Roadies set up and dismantle stage, instruments, sound and lighting equipment before and after live shows, festivals and events.Job Category:
What you will do:
- lift and carry equipment and sets
- drive, load and unload vans, trailers and tour buses
- act as security for equipment and band members
- set up and look after sound equipment
- install video equipment and screens
- rig up wiring and lighting
- set up firework and laser displays
- tune instruments before and during the show
- physical skills like lifting, bending and carrying
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
- the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
- observation and recording skills (organisational skills)
- concentration skills
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- excellent verbal communication skills
Becoming a roadie, which involves working as part of a road crew for music bands or entertainment events, does not typically require specific subjects. Instead, roadies often develop their skills through hands-on experience, networking, and a passion for the industry.
However, certain subjects and skills can be helpful if you aspire to work in this field. Here are some subjects and skills that can benefit a future roadie:
- English Language: Good communication skills are important in this role, as you’ll need to interact with band members, fellow crew members, and event organisers.
- Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are useful for tasks like budgeting, equipment measurements, and logistics planning.
- Technical Subjects: If your school offers technical courses related to audio engineering, lighting design, or stage production, consider taking them to gain a foundational understanding of equipment and technical aspects of live events.
- Design and Technology: Courses in design and technology can help you understand equipment construction, stage design, and the mechanics of staging and rigging.
- Music: While not mandatory, a background in music can be valuable, especially if you’re working with musicians and need to understand musical equipment and terminology.
- Physical Education (PE): Roadie work often involves manual labor, so being physically fit and having stamina can be an asset.
It’s important to note that a significant part of becoming a roadie involves gaining practical experience and networking in the industry.
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
- specialist courses run by private training providers
There is no set entry route to become a roadie but you could get some useful skills from a college course like:
- Level 3 Certificate in Technical Theatre: Sound, Light and Stage
- Level 3 Diploma in Sound Engineering
- Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Technology
You could then try to find a trainee job with an events company. Some employers may prefer you to have experience of live events.
You could apply to do a Live Event Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, or Creative Industries Production Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship.
These can take between 2 and 3 years to complete.
People often start by working for free for local bands. This can help you to make contacts that eventually lead you to paid jobs. To get relevant experience you could also:
- work backstage in college or amateur theatre productions
- do casual work at local concert venues, gigs or festivals
- work for equipment hire and supply companies
You may be able to apply direct if you have previous experience of work like:
- electrical installation or electronics
- theatre lighting
- sound production
- music technology
You may be able to do short courses with private training providers for things like:
- health and safety
- lighting installation
- working at heights
- operating lifting equipment
Persistence, determination and a love of live music and events is really important. Go to lots of gigs and get to know bands. You’ll need to show them that you have great team work skills and the ability to adapt quickly in new situations.
Working Hours and Environment:
Typically you could work 23 to 25 hours a week, which could include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
You could work at a sports arena, at a music venue or from a vehicle.
Your working environment may be physically demanding, noisy, at height, you may spend nights away from home and you’ll travel often.
Career Path & Progression:
Most roadies work freelance. You may be able to move from working with unknown bands in the UK to high profile, large scale, multi national tours.
With experience, you could become a road or tour manager, or move into band management or music promotion.
You could transfer your technical skills to work behind the scenes in theatre, film or television or event health and safety advice work.