By PGS Fitz
We’ve been sharing tips on gear for a long time here at PGS—this week we’re casting a wider net and talking TOURING. If you’ve ever been on tour, whether it was a two-week jaunt or a three-month marathon—you know how hard it can be on a person. Thankfully it’s also usually a lot of fun and these days, it’s nothing short of necessary for the success of a band. If you’ve never been on tour, these tips are some good rules of thumb for you to rely on when you’re on the road.
1. Keep It Together: you’ll be in close quarters with your bandmates at all times, so hopefully they’re people that you love and more importantly that you LIKE. Even so, you’re going to get irritated at some point—just remember to stay cool and work together to get through the tougher times of touring. Commit to taking care of one another on the road.
2. Make a Budget: tours can end early if you run out of money. Canceling shows is a great way to never get more shows. As you’re planning the tour, figure out exactly what your costs are going to be. Map out your route, estimate your fuel costs, account for the cost of the vehicle and its insurance, etc. Booking accommodations outside of major cities will often save you money—or you can couchsurf. Know ahead of time what the tour is going to cost and stick to your budget, even if you start making money at the venue or your merch booth—you’ll want to save that money for the eventual disaster that happens on every tour!
3. Merchandize Your Merch Booth: make sure to get fully stocked up on merch. The better your merch looks, the more it will sell. Invest in creating a great looking merchbooth that is mobile and flexible—venues have different sized areas to post up merch, so it’s smart to have something that can adapt to any sized merch area. Find a way to be able to take credit/debit cards—this can be done nowadays with any smartphone and a card reader. Make it as easy as possible for fans to buy your merch.
4. Don’t Party: try your best to be healthful on the road—try to limit your drinking, stay hydrated, and if you can, avoid fast food. It’s tempting to grab a couple $0.99 burritos or burgers, but your body will thank you if you eat some fruit instead! Try buying some bulk foods from grocery store to cut down on costs. Any foods that you bring with you will be more healthy than what you get on the road and come in pretty cheap if you do your homework.
5. Use Earplugs: ALWAYS. :)
6. Every Show is Important: whether you’re playing in Pittsburgh or Pocatello, every show is a chance to sell your music and merch and to get FANS. Take every show seriously, play your best, and remember that we live in the internet age—you’re probably being filmed at every show. Give the people something fabulous to see/hear.
7. Stay Positive: something crazy is going to happen on your tour. Your van might break down, your drummer might break his finger, your hotel might catch fire. Something always goes inexplicably awry during a tour—stay positive and lean on one another to get through. Sometimes creative solutions are needed to the weird things that happen on tour—just stay cool and let it come at you, bro. In the end you will have had the time of your life…
I haven’t been on tour in 6 years so I’m a little rusty, maybe—what are some tips that I didn’t get to?!! Let ‘em out in the comments! Thanks, as always, for reading!