11 tips for keeping your band’s musical instruments safe at a festival

Blog by Insure4Music under Artist Managers, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live

Throughout winter and spring, bands and musicians from all over the world begin making their preparations for the much-anticipated summer festival season. But in the run-up to the date, there is a lot of work to do before you get in front of the crowd. That includes logistics for the festival, and how you’re going to look after your gear.

Keeping your musical instruments safe is important, because sadly, criminals look to take advantage of the laid-back vibe of a festival. Thefts at these types of events are a common occurrence, and it’s not just an issue for the punters. Criminals have cottoned on to the high sell-on value of musical instruments, and bands and musicians are seen as an easy target.

Regardless of whether you’re playing at Glastonbury this year, Green Man Festival or anywhere in-between, it’s important to look after your gear. To that end, here are some essential tips and ideas for ensuring you keep your musical instruments safe during your festival visit. With a little forward planning and preparation, these measures have the potential to make life much harder for musical equipment thieves.

1.Contact festival managers and hotel managers in advance.
This way, you can get a better sense of where your gear will be stored when not on stage, and what precautions you’ll need to take.

2. Record the serial numbers and take pictures of your gear beforehand. 
This way, you’ll have records to present to the police and you’ll have a much better chance of getting your equipment back. Store images and serial numbers in the cloud or on your email too, rather than on your laptop, in case that’s stolen too.

3. Mark your equipment cases.
Black guitar cases and other equipment cases are very common. At a festival, lots of people will be carrying them around. Creating distinctive marks on your cases using things like tape and stickers makes it much easier for you or your friends to spot anyone wandering off with your gear.

4. Put coloured tape and stickers on your accessories.
These make guitar pedals, leads and more generic equipment identifiable as yours, and harder for people to claim it’s theirs. Guitar leads, for example, are the kinds of things that get lent to fellow musicians at a gig. That’s why it’s important to have a marker to prove it’s yours, in case someone later claims it’s theirs.

5. Note the location of the police compound on site.
The quicker you can get a missing item reported, the more chance police have of helping to find it. Plus, a crime number is needed for any insurance claim you look to make.

6. Secure your van with a wheel lock and van bulkheads.
Van bulkheads and wheel locks make breaking into and driving off with a van full of equipment much more difficult.

7. When loading or unloading, cycle your trips.
Make sure that at no point in the process, your car or van is left unattended. This prevents quick-grab thieves running away with your stuff.

8. When uploading, keep an eye on your surroundings.
Report suspicious people hovering near your gear to your band mates and crew.

9. Secure your gear with chains and/or bungee cords inside the van.
Anything that presents opportunists with another obstacle will reduce the chance of them trying to run off with your stuff.

10. Try using technology to keep track of your gear.
Services like Tile, which involve tagging your equipment with a Bluetooth sensor, can help you recover lost or stolen items.

11. Get specialist music insurance
Protecting your instruments, audio equipment, yourself and your bandmates is much cheaper than you think with the right music insurance policy. As specialists with years of experience, Insure4Music provides tailored music insurance policies that are quick and easy to buy online. Our flexible policies can cover your valuable equipment from loss and theft, and even include personal injury cover just in case anyone ‘does a Dave Grohl’. We even have the option to include performance cover to help protect your earnings and ease the burden of replacement equipment hire. Take a look at the options to tailor your cover here.


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music instrument insurance, music gear equipment insurance, keep music instruments safe


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