It’s a sad truth that the world doesn’t always work as smoothly as we’d like (just wait until I’m finally in charge!). There’s normal traffic, accident-induced traffic, weather-related traffic, TGIF-batsh!t-crazy traffic, and even some non-traffic related concerns. Heck, you may even forget an important item (e.g., batteries for your wireless). So it’s not a bad idea to double the estimated amount of drive time and use that.
The worst thing that can happen is that you arrive early, with lots of time to leisurely:
- unload & setup your gear (“They only have 2 electrical outlets?!!”)
- do a thorough sound check (“It doesn’t feedback like this at home!”)
- change clothes (especially important in summer, or if your band has a uniform or similar clothing style not conducive to schlepping)
- attend to personal hygiene, makeup, hair, bodily functions…
- visit a local store for equipment you either forgot or just thought of (“Hmm, a $20 electric fan on a 100-degree day is a damn bargain!”)
- eat semi-real food that wasn’t ordered at a drive-through (no judgement)
Actually, probably the worst thing that can happen here is that there’s an accident, hopefully not involving you, and you arrive closer to showtime than you’d thought. In that case, it’s business as usual.
Almost nothing will tick off your bandmates, crowd, and/or employer than someone arriving too late to properly set up and help with unloading, unless you have roadies. And yes, as much fun as gigging is, it is work, if only for a few hours. [Hmm, that might make a good potential blog topic…]
What about you? How early do you typically arrive before a gig? How much earlier for a new venue?