Musicians’ Strangest Requests- An Ode to the Concert Rider

Snoop Dogg’s rider from Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest.

It’s hard to imagine the life of a touring musician. With multiple stops in different cities, sometime countries, each week and a tour bus as your home, life is sure to be a bit hectic. But after experiencing a few tours worth of life on the road, many musicians have found a way to make up for some of the creature comforts they miss out on by being away. Some in bigger ways then other…MUCH bigger.

Enter stage left: The artist rider. The rider is a list of requests (demands?) a performer submits to each venue of day-of-show requirements, ranging from specific foods to personnel needs to safety requirements.

Inspired by the picture we received of Snoop Dogg’s requests for Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest, we decided to explore this subject a bit further. Just for funsies, we’re going to highlight some of the most outrageous rider requests known to man. Special thanks to The Smoking Gun, our source for the majority of this outlandish information. Here goes nothin’.

1: Van Halen

Bron M&M’s are a no-no for Van Halen. Image courtesy of Flickr user Stijn Vogels.

The cream of the crop and where crazy requests may very well have gotten their start. Van Halen’s rider, in

addition to very specific technical requirements, requested that a bowl of M&M’s be placed in the band’s dressing room with all of the brown M&M’s removed.

As it turns out, this diva-esque request was actually made with the best of intentions. David Lee Roth revealed that this was actually a test for the band to judge how closely the venue had followed the specifications of the rider. If a brown M&M was found in the jar, it could be deducted that the venue had not been as thorough as necessary, which in candy terms since silly, but when applied to electronic equipment and heavy stage sets, it actually makes perfect sense. By not following Van Halen’s rider to a T, the venue could possibly put the lives of band members, fans, or the road crew at risk.

Little did Roth know that he opened up the door for a new generation of over-the-top rider requests, most of which seem to be a bit more trivial…

2: Mariah Carey

This brings me to our next jewel. This may not be a shocker, but it’s safe to say that Mariah Carey may be a bit high maintenance. Her requests for one particular gig included a $200 bottle of wine, lamps to avoid harsh dressing room lighting, aromatherapy candles, and two dozen white roses. But, perhaps my favorite of them all, was Carey’s request of a “staircase assistant” whose main task consisted of testing stairs to make sure they are safe for the singer to walk down (more details here).

3: The Foo Fighters

While the Foo Fighters have a very length, very detailed rider, they managed to take the diva status down many notches by spicing their requests up with creativity. Creativity of what kind, you ask? To start things off, they included a coloring book and activity pages. But the most entertaining aspect is the wording of the request themselves. Below are a few of my favorite excerpts:
•    “Every lunch should feature a vegetarian soup. Dinner should have a different vegetarian soup. Please use as little cream as possible in the soups. Roadies get bloated and become colicky when they’ve inhaled too much Cream of Cauliflower.”
•   “PASTA/ITALIAN FOOD DISHES: As the boys in the hood say, “Bring your ‘A’ game.” Italian food has to be decent. Olive Garden should not outshine your food. Pasta is not noodles in dishwater. Let’s be wowed. A pasta bar with a clean, sober chef making the entree makes the roadies feel less like 5th grade lunch kids and more like actual civilians on a cruise ship (you can skip the ice sculptures, Rodin).”
•    The hospitality room request list included such gems as: “6 Rich guy coconut waters with extra priviledge (in cardboard cartons)” “18 Cans of Red Bull Energy Drink” “0 Cans of Tiger Blood” “108 Large Bath Towels- if they are new and unwashed, you will receive a wedgie.”

4: Katy Perry

Apparently decor ranks high on Katy Perry’s list of priorities. Additionally, she has high expectations when it comes to flowers. Future Perry suitors, take note. Below is an abbreviated list of her dressing room must-haves:
•    “Two (2) comfortable arm chairs- egg chairs, one with footstool, in cream
•    One (1) coffee table- Perspex modern style
•    Two (2) floor lamps- French ornate style
•    One (1) refrigerator with glass door
•    Arrangement of fresh flowers- consisting pink. White and purple hydrangeas, pink & white roses and peonies. OR if the above is not available selection of seasonal white flowers to include orchids- ABSOLUTELY NO CARNATIONS.”

5: Adele

We have to give kudos to Adele for including such a selfless requirement in the rider from her 21 tour:

“All guests at all Adele shows will be asked for a minimum donation to charity of $20.00 per person, in cash when they collect their tickets. There will be no exception to this rule.

North American beer doesn’t fly with Adele. Photo courtesy of Flickr user marinmatamoros.

We will also expect that all guests of the Promoter and/or Venue to also make the same donation when collecting their tickets….
At Adele’s personal request, all money collected will be donated to “SANDS”
This is a charity dedicated to “supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby and promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives”

The singer does, however, squeeze in a few requests to benefit herself including:

  • “1x Pack Marlboro Lights plus 1x disposable cigarette lighter”
  • “1x Small plate of assorted freshly made, individually wrapped sandwiches, to include chicken salad. Sandwiches must NOT contain tomatoes, vinegar, chilli or citrus fruit”
  • “1x selection of various “bite-size” chocolate bars (ie Twix, Aero, Milky Way, Mars, etc.)”
  • “1 x Bottle very best quality red wine (Italian, French, Spanish or Australian)”
  • “12x selection of bottles of best quality European lager beer. ie Becks, Stella Artois, Peroni etc. North American beer is NOT acceptable.

Jason Shares His Top Picks For Best Upcoming Events

With so many great live events to choose from, it can be hard to decide which ones should be at the top of your list. Jason, one of our friendly sales associates here at TicketCity, shares what’s at the top of his list these days. Maybe one of these great events will inspire your next ticket purchase.

Jason shares his Top Picks for upcoming live events.

1: NBA Finals

Things are really heating up between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. We still don’t know which two teams will be going head-to-head to claim the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, but one thing is certain: it’s sure to be an exciting ride! Will the Spurs continue their incredible streak? Will Lebron finally get his championship? Watch the action unfold live with tickets from yours truly.

2: Belmont Stakes

Belmont has provided the stage for many dramatic finishes.  It is the last of the Triple Crown races and provides the possibility of seeing a Triple Crown winner.  Will I’ll Have Another be able to win at Belmont Stakes to make history, claiming the first Triple Crown victory in 34 years? Only time will tell.

3: US Open Tennis

The US Open is widely regarded as one of the most exciting tennis tournaments. The field of over 600 players always includes the top tennis players in the World. The tournament is played in the shadow of New York City, so Manhattan celebrities are a regular sight. This event makes frequent appearances on bucket lists everywhere.

4: Kevin Hart

Hart has turned into a major draw on the American comedy circuit, and he has also made his mark as an actor, writer and producer for myriad entertainment outlets. With new movies and stand-up specials on the horizon, fans will have plenty to look forward to and will no doubt leave the theater with abs sore from laughter.

5: The Book of Mormon

Jason and our CEO, Randy Cohen, were both wowed by this musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. But you don’t have to take our word for it. The production earned 14 nominations and 9 wins in the 2011 Tony Awards. The Drama League, New York Drama Critics, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk all gave their top musical honors to The Book of Mormon.

Looking for tickets to some of your own Top Picks? Give Jason a ring directly at 1.888.561.0037 or call 1.800.SOLD.OUT for personalized customer service from any one of us here at TicketCity.

Congrats to Our April Employees of the Month: Eric and Megan

April was an exciting month here at TicketCity. So exciting, in fact, that we had not one but TWO Employees of the Month. Rest assured that both Megan and Eric are well-deserving of this glorious title.

We are particularly fond of Eric’s picture. Really gives you a sense of his personality, doesn’t it? Congrats to both of our Employees of the Month for April, Eric L. and Megan G!

Want to see some of our past Employees of the Month? Check them out here and here.

Tips from TicketCity: Kentucky Derby and Oaks

The Kentucky Derby is officially only one week away. Hopefully you have your tickets (No? We can help…), hotel reservations, and hat ready to go. But in case you’ve procrastinated, some of the Derby veterans from the TicketCity team have offered up their advice for making the most of this historic event.

As Sean Adam’s explained in a previous blog post, the Kentucky Derby is so much more than just a two minute race. It’s about tradition, fashion, memories, and maybe crossing a big item off of your bucket list.

Below you’ll find some of the favorites that keep Rafael, Rick, and Lindsay going back to Louisville year after year. Looking for tickets or have general questions about the event? Feel free to give us a call at 1.800.SOLD.OUT to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales associates, or visit We’d love to help you create some Derby memories of your own.


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Best Seats

Personal preference. A great time can be had anywhere. Personal preference, but 3rd floor or higher arguably the best for visibility/ perspective. Anywhere has a good view, but I like the Turf Club’s view best.

Best Food

Hot Brown Sandwich, Beer Cheese Hot Brown Sandwich  Hot Brown Sandwich

Best Drinks

Bourbon, Oaks Lily, Mint Julep Mint Julep just to say you had one. Mint juleps aren’t great but you have to drink one. Oak Lily’s are delicious!

Best Lodging

Seelbach, Brown Hotel, 21C are the best high end.  Crown Plaza Airport Hotel has a great atmosphere. Galt House(great central location downtown)  Sheraton

Transportation Tips

No cheap way to do it if you plan to drink.  Designate a driver and park in somebody’s yard.  Trackside parking passes cost $400. Taxi if possible. Traffic is ridiculous. Shuttle from your hotel or cab it.  Parking near the track is hard to come by unless you get there early.

Required Attire

Spring colors. Tacky is okay. Girls have to wear a hat. Depends on where you sit. Infield: Shorts and flip flops; Clubhouse or better: Suit, tie, hats a plus. Crazy, larger-than- life hats, suits (seersucker is always popular)

Necessary Souvenirs 

Dated derby glass. You may catch some racing goggles if you sit in the low rows of 119. Dated Derby glasses. I bring these back every year for my family and friends. Dated Derby glasses (FREE if you drink mint juleps/lily’s which is a MUST at the Derby)

Dining and Nightlife

Catch some Derby festival parades throughout the week, Jeff Ruby’s is a hot spot. Jeff Ruby’s steakhouse downtown near Galt House. Great food! Pricey! Numerous celeb sightings and tough to get reservations, so call early. Jeff Ruby’s had good food and a piano bar for after dinner. Several celebrities were there the day before Oaks.

Get to Know TicketCity: Brandon

We’d like to throw out a big TicketCity welcome to our newest employee, Brandon! He will be helping out the marketing and dev teams as our Event Data Coordinator. While he’s only been here a few short weeks, Brandon has already been a major contributor and has even shared some awesome Plays of the Week with us (check them out here and here) on the blog.

Brandon was quick to win over the female TicketCity employees when he shared that he recently married his junior high sweetheart, whom he’s been with for over 12 years (Awww!). The male employees quickly followed suit when they realized what a valuable addition he’d be to the TicketCity flag football team.

Welcome to the football team, Brandon. We’re happy to have ya!

Say hello to Brandon!

What was your college major?

Brandon: Psychology

What was your first job?

Brandon: Way 2 Tanning Salon

What are some of your favorite things?

Brandon: My guitar, snowboarding, football and disc golf

Do you have any quirks?

Brandon: I can do a great Elmo voice.

If you could have dinner with any person (dead or alive) who would it be?

Brandon: Mandy Moore

What is your favorite thing about Austin?

Brandon: Austin has a unique culture that can’t be found anywhere else in Texas, but we still say y’all.