February 7th & 8th 2020
Welcome by Bill Reeves
This conference was the end result of a conversation that began 10 years ago between me and my good friend and colleague, Lance “KC” Jackson. KC and I have known and worked with each other in the touring business for better than 30 years. One day, a little over 10 years ago, he and I had a conversation about the lack of representation in industry media of roadies of color.
Over the years R&B and Hip-Hop acts have become increasingly staffed by roadies of color at all levels from tour manager to third carpenter. Concurrently R&B and Hip-Hop acts have come to represent a significant percentage of revenue generated and audience played to in the concert touring business as a whole. And yet a perusal of Industry media, (articles, periodicals, online newsletters), never seemed to reflect this fact. What we saw depicted was an industry filled with a non-diverse workforce of professionals which, was not reflective of what we knew from our own personal experience to be true. So, we decided to address this situation by establishing an informal online association of touring professionals of color. This association was to be a place for the exchange of ideas and information and most importantly, to foster a sense of community amongst the touring professionals we knew and worked with. And so, in March of 2009 Roadies of Color United went online.
About a year ago KC and I had another conversation about the proliferation of conferences and conventions dedicated to the touring industry. And although the intervening 10 years since the inception of Roadies of Color United has seen the general industry media evolve a somewhat better sense of the diverse makeup of touring professionals working today, we are still under-represented. And we thought, wouldn’t it be cool to gather the people we’ve worked with and known from our years of touring. Get them in one place, not at a gig, and be able to talk, laugh, exchange information, enjoy some fellowship and in general take another step on the road to fostering a sense of community? Coincidentally with this conversation we looked at the calendar and realized that Roadies of Color was coming up on 10 years of existence. Seemed like a no brainer!
So, we gathered a committee of like-minded professionals who volunteered their time and expertise to help organize and make this conference a reality. It’s our want to help develop a sense of identity within our segment of the larger touring professional’s community. It’s our hope that the information you receive from various panels and discussions we have organized will help you to hone your craft, improve your skills and in general be a complete and more qualified professional in this business. We are also instituting the first annual Lenny Awards for excellence, named for our dear departed irrepressible brother Lenny Guice. Nominated by industry peers the recipients represent the best of us in their categories. We want you to have a good time, gather useful information, network and make new friends so that we can go forth and prosper in this industry that we not only make our living in but also love.