Touring can be one of the best or one of the worse things to happen to an artist. It will either make or break you. Bands can get noticed while touring, or they will break up. There are many things bands need to know before touring. The biggest one is to make sure you are going on tour with people you can deal with and who can deal with you. You will be stuck with them for weeks and even months in a small van, or even a tour bus.
Networking while Touring
When on tour, you can find plenty of people to work with who will help you out. You’ve just got to be nice to them and treat them with respect. Even if they aren’t the greatest to you, still try to be kind and respectful and it might turn them around. They will definitely remember that when they have to work with you again and will help your shows be better.
Becoming friends with bands on tour will help out a lot. They can help you get shows in their towns and in return, you can help them get shows. Trade offs are always great to do. Local bands already have fans going to their shows and becoming friends with the ones you’ll be playing with will help you have people willing to see you when in town. Become friends with them before asking for favors, though. You actually want to have a friendship and bond with these people. Talk to them on FaceBook or Twitter before going on tour to get to know them.
Everyone you work with on tour is important for how it will go. Get to know the promoters, sound guys, and anyone working the venues. Learn their names and remember for the next time you play there. They will be impressed and more willing to help you for future events. They will also talk you up to other venues and promoters and help you get more shows in the area, and possibly in other cities as well.
Details of Touring
Everyone always skips over the details because they just want to get out there and start doing things. The details are always what screws people. You want to know about everything you can before you get on tour so that nothing is a surprise. Always get together before going out to figure out personal things and business things.
Some venues give out contracts before booking and band, and some of those have very specific details you need to know. It tells you if and how you’re getting paid, the equipment they have there and what you need to bring, guest lists, etc. There’s one thing that most artists don’t look at before booking multiple shows at once and that’s if a venue has a distance limit for shows. Some venues don’t want you to book another show near them for a week that’s about 10 miles away. That’s just an example, but it could be more time and a wider radius. You always want to know if the venue expects you to sell a certain amount of tickets, otherwise they will most likely charge you for the left over tickets you couldn’t sell. I’ve noticed a lot of venues in bigger cities tend to do that and aren’t always upfront about that.
Before going on tour, you want to have a meeting with everyone in the band to figure out things. You want to make sure everyone agrees on a budget and what that money will be used on. You might not always get the money you’re expecting at shows, so you really shouldn’t rely on it. Everyone should be able to split it evenly and help out with things. Have an itinerary showing when everyone needs to be at the venue, when loading is, when you’re playing, etc.. It should also have the contact numbers of everyone (band members, promoters, venues, driver if you have one) and emails for the venue. You all want to also are on a set of ground rules. Everyone may think that they know each other well, but someone will have some pet peeve that will get to them too much and might make things tense among the group.
Booking hotels and finding places ahead of time is always great. Once you have the shows set, you know when and where you'll need a place to stay. You can ask fans or friends/family in the area, but if they don’t get back within a week or two, move on. You don’t want to get stuck last minute trying to find a place. I went on a small tour with a band once and they kept telling me that they had people who were going to let us stay there. The day we get the city, they tell me they haven’t heard back from anyone and that we might have to find a hotel. Well, every place was having some kind of conventions going on and only had expensive rooms left. We ended up finding a hotel last minute, but you don’t want to get stuck in the kind of mess.
Map route before leaving. It helps you figure out how much time it takes to get from one place to another and will be easier to plan things around travel time. It also helps to keep you from getting lost if you can’t get internet on your phone for google maps.
Going on tour can be a great thing. Get everything done ahead of time, talk with the rest of the members and take care of yourself. You don’t want any surprises and you want to be able to fix anything if something goes wrong. Don’t rely on others with everything and make sure you and the rest of your group can take charge if need be. Always know where everyone and everything is and how your equipment is being taken care of. The tour should go well if you at least do those things.
This is a gust post by youbloom contributor Michele Enouch
Michele Enoch is a music business graduate from Musicians Institute who has managed and promoted bands for years. She is now working on her photography and helping performers advance in their career. Her passion has always been music and she is exploring all aspects of the industry. Michele appreciates all kinds of music and seeing music in all kinds of environments. She enjoys crocheting hats and toys, reading and writing mystery and horror stories, taking pictures of everything she can, food from around the world, and adorable animals. She is always on the look out for anything new and exciting.