A Musician’s Guide to Performing Live: 6 Things You Can’t Forget on Show DayBy
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
It’s the day of your show. Huzzah! You sent the venue a confirmation email (last week hopefully!), you know when you’re supposed to start soundcheck, and your onstage banter is so hilarious you could make a cat cry tears of joy.
But as you sit eating your morning bowl of Wheaties, you begin to get the feeling that you’ve forgotten something. Or that you will forget something.
Show days can be stressful, whether you are on tour or playing a big event in your hometown. We’ve created a checklist for you to make sure that your show goes off as smoothly as possible.
1 – Grab Your Gear!
This may seem like a no-brainer. You know that you need your guitar for the show. So you grab it, toss it in your trunk, and head out to the show. Everything seems fine until you get to the venue and realize you didn’t put the cable or the guitar strap in your case like you usually do. Murphy’s Law says that if something can go wrong, it will. This is especially true for your gear.
Try creating a master packing list for all your shows, and go over it right before you pack up your gear to make sure you don’t need anything extra for this particular show.
Don’t forget the little stuff that can get easily overlooked! Petty cash for your merch table, extra guitar picks, a spare cable or two, and a sharpie are all important things you need to have when you load up the van!
2 – Get There Early!
Sound check is at 4? Awesome. Shoot for being there at 3 or 3:30. Musicians are not known for their punctuality, and you have the opportunity to break a mold here and impress the venue where you’re playing! No one is going to be upset that you were early. Plus you never know when traffic is going to get crazy or when you’ll have a flat tire. Always planning to be early can alleviate some of these stressors.
3 – Know Where to Park
I recommend asking the venue in advance about parking, either in that confirmation email you sent out (last week!) or with a simple phone call the day of the show. Since many venues are downtown, parking can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to park a large vehicle like a van. Plan for enough time to find a suitable parking space and to walk back to the venue. Don’t forget that you might have to pay for parking, so plan ahead!