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Welcome (back) to the jungle

As the North American market starts to move through the gears, Guns N’ Roses production coordinator Debbie Taylor shares some pointers for those returning to work

11 Aug 2021

Debbie Taylor

We are finally starting to see movement in the industry, with shows slowly starting up and events being prepped. Over here in the US, we are getting ready for a tidal wave of tours to hit the road.

I count myself lucky to have been engaged in a few events in the last couple of months, including Vax Live at SoFi Stadium and the Verizon Big Concert for Small Business show. I have implemented Covid-19 protocols and monitored their effects on both events and crew, and am now using that knowledge to prepare for the upcoming Guns N’ Roses tour. There are definitely obstacles to overcome, but that’s what we do as industry professionals – adapt and rise to the challenge.

In the spirit of collaboration, here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way:

  • We are facing shortages in all areas from gear to equipment, vehicles and crew. Don’t be surprised when you can’t source what you are looking for. Plan ahead as much as you can, reassess your needs and think outside of the box.
  • This is a time for dynamic management, where a one-size-fits- all approach won’t work. Flexibility is required.
  • Masks may be here to stay, whether it be for Covid-19 protection or for seasonal flu outbreaks. Find a mask that is comfortable. For now, it’s another essential piece of work equipment and should serve its purpose without being too uncomfortable. If you wear glasses, good luck with finding an anti-fog solution.
  • When writing your protocols keep them as uncomplicated as possible. As well as keeping everyone safe they need to be practical, easy to follow and even easier to implement.
  • If you’re engaging a third party to write your policies, don’t expect them to know how our very unique industry runs. Explain the minutiae. This is a great chance to revisit the event and to refresh your own memory.
  • Reach out to others to see what they are doing, the issues that they are facing and how they are dealing with them. Others may have the solution that you are looking for.
  • Once written, allow yourself enough time to wrap your head around your plan. Walk through your show with the protocols in mind. Think how they will affect you and your work from load-in to load-out.

Don’t get bogged down with the small details. A lot of safe Covid practices are common sense

  • When communicating your policies, keep it simple. You have probably been dealing with and thinking about the ramifications of Covid-19 for a long time, but others have not.
  • Complacency will set in, sooner than you think. Be prepared for this. You will be dealing with many different viewpoints. Covid is a divisive subject, and most people have an opinion. Treat people with respect but get them on board with your show’s policies regardless of their view. People are entitled to their beliefs, however, following your guidelines is essential and a requirement of their job.
  • Instil confidence in your team. Ensure that they know your policies are there to keep them safe and to keep the show running. This may be the first outing for many, and people may be nervous about their health and livelihood.
  • Empower people with the information you are providing. If you can explain the reasoning behind the policy you’ll end up with an army of CCOs who will facilitate the successful implementation of your Covid plan.
  • You will be slower at your tasks. Cut yourself some slack; you haven’t done this for a while. Time management became more critical for me and has actually led to a more streamlined way of working.
  • Expect the unexpected on your return to work. You will be affected in ways that you can’t imagine. You may feel uncomfortable, but that will pass.
  • Don’t give up on any good habits that you have formed in your enforced time off. It’s easy to get swept back up in work mode, but remember to take care of yourself.
  • Catering will be different. The buffet may be gone but I’m grateful for the increased handwashing and sanitisation – it’s been a long time coming!
  • Don’t get bogged down with the small details. A lot of safe Covid practices are common sense. You are adaptable and before long you will absorb these practices into your daily routines (for as long as they are required).
  • And finally, embrace the changes, enjoy the company, stop for a second and soak up the atmosphere. We’ve been waiting a long time to get back out there, make it count.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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