A 5280 GEEK Artist Rider
Coming to a theater or a stadium near you…
by John Andreula
edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk
Many of us have heard the stories of artists’ strange demands while on tour for performances.
Singling out green M&Ms, Magnum XL condoms, and gigantic pizzas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the behind the scenes goods and services provided to the artists and their entourages.
In my life, outside of writing and wandering, I am a caterer to the stars. My team has recently been asked for such things as THC infused edibles, MAGIC THE GATHERING trading cards, and Manuka Honey with a plus 12 rating. Regardless of whatever that is, I am beginning to not be surprised by being surprised by what artists request.
Idiosyncratic creature comforts are one of the spoils of the determination and discipline required to become a theater or stadium-headlining performing artist.
Each of these performers has achieved a renown so grandiose that it warrants tens of thousands of fans signing up to become spectators. Each will part with the ridiculously high-priced cost of the tickets and inconvenience fees; not to mention parking, concessions, and $45 for t-shirts at the show.
That can all be seen from the crowd, and the concert and show-goers’ bank statements. What is not so obvious, however, is the amount of people who make their living from working the show, like myself.
There are maintenance workers who take out the trash and separate the recycling. They sweep up all the garbage you so thoughtlessly kicked under the seats during the show.
There’s countless security representatives. The gate attendants in the parking lot, the personal guard at the door of the headliner’s dressing room, and all the managers and positions in between.
There’s concessions and merch vendors, stage-hands, building management, teams in production and promotion, as well as police and fire inspectors. That’s all in addition to the technical boys and girls of the websites that advertise and sell the tickets.
Then there is the artists’ personal team. They are the hand-selected staff that typically travels on tour with the artist. They each execute a variety of individual responsibilities. These include, but are not limited to, doing hair, make-up, and wardrobe.
There’s the nutritionists, bodyguards, personal assistants, and even the intern who runs the Insta and Facebook pages. There’s even a doctor who brings oxygen and whatever other prescription pharmaceuticals the artist needs.
The list of people who make their living off the creative work of the headlining artists is endless. It’s no wonder why the stars make so much money. Just as it is no wonder that they develop peculiarities that would lead to such an obsessive and strange thing as their personal rider.
A rider is included in the contract with the promoter to perform. Once signed, it becomes a legally binding accounting of what the artist can expect, in addition to the money being paid to perform at the show.
I figured that since I have been so diligently producing creative content, as well as growing my brand, that now would be the perfect time for me to create my own list of incidental items I will require when I am invited to perform in the near future.
It probably makes more sense to focus on aspects of much higher importance to my writing career, such as lawyers, accountants, management, and of course, actually getting paid to write. Yet we all know that’s not how I work.
If I continue my current productive pace, at some point some sucker will eventually be enjoying my work enough to not only pay for it, but they may even be willing to host me for a live performance. (I am currently available for readings, panels, and speaking engagements.)
When this eventuality occurs I will expect handsome pay, of course. Additionally, I will require my travel and lodging expenses covered. Most importantly though, will be my personal artist rider.
And here it is…
Personal Rider for John Andreula
Show Date XX-XX-XXXX
Venue (Insert major venue here; ie Carnegie Hall or the Staples Center)
The artist will arrive at the venue approximately one hour before sound check. Please make sure the following is prepared prior to his arrival.
A well-lit dressing room with a comfortable couch, a small refrigerator, at least two unused outlets. A private bathroom is preferred.
Please decorate the dressing room to make the ambiance comfortable and relaxing.
Please have the venue’s WiFi log-in information posted on the wall.
Please have the following items inside the dressing room at the artist’s arrival.
- One 5-gallon jug of spring water with cistern or dispenser. (No Crystal Geyser, as it has the highest arsenic content)
- One espresso machine with carafe, milk steaming pitcher, and clip-on thermometer.
- One bag coffee beans, ground for an espresso maker. No French Roast; it tastes like an ashtray.
- One quart of organic alternative non-dairy milk; i.e. oat milk, almond milk. No soy please.
- Two bottles of organic kombucha.
- One pack of Suja Wellness Shots.
- Three organic bananas.
- One bag of peeled organic baby carrots. If baby carrots are unavailable, please provide 2-3 full size organic carrots with a peeler.
- One bag organic granola.
- One bag organic tortilla chips.
- One jar organic salsa.
- Some local or organic chocolates.
- One notebook or journal
- One nice pen; preferably Zebra.
- Two comic books or graphic novels from the show week’s releases; dealer’s choice.
- One pack medium sized boxers or boxer briefs, preferably tag-less.
- One pack black cotton athletic socks, crew or longer. No ankle socks please.
- One inflatable horse or two person horse costume.¹
- An envelope filled with $250 in unmarked non-consecutive bills for any additional expenses incurred by the artist.
Please have dinner ready to be served two hours prior to stage performance time.
Please include an option for the artist to have up to seven guests at his convenience. Any more than seven guests will be communicated at least one day in advance.
Dinner should include the following three main course options:
- Organic chicken dish
- Wild-caught fish dish
- Organic or non-GMO vegetarian dish
Please prepare side dish options and a soup using organic and non-GMO ingredients.
Please provide choices of local handmade desserts.
John truly appreciates your preparation and service.
(¹I’ve consistently wondered if the strangest items on these riders was there just to test the production and catering teams. I may as well include one as well.)
And that’s it.
This list, and my hundred thousand dollar performance fee, and you may be seeing me performing at a venue near you.
I did have to exercise restraint in creating my rider. It was exciting to imagine all the possibilities of things I could request to make my show-day waiting and prep-time comfortable. All I had to do was run through a typical day in my head to determine the items I need and want most days.
Unfortunately, many of the items on the artists’ riders becomes waste after the show. They don’t have a lot of room on the tour buses for all the excess. They definitely don’t want to take all the extra weight on an airplane in their luggage.
Luckily, much of it finds a home with the caterers, maintenance, and security people when the artist leaves the performance location at the end of the night.
Frankly I’m not certain if the promoter, the venue, or artist themself covers the cost of the items on the rider. I’d guess it’s all in the contract paper-work, but even if it isn’t my $100,000 should be more than enough to cover the list.
What it will take for you to be comfortable on your show day?
Please take a few minutes to create your own personal artist rider.
We’d love to see it as well. Use the comments section below to post yours.
We look forward to seeing your own take on this unusual, and somewhat out-of-touch behavior.
John Andreula is a caterer to the stars & geek residing in Westminster, Colorado.
Reach him for commission work or media requests at: