Roadie Careers

How to become Roadie

What does a Roadie do?

Roadies, sometimes called crew, provide services for touring musical groups. The work can vary depending on the group they work with. Some groups may employ one roadie undertaking a range of duties while others will need a crew of hundreds to undertake specialist work with sophisticated and complex technical equipment. They help set up and pack away after a gig, providing support during the performance.

Their duties include some of the following:

  • lifting and carrying equipment and sets
  • driving, loading and unloading vans, trailers and buses
  • acting as security to safeguard equipment and band members
  • setting up and maintaining sound equipment
  • lighting and stage design
  • rigging up electrical wires
  • setting up video, computers and other media
  • designing and managing pyrotechnics (fireworks) and laser displays
  • tuning instruments
  • maintaining instruments
  • health and safety awareness.
In addition, roadies may be involved in some management or administrative matters like booking plane tickets, arranging backstage passes or counting takings. In some cases they may also be responsible for catering arrangements.

Roadies can work locally for an agency or venue, or tour with a specific band or equipment rental company.

What's the working environment like working as a Roadie?

Roadies work long hours. When on tour they may be required to work seven days a week. The work is very physical and requires heavy lifting. They may also be required to work at heights on electrical cabling and lighting.

The work may be outside or inside and the environment is often noisy. Sometimes venues may be cramped.

When on tour they may be required to live away from home for long periods.

What does it take to become a Roadie?

To work as a roadie in the music industry you will need:

  • an interest in music
  • to be physically fit
  • good communication skills
  • to be creative and practical
  • an interest in technology and electronics
  • the ability to work calmly under pressure
  • the ability to get on with a wide range of people
  • an interest in health and safety issues
  • the ability to interpret diagrams and plans
  • an understanding of the requirements of performers.

Roadie Career Opportunities

Roadies’ employers include pop and rock bands of all descriptions and at all levels. The work is almost always short-term. Typically, a roadie might be taken on for a three-month tour, with no guarantee of further employment at the end of it. Periodical unemployment is quite common.

Vacancies may be advertised on the internet, in local press or in music shops. Roadies might advertise their own services in these places, they may also be able to register with an agency or venue to be notified when work is available.

Prospects exist for roadies to go on to become road managers, then band managers. There are also opportunities to train as sound and lighting engineers by undertaking a college course.

Promotion may be possible by taking additional responsibilities or by supervising small teams. There are opportunities to move into promotions management, stage management, or production management.

There are also opportunities to work abroad.

Roadies can develop skills transferable to careers in radio or televsion.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Roadie that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Production Services Association
PO Box 2709
Tel:01225 332668

BPI Music Education Directory

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland

Prospect House
80-110 New Oxford Street