Most of my shows are one-nighters.
That means I show up, load in, do a show, pack and load out and leave.
It is a one time gig.
That doesn’t mean I won’t go back, but I’m not there on sequential days.
There are times when I am booked for a run.
Fairs generally schedule me multiple days. Sometimes two or three, other times the whole run.
I also work a small amusement park. I’ve been working one to two weeks there for the past 24 years.
When set up for a run, it makes little sense to tear everything down and set it up the next day. I try to cut some corners when I can.
That is why I titled this article: Leave It Behind.
I’m going to share what I leave behind after shows, when I know I will be back the next day.
At the park, I can leave up my sound and lock my cases away. It is inside and the building is locked at night. That makes it pretty nice. I can leave my puppet stand assembled and don’t have to completely pack my cases.
The backdrop stays up for the whole run too. After my last show, I make sure the puppets, my microphone and my music system are safely locked away for the night.
Although, to be honest, I do have my backup puppets at the cottage I stay in. That way if anything does walk, I can still do the show.
At a fair, it is totally different.
You can request a locked storage area for your equipment at night. Sometimes it will be a shed and you can use your own lock. Other times they will want you to run your equipment over to another building. (No thanks!)
In my fair contract I require parking within 100 feet of the stage. That works out great when the entertainment stage is on the border of the fairgrounds. When it is within the grounds, some fairs will make you arrive before the fair opens and wait until close to leave.
Been there. Done that. Hated it.
I generally repack my cases and lock them in my car. A huge black blanket goes over everything. I learned that from Ken Groves. It is my cloak of invisibility.
But even at the fairs I leave things behind. For example, all of my electric cords. I have one that runs from the power source to the stage. (Unless you are lucky enough to have a stage with outlets on it!)
I also leave the cords that run around to the front for my lights. I’ve been known to leave the speaker cords at times, depending on how I feel about the fair patrons.
The next day my set up is easier. I can just carry things where they go and plug them in.
Not as easy as the amusement park, but also not as secure.
Even with a storage shed, I would still take my puppets and certain electronics with me. After the shows, the stage area is dark. That is enticing for some people. There generally isn’t security in that area either. Which means that storage shed may not be as safe as you think.
In every situation, I tend to leave behind things that can be easily replaced. Electric cords can be picked up at any home improvement store, or even a Walmart. Speaker cords are available from music stores.
That isn’t true of puppets and unique props.
Another thing I have is equipment insurance. If something gets stolen, I will get reimbursed. Luckily I have never had to use it.
You may never use these insights. But if you are in a multiple date situation, use your intuition to determine if you can or should leave something behind that may make tomorrow’s set up easier.