Summer touring season is fast approaching and many bands are finalizing those last minute details before the tour starts. Every year, bands report issues and problems that could have easily been avoided by simply talking to their manager before they ever set foot on the tour bus. Whether you’re a part of a top selling band or just starting out with an unknown group, there are some simple details that can make this tour the best one ever.
Entries in touring (25)
When asked what advice I might give to the aspiring touring artist, I consider my reply much the same as Polonius must have felt in passing on wisdom to Hamlet before the latter’s aborted trip to England with the ill-fated Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Neither a borrower nor a lender be… etc.).
Here then are the ten most important things to remember as a touring musician that must be memorized in order to survive. There’s no trick to coming out healthy, wealthy and wise at the end of a tour (assuming you started the tour that way), as long as you follow these few simple tenets.
As a professional musician, it goes without saying that you want each performance to go as smoothly as possible. Whether you have been earning a living as a musician for some time or are relatively new to the paying gig scene, it probably didn’t take you long to realize that a seamless performance goes beyond your own vocal chords — you need your entire roadie crew to be on top of their game as well. To make sure you are getting the most from your team, check out the following tips:
Depending on the size of your venue and the rowdiness of your audience, you might need to hire some security guards. Before your show starts, listen to their recommendations and communicate your own concerns and needs about the venue’s security.
For instance, if you tend to get a rowdy group up front, ask at least one security guard to be near the stage to make sure your band members stay safe and to discourage the audience from making bad decisions. If you want the security guards to keep a low profile, request that they stay near the back of the venue. Security also can check people at the door, making sure they are not bringing in glass bottles or any weapons.
To be a successful musician you must treat your entire support staff with respect. If you have a great team of instrument technicians, realize they are in high demand in the music industry, and don’t expect them to read your mind in terms of what you need or want.
Present them with a song list well ahead of time, and ask for their help in making sure each of your instruments is ready to go, whether you need your piano tuned or your guitar strings changed, before your gig starts.
When it comes to working with your sound crew, STD has rather blunt and useful advice: “Don’t piss off the sound man.” Keep in mind that these people show up early, head home late and have to deal with a huge amount of equipment. The sound crew also listens to your songs more carefully than your most devoted fans.
Go over your set with your sound crew, and come up with an efficient way to communicate before, during and after the show that doesn’t involve shouting over the audience. Make sure everyone has portable, durable and robust smartphones like the iPhone 6s that help coordinate your sound needs before the performance and allow you to communicate quickly.
If you’ve ever been to a show where the singer looks great half the time and is standing in the dark the other half of the show, chances are good the communication is lacking between the performer and lighting technician. Like the sound crew, the lighting technicians come in early to get everything set up so you look as good as you sound.
Go over the set with them and clearly communicate if you want to have fancy lighting effects like strobes, lasers or multi-colored lights. Also be sure to see what they suggest for the size of the venue.
How would things change if you could book great gigs in great cities everywhere?
If you could snatch up better venues in less time?
And if you could curse a lot less while doing it?
It’s possible. I’ll show you 6 ways that any independent artist can use.
But first let me tell you a little about 23 year old Brandon (me) and how he (I) learned an important lesson in efficiency and humility.
I’m talking with Rolfe Briney IV, lead guitarist for Birmingham, AL, garage rockers Freaky Deakys. He and Trevor Dane, the group’s lead singer and other guitarist, recently returned home from a brief yet busy tour that found them playing 12 shows over 10 days. After talking about the crazy things that happen on tour, there was one thing that totally shocked me: they made a sizable profit.
This article originally appeared on the Sonicbids blog
It’s a pretty well-known fact that touring is incredibly expensive. Even if your entire band sleeps in the van every night and survives on a diet of nuts and Top Ramen (not recommended), the cost of gas alone can be completely debilitating. And that’s only if everything goes smoothly – there are always emergencies that can come up, such as van breakdowns, gear malfunctions, or medical emergencies. All of these problems will require money to solve.
Ever wondered why your band struggles to even get pub gigs, yet a fresh new band is packing out venues from day one? Fed up of having to resort to Pay2Play gigs because no decent promoter is willing to take a chance with you? The secret to success is in plain sight, it’s just only a few have the vision to see it. This guide covers the importance of planning ahead, how to gain attention for your band, and how to score those exciting opportunities that are otherwise unavailable to you.
There’s a buzzword I see popping up a lot lately in articles about how to become a career artist: superfans. The idea is that if you have a subset of your fans who will support everything you do – buy every album you release, go to all your shows, buy all your merch – then you can build a sustainable career with the support of these hyper-dedicated fans.
As someone who has made a career as an independent artist, I have found no better way to build a collection of superfans than partnering with existing fans to put on deeply connective concerts in their homes. The remarkable success I’ve experienced with this model has led me to abandon traditional club touring, instead performing almost 150 house concerts in the last 2 years.
Author Zig Ziglar was often as saying, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
Your music career is no different. Unless you have a target that you are reaching for, you’ll just continue down random pathways hoping to get somewhere. How will you know what successful looks like if you haven’t defined success for yourself? You need to begin by creating (or revisiting) your goals.
There’s a popular business acronym that says goals should be S.M.A.R.T., or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In a band, I think goals should be SMARTER, because they need to include Everyone and be Revisited often.
There’s a lot of great advice out there about how to book a tour but I haven’t found many things about how to survive on tour. Going out on the road can sometimes be a dangerous affair: long hours on the road with little sleep, many late nights, financial risks, etc. Here are 5 easy tips to remember that can save your band’s tour:
Entering concert dates is one of the most annoying parts of playing live. It’s both time-consuming and annoying to keep up with. Thankfully, it gets easier and easier each year to do this menial task. Entering dates into the services we have outlined below increases the chance of getting both fans and potential fans to your shows. Some of them can put them in the places where your fans go to hear and discover your music, where as others alert your fans who have liked you on Facebook that you will be in their town. Entering your dates into these services also increases your chance of being added to local concert calendars in local papers and radio stations. Making sure your dates are always up to date in these four services will increase the likelihood of getting fans out to shows and we will explain why.
A recent article by Last Stop Booking highlighted the fact that touring is now more important than ever. If you have the time, I highly suggest reading through the article to get a basic feeling for how you should be planning your tours as a band.
I’d like to add some tips/ideas to that post by going farther than just giving ballpark numbers and touring radiuses to go off of and instead dive into a profitable tour itinerary that just about any new indie band can use as a template.
When it comes to touring, I find more musicians focused with the “How,” “When,” and “Where” aspects but not enough of the “Why.” Of course, touring can be an incredibly important step in most artists’ careers but you should definitely take some time out to create solid goals and a definitive strategy before you decide when/where you want to hit the road. Why do we pick the target areas for touring that we do? Is it because we want to travel there? Because they are big cities? Because that’s what everyone else is doing?
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(Updated January 13, 2016)