Stage Crew As an Introduction to Life As a Roadie

In an effort to expand my social circle while attending one of the largest universities in the United States, I opted to focus on my love of music and concerts and joined the college’s stage crew team. We were basically volunteer roadies for all of the visiting music groups that came to our campus and expected to unload equipment, set up band scrims and do a lot of the backstage work during the concerts.

I have to admit that going into the club, I had no idea just how much work was involved in the production of a show. I had visions that once the equipment was unloaded and set up, I would be able to enjoy the show for free and then party backstage with the band members when the concert was over. Reality wasn’t nearly as glamorous, but it did teach me a lot about stage sound, lighting and often allowed me to express a bit of my artistic skill when a group was looking for a scrim, or backdrop, for a particular number or to highlight a particular stage effect.

I did make plenty of new friends and we did enjoy a lot of great times working as stage crew members. I saved a ton of money by not having to buy tickets and saw some great bands along the way, but unlike the myth I had in my head, it was also a lot of work. We all assumed the road crews of the various bands would basically have us doing busy work to stay out of their way when in fact they were more than happy to sit back and have us truly doing their jobs from start to finish. I am sure we were taken advantage of by the professional roadies a bit, but many also took the time to really mentor us and hearing their stories about band life on the road were well worth the back-breaking labor involved in producing a show.

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