Our Needs are Simple
January 15th, 2020
Anyone that has worked in the music business or produced concerts on a college campus has great rider stories. For those that are not and have never been in the “biz”, a rider is the part of the contract that details what the artist requires for their technical set up and what they want for hospitality before, during and after the show. There is a lot of fiction or folklore about performance riders and what is requested. There is also a lot of truth in what has been put out there. Probably the most talked about item are M & M’s. Some artists ask for specific colors while other artists want certain colors removed.
Over the years, I have heard about some whacky requests that I can neither confirm nor deny their veracity. This is not a case of not wanting to tell trade secrets, it is that I have never seen the riders. Supposedly, one artist requested a brand new, never been used toilet in their dressing room. Another one asked for a very specific type of nut butter that is hard to find and very expensive. Other riders ask for outrageous amounts of food that the artists never eat. Riders that I have seen included a seven-day meal schedule, based on the day your show fell, there was a specific set of foods that were to be provided. One artist requested a specific kind of bottled water, chilled to a specific temperature. Last but not least, a four-piece band requesting enough liquor to keep them drunk for a week. Clearly, they were looking to have a good time that night and stock the tour bus on someone else’s dime. These requests are often ridiculous and the artist knows they have no hope of getting what they want.
At FUN Enterprises, Inc. our needs are simple but truly needed. We ask for things like tables, chairs, a place to park, the ability to load into your facility without trying to muscle crates weighing 50 pounds up two flights of stairs, a trash can and if needed (this applies to specific markets that we work in) volunteers to assist us. It is also extremely important that we are given a contact name that is actually on site when we arrive. If possible, a bottle of water is always appreciated. As you can see, it is nothing glamorous but necessary to do our job.
If it sounds like this is whining, it really isn’t. We are a client-centric business and in order to do our jobs properly, these are things that we need. Although many of our clients are prepared for us when we arrive at the job site, a lot of the time they are not. You wouldn’t believe how many times we arrive on site, call the client and have the call go straight to voicemail. If it’s a location that we have been to before, we may be able to figure it out on our own, but if we are unfamiliar with the location, it can present problems. Our plan for many of our programs is to arrive an hour before the job is scheduled to start. It is amazing how quickly that hour vanishes when you are told that you are on your own for parking and spend 40 minutes desperately hunting for a space. Equally as frustrating is showing up to a location, getting parked, load in your equipment, find the location and the contact and have them look at you as if you are a Martian when you ask for tables. It is shocking the number of times the phrase “Oh you need tables?” is uttered to our staff. We hold our tongues, although I have been tempted to say yes, that works better than sitting on the floor.
Our needs are simple. What we ask for, except the water, is crucial to making the program successful for our clients. We always want them to have the best event/experience possible. So when you work with FUN Enterprises, or any other entertainment company, keep in mind that many of us don’t have riders that are full of luxury items like caviar served with a wooden spoon, or massages before and after we work; we just need the few items listed so we can do the best job possible for you.
About the Author
Ken Abrahams has been doing this a long time, as a result he has worked in some strange locations and situations. It may not seem feasible to do antique photos in a stairwell but he has done it. More than once he and other members of the FUN Crew have flipped their equipment totes upside down to create a makeshift table just so they could make the job work.
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