The last month has been probably the busiest month I’ve had this year. I haven’t done that many shows, but I have done a week’s worth of Frosh shows with Arkells, and I’m about to do a 2 week tour across Canada with Ra Ra Riot.
While advancing shows isn’t a science by any means, there are a lot of things that can make it go more smoothly. Here’s three quick tips:
1. Make a list of questions:
The best thing you can do is think of all the things that you’ll need to know and put them down in a text file so you can be sure that you ask them all to the promoter. It’s always good to find out as much about the venue as possible, where parking might be, if the venue can offer dinner, if the promoter has any preferred rates at local hotels if you need somewhere to stay, etc.
2. Be persistent
If I gave up every time a promoter hasn’t gotten back to me the first time I sent an email or left a message on the first try, I would never get a tour advanced. Some promoters can advance shows a month ahead of time, while others won’t be able to tell you anything until the day before, or maybe even the day of. As much as you don’t want to annoy the promoter, it’s their job as a show promoter to give you some guidance.
3. Get the info, organize it and share it.
There are a number of ways that you can share information with an artist. One great free way of doing so (which I’ve used for some time now) is Google Calendar. It can sync with iPhones, Blackberries, and Andriod phones. If you have a Gmail account, you’re set. Make sure you configure your Gmail account on your iPhone as an Microsoft Exchange account. This way, any changes will get pushed to everyone else’s phones. You can also sync it with Microsoft Outlook, iCal, or just view it on the web. Learn about how it all handles time zones too, if you’re touring.
There are other solutions out there that are not free, but are more geared to higher levels of touring. Master Tour by Eventric is one example, and I’ve used it for some tours. It’s a good product but is $40/month and can add up. They do have an iPhone and Blackberry app which is great, and is free for everyone in the band to use, so long as you have a tour manager who is a paid subscriber.
Be safe out there. I’ll be on the road soon and hopefully there’ll be some regular updates, I have to do something during the long drives!