Photo by Vishnu R Nair
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Touring Advice for the New Musician – How Should You Approach a National Tour?

Photo by Vishnu R Nair
Touring is the lifeblood of the modern musician and has been for generations. It remains one of the most lucrative ways in which to earn a profit as a band or musician, with ticket and merchandise sales combining to beat out any mechanical or residual royalties won through a label or distribution company.

Touring is also one of the few bona fide ways to retain all income – especially if you take the initiative to plan the tour yourself. Not only can touring be a fun way to grow and develop in your craft, but it is also indispensable in introducing you to new and paying fans. Still, touring is a complicated, draining and overwhelmingly difficult endeavour if done wrong. Here are some key tips to stay afloat during your first tour.

Preparation is Key

This may seem an obvious, even glib, suggestion for anyone starting a tour; preparation is obviously important, from booking venues to sorting accommodation and travel. But, straightforward as this advice is, it’s true – and in more ways than you think.

As suggested earlier, touring is a uniquely profitable venture if approached correctly, and much more so than streaming. By getting your ducks in a row regarding your merch offering, you can maximise your returns at each show. Make sure you have a variety of products to sell, from cheap stickers to expensive vinyl (if you can afford it, and afford the wait, that is).

Photo by Marku Spiske

Photo by Marku Spiske

Get Protected

Another key preparation relates to your band’s legal and financial situation. In booking shows either independently or with a tour manager, you will find more and more venues looking for proof of insurance on your part. Not only can getting the right coverage ensure you play your first-choice venues, but also give you vital financial protection against specific events – such as an attendee injuring themselves in the audience.

Health First

Tours are gruelling affairs, with long times spent out on the road and – for the tighter of budget – night after night crammed in a Sprinter van attempting to get some shut-eye. Naturally, your diet and sleeping patterns will differ heavily from your day-to-day habits, with negative health impacts for all concerned.

While there are some things you can’t control, there are other things you can. Ensuring you or your band are eating healthily in the day can be a simple but effective measure, as can pre-arranging ‘dry days’ where you agree a non-alcoholic rider with specific venues.

Get Out There

Touring, difficult as it can be on mind and body, can be a profoundly engaging experience. You should make sure you grab your tour with both hands. If your venues have booked local supports on your behalf, go out of your way to meet them, and watch them play. Likewise, make sure you speak to sound engineers and venue managers one on one. The better impressions you make, the larger your network – and the easier it will be to tour next time.

Touring Advice for the New Musician – How Should You Approach a National Tour?
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