How to book a tour

How to book a tour

If you’ve got an itch to get your band on the road, it is worth considering learning how to book a tour for yourself. It’s not as hard as you think, you’ll learn plenty in the process, and can strategically increase your band’s profile for future endeavours.

When is it a good time to book your own tour

If you’re struggling to get offers from bookers and promoters

If you’re sick of waiting for touring promises to be fulfilled

If you’re a band trying to increase you’re profile by building your resume

If you can’t cover the costs and want to tour on a light budget

If you’re launching a new product, such as an album release

If you have significant fanbase in certain countries and want to capitalise on it

 

Benefits of booking a tour yourself

Headlining tour that looks great on your resume

Prove you’re serious about making an impact to be more appealing to labels/bookers in the future

Can be linked in to festivals and events that you are trying to apply for

Network with industry folk, musicians and venues all around the world

Learn skills and professionalism for ongoing personal development

Full control of all aspects – costs, dates, times, lineups etc for yourself.

Confidence in knowing exactly what promotion has been done

 

How to find the right cities and venues

Sales – Take note of which locations people are buying your merch from

Online – When people send you emails or facebook messages, take note of where they are from

Cities/Countries – Where do you want to tour?

Other tours – Find bands similar in style & popularity to you, and check where they have been playing. Research the venues on the posters and take note of the support bands.

Other bands – Research the relevant city and reach out to local bands who seem to be playing regularly. Reach out to them and ask them for recommendations of venues and local promoters.

Special nights – If you have a metal band, then see if there are any ‘metal nights’ in various cities. Contact the venue/promoter and see if they can book you into one of there nights. This is a good place to start mapping out your journey.

Location – Easy for you to access with your vehicle, and central for fans to get to

Capacity – Realistic size, not too big, not too small

Costs – A few dollars per head is good, or a reasonable hire charge or bar split

Scene – Make sure it’s the right type of place for your genre

 

Building an itinerary

This is your best friend.

Get access to the BandTools itinerary template by subscribe to our Patreon.

 

Contacting a venue

Pick a date and be ready to be flexible, then email them something like this;

 

Hi,
My name is Brendon from Australian band CLAIM THE THRONE (death/folk metal). Currently booking a US/CAN tour for Jan 2015, we would love to include a show at BandTools Tavern as part of the tour when we visit your City on Friday 30th January.
We can arrange a full lineup including 3-4 solid local bands, or are flexible with any suggestions to ensure a great show package. We can also take care of all promotion and runnings of the event.
I have attached a band bio/info sheet on CLAIM THE THRONE, and can of course provide any further information you require upon request. To hear our music, the best place to start is our latest video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXfBZmvu5hE (or press kit, whatever you’re promoting).
Please let us know if this request will be possible.
Thanks for your help,
Brendon / Claim The Throne
www.claimthethrone.com

 

Follow up after a week or so. If still no reply, either give them a call or let it go and find somewhere else.

 

What else you need to know from the venue

A good way to do this, is by sending them a spreadsheet or template with the questions you want answered, ask them to fill in the blanks..

Booking confirmations – An email with the agreed terms in writing is fine, or for huge shows it would be worth considering a signed contract.

Sound Engineer & Lighting provided or not

PA & Backline provided or not

Soundchecks available if required, or line checks

Merch area and any associated costs

Is a door person provided

Load in times

Rider

Guests Lists

Open & close times

 

How to find the right support bands

See who is playing other shows, get familiar with that scene

Check if there are Facebook groups for that genre in that city

If you are a new upcoming band, then consider getting 1 or 2 bands as headliners above you if they seem to have proven crowd-pull

Contact them – Send a nice facebook message or email

Negotiating payments – Per head door split is easiest and fairest. Some local bands are incredibly nice and will offer you to keep their payment because you’re touring on a budget. Sometimes the venues will take care of it and have a set payment for bands and arrange the cash distribution.

Negotiating set times – Most local bands are happy with half an hour or so. Also allow for changeover times between sets. Something like this usually works;

Doors – 8pm

Band 1 – 8.15pm to 8.45pm

Band 2 – 9.05pm to 9.35pm

Band 3 – 9.50 to 10.30pm

Band 4 – 10.50pm to 11.40pm

Curfew – 12

Print these out and stick around the venue. Tell the bands they cannot go over their end time, if they start late that doesn’t mean they can finish late because it affects the bands after them.

 

 

How to communicate

Tour booklet!

Worksheet created by you, sent to the bands and venue nice and early

Set times

Set times printout for sound guy and around venue

Stage plot & tech specs for sound guy

 

Touring overseas? You’ll also need to check VISA requirements. This is an episode for another day.

 

Need more on how to book a tour with help from BandTools? Please reach out to us!

Templates, examples and guides are available in the BandTools database, to access visit our Patreon page to subscribe!

 

 

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