Regional touring is an essential way to get your music through to larger audiences for unestablished artists, but it sure is no mean feat. Playing in new, unfamiliar cities where you have no built-in audience to rely on can be thankless and challenging. It typically takes a lot of time before you start to reap the rewards of your hard work. Here are four tips for you to explore when planning your next regional tour:

Not all gigs are created equal

When routing regional tours, it might seem more convenient to schedule a show in the middle of nowhere on a Friday night. However, in the long run playing that one-off gig may not pay off. Regional touring is only remunerative for small, unknown acts if they include shows in places that are easily accessible and frequented.

Focus on shows that get good publicity

Promotion is crucial for DIY regional touring. Though pretty rare, there are towns out there where people enjoy music at the local venue at any other day. To get the word out loud and clear about the shows you’re playing, you’ll need to make the effort to approach local radio, blogs, newspapers, and playlists. Keep in mind that you might not reap the results you desired immediately, but it will all be worth it in the end. In time, listeners will become familiar with your music and will make an effort to see your next show.

Get selective about what you commit to

While it sounds fun and exciting, DIY touring is probably not going to be a big money-making endeavor for your solo project or band for awhile, even if you start to see some early success. Ambitious artists often bite off more than they can chew at the beginning, and end up incurring debts or burnout at the later stages. Playing only the regional tours you can afford is an effective way to keep things sustainable in the long run. Remember, you’re attempting to build long-term momentum in your region, and this only happens after a significant period of time. Focus your time, money and energy on regional tours that you know will contribute to your growth.

Allocate your resources wisely

Forking over $150 for a cozy hotel after a long night on tour sounds tempting. However, doing this often for a couple of shows can destroy your budget if you’re a small, unestablished artist. A little sacrifice can go a long way, and spending wisely can give your project the best chance at earning money or at the very least breaking even on short regional tours.

Touring is never easy and there are a lot of unglamorous, challenging things about it. This is especially so if you’re taking the DIY route. However, if you can bite the bullet and keep your eyes on the goals ahead, the grind of touring regionally gets a lot easier to manage. Also, never hesitate to reach out to a friend or a trusted mentor for guidance and a listening ear. While it might feel like a lonely and arduous journey on some days, you are never alone – lean into your community, and enjoy every bit of the ride.

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