Practice, Practice, Practice
It is all too common for the logistics of an upcoming tour to overshadow the most essential part of your tour: the music itself. Between arranging transport, accommodation, merchandise orders and press (more on which shortly), it is crucial that you devote some serious time to getting your live show down.
If you’ve been spending a lot of your time slaving over your songs in the studio recently, chances are you haven’t been spending much time practicing your songs together. Now is the time to start booking weekly or bi-weekly practices in, to shape up and finalise your setlist before you set off.
The success of your tour rests on your gear, regardless your genre or discipline. Depending on the size and scope of your tour, you may be able to source house backlines at each of your venues, or at the very least gear swaps with any local acts who may be supporting you. However, you will still need to bring a fair amount of gear with you, from instruments and pedals to desks and lighting for larger touring acts.
The mains-powered gear you bring – whether amps, effects units or lighting rigs - all needs to be PAT tested in order to be legally used in the venues you’ll be playing – a little-known and often unpoliced law, but one that could get you in serious trouble if you aren’t too careful. PAT testing is also a good way to ensure all of your equipment is in good working order before you leave, and before something breaks.
PAT testing is one part of a larger concern you should be addressing as a touring band: liability. As a touring act, you will find yourself potentially liable for any incidents that happen at your shows – particularly if you are the headline act. PAT testing is one way to mitigate the likelihood of injuries occurring in relation to your gear; insurance, meanwhile, is the breakwater between freak incidents and your already-miniscule band budget.
Press and Social Media
Ahead of your tour, you should be doing everything in your power to ensure maximum attendance for each date. You will be able to somewhat rely on the local promoters responsible for each show, but you should still be taking charge with an overarching media push for your shows.
There are many different routes for this. For one, if you have the budget, you can reach out to a private PR company to push the tour to larger media outlets on your behalf. If you don’t have the budget, social media is your best friend; create a schedule for posting across platforms, with your tour as a central call-to-action.