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How To Have a Successful First Tour
Let’s take this show on the road!
You’ve spent the last 3-5 years conquering your local market. You’re the top dog in your hometown, and maybe you’re even relatively well-known in your regional market. You’ve stopped booking your own shows because shows now come to you. What’s next for the band? Expanding your influence, and gaining new fans, of course! And that means touring – the word that brings joy to the inexperienced and potential dread to the jaded road warriors.
So how do you prevent most of the issues that can come up when touring? And how do you plan a successful tour? It’s all in the planning! And luckily, I’m here to help.
As Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War” states – “Never bring your country to war unless you already know the outcome.” In the touring world, this translates to always having a plan for everything. Make sure you have at least six months to: get the shows together, contact the venues, contact the other bands on the show, and find a place to sleep each night. Before you go on tour, here are a few questions to ask yourself and your band members:
- Can all of the band members realistically ask for a week (or more) off from work?
- Can you stand to spend every waking moment with the other members of the band?
- Do you have a reliable merch person whom you trust?
- Do you have a reliable vehicle that can hold everyone, your merch, and your equipment?
- Do you have an extra $800 in the band fund for when that “reliable” vehicle breaks down?
- How about a trailer? (Uhaul is always an option at $20 a day!)
- Do you have enough merch to take on the road? Enough sizes of all your shirts? Enough CDs?
- How much, realistically, do you think you can make or sell a night?
- How about on a Tuesday night when you’re playing to 3 people?
- How far are you willing to drive per day?
- Is there at least one fully-functional, reliable, level-headed ADULT in the band who can make the tough decisions? Hopefully two?
- Did you get a AAA gold membership yet? (DO IT.)
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can start planning your trip.
- Venue Name
- Distance from the last venue
- Contact name, email, and phone
- Where you’re sleeping
- Load-in time
- Set time
- Set length
- Other band names
- MPG of Van
- Gas cost
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