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How To Maximize The Effectiveness Of The Technical Rider
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Backline
If backline is required, it should he listed by instrument, with specific detail about each item ordered. Substitutions should be offered, as again, exact brands of items are not always available in every market. If guitar stands are needed, itemize them. Know that if it’s not on the list, it’s not going to be provided,

Power Requirements
The band engineer may wish to specify power requirements, including generators, separate tie-ins, etc. If you are carrying your own gear and need electricity, this is the place to include it.

Lighting
The level of lighting production is just as fluid as audio production. Some artists like lots of moving lights and others just want a wash. Many production riders include not just a listing of lights, but a lighting plot, similar to the stage plot, that indicates what kind of lighting they want and where they want it.

Again, this will vary with the venue. If spotlights are required, indicate how many. LDs will usually want comm stations and these should also be included. The more complex the lighting requirement, the more detail needs to be provided. If you just want two trees, that’s fine, too.

Staging
The size and height of a stage is often determined by the size of a venue. On the other hand, an 11-piece band isn’t going to fit on a 12-foot x 16-foot stage, so some detail may be necessary.

Risers, on the other hand, need to be detailed. If the drummer doesn’t want to be on a riser, or there is a keyboard player who does, specify those details.

Contacts
Last and possibly most important is information on how to contact the artist’s production manager and front of house engineer. Getting this information from the client can often be like panning for gold, and the artist’s representatives really do want to talk to the local production people. Please provide phone numbers and email addresses on the rider.

1. Keep your rider up-to-date. The text of the rider probably isn’t going to change much from month to month, but the stage plot and input list are another story. If the band decides to add an acoustic guitar while traveling on the bus, change your stage plot and input list immediately.

It’s just as important to make sure the up-to-date stage plot and input list are in tile hands of the booking agent, band management and anyone else who disseminates these documents.

2. While it is not uncommon for an artist to demand a specific piece of gear, don’t require something you aren’t going to use. Chances are the production company may have to go out and cross-rent it. Keep the client’s and production company’s checkbooks in mind.

3. It is very useful for larger artists to provide alternate production requirements for different sized venues. It is quite common for the rider to be written for an arena show, but that doesn’t help the client or production company if the venue is a 500-seat club.

By providing scaled set-up requirements, the artist has a better chance of getting the gear they need, regardless of where the next show is.

The bottom line is that a well-written technical rider will greatly reduce the odds of having the proverbial show from hell.

Teri Hogan was a long-time co-owner of Sound Services, a sound company based in Texas.

 


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