"What do I have to do to get on that bill?" a chum enquired of me the other day regarding some festival or another we were both shading covetous eyes at. "Sell some tickets?" I replied. Down here at the dusty end of the folk-rock aristocracy we are still largely dependent on hand outs and favours to get us on the boards, and we are still not quite yet at the stage of being able to demand quilted robes in which to recline after the show whilst we construct elaborate creations from Lego sets with all the brown pieces taken out. Nevertheless, there are still standards that we aspire to and, in no particular order, here are some do's and dont's that perhaps you, in your capacity as amateur dramatician, or perhaps co-promoter of a small musical soiree, might keep in mind.
Here's a thing - even though they might not be coming straight off the back of a worldwide tour supporting Ed Sheeran your turns still require basic sustenance. I am no stranger to the Co-op egg and cress sandwich and pork pie combo to get me through the evening - soundchecks tend to be frusratingly generally scheduled around tea time - but a bottle of water is often appreciated come stage time. Better still, open a discreet bar tab for the band, especially if you're not going to give them any money. even better than that - give them some money. You can't put exposure in your petrol tank.
Speaking of petrol tanks, if we could unload the gear and park in the same postcode as the gig, that'd be awesome.
Please read the stage plan and let us know in advance if there's anything we need to help you out with. You asked for it, we sent it, so don't look all surprised when there aren't enough microphones to go round when we finally turn up with five of us wanting to contribute to those sweet, sweet candy harmonies. Or if you have to unplug the drummer's in order to ensure there is a feed for the keyboard player. Admittedly that time we turned up with a drummer who we hadn't told you about was, like, totally our bad.
If you're going to spend three quarters of an hour on a soundcheck (and believe me, that's a rare luxury we very much appreciate) please do try to ensure it still sounds like that when we go on two hours later. A shrug of the shoulders is never an attractive look in a sound engineer, especially when viewed in a murky half light from the stage.
Don't have that Henry Rollins quote laminated and gaffa taped to the door behind the stage. Not at your level.
A mirror ball. There must always be a mirror ball!