This new set of Tour Tips was written by the folk band, The Lovebirds. You can check out their tips for being on the road, after the break.
What does a band do when they don’t have the luxury of a booking agent, label, manager, publicist or roadie? They quit crying about it and they get to work, that’s what.
1. Get It Together. Compiling every contact email, venue address, confirmation number and important detail for each show in an itinerary-style document is crucial for my sanity on the road. I keep a digital backup on the cloud and print a couple copies for the car (because we will inevitably spill coffee on one). Here’s a sample Tour Itinerary Template to get you started. Super nerd to the rescue.
2. Promote. Imagine the ever-popular scenario where the bouncer lets all the hot girls in the club while you stand in line for hours. Publicists are the hot girls and the bouncer is the media. They’ve been going to the club for years, they know the secret handshake, and they’ll be downing their third vodka cran before you even get to the front of the line. Until you can afford to slip those hot girls some bribe money, you have every right to sweet talk that bouncer yourself. Mine the internet for media contacts, create a spreadsheet and send out press releases. Don’t forget to follow up because you will be repeatedly ignored; it’s the new no. Create and send tour posters to each venue (cheap) and make sure to add your dates to local online event listings (free). It’s not as glamorous as a magazine or blog feature, but those listings exist specifically for readers who are looking for something to do. As each date draws closer, get your instatweet on. #sprainedthumbs
3. Set Your Intentions. In addition to spreading your music far and wide, what else do you want to do with your time? When I’m not touring I have three jobs to juggle, so life actually slows down for me a little when we hit the road. Tour is the closest thing to “me-time” I get all year. Each tour I try to establish a workout routine as well as set aside writing time. In the months leading up to tour, I tend to neglect my mental and physical well-being, so tour is a time to recommit to my own health and happiness.
4. Go With The Flow. Since I was little, I’ve dealt with major anxiety issues that I now consider a blessing and a curse. Anxiety is often my propeller when I’m getting ready to tour; it’s the reason I’m organized and efficient and ambitious. But if I’m not careful, anxiety can also paralyze me, usually at night in the form of insomnia and panic attacks. One of the ways I fight this problem – besides Xanax, let’s be real – is by purposely leaving holes in the tour schedule. Touring allows me to meet new people, experience new places and wake up with no idea what the day will bring. I love that. If nothing’s scheduled, there’s no reason to be stressed, so I can go ahead and enjoy my planned spontaneity. It’s an anxiety loophole, my friends. I guess regular people just call it a day off.
5. Show Your Gratitude. Every tour, I go through at least one box of thank you cards. If yours is a DIY tour, chances are the “Y” could also stand for “you guys.” Our Third Bird fans completely funded this tour, so we do everything we can to make sure they know how much we appreciate them. Family, friends, strangers, house concert hosts, college buddies with couches, local musicians, nice sound technicians, that barista who made the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had – if you feel compelled to say thank you, take the time to say it in writing. Not so, they’ll remember you. So you’ll remember them.
Did you find these tips useful? Let us know in the comments below!