Prepping For Your First Marketing Tour
Committing to a tour can be an intimidating prospect, an undertaking which can be an essential component to achieving success as a professional performer. In an era where all digital media may be obtained, sometimes illicitly, within a few keystrokes, live performers have their work cut out for them. In keeping up with the flood of new media constantly threatening to overtake their work into obscurity, they must struggle to maintain a format for marketable, and hopefully profitable distribution of their unique product. This often requires lengthy and exhausting touring schedules in order to create as much exposure in as many markets as possible.
When planning to launch your performance into the wide unknown for the first time it can be scary, but here are a few suggestions to help make the impossible seem possible. These tips won’t ensure a problem free journey as that is part of the learning experience, but they will help lighten the burden of responsibility so you can stop worrying about some of the logistics of taking a show on the road and focus on giving an outstanding performance.
1. Start Small
It may be tempting to want to tour the entire country on your first go around, plotting out all the major cities and hubs of artistic communities along the way. While it’s true that you want to expose your performance to as many prospective communities as possible, there is something to be said for not spreading yourself too thin. As mentioned above, touring and being on the road is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. You want to give the best performance you can to new audiences and to ensure that you maintain a robust energy level throughout the tour. You want to get to everyone eventually but for the first attempt try sticking to your region. This helps define borders to where you will be seen, how many people you are trying to reach, and how much time and resources you will have to devote to the project. Furthermore, by staying local, such as doing a tour of the Midwest or the Southeast, you are on familiar ground; you will know generally what to expect from the people, geography and climate of your native region so as not to create unforeseen obstacles. After a couple regional tours are under your belt you’ll also have a better idea of where your audience can be found and can better plan for more extensive tours.
2. Start to Build a Crew
Many performers maintain lasting relationships with the people that the crowd never, or rarely sees. Roadies, audio technicians, stage builders and lighting technicians are the people that make you look good on stage and make sure that everything is in the right place at the right time and with the right adjustments. It’s the difference between a bunch of guys banging on instruments on a trailer versus a live concert that looks like a music video. And the best part is that once you hire support and start to develop a working relationship with your crew, you won’t ever have to worry about the headaches of transporting gear, performing sound-checks, or loading in ever again. It will be someone else’s problem! Additionally, hiring a professional audio rental will prevent you from having to own every individual piece and component for broadcasting your sound to your audience. Pro audio rental crews will travel along with a touring act and take care of transport, setup, and maintenance of all audio equipment. It’s a major concern that won’t give you nightmares ever again. That leaves more room in your chosen transportation caravan for whatever other convenience you need on the road to reduce stress and divert surplus energy to connecting with your audience.
3. Plan for the Aftermath
As mentioned above several times, touring will take its toll on your body. Make sure that when the show is over and you head back home that you have some downtime to recover. This is not just getting back to life at the grind, but also re-establishing regular schedules for things like sleep, healthy meals (food on the road might not be the healthiest, it might just be whatever was available at the time), and importantly, taking time off from the people in your group. It can be extremely challenging to share space with and be around other members of your act for extended periods of time. If you want to ensure that your act has longevity you need to be getting along with everyone. One way to do that is to not see each other too much. This might sound counter-intuitive as you need to be working as a group to produce new content and refine your performance, but too much face-time might cause more problems than actually providing a constructive outlet. Take enforced breaks before it is absolutely necessary to do so. If you stop when everyone is still having a good time, it will be more likely that you will look forward to your next endeavor rather than enabling a sense of dread to linger over the group. Live performance is hard work, but if you are in the business, you probably got there because it’s something you enjoy. Take it easy and keep it that way.