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Local Bands Need to Know

Updated on July 9, 2009

Learn it and Live it!

If you've had any experience at all playing local shows with multiple bands playing, you all ready know the importance of getting your equipment on and off the stage quickly. Unfortunately many bands don't understand this rule clearly enough, or maybe they just feel like they are too special to follow it.

For whatever reason, if you lolly gag about when you are supposed to be setting up or tearing down, other bands get mad, the venue gets mad, fans leave because they get tired of waiting. Overall, it can just be really unfortunate when your band doesn't set up and tear down in a timely manner.

The 7 1/2 minute rule became the norm early on during multi-band concerts. Fifteen minutes is actually well formulated for a number of reasons. For one reason, the venue customers can deal with a fifteen minute wait between sets. Very shortly after that mark is up, they will lose interest and book to some other "more exciting" venue.

Another reason for the fifteen minutes between shows rule is times are given with the consideration of this set up and tear down time. Running late and making the last band of the night lose part of their set time is definitely not a pretty situation for the band that causes the delays.

Many savvy sound engineers will cut your set short if you are late getting set up, so it can adversely affect your show too. Lord forbid some lazy ass band cuts into your set time because they won't get their gear out of the way in time for your band to set up and jam for your allotted minutes of fame for the evening.

Many venues will have an area off stage where you can start pre-setting up the drums, tuning your guitars and doing whatever preliminary work you need to do before you actually get on stage. Use that time wisely to help make sure your set up on stage will go more smoothly. Get all cords, hook-ups, etc... in place as much as possible. If you need new batteries in pedals or mount rack equipment, do that now too. Getting on stage is for plugging in, doing a quick sound check if you are so lucky, and beginning to rock out, not for tuning your strings and changing batteries.

At the end of your set, get your stuff off stage, immediately. Get help if you need it, but get it off. After you are completely off the stage, then load out of the venue if you are required. I've seen a lot of bands loading out from on stage and that's just bad manners. Unless you are the last band of the night, get the hell out of the way so the next band can get their 7 1/2 minutes of set up time. Then you can have plenty of time to bask in the glory of your adoring fans telling you how tight you sounded.

If you follow these rules, you'll look that much more professional, the venue and other bands will notice your consideration and you might win some friends and influence other bands that need to get out of your way on time.


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    • HappyHer profile imageAUTHOR

      Tracy Morrow 

      10 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Thank you! A band that can conduct itself professionally is going to go much further than bands that think they reach rock star status just because they pick up an instrument or sing a few notes.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      10 years ago

      HappyHer very sound advice for keeping the audience on side and the next band also - you never know when you will meet them again and expect the same.

    • HappyHer profile imageAUTHOR

      Tracy Morrow 

      11 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Thanks for the comments. 45 minutes does sound horrifying. That is a sure way to lose fans and they are lucky the venue didn't just cancel their set.

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      11 years ago from Ohio

      Geat advice....some bands just don't get it...slow, rude and stupid won't get you future gigs. Thanks! :)

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      11 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      As someone who besides being a performer myself has also worked as a compère I was horrified to watch a set changeover at Glastonbury Festival in 2003 that took 45 minutes in which time a lot of the fans who had turned up gave up and left. I did the same when it took well over 30 minutes to get Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel fame on and some of his fans were shouting out "Get on with it Steve," and "Give us a song!" Steve was pottering around on the stage a lot of the time and it was enough to try the patience of the most devoted fan.

      The point I am making is that this sort of mess happens at big festivals like Glastonbury as well as smaller gigs and it looks and is very unprofessional!


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