Live Music Exchange Blog

Resources for Road Crew – Gabrielle Kielich


This blog is an introduction to the resources available for workers who may be interested in becoming a member of a tour’s road crew. Gabrielle Kielich provides guidance to some of the information available and we invite readers to comment and suggest additional resources in the comments box below.

Road crew — or “roadies” — are an important part of the infrastructure of a concert tour. Their various roles and responsibilities are the labour that engineer and contribute to the “necessary elements that allow [artists and audiences] to assemble together for a live music event” (Brennan and Webster 2011: 1). Despite stereotypical associations with rock and roll excess, roadies’ work is demanding and marked with an expectation for professionalism. Gaining entry to this line of work is an ambiguous process with no distinct path, and once acquired involves largely freelance status and limited professional resources. As with any job, there are multiple considerations in becoming a roadie. The job description is varied and can either be specialized or require handling many tasks. Roadies’ responsibilities may involve sound engineering or lighting, loading and unloading equipment or tuning musicians’ instruments. In addition, the working conditions involve lengthy periods away from home, long hours and unconventional living and sleeping arrangements. These sources provide insight into gaining employment, acquiring education and accessing assistance in this line of work.

Book: Andy Reynolds, Roadie, Inc.: How to Gain and Keep a Career in the Music Business. 2nd edition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Andy Reynolds is a tour manager with more than 25 years experience. His book is structured around understanding the job descriptions and required skillsets for various positions held by road crew members and how to gain the necessary experience for entry. Where Reynolds is particularly useful is in his forthright manner about the realities of this line of work. He works to undo misconceptions about the nature of roadies’ work — specialized and professional as opposed to glamorous — and advises readers about its atypical path and the facts of its freelance/contract basis. He dedicates a chapter to self-managing a career and provides sample résumés and contracts, and offers practical guidance on pay information and considerations for health and life on tour. He emphasizes the close-knit network of road crew and advises readers that the best way in is by first working with local bands. From then on, contacts and reputation will be key to continued work. Reynolds also offers his views on some of the other types of resources listed below, such as the potential advantages of enrolling in suitable training programmes to acquire relevant skills and the use of various online job sites. In addition to this book, he maintains a website that contains online courses and further information.


Training: The Academy of Contemporary Music: Technical Services Route, Guildford, Surrey.

Part of the Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry Practice, this programme aims to provide students with the necessary practical skills, theory and applied “real-world” learning experiences to become a roadie. Combined with the use of onsite facilities, its various modules are taught by instructors who also work in the industries, and include training on backline stage equipment and live sound as well as on budgeting, industry organization and communicating with artists and managers. A work placement is not offered as part of the programme’s requirements, but the ACM features an “Industry Link” that can direct students to networking events and placements, as well as online networking resources. Interested students can register for an Access All Areas pass to explore some of the department’s resources ahead of applying, and make enquiries about the programme. It would also be advantageous to explore the faculty and alumni and try to connect with graduates of the programme to assess its fit and range of benefits. ACM’s Technical Services Route programme is accredited by Middlesex University, which is also the award-granting institution.


Online: Job Boards and Communities

Job boards for roadies tend also to be online communities that foster interaction between people working in live events. The most reliable of these sites require registration to access job postings or interact with other members. is an online community of people working various positions in live music. Registration is open to anyone and allows access to free job postings and a selection of member discussions. However, the “Pro Groups,” which include a Job Center and more specific categories such as UK Event Production and several groups for Techs, require the payment of a subscription fee for access. Another online community is Crewspace, which is both a social network and job site for road crew. Crewspace promises privacy, professionalism and access to jobs free of charge. Only members can apply for jobs, and to ensure these features, interested people can only join via invitation from an existent member or by registering and supplying two references that will be contacted prior to approval. For women working in the industry, NOWIE is a resource for networking, training and career support. The organisation is open to women working in any sector of the events industry. NOWIE’s committee hosts regular events for members to meet, and its Facebook page features job listings and a space to communicate with others working in the industry.


Well-Being: Music Support

As reflected by the many artists who have recently begun speaking publicly, mental health issues and substance abuse commonly affect workers in the music industries. Adjusting to life on and off the road can contribute to these difficulties, such as the experience of “post-tour depression” that affects some road crew as well as musicians. The organisation Music Support was recently founded to provide support to anyone working in the music industries, including roadies, who may need help with issues such as addiction or depression. The founders and staff have combined experience as long-time workers in the music industries and treatment facilities. The organization provides a number of online and offline services. Their website features resources for understanding anxiety, depression and alcoholism, access to online meetings and a specific area for managers on how to recognise and address problems being experienced by a band or staff member. Music Support provides a 24-hour helpline that offers callers confidential conversations and guidance on receiving counselling or arranging a meeting with the organisation’s Clinical Director. Music Support has also started hosting workshops that feature presentations and panels on recognising potential signs and how to seek help.



Brennan, M. and E. Webster. 2011. “Why Concert Promoters Matter.” Scottish Music Review 2(1): 1–25.


Please note that this is a forum for discussion, dialogue, and debate, and posts and comments on this blog represent only the author, not Live Music Exchange as a whole, or any other hosting or associated institutions.


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