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How do I Become a Road Manager?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2016
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There are so many separate parts that go into a successful musical tour, ranging from travel to venue, personnel and more, that many musicians can't handle this business side while also focusing on the artistic side. Many times, they need a road manager to deal with this. If you become a road manager, you will be responsible for handling the business side of the tour so the music side doesn't suffer. To become a road manager, you will need to be familiar with all elements of a tour and be an excellent communicator and problem solver.

There are no educational requirements necessary to become a road manager, but that doesn't mean school cannot be useful. Courses in business management, accounting, communication and music can give you an upper hand in an industry where art and commerce collide. If you are good at dealing with people and logistics, you might successfully become a road manager.

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Every tour is different for a road manager, because the venues are always changing. On any tour, however, the essential duties of a road manager are getting the musicians from concert to concert and solving the problems in between. A road manager must work closely with each venue to ensure that the musicians' needs are met for lighting, equipment and accommodations. Road managers also must clear up any interpersonal issues that arise between the musicians and crew in order to ensure a smooth show at each stop. Road managers also are financially responsible for the tour, with duties such as making sure each venue pays properly, filling out the appropriate paperwork and paying the crew and musicians from the money received.

If you want to become a road manager, there are a variety of ways you can prepare for this complicated career path. Road management professionals often get a start with a local club or venue in order to get an understanding of scheduling, how equipment works, finances and dealing with sometimes temperamental musicians. Being a musician also provides great experience because many smaller groups must handle all aspects of touring themselves, and a small tour functions almost like an internship. Another way to find the necessary experience to fully understand how tours come together is to work as part of a road crew as an equipment manager, lighting director, sound man or another position. Working for a local production company that schedules shows, works with venues and promotes concerts also could help prepare you to become a road manager.

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