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Manging Artist’s Riders for Live Events.

Andy Robertson

Artist’s riders are the demands or requests made on event organisers and venues that enable them to fulfil their live performance obligations. Whilst these may be quite reasonable some may argue that on occasions the riders can end up being a series of outrageous and unreasonable requests. 


Riders can usually be separated into technical and ‘other’ requests from the artists or their management team. Not surprisingly the more famous and well known an artist is the weirder or unreasonable the ‘other’ riders may seem. 

Technical riders can include specifications for equipment, specifically power demands, mixing decks and sound engineer set ups for example. A music artist will often want to turn up with just their instruments and have the capability to plug in and play. For a music festival hosting a large number of artists this can put pressure on the technical light and sound set up as all
technical riders will differ.

The technical rider will include the number of musicians and the preferred specifications for instrument set up and stage layout. The sound and light specifications that the artist prefers can be included in the rider but this should be extended to include schedules for sound and light checks to obtain the optimum settings. The checks schedule should also estimate how long the artist requires to complete them; this helps with artist sound check scheduling. Of course, the technical specification in the rider is going the save the event organiser a lot of time in the checks schedule as the settings can be taken form the rider. Also key in the rider is whether the artist will be using their own sound and lighting engineers or that they need to be supplied by the organisers

Travel and accommodation requirements are usually the most straightforward of the contract rider. As the event is a fixed date it should just be a case of establishing how many people are to be transported from one location to another by date and time and how many rooms are required.

Riders for dressing rooms and catering can be the most demanding aspect satisfying the artist’s riders. Here is a real-life example from a well-known British artist they have for every performance:  

  • Side stage: 6 bottles of ice-cold water and 6 cans of ice-cold Coke Light (not Pepsi) plus 6 clean face towels.
  • Dressing room: Iron and ironing board, kettle and selection of teas, 1 bottle of red wine (not Merlot). A selection of fresh fruit, homemade chocolates and 6 face towels and 6 medium sized towels. A fridge containing 6 bottles of water, 6 cans of Coke Light (not Pepsi), a selection of beer (cans or bottles) plus one bottle of dry white wine (not Chardonnay) and fresh semi skimmed milk. 

This is not an unusual selection of rider requests for an artist and of course they will not consume everything but they just like to have the choice.

Using an events management software solution like FestivalPro can help make the planning and running of live music events more efficient with built in functionality to manage every aspect of artist's riders. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has all the features an event organiser needs to plan and control artist contracts and riders.  

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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