Music Production and Promotion Tips

Going On Tour – How to organise a tour as a band or artist

Posted on | May 17, 2012 | No Comments

Going on tour is important for both aspiring and established bands and musicians. If you’re U2, you can go out on tour to boost your coffers by another $150 million, but if you’re just a small band or artist trying to make a name for yourself, touring is still an option and can be both a great experience and a brilliant promotional tool.

If you’re still building your fanbase, a tour can seem a million miles away. It’s all too easy to say “but nobody will come if I play a gig 100 miles away” and forget all about it, but at some point you need to take the plunge and put the feelers out.

In an ideal world, your best bet is to support another band on their tour. This is the oldest method in the book, and by doing so you can leech off of an established band or artist’s fanbase, find a band with a similar sound or at least in the same genre and style and you’re bound to appeal to their existing audiences and pick up fans, all the time having a great time on the road. However, the path to success isn’t always so straight forward. You might be looking to organise a tour yourself, and indeed, you might have to organise it yourself as a band or artist. If so, this bullet pointed list should give you some great tips on how to go on tour.

  • Start with a small tour, and dont go too far. It’s tempting to book a tour that mirrors a band like Radiohead’s, but it isn’t realistic, book three or four venues within 100 miles to start with.
  • Incorporate festivals into your tour. Festivals are great because they already have a load of people at them. Approach up-and-coming festivals and try and get on the bill, you can then build your tour around this.
  • Try and get on the bill for already existing gigs. Find gigs where three or four bands are playing and ask if you can have a slot, again, leeching off of the existing fans.
  • Hire someone to promote the tour for you. This can be costly, but if you’re booking venues and gigs then you need to get people to them, and you can always hire somebody who is an expert at doing this.
  • Promote the cr** out of it. No point driving all that way if you cant get people through the door. This website has loads of tips on promotion, and you can find them elsewhere on the net, so I wont go into it all here, but just dont go by the premise “if you build it, they will come”
  • Ask a local band with a big reputation to play with you for a share of any profits, they’ll bring their fanbase.
  • Look for established music scenes and venues that get people through the doors at every gig. A receptive musical community is 100% needed if you’re unknown in the area.
  • Get some media coverage, send press releases to radio, television and newspapers in the area and explain your situation, you might get lucky with some free promotion.

The most important area of going on tour is that you’re sensible. Don’t book gigs that you wont be able to pack out or at least get people to. Do everything you can to get people there, and wow them with your mad skills when they’re at the gig, so you make sure you’ll have a fan for life.

Happy touring, people!


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