Touring is an essential part of being a performing musician. For any signed act, they’ll be assigned a tour manager to handle the business side of the tour. For us independent musicians, we usually get to function as both performer and tour manager. Anyone who has been on tour can tell you how quickly things can fall apart if someone isn’t on top of everything. The easiest way to avoid any meltdowns and catastrophes is to make a tour itinerary. Here is a list of some of the essentials you’ll need to know for each and every show. As you read this, keep in mind you should have all of this info organized for every show on the tour.
It might seem ridiculous, but you need to make sure you know what day you need to be where. Days can quickly become a blur when you spend most of your time inside of a van traveling from one place to another.
You’ll want to make sure you have all the venue info on hand. You never know when you’ll need it, and the last thing you want to do is sift through thousands of emails to find it. Items you’ll need include:
- Venue Name
- Address (Street, City, State, Zip Code, Country)
- Phone Number
Trust me when I say that you’ll start to lose track of who is the person in charge of what night. You always want to make sure that you know who to call. You also need to make sure they never know you might have forgotten what their name is. So make sure you keep these items on hand:
- Personal Info (Chances are you will have learned a little bit about the person while booking the show. Keeping a personal connection can do wonders for making sure the night goes well. Jot down any personal details so that you can do a quick study before the show.)
Don’t forget to include all the regular info you need to know for every show you play. Here’s a quick reminder of important show details:
- What time doors open
- Door cover
- Soundcheck time
- Set time
- Set length
Unless you’re planning on playing three hours a night, you’ll probably have other bands on the bill with you. Try to get their contact info as well. If they are local, they should be able to help you with any problems you encounter (i.e. directions, good places to eat, places to sleep, etc.). It’s also good to have their contact info for future tours.
This is one of the most important things you need to have on hand. You need to know how much money you are entitled to. If you don’t write it down, you might ask for more than you agreed upon, and that’s just going to cause problems. Or worse yet, you might shortchange yourself. Don’t depend on the venue to tell you they are paying you too little.
It’s more than likely you’ll have set up quite a few meetings, interviews, or radio spots while on tour. Being on time and knowing all the details for them is just as important as the actual gig. Details you need to make note of include:
- What kind of press you are meeting with
- Contact name
- Time, Date, Address, Phone number
- Are you performing, or just doing an interview?
- Is there any special topic being covered?
- What members of the band need to be present?
ALWAYS know how long it’s going to take to get from one location to the other. You need to make sure that you allot enough time to get from one destination to another. And always leave some cushion. You never know if you’re going to get a flat tire, if there’s going to be traffic, or if you’ll get lost. Having it listed somewhere what time you need to leave from the previous destination and what time you need to leave from the current one will help tremendously in making sure you’re always prompt.
Don’t be afraid to go overboard on the itinerary. It can’t hurt to have more information than necessary. Write down anything you think might help you in the slightest. You never know when you’ll need it.
And one last thing – Make sure you keep this infomation in duplicates! If you have it all printed, keep a copy on your laptop. If it’s on your laptop, make sure another member of the band has it on their laptop as well. Paper gets lost. Laptops break. Phones run out of battery when you need them the most. Having a backup will save you a lot of headache in your time of need.