4 Tips for Successful Touring

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What performer doesn’t love the thought of traveling from city to city performing for his or her biggest fans and making new fans along the way? Touring is a great way to get exposure outside of your home town, but now that we have the internet, touring is no longer the only way to get exposure. People can access videos and music of your performances online and experience your raw talent from anywhere in the world. With that said, touring can still be an effective tool to show the world your talent, but it doesn’t come easy. Here are 4 touring tips to keep in mind:

1. Plan Ahead

It’s probably not the wisest thing to find a Volkswagen van, load up your gear, and drive until you find a gig. Touring takes a lot of planning and organization. What kind of venues are you wanting to play? What is the purpose of the tour? To make money? To gain exposure? These are good questions to ask yourself before you plan a tour. If you’re just starting out, start with a smaller tour, around 300 miles outside of your hometown. Figure out the cities you want to reach, and research all of the local venues where you would want to play. Take note of the type of venue. If you’re a solo folk artist, you might not want to bother the night club that only books DJs. Do your research and know your potential clients.

Keep track of names, addresses, contact info, and websites. Call or email the venues, introduce yourself, and send them an electronic press kit, like your Gig Salad PromoKit. If you can’t get through to them, try again, and then try again. Most venues request an electronic version, rather than a mailed press kit. Connections are everything, so if you have any friends or family in those cities, see if they know anyone at any venues. Figure out what date range you want to tour and check availability of the venues. You’ll want to start planning several months out from your tour start date.

2. Route

It’s probably not smart to book a $100 gig in Los Angeles one night and another $100 gig in St. Louis on the next night…. If your starting city is Los Angeles, then draw a line through surrounding cities and circle back to Los Angeles, so that’s where you start and where you end. You don’t want to end a tour 1,000 miles from home and then have to use all of your tour money to spend a week driving back to Los Angeles. Routing is also a great sales tool. If you have a gig booked within 3 hours of a city that you’re wanting to perform in, then tell the venue in that city that you will offer them special routed pricing, since you’ll be nearby. It’s a great way to make the venue feel like they’re getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a great deal.

3. Budget

Be sure to estimate gas and food costs. Tours can be a big expense with travel costs. Be sure to budget wisely and conservatively to make sure you have enough money to get from one city to the next, and always have a backup plan in case you run into unforeseen issues.

4. Organize

Whether you use a booking agreement system like Gig Salad offers, or an old-fashioned trapper-keeper, make sure you keep information on each gig easily accessible with contracts, contact persons, phone numbers, schedules, load-in times, etc. Advance each date to make sure you have directions and all payment arrangements clear. Never play a gig without a contract. We cannot stress enough just how important contracts are.

Whether you’re thinking about starting your first tour, or you’re a seasoned pro, we hope these touring tips are helpful in keeping your gigs successful and professional. Happy touring!

This article originally appeared on GigSalad.com – reprinted here with permission.Gig Salad is an online entertainment marketplace with over 50,000 entertainers and performers for hire across the U.S. and Canada.

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