Take a look at how these “concert technicians” have changed after all these years
We have the same stereotype in our head about these people. Don’t lie, we know the truth. Whenever the topic of a roadies comes up, you picture a man in his mid-30s with shoulder length hair and the biggest beer belly you have ever see on a human being. However, times have changed and so have these roadies.
This bunch spends majority of their lives behind the scenes as the artists take to the stage every night to perform in front of thousands of people. But that’s what matters right? The roadies take care of everything that takes place before the show. Everything from artist management, lights and light rigs, sound checks, upkeep of the instruments and much more are all taken care of by these people in the shadows.
In the past, there was the culture of roadies being heavily influenced by the rock n’ roll life style and by that, we mean drugs and alcohol. It was inevitable that one would be knee-deep in liquor and cocaine, but now its a different matter. The roadies today are efficient, professional and lean towards the more geekier side of the fence.
Its estimated that these technicians, who are in charge of sound engineering, road managers and tour coordinators, earn upto 175,000 dollars per year. That’s enough for them to save up for retirement and a SpaceX trip to Mars. The sum is quite large for a non-professional job but the work is as important as anything else.
This comes as a bizarre turn of events as the other jobs in the music business, like talent scouts and label heads, are slowly losing power while these unconventional jobs go on steadily. This makes a strong case for live performances for the artists who want more record sales which have also been dropping lately as compared to before.
But that doesn’t make their jobs any easier. True that the jobs are always available, but they need to know the ins and outs of their area of expertise to get it done well. That includes reading up on equipment, replacing strings and tuning instruments and some more.
With more technical aspects in the job, there has been an increase in the number of women in this culture. Even though it is still male dominated, women are being hired in this elite club and this shows how far they’ve come.
The regular encounters with musicians and celebrities is a given, but the travel is not that glamorous. The hours are long and the days too with tours being either nationwide or worldwide. This means a lot of time spent away from family, even though the team is one that makes up for it. Plus with all that travelling, they have tons of places to go. Sightseeing is an important part of the experience too.
Now there have been downfalls in this field as people lose their hearing due to the loud sound and other physical toll after a few years, but the pay makes up for it. There has been an increase in the number of freelancers too so that they can negotiate a better deal from the managers, suiting the benefits that both parties can agree too.
People are getting a glimpse into this life due to the launch of the show Roadies staring Luke Wilson, about the crew that takes care of every aspect of a live show. The show was cancelled after the first season but the culture is going to be there and so are these trusted technicians.
A big salute to these heroes!