Young Gun Tour Manager’s Lessons from the Road: The Flawless Smile Tour #1

It’s been three weeks since my first tour as a tour manager ended. It was a first on many levels: my first tour as a TM, my first tour being the only crew member, my first tour in the US, my first national tour in the US, and my first consecutive tour (meaning we stayed on the road the whole time without going home in between dates). I’ll share some of the lessons learned and related resources in my blog during the upcoming weeks. Let’s start from the very beginning.

From Classroom to Real Life Tour Planning

My desire to become a tour manager saw the light of day a couple of years ago while touring as a merchandise manager in Finland. At the time, I knew I wanted to work within touring but I was still figuring out which role I wanted to pursue. By observing the crew members on tours and talking to different people within the industry, I realized my skills and experiences would fit perfectly with the role of a tour manager.

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Image credit: rardesign/Spreadshirt

Since my knowledge about the industry and the complexity of the music business was still completely inadequate I decided to get a music business education to understand the industry better and move closer to my dream job. I started studying in UCLA Extension’s music business certificate program 7 months ago.

In my second quarter, last summer, I took a class about touring, tour accounting, and merchandising. For me, that was obviously the most interesting course of them all. Soon after the course started, I secured a touring internship for the following quarter. It was the perfect timing: going on tour after learning about touring in school and being able to apply the knowledge into practice. We did an extensive team assignment during the course where we designed a tour for a band and I used that information when planning the real, upcoming tour.

Tour Planning and Budgeting

I met the band, Worldwide Panic, through mutual friends during a gig in May. I can’t stress enough how important it is to network in this industry, make connections, and meet new people. You never know who you’ll meet and where that can lead you!

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Team Worldwide Panic ready to hit the road!

The tour was booked only 1.5 months before it started so our timeline was tight. I helped the band with different aspects of tour planning and budgeting and made sure we were organized and on schedule to check as many tasks as possible off of our to-do list before the tour started.

And believe me, the list was long, especially because the band was about to drop their new single right before the tour. We had to:

  • Draw a tour budget and secure funds
  • Research sponsorship and endorsement opportunities
  • Gather information about the routing and venues
  • Advance the shows with the venues
  • Create an itinerary and daily schedule
  • Figure out transportation and accommodation
  • Get the needed insurances
  • Make sure we had all the gear and material we needed
  • Prepare different lists, riders and templates
  • Plan, print and prepare merchandise and promotional material
  • Set up a merch on demand store
  • Work with the band publicist to secure media for the road
  • Come up with a social media plan
  • Plan the single release
  • Update websites and create new web presence, and
  • Agree on rules and ways to work together on the road.

I will open up some of these topics a bit more in the upcoming posts but this nicely demonstrates how tour management extends well beyond the actual tour. What would you add to the list?


❤ right now: Pretty Maids

5 thoughts on “Young Gun Tour Manager’s Lessons from the Road: The Flawless Smile Tour #1

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  1. Hi! Really interesting to read about what steps you need to think about for planning a tour, this is really something I know nothing about 😀
    I guess it was a lot of fun, and a lot of work to be out on your first tour!! Super exciting, good job!
    Have a nice evening!
    Hanna

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    1. Hi Hanna! And please accept my apologies for responding so late. I just found your comment in the spam folder – glad I went to check it out! Thanks so much for your comment! The tour was definitely a combination of hard work and fun. 🙂 I just posted my third blog post about the tour, hope you’re enjoying my other posts as well!

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  2. I’m here again, because, oh man, the other blogs are so difficult to comment on, so I guess I have to do it here.
    I would add one thing to your list, which is making sure all the band member have their Sxxt together. I had a friend who was a manager, and were manage a band, all of them are alcoholics, so he was trying hard to move those guys around, But, Your band members seems to be fairly easy.

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    1. Hi Tiantian! Thanks for your comment. You’re absolutely right that alcohol and substance usage is a big thing in the industry. This was something that we discussed as part of the last point in the list “Agree on rules and ways to work together on the road” before the tour started. The band is very responsible and have hunger to succeed so they know not to blow the opportunities given to them. Another topic discussed related to tour rules was no farting in the van! Haha!

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