For artists + venues.
The Power of The Rider
Artist riders are a tool to get what the touring party needs and wants for a great show, and what’s in them has evolved over time to include the things that the touring party deems important.
It’s already standard to use them to dictate how many stage hands there are, to require environmental waste management, and to make sure emergency response plans are in place… and increasingly, riders are also including clauses to address under-representation both on the stage and behind it.
Inclusion clauses in your venue hire contracts have a twofold purpose:
1. It sets the expectations for your internal promoter or venue booker, in terms of ensuring diverse representation in your overall programming.
2. It’s a way to either require or encourage external promoters to have a breadth of diversity on the lineups they’re building for shows in your venue.
Inclusion Rider Templates - ARTIST
Inclusion Rider Templates - VENUE
Feel free to adapt to your own purposes and share.
Inclusion Rider Templates - PRODUCTION + TOURING
Feel free to adapt to your own purposes and share.
How To Use an Inclusion Rider
Inclusion riders are part of your performance contract that either require or encourage diversity of representation on the lineup and/or the crew of the show that you’re booked on.
You can choose to make these anywhere from suggestive or completely non-negotiable depending on your context and how much leverage you think you have in a given scenario.
Even if you aren’t successful in getting lineup or your support acts booked every time, that there’s still value in making a promoter cross out your inclusion clause or give an explanation as to why they aren’t able or willing to honour it. The more times a rider request comes across someone’s desk, the closer we get to change. (For example: once upon a time, requesting no plastic water bottles seemed strange and inconvenient. Now we don’t bat an eyelid.)
Maximizing Effectiveness: Your Inclusion Clause should be in both your Offer Sheet and your contract. It can also be helpful for your agent to make specific reference to the Clause in the initial conversations with talent buyers/bookers, to highlight that the issue is not a trivial one and that you do expect efforts to be made to meet those requirements.
Watch: How Riders are Already Used to Progress Change
Veteran TM Jim Digby discusses how riders are used to advocate artist priorities, and specifically dealing with pushback from promoters (at 1h04m30s).
… and on diversity in tour crewing (at 1h54m).
FAQS ABOUT IMPLEMENTING INCLUSION RIDERS
I'm worried I won't get the gig if this is in my contract.
If you’re nervous you don’t have the leverage to demand certain inclusions on a lineup or on your crew, remember you can add a light-touch variation from the template above and at least have the conversation. The more times a promoter sees an offer sheet or performance agreement that references a desire or need for inclusivity, the more likely they are to change how they do things. This not only shows the other party that diversity & inclusion are issues people care about, but also gives you more agency to make informed choices about who you’re playing/working for.
With that in mind, when it comes to implementing a clause as a less-established artist, you can use language that ranges from ‘Diversity and inclusion are very important to [ARTIST]. Is your organisation / event undertaking any initiatives or measures to book more inclusive lineups?’ all the way to ‘[ARTIST] will not play on stages with exclusively or majority white-male lineups’ or ‘[ARTIST] will not play on stages with less than __% women/non-binary performers’. You can see the spectrum of language in the templates above.
This is an excellent piece by Dierdra Riggs about how she added a light-touch Inclusion Rider to her contract: “I am no longer saying yes to events that lack diversity. I don’t want to be the diversity anymore. Politely declining to participate in spaces that lack diversity has cost me opportunities (here is a good place to interject a hearty, ‘Thank God for my part-time gig!’). But, it has also resulted in a few very good conversations and some actual changes in representation for some. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate to land engagements that have made me giddy because I know I won’t be the only woman of color in the room and I won’t have to search hard to find the others.”
What if the promoter doesn't agree to my Inclusion Clause?
What if the promoter says they can't find any diverse acts to book?
Who else should be involved in this decision?
Where should the Inclusion Clause go in the paperwork?
Put the clause in both your offer sheet and your performance contract. Moreover, have your agent highlight the existence and importance of the clause in any initial conversations (verbal or written). Buyers and promoters can sometimes try to gloss over inclusion clauses like other rider items. Make sure they understand it’s not just window dressing.
If you are not using written contracts and are negotiating your work and rate via email, you can put your inclusion clause directly into that conversation. A good rule of thumb is to put it wherever you’re talking about the money.