Going on tour is one of the most exciting experiences for a band. You get to interact with fans, connect with other artists and forge a musical identity for yourselves. However, planning a tour isn’t always so exciting. From inspecting your trailer to setting ticket prices, a lot goes into preparing for this grand adventure. Luckily, you can do it with a little more ease by following these touring tips:
1. Write a Budget
The whole point of going on tour is to get your name out there and rack up those dollar bills. Spending all your money on the road won’t help you do that. Decide how much you’ll spend on food and activities beforehand and work together to set prices for tickets and merch. In the end, the revenue from your shows should be more than enough to cover the cost of travel, the venue and any additional fees.
2. Inspect Your Car and Trailer
If you’re famous enough to afford a tour bus complete with bunk beds and Wi-Fi, you likely won’t have to worry about inspecting your ride. However, most bands travel in cars, vans and trailers and must inspect and maintain their vehicles. Before hitting the road, lubricate all moving parts of your trailer, including the wheel bearings and gate hinges. Additionally, check your tail lights to ensure they work, change any dim bulbs and fix any loose wires.
3. Pack Efficiently
Once your vehicle and trailer are in tip-top shape, you can begin packing. Consider how many days, weeks or months you’ll be on tour and pack accordingly. Allow band members the same amount of space to pack belongings and try to keep personal items lightweight. Remember to leave room for souvenirs and gifts and keep all money, IDs and other important belongings on your person instead of hiding them away in a storage container.
4. Plan Your Route
As you plan your tour, consider the logistical and economic factors of different routes. How can you get to each venue without backtracking and wasting gas? While you may not be able to avoid backtracking completely, you can certainly plan a route that requires only a few hours of driving between venues.
5. Hire Personnel
Booking and routing a multicity tour is no easy task — especially if you’re a band of one. To make your job a bit easier, you might consider hiring personnel to help you plan the logistics, handle finances and even set up the venue before you step on stage. You could also hire a driver to get you from one place to another, leaving you more time to focus on your fans and music.
6. Decide on Merch
Aside from selling tickets, merchandise is how you’ll make most of your money while on tour. Consider the average age of your fan base to determine what kinds of items to include. Moreover, be sure to offer a wide range of merch with different prices. Order enough to avoid running out. You might just sell more $15 beanies than you would’ve thought.
7. Create a Setlist
Even the greatest bands create a setlist before going on tour. Doing so ensures your band members know which song is coming next, and it gives your show a musical arc that resonates with the audience. Kick off the night with an upbeat song, throw a couple slower, acoustic tunes in the middle and then end with a bang. This recipe for success is sure to please your adoring fans.
8. Plan to Play Your Best
Even if you’re playing in a small, grungy venue and everyone’s drunk, you should still play like it’s the biggest night of your life. In the smartphone age, your best and worst moments can go viral in an instant. If you only ever give fans your all, you won’t have to worry about people posting a clip of a mediocre show. Plus, you’ll be proud of yourselves for getting up there and playing your best, even if you don’t feel like it.
Enjoy the Ride
As long as you adequately prepare for the tour, you and your fellow band members will have a blast. Plus, you’ll guarantee your peace of mind, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.