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What You'll Need To Start A Tour


There are a few things every artist needs to check off before even thinking about touring. Tours are an exciting adventure and can be a great time, but not planning properly before hand can be the demise of any artist.  Read further for a few tips and advice on proper touring.  

First off, you need to be decently well established in your hometown before anything. I’m not talking about your fan base consisting of supportive friends who might or might not like you music; I’m talking people who legitimately listen to your music, people who you might not have known before you started performing. This is the first key to gaining new fans on the road, making your tour a beneficial one. You also need to make sure that you have saved up enough money to live off of for a few weeks or months, depending on the length of your tour. You always want to budget for more than you think because surprises are bound to happen such as vehicle repairs, broken gear, illness, etc.

A suitable vehicle is always a must. Make sure you either have a large van to store all of your gear, or a vehicle that can pull a small trailer. You also want to make sure you have a solid lock to secure all of your equipment. The last thing you want to happen is all of your gear being stolen will out on the road.

After you have solidified all of the above, the fun part comes; you now get to start booking shows for your tour. This can take some diligence and determination, but if you stick to it everything will work out. The most popular place for up-and-coming bands to reach out to is college and university programs. The reason for this is because they usually pay a guaranteed amount and don’t charge students for admissions, thus increasing attendance and potential fans.  They also usually offer housing and free meals, which is always a plus.

Booking shows at venues, bars, and clubs can be slightly more difficult, but very doable. The best way to achieve this is to cold call promoters or venues and get on a similar style bill as your band’s genre. This way you are able to maximize your potential fan base by opening up for a band with a bigger following and a similar style.  There are many different payment deals when doing this, so make sure you research and familiarize yourself with these.  Some of these deals include dollar per ticket sold, percentage of total sales, and an upfront amount.

When booking shows, it should be common knowledge to make sure that all of the locations you will be performing should be in order. You don’t want to book a show in a city one night, then have to back track on your tour the next night, only to have to make up for lost ground to continue on. You want to book shows in order of location that is beneficial to both your time and gas money. Sometimes you will have to skip a night of driving and stay in one city in order to play a show, but that’s okay. Just be smart when booking venues and make sure it is always beneficial for your band.

A few more things you want to make sure you have in place before taking off for your tour. Make sure you have both an electronic press kit (EPK) and physical copies of your press kit on hand. A press kit contains artist photos, bio, a sample EP, and other relevant information such as tour dates. Make sure these look professional and clean. MySpace and MusicClout are perfect sites for an EPK to be created. For physical press kits, have them made by a company if possible. This will be what promoters and executives will want to look at, so it acts like a first impression for your band. Print out some merchandise or flyers before hand, also. Merchandise, such as shirts, can be beneficial because fans might want to purchase some, which in turn will get you money and free promotion. Hand out flyers in every city you go to in order to spread the word about shows, and include a tour schedule and an EPK link so they can follow up on your music.

Tours can be stressful, but also very fun and beneficial. If you take all of the right precautions when on tour, it will always be great exposure for your band. Lock up your gear, take inventory, spend wisely, book smart, and play great shows. Good luck, and happy touring! Live-Banner-General-Homepage.jpg

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