Did someone say road trip?

Posted: 17 September 2019

Updated: 03 May 2022

Time for you to go on tour.

Read time: 6 mins

Embarking on a sell-out tour is one of those things that all musicians think about from time to time. A different city every night, stage-diving into the crowd, smashing up your guitar at five-star hotels—it’s the stuff of Hollywood dreams, but don’t rush out to hire a tour bus just yet. As exciting as the prospect of touring can be, you need to work out if it’s an appropriate endeavour at this point in your career and personal life. You’ll have to consider if you have enough money if you’re able to take time off work—or leave work completely—and if you have any other commitments at home. Remember to include your friends and family in this discussion as well as bandmates and management.

What's the point?

Once you’ve established if you can go on tour you need to figure out why you want to go. Are you going out to promoting an album? Have you been inundated with requests to visit a particular town? Are you trying to expand into a new area? Giving yourself a focus will help you to keep the tour manageable and help shape the decisions that you make. From there you can narrow down where you want to go and how long for.

Where are you going?

Some artists enjoy the challenge of touring in a place where they’re unknown, while others prefer the safety of towns with a big fan following. But how can you find this information? Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to gather data about your followers. With your Spotify artist account, you can filter through your followers by country and city to find the areas where most of your streams are coming from. If you don’t use Spotify, you can also find follower stats on Instagram by converting your profile to a business account. It’s also worth checking out your age and gender stats on these platforms to help you decide on the kind of venues to approach and what merch to bring.

Although it’s tempting to go everywhere you can find a fan, it’s important to know where to draw the line. Try to pick places that are connected to major motorways and have nearby accommodation. Don’t get caught out by places that have low bridges or restrictions on tour buses and large vans. As all of this information comes together you can start drafting out a route and assign a date to each stop.

Don’t forget to make a note of any toll bridges, border checks or major roadworks along your route.

Who you gonna call? 

Once you’ve drafted a route, it’s time to start contacting venues. Some places will have booking information on their websites but for others you may have to use an online directory. Either way, try to stick to their preferred method of contact to avoid your messages ending up in a spam folder. Although most businesses actively engage with social media, the promoter might not directly run these accounts and your DM could end up being left on ‘read’. Remember to approach places that are appropriate for your genre and career level.

Try to keep your performance request brief and specific to each venue, with a link to your press kit if you have one.

If you feel like your band is at the stage where you’re thinking about hitting the road why not try to make your own tour plan, have a look around and see what venues you’d like to play at and perhaps join the waiting list.

If you follow this article you should now feel confident with planning your own band’s tour, when the time comes.