If you want your gig to go well, you have to set up the stage properly. Failing to do so may cause a few mishaps that could have easily been avoided. Here are five essential elements for setting up your own stage for a gig. This article is originally published by Anita Ginsburg on the Music Think Tank, but we’ve added some edits to provide local context.
It’s essential that you plan ahead. Think about how much stuff you will need for the gig and whether or not you can leave certain items at home. Depending on where you are playing, the stage might be a lot smaller than you’d anticipated. You need to keep this in mind when planning for your gig and try to minimize the number of items that you bring with you. If you know the size of the venue’s stage, try taping it off in your rehearsal in our Hourly Studio.
You don’t want to wait until the last minute to arrive at the gig. It will probably take you a lot longer to set up the stage than you originally planned for. It’s better to set up the stage and wait around for the show than it is to not have enough time to set things up properly. Traffic in DFW can be hellacious, so plan accordingly. We provide carts for easy load-in and load-out to make it a little easier on you.
Do a Sound Check
It doesn’t matter how great your band is if you don’t sound all that great because you didn’t make sure everything was set up just right. This is why you need to do a sound check. Pay attention to what your speakers sound like from both close and far away. You may find that you need to change their placement before you start your performance.
Don’t Try to Cram Too Much Into the Space
A lot of musicians make the mistake of trying to cram too much onto the stage. They don’t want to leave anything out because they think that they might need it. Unfortunately, a crammed stage can make it difficult to move around when you are performing. You might not give your best performance because you are afraid to move around too much out of fear that you will knock something over.
Get the Owner’s Input
The owner of the venue you are performing at can be very helpful, so get their opinion on how to set up the stage. They can probably tell you what has and hasn’t worked for past performers.
The stage is the backdrop to your performance. When you are setting up a stage for your next gig, make sure you utilize the tips mentioned above. This will allow you to give a great performance, and you can minimize any mishaps that are caused by a stage that’s been poorly set up.
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I'm the co-owner of The Music Box and a lifelong musician as a euphonium player. The son of a band director, alumnus of the University of Alabama and father of 3, I keep busy on my Peloton and managing multiple businesses.