This new set of Tour Tips was written by Nikhil Korula, the frontman for the jam band, Nikhil Korula Band. You can check out their five tips for being on the road, after the break.
1. If you’re in a 15 passenger van, take out the back seat and use that for storing all of your gear. Also, make sure you bring a cooler and put it in between the driver and passenger seat for easy access and stock it with your favorite drinks, snacks, etc. The more you can get by on these foods, the more money you can save on gas, etc.
2. Promote, promote, promote! There is no point to ever drive hundreds or thousands of miles across the country unless you are able to get people to your shows. Sometimes, that means doing a radio or tv show in the early morning, playing acoustic at a local Farmer’s market or even just passing out flyers at a nearby college before your show. It also wouldn’t hurt to network with a local band to see if you can gig swap so they bring their fans to hear you play.
3. A lot of bands like to sleep in the vans, but I know with how hard it is to drive on tour, load-in/load-out, then perform, etc, it’s always best to get some cheap hotel rooms so all of your band members get a proper night’s rest so the driving, shows and more are all easy to put your best into. It’s real easy for everyone to get annoyed pretty quickly if no one is sleeping properly. Remember, playing music on any stage is the easy part. The work comes in the form of driving for crazy amounts of hours, loading gear in and out of the venue, performing, then networking with fans to sell merchandise after the shows.
4. Make sure you always have plenty of music merchandise, stickers, flyers, business cards and an email list with you at ALL times whenever you are on the road. You never know what waitresses, hooligans or music fans you can recruit to be a part of your movement and who knows, some may even purchase your music based on much you can reach them, either in conversation or what you do onstage.
5. Always take time to dine in at a local food spot or see the sights if possible. I have a rule that I try to always stick to and that’s we never eat at a chain food restaurant unless it’s one that we never get on the west coast. Also, while you’re passing through, it never hurts to see the nature, museums or landmarks to make touring that much cooler. And definitely pack your camera so you can document the entire journey with pictures and videos of you onstage and taking part in some mischief off the stage as well. :)