Touring can be so very exciting as well as very daunting indeed. To give yourself the greatest chance of success make sure you prepare everything as best you can. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep these 5 things in mind as well.
1. Van Rental
You’re not going to able to tour if you can’t get anywhere. If you decide to take the train to all the venues then your drummer really isn’t going to like you. Planes can be very expensive and not very fuel efficient. It looks like the only option is to rent a van or a bus. Make sure that when you’re doing this it’s big enough, it fits all your gear and for god sake make sure at the very least one of you can drive it!
2. Gig venues
When deciding which venues you are going to play you will want to keep in mind the capacity with regard to how popular your band is. It’s probably a good idea not book Wembley Stadium just yet, unless you are in the Foo Fighters. . . are you, can we have your autograph? Stick to smaller venues to begin with, use mailing list data to work out in which towns you’ll find it easier to sell tickets and research what walk-in sales they usually get. If it’s an established venue then that might pull in new people which means an extended fanbase for you. Bonus.
3. Pulling in an audience
If you are thinking about touring there is a good chance you already have something of a fanbase but you will still want to expand it. When you’ve booked the venues in, use google and find out about the local radio stations, local papers and magazines. Email them and tell them that you are coming to the area, lots will be very responsive to the idea of interviews. Do it well and bring in a new audience. Also contact the venues ahead of time and make sure they put posters up around the venue. Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised.
This may seem like quite an obvious thing to mention but you’d be amazed how often professional tour managers get it wrong. If you are doing a gig in Paris one night try to make sure you’re not in Ukraine the next night and then the night after that in Ireland. This is obviously a large scale problem but it exists in a smaller more localised way for smaller tours. Make sure that you try and book venues that are close to each other so that you can move in one direction. You will be tired playing shows every night anyway, try not to travel more than you need to.
Touring in the early stages of your career is not going to mean you can finally afford a Kanye West style engraved marble coffee table. This is more about building profile, so if there is the chance you can make some extra money then that is absolutely what you should be doing. Merchandise is a fantastic way to get a bit of extra cash. It’s a good idea after you have played to go and sit at the merch stall as a band, people will want to come over and say hello, therefore buying more stuff. Also any bit of merchandise that people buy will serve as a reminder of the great time they had at your gig. It’s a no brainer.
For more on this check out Gigging and Touring – Decoded