Make Your Paperwork Temporary – Version Numbers and Expiry Dates

Touring creates lots of paperwork – contracts, riders, TV performance agreements, hotel rooming lists, etc – most of which has changing content. An example is the technical rider which contains an input list. The input list will change from time to time (the number of channels listed or the sources on stage for instance) as the artist changes instruments in her live set up, or her FOH engineer looks to re-order the list to make it less complex. The engineer creates a new input list and it is added to the technical rider, ready to be sent out to the promoters of a forthcoming run of concerts. Tour documents  already in circulation become redundant and are out-of-date. The fact they are in circulation causes confusion as venue technical staff won’t know which version of the input list they are supposed to be working from. It is a standard joke amongst touring crew to expect that the receiving venue or festival will have the wrong paperwork – but why?

The artist’s team should send paperwork they generate – riders etc – to the artist booking agent. The agent then sends the documents to promoters and festival organiser as part of the show booking process. The agent can only send out what she has on file; if no-one from the artist team sends her revised documents, then she will send out the old ones. Hence the confusion when the artist turns up at the gig and the local crew are looking at documents that are two years old.
Make sure someone sends updated documents to your booking agent first. Mark your contract riders and tech specs with an expiration date to avoid confusion. I would mark an input list for a run of summer festival shows as expiring at the end of August for instance — the end of the festival season in Europe and a natural break in the touring year.

Input list showing expiry date and revision numbers

You could also mark input lists, lighting plots, and other paperwork with version numbers as in V1.01, V1.02, and so on. This is a practice from the software industry and ensures the recipients of your documents are reading from the most recent version. For example, when talking through a document with a house lighting person you could say ‘I am referring to version 3.02 of our lighting spec here – is that the one you have in front of you?’


Finally, make old paperwork temporary by inserting “replaces all previous versions” on all your documents.

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