First time touring? Congrats! This is an exciting next step in your career as an artist, and we’re proud of you for taking it. To make sure your first tour is everything you hoped for and more, there are a few tips and tricks you need to know. Here’s the rundown…
5 Tips for Going on Your First Tour as a Musician
How To Decide WHERE
Having a great tour requires a lot more than Redbull and good vibes. How you choose where to tour is monumental in ensuring your overall success. With the help of Spotify and SoundCloud analytics, booking a tour has become almost an exact science. These tools let you see which tracks your audience is listening to the most and where those plays are coming from. If you want to optimize the chance of having sold out shows at every venue, gathering this background info will tell you exactly what your audience wants to see more of, so you can perfectly deliver every time.
Check out, “How to Book a Tour Using Spotify and Soundcloud Analytics” to learn how to do it for yourself.
Master Your Pre-Tour Prep
From planning your tour budget, creating a schedule, booking venues and managing contracts, there are many things that need to be ironed out before you even hit the road. The best thing you can do as a first time tour newbie is plan for everything and do it way in advance. This post breaks down budgeting, scheduling, booking and more essentials that need to get done before any wheels hit the ground. Yes, this part may not be the most exciting… but don’t skip it! These are make or break to ensure a smooth, successful journey.
This is one even the vets struggle with. With the long hours, minimal pit stops and even less free time, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet and routine on the road. Keeping yourself healthy, mentally and physically, is the key to making it through without burning out along the way.
Drinking heavily, among other questionable practices that make tour fun (don’t shoot the messenger, it is what it is, ok), can be fine in moderation. However, letting yourself get caught up in the long nights will have a major effect on your following shows. Nobody wants to pay to see you hungover on stage. Take care of yourself. At the end of the day, as cool as this job is, it’s still your job. Be professional.
To ensure you make it to the last stop with energy to spare, check out “How to Stay Healthy as a Touring Musician”. It covers meal prep, vitamins and everything in between.
Set Some Ground Rules
Traveling with your bandmates (and whoever else accompanies you on this adventure) is all fun and games until someone uses your toothbrush or shits on the bus at 8am. Having a good relationship with everyone involved can only happen if you are clear about your goals on this trip. This is about the music. It’s about sharing your craft with thousands of fans who have paid to see you perform in their city. It takes dedication, a good work ethic, and an active respect for everyone involved. You have to all be on the same page, and all over that page scrawls words of affirmation, some general ground rules, and a shared respect for one another’s space.
It doesn’t hurt to create a quick check-list to post on the wall of the bus or text to everyone on tour with you. I recommend including things like:
- The bunk area is a sacred space. Use headphones.
- Do not go #2 on the bus. This is a universal rule, ask anyone.
- Store your belongings properly/respect the common area/ don’t be a slob.
- If you leave, lock the bus door.
- Respect the driver. He holds the delicate balance of your life in his hands.
- Be on time. If you aren’t 15 minutes early for bus call, you are late. Don’t be that person.
Of course, you can always add or edit these rules to your personal situation. Just make sure everyone is on the same page and you’ll avoid any mishaps or misunderstandings down the line.
Cherish Your Free Time
Touring is a lot of work. Although it is insanely fun, it can also be exhausting. That’s why taking care of yourself along the way is so important. Aside from eating healthy, take time to feed your brain. Get inspired, listen to music other than your own, keep your creative energy fueled. Whatever inspires you to create, set a dedicated time aside to do it. It’s all about balance. Finding what’s right for you will come with trial and error. Feel it out and see what works for you.
Some Final Thoughts…
When it comes to planning something as big as touring, you can’t be too prepared. Make sure you have back-up plans for your back-up plan. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of stress in the long run if you do.
Touring is a lot of work, but it can be the most fun you’ll ever have, giving you unforgettable memories you’ll cherish forever. You’ll learn a lot and evolve as you go, and that’s the beauty of it. Just be smart, always do your research, and let the good times roll.
You got this!