Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Winter Touring Safety & Etiquette, For Musicians On The Road | Music Think Tank

Winter is officially here, but that doesn’t mean touring season stops. Maybe you’re not playing sweaty summer festivals at the moment, but there’s nothing quite like cozying up to a coffee shop or even playing a house concert for your next gig.

While touring in the winter can be fun, there are also some extra things to keep in mind that you might not have to think about during other seasons. Your safety, of course, should always be your number one priority.

But, if you’re crashing on a friend’s couch while you’re in their town, or glamming it up at an Air BnB for the night, knowing the proper etiquette is important. After all, no one wants to look like that “stereotypical rockstar” that ruins their ‘home’ for the night.

With all of that in mind, let’s look at some tips for staying safe while showing respect to the places you’re visiting this season.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Winter is beautiful, but it can also add more dangers on the road. If you’re driving through bad weather, it’s important to be cautious of your surroundings and take things slowly. Need some helpful winter driving tips? We’ve got you covered:

●     Take main roads whenever possible

●     Avoid driving at night

●     Try not to drive alone

●     Keep your car filled with gasoline

●     Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle

You should also never get behind the wheel if you’re feeling tired or the least bit drowsy. Drowsy driving accounts for 21% of fatal car accidents in the United States! As a musician, it’s not uncommon to have late nights, but getting a few extra hours of sleep before you hit the road can make a huge difference in how alert you are.

When you take a little extra time on the road and put some of these precautions in place, you’ll keep yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road safer through the season.

Yes, Musicians Need Etiquette

Again, it’s a little cliche to fall into the old stereotypes of destroying a hotel or someone’s home when you crash there for the night. As a touring musician, having a place to stay is always a huge plus (so you don’t have to sleep in the van or bus!). So, treat wherever you end up staying with respect. If you’re playing a house show and the owner lets you stay there for the night, keep things as clean as possible. Something as simple as making your bed in the morning can show a lot of respect. 

If you take a shower at a friend’s house or in an Air BnB, clean up after yourself. Accidents can happen to anyone, including things like clogged tubs or toilets. Instead of leaving a mess for someone else to clean up, unclog the tub yourself.

You should also avoid making too much noise, especially throughout the night. When you’re in someone’s home, or even in a hotel, you have to remember there are people all around you. You might be excited to stay up all night and celebrate a great show, but other people might want to sleep, and that should be respected. After all, you should be getting some rest too if you have to hit the road again the next day (remember — no drowsy driving!).

You don’t necessarily have to go out of your way or do a lot for someone who is letting you stay with them, but showing genuine gratitude will always go a long way.

Making Quick Changes

If you’ve ever been on tour before, you know how quickly things can change. You have to be able to think on your feet and act accordingly. While planning things as much as possible can help, not everything always goes according to those plans.

One thing to consider is being able to make “quick changes” to your wardrobe. As a touring musician, you probably already know that you can’t bring your entire closet from home with you on the road. Most musicians only pack a handful of things to wear, because it’s easier to travel light.

In the winter, though, you could end up driving into some colder weather, or even an unexpected snowstorm. Think function over fashion in these instances. Thrift stores are a great way to quickly get coats, scarves, gloves, and warmer clothes when you run into some cold weather. Plus, shopping at local thrift stores or consignment shops is a more sustainable option than going to a mall or big box store to buy something new.

Being adaptable to situations that could pop up will make the entire touring experience less stressful for you this winter, so be open to the idea of making quick changes (even to your wardrobe) at any given moment.

Touring in a Winter Wonderland

It might take a bit more preparation and planning, but touring in the winter is often a fun experience. Schedule the right venues, make sure you have adequate transportation for winter weather, and plan as much in advance as you can. If you already have an established fan base, they’ll come out to see you no matter the season!


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