Look, I know it’s easy to get lost in all the terms and the slang. But here are a bunch of words and common phrases that you’ll hear while touring, advancing, or even in a bunch of these articles. Some technical, some… not so much. This list will never be finished, I’ll continue to update.
Updated Oct 12th, 2022.
If you can think of anything to add, hit me on social media or email at [email protected]
Advance – The art of negotiating details prior to the day of show. See article on What is Advancing? (Coming later this week).
AtVenu – A cloud-based merchandise management software with the ability to electronically sync the team so everyone can see reports, inventory, stats, etc. https://www.atvenu.com/
Back to the Future – When you play a city, leave, then have to drive back through later in the tour.
Backend – Slang for overages. See overages. i.e. “We hit 50k on the back-end”
Backline – This refers to all instruments to perform the show. Guitars, Bass, Drums, Keys, Amps, etc. are all considered backline
Boat – Often referred to as a guitar boat, this the a multiple guitar stand. It’s normally set-up in the guitar world (see world) so the tech can have all the necessary guitars out and ready. A Vault is the same thing, just on wheels and the guitars live inside it.
Boomerang – When you accidentally steal something from a venue and have to ship it back
Bro-Tech – A friend of the artist, hired to be a tech due to their relationship more than their merit. Often found drinking the beer and forgetting things at load out.
Bunk – Your coffin-sized bedroom on the bus where you sleep, cry and have alone time. See crying
Bunk alley – the hallway where the bunks are, separating the drivers side and the passenger side bunks. “I keep dropping my pillows into bunk alley at night”
Bunk bunny – k. This is a gross one. It’s the name of a sock that you jack off into.
Bus Bay – the area underneath the bus where luggage is stored.
Bus Call – A set time for when the bus is scheduled to depart. If you’re late for this, sometimes you get left behind. See Oil-Spot
Bus Flea – When a FOB (friend of band) rides the bus to another city.
Buyouts – When cash is distributed instead of the show paying for a service or product. I.e. instead of providing dinner, the promoter can give the tour manager cash for a meal buyout. Or, if there is budget allotted for production and the artist is self-contained, the artist takes the buyout instead.
Cash Advance – The final settlement is usually paid by chq or wire. If the tour manager needs some cash (it will be deducted from the settlement), but they need to ask the promoter for it in advance as cash isn’t as easy to pull these days.
Condo bunk – The bunk configuration that’s taller than the standard sized bunk. They’re usually 2 per column instead of the standard 3 per column.
Copy That – A common term used to display understanding.
Crew-ni-form – The Crew Uniform. Black hoodie, Black T-shirt, Black pants.
Crew Year’s Eve – Last show before multiple days off OR Last show of a tour.
Cross Load – When you load into a location for the sole purpose of loading into another vehicle. When you load from one truck to another. When you load from bus trailer directly to a truck.
Cryo – Short for cryogenics. The act of blasting cold compressed air through a jet for a special effect.
Dart Board Tour – When the touring routing looks like it was determined by throwing darts at a map.
db Limit – a predetermined amount maximum SPL (sound pressure level) allowed at a certain venue. You often see this in outdoor venues that have neighbours close by. i.e. “There’s a db limit of 100dba at FOH”
Dead Cases – “Deads” for short refers to case lids and empty cases. For example… While loading in, “Where are we gonna put our deads?”
Dead Man – A rolled drum carpet that looks like it contains a dead body.
Direct Support – The artist that plays just before the headliner
Disco Load-Out – When you load out and there is a DJ playing tunes cuz the bar refuses to let the party die. It is loud, annoying, and painful.
Distro – A piece of gear that distributes power. This will be connected to the venue’s power distribution then sent to lights, audio, stage etc. Sometimes requires an electrician to “tie-in” the tails
Donkey Show – Sometimes referred to as a “Gong Show”. When everything is disorganized and disastrous.
Down-Time – Time in between tours where you go home to rest. i.e. “Get home safe, enjoy your down-time”
Driver Bay – A bay on the bus designated for the driver. It normally holds the vacuum, bus supplies, and the driver’s personal possessions.
Drop and Go – When there is no parking at the venue and you have to drop all of your gear, then the bus or van has to go park offsite.
Drum Riser – See Risers. Drum riser’s common dimensions are 8ft x 8ft x 1ft and need to be specified if it requires wheels.
Dummy Check – The act of doing a double check or final walk through to make sure you didn’t forget anything. I.e. “Did anyone do a dummy-check?”
Ego Riser – See Risers. Ego risers are normally positioned downstage for the artist to stand on and look bigger or higher for effect.
Flat Deal – A version of the contract in which the artist is paid a flat fee as a guarantee and will not be receiving overages. See guarantee and overages.
FOH – Abbreviation for Front of House. Where the audio and lighting consoles live in the crowd.
Front Lounge – Refers to the front – common area – section of the bus. This is where the bathroom, fridge, kitchenette, TVs, and seats are.
Gaff – Cloth tape used for just about everything on the road. Found in a variation of sizes and colours.
Garth Vader – Midwest casino goers with oxygen tanks and cigarettes.
Generator – Genny for short. An engine in a bay of the bus used to generate power for the bus when the engine is off.
Generator alley – The alleyway between 2 busses that are parked beside each other. If the generators are running, it’s a vortex of exhaust fumes.
Gig Foot – See Stage Turd. A Piece of Gaff tape stuck to your shoe
Grab and Go – When you stop for food but don’t have time to eat.
Grab and Vibe – When you stop for food but have time to chill and eat.
Groupie – You know what they are. No, you shouldn’t bang them.
Guarantee – A contracted amount that the artist gets paid to do a show.
Hang-a-bility – A way to describe someone’s ability to hang out
High touch – This shit is crazy. It’s big in Kpop touring. This is a VIP segment where you literally run past the artist and give them a High-Five. Meet n Greets are for losers.
Hollywood Pack – Refers to a truck pack with no stacking cases. Everything is flat and easy to load in. Also referred to as a “Flat Pack”
Hospitality Rider – This is the famous rider. This is the list that all the fans wanna know about. A “hospo” rider is the list of all your hospitality needs that you need to perform the show. It’s supposed to be snacks, drinks, etc to cover your crew through the day. Some see this as an opportunity to make outlandish requests as this is where you’d see the 1000 brown M&M’s. It’s frowned upon. Here’s a link to the smoking gun for a bunch of famous riders.
Hot Bag – A bag in which you go #2 into since there are no #2’s on the bus. This is pretty gross, maybe you should just ask the driver to pull over instead.
IATSE – See Unions. IATSE is the union for the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees. Follow the link here to their website to familiarize yourself.
Jump Seat – The seat beside the driver in the front of the bus. Equivalent to riding shotgun in a bus. It’s also the designated smoking seat.
Junk bunk – a bunk that doesn’t have anyone sleeping in it. It get filled with everyone’s bags, jackets, shoes, etc.
Justin Case – A permanent reserved guest list spot held just in case of a late request
Laminate – This is your laminated backstage pass. Normally worn around your neck or from a carabiner on your belt loop, they’re often numbered or have your name so they’re traceable and accountable. These bad boys generally cost money if they are lost and need to be replaced.
LaundroMerch – When your luggage gets lost or stolen and you have to borrow merch for the sake of clean clothes.
Lead driver – The driver in charge of the other drivers. If there are busses and trucks on the tour, it will be a truck driver since they are usually at the venue before the busses.
Load in – The act of moving gear from it’s transportation into the venue
Lobby Call – A pre-determined time to meet in the lobby of a hotel. i.e. “Lobby call at 8am”
Loft – This isn’t your sexy apartment above a store in Soho. It’s a second level in the truck, built out of plywood and load bars, to store less heavy items. Oftentimes becomes a way to store merch boxes.
Marlon Randos – Random people or guests in the way of load out. Especially true in loading zones and hallways.
Master Tour – Tour Management software that has the ability to electronically sync band, crew, management, etc. NO MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HOTEL WE’RE AT OR WHAT TIME WE’RE ON. #checkmastertour https://www.eventric.com/master-tour-management-software/
Merch – Short form for merchandise. Refers to the items available for sale to the general public. Pretty straight forward if you’ve ever been to a show.
NDA – Non Disclosure Agreement. It’s a legal contract that protects one party from their information being made public. Often times an artist will have the crew sign an NDA to protect their privacy and their artwork.
Neck-down – A person only useful from the neck down. As in, useful for pushing cases, but not thinking.
Noise Curfew – A predetermined time when all noise must stop. This could be a policy that does not allow noise during the day if there are offices beside the venue, or if the city has a strict no noise past 11pm bylaw.
Oil-Spot – see Bus Call. Stems from the Latin term where you miss bus call and there is literally a spot of oil on the ground where the bus used to be. Please, I beg you. Someone make an emoji for an oil spot. All I have is this. ??
Overages – This is kinda a broad overview but, overages are the remaining amount of money left from show revenue (ticket sales) after all over the expenses (show costs) are paid. The amount of money to split are called the overages. i.e. The show brings in 50k, but costs $40k to produce, $10k are the overages to be split amongst the artist and the promoter. (Amounts and % are based on the contract)
Over Drive – (OD for short) A time when the bus driver gets into overtime. It can be after 450miles or 10 hours in 1 drive. Can also be if you bring a driver back from the hotel before their legally allotted time off (8 hours).
Parking Map – A detailed map provided by the promoter rep (or in the tech pack) to show the bus and truck drivers where to park. Oftentimes, the drivers arrive in the middle of the night. A detailed parking map allows them to get sorted properly without having to wake anyone up.
Party Shoes – Slides or slippers worn on the bus.
Pass of Shame – When someone loses their tour pass and as preliminary replacement/punishment, they have to wear an A4/Letter sized pass for a day.
Points – See Overages – Slang for percentages. “PR: Do you want to show cost this? TM: Naw, fuck it, we’re into points already. Let’s make some moneeey.”
Pre-Settlement – This is an updatable version of the settlement delivered to the tour manager from the promoter rep during the day of show. This gives you a good idea of where you’re at with expenses vs tickets sold before the box office closes and you can make informed money decisions based on that.
Production Rider – See Rider. A list of production-related items (Audio, Lighting, Video) that are required to do the show. i.e. Audio section will say, We require a 4-way PA System with the ability to produce 120db of distortion-free audio at 100ft. These are often multiple pages and dependant on the level of artist.
Punters – The fans, the crowd, the VIPs. “(during security meeting) Which way do the punters come in?”
Punisher – A friend or a fan that is TOO DAMN MUCH
Pyro – Short for pyrotechnics. Means literal FIRE!!!
Quad – A destination on the other side of the gymnasium, only if naked and in the movie Old School. Otherwise, it’s a 4 outlet box used to plug-in A/C.
Quick connect – Often also referred to as NC-14 or Veam, This is an adapter to screw and connect a stage box. This is useful so you can plug all of your cables into the stage box on the riser, and only use the connecter when the riser rolls into place. This makes life much faster.
Quit-Fire – Depends on who you ask if the person quit or was fired. When someone quits before they are fired, or vice versa, gets fired before they can quit.
Ramp Party – When the hands are called to move the ramp from under the truck to the back of the trailer.
Rider – Broken into 2 categories. See Hospitality Rider or Production Rider. This is a list of all the things you would like. These are often very elaborate. They are sent to the promoter when purchasing the show, where the promoter scratches off items that they don’t want to pay for, signs it, and sends it back to the artist. It is part 2 to a contract.
Rider Spiders – Guests/Friends who eat or drink all the rider and after-show food.
Risers – Wood or steel platform to elevate a particlar instrument or person. i.e. Drum riser. 8ftx8ftx2ft on wheels.
Roadie – Did you know there are a bunch of people that get offended by this word? They find it derogatory? Sticks and stones, luv (Jack Sparrow impression)
Roadie Bra – A chest harness to hold tools, flashlight, phone, radio, and other accessories
Roadie Friday – This is the best day of every week. It’s any show day that is followed by a day off.
Rock Doc – The doctor that comes to the venue when someone is sick
Rumble strips – Perforations on the side of the road to alert drivers when they are veering out of the lane. These are the #1 reason for waking up road dogs.
Runner – A local person hired on show day to source various items. A runner is usually in a vehicle and is responsible for running errands on behalf of the tour all day. i.e. running to the grocery store/home depot, or driving the bus drivers to the hotel.
Safety – A steel cable used as a backup for rigging. i.e. each light fixture has a “safety” in case the clamp malfunctions and the light falls from the truss.
Security Meeting – A meeting that happens every show day approx 30 mins before doors to got over backstage access, evacuation plans, security placements, and a double check on all artist and venue policies. Normally has the tour manager, promoter rep, venue production manager, and head of security.
Settlement – The art of sorting financials. “TM: Hey, when can you settle up? PR: Gimme 15, the box office just closed”
Shed – A slang term for an amphitheatre with a roof over the crowd
Show Cost – A pre-approved allotment of money categorized to facilitate the show. i.e. labor, hospitality, security, etc. All of the amounts go into the settlement at the end of the night when calculating overages. see overages
Slide Out – A section of the bus that literally slides out to extend the living space. Often found in the front lounge, it can only be out when the bus is parked.
Stacks and Racks – A term referring to a PA system and it’s amps. “We’re traveling with all audio except stacks and racks”
Stage Box – A box on stage in which you plug audio cables into. These run from the stage to the snake and keep things tidy.
Stage Hand – Normally just referred to as hands, They are the categorized labor that help the touring crew set-up. Broken into Audio, Lighting, Video, Backline, etc.
Stage Turd – A Piece of Gaff tape stuck to your shoe
Status – A term that refers to Airline or Hotel loyalty programs. The more you fly or stay, the higher levels of status you obtain and the more perks you receive.
Steward – the head union rep on site. They are the boss of the union laborers.
Sub Ride – A long bus ride. As if you’re trapped in a submarine.
Tech Packet – A list of all items available for use at the venue. This includes PA specs and info on Lighting, dressing rooms, showers, stage size, etc.
Tetris – The art of distinguishing the truck pack.
Throw and Go – When there is no time for soundcheck, so you have to put your gear on stage during changeover and hope for the best.
Tourmonal – A person’s negative feelings which have been brought on by the usual hurdles of day to day life on tour.
Transpo – Short for transportation, It refers to the logistics surrounding transportation. i.e. Getting vans to pick the crew up at the hotel and bring them to the venue.
Truck Fit – Having a certain level of physical ability to be able to stack 3 high cases in several trucks at 2am
Two Birds Stoned – This is a Rickyism from The Trailer Park Boys. It means the popular phrase kill 2 birds with 1 stone if you’re from a trailer park in Atlantic Canada.
Union – You know what, to the lower level touring acts, unions have a bad rap. But fuck that. Unions are the only part of civilization and are a great thing IF UTILIZED PROPERLY. A union protects the worker’s rights ensuring that they get proper breaks, paid according to labor laws, and ensure that everything is running according to safety regulations. They do it literally every day and are there to help. See IATSE for more union info.
Venue Curfew – A predetermined time when the venue has to be closed or is no longer staffed. See noise curfew.
Visqueen – A thin clear plastic used to cover gear in the event of rain.
WDA – This might just be a personal one but its code for showering and means Wash Dat Ass. i.e. “I don’t know if I’ll have time to go out, I still have to WDA.”
Wheels to Jesus – A case flipped upside down. wheel to the sky
Yerba Mate – A naturally caffeinated beverage for when you need a change from coffee.
Zero – How much I care about you if you don’t share this on the social links below.
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