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Performing arts

Roadie

Roadies set up and dismantle stage, instruments, sound and lighting equipment before and after live shows, festivals and events.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £37,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

23 to 25 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Day to day tasks

You could:

  • 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

Working environment

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.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by private training providers
College

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could start by doing a live event rigger or live event technician advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

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

Direct application

You may be able to apply direct if you have previous experience of work like:

  • electrical installation or electronics
  • stagehand
  • theatre lighting
  • sound production
  • music technology

Other routes

You may be able to do short courses with private training providers for things like:

  • rigging
  • health and safety
  • lighting installation
  • working at heights
  • operating lifting equipment
  • pyrotechnics

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • It would be helpful to have a driving licence. You may have an advantage if you have a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence or Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence, which would allow you to drive tour buses and lorries. Fork lift truck training and experience could also be useful.
  • You could be travelling abroad so it would be useful if you could speak a second language, though it's not essential.
  • be over 18 years of age
  • be able to cope with working at height

More information

Career tips

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.

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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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • physical skills like lifting, bending and carrying
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • observation and recording skills
  • concentration skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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