How can I get a job as a Roadie?
June 1, 2006 10:11 AM   Subscribe

How can I get a summer job as a travelling Roadie?

I need a summer job, I like bands, I want to travel: do you have any advice on getting roadie work?
posted by King_Wang to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The people I know who have done this knew the band that they traveled with. They went to lots of shows, they talked up people at the soundboard, they made themselves useful.

Are there particular bands you're interested in traveling with? Also, what level are you talking about? Are you talking about bands that play at the local pub, or a band that has a major record contract?
posted by alms at 10:28 AM on June 1, 2006 <--- forums and stuff there, and in the past, i've seen job postings there too.
posted by drstein at 10:30 AM on June 1, 2006

For me, the offers only came once I'd already proven my reliability working crap shows (mostly load-in/load-out) in my hometown. If you've never done roadie work, then touring isn't usually the place to start; there's no room for handholding on tour. Working as a local hand is where you pick up the ropes.

Here's a guide from a roadie on how to break into roadie work. Note that most roadie work is technical work -- there isn't room or money to bring along laborers along with the sound, light, backline, guitar, etc. techs, so they're hired locally (and are often permanent unionized staff at the venue). Be sure to read the "local" section of that article, since that's where you'd be starting. Note the "no/low pay" part, because it's important. (Also note the "no travel" part.)

If you are a qualified sound, light, or instrument tech, the next problem is "summer"; no-one's going to want a tech that can only make part of a tour. The tour probably continues into September, etc. It'd be pretty hard to move from local to regional if you only have four months of the year to do it.
posted by mendel at 10:30 AM on June 1, 2006

(I didn't take the offers, by the way. Ancient history for me now.)
posted by mendel at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2006

I had a job one summer and got it just by showing up (it was a big gig) indicated I was a strong guy (I'm not he-man, but could hold my own) and asked if they need help.

Next thing I knew I was driving a 28' Truck all over the East Coast of the US...
posted by sablazo at 10:40 AM on June 1, 2006

I swear I read an internship offer in Idealist for exactly this.

Aha, bingo: Lokahi Outreach, who works with organizations like the ONE Campaign and Oxfam, are looking for volunteers and interns for the summer.

It looks like they may already have their interns (last I was at their Idealist page, they had a ton of opportunities available), but volunteering spots are still open and you can contact them for ideas and openings.
posted by divabat at 5:52 PM on June 1, 2006

If you don't have your heart set on rock 'n roll, take a look at VEE Corp. I worked on one of their tours, and had a blast. What are your skills. Getting a job on the road, as Mendel pointed out, will be difficult (er, next to impossible) (no actually impossible, barring a complete johnny-on-the-spot-complete-blind-luck sort of scenario) if you aren't already experienced in theatrical/live entertainment sound an lighting systems. You have to know your DMX from your XLR if you know what I mean. Try getting on the referral list of your local chapter of IATSE. You'll get the chance to meet all the road crews (or at least push their gear around an arena) and pick their ear about how they got started.
posted by fantastic at 7:20 PM on June 1, 2006

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