  If the gig is outside of Los Angeles, OC, Santa Barbara, San Diego, a travel rider will be added to the contract.  For the sake of this blog today, we wanted to give you an example of a Basic Rider for a local gig.

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