How to plan a tour
PART 1: MOTIVATION AND TOUR LOGISTICS
What is a tour?
A tour is when an artist or band plays a series of live shows on a planned route. Tours can go across multiple cities or countries, or even across the globe for bigger acts. On Low-Fi, it is possible to tour all of Denmark and Sweden, from the beautiful forests of northern Sweden, to the vibrant Danish capital Copenhagen. Explore our more than 850 hosts here.
As a DIY artist, you will probably be taking on multiple roles as the booking agent, the tour manager, the stage hand, the driver, and yes, the artist. It can be hard but also rewarding, and you will definitely grow your skill set both on and off the stage.
Why go on tour?
There are a number of things that make it worthwhile to go on tour:
- New opportunities: Once you’ve played a number of concerts in your local area, it can be hard to activate the same audience again and again. It’s time to go out and explore new areas and meet new fans waiting to discover you!
- Networking: You never know who you will meet while touring, and you might just meet that new person who can help you grow your career.
- Practice: Playing live and testing out the same setlist and set-up multiple times in a row is a great way to practice your stage presence and learn and grow as a musician.
- It’s fun! Getting to do what you love and are good at for an extended period of time is the best gift you can give yourself – and you get great travel experiences on top of that.
Decide on the dates
The first step in planning a tour is to decide on the dates. There are a number of things to take into consideration:
- When is a good time for you personally (and for potential band or tour crew members)?
If you’re touring with a band or with crew members, finding dates that work for everybody can be a little tricky. Whether you’re touring with a band or solo, a good tip is to plan a bit in advance – this gives you time to get all your ducks in a row.
- When does a tour fit in with other activities you’re doing as an artist?
A lot of artists work in cycles; writing new music, releasing that music as singles or albums, and then going on tour. If you’re working on new material, planning a tour right after the release is a great way to get your music out to new and existing fans, and test the new songs in a live setting.
- Which times of the year are best for touring?
Traditionally tours are mostly planned in the Spring and the Fall, avoiding the busy festival and travel months of the Summer, and the crammed Holiday months at the end of the year. However, on Low-Fi we’ve seen several successful Summer tours focusing on summer houses and vacation spots, as well as some off-season Winter tours taking advantage of the low activity level in the first months of the year.
- Reserve more dates than you need
It’s always a good idea to reserve more days than you actually need for the tour. This will allow you to be flexible when talking to potential hosts and planning the routing of the tour.
Once the dates are settled, you can start looking into where to go – and how:
- Set the team: Will you be touring alone or with a band? Are you bringing a sound technician, a tour manager, or maybe your partner? These decisions need to be made early on, since it will have an impact on the rest of the planning.
- Choose areas: Open a map and start thinking about where you would like to go. Are you interested in hitting the big cities, or maybe a garden tour in more rural areas?
- Make a list of potential hosts: Browse Low-Fi’s hosts in Denmark and Sweden and make a list of potential hosts. Make sure to write personal messages to each one, explaining why you would like to play a concert at their place. Include the dates you have reserved for the tour, as well as your plans for the concert.
- Book an anchor concert: Once you have one concert booked, you have an “anchor” for the tour, which you can build the rest of the tour around.
- Think about routing: Routing is important – try to secure a string of dates which can be travelled to in a logical order.
- Research transportation options: You need to make a plan for how to get from one place to the next, and where to stay. If you are traveling with a small and easy transportable set-up, public transportation can be an option. If you’re a bigger group, it might be cheaper to rent a car.
- Research accommodation options: Since you are away from home, you will need to find places to stay in between concerts. Some of Low-Fi’s hosts open their homes to touring artists, allowing them to stay after the concert. You can always ask your host if this is an option, but remember to respect their choice if this is not an option for them. Other inexpensive options are couchsurfing, hostels, and AirBnb rooms.
- Think about your set-up: Make sure you make a gear set-up that you can easily transport, and that will work in many different spaces. If you need a bigger instrument or piece of equipment, look into whether you can rent or borrow it locally at the different locations. Facebook groups for musicians is a great way to look into this.