Are you a band, musician or a musician’s manager planning to book a tour with your band?
Here re some tips and tricks on how to book tours.
If yes, and especially if this is your first time, then you might be thinking of how to go about it.
That is not unusual, especially in today’s music industry where musicians have to do so much to advance their careers.
Those who have toured places with their bands know that the whole process is not as easy as many would want to think.
The first rule on how to book a tour: you have to expect the unexpected, and you have to be prepared for anything.
Lack of enough finances can be just one of the things you will be dealing with and will be forced to spend nights in dingy places that you would otherwise avoid.
But the secret to reducing the stress of touring with your band is to plan it earlier.
This post looks at tour booking for a music band.
Preparing for a band tour
For a long time you have been playing your music locally with your band, and now you want to start touring various places.
Before you start to think of how to book a tour, you first need to be well prepared for it.
Below are some of the things you need to do as preparation for a band tour.
Get enough experience from your hometown
Credibility and expertise are two key things that any band must have if they want to start touring various regions.
Without them, it is highly unlikely that any event organiser will even consider booking you.
You need to start playing music within your local hometown.
Local gigs are the best place to start, given that you will probably be entertaining people that already know about you.
It is in your hometown that you can get a chance to create the experience and credibility that you will need during national and international tours.
If you are new in the music industry and you don’t know how to book a tour, try to get as many local performances as you can, as this will build your confidence while on the stage as well as create more awareness about your music.
Create more awareness through press and media outlets
Another way to create awareness for your music is through press releases as well as media outlets.
You can start by asking for blogs, streaming services or local radios to play some of your music, especially during prime hours, when most of your audience is listening.
Step-by-step guide on how to prepare for the band tour
Step 1: Decide on the date
Booking a tour is not a mean job; it requires a lot of effort.
After being confident that you are ready for a tour, you will have to sit down and plan for it.
The first thing you will need to set is the date range; when do you want to tour?
Knowing the date that your tours will commence is crucial as it will help you prepare for it well in advance.
Note that booking a tour is tedious, and a time-frame of between 4-6 months will be reasonable.
Booking way ahead is essential as you will need time for contacting people, do follow-up work, and other related activities.
Also, there are those venues that you will have to book at least six months earlier.
Step 2: Decide on the tour route
The next thing that you need to decide on how to book a tour is the direction that you would like to go to.
This can be a tentative route, as you might want to make some adjustments later.
There are those cities that you will need to work extra hard for you to get a booking, while others might be a little easier.
When you choose the cities to play at, sometimes big cities and capital cities look more attractive in organisers’ mind, but there is a lot more competition there.
It’s harder to book shows there and attract a huge crowd there: a lot of shows around and maybe some other more prominent bands are playing that night.
Often shows in small cities, colleges, private parties are the most exciting and fun, even you would not quote them as good on paper.
So much less competition, friendly people usually and you can be the guest star for one night and connect with other local musicians, promoters and venues owners.
After knowing everyone next time will be easier to book another show at the same venue.
In choosing the route, you will also want to be sure of the distance that you will want to be driving per day.
The distance that you will cover will highly depend on the size of the city.
Smaller cities can be covered even within a day, but bigger ones will need more time.
If you need some days off, you can incorporate them as well.
Step 3: Contact venues or find the right local promoters
The next thing you need to do is to start contacting the venues where you will be performing.
Usually, you need to focus more on the venues that are found along your route, and only go for those outside the way if necessary.
You can find contacts for some of the venues online on websites for free.
Buying the details of these venues from reliable sources can also be the right way of getting contacts from the venues for you to book.
A mistake that most musicians do when contacting venues is to come up with one generic message and then send it to several venues.
Generic messages usually end up as spam, and thus you might end up getting minimal responses.
It’s fundamental that you also try to interact with local promoters.
Local promoters are usually the one that knows what the right venues for your kind of music are and they also know if you should use on or another Facebook group and to reach out to the right people.
At the same time, in your message, don’t try to answer the questions that might be on the mind of those who will be reading the messages.
Questions like “How will you make your money?” are irrelevant.
Discover how to book a tour with the help of LiveTrigger
Step 4: Do a follow-up on the venues
When you find out how to book a tour, you need to follow-up on the venues you had booked.
This is important because some promoters usually change their minds of the location may be due to changes in the routes.
It might, therefore, work in your best interest if you contacted the venues and confirmed the dates of your booking.
As a follow-up, you can also ask the venues if there is anything they need from you, things like posters and other promotional materials, or your stage plan.
Step 5: Have a back-up plan
The chances are that your original plan may not go as smooth as you had planned when you decide how to book a tour.
Maybe a venue you had already booked will cancel the performance, or perhaps the local authorities will have issues with your performance.
Whatever the reason, you need to have a back-up plan that will help you save the situation.
Touring a city with your band is expensive, and failing to perform even on a single day will make the whole book tour a loss on your side.
If a show you had planned fails to take place, you need to think of nearby towns where you can perform quickly.
Places like Craiglist, Yelp, and Google are some of the best places to find venues for your plan B.
Booking a tour for a band takes a lot of time, and without patience, you will end up not getting any booking.
As a musician, you need to invest a lot of time from your end for the tour to be successful.
You will need to be contacting venues from time to time, make follow-ups, save money for the event, research on the venues, and all that.
But the hard work is just at the beginning.
As you start touring many places consistently, you will be able to build relationships with promoters, and you will then not need to work so hard to get bookings.
If you have found interesting tips on how to book a tour, and you like this article please leave a comment below and let us know about your experience in booking tours… or simply if you need some help.