Welcome to Andy Reynolds’s Live Music Business – BETA

by Andy Reynolds on November 4, 2009

Welcome to Live Music Business  - a production and management resource for bands, groups, artist managers, booking agents, promoters, venues, tour managers,  sound and light technicians and roadies.

My name is Andy Reynolds, I am a freelance concert tour manager, live audio engineer, lecturer and author who has been working in the concert touring industry for nearly 25 years.

This is a BETA site – I am still adding functionality and design elements. The posts and tweets are real and will be continuing.Thanks!

How do I get a roadie job, working with bands on tour?

by Andy Reynolds on January 16, 2015

Roadie jobs at a festival

I want a job as a roadie but how to go about it?

‘Hey, ‘scuse me. How do you get a job as a roadie like you?’

Ask any tour manager, sound engineer , lighting person or backline technician about the most common question they get asked and their reply will probably be, ‘something about how to get a roadie job like mine’.

And how do they answer? Well, after briefly explaining that they really don’t use the term ‘roadie’ to describe their role in international concert touring, most road crew will go on to explain briefly how they got started touring with bands. Actual answers will vary but will usually involve a combination of the following information:

• Being in a band a long time ago
• Knowing lots of musicians and bands a long time ago
• Studying audio engineering (probably a long time ago)
• Running sound or lights at their local bar/club years ago
• Recently being in the right place at the right time

I know these are the kinds of answers that road crew give because they are the very answers I always give! Unfortunately the answers don’t really form the basis of a firm plan to start a career in-the-road. With such a vague plan there does not seem to be a proven way of starting out. Or does there?

There are in fact some simple steps you can take in order to get a job as a roadie, working with bands on tour. I have explained them, step-by-step, in my book, ‘Roadie, Inc.‘. If you really want to a roadie job then you should check it out. You could email or phone me for help and advice on starting out but, honestly, I spent a lot more time writing the book than I could on responding to your email or phone call. The book contains a lot of information about a career in the live music business and a hurried email reply is not going to do the information, or you, justice. So please, do yourself a favour, read more about the book here.

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Tour managers and live sound engineers – a brief Q &A

by Andy Reynolds on October 17, 2014

A student recently asked me answer some questions about concert tour management and live sound engineering to help her with a college project. I get a lot of these requests and am always happy to offer answers and advice (time permitting) and have even posted an FAQ to help with this type of research.

However it is hard to convey the enormity of the preparation that the tour manager and live sound engineer have to undertake to create a successful show or tour.

That’s why I was particularly pleased with my answer to this enquiry – it kinda tells. it like it is, without getting too wordy.

So I’ve copied it here for you. Remember, the questions are from a college student, via email.

1. What main roles are expected of you as a tour manager/live sound engineer?

TM – to organise the band/crew/equipment/travel/accommodation for the band prior to setting off for a show or tour.

LSE. – to work with the band, crew, venue or audio supplier to portray the bands sound in the best possible way.

2. For both of your jobs, does the preparation before a concert/gig have equal importance to the preparation on the day of a concert/gig?

Absolutely. ‘Hope for the best,  plan for the worst’ or ‘the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war’ are two of my favourite mottos. Get as much information as possible before the show/tour. It still won’t be perfect but you will know what you are. walking into.

3. What needs to be done in preparation before a concert/gig for both of your jobs?

TM- I need to figure out how much everything is going to cost first. Then I need to figure out how we are going to get to the gig – what transport we are going to use – splitter van, sleeper bus, plane etc.

Then I look at where everyone will be before the show and how long it will take to get everyone in one place – either at the show or before hand.

Then I liaise with the venue and promoter to establish a schedule for the day or tour. That schedule is then sent to everyone concerned – band, crew, suppliers, record company and management.

LSE – I find out what PA (sound system) is in each venue (if any) and what we may need to bring in. For each show. I then listen to the music. A lot.

4. Could you give an example of something that you could do wrong in both of your jobs and how it would affect the people around you and the show?

TM – being late, missing planes, lost passports, incorrect visas, lost equipment, hospital visits – the list is endless. A TM’s job is to anticipate and avoid these kind of situations where at all possible. The show must go on!

5. What do you like/dislike most about being a tour manager/live sound engineer?

TM – I like knowing I made a show happen. I dislike being treated as someone who does this as a hobby.

LSE – same as for TM and I also dislike the move to digital mixing consoles – no fun in staring at a computer screen at a live show.

6. What basic skills and qualifications should someone require if they would like to become a tour manager/live sound engineer?

TM – organised, calm, some basic technical knowledge, good computer skills and a thick skin. A passion for music is a must. You need to know as many bands/musicians/DJs/crew as possible – that is where the work comes from.

LSE – good knowledge of sound theory, some knowledge of electronics and a passion to create good audio. Getting as much experience as possible, working on as many small shows and working your way up is vital. You need to know as many bands/musicians/DJs/crew as possible – that is where the work comes from.

View of stage from mixing console

I’ve written an article about live sound for Music Connection magazine –

There is a massive difference in how sound behaves in your project studio and how it behaves on stage. You may think you understand audio engineering when mixing and mastering in your favourite DAW, but most of what you know will go out of the window as soon as you turn up for sound check. The article will help you get your sound at any venue.

Read it here:


‘Tonights show has been cancelled…’

by Andy Reynolds October 9, 2013

The band Passion Pit recently posted this, citing some of the reasons they have, or would consider, cancelling a show. I understand all the reasons they state and admire the fact that Passion Pit acknowledge the number of people, other than the fans, that a cancellation adversely affects. Ultimately though, a cancellation does affect a […]

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“First Three Songs, No Flash”

by Andy Reynolds September 12, 2013

“First three songs and no flash” is the catchall restriction applied to professional photographers given passes to take photos from the pit (the space in front of the stage between the stage and the crowd safety barrier, if there is one). This basically means that after three songs, the photographers must exit the pit and […]

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Let the Audience Know the Show Is Finished

by Andy Reynolds September 5, 2013

Audiences can be very ignorant about the fact that the show is finished. In my experience, you will always get a handful of people who will shout and plead for more songs. As a performer, you should try to resist the urge to play more songs just because someone asks for them. If you have […]

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Using Guest List Tickets to Boost Your Career

by Andy Reynolds August 29, 2013

Artists I work with often complain that their management or record company gets their hands on the band’s guest list passes and tickets before the band members do. This is especially true of festival tickets and passes. Although I can see the band members’ point of view, I find this complaint to be short-sighted. I […]

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You Are On Tour – What Is Promo?

by Andy Reynolds August 22, 2013

 Promotional activity (‘promo’) includes anything non-show related such as interviews, live acoustic sessions or meet and greets. These activities are often arranged (by the artist management or record company) to take place at the venue on a show day as it is easier for all the journalists and film crews to be in the same […]

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5 Tips For Better Touring

by Andy Reynolds August 14, 2013

I’ve been travelling around various continents as FOH and tour manager this summer. I’ve been part of some great shows and also witnessed some situations that needn’t have happened if bands, road crew and promoters had put a bit more thought into what they were hoping to achieve. I have listed a few tips here, […]

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The Etiquette of Sound Checks

by Andy Reynolds August 9, 2013

Playing a show will usually involve some kind of sound check. This check will take place before the public arrive and involves setting up your equipment, having the sound engineers place appropriate microphones and DI boxes, cabling everything into the mixing console and playing a  couple of songs in order that the front-of-house engineer can […]

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