How Do Bands Move Their Equipment From One Concert to the Next?

band concert logistics

You’re probably here because you’re a curious cat wanting to know new things, or your apart of a band trying to find out how other bands move their equipment from one concert to the next. Either way, your smart for doing your research and trying to learn new things. Hopefully this little analysis on how many bands move their equipment will also help you, and maybe shed some light on things that your confused about. Here is a compiled analysis, for your convenience on how bands move their equipment from one concert to the next.

Time Management on the Tour

Time as you probably already know, is very short when you’re going on a concert, you have very little time to pack everything up at the end of a concert, shoving it all in your vehicles, while making sure that there safe and secure, and then unload them all again when you get to the next gig, again making sure there all in the proper place, ready to go, and not damaged from the ride over in any way.

While that rushed time frame is a very tight one, it’s also very controlled. the Entertainment Logistics is extremely organized, it’s a controlled space to make sure everything goes well, and that includes the amount of time that’s being used to work with the equipment involved.

Don’t be confused though, yes, it’s all controlled and coordinated to keep everything on schedule, but that doesn’t mean errors aren’t going to pop up. Maybe a crew member screws something up by accident, maybe crowds delay you for autographs, or maybe one of the cases that you’re shoving your equipment into is faulty. Whatever the problem is, problems and errors are not great, they can delay a band for hours, and that’s not good. You want to be there on time, and that means you need to get your gear packed up quick.

Now, to keep the time down, bands choose only the equipment that they really need for the tour. You don’t need to bring that extra oboe just in case your first three break. The equipment that you need is going, and the stuff that you don’t need is staying behind at base camp, simple as that.

Actual Transportation of all Your Things

Your band and crew are going to have your hands full with your equipment, because being honest, there is going to be a lot. Unless of course you’re roughing it, and only taking your instruments, maybe a few amps and microphones, in which case, all you have to do is out it in the van without breaking them.

If you aren’t working with just the actual necessities, your crew is going to have to tear everything down, the staging the lights, all of it to get to the next gig. It’s all a fun hassle of adventure, music and mayhem, its great.

Now, the crew you hire can be freelance, or you can hire cargo companies to work with you instead, which is awesome, most of the ones we’ve met have been really friendly, but punctual, they knew what they were doing the entire time. Anyway, the first thing that cargo company, transporting your gear, is going to go to each site you’re planning on visiting and make sure it’s all good to go, they’ll inspect and decide where everything should go, where lights and outlets are going to be, etc.

Then afterward they start planning the best course to take, the fastest route, the safest, etc. Which will help give time for you and your crew to set up the equipment, building the stage, getting all your amps hooked up, getting your stands ready, all the fun stuff.

Something that’s kind of obvious If you think about it, is that the more equipment you have, then the more trucks and cars you’re going to need to transport it. So, if your stage is bigger, than you’re going to need a truck or two to haul it to the next gig. Most bands travel with their own equipment instead of getting them loaned, which is why your gonna need the extra vehicles and such.

Fun fact, most bands only need about 2 or 3 trucks at most to transport all their equipment, but Beyonce on her Formation tour of Europe, had to have 7 entire giant Boeing 747 planes, to transport all of her equipment. That’s insane, she needed 7 of them to get them to each gig. Imagine you’re in Europe somewhere, and you look up, and there is 7 Boeing 747’s all just flying by in formation. When you ask what they’re doing and where there from, your friend would just say Beyonce. Honestly, you know you’ve made it when you have to have that much transportation for your equipment alone.

The vehicles and Methods of Transportation of Your Gear

Now, the cargo companies are going to be handling everything for you, they’ll be doing all the exports, imports, running by the tour schedule, and they will be doing it by air, sea, and land. So, no need to worry about anything, you really don’t have to do anything, but make sure the cargo company is doing their job right, which you also really don’t have to worry about, because they are good at what they do.

The cargo company is going to be taking your equipment, the instruments, the stage, the microphone, and amps, and they’ll put them into custom made cases, called work boxes, which is amazing because you really don’t have to worry about even putting your equipment into the boxes, they’ve got it covered. The boxes themselves are heavy, like really heavy, and because of that, they’ll be staying up right and not shift much, which means they won’t get easily injured or damaged. After there put into the boxes, after which they’ll be put onto pallets, which then is tied up, so very safe, no need to worry.

After there all safe in their boxes, and on the pallets, they are loaded into the vehicles to get you the gig. The cargo company is going to also have specialty vehicles, the trucks that your stuff is going to be loaded up into is going to have special padded interior walls, so if anything does shift around, the impact will be absorbed, and they aren’t going to be damaged as they would be normally if they were just shoved into a cardboard box. An air freight is going to have, they’ll have weight restrictions in inside, which will keep everything safe and in place during transportation.

When your stuff gets there, the cargo is going to be unloaded in a determined pattern that was figured out during the initial planning phase.  They’ll get out whatever they planned in order, so for example, they’ll get the stage out, set it up, and then they’ll take out your lights, set those up, then get out your instruments, set those up, then so on and so on, until they get it all set up. Also, a little tid bit is that they’ll usually get out the band gear last. After they get it all done, and you play your amazing gig, then they’ll pack it all back up in reverse order, going on and on to each next venue, until the end of your tour.

Next, the cargo company is going to be doing something really cool, if the band or artists want it to happen. If you have a super big and elaborate stages that need to be unpacked and set up, then the band will have a completely identical set of equipment, travelling the tour route as your initial cargo such as ub1818 going with you. So, equipment A is going to be heading with you to your regular gigs, while equipment B is going to be going ahead to the next venue to set up there. It’s efficient, and it works well to keep things going, really makes the stress go away so you can focus on your music.

Recap and Reminder

So, I said a few minutes ago that your tour is going to hinge on your crew’s time management. It’s probably the most important part of the tour, besides the money, and the actual band. Time is of the essence, the equipment has to be transitioned from one venue to the other as smoothly and quickly as possible, if its late to one venue, then your probably screwed, because the delay is going to be monumental, and people don’t like being delayed, so that means a bunch of angry people.

That reminds me, if your band needs to get across international borders, then you need to get that planned as early as possible. You need the proper papers, all requirements need to be met, everything, because if you get to a border and you get stopped because your crew forgot something, then your gonna have to cancel that nights gig, and if you do somehow make it passed the border even with the screw up, you will be late, there’s no question about it So, make sure that you have all the proper papers and everything with you to get across the border without any sort of trouble, in order to get to your next gig on time and keeping the tour on schedule.

The insane amount of the little time you have is pretty bad, but it is a controlled chaos. You crew will have everything planned and ready to go for every gig that you are doing, they will have a plan of how to unload everything and hot to load it back up again for each and every venue you go to, so there’s nothing to worry about that. Though you yourself are going to need to be on top of it, assuming your one of the head crew members, or apart of the band. So, they have it handled, but you need to lift your fair share to make sure it all stays on schedule, at the very least make sure you know the schedule, know when everything is supposed to be unloaded, where, and in what order, know how long it’s going to take to get to the next gig, and know whose touching all your equipment.

Your equipment is going to be travelling with a cargo company if you have a ton of stuff to haul around the world, and they can choose which way is best to do it. They can take it up in the air in a cargo plane or two, a few trucks, or maybe some ships to cross the ocean. Whichever way is fastest, they’ll make sure it gets done, but again, make sure you know where your equipment is, don’t just let them say they’ve got it, and be done with it. Know if your stuff is traveling by air, water, or land, that way you can stay coordinated along with it in an effort to make sure everything goes as smoothly as it possibly can.

On the actual vehicles that your equipment is going to be in, all of your gear is going to be extremely safe and well taken care of, if you hire a good cargo company that is. They’ll have it placed into sealed, and weighted boxes, put them on slabs, and tie them together, all of it will be heavy enough to keep it from moving around, they’ll be tied together to keep them steady, and there will be padded walls inside the vehicle, just in case something comes loose, in which case, the walls will absorb the impact, and none of your stuff will be damaged.

We hope this article was very helpful for you and whoever you are, whether your apart of a cargo company trying to figure what to do, a band trying to find out how to move their gear, or just someone wanting to know some interesting trivia for game night.