Let’s face it . . . throw-n-go’s are a necessity for any musician/band in the industry. Don’t know what a throw-n-go is? From music festivals to fairs, any event that requires multiple bands back-to-back is going to have a relatively strict timeline for each performance. Provided backline or not, these events generally involve getting on the stage and right back off quickly. Sometimes gear is pre-staged, sometimes not. Sometimes you get a soundcheck, sometimes you barely get a line-check. Whatever the case, these events involve moving with a fair amount of speed. This is pretty much the definition of a throw-n-go. With that out of the way, throw-n-go’s, while a necessity aren’t always the most fun. The hustle on/off reality can be frustrating but by following a few simple guidelines, it can much more pleasant for all involved.
Guideline 1 – Get your crap off the stage: Pretty self-explanatory but I see so many people dragging ass out there during band changeovers that it’s worth repeating. You can neatly put your stuff away off-stage. The 10-15 minute window for a band change-over is not the time to practice the over/under stage cable wrap technique. Get your stuff out of the way and then you can slow down and put things back at a normal pace. It’s only respectful to the next performer. If you choose to use your own gear (backline isn’t always reliable, sometimes it’s safer to use your own) then an expedient stage exit is that much more important as you have more gear. Move with a sense of purpose.
Guideline 2 – If the band before you screwed you over, don’t continue the trend: Many will probably disagree with me on this but I would actually recommend offering to shorten your set somewhat if it helps keep your band in good standing with the next band/artist. You do not get free license to screw everyone else just because the band before you took their time getting off stage or played long. There are situations where an event can run long and everyone can still get their allotted time on stage. For these situations, by all means, play your set! But, when the timeline is tighter than the jeans your guitarist is wearing, it might be worth biting the bullet and shortening your set a little.
Guideline 3 – Handle these situations with dignity, despite frustration: I get it, you’re bummed and frustrated when you can’t play your whole set. Trust me, we’ve all been there. What’s even more frustrating is when your band is there, on point, and ready to roll only to deal with someone else’s empty field of s**ts to give. But, such is life and the question you have to ask yourself is this: “how do I wish to be remembered?” Do you want to be known as the band that threw a fit about their time being bumped or do you want to be known as a group that was accommodating, respectful, and actually helped keep things moving in a good direction? If I had to guess, you would probably pick the latter.
Aaron Kusterer is a musician, tour manager, and composer based out of Long Beach, CA. He has performed with artists such as Eddie Money, Mitch Malloy, Juanes, and Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson) to name a few. He has also performed across the globe during a 10-year stint with the United States Air Force Band, 6 years of which was spent as a music director and tour manager. In addition, he owns and operates Advantage Tour Management. For more information on him, check out: AaronKusterer.com.