Harpists don’t travel light.

My parents know I don’t travel light. When I go to stay with them for a couple of nights I always take way too much stuff – enough to go on holiday for ten days (wishful thinking?) and I’m starting to think that it might have something to do with being a professional harpist and just needing a lot of stuff when I’m out and about.

I envy the pianists/organists of this world who can just bring music and they’re done. I know it’s a pain to never be able to perform on your own instrument, but you can take the train! Yes, I see that as a perk – I guess the grass is always greener.

I played at a wedding today, here’s what I had to take with me, and what I take with me when I have any sort of gig:

– car (ok this one is obvious)

– harp (again, pretty essential)

– music stand

– tuning machine

– tuning fork

– tuning key

– spare tuning key

– ipad

– ipad charger

– spare sheet music

– spare strings

– spare string anchors

– harp trolley (almost forgot!)

– bicycle pump for harp trolley

– pencil

– pencil sharpener

– rubber

– duster

– stand light – in case of a power-cut or, you know, nightfall

– clothes pegs in case I have to clip music to my stand in high winds

– concert dress

– concert shoes

– make-up

– business cards

– my laminated ‘Do Not Touch’ sign. Indispensable.

– snacks – I try to keep these as healthy as possible, usually a banana or some cashew nuts

– book to read – currently reading Needful Things by Stephen King

– phone charger

– special chemical hand-warmer thingies – these.

– normal handbag and all its usual contents.

Phew! See what I mean? That’s a lot of stuff and I have needed it all at some point or other. I’m always finding new things that I need to bring with me.

Harpists – what do you always need with you at a gig? Do share and together we can be the most thoroughly prepared harpists the world has ever seen!


5 thoughts on “Harpists don’t travel light.

  1. Lol! It seems I don’t bring as much stuff … Harp, car, trolley, tuning material, ALWAYS a set of spare strings, the music, clips to hold the music … You forgot to list also the padded transport harp case, which is also pretty essential! And stool to sit on, as well! Jeez, we have to be so organised don’t we!! 😛

    1. Yes the harp case would be difficult to travel without ha!! Well spotted. I actually have stopped taking a stool with me to every gig. If it’s a background gig I’ll be able to find a chair from somewhere. The only time I’d take a stool would be for a solo recital, where I’m playing difficult music under pressure and I need to be as comfortable as possible 🙂 I always hated taking a stool as it means at least two trips from the car into the venue…


    1. Hi Elinor yea my mum made a lovely laminated sign for me with ribbons and everything. Not sure how much attention people pay to it but it’s better than nothing if I have to leave the harp unattended.

      See you soon!
      A x

  2. I now also take extra batteries for the gig lights (unfortunate lesson), and a small multi-tool with various screwdrivers and pliers, which came in handy when a fellow musician’s stand kept sinking under the weight of her notebook. I was able to tighten the stand nut so music and bifocals could work together. I also have in my harp kit the first aid supplies that will help me survive if I get a fingertip split. (another unfortunate lesson)

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