What is Roadie?
A Roadie is a person who provides services for traveling music groups. The services can be anything from being a pack mule, shifting things, moving things, etc through to a pyrotechnic engineer. A crew can have any number of roadies, from one to hundreds, depending on the groups size and requirements.
What Roadies do?
Roadies do everything that takes place in the background, from moving the artists (talent), through to setting up the entire stage, through to security, medical services, even licensed daycare.
A list of some of the more common services roadies provide is below:
Roadies are what makes a music group's traveling performance happen.
What Roadies Aren't
A Roadie is NOT:
- A road/transport engineer who fixes highways.
- A person (usualy young and female) who hangs out and travels with the band. That would be a Groupie.
- A person that travels or works with a Carnaval. That would be a Carnie.
- An alcholoic beverage
Generaly, roadies are not drunken yobs who lug the bands equipment arround, though sometimes they can be.
Is it rewarding?
Generally, the hours are very hard and grueling, the trips are long, and the pay is low. Depending on the job and experience, pay can range anywhere from minimum wage through to 6 figure salaries. It can be the most difficult time of your life, and it can also (at the same time) be the most rewarding.
How do I become a roadie?
First, do you really want to be a roadie? It is not all fun and games, it is damn hard work. At 5am, when the sky is letting go of more rain than you've seen in a year, the ground is mud up to your ankles, and you are lugging $10,000 worth of equipment that if you drop, will break, and you were up at 2am last night doing the same thing, are you still enjoying yourself? If yes, then read on
The most important attribute of a roadie is not his knowledge or technical skills. It is his people skills, you will be working every day with other people. People who will annoy the heck out of you, but if you loose your nerve, you loose your job.
On the technical side, it's generally pretty simple to start out. Find the area that interets you (lights, sound, pyro, rigging) and learn about it. The local library can do you wonders to begin with.
Find a local theatre group and volunteer to do work there, any work. Sweep the floor, clean the bins, etc.
Learn all you can from anyone and everyone willing to pass some knowledge on to you.
As you progress, you will start moving on to bigger responsibilities. Find a production company that needs some hands to help. Again, learn from everyone and anyone. You will start with very small jobs, but if you work and learn hard, end up working on bigger and bigger jobs.
Hopefully throughout your progress, you will meet many people, including other roadies. If you are talented enough, and work hard enough, you will be asked to join a band on a tour. At that point, you can consider your Roadie career underway.
This node is very light considering that vast topic that being a Roadie encompasses, below are some more links and references that will help you understand, and perhaps become, a roadie.
- Your local theatre group
- Your local production company
- Your local public library.
- The movie "Spinal Tap" (well, maybe)