How to Go on Your First Tour

Booking a concert tour, especially if it's your first one, is a lot like booking your first gig. You'll have to introduce yourself all over again.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Budget for all expenses – gas, food, hotels, and incidentals. And don't forget to leave a cushion in case of emergencies.
  • Step 2: If you've been getting airtime in a certain city, or your web site gets a lot of comments from people in one particular area, try to book a gig there. Otherwise, your budget will determine how far from home you go. Make sure your van is in good working order.
  • TIP: Get a tune-up for your van before you hit the road.
  • Step 3: Think cheap! On your first tour, you won't be staying in five-star hotels. You might even be staying in your van.
  • TIP: Stay in hotels outside major metropolitan areas to save money.
  • Step 4: Just because you're drawing 200 people every time you play in your hometown doesn't mean you'll do the same on the road. Book smaller clubs unless you know you have a fan base.
  • TIP: Try to open for an established band in a new city, and in exchange have them open for you in your hometown.
  • Step 5: Promote your shows via your web site and social-networking profiles. The day of a show, book some local morning radio shows for interviews and to play live. You lose sleep, but it's great advertising.
  • Step 6: Get someone to man the merchandise table. If you can't invest in CD's, have someone with a laptop charge people to download songs onto their mp3 players and phones.
  • Step 7: The best way to get invited back to a club is to be professional. So be on your best behavior, show up on time, and meet your obligations to the music club that booked you.
  • FACT: Bob Dylan has given more than 2,000 live concerts since 1988.

You Will Need

  • A band
  • A budget
  • A van
  • Self-promotion
  • A professional demeanor

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