How Long Do Opening Acts Play

How Long Do Opening Acts Play: Unveiling the Secrets of the Opening Act Duration

When attending a live concert or a performance, the anticipation and excitement build up as the crowd awaits the main act. However, before the headliner takes the stage, there is often an opening act to warm up the audience. While the main act’s set length is usually well-known, the duration of the opening act can vary. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine the length of an opening act’s performance and answer some frequently asked questions about this intriguing aspect of live performances.

The opening act serves as an introduction to the main event, creating an atmosphere and setting the stage for the headliner. The length of the opening act’s set can be influenced by several factors. Let’s dive into these factors to gain a better understanding:

1. Venue and Event Type: The type of event and the venue play a significant role in determining the duration of the opening act. For larger concert arenas or festivals, opening acts usually have shorter performances to accommodate multiple artists on the bill.

2. Artist Preference: The headliner may have a specific preference for the duration of the opening act. Some artists may prefer shorter sets to maintain the audience’s energy for the main performance. Others may allow longer opening acts to showcase emerging talent or support fellow artists.

3. Contractual Agreements: The contract between the opening act and the event organizers outlines the set length. Typically, this is negotiated beforehand and can vary depending on the popularity and reputation of the opening act.

4. Time Constraints: When there is a tight schedule or curfew in place, the opening act may have to adjust their set accordingly. This ensures that the main act can start on time and comply with any venue regulations.

5. Audience Engagement: The opening act aims to engage the audience and get them excited for the main act. If the audience is particularly responsive and enthusiastic, the opening act may extend their performance to maintain the energy in the venue.

6. Event Theme and Genre: The theme and genre of the event can influence the length of the opening act’s performance. For example, in a rock concert, the opening act may have a longer set to cater to fans who appreciate the genre.

7. Promotional Considerations: In some cases, the opening act’s performance may be shorter to allow time for promotional activities such as merchandise sales, meet and greets, or autograph sessions.

8. Production Requirements: If the main act has an elaborate stage setup or requires extensive soundcheck and preparation, the opening act may have a shorter set to accommodate the logistical demands of the event.

9. Artistic Collaboration: Occasionally, the opening act may be invited to perform alongside the headliner for a song or two. In such cases, the set length may be extended to allow for these collaborations and unique performances.


1. How long do opening acts usually play?
The duration of an opening act’s performance can range from 15 minutes to an hour, with 30 minutes being a common average.

2. Can the opening act play longer than the main act?
Generally, the opening act’s performance is shorter than the main act. However, exceptions can occur if the headliner allows extended sets or collaborations.

3. Why do opening acts sometimes get cut short?
Opening acts may get cut short due to time constraints, technical difficulties, or unexpected circumstances that arise during the event.

4. Are opening acts paid for their performances?
Yes, opening acts are usually compensated for their performances, although the amount can vary depending on various factors.

5. Do opening acts perform original songs or covers?
Opening acts typically perform their original songs to showcase their own talent and style.

6. Can the opening act change from show to show during a tour?
Yes, the opening act can vary from show to show during a tour to provide diversity and introduce different artists to the audience.

7. Are opening acts chosen by the main act or event organizers?
The selection of opening acts can be a collaborative decision between the main act and event organizers. Sometimes, the main act may have a specific artist they wish to support, while other times, the organizers may decide based on audience preferences or emerging talent.

8. How can I find out the opening act for a particular concert?
The opening act is usually announced prior to the event and can be found on concert listings, event websites, or social media platforms of the main act or event organizers.

9. Can I leave after the opening act if I’m not interested in the main act?
Yes, you can leave after the opening act if you choose to do so. However, if you plan to leave early, it is courteous to do it between acts and not during the main act’s performance.

In conclusion, the length of an opening act’s performance varies depending on multiple factors such as venue size, artist preference, contractual agreements, and the type of event. While opening acts typically play for a shorter duration compared to the main act, the specific set length can vary greatly. Regardless of the duration, opening acts play a crucial role in setting the stage and creating an atmosphere that prepares the audience for an unforgettable experience with the headliner.

Scroll to Top