The last thing performing musicians want is to spend hours perfecting their live set only to show up at the event beforehand and realize that the venue doesn’t have any of the equipment that they need. To prevent this, most venues will ask a band or performer for a “tech rider” after officially booking the performer, a great way to ensure a better live performance.
A rider is a list of items, amenities, or accommodations that a performer requests to a venue to have beforehand in order to better prepare for the artist’s arrival.
A tech rider, on the other hand, goes more into detail on the technical side of the event, letting the venue know:
How many people will be performing and their positions on stage
Which instruments each person plays
What equipment the performer/band needs the venue to provide (monitors, mics, stands, cables)
Where on stage the equipment needs to be
Tech riders come in all shape and sizes; there’s not really a strict rule on what they have to look like or include. It varies between each band and the type of performance they plan on putting on. Some tech riders are fully illustrated, and have clearly had a large amount of effort put into them, but don’t be intimidated! Of course you can make your tech rider stand out by adding colored or 3D illustrations, but as long as you include the basic information so that it’s quickly readable by a venue or a sound engineer, you’ve done the job. Venues are very familiar with tech riders, and can often find their way around one as long as it is clearly labeled and easy to navigate.
Most tech riders start with a large illustration or “stage plot” of where each band member and their respective instrument stands on stage. This gives the venue a quick overview of exactly what basic setup they can expect from an act, like if your vocalist needs room for weird instruments to sing into, and helps to relate the rest of the information to the overall setup.