5 Things Every First-Time Touring Musician Needs To Do before Hitting the Road

“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.” –  Eckhart Tolle


A musician’s first national tour is an exciting time. Like a graduation trip, it’s a sign of accomplishment and an adventure. However, there are things you need to know before you hit the road. Highlighted in this article are things you can do to make life easier for yourself while you prepare to get on your bus or van for weeks with your band mates.

Solid Means of Transportation
Change the oil, check the tires and ensure everything is in order before you hit the road. Even with all the proper preparations there is a good chance your vehicle will break down.

Experienced bands even find themselves going through this situation. Just recently, Guns N’ Roses rockers Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan were left on the side of the road for three hours due to their bus breaking down. Do you have a plan in place when this happens?

Find Fans in Every Market
Get a few dedicated fans that will help put up posters about your event or invite their friends in exchange for a few guest spots. This task will be time-consuming and require extensive research and due diligence. However, the output will result in the maximum audience per show.

Another benefit in establishing street teams in various cities is the sense of belonging street team members will feel towards your group. Outside of the required work, these street team members will likely become your strongest advocates in the markets. This goes a long way in reinforcing your fan-band relationship.

The easiest way to get supportive fans is by collaborating with other bands. Since you are just starting out, other musicians will be your strongest allies. Use the internet to find bands in your tour cities that have a similar fan base to yours. Keep this going with other bands and before you know it, your audiences will intermingle, and your fan base will keep increasing.

Lodging and Hospitality
Every penny counts, thus, you need to find means of saving some dollars during your tour. Some venues may provide lodging and meals, but this not so in all cases. You can save hundreds of dollars throughout your touring period by optimally planning your lodging situation at each stop.

What are the cost and benefits of having a mode of transportation that doubles as a place to sleep? How many of the tour stops do you have friends, family or fans that would be willing to let you crash for a night?
Besides traditional lodging, explore the cost and feasibility of new alternative lodging like AirBnB, VRBO and 9Flats.

Healthy Road Life
Being on the road for an extended period of time may make it difficult to treat your body right. Touring is draining and you need to take care of yourself by ensuring you follow good eating habits. This will not only save you money but it will also provide you with the energy need to deliver memorable performances.

Don’t forget about sleep. The simple act of getting enough sleep while on tour will have the most across the board effect on your tour. Sleep impacts your baseline mood which in turn, impacts everything from your tour performance to relationships with your bandmates, staff and those relationships you need to maintain back home.

Book in Advance
Ensuring that every aspect of the event is advanced promptly is a daunting and time-consuming task. However, it needs to be done to prevent things from going wrong at the last minute. Have advance information about your flights, meals, and hotels. Also, ensure that there is a fast communication between your band and the sound guys and the lighting guys.

By booking in advance, you will save yourself from lots of headaches when you arrive at the venue. Also, major touring hazards like in-fighting within the group will be avoided.


Are you going on your first tour and need help with any of the above? Inside Out Presents offers packages for touring musicians that include services from poster design to national street team promotion. Shoot us an email info@insideoutpresents.com to see what type of package we can put together for your band and you.

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