Becoming a famous singer is not always the dream. For some, being a tech for a touring band is as satisfying as being on stage. Roadies, informally called, are every personnel who help set up and maintain equipment for bands or artists that are doing concerts and tours.
Why be a roadie? For one, it pays the bills. Two, you get to have the rock star lifestyle without becoming one. Three, you get to work with your idols, and hopefully you don’t get disappointed with their attitudes. Not to encourage alcoholism, drugs, and partying, but these things are common in the touring scene since 1970s, so expect some wild encounters from time to time.
Though you get to party at times, there’s a high level of professionalism being observed when at work, since all the technical details should be spot-on before, during, and after a concert. Usually, the performers will only go to the venue just before they start, but roadies will be there hours, or even days, before the event to set up everything—sound check, lights, equipment, among others. It’s usually the production manager who makes sure that everything is in place, and they closely work together with the tour manager, who mainly handles bookings, finances, logistics, and scheduling.
Working on the road has its downsides as well. It can get lonely sometimes when you go on a tour and you have to leave your family behind for how many months. Good for you if you are single and independent, which is not everyone’s case. Traveling on land, air, and sea, hauling heavy equipment, and sleeping in cramped spaces—working in this line of business will eventually put a toll on your body, and that is why only a few people pursue it as a long career. In fact, being a roadie is contractual, and if you don’t make connections, you will be unemployed for some months.
To put it simply, being a roadie is fun. You get to create your own family with the people you work with, you travel to places you never been to, and you get to work with different kinds of people. There’s a lot of stories you can tell others and you learn new skills when you work as a roadie. But in every job, there will always be atrocities that you’ll have to deal with. What’s important is that you enjoy what you are doing, you take breaks when you need to, and you’re doing your job for the right reasons.