Appropriate Cell Phone Usage at Gigs

This post should not have to be written, in fact I feel a little silly even discussing this topic.

But apparently common sense doth not prevail…

I was there… I saw it happen… it’s true…

The drummer took a phone call after the first song of the set! WHAT?!? OMGosh… you gotta be kiddin’ me! It was bad enough talking on the phone during sound check. But at the end of the first song the entire audience got to hear the drummers conversation.

Drummer – why was your phone on during a performance? It’s bad enough we had to hear your ring tone through the sound system, but then you actually answered it! Seriously… your drums were mic’d and so was your entire conversation!!

Christian Bands Cell Phone
Cell Phones should not be used on stage by Christian Bands.
If you do not take your music and ministry seriously,
why should we?

That’s my rant for the day.

Here’s the helpful advice:

When you are gigging you are working (whether you get paid or not). When you are at work, turn your phones off or at least mute all ring tones. If you were at a normal 9-5 type job your employer would most likely expect you to do this.

So, when do you get to talk on the phone?
During breaks, same as at a regular job.

But, let’s define breaks.

Breaks are not:

 The space of time in between songs during a performance. If you are on stage you are performing – even between songs.

 The space of time in between sets. That time is set aside for bathroom, drinks and mingling with your fans.

 Soundcheck. You cannot get a good soundcheck and be on the phone at the same time, your ears do not do two things at once! If your instrument is not being checked at that moment listen to your band mates instruments to make sure they are correct in your monitors.

 Set up and tear down. Everyone needs to haul equipment at every show. If you are too busy or important to help, you are too busy and important to be in the band. Pull your own weight at every show or go solo.

 Before and after your set. You are working to develop relationships with fans as long as there are fans in there building, especially right after your set. They deserve your undivided attention.

If you follow these guidelines, we have pretty much ruled out the time from when you walked into the venue until the time you leave the venue.

So, when is it appropriate to talk on the phone?

 In the van on the way to or from the venue. But, use common sense – you band mates do not need to hear you talking loudly, especially if they are trying to sleep.

 While you are waiting… at gas stations, outside the venue before the doors are unlocked, at the motel (or wherever you are sleeping), or during meals if you are able to leave the room (talking on your phone at the table during a meal is just plain rude).

Unfortunately, our families do not always understand the concept of working because they often view our music ministries as a fun hobby. Plus, emergencies will happen and they do need to be able to reach you when necessary. Your goal as a music minister is to help them define “necessary” and to set up a system where family members know they can contact you when they must. My husbands’ band tried giving me their cell phones while they were on stage, but this did not work well because, as their manager, I was usually in a place that was too noisy to hear the phone ring or to talk to the person who called.

My recommendation:

Set up a system ahead of time so your family knows they can reach you in an emergency. Texting works best.

Here’s some ideas:

 911 Call Home means something very serious has happened (i.e. someone is seriously injured and is going to the hospital) and you need to call home as soon as you are not on stage. This should be the only time you would break the guidelines for calling on your break.

 Call Home ASAP means something has come up but it is not life threatening nor does it have to be dealt with in the next hour (i.e. Your bank account was overdrawn, again). At this point you should call home at the earliest possible time that is convenient. You may need to go outside the venue to get a couple minutes of privacy. This should not be a long conversation – get the needed information, make the necessary decisions and assure the family member that you will talk longer when you call them back later. Then, get back to work.

All other “news” should be saved for calls you make to your family when you are not working. It is not easy being on the road and it is not easy on your family to have to take care of things you would take care of if you were home. But, that is all part of band life. If your family is not in a place to be able to handle this life, you should reconsider your involvement with the band. This sounds like harsh advice. But in reality, your marriage, spouse, parents, and children are all more important than your ministry. This high priority does not mean they get everything they want all the time. But, it does mean that if for any reason they are simply not able to cope with life without your physical presence, then you probably are not qualified for the kind of ministry that requires you to be away from home frequently.

A special note to minors:

Your parents have the right to know where you are and what you are doing. They need to know they can reach you in an emergency. The best way to keep them from constantly checking up on you at inappropriate times is to be responsible. Give them a schedule before you leave and discuss the text message system for emergencies. Let them know that you will not always be able to take their calls (except for emergencies) because you are working. Explain that you will call them at convenient times and then, follow up: call them to check in with them when you said you would.

The Christian Band Handbook

The Christian Band Handbook

has a section called Wrestlemania Live Every Week at Your House: Family vs. Ministry.


to get your copy today.


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