What is a Technical Rider and why do I need one?
A Technical Rider is the name given to the technical information an artist should have on hand to provide to a venue, promoter, stage manager or sound engineer in advance of playing a show. A Technical Rider should include a Stage Plan (sometimes called a Stage Plot), Channel List (sometimes called an Input List) and an Equipment/Backline List.
Your Technical Rider exists to help the sound engineer, promoter or venue by answering questions that could take up precious time at a soundcheck. For instance, where on the stage all the instruments will be situated, how many microphones are needed and what kinds of instruments will be used etc.
In order to be treated as professionals, it is important for bands and artists to present themselves as professionals when booking shows. Having an up-to-date, clear and accurate technical rider will save lots of time and confusion for everyone involved in presenting the show.
A Stage Plan is a visual representation of where all of the band members, instruments, microphones, and monitors will be on stage in the ideal scenario. If your band plays live music, you need a stage plan. You will make the lives of club owners, bookers, and sound engineers easier by sending them an accurate stage plan well in advance of your show.
It should include:
- A basic visual that shows where each member is positioned on stage.
- The names of each member and what instruments they play.
- How many mics, DIs, monitors, and cables (XLRs or 1/4 inch) you’ll need the venue to provide.
- What equipment (DIs, mics, etc), if any, you’ll be providing.
- Whether or not bass and keyboard amplifiers have balanced outputs. Will they be mic’d or run direct for example?
- Where the amps will be placed in relation to the players.
Providing a stage plan will make your load-in, set-up, and soundcheck experience quick and efficient. The sound engineer won’t have to do any last minute scrambling, either. That way everyone can save their energy for the show!
How do I make a Stage Plan?
There are a few websites that provide drag and drop preset illustrations of common stage equipment. They’re very easy and intuitive to use:
- Boss Tweed Backline’s Tool(Free):
They offer 3 levels of service.
1. Free plan, no account, some limited functionality.
2. Free plan but you need a free account, this gives you more functionality
3. A free account and a paid plan (subscription) gives you even more functionality):
- StagePlan Pro(Mac/PC Software - Free Trial Available)
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to draw your stage plot last-minute (hopefully NOT on a napkin!), you can use the following symbols to make things clear:
- Use a series of circles to stand for the drum set
- Microphones are denoted by an X inside of a circle
- Amps are rectangles
- Stage monitors are triangles
- Keyboards, guitars, basses, DJ stations… you might need to use some of your doodling skills.
A Channel List is a well formatted table showing:
- The number of inputs(Anything that is being routed through the house PA)
- The name of the instrument/equipment
- The preferred mic/DI to use
- Any notes on positioning of mic/type of stand needed.
- The preferred position on stage (Left, Middle, Right, Front, Back)
- The input being used on the stage box
Check out this example:
You can easily make a Channel List in Microsoft Excel or using Google Sheets
An Equipment/Backline List is a detailed inventory of all of the equipment you’ll be bringing to the venue, as well as all of the equipment you’ll need the venue to provide. For example:
- Nord Stage 3 Keyboard
- Fender Jaguar
- Fender Twin Reverb Amp
- Fender Jazz Bass
- Mapex Snare Drum 14”
- DW 9000 Kick Drum Pedal
- DRUMS (Up Center) MAPEX kit requested
- (1) 20″ Kick
- (1) 10″ Tom
- (1) 14″ Tom
- (3) Boom Stands
- (1) High Hat Stand
- (1) Snare Stand
- (1) Drum Throne
- (1) Bass Amp and Head
- (3) Vocal Mic
- (2) DI Box
If you're a small band and you don't have much equipment or many instruments with you, your Technical Rider will most likely mainly cover the equipment that you're using on stage. As your band grows, your Technical Rider will start to include any FOH mixing consoles that you bring with you, your preferred lighting set-up and anything else you need to put on the best possible show.
Remember, the sooner you start to present your band professionally, the sooner you’ll start to be treated as professionals by the people you work with to deliver the show!