Band Checklist: 50 Things to Bring When Playing a Gig
May 17, 2017
Whether you're veteran musicians with thousands of gigs under your belt or a fresh-faced newbie whose just landed your first booking, this gig checklist is for you.
We've racked our brains and asked experienced musicians from across the industry for their tips on what to bring along to a live show. And here are the results.
50 gig essentials for bands and musicians - check it this advice for musicians and let us know if we've missed anything!
50 Things for Bands to Bring to a Gig
You obviously won't need ALL 50 of these things for EVERY gig, but we wanted to put together a comprehensive list of just about everything you could conceivably need to make sure your show goes smoothly.
1. Spare strings
Your guitar or bass strings WILL snap at the most inconvenient moment possible. It’s inevitable.
2. Gaffer/duct tape
Stuff gets broken on road. It’s a fact of life for musicians.
3. String cutters
Make the inevitable last-minute string change as quick and easy as possible.
4. String winder
Again, it pays to make things easier for yourself.
So vital. You never know when you’ll need one... until you need one!
You get the point. Tools are important.
7. Your merchandise
Flog your band’s merch and make some cash… t-shirts, stickers, posters etc.
8. Plug extension leads
Your amp’s plug doesn’t reach the mains? No problem!
9. Plug adapters
Only really necessary when playing overseas, but essential none the less.
10. Set list
It should be ingrained in everyone’s brains AND written in front of them.
"What are we opening with?"
For your tuner, pedals etc in case all the plug sockets are taken.
12. Pad and pen
Essential for scribbling down set list changes and notes.
Don’t let slipping out of tune ruin your set.
14. Spare leads
Someone ALWAYS ends up with the dodgy lead.
Bring a sack-load of picks for when they start disappearing into the pick vortex.
16. Spare guitar strap
Otherwise you’ll end up sitting down if your strap breaks.
17. Your instruments
Could be worth bringing along a spare amp if your usual one is unreliable.
19. Spare tubes
If you’ve got a tube amp and the worst happens.
20. Spare patch cables
Replace that unreliable pedal connection in a flash.
"Got any spare patch cables, mate?"
21. Spare pedals
If you’ve got a pedal you can’t do without, might be worth getting a spare just in case.
And a spare one for the person who always loses their's.
Make sure you’re not blasting your eardrums night after night. Tinnitus is a bitch.
24. Sweat rags
Bright lights shining off your sweaty forehead is not a good look.
25. Cleaning spray
Make sure your instruments are sparkling before the show.
26. Drum key
Just in case you need to make any tweaks to your kit before playing.
27. Spare drum skins
In case the drummer in the band before you is a little heavy-handed.
28. Drum breakables
Even if you’re playing the house kit, you may not have access to cymbals, stools, pedals etc.
29. Damper pads
If you want to remove unwanted resonance and get a punchier sound.
30. Spare drum sticks
A snapped stick mid-gig is a major problem.
"Dude, I just decapitated my stick."
31. Medicine pack
Paracetamol, decongestants, Dayquil, Advil, antacids, pepto-bismol… always worth bringing.
Even if it’s just the app on your smart phone.
33. Coloured electrical tape
For marking out stage positions or colour coding your cables.
Keep a few notes stashed somewhere safe in case your card stops working or gets lost.
35. Business cards
Include all your essential contact info to give to potential bookers and music biz execs.
36. Copies of your release
CDs or USB sticks. You never know who’ll be there.
37. Banners/promo materials
Something to let people know exactly who you are at a glance.
38. Quick snacks
Never go on stage hungry.
39. Water bottle
Especially important for your lead singer.
Don’t get lost on your way to a new venue.
"Where are we parking the van?"
41. Venue’s contact details
Just in case you DO get lost on the way.
For after the gig, right?
No glove, no love.
44. Spare clothes
Things can get sweaty up on stage, and you want to look good for the afterparty.
45. PA system
The venue might provide this, but always check for smaller gigs.
Again, whether you want in-ear or floor monitors, check with your venue.
47. Spare mic
Some musicians like to use their own mic. Sometimes the venue’s mics break.
Stick spare picks to your guitar in case you lose your grip mid-song.
49. A crowd
You can’t always rely on people to just show up, so invite your friends.
50. THE FURY!!!
Don’t be awkward or uncomfortable on stage. Own your performance and give the audience a show they won’t forget.
Have we forgotten any gig essentials? Or do you disagree with anything here? Let us know in the comments below!
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