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You’re Going to Need a Tech Rider

By Richard Morales

At Boom Audio Services (BAS), we routinely receive calls from event organizers that have hired bands, DJ’s, entertainers or other artistes for their event. At the basic level, these entities need a stage, a sound system and possibly special lighting or other visual effects to complete their performance. In many cases BAS may recommend basic versions of these items based on the size of the venue, the type of event and the number of attendees. However, beyond this, a tech rider is required from the band, DJ or Artiste to determine the actual list of equipment, set up and personnel needed for the event.

A tech or technical rider is a document provided by a band, DJ, entertainer or other artistes that specifically list all the items and conditions necessary for them to complete their performance. In most situations the tech rider is presented as part of the performer’s contract agreement and is listed as one of the terms of the agreement that must be satisfied in order to guarantee their performance. In fact, it is not uncommon for performers to refuse to complete their performance at an event because all of the items on their tech rider was not provided or the tech rider was ignored. The cost of providing the items on the tech rider should also be considered prior to hiring a performer, especially if the event budget is limited. Meeting the requirements of a tech rider could be very expensive for national or touring acts.

From a production point of view, the tech rider is the first level of communication between the performer and the production company. It introduces the performer to the production team and provides all the information that the production company needs to know about the performer to help them produce a great performance. The tech rider should contain the following Information.

1. The name of the performer. This is especially important if the event features multiple performers with different technical requirements.

2. Backline requirements: This part of the tech rider describes the instruments that are needed by the performer to complete their performance. The description of these items should be specific and include the brand and model of each item needed. However, it is important to note that some brands may not be available in certain markets. In that instance performers normally ask for items that are comparable to their preferred item. If an item is non-negotiable, it should be clearly stated on the tech rider.

3. Stage Plot: The stage plot is a diagram that clearly depicts where each item is placed on the stage. It shows the location of all the instrument, monitors and performers. The production team uses this diagram to plan and complete the layout of the stage, prior to the arrival of the performer.

4. Input List: The input list is sometimes included as part of the stage plot, but can also be a separate document. This document lists the channel assignments for each instrument or microphone that will be part of the performance. It provides a map for patching the band’s inputs into the house PA system. The document also defines the number and individual aux assignment for each monitor mix. Following the input list is especially important when the performer provides a mix engineer to mix their performance. It’s important that this tech be able to find each instrument quickly when mixing the performance.

In addition to these items, some tech riders also contain information that defines the FOH PA system the performer requires as well as lighting or video requirements. Regardless of the type of tech requirement, the tech rider should be thorough and clear, in order to avoid miscommunications or misunderstandings that result in a less than perfect performance.

Boom Audio Services is a full-service Audio Visual and Concert production company providing audio services, event lighting, stage rentals, LED Screens, truss and tent rentals for our growing list of clients. Please contact us for a free price quote at


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