May 23, 2012
Q&A: What Are Some Tips for Booking a tour
Question: Hi Mark. I’ve recently started to work with a young but hardworking band in a management role. Because the band is small, I’m also acting as their booking agent. I’m quite new at this and I am especially unsure of my abilities as an agent. Venues, promoters, etc, simply haven’t been responding to me. I’m polite; should I be more aggressive? Any tips? Thank you Mark. The blog is an especially huge help for me.
I don’t know all of the details of your exchanges with promoters so bear with me if some of this doesn’t feel like a fit for your circumstances. Having no reputation in the “biz”, no history, no clout, no weight, etc. makes it hard to get anything done. Couple that with an unknown band and an overly saturated market and you have the makings for a long hard road. But dont’ give up, below are a few bullet points to consider when trying to book a tour.
- Persistence. If you are emailing a venue and they don’t respond, consider calling. If calling is getting you nothing but un-returned voice messages, do some research and see if there are any independent promoters doing events at the club and contact them. If that doesn’t work, look for bands that have played the venue and ask them to help you. Search for angles. There are multiple ways into a venue.
- Politeness. Being an ass doesn’t make people want to help you out or work with you. Kill them with kindness no matter how frustrated you get. When you get the show, be humble and thankful.
- Realistic. If you’ve never played the city, have no national presence or no real reason to expect fans to show up, then consider not asking for a hard guarantee. Times are tough and promoters aren’t in the business of taking unnecessary risks.
- Strategic. When planning to play in a particular town, find a local band that has a good draw and ask them to play the gig. Also, don’t play the town that’s 10 miles away, create some space between your shows. Also, try to not pick a night when you are competing with a major act or tour.
- Informative. Assume the venue / promoter knows nothing of your band. Provide them with all pertinent information up front and don’t make them ask for it.
At the end of the day, some people believe in cultivating new talent and others don’t. When you find someone willing to take a chance with your band, remember that, respect that and grow that into a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
I hope that helps