Stage Set Up For Gigs | How To Set Up a Stage
Page updated 3/1/2016
It is important to arrive early to any gig. Get directions from Mapquest or purchase a Navigation Device to ensure you get to the gig on time. Remember even as a startup band, it can take over an hour or more to setup music equipment, PA, microphones, and sound check. It’s best to ensure that cables are not loose around your area of the stage and where the fans are located at the venue. While you do not want to trip while on stage, you should also ensure the safety of fans at the show. Bring extra cables and microphones to the show just in case some are defective. Many musicians bring backup musical instruments, guitar cables, guitar picks, microphones, amplifiers, adapters, and instrument accessories as well. Here’s a gig checklist to use before every gig.
If the venue that you are performing does not have a PA system or spot lights, this can also add to your setup time. Always check with the band booker at the venue to verify what PA sound equipment and lighting they have on stage for bands. Some venues provide sound guys or sound technicians (the person who runs the PA system). Always check to see if there is a fee for the sound technician as well. The club or venue also may provide someone to run lights and spot lights. Venues may charge a fee to have someone run lights as well. Many spot lights have controls that move them or turn them on or off at certain points. See if one of your responsible friends can run the lighting or if the venue charges to have their employees run the light show. Many small venues have uncomplicated lighting systems that can be run by a novice. As some bands get more popular they may purchase Live Stage & Sound Equipment.
It's best to arrive nice and early to the venue so that you have enough time to set up for your gig. When you get to the club ask the manager where you should setup your equipment. Ask them where the outlets are located. You should bring power strips as well, as the venue may not have enough outlets for all of your equipment. The staff of the venue may have to move tables out of the way if there is not a stage available to play the show. Yes, Not every venue has a stage for your band. Some venues just move tables around for their musical guests for the evening. This happens alot at smaller pubs and bars that offer live music to their patrons. Try to sound check before the bulk of the crowd arrives as the beating of single drums for sound check can be annoying to venue patrons. If you are playing a venue where passes are needed for your vehicles, make sure to get them ahead of time.
When you first start a band, costs for running sound and lighting are very much hidden costs. See if any of your capable friends may be able to run sound and lighting to save money. While this may save money, make sure they are still professional. Many bands don't recognize that sound or lighting technicians are even needed for a gig. Take your time and research each venue where you want to book a gig. The band booker at the venue should fill you in on any of these charges that may exist for sound and lighting.