Unsigned Advice

Band Checklist: 50 Things to Bring When Playing a Gig

Band Checklist: 50 Things to Bring When Playing a Gig
May 17, 2017
Whether you're veteran musicians with thousands of gigs under your belt or a fresh-faced newbie whose just landed your first booking, this gig checklist is for you.

We've racked our brains and asked experienced musicians from across the industry for their tips on what to bring along to a live show. And here are the results.

50 gig essentials for bands and musicians - check this advice for musicians and let us know if we've missed anything!

50 Things for Bands to Bring to a Gig

You obviously won't need ALL 50 of these things for EVERY gig, but we wanted to put together a comprehensive list of just about everything you could conceivably need to make sure your show goes smoothly.

1. Spare strings

Your guitar or bass strings WILL snap at the most inconvenient moment possible. It’s inevitable.

2. Gaffer/duct tape

Stuff gets broken on the road. It’s a fact of life for musicians.

3. String cutters

Make the inevitable last-minute string change as quick and easy as possible.

4. String winder

Again, it pays to make things easier for yourself.

5. Screwdriver

So vital. You never know when you’ll need one... until you need one!

6. Pliers

You get the point. Tools are important.

7. Your merchandise

Flog your band’s merch and make some cash… t-shirts, stickers, posters etc.

8. Plug extension leads

Your amp’s plug doesn’t reach the mains? No problem!

9. Plug adapters

Only really necessary when playing overseas, but essential none the less.

10. Set list

It should be ingrained in everyone’s brains AND written in front of them.

"What are we opening with?"

11. Batteries

For your tuner, loop pedals etc in case all the plug sockets are taken.

12. Pad and pen

Essential for scribbling down set list changes and notes.

13. Tuners

Don’t let slipping out of tune ruin your set.

14. Spare leads

Someone ALWAYS ends up with the dodgy lead.

15. Picks

Bring a sack-load of picks for when they start disappearing into the pick vortex.

16. Spare guitar strap

Otherwise you’ll end up sitting down if your strap breaks.

17. Your instruments


18. Amplification

Could be worth bringing along a spare amp if your usual one is unreliable.

19. Spare tubes

If you’ve got a tube amp and the worst happens.

20. Spare patch cables

Replace that unreliable pedal connection in a flash.

"Got any spare patch cables, mate?"

21. Spare pedals

If you’ve got a pedal you can’t do without, might be worth getting a spare just in case.

22. Capos

And a spare one for the person who always loses their's.

23. Earplugs

Make sure you’re not blasting your eardrums night after night. Tinnitus is a bitch.

24. Sweat rags

Bright lights shining off your sweaty forehead is not a good look.

25. Cleaning spray

Make sure your instruments are sparkling before the show.

26. Drum key

Just in case you need to make any tweaks to your kit before playing.

27. Spare drum skins

In case the drummer in the band before you is a little heavy-handed.

28. Drum breakables

Even if you’re playing the house kit, you may not have access to cymbals, stools, pedals etc.

29. Damper pads

If you want to remove unwanted resonance and get a punchier sound.

30. Spare drum sticks

A snapped stick mid-gig is a major problem.

"Dude, I just decapitated my stick."

31. Medicine pack

Paracetamol, decongestants, Dayquil, Advil, antacids, pepto-bismol… always worth bringing.

32. Torch

Even if it’s just the app on your smart phone.

33. Coloured electrical tape

For marking out stage positions or colour coding your cables.

34. Cash

Keep a few notes stashed somewhere safe in case your card stops working or gets lost.

35. Business cards

Include all your essential contact info to give to potential bookers and music biz execs.

36. Copies of your release

CDs or USB sticks. You never know who’ll be there.

37. Banners/promo materials

Something to let people know exactly who you are at a glance.

38. Quick snacks

Never go on stage hungry.

39. Water bottle

Especially important for your lead singer.

40. Directions

Don’t get lost on your way to a new venue.

Band Checklist: 50 Things to Bring When Playing a Gig
"Where are we parking the van?"

41. Venue’s contact details

Just in case you DO get lost on the way.

42. Beer/liquor

For after the gig, right?

43. Condoms

No glove, no love.

44. Spare clothes

Things can get sweaty up on stage, and you want to look good for the afterparty.

45. PA system

The venue might provide this, but always check for smaller gigs.

46. Monitors

Again, whether you want in-ear or floor monitors, check with your venue.

47. Spare mic

Some musicians like to use their own mic. Sometimes the venue’s mics break.

48. Blu-tack

Stick spare picks to your guitar in case you lose your grip mid-song.

49. A crowd

You can’t always rely on people to just show up, so invite your friends.

50. THE FURY!!!

Don’t be awkward or uncomfortable on stage. Own your performance and give the audience a show they won’t forget.

Band Checklist: 50 Things to Bring When Playing a Gig

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