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Is this what you get in your Green Room?

It has become common for big stars to demand food in their dressing room – more in the pop world than in  classics, but I do remember one well-known violinist’s contract demands for Marks & Spencer Mediterranean dips and other gentle comestibles.

Mild, beside the pop specifics.

Photographer Henry Hargreaves has been shooting the food in popstars’ contracts. This one’s easy – she ordered Cristal champagne with bendy straws (someone had to go to law school to learn how to write that in a contract).

mariah carey cristal

Here are two more. Click on Henry’s website for the full set. (Mine’s English Breakfast tea and a banana).


beyonce food          sinatra food


And here’s a site packed with star prefs. Rufus Wainwright, for instance, requires: No bread, no pasta, no red meat, no sugar, no dairy (including no butter or sour cream), no nuts, no plastic cutlery, no chocolate, no Evian water, not even any alcohol.

“Rufus is on a strict dietary plan,” the rider explains, “so please pay full attention to all food requests.” Fish is to be grilled “in olive oil (not butter),” while salads must have the “dressing on the side and NOcheese.” The contract also asks for “ALL eggs and chicken to be free range.”



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  1. I always understood that the purpose of ridiculously precise / extravagant riders was so that the venue would always fail to provide the exact thing asked for, thereby technically breaching the contract, which would come in useful if the band’s management ever wanted to claim that the venue had breached the contract for some other reason.

    • Interesting. I thought it was so when artist and management walk in, if they see that even the tiniest and most ridiculous detail has been adhered too (think of those M&M’s!) they find themselves reassured that the bigger things of staging, equipment, timing, etc. will be on-plan too.

      • Robin Blonstein says:

        Erroneous thinking but it tames the narcissistic soul. Leading to such potential scenes as, “the sound system went awry but, no worries, your half and half chocolate martini with a coffee bean was just perfection.”

    • Robin Blonstein says:

      If, “Whaaa, he wrecked my pate with smeared, carmelized onion!” is enough to claim breach of contract, the anxiety level must run high all across the board.

  2. I can understand the request by Rufus. It’s extremely difficult on tour to find the food one needs if a strict diet is necessary. Often, it’s hard to find places open after performances. Ann

  3. I think it’s bonkers, what about all the people in the world grateful for a bowl of rice? Grow up please.
    Oh, creamy Stilton for me….:-)

  4. Extravagant requests for brand-name champagne are pretty silly but you imply that requesting food in your dressing room is a new or unusual or petty thing to do. It is hardly rare and it’s hardly something only for big stars. All the organizations I have ever worked for have been sure to have at least light snacks and beverages in the dressing room of anyone who gets a dressing room, and practically anybody with a contract will insert some request for sandwiches and coke, or something.

  5. Michael Redmond says:

    A concert presenter here in humble New Jersey USA once regaled me with the details of Artur Rubenstein’s quite extensive and specific list of amenities. It was more delectables than anybody could be expected to consume, and every bit of it departed with the Maestro.

    • This seems a suitable moment to recount an anecdote about Stravinsky. When he came to conduct in London in the 70s (or possibly 60s…) he insisted on being paid cash at the end of the gig.

      Now the version of the story I’ve heard (from fairly close to the horse’s mouth) says that the organisers were unaware of this, so Sir John Manduell went off in a black cab and came back – on a Sunday night no less – with the required £5000 in cash before Stravinsky would leave the Festival Hall green room. And that’s in 1970s money!

      Maybe another reader has a more accurate version of this story??

  6. Rufus sounds very pretentious, did anyone hear him murder a Ravel song (I think) on TV with Renee Fleming sitting directly behind him? Or maybe it was the son.
    As I eat to live,not live to eat, I am very pleased with whatever comes my way.

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