There and Back Again – Touring Tips
By Tammy at http://moonstruckpromotions.com
Touring has its moments. Being on stage rocks. Making new fans in new markets is cool. Traveling and seeing the nation or world while playing music is a sublime experience.
But GETTING there? That is a real test of a band’s fortitude. There are a few procedures to always have in place before getting on the highway to travel. The best trips are those that start on time and calmly!
Before a road trip be sure your vehicle is in good working order. Regular maintenance on tour vehicles can be handled by one person in the band or by the tour manager or road manager. Oil changes and proper tire pressure is essential to happy and safe touring. Be sure the van is stocked with water and snacks, extra oil and water for engine mishaps and is clean.
Set a time to meet. Two hours before the predetermined meet time (not the leave time) have your road manager or a person in the band call everyone to remind them of the meeting place, time to meet and the time you'll be setting out for the trip. Two hours gives you enough time to navigate any hiccups in contacting and locating all members of the group.
Establish a regular meeting place. Determine whether the van will pick members up at their homes or the band members will meet and park at a central location before boarding. If parking cars in lots is in order, be sure you have the proper permission to park and will not be towed while you're on tour.
A place for everyone and everyone in their place sounds like grade school advice, but it is a wise rule for travel. A regular place for each bandmate to land avoids arguments and tension. Equipment should follow the same rule, being packed in the same place each time the vehicle is loaded.
Choose a driver and a co-driver for each trip. One naviagting and the other driving works great.
Establish travel etiquette. I know this sounds a little odd but a few ground rules help keep travel harmonious. Some people need quiet and others like to converse. iPods and electronic entertainment work wonders to keep the peace and pass the time.
Schedule rest stops. Regular places to stop, grab a snack or drink and stretch ones legs are essential especially on long jaunts. Rest stops should be scheduled into the tour itinerary.
We’re lucky to live in the era of GPS navigation. Whether you use Neverlost, Garman or one of the other types of direction systems, they are truly a god send and quite indispensable. But don’t forget, navigation systems sometimes fail, particularly in overcast or stormy weather when you need them most.
Always mapquest or otherwise get directions and WRITE THEM DOWN to the venue. Make sure you have directions from the venue to your hotel. As you’re advancing shows, ask about street closures or construction, bridges, tolls, etc you need to be aware of. Be sure your advance sheet notes the PHYSICAL ADDRESS of the venue and not the business address or talent buyers home address. Remember, buyers often have posters and promo material sent to their home and their home address may be on your contract. Be sure you go over the PERFORMANCE ADDRESS as part of your advance conversation.
It’s a great idea to note landmarks on the directions sheet. It’s also nice to know about parking (is it in a secure lot, on the street, in an alley?) and load in parameters (upstairs, downstairs, indoors, outdoors, is there a freight elevator?) .The more questions you can ask and get answered, the better off you are when it’s time to get in the van.
With a little pre-planning and thought, touring can be an exciting adventure and not an arduous endeavor.