Technical support staff, technical support crew, road crew
Roadies help stage music concerts, setting up before the show, looking after instruments and packing away afterwards.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a roadie
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
There is no set entry route to become a roadie but it may be useful to do a college course like:
- Level 2 Certificate in Technical Theatre: Sound, Light and Stage
- Level 3 Diploma in Sound Production
- Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology
This would teach you some of the skills needed for the job. You could then try to find a trainee job with an events company. Some employers may prefer you to have experience of live events.
Short courses are available in subjects like rigging, health and safety, lighting installation, working at heights, operating lifting equipment and pyrotechnics.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could start by doing a live event rigger or live event technician advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
You would often start by working for free for local bands – many people get their first paid job through making contacts in this way. You can also get relevant experience through things like:
- working backstage in college or amateur theatre productions
- casual work at local concert venues, gigs or festivals
- working for equipment hire and supply companies
- you’ll need to register for the National Rigging Certificate, which is a requirement for anyone working in rigging at height in the events industry
You may have an advantage if you have experience and qualifications in electronics, electrical work, sound production, music technology or lighting. The more skills you have, the more employable you will be.
You can find out more about working as part of a stage crew from Creative Choices.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of media production and communication
- broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- the ability to work on your own
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- be over 18 years of age
- be able to cope with working at height
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.
What you’ll do
Your duties may include:
- lifting and carrying equipment and sets
- driving, loading and unloading vans, trailers and tour buses
- acting as security for equipment and band members
- setting up and looking after sound equipment
- setting up video equipment and screens
- rigging up wiring and lighting
- setting up pyrotechnics (fireworks) and laser displays
- tuning instruments during the show
You could work from a vehicle, at a sports arena or at a music venue.
Your working environment may be noisy, cramped, at height, you may spend nights away from home and physically demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a road or tour manager, or move into band management or music promotion.
With further technical skills, you could move into lighting or sound for theatre, film or television.