Touring: A Musician’s Guide For Going On Tour (Part 2)
Discover new music
In the first post about this topic, we spoke about more basic stuff in regards to touring. But, with that being done, after you have decided about when and where you’re going on a tour and have booked gigs in your venues, it is time to take the next steps.
Letting people know you’re touring
Spread the word, As we said, you start planning a tour 4-6 months or even a year in advance, so this way you have time for everything before you leave. Even letting people know that you are. Update your social media, share the news, create a Facebook event. If you know people from the areas that you are visiting during tour, contact them. Ask them if they can invite people to come hear you. It is very, very important to promote yourself.
How are you going to get to these places?
Train? Bus? Plane? Car? Van? Depending on your finances, the people and gear you are bringing with you, and the demographics. This is why you should plan your finances in the beginning, and decide how you and your gear will get there.
Preparing to leave for tour
You on your tour
Okay, so let’s talk about taking yourself on tour first. What is it that you need? Well, all your documents and paperwork sorted and up to date. Please do not forget this. It depends on where you are and where you’re going when it comes to the right papers you need. But, to give you an example…my friend’s band almost left without their drummer, cause he forgot to file for a new, up do date passport. Took them quite the stress and the money to get one just a few days before the tour. So, have all these formalities sorted out before you leave. Trust me, there will be other stuff to worry about, so you don’t need this (totally avoidable) extra stress.
Once you head touring, a lot of questions pop up. Where are you going to sleep? Where are you going to eat? What if a gig gets canceled and doesn’t sell out? What if something goes wrong? All of this you really should think about beforehand. If you have a car or a van that allows you to sleep in it then that is great. But, if you don’t, then.. you will need a place to crash in. If you have a friend or family you can contact to ask if you can stay at while touring, do so. This will save you money. Look up hostels, hotels, motels you can be at, that are affordable or allow you to save more money. Hey, after all, the touring life for a beginner is nowhere near luxurious. Look these things up and find what’s best for you.
When it comes to food, one thing you can do is bring some things to have with you from back home. Maybe you can cook in your car/van. Think about these stuff cause they will definitely help you save a bit in your budget here and there.
Once the touring started
Alright, imagine you have now arrived at the place you have the gig at. What do you do? I say take action. It is never too late to promote your gig and your work. Go out and explore the area a little bit. Meet some people. Say “Hey, I am here on tour, I would love to see you there tonight.” Remember that thing we mentioned about direct contact? That is very meaningful to your potential fans.
Another thing that will help you promote yourself is something that you can do even while the gig is happening. And that is a merch stand. Have a nice corner where you are selling merchandise during the gig. This will help your audience remember you and have a nice memory from the event, and give you an extra few bucks.
What if my show gets canceled? What if something goes wrong?
This is only one of the many things that can go wrong, but it is probably the scariest. You can get sick, someone can get hurt, things happen and shows sometimes gets cancel. I just want to mention this as a little trick that can help you if this happens. If it does, stay calm. Look around and see if there are any other venues in town you can fill up for. Better something than nothing, right? Another thing that a few of my colleagues did sometimes is house concerts. Those are small concerts hosted in someone’s house, with a small audience that will appreciate you dearly, and a host that might even give you a place to sleep in for the night. Always try your best to think rationally and never forget that things like these happen and sometimes we have no control over them.
For me personally, it is always the attitude that determines everything that happens afterwards. Never ever lose it. Just stay calm and stay focused and do the best you can with what you’ve got.
During tour, take good care of yourself
By this I mean, after a night of having a gig don’t go at the bar for a beer or two or five. Go to bed. Get some sleep. Rest your voice if you are a singer. Eat healthy, and try to do most things as you would do them as when you were back home and not on the road. Our bodies can react to sudden changes in not such a pleasant manner, and this can lead to you getting sick and then not being able to perform.
Last, but not least. After all, you will see a lot of different places, meet a lot of different people, and have a remarkable experience. So, apart from the gigs, the bookings, the promotions, the event, always take a moment to appreciate the moment and where you are. Make the experience as fun as and enjoyable as you possibly can.
See you! 😉