Why Can’t Musicians Stick To Their Times?

It is something that irritates me no end with musicians in general, the issue of keeping to time in concerts.

This year I engineered at a festival in Huddersfield, with each artist allocated a 20 minute set with a 5 minute changeover. The stressful downside was that out of 7 acts, only two of them kept within their time slot, causing the show to run massively behind schedule.

I wasn’t tasked with managing the stage that day, that role went to the comperes who were perhaps a little too accommodating. If the responsibility fell on me, I would have gone out of my way to run a tighter ship.

It’s something that bands seem to not understand, and they are blissfully unaware of how they are disrupting other performances. When audience members came to see a certain artist and have to wait 10-15 minutes because it’s running late, it can actually discourage punters from staying, meaning other artists aren’t performing in front of as many people, which harms them.

If you’re on a stage that I’m managing, and you have a 20 minute slot, I don’t give a shit how you spend those 20 minutes. You can play uninterrupted for that duration, or you can spend 16 minutes talking. But know this, I won’t have you running over your slot and eating into other people’s performance time, as it’s selfish and unprofessional. I will give you a one song left cue, and if you have the audacity to try and undermine me, I will mute you.

If you’re playing a show, time your set in rehearsals. Make sure you know how long your songs are, and how long you spend talking in between. If you have 20 minutes, then 5 3 minute songs will leave 5 minutes to talk in between, and you won’t run over. Keep a watch, or even a timer onstage, and don’t run over.

Let’s be a little more professional eh?

​Marc Gallagher