So, the first part is done: youâ€™ve made some amazing music and you have fans that you want to hear you perform live. Pat yourself on the back for getting this far – it takes real talent and hard work.
Touring is intense, but it pays off. These days itâ€™s tours, rather than record sales than earn the most bucks for musicians. But thereâ€™s a lot to consider and carefully plan to make your first tour a success. Hereâ€™s some top tips thatâ€™ll get you rocking a stage with panache.
Start with lists. Lots of them.
Sit down with your band and write down everything you need for the time youâ€™ll be away. This isnâ€™t just your gear, itâ€™s clothes, deodorant, a tooth brush – bring this stuff with you and you wonâ€™t be running around looking for convenience stores and wasting precious time that you could be spending having a great time in a new town.
Space is constrained though, so try and be economical with what you bring (consider buying hotel-sized toiletries). Ultimately, everything has to fit in the truck. Donâ€™t forget to bring a heap of merchandise, as sales from that could make you a serious amount of dough.
Make a budget.
Beyonce may have needed seven Boeing 747s and a fleet of 70 trucks to take her â€˜Formationâ€™ tour to the UK last year – but sheâ€™s the one and only Queen Bee and you donâ€™t want to get yourself in debt trying to emulate others who have been touring for years. For your first tour, draw up a budget and stick to it. It can be tempting to blow out on drinks while on tour, but you want to make sure that touring generates a healthy profit so that itâ€™s something you can do again and again.
Decide where to rock the house.
Have a band huddle with your manager and think about where you want to play. Consider where your fan base is biggest – you could even do a call out on your Facebook page to gauge the level of fandom. Geography can be a bummer – Australia is a land of vast distances and youâ€™re better off with a manageable schedule rather than one that could make some band members miserable. So try and come up with a wish-list of venues but do be flexible. Remember that any places you miss out on this time can be covered next time around.
Find a logistics company that lives and breathes music tours.
What these guys in logistics do is really critical to your tourâ€™s success – delays could mean cancelling shows and disappointing your fans. The logistics company will ensure that your gear gets from one venue to the next – itâ€™s a tight operation that requires careful planning and an attention to details. Even if youâ€™re a well-seasoned traveller, youâ€™re probably better off letting the pros handle your travel arrangements for a tour because thereâ€™s a lot more at stake than having a bad holiday.
There are some great specialist companies such as Stage and Screen who have decades of experience and can put together a tailored itinerary that includes things like extra luggage allowance waivers, artist privacy and extra security, and will make sure that any special requests are met (want only blue M&Mâ€™s in a jar, sir? Just kidding). Stage and Screen also has 24 hour emergency help service, so if things start to go pear-shaped when youâ€™re on the road, theyâ€™re only a phone call away.
Donâ€™t let stage fright take over.
There are some mindfulness exercises you can do to get your head around performing in front of large crowds in unfamiliar environments. Itâ€™s an incredible feeling to perform your music in front of a live audience – but it can be nerve wracking in the early days. Warm up your voice, stay focused and make sure your band knows every chord of every song – when you walk out on that stage, you want to feel like youâ€™ve never been more ready for anything else in your life. Savour that moment.