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Is Too Much Touring Killing Your Band?

Photo by Christian Bertrand via Shutterstock

For a new band, there’s nothing more exciting than hitting the road to play shows in new, unfamiliar cities. Touring can be an unforgettable experience that can tighten performances, form industry connections, widen audiences, and foster lifelong friendships among musicians. There’s an air of legitimacy surrounding bands that perform outside their hometowns, and this is because touring is a massive challenge for musicians of every level of experience.

Despite what you may have heard, unless you’re in that coveted upper echelon of professional musicians who’ve achieved widespread popularity and financial success, touring is unglamorous, difficult, and thankless work. Being on the road too much can even prove to be destructive for some bands.

Music Venues You Need to Know About: Portland's Hawthorne Theatre and Lounge

Photo by Kimberly Lawson via Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The building that houses the Hawthorne Theatre has seen a lot of uses: for 70 years from the '20s onward, it was a Masonic Building, then a series of pubs, then a ballroom, and later, it was a comedy club, a record store, then an art gallery. Since 2005, though, it's been a staple Portland venue for bands and artists of all genres, both established and up-and-coming.

6 Keys to a Good Residency Gig for Musicians

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This article originally appeared on the DIY Musician blog.

 

Residency gigs  where you perform on a regular basis at the same venue  give you a great way to “stretch out” musically, build a more loyal fanbase, and get a little relief in the booking department (since you’ll be booking a whole series of gigs in one fell swoop).

In one way, the gigs can be more relaxed because you turn the stage into a kind of home away from home. Interesting musical things can happen, and you might be more apt to create memorable moments between you and your fans. At the same time, the pressure is on to keep each show engaging in its own right or else fans might get bored and stop attending.

How to Book Gigs

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You’ve spent hours and hours honing your live set to perfection, and now you’re finally ready to start the process of booking your first gig. Or maybe you’ve played a few shows already, but it seems that your same group of friends are the only people showing up. It’s easy to stagnate in this spot for a while, so how do you take your gigs to the next level?

There’s a ton of information out there about how to promote your gigs, but none of that matters unless you’re actually booking great gigs in the first place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through exactly what it takes to get booked, how to find great gigs, and how to pitch venues like a pro. Let’s get started!

How to Be Your Own Tour Manager

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A professional tour manager comes on the road with a band to ensure the tour runs smoothly, everybody gets paid, everybody leaves on time, and the accommodations are taken care of. As an indie band, you’re probably not going to have a tour manager the next time you hit the road. Which is a bummer, because that means a lot more work for you!

Some bands have their touring sound tech perform tour management duties, which is a good use of personnel finances, but that may be a couple years down the line for most DIY musicians. So without someone to rely on (and blame things on), we indie artists have to be our own tour managers.

A smoothly run tour is now your responsibility, and yours alone. So how do you do it? Let’s find out!