I can already feel it. The air slowly beginning to change, the crisp leaves falling under my feet, the smell of apple cider donuts and caramel apples. At least, that’s what I’m dreaming of as I write this in 80 degrees, high humidity weather in the middle of the summer. But hey, we have to start planning for our favorite seasons sooner rather than later right?! And when that season just happens to also include a tour—be it long or short—the time to prepare isn’t a month before, it’s an entire season before! That way you can make sure you get your routine down, your bags packed, and your itinerary sorted.
But what if you’re struggling with where to go? We’ve scoured towns and cities across the US to find those with a significant base of music enthusiasts, so even if your fan base is a little light in a certain area, you’re bound to find some new fans.
You’ve finally decided to take the leap. You know you need to break out of your city and get in front of your fans across the country or maybe even the world, and you’re all in. There’s just one small obstacle…you’re kind of broke.
Hey, it’s ok! As a working musician, in the early days especially, it might be hard to scrape together the cash for an expansive or robust tour. Don’t forget, your favorite bands started on a diet of rest stop food and crossing their fingers that their van didn’t break down in the middle of the desert.
Which brings me to this…when you’re setting out on tour, there are a lot of ways to save your pennies and still have an amazing time. The first step, of course, is figuring out what you can really afford, so be sure that before you map out your tour you have a solid budget in mind (IE your max spending allowance for every category: food, hotel, repairs, etc) and then stick to it.
Musicians often view the sound quality of their live shows as something left up to chance. Roll the dice, and you might get lucky and will be blessed with a skilled, patient sound engineer who will help you sound your best. But anger the gods, and you’ll have to suffer through a night of feedback squeals and unconfident playing due to mismatched sound levels. We all dream of the day when we’ll be able to afford to pay a personal sound engineer to run sound at our shows, but that’s a reality far out of reach for most musicians. Less-than-ideal sound conditions are unavoidable in live music performance, but there are things we can do to make things easier for the sound engineers we work with.
Traditional venues are usually thought of as being the best place to host shows, but musicians miss big opportunities to share their music on their own terms when they rely only on venues to perform live. From intimate house shows to locally curated festivals, shows take on a whole new meaning when the performing musicians are the ones throwing them. Here’s three reasons why musicians should consider setting up their own shows:
One of the ways of building a strong live music presence is having successful ticket sales. While many artists start out playing in cafes or restaurants that already have an “in-house audience” presence, when we start playing in concert venues this is not the case. Concert venues typically do not have their own crowds who come to check out concerts. Rather, they make money by selling tickets to the crowd which the band brings. Consequently, the success of a show and the ticket sales almost entirely depend on how well the band or the artist promotes the concert. So, in this blog post I will provide some strategies to increase ticket sales based on my experiences as an independent artist.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior playing in a regional city close to your hometown or embarking on a long national tour, being able to promote shows in cities you’ve never played in is vital for bands trying to find momentum and new fans. But getting the word out in a new city isn’t easy, especially for new and unestablished bands. Here are three tips to help promote shows in places you haven’t played before:
Even under the best of circumstances, performing can be an anxiety-inducing experience for artists. Since artists are under so much stress at shows, they’re easy to offend. The musicians that artists perform with end up being massively important connections throughout their career, so staying on their good side is essential. Here are four show faux pas to watch out for while playing live:
The myriad of benefits and drawbacks of touring apply to much more than just stuff closely associated with music. Bands who take on the burden of touring expose themselves to a world that most non-musicians never see. Here are a few of them: