For the last few weeks, I’ve been planning a series on backing up your tech booth. My plan was to go down the list and run though some of the things we’ve been implementing that give us a full backup of as much as we can reasonably do. So it was kind of funny to receive this text on Monday night:
So while the tech booth was OK, the auditorium is not. As I write this, the demo crew is in the building tearing down soaked drywall in the lobby, ripping up carpet in the auditorium and removing the fabric from about six rows of seats. Because it was sprinkler water, it had been sitting for a while. It was pretty smelly and gross, so the whole place needs a bit of Fabreze. The decision was made to not have service in the auditorium this week—so what to do?
Thankfully, there is a Christian school next door to us, and they have graciously allowed us to meet in their gym. So we’re breaking out the portable system and taking the show on the road. But this got me thinking (again…); what do we do if something big breaks? Or a sprinkler head is torn off and we can’t meet in our room? What is our backup plan? As the saying goes, the show must go on. But how do we do that?
Software Backups are Easy
At least 75% of my backup posts are going to be focused on backing up software and files. That’s relatively easy, and if you’re not doing it, you’re really being foolish. And after the upcoming series, you will have no excuse. So get on that, OK? Every file in our tech booth is backed up in multiple places, accessible by multiple other systems. If we had lost all our computers in the flood, a single trip to the Apple Store would have had us back up and running in day or so.
But that’s software…what about hardware?
Keep Some Old Gear Around
Or in our case, we actually have some new gear. Over the last 3 years, I’ve slowly built a nice little portable system with pretty much everything I need to do a small service. So on Saturday, we’re simply grabbing the portable system plus our wireless IEM rack and taking it next door. Tying into the school’s projector is easy (VGA), and we have our own PA.
So while there was some discussion of downsizing the band a little bit to make it easier, we’re not compromising much. For the most part, the service will be similar to what we normally do, save lighting.
If you don’t have a stock of other gear you can put in to service in a pinch, it might be a good idea to develop a relationship with a local rental company. When I saw the text, I really didn’t panic because I knew that if we had to I could have an entire system delivered by Wednesday if need by. Before I new for sure the tech booth was safe, I had already started thinking of who I was going to call first for gear. I even had a pretty good idea of what I could get on short notice. But that’s because I have relationships. We say it all the time, relationships are key—build them before you need them.
Plan For The Disaster Before It Happens
That will really be the focus of the series on backups. As I said, I’m not panicked about this because we have a plan. In my time as a TD, I’ve lost FOH consoles, processors, lighting consoles, amps, speakers and now, the entire room! If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. What will you do when it does?