Touring for the Independent Musician


By Tara Tinsley

Tired of dreaming of the open road, the world at your feet, and playing venues every night of the week in different cities over the world? Well then you’re ready for my guide to ‘Touring for the Independent Musician’. It’s a lot of work to put on a well-planned, successful tour, even if it’s a short one. But it’s worth the effort because you don’t have to wait around for someone else to do it for you! Plus, you can sit back when it’s all over and say to your band, “Wow, we just did that…ourselves!”

Over the next few issues of the Modesto View, I’ll be going overkey steps in this process. Step 1 is Research and Planning.

Almost every major project needs brainstorming and research. That’s where the bulk of the work is done but it’s not the most fun for artists and musicians. We like to create and play out, not sit at our computer feeling like we’re back in school again. But alas, it’s necessary. When opportunity isn’t going to be handed to you, you have to hand it to yourself. So get your entire band, friends, family in on the process and start brainstorming and researching where you want to go, which venues and cities would be a good fit for your music and how long you’d want to be gone for. You also have to think about how you’ll get to each city. Are you going to rent a vehicle or take your drummers van and will it make the trip? Figure out pricing for gas, hotels or places you can crash for free, and budgets for food, emergency money, and anything else you can think of.

Once you figured out all the info I listed, you should have an idea of where you will go, how long your tour will last i.e. 2 weeks, your budget including all expenses for that time i.e. $2,000 and a list of venues to contact (at least 5) in each city you plan to stop along with travel time in between each city. Step 1 takes the most time but once you get this work out the way, the real fun starts. I’ll take you through step 2 in May’s Issue.

Remember to start small especially with your first tour…we like to think big, we all want to be rock stars but make sure your ideas are realistic to the level you are currently on. You can always plan another bigger tour later once you see how this one goes. It’s all a matter of trial and error and if you’re going to make an error, it’s better to make a small one than a big one. And hopefully, with the right amount of planning, you won’t make one at all.



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