Recently I was asked how to deal with a stage layout when you have to set up and tear down all the audio equipment every week. I am quite familiar with this dance, and many churches need to do this because they use their main venue for several different services throughout the week. I once worked at a church where the youth room was the also the multipurpose room, and it was used every day by different ministries. These kids had a full band, double keyboards, double electrics, double acoustics, 4-5 singers and bass/drums. It’s a lot of work prepping a platform that was completely clear to having a full band and then back down again in one day. But as the old saying goes, work smarter, not harder. My secrets?
Vital Tips for Stage Setup and Tear Down
A place for everything and everything in Its Place. I have a closet dedicated specifically to “audio storage.” There are hooks on the walls that are labeled for XLR cables of varying lengths, instrument cables, speaker cables, and power cables. I also have several drawers where I store microphones, direct boxes, cable adapters, and more. There is a dedicated area in our back stage for mic stands and music stands too. If I need a cable, I know exactly what hook it is on. If I need an adapter, I know exactly where to find it, and it makes set up much easier. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hired as a contractor at a church, and I find their audio storage in complete shambles. It can take precious minutes to find the appropriate length mic cable and untangle it from the bunch. Keep everything organized and set up can be done in the blink of an eye.
Everyone on my worship team knows the audio storage closet. They don’t just know where the closet is, they know every drawer and every hook, and if they are unsure, everything is labeled. Every member on the worship team has been taught how to wrap a cable and knows what hook to put it on. If you are in a situation where you need to put everything away right after service, talk to your worship leader and ask if it is appropriate to ask members of the team if they have time to wrap a cable after they pack up their own gear. If everyone on stage does one cable, your stage will be mostly clear.
Acoustic guitarists, electric guitarists, and bassists all have their own cables. I’ve found that if you take the time to sit down and show them how to properly wrap their personal cables, they will voluntarily pick up a random mic cable on the floor and start wrapping it to help improve their own wrapping technique. It’s a win/win situation. You’ve given them respect and brotherly love by showing them how to prolong their cables life through proper wrapping, and they turn around and help you clean the stage. I can wrap a 50 foot cable in 10 seconds flat, and everyone in the band thinks it’s amazing. They voluntarily pick up cables and help tear down; they want to practice wrapping to become fast and efficient like that. I ask them to put it on the floor and I will take it to the closet, but they often go the next step because after all, they all know where the cables go.