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Advice from an experienced tour manager – Spotify for artists


The skills and knowledge that make travel manageable, like many aspects of the music business, are not usually learned from a handbook or a course in school – they are gathered with experience. Many languages ​​and travel knowledge also move from one band to another, such as a shared knowledge bank that allows new artists to benefit from (sometimes difficult) lessons learned by more experienced people.

And then there’s the tour manager. These experienced professionals help to plan in advance, anticipate challenges, and usually protect a band from the problems that surround tour logistics so that musicians can concentrate on performances. And while a TM is a luxury item that can’t accommodate every budget, the catch-22 is that young bands need more TM than anyone else to compensate for their lack of experience. So we sat down with a few experienced tour managers to ask them what you need to know to make the experience as painless as possible.

Consider the schedule and stay on time

“Always give yourself more time than you need to get to a venue,” said Greg Marvin, a former member. Dirty on purpose And an experienced tour manager for that Porch court, Palma Violet, And others. “I usually add extra hours for every three hours of travel, just to stay safe. There is nothing worse than getting stuck in a traffic jam and running late. Even if it is a few hours before the sound check, delay can ruin the whole day. ”

Tour managers usually plan a schedule for calculating invisible variables based on personal experience. So they often offer time (to go for a sound check, to leave town, to have lunch – whatever) which may seem unnecessarily hasty or otherwise cruel – but the reason is that their job is to make sure all the pieces are in place so that you Can give the best possible performance, and that all starts with good time management.

Being late for any one subject can create a domino effect on the show. Arriving late for load-in can lead to a canceled sound check, which means the sound guy will mix you up on the fly and your output may not be optimal. Or, on a slightly less tangible level, it could mean a vague mindset, which often leads to mistakes on or off the stage, such as missing a signal, forgetting to add a name to the guest list, or just general anxiety performance for the rest. Get there early and be ready for work when the time comes.

Regardless of city and location, schedules are relatively stable, and it is important to follow the rhythm of elements such as load-in, load-out, and sound check. “The schedule is the same almost every day,” confirmed Greg Daly, the experienced tour manager for it Nepal dies, World / Inferno Friendship Society, Good man, Algiers, And many other bands. “I don’t have to chase you to make sure you get on stage. A band knows when they are there, speaking fairly, and should be prepared to roll appropriately.

Don’t promise what you don’t want to do

“The press can spend limited time and time with friends,” Daly said. “Back up and tackle it, or don’t schedule it. But if you don’t agree to do it, don’t commit. “Arranging press attendance is something he has dealt with dozens of times and it can be painful when artists don’t want to do their duty.

A growing band on tour will often have a fair amount of opportunity to work with the press, and although management, your label and your PR team can push for as much exposure as possible, know your band and your strengths so that you end up not fulfilling the obligations you want. Don’t. Where that boundary is different for each band, and awareness of it becomes important when you’re on the road with strict time constraints between gigs and travel.

Appreciate those around you

“I’m a big proponent of exploring the city I’m in and the city I’m in, even though I’ve been there several times already,” Marvin said. “Going out means there may be some space for the rest of the band, but getting to know the city you’re in and remembering that it’s a place where people live – it’s geography to realize. “

The work of travel itself is somewhat unusual. A group of people travel somewhere by sharing a van for a few hours together and then spending more hours together can test anyone’s conscience, making them the best enemies among friends. And disorienting it; It’s not that a band is shocked at all Like Guns N Roses, Deprived of sleep, may lose track of where they are during a tour. The best way to deal with this is to take time out from the group from time to time, and to find out where you are – avoid the endless cycle of green rooms, catering, and band members and look at their phones for hours on end until stage time.

Gold thread

Ensuring that people are treated with respect is the basis of living. Local crews at any venue know their site inside-out, so build mutual respect so they can trust that they will try their best not to shut down your show. This doesn’t mean you can’t say your opinions, likes, ideas or anything else, but do it in an investigative, respectful manner. “Local staff are there to show you – they’re not there to make your life more miserable,” Daly said. “Be kind and realize their role in the whole thing, because they can make your life very difficult if you want to.”

If you have a reputation as a band that is a job to work with, that reputation is not just for individual band members, but for anyone associated with your travel party – something that none of you want when you travel from city to city. And calculate quality work from each local crew. Words travel fast, people like to talk and such Henry Rollins He once said, “It doesn’t unite people more than mutual hatred.”

When hiring a TM, learn the role

If you are in a position to hire your own tour manager, respect their instructions. “There’s a tour manager out there to do better, making sure a show is at its best,” Daly said. “A tour manager has nothing to gain from a good tour – the spotlight will never be on them. Everything is for the band.”

The point is: the most important thing to know about a TM is that even though they are hired by the band, it is in the best interest of the band to follow TM’s leadership to ensure that the tour goes smoothly. Hiring someone to be in charge of you may seem like an innate conflict, but every band member has to believe that what TM decides is in the best interests of the band.

– Frederick Pesaro



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