Green Room Riders

By Stephanie Purcell

Artist’s riders come with the package. They are noted in the majority of request for talent: Fee plus tech and hospitality rider. The Green Room is a home base for a performer on show day. This helps your them feel comfortable and gives them a space pre-show to get in the Zone. Riders have become famous from Jack White’s famous Guacamole Recipe to Van Halen’s embedded “no brown – coloured M&Ms” backstage clause…you’ll find out there’s a method to the madness.

At the end of the day the reality is that artists are focused on their performance. The request for food and beverage is often due to being in a building for hours at a time and the timeline that doesn’t allow them to get access to it otherwise. Most venues also do not allow you to bring in outside food and beverage so it needs to be ordered through the catering company.

What do riders typically include? Most common requests are water, juice, soda, tea, coffee, alcohol, sandwiches, veggies, snacks etc. Riders typically include healthy food requests so performers are feeling at their best when they take the stage. Sometimes people ask me why performers request alcohol. So to start, this is a common request for artists globally but being from Nova Scotia one thing I always tell individuals is that you really can’t cheers a SOCIABLE! with a  bottle of water. You need a beer!

Here’s a few fun facts about Riders I have experienced through the years:

  1. Tony Bennett’s rider is as down to earth as most artists. TB and his band request Merlot, Heineken, sandwiches, fruit and veggie trays.
  2. A client told me once she made one of Natalie MacMaster’s favourite cookie recipes she had listed on her website and delivered them to her green room with her rider.
  3. After a show when I ask one of my artists how everything went I usually hear about the sandwiches (good or bad) before I hear about the performance. And when the sandwiches are real good, I get a solid description. Good sandwiches mean a lot!
  4. The care a client takes in providing an extensive rider full of healthy snacks and treats is remembered. See below a shot of me in a green room with Elliott Brood from a performance at Halifax Pop Explosion a couple years ago. They loved the rider and the show was killer!