1. Don’t just bring merch- Sell it!
So you have what you think is a super sweet merch design. It should sell its self, right? Wrong! Fans typically go to shows with some green in their pockets, and you need some of that sweet moolah to keep rolling on tour. You better get to your merch table after the set to sell some of that swag! This is also a great opportunity to meet fans and even get some of their information (think long term: street teams; think short term: a place to crash for the night). Musicians haven’t been “rockstars” for a long time, and fans should be treated like friends - without them you wouldn’t be able to do what you love! And this brings me to my next tip…
2. Make Friends!
Where was your show tonight? Who did you share the stage with? Who promoted the show? These are the questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to who you need to know. It’s exciting to be on your first tour, but it’s already time to start thinking about the next one! Booking is a pain in the you-know-what and it helps to know the right people in key markets. You might be a metal band, but it might make or break your next visit to Scranton, PA if your best buds are that Electro-pop band with the best network. So who should you get to know and who should you keep in touch with? Here are some key people that not only you should know, but that should also know you:
- The promoter
- Every band on the bill
- The sound and/or lighting guy
- Merch persons
- That girl in the front row with the fancy Nikon (you know exactly who I’m talking about, and trust me, she knows every band within a 50 mile radius)
There’s a lot of work you can be doing for your band or yourself on the road, so whip out that fancy smart phone and get some numbers, email addresses, Facebook links, and Twitter handles!
This last tip may be the most important thing to your entire career as a touring artist…
3. Purchase Baby Wipes!
Snapshot: It’s the Vans Warped Tour. I’m in Phoenix, Arizona. In July. And I haven’t showered in 9 days. Face sunburned; hair nappy and matted. If you’re heading out on tour this summer, you’ll probably wake up one day and find yourself covered in grime like I did. It ain’t a pretty picture, and chances are you’ll find yourself in that same position more than once on tour. Believe it or not, your saving grace is, and always will be, baby wipes! I’ve taken quite a few parking lot baby wipe showers in my day. I can’t stress enough how these moist tissues of the Gods can make you feel almost human again. Add Baby Wipes to your Wal-Mart list, and you’ll be thanking me. Promise!