Vagabonding as a rock musician: a step by step guide. Post #3: international touring

This article is the third in a series of posts explaining how to bring your music on the road and get to travel with it. Read the series’ introduction , Post#1 and Post # 2

Photo credit: "The Van" by Andrea Jablonski of band Rabid Rabbit

In the previous posts I have described how to prepare yourself to find shows and thus increase your performing experience. Once you get familiar on the stage, and you have acquired enough skills, it may be worth to consider taking your music out to the world. But how can you get to do it?

The process seems indeed quite daunting: organizing shows in a foreign country you barely know, thinking of transportation logistics, backline, time constraints and money matters may give you a headache. Nevertheless, a big number of independent bands are touring every day. It is actually simpler than we think, and it works generally in two ways:

Working with a promoter is definitely the easier way: this person knows everything about that particular country/region’s music scene, and can organize a tour for you. He will generally ask you for a presskit and, once he has agreed in booking your band, he will work for you for a fee – generally a 10-15% off every show’s guarantee -. Having a promoter or a booking agency behind is a big advantage, which is not always easy to get, tough. Booking agents work mostly with more established bands; therefore, if you only have a demo CD out and struggle for shows, this may not be your first option. Furthermore, by hearing promoters’ brutally honest comments, many bands already get discouraged from the reality of the music business and call it quits. Do not do that, as there are other ways to tour independently.

Booking your own tour the whole process is painfully long, will give you headache, insomnia, nausea and will be a huge risk. But once you line up some shows and actually got to play them in a row, you will feel the greatest satisfaction.  If you have collected enough contacts of friend bands in different cities, the first step is to try to organize a weekend to 4 or 5 gigs mini tour. Do it over a holiday break as a start. You will have to organize your own transportation, your own backline and probably drive yourself, but you will get to keep all of the money involved. The difficult task here is trying to line up the gigs in a functional itinerary, allowing you to maximize the time on the road, and minimize expenses. This is more easily thought than practically done, as you will have to deal with each and every single promoter’s request in every city you decide to hit.

As Booking your own tour deserves more lengthy and detailed explanations, I will write more in-depth suggestions over the next few weeks. For the moment being, please start thinking how to manage your touring options, and start to ask promoters and booking agencies to consider your band. If everything fails, do not worry as I will be providing some ideas in a week time.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | April 12, 2012
Category: On The Road, Vagabonding Advice, Vagabonding Life

One Response to “Vagabonding as a rock musician: a step by step guide. Post #3: international touring”

  1. Matt Says:

    Good ideas, especially to start small with planning mini-tour, maybe over a long weekend. Looking forward to the more detailed updates…