Even if you’re not filling stadiums every night, going on tour can be an incredibly fun and satisfying experience for a rising band. However, if not done correctly, going on tour can result in immense financial loss for the band in question. Here we will see 5 important ways to save money on the road when you are on tour.
Ah, summer. The aroma of freshly cut grass, suntan cream and a cold beer. It’s tour season, and this summer tens of thousands of bands will take the road hoping to take their music to new listeners away from home. Undoubtedly, going on tour can be an incredible experience for new bands, even if they are not playing in crowded halls every night. But if you’re not prepared, a poorly planned tour has the potential to cost you and your bandmates hundreds and even thousands of euros. Here are 5 tips that will help you save money this summer.
Do not waste money in hotel rooms
One sure way to go straight to bankruptcy during a tour is to spend on hotel rooms every night. Let’s take out the account: if you have a 15-day tour nearby and plan to spend € 50 per night in a hotel room, there will be € 750. Realistically, the newer bands should expect to make little money on every show they present, even if they are lucky enough to be the opening act for a national artist who does well. If you want to have the opportunity to cover expenses or even make a small profit, you should find a place to sleep every night.
So, what do the new bands do? There are some options. Couchsurfing.com is a great community of homeowners who provide travelers a place to stay at night. It is a good idea to build your reputation on the site by letting people stay with you before asking Couchsurfers to give you and your band accommodation. With enough planning and preparation, your band could have places to stay during the whole tour through Couchsurfing.
Another option is to opt for the fans, family, friends and bands with which you have scheduled to play during the stops of the tour, to see if you can stay with them. I have made friends for life by staying with random people on a tour, and you may find good people who are willing to open their homes at most of your stops.
Bring as much food and drink as possible as you can
This advice seems logical, but many bands waste a lot of money on eating out and stopping to drink at a roadside bar. Carrying a fridge full of beer, sandwiches and snacks can save your band a lot of money during the tour. And if you and your band plan ahead and divide the food and drink into three or four parts, you will save much more money. Eating ham sandwiches and drinking cheap beer in the back of your van may not seem like the glamorous musician life you were expecting, but it’s good for your character and can save you good money.
Give as many concerts as you can
If you want to have the opportunity to make some money or even just cover the expenses of the tour, you should plan to play as many shows as you can in the shortest possible time. There are two ways to make money during tours, playing and selling merchandising. The more concerts you give, the more opportunities you will have to make money. If you have been scheduled to be on the road for three weeks and you only have 10 concerts recorded, the most likely thing is that you lose money. For a tour of three weeks you should play at least 15-18 concerts.
Playing every night of the week will help you shorten the time you are on the road between stops. For this to work, you’ll have to find concerts in small towns that you may not have heard of before, but smaller venues tend to be more open to new bands.
Get a credit card for gasoline
If your credit limit is high enough, consider getting a credit card for gas with benefits. If you plan ahead and calculate how much gas you’ll need, using one of these credit cards could save you a significant amount of money. This, of course, takes good planning, which leads to the next point.
Draw a plan
It is not common to consider musicians as good planners, but that is exactly what you have to be when you want to save during a tour. Who will be responsible for the expenses if the van breaks down in the middle of a tour? If the band generates income from the tour, will that money be invested in the band or will it be divided among the members of the band? If enough is not generated to cover gasoline expenses, which will pay for the trip, back home?
If you’re already on tour and you do not have answers to these questions, then you have a potential disaster on your hands. Communication is key, and it is imperative that the members of the band and you are well organized in regards to finances long before you go on tour. Otherwise, the financial burden if something goes wrong can fall on your shoulders. And unexpected problems go hand in hand with travel around the country with a small band that has limited resources. So make a plan accordingly.
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