Tips for Touring Bands:
Your first time out on the road as a DIY touring band can present many challenges and steep learning curves. Here are a few tips to prepare.
Map out your exact route and lodging:
Often when you type in an address in GPS it will give you the fastest route, but that may not be the best route for a Van and Trailer. Do your research, check the weather. Estimate time for gas and food stops, and leave plenty of extra time for the unexpected. Thanks to social media you have a direct link to fans for places to stay. Make sure you vet them in advance and pick places you can get adequate rest. You don’t want to show up to someone’s place and find out they have 3 cats when your lead singer is horribly allergic. Pack extra air mattresses and blankets too. There are also plenty of affordable motels if you want to guarantee you get proper rest, again just read reviews and map out beforehand.
Divide up Roles in Advance
Naturally everyone will want to mingle after the show, so a great way to avoid conflict is to divide roles in advance. Who will pack up the gear? Who will sell merchandise and greet fans? Who will settle with the venue? Who will drive and when?
Prepare your gear and Merchandise
Make conservative sales estimates for each show. Bring a cash box and inventory sheet so whomever is selling your merchandise can keep track. If you have a reliable friend to come along you’ll get the most out of being able to sell during the show and free up a band member for another role. Make sure your gear is in good shape and you have plenty of extra strings, sticks, drumheads, etc.
Have the Van and Trailer properly inspected before the tour, tires (including the spare,) oil, etc. Have an emergency road kit, flares, fire extinguisher, chains if you are traveling in areas that require them. This goes for the band too, have a first aid kit, cold and stomach medication, better to have everything handy then scramble to find it on the road.
You’ll need time apart from each other and want to explore but when you do always keep in close contact. Set times to re-group, and have emergency contact numbers for each bandmate’s friends/family just in case something serious happens. Keep your cell phones charged. When parking the trailer overnight try to back to door up against a wall, park in well lit areas, and always double up on locks and chains. Touring bands are highly targeted for theft, so secure your trailer, and NEVER leave anything valuable visible in the van.
Though all of the logistics and planning are key, remember, you are there to share your music with your fans and experiences with your band mates. Let the small stuff go, have a band huddle before every show, and put on the best show you can every night!
By: Producer Eric Lilavois