Young Gun Tour Manager’s Lessons from the Road: The Flawless Smile Tour #3

Hospitality: Accommodation and Catering

Smaller bands and artists that are just beginning their road to success often have to find innovative ways to go about sleeping and eating on the road. They don’t have the luxury of sleeping in a tour bus or fancy hotels nor enjoying venue catering or eating at restaurants every day.

Like I mentioned in my second post, we only slept in the van for one morning. Which was awesome because sharing a 12-passenger van with four other people and having two seat rows removed for the gear, doesn’t leave a lot of room for sleeping. Still, we did have our pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags with us for naps while traveling and for the van duty during nights.

The cheapest option for hotels, in most places except for very small towns, was Motel 6. If I was sure about our daily plan, I booked the hotel already a couple of days in advance. However, some of the drives were so long that I developed a routine of booking a hotel on our way to the next city, based on how long we were able to drive and how we felt like dividing the drives. This is not the most organized way I would like to handle things but it seemed to work the best for us.

Basically, in addition to the lowest price possible, my only search criteria was free parking, 24-hour reception/front desk, and 2 beds bigger than twin beds. Laundry facilities were a plus. Arriving late at night, all we wanted to do was to park the van, check in, move our stuff into the room, and start preparing for bed (I mention this because four guys with body paint take their time before being ready for bed) as soon as possible. Breakfast didn’t really matter much either because if we had the chance to sleep late, we did and usually decided to skip breakfast.

My role beyond booking the hotels was to:

  • Call the hotels if needed – for example, I wanted to let them know that we were arriving in the middle of the night so that they wouldn’t cancel our reservation and give the room to somebody else,
  • Check in and out of hotels, and try to get late checkout if we had time for that,
  • Wake up the band and make sure we check out and leave on time,
  • Remind to do a dummy check so not to leave anything behind, and
  • Keep up with our budget and bookkeeping.

The above pictures are from Macedonia, OH. Me in a Care Bear outfit and George Gutierrez, the rhythm guitarist, in his body paint caused some amusement at the front desk when checking in at 1:30AM.

Apart from hotels, we were super happy and grateful to be hosted by some of the band members’ friends during the tour. The above picture is from Fort Wayne, IN where we stayed at Marcos Espinosa’s place who is a friend of George Patmas, the lead guitarist. We also spent a day off at his place and had the chance to get some much needed rest, which is a luxury on the road. I woke up at 7:30PM the next day, oops…

Eating on the road was a bit challenging for us for a couple of reasons and this is definitely something I need to plan better the next time. Two of us are vegans, which added some challenge into planning on where and what to eat. Also, because some of the drives were long and the scheduling tight, we needed to rely on a lot of snacks and fast food.

We tried to find a suitable restaurant for all of us to eat every time we had enough time, or at least two restaurants that would be close to each other. Still, oftentimes we ended up at gas stations on our way to the next city and to drive ins on our way to the hotel from the venue. We also shopped at Walmarts and Targets for snacks and drinks.

One of the above pictures is from Offsides Sports Bar & Grill in Woodstock, IL, that actually had some vegan items on the menu. That night, we had the luxury of eating together and watching the bands and crew goof around at the venue while waiting for our time to load in.

All in all, getting enough rest and proper nutrition is very important on tour. It all defines how much energy the band has for performing and engaging with the fans. And obviously, how much energy the crew has for supporting the artists. Driving across the country is more tiring than you would think. Most of the drives I was either working or driving myself. Thus, it’s important to take naps when possible, eat healthy snacks, and keep yourself energized on the road.

How have you solved the puzzle of sleeping and eating while on tour?

❤ right now: Arch Enemy

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