This is not a short fall.
Being an emerging band is tough. We all know that. Touring costs ALL OF YOUR MONEY and although there is a lot of great down time while you're on the trip, there are months of preparation that go into planning a tour of any length. I could not even count the amount of emails I've sent related to this tour since I returned from the last one.
Booking venues is a difficult job, only paralleled by booking bands for a venue.
My experience with booking tours has been thorough at this point, but I don't have the relationships yet with venues and their talent buyers to just email them up and have a show. I don't blame venues for being skeptical about how much money they will make if Oldfolks Home plays in their spot - I'm building the audience right not. A task that is being handled by many hands, but the work is still heavy.
When you send an email to a venue it can go any number of ways. Best case scenario is that the venue gives you a timely reply (a yes or a no) and you can confirm the date or move on to the next venue. This is the best. I love it when venues do this. Worst case scenario is when there is no reply. None. So you wait for weeks, sending follow up emails, and then eventually you move on to the next venue. If you need to move to another possible venue, I find that it's always best to send the first venue a message saying thank you and that you'll be looking into another spot. You don't want to spoil relationships and people are busy. Maybe the 4 emails got lost in a flurry of 1 million emails. After the venue has been confirmed I find it best to have a conversation about who will be looking for locals acts, what will be provided for the band, and what will the pay situation be like. ALL OF THE DETAILS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. They're important because it establishes responsibility, but again, sometimes things fall through the cracks. I had a venue cancel a show on me the day after it was announced because there was no local support, but there was no effort made to get local support by anyone (including me, obviously), which is no good because now there is a hole in the routing. This is the first tour I've booked in the US and they expect the touring band to find local support before they confirm the show in most cases, especially if you have zero draw. It's not a difficult task, it just takes time.
So after your buttons come off your computer from all the emails you've sent, you have a tour booked! I like to send out a package 2 weeks to a month before the first show containing the following:
- Press Photo
- Stage plot
- Input list
- Hi-res tour poster
- Any other relavant info
This is super important because it allows the venue the opportunity to understand what you band is doing before you get there. In fact, here is an awesome article on this very thing. Now this is where I find the miscommunication and the short falls start happening. The promotion of the event is very important because it will dictate how many people will show up. This is doubly important for an emerging artist because a lot of people don't know about the show. But who's responsibility is it to get the word out? The venue has a show almost every night of the week and the touring band does too, so is it a shared responsibility or does the venue take the lead because they know the city and it's audience better? I think it's a conversation that needs to happen, and I can say that I didn't learn that lesson until now. Sometimes an artist can do all they can to help get the word out on their end, but if the venue doesn't put in the effort, then the show will likely be poorly attended AND NO ONE GETS PAID. The bar doesn't make money and the band doesn't make money. Lose lose. I am already filled with anxiety as I'm thinking about doing this, but I will be sending emails to all the venues we're to play at to have a conversation about promo. It's more work, but it has to get done. Tours are expensive and not making money sucks a salty knee.
Oh, lessons - adder of more work. I didn't take many pictures last night, but here a few from Hamilton that Brennan took.
Our first chance to pack Vanna White's new upgrade. We still haven't figured out how to best pack the van, so it didn't really add a ton of room. I'm going to have us unpack everything before we head to Toronto and try it again. TOURING IS THE BEST.
I miss my cat.