Mar 05, 2018

The 101 About Tech & Catering Rider

If musicians want to escape their rehearsal room to conquer the stages, talent, a few good songs and a good live performance alone are insufficient. But if the paperwork is finally done you’re good to go (at least for some time). This is how to do it right.

Tech Rider

The Tech Rider is not only of interest for promoters to check whether the technical requirements can be realized in the venue or not. Also for sound- & lightning-engineers and stage managers, it’s crucial to be able to prepare the show at best and ensure good technical performance. These three things have to be included at least:

  1. lineup
  2. stage plot
  3. channel list


There actually is a difference between 3, 5 or 7 musicians on stage. Info about the number of musicians, instruments, vocals and needed channels are important to record and mix the sound right. Besides that list (names included at best), the stage plot shows the actual position of each musician on-stage, which instrument is placed where and the exact amount and placement of monitors and microphones. This visualization serves as a guideline but can vary from venue to venue.

It’s always good to confer with the local sound technician cause he should know how to bring out the best sound in his location. Last but not least there’s the channel list (also called input or patch list sometimes), which names all the required channels on the mixing console and the tech rider is done. The channel list is especially useful if the musicians have their own technician with them. That way the local tech guys can prepare everything, set up the instruments and put them on the right channel. A common order is:

  1. Drums
  2. Bass
  3. Guitar
  4. Keys
  5. Vocals


Furthermore, a well-prepared list like that comes in handy for a phone call with the local technician that you should have at least 1 or 2 weeks prior to the show, just to ensure everything is clear and you will have a good sound that night.

Catering Rider

Hunger is probably one of the worst preconditions for well-working and stress-free teamwork. That’s what the catering rider is for. Basic principles for the preparation of a proper catering rider are crucial info regarding special diets, general nutrition, food intolerances or allergies. Also, the number of crew members is important as well as the type and amount of drinks on-stage and, if needed, towels.

Other than that you can include further non-food directives like the number of parking spaces you need, backstage configuration, showers, wardrobe, internet connection or the like. But keep in mind: being modest and flexible is very important. Especially small venues often do not offer food due to a small budget. That’s a thing you should calculate with to not be caught off-guard when you arrive there. If the promoter does not provide catering you can also agree on a buy-out where you get a certain amount of money per person of your travel party from him/her to grab something to eat elsewhere.

Riders Are Beforehand Guidelines

Speaking of flexibility: Tech and catering rider both are “only” a guideline. From venue to venue and from show to show there will be deviations. That’s why it’s even more important to coordinate everything with the promoter beforehand and if necessary adjust something to avoid a nasty surprise on the day of the show. You always can talk about everything and there’s probably a solution to every problem.

And as of last advice: The riders always have to be up to date. If something changes for example regarding the travel party or anything else, you should adjust and change it in the riders. It doesn’t take a lot of time and avoids passing on wrong information. If the riders are printed and maybe even handed out to the people you’re working with at site, it’s becoming apparent who’s a professional and the show only can go as planned and everyone’s having a good day.